Congress flays Centre on OROP, surgical strikes

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Congress on Monday castigated the Centre for allegedly failing to implement the OROP scheme “in a meaningful way” and also seeking to derive political mileage from the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the LoC on September 28.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) — the party’s top decision-making body — passed a resolution to demand that the government redress the payment anomalies and other grievances of ex-servicemen regarding the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.

“The CWC notes with regret that the NDA government has distorted the policy of the OROP and has failed to fulfil the promise made to the serving and retired personnel. The claim of the government and the Prime Minister in this regard is hollow and untrue. Ex-servicemen have been forced to resume their struggle for OROP,” the resolution read.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told the media here that the BJP-led government had diluted the OROP policy.

“The (earlier) United Progressive Alliance government had devised a mechanism to implement the OROP, which was approved by Parliament. However, the Modi government has diluted it. Now, it has become ‘One Rank Many Pensions’ scheme. We want the government to redress the payment anomalies and extend the OROP to the ex-servicemen as per their wishes,” the Congress leader said.

Surjewala said the CWC urged the government to change its orders on disability pension cuts and the disparity between civilian and military pay grades.

Retired Army Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal committed suicide in Delhi on Tuesday over the OROP, triggering a political storm.

The CWC offered its unequivocal support to the ex-servicemen in their OROP agitation.

The CWC also lauded the Army’s efforts in carrying out the surgical strikes against terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. At the same time, it condemned the Modi government’s attempt to politicise the issue.

“The committee condemns the attempts to politicise the bravery of Indian soldiers. The Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar) and other ministers in the government have been lying that the surgical strikes were carried out for the first time in three decades. This is an insult to the Indian Army,” Surjewala said.

The CWC urged the government “to observe restraint and discretion and give up its crude attempt to gain political advantage out of the essentially military action”.

“False claims, chest-thumping and jingoism have no place in a mature democracy, especially on matters concerning national defence,” the resolution said.

The CWC expressed concern over the rising terror attacks launched from across the borders and killing of security personnel and civilians.

“The CWC deplores the attempts of the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party to whip up hysteria and create a division in the national polity on an issue on which the whole nation stood united,” the resolution said.