Sunday, 22 May, 2022
HomeDefenceWide variation in disability pensions of jawans, officers creating ‘heartburn’: CDS Rawat

Wide variation in disability pensions of jawans, officers creating ‘heartburn’: CDS Rawat

Deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, General Bipin Rawat said he has been meeting jawans who were asking why this gap was not being narrowed. 

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New Delhi: Army officers drawing “exceptionally high” disability pension shouldn’t mind paying “a little amount of income tax”, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has suggested. Deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, the military advisor to the country’s defence minister also said that there was a “wide variation” in the disability pensions of army jawans and officers and that it was “creating heartburn”, which “is not being understood by officers”.    

The report of the parliamentary committee, headed by BJP MP Jual Oram, was tabled in Parliament on 13 March. In its report, the committee has asked the Modi government to present a “factual position” and its “clear decision” on the deduction of income tax from disability pensions and communicate it to army personnel, both serving and retired, by 13 April. 

This came after top military brass and defence ministry officials, in their depositions to the committee, sought to defend the government’s controversial move to tax disability pensions in June last year. The government backed off early this month but there are still apprehensions about it, as the parliamentary committee flagged in its report. 

Apprising the committee of the “wide variation” in the disability pensions of army jawans and officers, General Rawat said he has been meeting jawans who were asking why this gap was not being narrowed. 

“So, one of the ways of narrowing this gap is this. Those who are drawing exceptionally high pensions, can they not pay a little amount of income tax? It is not applicable to a jawan because in spite of his disability pension being given to him, he is not coming into the tax bracket of ₹ 5 lakh as per the new tax regime,” the CDS has said in his deposition to the committee.


Also read: Army may recall retd personnel with medical expertise if fight against Covid-19 intensifies 


The pension gap

According to the report of the standing committee, Rawat gave a detailed presentation on the background of the disability pension that is given for battle casualties and also for lifestyle diseases or other issues. It was started during the British regime.  

By 1971, there were 157 ‘battle casualty’ pensions. It was revised in 1985 and 1996. After the Sixth Pay Commission, the disability pension became a part of the retiring salary — that is, the last salary drawn at the time of retirement. So, Rawat explained, if the disability is suffered by an officer and also by a jawan, because of the disability becoming a part of the last pay drawn, there is a very wide variation in their pensions for the same disability. For instance, if an officer’s leg and that of a jawan had to be amputated, the difference in their pensions could be as high as “four times”. 

In June 2019, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had clarified in a circular that tax exemption for disability pension would be available only to armed forces personnel “who have been invalidated from service on account of bodily disability attributable to or aggravated by such service and not to personnel who have been retired on superannuation or otherwise”. It triggered a controversy, forcing the government to shelve it early this month.  

The parliamentary committee noted in its report that the defence ministry had directed the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) to stop deducting income tax from disability pensions. “They (the committee), therefore, recommend that the factual position in this regard may be intimated within one month of the presentation of this report and clear decision of the government in this regard should be communicated to all personnel, serving and retired, to obviate any chances of misapprehensions and feeling of soreness amongst them, under intimation to the Committee,” the report reads. 


Also read: Three pitfalls of CDS, Dept of Military Affairs and why it should make us sceptical


 

 

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Subrata, m fighting for my so called ex gratia award , jo bhi since the day the my Divo set me up, and sent me out…i m fighting for my right for the last 10 years…pray that kuch khane Ko mile , aur din bitte jaye… M an airforce officer yet i was robbed of my uniform…. Jai Hind…

  2. 1.Broad banding of Disability to be stopped
    2.Tax exemption to be given only to the Disability element and not to the service element of pension.
    3.SSC officers leaving service with disability should be given only disability element.No service pension to be given to them

  3. Why the pensions of military personnel not compared with bureaucrats rank wise.It is so disgusting.There is no comparison wrt career progression.Highly qualified,exceptionally brilliant officers are retired at Lt. Col . level who otherwise could have become chairmans or CMDs of multinationals or PSUs and retired after the age of 65.

  4. The previous chiefs of the three services had pleaded with the Government of India to rectify 37 anomalies in pay and allowances between the Armed Forces and their civilian counterparts, prior to the implementation of the provisions of the 7th CPC. The then Raksha Mantri late Shri Manohar Parrikar assured them that the Government will look after the interests of our Armed Forces. After they retired, the present CDS was made the Chief of Army Staff and for reasons best known to him, he accepted all the provisions of the 7th CPC as they existed. The entire rank and file felt let down with his decision. Later he said that service officers will not be allowed to stay in hotels because they take bribes in brief cases in hotels. Many other things were said and done, which hurt everyone, but only the veterans could speak freely. This infuriated him and he ordered all serving officers to break contact with the veterans on social media etc. After that, in a bid to teach the veterans a bitter lesson, a letter was written to the Ministry of Finance to tax the pension of disabled officers. The unsigned letter cleared 10 desks in one day, which is unheard of in bureaucratic functioning. From 24th June 2019 onwards he has pursued this agenda steadfastly. Then Navy and Air Force chiefs didn’t support this proposal. After they retired and he was made the first CDS of India, he once again revived this controversy. It needs to be remembered that even if a few have made mistakes, it is incorrect to punish the entire lot of the veterans, because it amounts to “mass punishment”, which is not permissible under any law.

    He has made his presentation to the Standing Committee, appointed to decide on the issue. It is only fair that the Committee also listens to the representations of the disabled soldiers, before any decision is arrived at. Let all points be discussed in an atmosphere of honesty and sincerity, to give an unbiased and fair decision.

  5. Gen Rawat became COAS not because he was professionally more competent than the offrs senior to him but because the govt identified that he had a weak spine and he could be used against the interests of his own men whenever required.The bureaucracy loves him because he has been their knight in the shining armour who has been furthering their agenda of maligning the armed forces without bureacracy
    getting highlighted. Throughout his tenure as chief, he worked as a bureaucrat in uniform and remained in the good books of his masters, with utter disregard to the dignity and pride of his own men. Gradually and systematically he has eroded the image of his own offr cadre by frequently targetting them. He somehow loathes the veteran fraternity despite knowing fully well that soon he would be part of them. But as of now he is enjoying the status of being the blue eyed boy of the govt, rattling out his unwanted comments on every aspect political/ military. His latest fad now is to target disability pensions because some bureaucrats want him to. This man is now even going to the extent of creating a schism between the offrs and the men . No doubt that the disability pension of men too needs a relook but he needs to be asked as to what did he do during his tenure to ensure that certain senior offrs did not misuse their positions to get themselves placed in lower categories just before retirement.Why weren’t the checks put in place so that this proviso of disability could not be misused by some some. Why is he now trying to club genuinely disabled with a few who faked disability after getting promoted to the highest levels. This man because of his own incompetence is trying to apply a broad brush by targeting the entire disabled fraternity.
    Unfortunate part is that the scheming bureaucrats want the pensions of disabled veterans to be taxed and the present CDS is playing their tune to perfection ……but it’s not surprising at all because his weak spine was one of the reasons as to why he was given that chair post retirement.

  6. I do not know how this traitor ever got into the armed forces, leave alone as a commissioned officer. Next he will propose that all ranks, except the CDS, should get the same pay and perks including pension. Has the office of the CDS been created only to screw the soldiers in all the three wings of the armed forces?

  7. 1. Not all who are Invalided from service get any tax exempt.
    2. The jawans who are Invalided with medical grounds not connected to service pay full tax. Only if his disability attributable to service then only he gets tax free disability pension.
    3. The matter of fact is why CDS Rawat isn’t formulating a plan to reemploy the disabled soldiers in appropriate state govt And PSUs.
    4. A soldier if Invalided at age of 35 , what will he do outside with his permanent disability. This is the duty of COAS and CDS to provide further employment in civil. Else the 35 yr soldier will just have to be dependent on meager pension and some guard job at an ATM.
    Feeling sorry for the way this retired General IamSmart has been behaving.
    I request the print news takes thorough study of the current scenario.

  8. Dear Gen,

    Plz do not compare officers’s
    Vs JCO’s & Jawans pensions. Compare our pensions, NFU etc with the Babu’s & all civ Def employees. I dare say: you are fast asleep. Don’t try to gain cheap popularity by damaging our Ethos! You have caused enough already!

  9. The CDS is now trying to drive a wedge between the retired disabled officers, JCOs and Jawans. What a scheming mind.

  10. Gen Bipin Rawat is correctly pointing out some injustice met to the jawans and jco who disabled during service.

    Those who are ranting it a pay and status issue and asking general to equal all pays and ballah ballah, let me remind you service pension is drawn as per last pay and rank and that take care of your status which you always rant. However disability pension one gets for the disability he has got attributed to service and bullet or military hardship do not see rank.

    One so called disability lawayer was saying that life style diseases happened in officers cause they serve under stress and retire normally at higher ages than jawans. Should I remind him that disability due to the military stress which crip up with age happens in jawans also but since they already retired at younger age they can not get the benefit of disability pension as officers do. Officers can serve beyond intial engagement and in lower medical category up to age of 50 years and beyond but jawans are retired due to non promotion at the age of 35 and below. Also jawans can not continue in LMC beyond initial engagement like officers??

    Linking of disability pension with last pay was deliberately done for giving benefit to the officers cadre by some anti jawan brass that times. Slab system was introduced and in that they were having upper hand still their greeds popped out made the political class take decision otherwise.

    There is a lobby who calim themselves defence experts and remain engage on SM criticise govt and brass, also plant news in media to create pressure on govt to take decision in thier favour always.

    They are successful since OROP in which they hijack the whole issue and OROP was granted with max benefit to those who retired after 50 or 55 years of age where no only they were employed comparatively more than the jawan retired in younger age the pension difference was made almost 3 to 4 times.

    The greed is ever ending and those who earn by so called disability should remember that they are getting the service pension just because a shape 1 officer or jawan was made to deploy longer at ops stations and ships when you were allowed to served in disability at peace location with excuse list in pocket. You were allowed to earn service pension and retired with service pension as per your rank and pay and disability elements for the disability attributed due to service. That shape 1 officer and jawan who bear the excess ops deployment cause you were occupying the peace billets is paying tax on service pension then why can’t you??

    After all all invalidate who were thrown out due to the disability are exempted why the person who retired with service pension just like another shape 1 require that exemption??

    Greed has no end and General Bipin rawat is way ahead to meet you logger head to end this greed of yours. Your calling names is proof that he is doing all okk. My general salute to Gen rawat.

    Jai hind

    • Your line of thought is self damaging. In any organisation leave alone armed forces, leadership is always better compensated in terms of pay and perks. Why should you compare officer cadre and other ranks of armed forces with one other. Are there selection procedure, education and responsibilities same? Never have other ranks complained that they are authorised 90 days of leave which is more than the leave authorisation of officers? Never have other ranks complained that they get a job in armed forces with just metric level education whereas officers have to be a graduate minimum and go through a much more demanding SSB. Quote me one service sector where a person with just metric level education is allowed to take salary of 90k. If you want to compare, then compare pay and perks of officer cadre and other ranks of armed forces with other services. Are officers and other ranks of other services taxed for disability pension? Do they have a slab system of disability pension equal for officers and other ranks? Are officers and other ranks of foreign armies given equal disability pension? If not, then why this selective outrage against your own officers? If disability pension is taxed then JCOs retiring with disability pension will also get taxed. Why has the CDS not taken up issues such as NFFU, OROP, same allowances for armed forces and CAPF, lower retirement age of other ranks in armed forces compared to CAPF.

  11. Disability amount may be fixed everyone irrespective of their rank. Because part of the body equal to all, no one different in the human life.

  12. I totally disagree with this retired General. Why the issue of income tax on disability pension being raised since last 2-3 years only when tax exempt is since independence. This is all intentional to go higher up even after retirement. He already hooked on to a new chair created 70 years of formation of the country. He is further expecting to be governor of any state of member of parliament by pleasing the current government by misleading the top leadership. If he is concerned about the parity in pensions, ask him to formulate a plan to remploy all the disabled soldiers in other government services. Since the disability was attributed to military service, this old man should apprise the govt and seek decent employment to medically invalidated military personnel. The personnel will in turn forego their disability Element of the pension.
    1. The government should take feedback from the retired disabled soldiers rather than the current in job generals.
    2. Provide suitable employment to the disabled soldiers with reservations in their field of expertise.
    3. Ask individuals to forego the disability Element of pension post employment in other government services.

  13. One sided Articles eventually will destroy thecredibility of your Magazine .
    Why no other views included ?

    Have seen or met the War Disabled who are in their 70s , 80s few of them 90 years ; old and frail . Is it some kind of a revenge being sadistically waged against them ?
    After all this exercise to Tax their Disability and Proposal to Reduce it will serve what purpose that to in the Name of reforms ?? Saving few pennies.

    Why this CDS is after the War Heroes ?
    Nation in Unison rises to support the war Heroes when War breakes out and rightly hail their War Heroes but now One man’s agenda , CDS ,clandestinely will rob them off irrespective of their failings Health.

    The Print will do well to ” include these Comments and Publish an article ” to balance it out .

    Think out of Box and Publish an article based on these Facts/ Comments and expose this under hand machinations.
    Be with the War Disabled.

  14. Scrap everything. Just give parity with civilian central government employees in all aspects Leave no scope for endless bickering and nit picking. End of the matter.

  15. How much lower can this man stoop? Has he got any idea at all of the immense damage that he is doing to the Armed Forces? How can a man, nay, a soldier, be so callous that he feels that pleasing a handful of his political masters is more important than being a leader, an inspiration to the million plus souls in the Services?
    To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill’s famous words, “Never before in the history of the Armed Forces has so much damage been done to so many, by so few”.
    When the political, bureaucratic and military leadership is collectively failing the Armed Forces. it is God, and God alone who can save this nation.
    Jai Hind!

  16. The disability pension if possible should be increased for JCOs and all soldiers. We request our CDS to take up a case with government. Disability pension needs to be given to all irrespective of whether they are invalidated out of service because most of them would not have got promoted due to disability. Due to this they are only being compensated by giving disability pension and tax benifit. If our respectable cds desires to narrow the gap he is most welcome to do so by raising the pension of JCOs, NCOs and all soldiers drawing disability pension.

  17. Mr DK Singh is also a puppet of government and Babu’s. He has recently published one article on glorification of IAS and now this article of demeaning forces. The CDS must get the pay of jawan and a Jawan must get all the pay, perks and privileges of CDS. This will solve the heartburn and problem once for all. Why he is never recommending this point.

  18. Does he know what is he talking about ? Really immature . Single point Agenda to Tax War Disability ? And now this ” New Concept ” One Fixed Slab of Disability ?
    Let there should be one pay, and One Penson for all ? Is it acceptable to Govt ? Govt must snub him and don’t fall prey to his gimmicks ?
    Are all civil servants drawing same allounces and pay posted in East and Hard Areas ?
    What is this logic ? If implemented will destroy the complete Pay and Pension Structure ? All Rules and Procedures will be hit ? It will create anomalies which will never be resolved ?
    Why Doesn’t he as CDS come clean for not Granting its Doctors DACP ,where as all other doctors of the country are getting DACP ? And why NFFU is not granted to Army , his Stand ?

    Nothing Retrospectively ? Let Govt announce now and Young will take a call to join Armd Forces or not to ?

    He should ” think big ” and get out out of this mentality to punish the War Disabled , most of them are in their late 70s n 80s and 90s . What a mentality ?

    Surely, Govt will apply its mind and let War Disabled live a peaceful life , periodically targeting them is not good for AF and its Morale, please.

  19. I have served in Jan Feb 1985 at siachen glacier . I have temperature variation in above knee and bellow knee even today. My feet sweat in Rajasthan cold in winter, without any disability. Will present CDS will answer cause of this condition. It shows,The Britisher and previous COAS had less knowledge, even Fd Marshal Sham

  20. Disability is acquired during service and not by design and one pay taxes throughout . On retirement the Government rewards you with tax benefits it’s like an honour for selfless service and devotion to duty. This is a set precedence and is in practice based on authenticity of cases It’s our retiring privilege being in Indian Army . CDS should concentrate on strategy and synergy between the three forces rather than debating on disability pensions for cheaper popularity and cheap politics . He is unnecessarily making simple procedures complex for his political aim . As COAS he couldn’t do much for his Army and rather withdrew certain privileges which attract the civil society for joining the tough career of Defence Forces . The message should go to him loud and clear that emphasise on guarding the borders and not on issues which hurt veterans and serving personnel sentiments . His primary interest is economic warfare which actually isn’t part of his charter of duties .

  21. Whenever someone talk about equality the people start blaming that particular man. They forget disability pension only given to armed forces personnel. It should be based on disability not on rank or last pay drawn.
    When CDS say NFU is good all Start appraising him but when he talk about equal disability pension people start abusing him .
    When we start thinking for country before pay and allowances when we start thinking that a jawan also have family. When stop English Officer thinking .because Later she Lal Bahadur Shastri always live a common man life he never agrees why he must take prime minister salary or facility. Because those have motherhood in their heart they don’t think about pay and allowances..
    But finally it feels good some flag rank officer at least think about equality. I hope one day MSP become equal for all .

    • Please read his statements. He is not asking for increasing disability pension of JCOs NCOs and all other soldiers. He is talking about reducing for officers. Correct thing would be to take up a case with government to increase disability pension of those drawing less.

  22. Bipin Rawat has lost out earlier on account of Govt action of taxing the disabled. Why he only has to speak to Par. Committee? Take openion other Sr retired Chiefs from Army, Navy and AF. All 3 wings of Armed Forces shall be well represented for due satisfaction of disabled veterans. By the way, why not abolish post of CDS or change BIRA if has no other agenda on his platter.

  23. I being from Airforce,thought that his (CDS) priorities are misplaced and may be my Army works that way. But now here I see even some Army officers feel the same. He must take care of people he is heading. As it is he has Not taken up the areas which need immediate sorting out.

  24. How can swimming failure… teach swimming…We don’t need no education…. We don’t need no thought control….hey Teacher… leave them kids alone… please protect your self from the viruses…

  25. It is prudent to note that that the FM had already Stated that the proposal to Tax the disability Pension has Come from the Army itself thus is it prudent for the Parliamentary Commitee to take the advice of the same person ie the CDS who has forwarded the proposal itself?

    Even if his Contention is heard to, Will it not be advisable to hear out the Counter point too made by sensible and Senior Officers particularly those who would be affected by the proposal, or other independent IESM Commitee members?

    The CDS has contended that the tax is being proposed to reduced the disgruntlement of the Jawans because of the Huge disparity of the disability Pension between the Officers and Jawans :-
    1. Is he not aware that all Jawans who may have becomes Hony officer/ JCO by the time they retire will also become Taxable, hence how is the disparity going to be removed?
    2. Does he not know that the Disability Pension is a percentage of the last drawn pay ie 30% for 100% Disability, ie the disparity can be done away only if the disparity of the Last drawn Pay is reduced. Is that possible?
    3. Or by the Senior Officer drawing higher Pay and thus Disability Pension will at max be taxed a 30% of their pay, Will it reduce the disparity significantly to be perceived by the Jawan to appear at parity.

    The Parliamentary Commitee should not take the advise of a singular person who is the main proposer of the Tax as a Sacrocent advice and the only truth.

    As in evident in the Act itself the Tax benefit and the Disability Pension is basically given to ensure the highest Commitment of the Servicemen towards their duty upto sacrificing his life or getting disabled for life by assuring that he or his family will be looked after for this devotion to his duty.

    The CDS should realise that it would become difficult for an officer to Command his men into battles if the few benefits the soldier recieves are also removed.

  26. Disability Pension is a Pension awarded due to either attributity or aggravation during service. The amount is based on your last pay drawn. I don’t know why this boot licker is speaking on subjects beyond his mandate and creating unnecessary controversies. His tenure as chief was marred by unnecessary controversies and speaking out stupid self created controversies

  27. Let all jawans draw pay and perks of CDS and let all the salary tables be reversed and let CDS draw the salary of a jawan. Then only this idiocy will stop.

  28. Mr DK Singh has very conveniently forgotten that any pension whether normal or disability is a function of pay last drawn. Does a clerk and a IAS get the same pension? Civil services too have disability pension. Does a group D employee and Secretary to Government of India get the same disability pension for the same disability.
    I will be the happiest if rules are amended to give a soldier the same disability pension. Let us not suggest to cut our nose to despise our face. Request Print to permit articles by those who know the internal dynamics. And not permit piece meal picking up of information and promulgation to create confusion.

  29. It appears that he has only one agenda in his remaining life ie, tax the disability pension of Army Officers. No other jobs on his table are important to him. Such a senior General but most illogical on this single point agenda.

  30. Disability pension in percentage of dissability in fixed amount and the MSP should be paid equal to officers, JCOs and jawans equally and tax free as pension is payed as per rank and length of service.

  31. A non sequitur issue has repeatedly been raised by the CDS in spite of the RMs recent directions and the completely diverse issue under consideration by the Court. It appears that it is the personal agenda of the CDS and if he had taken up up the NFU issue as vigorously it would be cogent and be appreciated as sensible. There are too many heart burns to douse as petty as the liquor authorisation disparity which affects all jawans also may be in his power to bring about. He should stick to small issues.

  32. He has been placed in that position solely because he’ll ditto whatever the govt wants. So, what’s the idea seeking his opinion? His opinion is whatever is of the junior-most clerk of the govt.
    The veterans know his worth well.
    Bad times for armed forces.

  33. He has no concept or logic. Why does not the Committee take opinion of other sensible retired Army Chiefs. He is the most illogical and immature Army Chief ever seen by the Indian Army.

    • I will narrate a small story in Punjabi script, which also is very famously told in Punjab and is very relevant here, too :

      “ਇੱਕ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਆਦਮੀ ਨੇ ਸਾਰੀ ਉਮਰ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਿੱਚ ਹਮੇਸਾਂ ਭੜਥੂ ਪਾ ਰੱਖਿਆ ਸੀ। ਮਰਨ ਕਿਨਾਰੇ ਉਸ ਦੀ ਆਖਰੀ ਖਾਹਿਸ਼ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਉਸ ਦੀ ਲਾਸ ਦੇ ਮੂੰਹ (ਜਗ੍ਹਾ ਸਿਸ਼ਟਾਚਾਰ ਕਾਰਣ ਬਦਲੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ) ਵਿੱਚ ਡਾਂਗ ਧੱਕ ਕੇ, ਚਾਦਰ ਪਾ ਕੇ ਮੜ੍ਹੀਆਂ ਵਲ ਲਿਜਾਇਆ ਜਾਵੇ। ਪਿੰਡ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਇਵੇਂ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ। ਰਾਹ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਛਾਪਾ ਪੈ ਗਿਆ । ਪਿੰਡ ਵਾਸੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਕੇਸ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ ਕਿ ਉਸ ਦੀ ਹੱਤਿਆ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ।
      ਉਹ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਅਤੇ ਅਕ੍ਰਿਤਘਣ ਆਤਮਾ ਆਖ਼ਰੀ ਵਕਤ ਵੀ ਮਾੜੇ ਕੰਮੋ ਬਾਜ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਈ। ਸਾਰਾ ਪਿੰਡ ਬੱਝ ਗਿਆ!
      What can be done in such and similar cases? We can only pray for God’s intervention!

  34. He is talking through his hat. There is wide variations in pay and pension as well. It is not only disability pensions. Why can’t that gap be bridged by raising pensions of Jawans rather than taxing. He is hell bent upon imposing tax on disability pension rather than offering a viable solution.

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