"...if anybody gets OROP, the jawans will be the first.... Those injured, those who had to compulsorily leave they will get OROP. And the prime minister who loves the army cannot even think of depriving such people of OROP benefits"
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday cleared the air on One Rank One Pension, saying, “Armed forces personnel who retired prematurely will be entitled to OROP.”
He slammed the people trying to "mislead" the armed forces over the government's One Rank One Pension decision and made a veiled attack on the Congress saying the party has no right to raise questions since it did nothing in 40 years.
A day after the government announced implementation of OROP, which will have a recurring expense of around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 crore, Modi said it was a "difficult" decision, which could have ramifications which are yet to be ascertained. He said some people are trying to "mislead" the armed forces, particularly on the issue of premature retirement and the setting up of a commission as proposed in the decision. "Jawans in the army have to retire after 15-17 years of service. A few people think they will not get OROP....they are misleading you by terming it as VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)....
"But if anybody gets OROP, the jawans will be the first.... Those injured, those who had to compulsorily leave they will get OROP. And the prime minister who loves the army cannot even think of depriving such people of OROP benefits," he said at a rally in Faridabad.
Noting that around 85 per cent of the army constituted of jawans, he said that those who have to compulsorily retire after 15 to 17 years will benefit the most from this decision. "There is no need to be misled."
Referring to the commission proposed to be set up, he again said that the armed forces should not be misled on the issue, as this is not any pay commission. "This commission is there to address shortcomings, if any, to see if any small changes are needed," he said, adding that the commission is proposed to be set up as the issue is complex.
"Even those who proposed Rs 500 crore for OROP could not understand the issue," he said in an apparent reference to the previous government.
"Those who did nothing for 40-42 years, do they have any right to ask questions? They only misled you and committed sins. They want to score political points....One upmanship will not help the nation," he said.
"There's a new fashion that when the government takes a good decision it is questioned by those who do not want development," he said.
Modi recalled that the issue was pending for the last 42 years and so many governments came but none found a way out. "Only lip service was provided. It was difficult to implement. For me also it was not an easy decision but I have high respect for the armed forces. Whatever promise I had made is being implemented....the ramifications it will have are yet to be known," he said.
He noted that he had made the pledge while addressing a rally of ex-servicemen in Rewari in Haryana on September 13, 2013 as the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate.
"The previous government proposed Rs 500 crore. We thought maybe it could go up to Rs 600-700 crore but while calculating new things came up. While I untangled every aspect of the issue, we calculated that there would be an expense of around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore."
Attacking those criticising his government, Modi said he came to power on May 26, last year and was responsible only since then. This decision is inspired by patriotism, he said, telling the armed forces that the government "is yours, it is there to look into your grievances and will stand by you whenever required."
The PM said the nation will not progress by indulging in politics but through national policy. "The country cannot develop through conflict but by dialogue. Elections will come and go. If there is only one solution to our problems it is development. We are working on only one point, one mantra, one objective, one path and one goal -- that is development," he said.
"It would have been better if the work of development had been completed in last 60 years. A lot of work is pending. But only criticising previous governments will not help. Our responsibility is to look for ways for development," he said.
Modi said in recent times the entire world had faced severe economic turmoil and even countries with very strong foundation were shaken.
Economists have held that only one country that withstood such turmoil was India, he said.
"Because of policies followed in the last 15 months, the country is standing strong on the economic front," the PM said. He, however, said that merely standing strong at the same point is not acceptable and the country should move forward for which the Centre and states should work in tandem.
Modi, who was addressing the rally at Sector 12, after launching the Badarpur-Faridabad Metro section, emphasised on the need to develop infrastructure and facilities like railways and roads so that the benefits of growth can percolate to all the people.
With inputs from agencies
Complete coverage: The fight for OROP