Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, August 10
Several ex-servicemen gathered at Guru Nanak Bhawan and carried out a rally till Jagraon Bridge campaigning for One Rank, One Pension (OROP) in the city today and submitted a memorandum to the DC.
They demanded that any enhancement in pension rates should automatically be passed to past pensioners.
Many octogenarians also participated in the rally. Havildar Mela Singh said he was a prisoner of war in the 1971 war, but after serving for several years, he just received Rs 13,000 pension, whereas a Havildar retiring today got nearly Rs 20,000.
“Defence personnel retiring today have served the same term of service, then why should we be getting fewer pensions than anybody retiring today on the same rank? We in fact are aged and have no source of income,” he said.
Retired Captain Ajmer Singh Grewal said: “My father fought in World War II and other wars later, but after retirement our family has always remained hand-to-mouth, just because of this flawed pension policy of the government,” he said.
Prior to 1973, the civil government employees used to get 30 per cent of their pay as pension and defence personnel used to get 70 per cent of their pay, but the government made it 50 per cent for both defence personnel and government employees.
“Government employees continue in service till the age of 60 and retire with higher pension. By then their children, too, settle. But a defence personnel, including jawans, retire at the age of 40 and are hence deprived of a decent pension and a life of dignity,” retired squadron leader Sardool Singh said.
So this policy of the government is flawed, he said.
“We are not saying that they should get less salary, but we should at least get pension that is currently being given to officers retiring now, as the living expenses are the same for all ex-servicemen,” Gurdev Singh, another retired officer, said.
Col DS Grewal (retd) said the PM, during his pre-election campaign, had said that he was committed on the OROP issue and had confirmed this during his radio programme as well. Defence Minister Arun Jaitely, too, had said there would be a budget of Rs 1,000 crore for OROP, but there had been no implementation from the government.
“We don’t want vague talk any more, but want to know the date and month when the OROP will be implemented,” he said.
— to www.tribuneindia.com