After denying OROP, govt adopting ‘All Rank, No Pension’ policy: Congress

Over reports that ex-servicemen did not get their pension for April, the Congress on Wednesday urged the government to immediately release it, with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying insulting soldiers is an insult to the country. Citing the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) issue, Congress said this is not the first time that there has been an “assault” on the interests of the armed forces.

“After ‘One Rank, One Pension’ deception, the Modi government is now adopting the policy of ‘All Rank, No Pension’. Insulting the soldiers is an insult to the country. The government should give the pension of ex-servicemen at the earliest,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala urged former soldiers to intervene and ensure justice to ex-servicemen, and said that “this is not the first assault on interests of armed forces, nor is it the last” by this government.

“Please peruse – denial of OROP, including opposing it in Supreme Court. Taxing the disability pension. Cutting ECHS budget. Denial of non functional upgrade. Denying Short Service Commission officers treatment in military hospitals.

“Injustice in 7th Pay Commission- denial of pay level and risk allowance akin to civilians. Denying allocation of petrol pumps/gas agencies/Coal India contracts for rehabilitation of ex-servicemen. Curbs on purchase of items in CSD canteens and imposing GST,” he said in a series of tweets.

Surjewala also urged “decorated champions like you, @Vedmalik1, @rwac48 and other leading veterans to take up the cause of our ex-servicemen in a bipartisan fashion and ensure justice is done”.

While former army chief Gen Ved Malik said “this is serious”, Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda tweeted, “Veterans complaining of pension stopped without explanation. For most, this is the only source of income.”

“Is this how we say ‘Thank you for your service to the nation’? Request (Defence Minister) Rajnath Singh to intervene,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the disbursement of pensions to 58,275 defence pensioners was delayed this month as their banks could not confirm their identification by April 30.

In order to avoid hardship, a one-time special waiver has been accorded to these 58,275 pensioners to get their identification done by May 25, it said.

The MoD also said that their pensions for April will be credited by the end-of-day on Wednesday.

Its statement came after the matter was reported in the media.

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