Congress accuses govt of ‘fake nationalism’, ‘stealing’ pension of army officers
New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused the Modi government of “fake nationalism” and alleged that it has betrayed the armed forces by “snatching away” the pension of army officers.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government is deliberately hurting the morale of army officers by “snatching away” their pension and demanded immediate reversal of the decision.
“We demand that Prime Minister Modi comes forward and clarifies his stand on the issue and takes back its anti-army decision of October 29,” he told reporters.
The Congress general secretary said while the Modi government is habitual of seeking votes on the sacrifice of brave soldiers and on “fake nationalism”, it has become the first regime in the country’s history to “steal the pension” and alternate career choice of those officers who protect our motherland.
“This Diwali, PM Modi exhorted the nation to light a diya for our soldiers, but has ensured darkness in their lives by attempting to reduce their pension by half. If this is not BJP’s ‘fake nationalism’, then what is it,” he asked.
“The Modi government’s fresh attack on the forces has exposed the anti-army face of the ‘fake nationalists’,” he alleged.
Surjewala said as per the Modi government’s new proposal only those officers who have spent more than 35 years in the armed forces shall be entitled to a ‘full pension’, which will demoralise the armed forces.
He said the reality is 90 per cent of the army officers retire before 35 years of service and in such a situation, the government is “hatching a conspiracy” to deny 90 per cent of army officers their full pension.
The Congress leader said at the time of recruitment in the army, every officer in the Indian Military Academy has to compulsorily sign a 20-year mandatory service bond.
“How can the government change the service condition and modify the terms of service of military officers with ‘back date’,” he asked.
Surjewala also alleged the government is not serving the interests of the armed forces, as it did not implement ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP), withdrew the much deserved ‘Non Functional Utility’ (NFU) benefits and did not provide full protective gear to armed forces on the borders.
He alleged that the government has also shelved a special regiment — Mountain Strike Corps — along the China border with 70,000 additional soldiers, citing lack of money.