New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday voiced his support to ex-servicemen protesting in the capital over non-implementation of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme.
“Assurances from the government are not enough. We need implementation of the scheme,” Hazare, an ex-serviceman himself, said at the ‘Run for OROP’ event here, organised by retired soldiers.
He also slammed the Narendra Modi government, saying many promises were made on ending corruption but nothing has happened.
“Veterans serve the country but do not get their due,” he said.
Hazare reiterated that he will launch a protest at Ramlila Maidan here on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, in support of the OROP scheme.
“We still have two months left. I will travel across the country to seek people’s support,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday also expressed hope that the central government will soon implement the OROP scheme. In a tweet in Hindi, he also paid tributes to soldiers who died in the 1999 Kargil conflict.
The ‘Run for OROP’ started from Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi at 6 a.m. and ended at the Jantar Mantar monument in the heart of the capital.
Major D.P. Singh (retd), who had to have his leg amputated after being injured in the Kargil conflict, led the event.
The ex-servicemen want the government to announce a date when the OROP will be implemented.
Currently, the amount of pension paid to ex-servicemen of the same rank differs — depending on when they retired.
A section of the former soldiers has been staging a relay hunger strike on the issue here since June 15.
The deal is getting into controversies because of the allegations de by the opposition, especially Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 made the announcement that India will buy 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets from Dassault, a French aircraft builder and integrator. This came to be known as Rafale Deal.
The Rafale deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts between India and France was called a “win-win partnership” for both the countries.
But recently it has come under attack of the Opposition, mainly the Indian National Congress, which has alleged that there have been irregularities in this deal and its proceedings. However, the government has denied and rejected all the charges.
The Rafale Deal is nothing new and was also signed during the time of UPA government. The first time it came to light was during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee where the original proposal was to buy 126 fighter jets.
After tests and negotiations in 2012, Rafale was considered L-1 bidder and negotiations started which only came to a conclusion as the Rafale Deal in 2015 under Prime Minister Modi’s government.
Now the UPA alleging irregularities on NDA government doesn’t seem fair to many because no deal took place under their government. The transfer of technology was a primary issue of concern between the two sides. Dassault Aviation also tried to deny to take the responsibility of quality control of the production of 108 aircraft in India. The Dassault provided for 3 crore man-hours for production of the Rafale jets in India, HAL’s estimate was approximately 3 times higher which resulted in an escalation of costs in the manifold.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in 2015 helped bring this deal to a final conclusion. The government-to-government deal of 36 jets was to completed as soon as possible.
On costs of the Rafale Deal, NDA government has said that it got better terms than those quoted in the original bid under the UPA government. The total savings are reported to be of more than 1600 million Euros. However, the cost breakdown of Rafale Deal in the original bid under UPA government and in the 36 aircraft in the NDA’s government-to-government deal is not available for the public domain.
Under the current agreement, the Rafale Deals support the ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Indian Government through the IGA’s Article 12. It states that France will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make In India’. These critical design technologies were already discussed between the two governments in previous meetings. The present Rafale Deal is signed between two sovereign governments and there is no private individual, firm or entity involved in the process from the side of India. The procurement process also does not include any private company or firm from India.