Army to bridge disability pension gap between officers and jawans
The Army has worked out a proposal which will soon be sent to the defence ministry
Rawat also said that he will ask the government before his retirement in December to probe him for any charges of corruption. He said this to set a ‘standard’, while speaking at a closed-door interaction with officers who were retiring by the end of this month, officials told ET.
On the issue of disability pension which has caused widespread anger among the defence services and veterans, Rawat said that the army is examining the ‘immense’ disparity between what is given to officers and jawans and has worked out proposals to bridge this gap.
The Army Chief explained that before the Balakot strikes on a terrorist facility on February 26, the government had examined several contingencies and repercussions of it. He said that the army had conveyed to the government that it is prepared for a ‘ground escalation’ by Pakistan and take the battle into enemy territory. “He said this in the context that the army had filled up its operational deficiencies, including ammunition shortage,” explained an official.
The two armies were on high alert and had mobilised their forces along the border post Balakot.
Meanwhile, Rawat also said that two months before his retirement, he will ask the government to investigate him for probity and corruption. He was speaking about taking strict action against those involved in corruption into construction of military housing projects. He said that he has ordered a court of inquiry into the construction of the Salaria Officers Enclave in Delhi’s Dwarka area. “There has been poor quality of construction. He hinted at corruption and said that the building will be taken apart,” an official said.
Rawat also explained that the disparity between disability pensions given to officers and jawans needs to be corrected. He said that the proposals made by him in this regard will be sent to the defence ministry for their examination. “These proposals are aimed at structuring the disability pension, so that there is no disproportionate disparity between officers and jawans suffering from disability,” explained an official.
Another official explained that one of the steps being taken for improvement is examining an earlier structure of disability pension, wherein the difference between what was given to officers and that given to jawans suffering from the same level of disability was very little. “Until 1971, one’s disability pension, whether an officer of a jawan, was in the same block. Even before the 5th Pay Commission, the disability pension given was according to the same block. There was only a difference of Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000,” the official said.
“After the 5th Pay Commission, the disability pension given became a certain percentage of the last pay drawn. Due to this, there was a 10-times difference in the disability pension given to a jawan who suffered 100 percent disability and an officer who has the same level of disability,” the official added.
Rawat gave an example of Naik Deepchand, a soldier who lost both his legs and right arm during the 1999 Kargil War, in this context. “He explained that Deepchand gets a disability pension of about Rs 35,000. However, an officer who has suffered the same level of disability gets six to seven times higher disability pension,” explained another official.
Rawat also spoke about instructions given last year for officers to stay in army guest rooms and not hotels. “The idea is to improve the quality of guestrooms, so that junior officers get good quality guestrooms,” explained an official.