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We have accepted OROP, but talks still on: PM Modi

New Delhi, Aug 15 (RDI IBNS) Delivering his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government in principle has accepted the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for defence personnel, but the nitty-gritty are being worked out before its proper implementation even as his speech triggered anger among the protesting ex-servicemen.

Amid an ongoing protest by ex-servicemen in New Delhis Jantar Mantar, PM Modi said: One Rank One Pension we have accepted but talks are on. Talks are nearing end and keeping justice in mind for everyone, I assure you that we will implement it taking into account nitty-gritty. The way the talks are going on I am expecting something positive, said PM Modi. He said: I assure the servicemen and I am saying it under the Tricolour from the Red Fort- we have accepted OROP. Some talks are still on. He said the issue of OROP came up in front on every government. Some even made small promises. Issue could not be solved, said the PM. But with Modi not committing fully on the issue, the protesting ex-servicemen- who are on relay hunger strike- exploded in anger at the Jantar Mantar. We are disappointed and Modi is surrounded by the sycophants. We had thought he would be pro-active at least, said one agitating ex-serviceman. The PM is talking about Team India and are not defencemen part of that team. Police on Friday had to scuffle with the ex-servicemen demonstrating for months for One Rank One Pension in the national capitals protest hub Jantar Mantar as they tried to clear the area and sanitize it ahead of the Independence Day celebrations on Aug 15. Authorities tried to clear the area for security reasons ahead of the I-Day celebrations even as the ex-servicemen refused to move out. The protesters, who had been living there for past many days in two tents on a relay hunger strike, said they would not move out till their demands were met. If implemented, the scheme will benefit about three million-strong ex-servicemen and war widows in the country. Ex-servicemen have been agitating with the demand for long. One Rank One Pension scheme seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

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