The Congress on Friday accused the government of “betraying” the armed forces with its proposal to reduce pension entitlements for personnel who have served for less than 35 years. The opposition party asked PM Narendra Modi to clarify his stand on the issue and reject the proposal by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).
The proposal — to increase retirement age across all ranks below Lieutenant General and implement a mechanism to cut premature pension — could get government sanction soon, as reported by The Indian Express.
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government often seeks votes on the sacrifice of the soldiers. “Now it has become the first regime in India’s history to steal the pension and alternate career choice of officers after active service,” he said. “The Prime Minister has exhorted the nation to light a diya for the soldiers, but has ensured darkness in their lives by attempting to reduce their pension by half,” he added.
“At the time of recruitment in the Army… every officer in the Indian Military Academy has to compulsorily sign a 20-year mandatory service bond. An officer after 20 years of rigorous service, presently gets 50 per cent of their last drawn salary as pension, but the Modi government’s new proposal is snatching away 50 per cent of that. How can the government change the service condition and modify the terms of service of military officers with ‘back date’?.”
According to the DMA proposal, pension entitlements for premature retirement of personnel should be half of the entitled pension after 20 to 25 years of service, 60 per cent of entitled pension after 26 to 30 years of service. It suggests that personnel who have completed 31 to 35 years of service should get 75 per cent of entitled pension, and those who have completed 35 years or more in service will get full pension.
Surjewala said 90 per cent of Army officers retire before 35 years of service and hence, this proposal would demoralise the forces.
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