Seems the Gurkha veterans are not happy with the UK Government’s pension offer!
The veterans openly rejected the UK Government’s offer of rise in pensions for the Brigade of Gurkhas who joined the service before 2007.
The British Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster announced a rise in support package for 22,000 Gurkha veterans and their families.
“The veterans, who all joined the Brigade of Gurkhas before 2007, will benefit from a GBP 15 million (NPR 2.2 billion) increase in the Gurkha Pension Scheme. While the increased remuneration will vary depending on an individual’s circumstances, veterans could receive increases of up to 34 percent in their pensions and with the increases being backdated to January 01, 2016, Gurkha pensioners will receive a total of GBP 46m (NPR 6.7 billion) extra this financial year,” the British Government said in a statement on March 07, 2019.
Calling that as a ‘piecemeal approach’, veterans said the offer is not in line with actual findings of the tripartite technical committee report submitted last year.
Nepal and UK governments, last year, submitted a tripartite technical committee report compiled by a panel of members from the two governments and representatives of the Gurkha veterans.
“As we have been demanding, a high-level committee should be formed to implement the report and in line with its recommendation, all pension schemes and other facilities should be available. Otherwise, such a piecemeal approach is not acceptable to us,” says Krishna Bahadur Rai, Chairman of the Gurkha Satyagraha Committee, the umbrella organization of agitating Gurkha veterans.
Expressing their demand, the veterans also wrote separate letters to the Prime Ministers of both the nations to address gaps.
The UK Government’s decision is coming a week after Lancaster’s recent visit to Nepal, where he presented the annual report of the Brigade of Gurkhas to the President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
Rai urged both the governments to respect the 1947 tripartite agreement between Nepal, India and British governments.
The agreement mentions all aspects of remuneration, facilities and pension scheme to Nepali citizens working in British and Indian Armies to be similar to the British and Indian nationals.
“The announcement made by the British government does not meet our demands and does not make us equal to the British nationals working in the UK Army. Since there is an acceptable report submitted to both governments last year, now the onus lies on Nepal government to form a dialogue team,” said S B Ghising, General Secretary of Former Gurkhas Joint Satyagraha Struggle Committee.
Ghising informed that the group stands against the new decision and is planning a new protest program on March 18, 2019.
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