Coming down heavily on the Centre for hurting the sentiments of India’s Armed Forces, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) in a meaningful way, as soldiers should not struggle to claim what is due to them.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Rahul asserted that decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government have adversely affect the morale of the armed forces, adding that it was the government’s duty to show the soldiers, who risk their lives each day to defend the nation, that they are cared for. “Just days after our soldiers conducted the surgical strikes, the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability. The roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees,” the letter read.
Further accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers vis a vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated 18th October 2016, Rahul stated that the OROP implemented by the government, does not fully meet the genuine demands of the ex-servicemen and they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue. “As a responsible democracy we must make sure that the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line for each one of us, feel the love, support and gratitude of 125 crore people. I therefore urge you Prime Minister to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension, or parity with civil employees,” he said.
The Congress vice president also emphasised that the anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission must be addressed at the earliest, as soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation. “As we celebrate Diwali, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, let us send this message to our soldiers that our gratitude is expressed both in words and in deed. This is the very least we owe to those who give up their today to secure our tomorrow, the letter concluded.