Monday December 10, 2018
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Centre’s green signal to OROP; impasse to persist

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The Modi government was worried more about Ambanis and Adanis, he alleged

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Arvind Kejriwal giving speech suring chanda bandh satyagrah
Modi government betrayed farmers: Kejriwal.

The Modi government has stabbed farmers in the back by telling the Supreme Court that it cannot implement recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission which the BJP promised to do so in 2014, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday.

Addressing a farmers rally here at Jantar Mantar, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also slammed the Centre’s crop insurance scheme as a “fraud” and demanded that it be scrapped.

“Soldiers at the borders and farmers at thier farms are in distress. It’s a sad state of affairs. The BJP has dishonoured the promises it made in 2014,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

Thousands of farmers from across the country marched from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital seeking loan waiver and higher crop prices and warning political parties not to ignore their plight.

Reminding the BJP’s promise vis-a-vis the Swaminathan Commission, Kejriwal accused the ruling party of going back on its election promise.

“They have filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court and said they can’t implement it. There can’t be a greater betrayal than this. This government has stabbed farmers in the back,” he said, asking the government to take back the affidavit.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

He warned that if it failed to do so, farmers would teach the saffron party a lesson in the 2019 elections.

Demanding loan waiver for farmers, he also said that they must get fair price for their produce.

“They are not begging but fighting for their rights. Once their loans are waived, they won’t demand it again. The government should also buy the farmers’ produce at appropriate price.”

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He blasted the government’s crop insurance scheme.

“This is not an insurance scheme but it is BJP’s ‘kisan daka yojna’ (plunder farmers scheme). This must go and the money paid by farmers be returned. Instead, the government should start a compensation scheme for farmers.”

The Modi government was worried more about Ambanis and Adanis, he alleged. (IANS)