Panaji, Sep 8 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the demand to equalise the pension for retired armed forces personnel annually was “difficult”.
Speaking at a function at the BJP’s state headquarters in Panaji, Parrikar took a swipe at former defence minister A.K. Antony saying money was more important than principles to implement promises.
Parrikar was felicitated by Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for resolving the long-standing ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) deadlock.
The minister said that out of the six demands, one that was most contentious involved equalisation of pension where the defence ministry has insisted that the process would happen every five years, while the veterans want it to happen every year.
“We have said five years with some logic. And that demand, if you ask me, is difficult,” Parrikar said.
Taking a dig at Congress leaders, namely vice president Rahul Gandhi and former minister A.K. Antony, for keeping aside only Rs.500 crore for implementation of OROP, Parrikar said money outvalued principles, when it comes to brasstacks of delivery of promises.
“Every one was saying Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,200 crore. Everyone was talking about principles, but they were not talking about… it is money which is important. I do not want to criticise, but Antony should realise that ultimately it is money which determines whether you can implement a particular promise or not,” Parrikar said.
Veterans demanding that the government fulfill its poll promise of OROP withdrew their hunger strike last week after the scheme was announced by Parrikar.
While accepting some terms, the veterans have, however, continued their protest insisting that many of their demands vis-a-vis OROP have not been met with.