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THE All India Federation of Defence Workers has opposed the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) decision to give ‘uniform allowances’ to officers and other ranks of the armed forces, instead of stitched uniforms, pointing out that the move will eventually put over 12,000 workers at the Ordnance Equipment Group Factories out of work. In a letter sent to the defence ministry to express its opposition, the federation has also warned of a nationwide agitation until the decision is rolled back.
Acting on a recommendation by the Seventh Pay Commission, the MoD has stopped its practice of providing readymade uniforms to all ranks and troops. They are now being provided a fixed annual allowance — between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 depending on their rank — for the uniforms. Earlier, the services were given different kinds of allowances such as for kit maintenance, shoes, robe maintenance and washing, among others.
All these different allowances have been included in the fixed allowance now. These allowances are slated to increase by 25 per cent every time there is a 50 per cent rise in the dearness allowance. In the letter to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on December 9, organising secretary of the All India Federation of Defence Workers, Sadhu Singh, said, “The decision will result in closure of 5 Ordnance Equipment Group Factories, four of which are in Uttar Pradesh and one in Tamil Nadu, which are involved in making strategic combat uniforms. This will eventually leave 12,000 permanent defence civilian employees jobless.”