New Delhi, January 5
The Association for Ex-servicemen, which has been on a hunger strike for the past 571 days over the non fulfillment of their demands for One rank One Pension, today extended its support to the Congress in the assembly elections in five states.Addressing a press conference here, Major General Satbir Singh of the Association said, “We fully support the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections.” Maj General Singh said senior Congress leader and Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh had agreed to the six-point demands made by the Association, including the implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ in letter and spirit, the setting up of a veterans’ ministry at the level of the state as well as the Centre to look into the demands of the ex-servicemen, fulfillment of all vacancies in the reserved category.
Addressing a press meet along with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, Capt Singh said most of the organisations of the ex-servicemen throughout the country will be working together for the benefit of the Congress.
Supporting their demands, Capt Singh said, “Gen Satbir Singh and his movement, which has entered its 571st day of their protest at Jantar Mantar, on issues which they feel, and I feel, as an ex-servicemen, are vital for the welfare of servicemen, like OROP, 7th Pay Commission and most importantly the downgrading of the precedence of various ranks of the Army in relation to civilian counterparts: The last issue is the biggest thing. The ‘Izzat’ (respect) of a serviceman is more important than anything else. These issues are not limited just to Punjab but are affecting everybody:” On this occasion, Capt Singh announced a 21-point agenda for the welfare of the defence personnel in the state. Establishment of an ESM Cell and a separate department for ex-servicemen as Guardians of Governance (GoG) are among the key initiatives announced by Capt Singh as part of the agenda. , which is included in the party’s manifesto for the Assembly elections.
“The agenda reiterates the party’s commitment to the correct implementation of OROP as per the Koshiari Committee Report 2013,” he said.
The party has also expressed its commitment to support the inclusion of pay parity between the defence forces and class A civil services and remove anomalies of the 7th Pay Commission.
“The party, once it comes to power in the state, will set up a full-fledged department ? Guardians of Governance ? to give the ex-servicemen their due respect and gainful employment,” Captain Singh told mediapersons at a press conference to announce nationwide support by ex-servicemen to the Congress.
The department, which will be monitored by the Chief Minister, will have ex-servicemen appointed at village, cluster, tehsil, block, city and district levels, as well as in the Chief Minister’s office to oversee implementation of welfare schemes and programmes for the people at the grassroots,” Capt Singh said.
New Delhi, January 5