Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made it clear that the armed forces jawans who have had to give up their jobs prematurely would be covered by OROP benefits announced by the government on Saturday, a statement welcomed by the agitating ex-servicemen who decided to call off their hunger strike but would continue their stir.
A day after the government announced acceptance of the long-pending demand on OROP (One-Rank, One-Pension) by ex-servicemen, PM Modi deprecated efforts to “mislead” the servicemen on the early retirement benefits.
“Some people feel that those who have to leave the job after 15-17 years of service will not get OROP. My jawan brothers, whether it is a havildar, a sepoy or a naik, you are the ones who secure the nation. If anybody gets OROP, you will be the first,” he said at a rally in Faridabad, in Haryana on the outskirts of Delhi, while inaugurating a Metro line.
“Those who have lost any part of their body while fighting a war and had to leave the army, can they be deprived of OROP? A Prime Minister who loves the armed forces can never even think about it. All such people will get OROP”.
“That is why, out of Rs 80,000-10,000 crore, the maximum will go to those jawans who have to leave the armed forces after serving for 15-17 years,” he added, while noting that such soldiers constitute 80-90 per cent of the armed forces.
The Prime Minister contended that in the name of VRS (Voluntary Retirement from Service), “efforts are being made to mislead you (soldiers), which is wrong…. there is no need for anybody to be misleding. This government is clear that we had made a promise to the jawans, who live and die for the nation, and yesterday we made the announcement.”
In an apparent attack on Congress, he said, “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….Oneupmanship 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.
PM 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.
PM Modi, who was addressing the rally at Sector 12 here after launching the Badarpur-Faridabad Metro section, also 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.
He said that in the coming days the government wants to change the face of the country’s cities and hoped that the ‘smart cities’ scheme would start a movement in which people across the country would contribute. The cities need to be made greener, he said.
The Prime Minister, who had travelled in violet line train of the Metro to reach Faridabad, said that the corridor would be extended further till Ballabhgarh.
He also emphasised that the Metro line would give economic impetus to Haryana.