Ex-servicemen call off protest outside Jaitley’s residence

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) A protest by ex-servicemen outside Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s residence on the OROP issue was called off after a late-night meeting with Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, the veterans said on Monday.

Sinha met the veterans around 12.30 a.m. on Monday for around 45 minutes after instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Sinha told the ex-servicemen that a meeting will be held on Wednesday to resolve the issues related to the OROP scheme.

“The MoS called the finance minister in our presence, but he did not take the call. He however assured us that he would call up the finance minister again,” said Col. Anil Kaul (retd), a spokesperson for the Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Movement.

A few hundred veterans had shifted the protest venue for One Rank One Pay (OROP) from the Jantar Mantar to Jaitley’s residence at 2, Krishna Menon Marg, on Sunday morning and continued with their protest through the day.

After the assurance from the minitster, the protesters returned to Jantar Mantar, where the OROP protest has been on since June 14, 2015.

The ex-servicemen are unhappy with the OROP scheme announced by the central government on September 5, 2015, whereby 2013 would be taken as the base year to calculate pensions whereas the date of implementation will be July 1, 2014.

As per the scheme, the pension of the past pensioners would be re-fixed on the basis of pension of retirees of calendar year 2013 and the benefit will be effective with effect from July 1, 2014.

Pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners on the basis of the average of minimum and maximum pension of personnel retiring in 2013 in the same rank and with the same length of service.

Pension for those drawing above the average shall be protected. A review would be held every five years.

The veterans have rejected the scheme dubbing it ‘one rank five pension’ scheme.

In December, the government appointed a one-member judicial committee headed by L. Narasimha Reddy, a retired chief justice of the Patna High Court. The ex-servicemen are not happy with this either.

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