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Demonetization: Congress wants debate under Rule 56

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has said the Narendra Modi government announced the demonetization of high-value currency notes without any preparation and the Opposition wants a serious discussion on the issue under the rules that entail voting. “The decision was taken in haste, without any preparation. This has hit people at the lower level. 60 people have so far died in queues outside ATMs and banks,” he claimed. Kharge said Congress was willing to debate the issue under Rule 56, but the government wanted to discuss it under Rule 193, which does not entail voting. “It is merely a formality. The government is evading questions,” he alleged.Asked if the Opposition will allow Parliament to function tomorrow, Kharge said, “The government should agree to a debate on demonetization under Rule 56. All parameters of a debate will be met under the rule.”Attacking the government for failing to bring back black money stashed abroad, he said, “The Modi dispensation has completed two-and-a-half years in office, but has failed to come out with the list of people having accounts in Swiss banks.” He claimed that a few BJP leaders were also against the way the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was taken. “The entire House is on the same page in this regard,” he said.The Opposition will also try to pin down the government on the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme, the Jammu and Kashmir turmoil and surgical strikes, Kharge added.

Ninety five percent ex-servicemen benefitted from Orop, can’t satisfy ‘politicised’ ex-soldiers: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said that he would not like to discuss the Orop issue with ex-soldiers with a political leaning or ex-servicemen who had formed political parties.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, he also said that only “four to five” percent of the retired soldiers had not been drawing benefits of One Rank One Pension, because the pensions department in his ministry could not trace their records, some of which dated back to the 1962 India-China war.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIUnion Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Those who have become politicians, those who have formed a political party… Even in our party there are ex-servicemen politicians, as is the case with other political parties too. They think like politicians and not like ex-soldiers. I cannot discuss about them,” Parrikar said to a query about the politicisation of the Orop issue.

“So, if they (ex-servicemen associations) are satisfied, then the rest who indulge in politics, I cannot satisfy them. I can assure you and you can go to the ex- servicemen,” he said, adding that he was in constant touch with ex-servicemen and working actively to overcome the obstacles they face.

Parrikar said that around 95 percent plus retired soldiers were already receiving the benefits of OROP, adding that the rest were mostly old pensioners who had been drawing a pension from 1962 and their records were not available with the pensions department.

“…the 1962 war was 54 years back. There are 1965 war (with Pakistan) pensioners, 1971 war pensioners and many who are family pensioners. Their old records are not available with the pensions department,” he said.

Parrikar said that his ministry was working at alternative ways to help bring these four to five per cent former soldiers under the OROP umbrella, by gleaning their service details from other records and by getting them to sign affidavits about their service tenure. They would get the OROP benefits over the next two months, he added.

95% people have already benefited from OROP: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 95% people have already benefited from One Rank One Pension, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday. “More than 95% people have already got the benefit of OROP. The rest are very old pensioners, from 1962 war, so their records are incomplete,” he told ANI.”We are in the process of completing the records of these remaining 4-5%. It will be done in the next two months,” Parrikar said.On Friday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Centre was disrespecting soldiers by not fulfilling their promises regarding the long pending One Rank, One Pension scheme. Gandhi, who met the ex-servicemen protesting at the Jantar Mantar against the government’s lackadaisical approach on the One Rank, One Pension scheme, said that, at this point of time, the issue was not just about the implementation of the scheme but about giving justice to the soldiers.The suicide by an army veteran over OROP snowballed into a huge political show with Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue. There was high drama after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital.The opposition targetted the government following the suicide of the ex-serviceman as he allegedly did not get due OROP benefits. BJP accused Gandhi and Kejriwal of doing politics over a dead body.National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told a press conference that the government had constituted a committee to look into certain anomalies following the OROP’s implementation and it has submitted its report. In two months, its recommendations will be executed.BJP also said that anywhere between 55-56 lakh ex-servicemen had benefited from the OROP decision while there were only 1 lakh of them who had got less than what they should get.

OROP row: Basic pension of ex-servicemen increased 2.57 times, says President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The basic pension of ex-servicemen of the Indian Army has increased by 2.57 times as compared to pension of December 31, 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said here while addressing ex-servicemen of the Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army.Mukherjee, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, lauded the valour and discipline of the Gurkha soldiers in guarding the borders of India.Mukherjee, who is on a three-day state visit to Nepal, visited the Pension Office for Gurkha ex-servicemen here in the last segment as large number of these soldiers live here after retirement.The scenic Pokhara Valley, nestled in the shadow of towering snowcapped peaks of Dhaulgiri, Machapuchare, and Annapurna is home to a large number of soldiers of the famed Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army.The President received a warm welcome here with people dressed in traditional clothes carrying flags of India and Nepal had lined up the roads from airport to hotel where he stayed briefly and then from hotel to pension office of the Gurkha regiments ex-servicemen.People stood there throughout the stay of the President who was in the city for nearly an hour playing drums, dancing and waving as his convoy passed through the streets of Pokhara city.”According to the seventh Pay Commission the basic pension has increased 2.57 times under the One Rank One Pension scheme as compared to basic pension on December 31, 2015,” Mukherjee said.He said being the supreme commander of the Indian defence forces, it was a matter of great satisfaction and pride that all the welfare schemes of ex-servicemen are being implemented in Nepal on time.The President said there are 32,000 Gurkha soldiers in Indian Army besides 1.26 lakh ex-servicemen from the community. Mukherjee said India will never hesitate to take all possible steps for the welfare of ex-servicemen.”Every year about Nepalese Rs (NPR) 3,100 crore of pensions is being distributed in Nepal. In the current financial year, the target is to distribute about NPR 4,000 crore of pension as per One Rank One Pension and Seventh Pay Commission,” he said.

Veterans only ‘getting enhanced pension, not OROP’: Rahul asks PM to stop ‘lying’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A combative Rahul Gandhi on Friday stepped up pressure on the government over OROP, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “lying” on the issue and insisting what the retired defence personnel were now getting was “enhanced pension” and that ‘One Rank-One Pension’ demand was yet to be fulfilled.The Congress vice president asserted that OROP was the right of military personnel and the government “will have to give it”. “What PM says is One Rank-One Pension is actually pension enhancement and not OROP. PM should stop lying on the issue. “OROP is the right of armed forces personnel and government will have to give it,” Rahul, who was detained thrice over two days during protests over the suicide by army veteran Ram Kishan Grewal, told reporters. Grewal had allegedly committed suicide over OROP. An unfazed Gandhi said he was not bothered by his detention.Accusing the government of waiving loans of a staggering Rs 1.10 lakh crore of 15 big industrialists, Gandhi said it has nothing to give to soldiers and farmers. “The government has not given respect and the right which is due to soldiers. If it had, why these ex-servicemen been protesting for the last 509 days at Jantar-Mantar,” he said after meeting around 60-70 military veterans at the AICC headquarters.Gandhi, who has been in the forefront of the protests after Grewal’s suicide, accussed the government of not “doing justice to soldiers who sacrifice their life for the country.”

OROP will be resolved in two months: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under fire from the opposition, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday reached out to the soldiers saying the Modi-led government is sensitive to the issues of the ex-servicemen, and assured the nation that the issues related to One Rank One Pension (OROP) will be resolved within two months time.”Only one lakh people have not got full benefit of this (OROP) as of yet. There are some technical and documentation issues. I want to assure you that we will sort them out in the next two months”, Parrikar said while addressing a function to mark the martyrdom anniversary of the 1947 war hero Major Somnath Sharma at Budgam.The Defence Minister said this government is very sensitive towards ex-servicemen, and that is why they implemented OROP after 43 years. “I bow before the brave jawans and assure them that the nation stands by you…. This government is sensitive towards ex servicemen. We gave OROP which was not granted for the last 43 years”, he said.Elaborating, Parrikar said the government is incurring Rs 7,500 crore and Rs 11,000 crore arrears have been under OROP. “On an average there is 23 to 24 per cent increase in pension… I want to assure the ex servicemen…. I do not say everything will be perfect. But I assure you that I will try to give more solutions,” he said.Hitting out at Pakistan, defence minister said the neighboring country has resorted to proxy war after it was defeated in the conventional wars. “Pakistan has always been trying to occupy Jammu and Kashmir. We consider Jammu and Kashmir and its people as integral part. After losing conventional wars, Pakistan started proxy war in the paradise”, he said.Accusing Pakistan of fomenting unrest, Parrikar said that for the last four months, anti-social elements at the behest of neighboring country have dealt a serious blow to the economic conditions of hardworking and peaceful Kashmiris. “This place is so beautiful. Here tourism and IT has lot of scope and potential. But peace is prerequisite for that”, he said.Paying homage to Major Somnath Sharma, the minister pledged to fight the proxy war and defeat terrorism. “I appeal peaceful people of Jammu and Kashmir to shun violence and help in the nation building,” he said.

Will restart ‘andolan’ if OROP is not implemented: Anna Hazare

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Social Activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday said that the Centre”s betrayal to the nations’ ex-servicemen over the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme resulted in the suicide of Ram Kishan Grewal, and threatened to restart his agitation on the implementation of the scheme.”Earlier the government had promised that the OROP will be implemented and we trusted them, which is why we stopped our protest,” Anna said. Stating that it was unfortunate that an ex-serviceman committed suicide over the failure of the scheme’s implementation, the activist stated that on one hand the government glorifies soldiers and on the other hand doesn’t fulfill promises. Speaking to ANI here, Anna further said that armed forces put themselves on the line of fire in testing conditions to protect the country, yet their very right has been denied to them.”No harm in fighting for your own right and we are not begging in front of anybody,” Hazare said on launching a protest again. Earlier today, ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar area, over the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP) In his suicide note, he said that he is taking such an extreme step for the sake of the soldiers.The Police said that he along with some other ex-servicemen were in the process of submitting a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.Grewal was a resident of Bumla village in Bhiwani, Haryana. Ex-servicemen have been protesting over the OROP scheme introduced by the government. Earlier, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who was detained today after he tried to meet the kin of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, lashed out at the Delhi Police for arresting the former jawan’s family besides himself. Rahul Gandhi was stopped close to the gates of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here when he went to meet the family of the victim Grewal.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has sought details of the incident.

Arvind Kejriwal targets Modi; says farmers, soldiers committing suicide in his rule

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the suicide of an ex-serviceman here, saying both farmers and soldiers were ending their lives in his regime.Kejriwal, a bitter critic of Modi, also alleged that the Prime Minister was “lying” that the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme was being implemented by the Centre, contending that ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, would not have committed suicide if the scheme was being executed by the Centre.”Both farmers and soldiers are committing suicide in Modi Raj. That means the Prime Minister is lying that OROP has been implemented. Why would Ram Kishan ji have committed suicide if OROP was being implemented?” Kejriwal said on Twitter.The AAP leader also rued that it was “very sad” to see that soldiers have to fight against external enemy along border and “within” for their rights.The whole nation should stand up for their rights, he urged.Meanwhile, it is learnt that Kejriwal will the attend the cremation of Grewal later in the day.70-year-old Grewal allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison over the issue of OROP on Tuesday, police said.

Letter to PM: Please don’t politicise OROP, Centre urges Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for making the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme a subject to ‘partisan politics’, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked the former to check his facts while questioning on the implementation of the scheme. “We would like to say that Rahul Gandhi needs to do his homework rather well. But the fundamental issue is he should not make the welfare of armed forces a partisan issue,” Prasad said.The Law minister asserted that OROP has been given by the Narendra Modi government amounting to more than Rs 10,000 crores while adding that the whole architecture is now in place for similar slab rate of pension which is in tune with the recommendations of the seventh pay commission. “The government has referred to anomaly committee and no decision has been taken,” Prasad added.Responding to the Rahul’s charge accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers with regards to their civilian counterparts, Prasad said , “Since 1998-99 including the Manmohan Singh government, no new policy decision has been taken to change it, therefore I would urge Rahul Gandhi that at least please don’t do partisan politics on Armed force issues. Addressing a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Rahul Gandhi asserted that decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government have adversely affect the morale of the armed forces, adding that it was the government’s duty to show the soldiers, who risk their lives each day to defend the nation, that they are cared for.”Just days after our soldiers conducted the surgical strikes, the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability. The roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees,” the letter read.Further accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers vis a vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated 18th October 2016, Rahul stated that the OROP implemented by the government, does not fully meet the genuine demands of the ex-servicemen and they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue. “As a responsible democracy we must make sure that the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line for each one of us, feel the love, support and gratitude of 125 crore people. I therefore urge you Prime Minister to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension, or parity with civil employees,” he said.The Congress vice president also emphasised that the anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission must be addressed at the earliest, as soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation.

Don’t subject army to ‘petty politics’: Ravi Shankar Prasad slams Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Urging Rahul Gandhi not to subject army to “petty politics” for partisan gains, the government today said the Congress Vice President was not right on facts when he questioned the implementation of the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme.”The first thing is Rahul Gandhi is wrong on facts. But a larger issue is to make him aware that armed forces is an important institution of the country. They are doing sensitive work to make India secure. I would urge Rahul Gandhi not to subject army to petty politics,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told PTI. Prasad, who holds the Law, Justice and Information Technology portfolios, emphasised that it was the Narendra Modi government which has taken the decision to implement the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ policy which comes at an annual load of Rs 10,000 crore on the exchequer.Responding to Gandhi’s charges, Prasad said that as far as equivalence part is concerned, the same has been in force since 1998-99.”There is no new policy initiative undertaken taken by the Narendra Modi government in this regard,” the minister said. He said that as far as pension payment on slab system is concerned, it is a recommendation of the Pay Review Committee which the government has not accepted.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi writes to Modi, says implement OROP meaningfully as Diwali gift to ex-servicemen”The government has referred this issue to the anomaly committee. Till the time the anomaly committee gives a recommendation, the payment of pension on percentage basis shall continue,” Prasad said. Gandhi had earlier in the day questioned the Modi government’s resolve to work for soldiers’ welfare, asking the Prime Minister to first implement the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme in a meaningful way and redress their pay anomalies and other grievances.The senior BJP leader said he would “urge Rahul Gandhi to do his home work and not politicise armed forces’ sensitive issues for partisan gains”.

Rahul Gandhi writes to Modi, says implement OROP meaningfully as Diwali gift to ex-servicemen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on the Centre for hurting the sentiments of India’s Armed Forces, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) in a meaningful way, as soldiers should not struggle to claim what is due to them.In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Rahul asserted that decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government have adversely affect the morale of the armed forces, adding that it was the government’s duty to show the soldiers, who risk their lives each day to defend the nation, that they are cared for. “Just days after our soldiers conducted the surgical strikes, the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability. The roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees,” the letter read.Further accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers vis a vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated 18th October 2016, Rahul stated that the OROP implemented by the government, does not fully meet the genuine demands of the ex-servicemen and they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue. “As a responsible democracy we must make sure that the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line for each one of us, feel the love, support and gratitude of 125 crore people. I therefore urge you Prime Minister to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension, or parity with civil employees,” he said.The Congress vice president also emphasised that the anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission must be addressed at the earliest, as soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation. “As we celebrate Diwali, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, let us send this message to our soldiers that our gratitude is expressed both in words and in deed. This is the very least we owe to those who give up their today to secure our tomorrow,? the letter concluded.

Our soldiers rescued people from Yemen irrespective of nationality, including Pakistanis: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that history of India stands as a witness that our ancestors never fought to acquire even an inch of other countries’ land, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said “Gandhi and Buddha were born here because we live for humanity.””It is the call of humanity that inspires our armed forces when they are helping people during natural disasters nothing else matters,” he said.”When we think of our armed forces, we remember their valour. We also recall with pride their role during a natural disaster. It is the call of humanity that inspires our armed forces when they are helping people during natural disasters; nothing else matters,” the Prime Minister while addressing a gathering during the inauguration of ‘Shaurya Smarak’ in Bhopal.Noting that India is one of the biggest contributors to the United nations peacekeeping forces, Prime Minister Modi said, “It was our soldiers who played a key role in rescuing people from Yemen. Those rescued were not only Indians but also from other nations. Several soldiers from India fought and were martyred during the two World Wars.”Asserting that Indian Armed forces don’t just talk, but act, the Prime Minister noted, “Like our army doesn’t talk but displays its valour, similarly our Defence Minister also doesn’t speak.””I salute the mothers who have given our nation such brave Indian soldiers for the service of the motherland. We should have respect and devotion for our soldiers 24X7,” said Prime Minister Modi.”The demand for One Rank-One Pension (OROP) was persisting for years. We had promised it will become a reality and this is exactly what happened,” he said, adding that the Shaurya Smarak is a “Tirtha Sthan” for us and for our coming generations.

PM Modi fulfills his Independence day promise, hikes pension of freedom fighters by 20%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The monthly pension of freedom fighters, including those who were incarcerated in Cellular jail in Andaman Islands or suffered outside British India, was hiked on Wednesday by around Rs 5,000 each. The decision to give 20% enhanced pension to all categories of freedom fighters, their spouses and dependents was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The revised scale of pension has taken effect from August 15, 2016 and the revised total amount of pension will be taken as basic pension for the respective categories of freedom fighter pensioners for calculating Dearness Relief, an official statement said. The existing Dearness Relief system based on All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers, which was so far applicable to freedom fighter pensioners on annual basis, is being discontinued and replaced by the Dearness Allowance system applicable to central government employees twice a year.This will be termed as “Dearness Relief”, the appropriate term in case of pensioners, it said. Pension for freedom fighters in the category of ex-Andaman political prisoners and their spouses has been enhanced from Rs 24,775 to Rs 30,000 per month. Pension of freedom fighters, who suffered outside British India, has been raised from Rs 23,085 to Rs 28,000 per month. Pension of other freedom fighters, including those who were members of Indian National Army (INA), has been raised from Rs 21,395 to Rs 26,000 per month.
ALSO READ PM Modi keeps his words, Home Ministry hikes monthly pension of freedom fightersAddressing the nation on the 70th Independence Day from the Red Fort, the Prime Minister had announced a 20% hike in the pension for freedom fighters. Central freedom fighter pensioners and eligible dependents under ‘Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension’ will get enhanced pension with effect from August 15, 2016.All freedom fighters and spouses and dependent parents, eligible daughter pensioners of deceased freedom fighters drawing pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 would be benefited by the decision. So far, 1,71,605 freedom fighters and their eligible dependents have been sanctioned pension under the scheme.
ALSO READ Independence Day gift for freedom fighters, BPL families as PM Modi announces benefitsAt present 37,981 freedom fighters and their eligible dependent pensioners are covered under the scheme. Of these, 11,690 are freedom fighters themselves, 24,792 are spouses (widows/widowers) and 1,490 are daughter pensioners.

Tata Steel fears that UK political situation may derail sale

Tata Steel is concerned that political uncertainty could derail the planned sale of its UK assets, the BBC understands.

7th Pay Commission: Armed forces treated shoddily by Modi government, says Congress

In a statement release by Congress on Wednesday, spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised One Rank-One Pension for the forces and resolution of all other issues armed forces personnel now but this entire rhetoric was a mere “jumla” (gimmick). “Our frontline defence warriors, armed forces have been treated shabbily and shoddily by Modi government in implementing the 7th Pay Commission. Naturally, our defence personnel are feeling cheated and ignored leading to wide discontent,” Surjewala said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statement released by Surjewala also said—”Defence experts, decorated soldiers and retired Army chiefs have openly expressed their resentment. According to one Ex-Army Chief, the Uniform Pay Matrix has not been implemented. The Defence Pay Matrix in 7th Pay Commission has only 24 pay levels, on the other hand, the bureaucratic pay matrix has 40 levels. Due to this, not only the salary hike gets stagnated after some years of service, but the pensions which defence personnel draw is Rs 20,000 lower than civil employees after retirement.”The demand to provide allowances at par with civilian employees has also not been taken into account. Civilian employees are entitled to large number of allowances, which are not provided to defence personnel. For example, a CRPF DIG posted in Leh, will get Rs 57,000 as part of allowance. Whereas, an Army Brigadier posted in the same region gets only Rs17,000 as allowance.”Another demand of military employees was to increase the Disability Pension at par with the civilian employees. While an Additional Secretary would get Rs 60,000 as disability pension, a Lt General of Armed Forces would get only Rs 27,000.”There are less than 50 military allowances, compared to about 90 for civilian employees. Moreover, a large number of military allowances have been subsumed into a “risk-hardship matrix”, in which every military posting gets a standard allowance based on the “risk” and “hardship” profile. The Siachen Glacier, which has the highest degree of both risk and hardship, brings soldiers posted there an allowance of Rs 31,500 per month. In contrast a civilian bureaucrat from the All India Services draws 30 per cent of his salary as “hardship allowance” when posted anywhere outside what officials regard as a comfort zone. For example a senior IAS official posted in Guwahati will draw Rs 70,000 per month as “hardship allowance”, compared to Rs31,500 per month drawn by military officers in Siachen.”Modi ji promised one Rank One Pension for our Forces and resolution of all other issues, some of which are listed above. Armed personnel now realize that this entire rhetoric was a mere ‘jumla’.”

Quick resolution to pension issues, central ministries to be linked online to Pension Tracking System: Govt

All Central government ministries will soon be connected to an online system to ensure quick grant of pension and check any delay in its disbursal.Besides, the Centre has decided that all Pension Payment Orders (PPOs) will be digitised. Addressing a conference of pensioners association, Union Minister Jitendra Singh suggested an institutionalised mechanism to make good use of the knowledge, experience and efforts of retired employees which can help in the value addition to the current scenario.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All central ministries and departments will be linked to the online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System Bhavishya very soon,” he said.
ALSO READ EPFO to provide higher pension to members deferring benefit till 60With this step, the pension release will be expedited and it will also help in quick resolution of pending issues, the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, said. Singh said India has a large number of pensioners and to make best use of them is a “challenge”.”Retired employees are a healthy and productive workforce for India and we need to streamline and channelise their energies in a productive direction. We should learn from the pensioners’ experience,” he said addressing the 28th Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) here.
ALSO READ Finance Ministry announces Pension saving scheme for NRIsSingh said that a focused approach and emphatic attitude need to be developed towards the pensioners.Earlier, C Viswanath, the Secretary, Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare, and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, directed that the Pension Payment Order (PPOs) be digitised.
ALSO READ EPFO may soon allow members to contribute for pension schemeThe online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System Bhavishya’ has introduced transparency and accountability into the pension sanction and payment process, thereby helping eliminate delays and bring satisfaction to the retiring employees and pensioners.The system keeps retiring employees and administration informed of the progress of pension sanction process through SMS and e-mail. In the year 2015-16, the scheme was scaled up and will eventually cover all 9,000 Drawing and Disbursal Offices (DDOs) in the country, the Secretary added.

Mathura clashes: Cult leader Ram Vriksha Yadav was a maverick megalomaniac

Ram Vriksha Yadav, the man behind the horrific carnage in Mathura, was a maverick politician, a megalomaniac and a murderer, all rolled into one deadly cocktail. Uttar Pradesh DGP Javed Ahmed on Saturday confirmed on Twitter that the body of Yadav and some others have been identified by his associates. “We will carry out a DNA test to confirm this,” Ahmed told reporters.The terror unleashed by Yadav is still palpable in the Jawahar Bagh area of Mathura where 24 people, including two police officers, died in the bloody confrontation between the self-styled “Swadheen Bharat Sena” and the police force on Thursday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to facts gleaned about Yadav during the interrogation of the dozens of ‘sena’ activists arrested after the violence, he was an astute planner, a good orator and an expert in arms and ammunition. On the flip side, he was known to be very short-tempered and ruthless, and ruled his illegally occupied 33-acre Jawahar Bagh fiefdom with an iron hand.
ALSO READ Cult leader behind Mathura violence confirmed dead”There was only one passage for entry and exit. Any stranger who entered the Bagh hardly ever returned,” a senior police officer told dna, quoting one of Yadav’s associates. “Yadav struck terror among the 3,000-odd people who lived there. He would get anyone tortured in the worst of ways at the slightest pretext,” he added.Yadav had a private army, armed with double barrel guns and rifles, which always maintained a security cordon around him. Even local police and district administration officials feared confronting him, given his reported connections with the top brass in the Samajwadi Party (SP) government. It was indeed no wonder then that he and his men had been squatting in Jawahar Bagh in the name of ‘satyagrah’ (civil disobedience) for over two years.
ALSO READ AIFB, Netaji’s family disassociate from Mathura violenceIt’s startling that Ram Vriksh Yadav, who hails from Ghazipur in east UP, was drawing “Loktantra Senani Pension” of Rs 15,000 from the state government. This is an SP government scheme for those who were jailed during the Emergency. Yadav is also known to have Maoist connections and is alleged to have been supplying them with arms which were being produced at Jawahar Bagh itself.He had joined Baba Jai Gurudev, the founder-leader of this weird cult, in 1972 and had even gone to jail with him during the Emergency. Yadav was involved in an internecine conflict with two other groups of the now deceased Baba’s followers over the control of the cult’s property valued over Rs 10,000 crore.

Protesting ‘meagre’ pension, senior citizens return a day’s pension to PM Modi

New Delhi: In a symbolic protest against “meagre pension” given to underprivileged senior citizens, about 130 elderly people, under the banner of a civil society, have sent a day’s pension of Rs 7 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Alleging indifference on the part of the Centre towards the elderly, Pension Parishad, at a press conference held in New Delhi, said the “sarcastic move” was to draw the attention of the government towards the plight of old people and also to press their demand for a respectable hike in pension.

Representational image.

Representational image.

Noted RTI activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey and veteran trade unionist Baba Adhav claimed that there were nearly “9 crore elderly people in the country, who do not have access to basic pension or getting very poor amount, by virtue of their old age or economic status.”

“Based on 2011 census, about 10 crore people across the country are in need of pension and have difficulty accessing it. Out of them, the 9 crore are very poor people, like labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers, tea stall owners who earn meagre, hence we need to lend dignity to their lives,” Dey said, adding, we have been demanding a pension of “Rs 2000 per month for them.”

In the letter sent to the Prime Minister, “over 125 poor elderly people from more than 10 states” have either signed their names or put thumb impression to register their protest.

“They (elderly) have resolved to donate a day’s pension of Rs 7, out of the meagre monthly social security pension scheme of Rs 200, to the PM to protest against the priorities of the Prime Minister and Parliament,” Roy said.

We have been protesting against this for the last 16 Parliament sessions and demonstrated at Jantar Mantar. This fight is not against any regime but for getting a holistic and inclusive policy implemented for such people, he said.

“From 2007, the pension of Rs 200 is being given to them, and over these years, even inflation has not been factored in.

It is appalling that such a meagre amount is given to our poor and elderly who were part of the nation-building,” Roy said.

Veteran activist Baba Adhav said “We will now also approach MPs individually and ask them why you don’t want to increase the pension for these elderly people.”

Letter to PM: Lay off our savings, PF money is not yours

Dear Prime Minister,

I am dismayed by your government’s attempt to stake claim to something that doesn’t belong to it: our provident fund.

First you tried to tax withdrawals from the provident fund. Now, after losing face over the silly decision, the government is trying to control how much of their own savings people can withdraw. It is difficult to understand why the government is persistently circling like a vulture on the only real savings of an aam aadmi.

What business does the government have in telling how people should deal with their savings or when they can use them? Especially when it is offering nothing in return.

Consider the plight of the employees of the private sector. Most of them are not guaranteed a job for their lifetime. Almost every person employed in the private sector is forced to find a new job sometime in their life. Some get alternate employment easily, others after a long gap and a few never.

How does the government expect those who are jobless–either for a brief period or forever–to sustain themselves? Does it provide social security? Unemployment allowance? Pension? Job offers for the interim period? Shelter? Waiver of loans? Free education to children? Free healthcare?

The cruel fact is that the Indian government exists only as a rent-seeker or a tax-collector for private sector employees. It is, to quote a filmi example, like Peter and his goons on the docks in Deewar, interested only in collecting hafta the moment they get their salary.

Once people lose their job, become unemployed, they fall off the government map. These pariahs are left out in the cold to struggle for survival. And the government becomes a mute, incompetent spectator.

It is nobody’s argument that the Modi government should take care of everyone who is unemployed. In a developing country like ours where there are hundreds of claimants for every single resource, the idea of a benevolent sarkar, even if ab ki baar it is Modi’s, is unimaginable.

But, isn’t it shameless, even draconian, of an impotent government to try and make lives of people more difficult with its intentions of controlling the savings of its vulnerable masses? Shouldn’t somebody be telling the labour and finance ministries to just lay off the provident fund and, instead, use their time on more productive, people-friendly pursuits?

Let me explain with an example. A friend who is a general manager in a media company was recently put on notice by his employers. In three months, if the employers don’t change their mind, he would be jobless.

Having worked for almost 25 years, being on the wrong side of 40s, stuck in a low growth economy where jobs are receding faster than his own hairline, he is not very confident of finding a job immediately. But, he is hopeful of leading a dignified life till he finds another job or sets up his own business because of the money he has in the provident fund.

But, the proposed law that disallows withdrawal of the employer’s contribution before 58 has made him desperate. Now, the money he would be able to withdraw from his PF would be barely enough to repay his loans. Does the government want this proud, hard-working man to beg on the streets till he turns 58 even when there is money parked in his account? I am sure there are, and will be, thousands like him.

My entreaty is earnest and simple: Don’t even look at the PF money. It is not yours. The government’s job is to ensure that the PF money is managed well, employers do not cheat people out their savings and the withdrawal procedure is so simple and quick that anybody who needs the money is able to get it without delays or babucratic problems. But, don’t cast your avaricious eyes towards that money.

If the government is really keen to make post-retirement or post-retrenchment life better for people of India, which is the alleged reason behind its zeal to tinker with PF laws, a lot can be done.

One, invest in health care. After a certain age most of the savings are spent on medical care. At the moment, the government doesn’t even have enough hospitals and doctors. Since the government has disappeared from the scene, private hospitals are squeezing even the last drop of savings from people. Do something about this.

Two, pay attention to the education sector. People are being held at ransom by private schools. The government has no control over how much they charge, on the loot that is carried out in the name of admission fees, books, uniform and extra-curricular activities.

Why can’t we have regulatory bodies to control the loot by hospitals and schools?

Modiji, if you are really concerned about the salaried middle-class, help them save money on education and healthcare and make their lives better.

Do not make them more miserable by eyeing the money they have saved for the day when the government would leave them out in the cold.

Union cabinet approves OROP for 16 lakh personnel

The union cabinet on Wednesday approved the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for close to 16 lakh defence pensioners even as it leaves out those who would take voluntary retirement in future.In a statement, the union government said that the benefit will be given with effect from July 1, 2014 and pensions will be re-fixed for those who retired before July 1, 2014 in the same rank and with the same length of service.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The benefit, it said will also be extended to family pensioners including war widows and disabled pensioners.However, as in the past when the government notified OROP last year, it again made it clear through the union cabinet decision that “personnel who opt to get discharged henceforth on their own request will not be entitled to the benefits of OROP” and that “It will be effective prospectively”.This has invited sharp criticisms from the ex-servicemen fraternity even as Constitution of Judicial a committee headed by former Patna High Court Chief Justice L Narasimha Reddy has been formed to look into any anomalies in implementation of OROP. The committee will give its report in six months. The arrears will be paid in four half-yearly installments. However, all the family pensioners including those in receipt of Special/Liberalized family pension and Gallantry award winners shall be paid arrears in one installment.While in future, the pension would be re-fixed every five years, the government said that the financial implications on account of grant of OROP including Pre-Matured Retirees (PMR) cases would be to the tune of Rs 10925.11 crore for payment of arrears and annual financial implication would be Rs 7488.7 crore. Till March 31, 2016, 15.91 lakh pensioners have been given the first installment of OROP, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which amounts to Rs. 2,861 crore.MoD has sad that the information is being gathered for processing on priority basis, the cases of nearly 1.15 lakh pensioners who have not got their installments due to gaps of information such as the length of service being assessed and others.

Obsolete laws: Cabinet clears amendments made to two bills

A law which the government now does not want to scrap and another which has already been repealed are set to be removed from two bills which seek to abrogate obsolete legislations. The two bills — Appropriation Acts Repeal Bill, 2015 and the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015 — are pending in the Rajya Sabha after being approved by the Lok Sabha.Click Here For LIVE SCORE: India vs Bangladesh, ICC World T20The official amendments to the two bills to remove the Pensions’ Act and the Punjab Appropriation Act from the list of laws which government wants to repeal was on Wednesday cleared by the Union Cabinet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior functionary said there has been a reconsideration and now the government does not favour repealing the Pension Act, 1871. The Punjab Appropriation Act has already been repealed and “inadvertently” became part of the Appropriation (Acts) Repeal Bill, 2015, he said. “With the official amendments cleared, we will now push for the passage of the two bills in the Rajya Sabha,” he said.The two bills will return to the Lok Sabha for fresh approval after the official amendments. The bills seek to scrap a total of 1,053 Acts which have become redundant and are clogging the statute books.

OROP payments made to 13.02 lakh pensioners, everybody will be covered by mid-April, promises Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that increased pensions under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme have been disbursed to two-thirds of the beneficiaries while the remaining will get it by mid-April.

File image. PTIFile image. PTI

File image. PTI

“The OROP pensions are being disbursed at a very fast speed. By February 17, two-thirds of the pensioners were covered,” Parrikar told reporters. “Before Holi, most of them (pensioners) should be covered,” he said, adding that those left out will get their pensions in the first two weeks of April.

An official statement released later said pension payments have now been credited to the accounts of 13.02 lakh pensioners, totalling about Rs 2,293 crore.

The money has been released through Defence Pension Disbursing Offices (DPDOs), the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

By March 17, DPDOs had released about Rs 606 crore to about 3.20 lakh defence personnel, the SBI released Rs 1,337 crore to 7.75 lakh pensioners, including family pensioners, while PNB released about Rs 350 crore to about 2.07 lakh pensioners, including family pension cases.

Other banks assigned the task of disbursement of revised pension have been directed to complete the payments latest by March-end, the statement added.

On 5 September, 2015, the Centre announced its decision to implement the OROP, a demand for which was made more than four decades ago. In pursuance of this decision, a notification was issued on 7 November, 2015, by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare in the defence ministry.

As many as 101 OROP tables were released by the department on 3 February, 2016, containing revised pensions of different ranks and categories.

IANS

BJP to use Modi govt’s achievements as ‘weapon’ in 5 states’ polls

BJP on Friday said it would use the Modi government’s achievements in the economic sector and financial inclusion initiatives as an “additional weapon” to fight the coming assembly polls in five states.BJP National Secretary H Raja said during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls “the only weapon we had in our side to face the polls was the expectations from (Narendra) Modi by people.” “In the last 21 months, the benefits of Modi government’s achievements, especially in the area of financial inclusion (by way of) schemes like Jan Dhan, Atal Pension yojana and Mudra Bank, have reached every individual and every household.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an additional weapon. We will use this as an election weapon,” Raja told reporters here while responding to queries about the party’s strategies to face the polls in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.Raja slammed the CPI(M) for its alleged role in the recent attacks on workers of BJP, RSS and Youth Congress in Kerala and ruled out the possibility of joining any front that had the left party as a constituent since it was a “declared position” not to align with it.Virtually opposing another tie-up with former NDA constituent MDMK, Raja said its founder Vaiko had made very critical remarks about the Prime Minister, adding such a person “cannot be our friend.”

OROP agitators claim ‘vendetta action’ against retd officer

Questioning the recent arrest of a 75-year-old veteran by Gurgaon Police in a cheating case, a group of protesting ex-servicemen on Sunday vowed to continue their campaign on ‘One Rank one Pension’ scheme and said they will not be cowed down by the “vendetta action”. “This case has nothing to do with OROP. It relates to a complaint first made in 2013 which has been rejected twice by the police and once by the Gurgaon Sessions Court. “Now again it has cropped up and the Gurgaon Police arrested a veteran,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), spokesperson of Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM), said. Wing Commander CK Sharma (Retd) was arrested on March 10 after being booked under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The allegations are that he along with others was involved in financial bungling in the accounts of IESM, which was spearheading the agitation for ‘One Rank One Pension’. “This is nothing but vendetta against us.However, we will continue our fight for OROP,” Kaul said. Sharma’s daughter Nisha is upset that her father was picked up late at night and forcibly taken to the police station “like a criminal”.”I fail to understand what the need was to arrest him when previously the complaint has been rejected,” she has said. An FIR was registered against Sharma on the directions of the magistrate following a complaint by Lt Gen Raj Kadiyan (Retd), the former chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), who had alleged that the officer siphoned off Rs 14 lakh from the accounts of the organisation. Police had registered a case against three persons on February 8 after Kadiyan in a complaint alleged that “they had taken a lot of cash from the society funds between January and July 2013”.The three are Sharma, Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh and Group Capt (retd) VK Gandhi. The trio are the office bearers of IESM, which was formed in 2008 and has been at the forefront of the protests by the ex-servicemen for OROP. Last September, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced that OROP will be implemented from July 2014, fulfilling a four-decade demand of the armed forces. The first tranche of the OROP payment is likely to be made this month. However, a section of the veterans, led by the trio, have been continuing the protest demanding equalisation of pension every year as against every five years proposed by the government. However, the movement has lost active support from a large section of retired soldiers after last September’s announcement.

EPF taxation: PM Modi hints at full rollback; PMO asks finance ministry to explore other options

After drawing flak from all corners, finance minister Arun Jaitley is all set to roll back his Budget proposal to tax 60% corpus of the employees’ provident fund (EPF) at the time of withdrawal, at least partially.A clear indication of a rethink on the part of the government came when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly told Jaitley to “explore ways to review” it.Jaitley’s announcement to tax EPF in the Budget speech had led to a lot of confusion, after which the government clarified that the tax will apply only to the interest component and that too for voluntary contributors.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is learnt that the issue was discussed at a high-level meeting between officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and finance ministry on March 3. Jaitley is now expected to make an official statement in the House outlining the revised proposal.The finance minister, while announcing the proposal, had stated that the change in rule is aimed at reducing litigation and increasing transparency. However, the proposed tax provision didn’t find favour with the salaried middle class, employees’ unions, opposition parties and others. Gujarat chief minister and party ally Shiv Sena had voiced concern over the proposal.Senior BJP ministers and party MPs also counseled the government, fearing that the decision could prove politically costly. The RS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh too wrote to the government against this step. It also didn’t rule out a joint front with other trade unions agitate against the move.It’s believed that Modi’s intervention at this point is aimed at stemming the uproar and not to share the credit of rollback with opposition parties.However, a highly-placed source told dna that the government may not go in for a full rollback and may consider other options to cushion the impact of the proposal.Sonu Iyer, tax partner & national leader – people advisory services, EY India, too, expects the ministry to balance between its “cause of pensioned society” and the interest of the salaried middle class.”Actually, there should be some sort of balance between the cause of pensioned society they have in mind (and demand of salaried class). I don’t think it will be a total rollback,” she said.The new norm proposes to tax 60% of the contribution to an employee’s EPF corpus from April, even as it has kept the remaining 40% tax-free. Simultaneously, it has increased the age of retirement to 58 years from 55 years.In a clarification by the ministry after initial protests, the government said that if the 60% corpus is invested in an annuity plan, it would be exempted from tax.However, Iyer said an employee would still end up paying tax, not in lump-sum, but at the time of receiving the annuity every month.”If you put your money in annuity, every month you get an annuity payment. It is taxable. It is just deferral (of tax payment),” she said.She said the ministry was trying to bring tax neutrality between EPF and National Pension Scheme (NPS), which has not been affected by the proposed rule. Even private-sector employees, with salaries less than Rs 15,000 per month, have been kept out.

Judicial committee to look into OROP for those who took premature retirement: Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said the grant of One Rank One Pension to those who took premature retirement from the armed forces could be considered with certain conditions.

“We want to differentiate between voluntary retirement for better prospects and premature retirement in the interest of the Army,” Parrikar said in response to a question on the demand by ex-servicemen to include early retirees in the OROP scheme.

Manohar Parrikar. IbnliveManohar Parrikar. Ibnlive

Manohar Parrikar. Ibnlive

“…need to differentiate who is retiring for his own benefit and who is retiring for the nation’s benefit,” he said in an interview to Karan Thapar on India Today TV.

He said the issue will be looked into by the one-man judicial committee formed on the matter.

On equalisation of pensions, another contentious issue between the government and armed force veterans, Parrikar said the committee can look into this as well if they wanted, adding that “feasibility” was the main issue.

The minister said the incremental value of pensions in case of equalisation will be “fractional”.

“The sum is small,” he said, “whether it is feasible to do it every year will be referred to the committee.”

“It took me two months to get this table (of pensions under OROP) out after putting all my department on work,” the minister said.

On “discrimination” against the armed forces vis-a-vis the 7th Pay Commission report, Parrikar said he will wait for the whole analysis of the report.

“All the legitimate concerns of the armed force will be addressed,” he assured.

IANS

Government fulfilled promise on OROP to a large extent: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said the government has fulfilled its promise of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ to ex-servicemen to a large extent and it would refer “minor issues”, if any, to a one-man commission for redressal.As promised by BJP, the government has already issued tables of various pensions as per the One Rank-One Pension (OROP) Scheme, which involves an annual fund requirement of approximately Rs 7,500 crore and Rs 10,980 crore of arrears which would be paid in four instalments, he said. “This is one promise which is to a large extent — minus minor issues raised by a few people — has been fulfilled and we have made provision to also hear any other small, small issues…for retired community from defence forces is huge and a common formula cannot solve all the issues,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of an international maritime conference here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”So, if there are some issues left, they can be raised with the government, we will refer it to the one-man commission and then we can come out with a redressal of those mechanisms,” the minister added.The government had last year announced that it will implement OROP under which a uniform pension would be given to armed forces personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service.

Govt issues detailed instructions, tables for OROP

New Delhi: The annual recurring financial implication of One Rank One Pension at the current rate will be approximately Rs 7,500 crore, the government said on Wednesday as it issued detailed instructions for the scheme.

OROP time. ReutersOROP time. Reuters

OROP time. Reuters

The government also issued OROP Tables which said that the arrears from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2015 would be
approximately Rs 10,900 crore.

A total of 86 percent of the total expenditure on account of OROP will benefit the Junior Commissioner Officers and other ranks.

The total increase in the defence budget for pensions is estimated to go up from Rs 54,000 crore (BE 2015-16) to around Rs 65,000 crore (proposed BE 2016-17), thereby increasing the defence pension outlay by about 20 percent.

The government order said that the payment of arrears and revision of pension under OROP is to be made by the Pension Disbursing Authorities in four instalments, except for family pensioners and pensioners in receipt of gallantry awards who will be paid arrears in one instalment.

The government had in November last year taken the historic decision to implement OROP, “fulfilling” the long
standing demand of defence personnel after 42 years.

The move that will benefit over 18 lakh ex-servicemen and war widows had been rejected by a section of the veterans who are still protesting saying there are a number of “lacunae” in the scheme.

PTI

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