At Jantar Mantar, a Strong Message to the BJP From OROP Activists 

OROP activists claim the BJP-led Centre has fooled ex-servicemen by implementing a half-baked OROP scheme.

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Over 500 retired defence personnel from Delhi, Punjab and Haryana staged a protest against the ‘half-baked’ implementation of One Rank One Pension at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, 30 January.

The protest by OROP activists marked the first day of a week-long stir organised under the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha in the capital. Ex-serviceman Satyendra Pal Singh, who came all the way from Ludhiana in Punjab, argued that the government hasn’t handed them OROP in it’s true form.

“We’ve only got a one-time increment in pensions and have been told that our pensions will increase every five years.”
Satyendra Pal, Ex-serviceman

This is different from the demand of OROP activists, who demand pensions at par with those who retire with the same rank. However, it’s not just OROP that’s the bone of contention.

For ex-serviceman Kushiran Vohra, the reduction of pension from 70 percent to 50 percent of defence salaries after 1971 is a major flashpoint. He alleges that the “civil services lobby, in collusion with the government had reduced the salary to pensions ratio of the armed forces, in order to increase their own share.”

While the ratio for armed forces fell from 70 percent to 50 percent, the ratio for civil services was increased from 30 to 50 percent. Sensing conspiracy behind such a downgrade for armed forces, Vohra demands a return to the old system.

While the veterans have many demands, there’s one thing they all have in common – anger against the BJP-led Centre. Ex-serviceman Charan Das, for instance feels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the last four years, has only handed out empty promises.

Our PM keeps on raising slogans. He had promised 2 crore jobs and even promised higher returns for farmers. But in reality, nothing has happened.
Charan Das

OROP activist Mala Sharma, who has been at the forefront of the agitation, echoes many at the protest. “Don’t forget that if we can make them win, we can make them lose too.”

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