The announcement of One Rank One Pension (OROP) for the armed forces has riled the 12-lakh-strong retired and serving paramilitary force personnel.
The paramilitary forces, officially referred to as the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), which report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will soon petition Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Home Minister Rajnath Singh to assert their rights and be treated on a par with the armed forces. They are also planning to launch a strong protest and agitation in the coming days.
Many officials complained that the present regime was not accessible to them. Earlier, they had petitioned Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who had given them a patient hearing.
A paramilitary officer said the forces had been part of all the wars — the 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil wars — as they had fought along with the Army and were the “first line of defence.” He said since Independence, 22,250 Army personnel had lost their lives in different battles, while 33,678 CAPF jawans had been killed in the line of duty.
“We are the first line of defence in the country, be it the Maoist-affected areas, the border with Pakistan or the insurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East States. By leaving us out, the government’s intention of treating us as secondary citizens is visible,” said V.P.S Panwar, Chairman, National Coordination Committee of Ex-CAPF Welfare Association.
While there are close to nine lakh serving personnel in forces like the CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, which comprise the CAPF, there are 3 lakh retired personnel.
If that was not all, the Government is facing OROP demand from Railway Employees too. Currently there are 13.26 lakh in the Railways. Shiv Gopal Mishra, General Secretary of All-India Railwaymen’s Federation said “The issue of OROP for railway employees was discussed in the Seventh Pay Commission and we will raise the issue again”. Taking on lawmakers, he said, “MPs are increasing their salaries whenever they want to increase. They even get full pension irrespective of their term or attendance.”
It seems that the "Pandora Box" is open now. More and more service associations are going to raise the same demand in coming days.
With inputs from The Hindu