Former Defence Minister A K Antony on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “criminal inaction” leading to delay in implementation of the One Rank, One Pension decision of the United Progressive Alliance government and claimed that it has made ex-servicemen “restless”.
The senior Congress leader was responding to the PM’s charge that the Congress was politicising the issue and asserted that they did not have the right to speak about it because they did nothing when they were in power.
Antony said, “Either he is unaware of facts or he is misleading the nation in order to cover up his government’s failure to implement the UPA decision on One rank-One Pension. I can say that what he is saying is totally incorrect and factually wrong."
Antony, who was the defence minister for seven long years in the UPA-I and UPA-II, insisted that all formalities were completed and all orders issued on OROP but its implementation is not being done by the Modi government due to “criminal inaction”.
“It is criminal delay. It is criminal inaction. Ex-servicemen are becoming restless... Consequences we cannot imagine. A decision to implement should be taken on emergency basis... on war footing. They claim to be a fast performing government,” he said.
No government in the future can dilute the decision taken by the UPA, he said, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-National Democratic Alliance governments did nothing for the ex-servicemen. “They were in power from 1998 to 2004. They did not do anything on the issue of One Rank, One Pension.”
“UPA-I onwards we started implementing the provisions in a phased manner and thrice raised the pension of ex-servicemen substantially. Ultimately on February 26, 2014, the government finally decided to implement One Rank, One Pension scheme,” Antony said.
Hitting back at Congress, Prime Minister has said that no one should have any doubts about OROP’s implementation. “But there are varied versions about what the definition of OROP should be. Would it be proper for me to take a decision without keeping the armed forces personnel in the loop? So we are trying to arrive at a please-all decision,” Modi had said.