Gen. V.K. Singh’s daughter joins OROP protests

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh’s daughter Mrinalini Katoch on Sunday joined ex-servicemen protesting at Jantar Mantar here for the early implementation of the one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme for retired armed services personnel.

“My father was in the Army, my father-in-law was in the Army and my husband is in the Army,” she said.

She said she had discussed the issue with her father, and the former Chief of the Army Staff had written a 10-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “He has been speaking to the Defence Minister about it,” she said.

Asked why he had not visited Jantar Mantar , she said, “This question is for the General [V.K. Singh]. I will ask him to join the protests.” Her presence evoked mixed reactions among the veterans who are disappointed with the Minister, as they feel he has not taken up the issue forcefully despite being a former soldier.

Meanwhile, in a bid to resolve the issue which has become an embarrassment for the government, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to meet Mr. Modi this week and subsequently the ex-servicemen representatives are hopeful of a meeting with Mr. Modi. 

Ms. Singh said she has spoken to several children and grandchildren of ex-servicemen to come to Jantar Mantar and join the ex-servicemen on August 27. “My appeal to all children is to come out and support your veterans.” 

Expressing faith in Prime Minister that he will honour his commitment for the scheme she said the protest is for its early implementation. “I personally feel that one rank one pension should be implemented as soon as possible,” Ms. Singh said. 

The fast-unto-death being carried on by three veterans has entered the seventh day. The three veterans — Colonel (retd.) Pushpinder Singh, Havildar (retd.) Major Singh and Havildar (retd.) Ashok Chauhan — have refused to break their fast last week despite requests from other veterans to give time to the government till August 25. 

OROP is a long standing demand of ex-servicemen for parity in pension based on rank and duration of service and irrespective of the date of retirement. It is expected to benefit over two million ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows.  

Though the government has promised the scheme the implementation has been delayed and the government has cited “technical difficulties” in working out the modalities.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:19:57 AM |

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