FARIDABAD/NEW DELHI, Sept 6 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi today 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 yesterday, 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 the ex-Servicemen, 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 8,000-10,000 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 misled. 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.�
The ex-Servicemen, who have been on agitation for the last 85 days in Delhi, broadly welcomed the Government�s decision on OROP which will cost the exchequer between Rs 8000-10,000 crore, but said they would continue their agitation because a number of their key demands had not be met.
One of them was revision of pension every two years but the government has decided to revise pension every five years.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who made the announcement yesterday, had said that it will not apply to Voluntary retirement, drawing angry reactions from the agitating exservicemen who said there was no concept of VRS in the armed forces.
Later, after meeting the minister last night, they had said the minister had agreed with them there is no VRS in defence services and so OROP will be applicable in Pre-mature Retirement.
After the PM�s statement today, Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who is leading the agitation, said the exservicemen welcomed these comments and therefore the hunger strike would be ended but the agitation would continue till the remaining four points are agreed to by the government. � PTI