New Delhi: Talks between ex-servicemen and the government on resolving the 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) imbroglio were progressing and the veterans were hopeful of a breakthrough soon, sources said on Wednesday, the 81st day of the agitation.
The issue also figured in a coordination meeting between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
As per sources, the RSS asked the government to implement the OROP soon, and form a commission to look into the issues on which consensus has not been reached.
Informed sources told IANS that the veterans since Tuesday have met Principal Secretary to the prime minister Nripendra Misra, Rural Affairs Minister Birender Singh, and MPs Rajeev Chandrashekhar and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari -- the latter headed the parliamentary committee that brought out a report on OROP.
"The talks are going on well. At this pace, we hope to have a breakthrough in a day or two," a source told IANS.
Social activist Nafisa Ali showing her support to Ex-servicemen agitating for 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) at Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pic/ PTI
The source said pension equalisation was the point of contention presently.
While the government was ready to do the revision at an interval of five years, the veterans wanted it on a yearly basis.
Meanwhile, sources said RSS chief Mohan Bahgwat talked to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar separately on the OROP issue on the first day of the three-day coordination meeting that began on Wednesday.
Parrikar briefed Bhagwat on the issue, whereas Jaitley spoke on its financial implications.
Sources said the RSS chief also sought to know from Jaitley the problems the central government faced in the implementation of the OROP.
According to sources, Bhagwat asked the BJP leaders to resolve the OROP issue at the earliest and suggested setting up of a commission to deal with its financial implications, if needed.
On Tuesday, the 80th day of the protest, Col. Pushpender Singh (retd), who was evacuated and taken to hospital, returned to the protest site.
"Col. Pushpender is back and healthy. He has joined the fast here again," a spokesperson from the veterans' side told IANS.
Col. Pushpender Singh (retd) continued the indefinite fast in hospital as well.
At present, there are eight veterans on fast at Jantar Mantar here, including Havildar Major Singh (retd) who has been adamant about not leaving the venue despite worsening health.
There are around 24 lakh ex-servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who will benefit if OROP is implemented.