Many officers and jawans get injured in operations or suffer disabilities serving in high-altitude areas like Siachen or Kargil.
NEW DELHI: The armed forces are livid at the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) for questioning the jump in disability pension cases, especially in senior ranks, after the last pay panel substantially hiked the payout for them.
Several serving and retired officers on Saturday contended the pay panel had relied upon "one-sided data" provided by the controller general of defence accounts (CGDA) to arrive at "an erroneous conclusion". While admitting there may be "a few aberrations", the entire disabled soldier community cannot be tarnished with the same brush, they said.
This comes a day after TOI reported the 7th CPC has sought abolition of the "percentage based" disability pension regime since there was "an upward trend in personnel superannuating with disability element at senior levels", while the converse was true for jawans and JCOs. Instead, the more equitable "slab based" system should be restored, it held.
"The 7th CPC insinuates disability pension provisions are being misused. But how can disabilities, medical records and boards be faked? Many officers and jawans do get injured in operations or suffer disabilities serving in high-altitude areas like Siachen or Kargil," said a senior officer.
Major Navdeep Singh (retd), a practising high court lawyer, in turn, said, "Rather than imputing misuse of provisions, the system should be concerned with the rising disabilities and stress levels in the military." Holding that it was well-documented that life expectancy of military personnel is lower than their civilian counterparts, he said it was this aspect that required attention rather than "twisting" the entire issue.
"The 7th CPC data seems faulty and one-sided without verification from the defence services. Many of such cases would be those who were illegally denied disability benefits earlier, but are getting them now on court orders or due to change in government policy. The system of slabs/flat rates of disability pension cannot be introduced in the defence services alone unless the same is also done on the civil side. This is a regressive recommendation," added Major Singh.
Another reason that disability pension claims went up after the implementation of 6th CPC was due to the substantial hike in the compensation. For 100% disability, for instance, it went up from Rs 1,550 to Rs 3,138 for jawans and from Rs 2,600 to Rs 27,000 for officers.
"Many eligible personnel did not opt for disability pension earlier since there were lot of hurdles and red-tape involved. But after the compensation increased, personnel with disability began to claim their legal right," said a brigadier.
Source - TOI