Centre slams media report, claims increase in disability pension

The Armed forces have discussed several ‘anomalies’ in the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has promised to resolve the issues raised

Disagreement and anger follow the draft notification on the 7th Pay Commission recommendation to reduce the disability pension for soldiers, as media reports made rounds on it. Ex-servicemen see this, especially in the light of recent tensions between India and Pakistan, as an utter demoralisation for our soldiers. However, in a move of back-slashing media, the Union Government on Monday rubbished the claims of decrease in disability pension.

According to the notification, disability pension system would now be based on slab system, which in turn will reduce the amount of pension significantly. The main cause of anger for Army ex-servicemen is the non-applicability of slab system on their civilian counterparts, who will be receiving salary based on the percentage system.

With regards to the pay panel’s recommendation, for 100 per cent disability, an officer would get Rs 27,000 per month, those in the ranks of Subedar Major to Naib Subedar would receive Rs 17,000, while havildar and below would get Rs 12,000.

It is to be noted that at present a soldier who gets 100 percent disability is entitled to a pension equal to the last drawn salary plus 50 percent as ‘service component’.

Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, questioned the need to publish such a notification which “downgrades the institution of Armed forces”, reported Business Standard.

Opposition parties have showed their support for Army ex-servicemen by calling this move as “downgrading” for the Armed forces. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, said: “On one hand, the government carries out a surgical strike and on the other it reduces the disability pension, thereby downgrading their morale. Why have you thrown into dustbin the recommendations of the three service chiefs.”

While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted saying that our soldiers deserve better.

The government now claims that there has been increase in disability pension from around 14-20 per cent among the people below officer ranks. Adding to that, government claims that disability pension of around 90 per cent of the personnel has been increased.

The disability pension for sepoy has increased from Rs 9,282 to Rs 12,000, for havildar it has increased from Rs 10,542 to Rs 12,000, and for Naik has increased from Rs 9,680 to Rs 12,000, Army sources told The Times of India.

According to Defence Ministry officials, the notification would bring decision into effect only after it is published in the Gazette of India, which would come into effect retrospectively from January 1, 2016.

A Defence Ministry official, unwilling to be named, told Business Standard that the draft notification shows the government response to recommendation as accepted, but it is not a final order. It is to be noted that no time frame has been given for the notification to become official.

The Armed forces have discussed several ‘anomalies’ in the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has promised to resolve the issues raised. Officials have been quoted by Business Standard saying that Defence Ministry has already made a presentation to the chairman of the anomalies committee.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said last week that the Defence Minister had assured the Armed forces that their interest would be taken care of, adding that the forces were satisfied with the assurance.