The government has notified a new set of rules for disability pensions for the armed forces, a move that came in for criticism from the opposition parties and the security establishment. The new rules replaces the decade-old system governed by the Sixth Central Pay Commission (6th CPC) instituted in 2006 under which disability pensions arising from battle injuries, or disabilities attributable to/aggravated by military service, were calculated on a "percentage basis", related to the last pay drawn.
However, under the new scheme, disability pensions will be calculated according to a "slab system" that existed earlier. What the military personnel are upset about is that civilians will continue to be paid pensions according to the earlier "percentage system", which means that a civilian employee will have higher disability pension than his military counterpart.
"This is very wrong. Our soldiers deserve better. I urge centre to increase disability pension n not decrease it," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also attacked the Modi government for what it termed as "downgrading" the armed forces.
"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," Surjewala said. Sources said that until the September 30 notification, officers and soldiers who had suffered 100 per cent disability in battle were entitled disability pension that matched their last pay drawn.
In addition, they would draw a "service component" of pension, which amounted to 50 per cent of their last pay drawn. Under the new rules, which come into effect retrospectively from January 1, 2016, the "service component" remains unchanged, but a "slab system" has been introduced for disability pension, which is lower than the percentage system Rs 27,000 a month for officers, 17,000 for junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and Rs 12,000 for all other ranks (ORs). Senior officers from the services also expressed their disappointment with the new pension rules.