By Sreyashi Mazumdar
After a relentless 84-day struggle, the veteran army men of our nation finally witnessed a realistic hope on Saturday at Jantar Mantar as the centre gave a green signal to one rank one pension. The entire street reverberated with cries of jubilation with protesting army men crooning away to songs exemplifying triumph and exuberation.
“The government has approved the concept of OROP for the first time and the scheme will be applicable from July 1, 2014, as opposed to their earlier stand that is April 1, 2014. Further the base year which will be taken into account for the calculation of the pension will be 2013-2014. The government will revise the scheme every five years and a one-member judicial committee will be appointed to look into the tenets of the scheme. The stipulated period of the aforementioned scrutiny will be six months,” said Major Gen Satbir Singh.
Despite being satisfied with the government’s stance, the army men aren’t really happy with the decision. “The very fact that a soldier opting a voluntary retirement wouldn’t be acquiring pension under OROP is not acceptable. Moreover, we demanded for a five- member committee instead of one. A person from the judiciary wouldn’t be able to judge our situation well,” added Gen Satbir Singh.
The protestors also refuted the six-month period ascribed for the single-member committee to supervise the issue. “The period should be reduced to 30 days and not six months,” added the retired general.
Though the government has shown a green signal to OROP, there might be a possibility of an implicit impasse as the centre has accepted only a part of the demands put forth by the protesting soldiers.