Advani backs ex-servicemen’s ‘One Rank One Pension’ demand

March 16th, 2009 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Monday held out a promise that his party would implement the ‘One Rank One Pension’ policy for ex-servicemen if voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I was pained to see that many ex-servicemen recently gave up their bravery medals in protest against the non-fulfilment of this demand. My party has considered this matter in its totality,” said Advani, who is the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) prime ministerial candidate.

The BJP leader was speaking at the release here of “Guarding India’s Integrity” - the memoirs of Lieutenant-General (retd) S.K. Sinha, who is former governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Many delegations of ex-servicemen have called on me in recent months and I am convinced of the justness of this demand. We are fully committed to implementing the ‘One Rank One Pension’ policy if we win the people’s mandate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections,” Advani said.

“When I look at what is happening in Pakistan these days, I can understand why people like Lt.-Gen. Sinha shudder at the thought of another weak government coming into being in New Delhi,” he said.

“India’s very existence would be in peril if we have another government like the UPA (United Progressive Alliance), which is neither capable of taking a strong and self-reliant foreign policy approach to Pakistan nor following a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism within the country - all for petty votebank considerations,” he added.

Advani also agreed with Sinha’s view that there was a need to provide a long career for personnel below officer’s rank in the army.

Former soldiers under the aegis of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement are demanding that irrespective of the date on which the soldier retires, he or she should get the same pension, which rises every time there is a wage revision.

The demand has now arisen because of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, which did not address the ‘one Rank One Pension’ issue. The government has rejected the demand on administrative and financial grounds.

Retired soldiers of varying ranks had March 14 returned 7,500 medals won in combat and for distinguished service in pursuit of their demand.

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