The demand for implementation of the long-pending One Rank One Pension policy has intensified with two ex-servicemen sitting on fast unto death on 17 August. Colonel Pushpendra Singh and Hawaldar Major Singh have begun fast unto death at Jantar Mantar in Delhi
Also ten former defence chiefs have written to the Prime Minister urging him to "resolve the issue urgently". They wrote: "We were hopeful that pension plan would be announced on Independence Day. We are perturbed over the high-handed treatment against veterans on August 15."
"Col Pushpender Singh (Retd) and Haviladar Major Singh rpt Major Singh (Retd) have undertaken fast unto death from today," Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement, said as the agitation at Jantar Mantar here entered the 64th day today.
The protesters have been on a relay hunger strike so far.
Havildar Major had been on relay hunger strike since the agitation started.
In his independence speech on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not given a specific timeline for the implementation of OROP and only said that talks were in the final stages, drawing sharp reactions from ex-servicemen who vowed to step up their protest.
Ex-servicemen have been holding a protest at Jantar Mantar and in other parts of the country for over two months demanding early implementation of OROP.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.