NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government is committed to implement the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen, but sought time to resolve its complexities.
Attacking the previous governments for "playing politics" over the issue for the past 40 years, he said OROP was "a complex issue, a vexed issue. You have been patient for 40 years. Give me some time to address it."
In his 'Mann ki Baat' radio address, Modi said various departments were working to resolve the complexities as "it is not a simple matter" and added that "running commentary" through the media on the details of the progress will not help.
Lauding the services of the defence personnel, he said he could understand their problems as he was talking to them "as an individual rather than as a Prime Minister".
"We are committed to OROP. .... Is it not a fact that for 40 years, this matter has been pending? ... No government in the past has implemented it. Political elements have played games with you on the issue. You have faith in us," Modi said in a 25-minute speech.
OROP has been a long-standing demand of over two million ex-servicemen of India. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension for the defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Referring to the completion of one year of the BJP-led NDA rule, the Prime Minister said the entire country has debated on the positives and negatives of it. "It is important to known what have been the drawbacks," he said, adding that many sections have also praised his government's achievements in the past 12 months.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the recent launch of three social major security schemes for the poor, saying that over 8.5 crore people have joined the schemes within 20 days of their launch. The schemes are Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana.
Highlighting that these schemes entailed minimal premiums, Modi gave the example of the Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana where a beneficiary has to spend just one rupee per month or Rs 12 a year to avail its benefits.
He exhorted the poor to join these schemes in large numbers and reap the benefits.
Recalling that the United Nations had declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day, the Prime Minister asked the people to practice and promote it. "If you don't know about it, read books on Yoga and explain it to more people."
He said it was a matter of pride for India that 177 countries adopted "our proposal within a short span of 100 days" to observe June 21, the longest day of the year, as the universal Yoga day. "Yoga has become a catalytic agent to unite the world," he said.
Modi also congratulated students who cleared the various board exams recently and suggested them to choose their careers in such a manner that would benefit the country.
Referring to those who were unsuccessful, he asked them to take their "failure as an opportunity" to bounce back and cited the example of former President APJ Abdul Kalam who had failed in the examination to be become a pilot which he had dreamt of.
"However, his failure gave him such a huge opportunity that he not only became a scientist but also rose to become the President of the country," the Prime Minister said.
He urged the students to chose from a variety of subjects available, saying "the country not only needs good teachers, but also army personnel as well as sportspersons."
Referring to the continued heatwave across the country, he urged people to take precautionary measures, especially for children.
Modi also spoke on the recently-launched Kisan Channel on Doordharshan, saying that not only the farmers, but also fishermen and those engaged in animal husbandry, would gain from it.