The Centre is sensitive towards all issues of ex-servicemen, including OROP, and aware of their grievances, but some "elements" are trying to project a negative image of the government, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said here today.
"Our Prime Minister, Defence Minister are sensitive towards all your questions. We will try to address your grievances but unfortunately some elements are making wrong statements regarding defence affairs and creating myth, which is not right," Bhamre said on the inaugural session of the first Armed Forces Veterans' Day here.
The Union Minister was joined by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
Criticising the previous government for not taking any action on 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP), Bhamre said the Prime Minister has fulfilled his promises on this issue which had been pending for the past 40 years.
He said that till December 8, 2016, out of 20,71,103 OROP beneficiaries, 20,06,003 have been paid the first instalment and lump sum amount. A total amount of Rs 4,115.65 crore has been paid in this regard.
Rs 2,281.63 crore was paid in second instalment in 15,46,857 cases. In this way, till December 8, 2016, a total of Rs 6,397.28 crore has been disbursed, he said.
Bhamre said, "Despite financial problems, Rs 10,000 crore was released in this regard with an yearly expenditure of 7,000 crore. So the Prime Minister has kept his promise.
"We have tried to reach out to each and every servicemen and in such a short time, maximum cases have been solved. There are around 20,000 to 30,000 pending family pension cases in connection with 1962 Indo-China war and 1971 Indo-Pak war. Though we don't have their complete details but we are trying to reach out to them also."
He said the government has organised over 100 pension rallies, besides 'pension adalats'. A woman has been paid Rs 40 lakh and a few others have also received pending amounts under these concerted efforts, he said.
On why January 14 was chosen to be celebrated as Armed Forces Veterans' Day, a senior army official said, "On this day in 1953, the first Indian commander-in-chief of the Indian Army Field Marshal K M Cariappa retired."
The day, dedicated to veterans from all three forces, will be celebrated every year from now, said Bhamre, adding, "Those who serve the nation deserve the gratitude."
On this occasion, stalls were put by the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) & Ex Servicemen (ESM) Helpline, Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB), Comptroller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) and other ex-servicemen welfare bodies.
Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), Lt Gen Satish Dua was also present, along with senior officers from Navy and Air Force.
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