New Delhi: Government today asked the ex-servicemen to end their 84-day agitation as their basic demand for 'One Rank and One Pension' has been accepted and asserted it was open to talks after the veterans voiced their dissatisfaction over key provisions.
Addressing a press conference, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also hit back at Congress, saying it had "no moral right" to criticise after failing to deliver on OROP issue during its rule.
"The basic demand of OROP of the ex-servicemen has been accepted. These are ancillary issues, which can be discussed.
Government is positive. I urge the ex-servicemen that they should stop their agitation since their basic demand of OROP has been accepted," the Minister told reporters here.
"Government is always willing to talk. The main issue has been sorted out. Other issues can also be sorted out through discussion," he said.
He was speaking soon after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that government has decided to implement OROP under which there would be revision of pension every five years as against two years demanded by the ex-servicemen.
But the ex-servicemen who have been on agitation rejected the key details of the decision and said their stir will continue.
Naidu, however, cited financial constraints in meeting their cent per cent demands saying the NDA government had to do everything under the existing financial circumstances it inherited from the previous UPA government.
He vehemently rejected the Congress criticism that the OROP announcement was a great disappointment as provisions have been substantially diluted and that it was a betrayal of the cause of ex-servicemen.
"Why did the UPA government not do it earlier during their 10-year rule. It has become a fashion for Congress to criticise whatever this government does. They are in the habit of announcing everything on eve of election and then leaving it.
"I want to ask them why did you not do it when you were in power. Why did you not do it then even partially? I urge Congress not to politicise the issue. It has no moral right to question the NDA government on the OROP issue," Naidu said.
The entire country is happy with the government's OROP decision, he said, adding, "One after another issues pending for years like Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh are being resolved by the Narendra Modi government. OROP is one of them.
"It may cost a huge financial burden of Rs 8-10 thousand crore on government resources. It shows the welfare of ex-servicemen is paramount to the government and the BJP."
Naidu said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a very personal interest in resolving the issue.
"It is a very positive step by the government and our tribute to people who are in the forefront of guarding the nation," Naidu said.