New Delhi, December 24
The Congress on Saturday welcomed the government’s decision to revise the pension of ex-servicemen under the ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme and said it is the result of the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra which raised the issue.
Congress general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said one should “understand the chronology” of the issue as ex-servicemen had only two days ago met Rahul Gandhi during the Yatra and highlighted the issue.
“We are happy that pension arrears of ex-servicemen will be given. This is the direct effect of the Bharat Jodo Yatra... Rahul ji’s meeting yielded the decision of the union cabinet two days later. We welcome this decision,” Ramesh told reporters at a press conference during the morning halt of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Understand the chronology of OROP. This is the impact of the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he later said.
“All ex-servicemen feel that the OROP has not been implemented in letter and spirit what the UPA had decided,” he claimed.
The government on Friday approved the revision of the pension of armed forces personnel under the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme with retrospective effect from July 1, 2019 - a decision that will benefit around 25 lakh pensioners.
The announcement was made after a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ramesh recalled that in September the central government had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court asking the apex court to allow it time to resolve this matter till March 2023.
Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra on December 21 in Firozpur Jhirka in Haryana and met 30 ex-servicemen who had raised two issues on arrears of pension and the OROP not being implemented fully, he said.
The second issue, he said, was from JCOs saying that OROP is beneficial to senior officers and not to junior officers who retire earlier.
Ramesh said since March 2022, the Modi government sought an extension in the Supreme Court four times to implement the revision of the pension of ex-servicemen and clear their pension arrears.
“As recently as on 14th December 2022... when the extension to implement revision was finishing on December 15, 2022, the government filed a Miscellaneous Application to skirt the issue and to buy more time till 15th March 2023.
“Rahul Gandhi meets ex-servicemen on December 21st, 2022 at Ferozepur-Jhirka in Haryana as part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. They raise this issue and give him a memorandum and he supports their demands, which is given wide publicity,” he said in a statement.
“Defence Minister announces the clearance of arrears after Cabinet meeting on the evening of December 23rd before Bharat Jodo Yatra enters New Delhi,” he said.
The Congress leader said the ‘One Rank One Pension’ as announced by the UPA government on February 26, 2014 is far from implemented, both in letter and spirit.
“The Bharat Jodo Yatra will continue to successfully raise the voice of our ex-servicemen. We are committed to the implementation of OROP as per the UPA’s government’s orders,” he said.
The government has said Rs 23,638 crore will be paid as arrears to the pensioners from July 2019 to June 2022.
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