Earlier in Forum







Q: Should there be “one rank, one pension”
for defence personnel?
This is the fifth instalment of readers’ response


Upgrade forces, respect servicemen

Every year, a large part of the Budget is allocated to the defence forces. A significant part of the Budget goes into pensions and salaries, rather than improving and upgrading equipment. Looking at our national security scenario, it is crucial to upgrade our defence facilities and equipments.

It is the need of the hour that the government should implement the one rank, one pension policy soon. Though most Indians seem to support this genuine demand, it is surprising that it still has been lying in cold store for the last two decades. All political parties seem to support the one rank, one pension demand only while occupying the Opposition benches. It is unfortunate that the same parties forget the promise after coming to power. Thus, the implementation of this just demand looks like one of the many false promises made by these parties.

It’s high time that the ex-servicemen form an organisation to fight for their right. Defence is more than a profession. Not all defence personnel treat their duty as just a job. They have certain commitments, which separate them from others. Unless these commitments are respected, we cannot expect to have corruption-free forces.

— NEHA JOSHI, Chandigarh

Need to remove discrepancies

Our forces epitomise valour and spirit of duty, and the sacrifice made by each solider is sacrosanct. So if this is true, why do we differentiate in terms of pension paid to our heroes at different levels? It is high time to get the one rank, one pension scheme into force.

It is unfortunate that a Sepoy, after giving the best 20 years of his life to the Army and living through the toughest of conditions, gets a meagre sum of Rs 1,900 as pension, while a JBT teacher gets thrice the amount. With the youth today declining to take defence as a career option, such pension insecurity further acts as a de-motivating factor.

If we expect our defence personnel to upkeep the peace and security of the motherland, while surviving though the toughest and most inhospitable conditions, we must give them the due respect. With the implementation of this genuine demand, our heroes will not have to look for a job after retirement to ensure survival of their family. Unless we remove these discrepancies, it will not be easy for us to motivate the youth to opt for the Army.


Soldiers should be benefited equally

Whenever I have thought of Army as a profession, somehow I fail to look at it as a job and prefer to refer to it as a service. I have always wondered how someone’s psychology could fail to rationalise the priority of life above profession and actually place it vice versa. Evidently, it requires a lot of dedication, sense of dignity and commitment. The soldier of yesterday has risked no less than the soldier of today. He might be a soldier of yesterday but he is a citizen of today who faces the same cost of living and inflation like others. Other things and ranks being the same, irrespective of the era they served in, the retired soldiers should be benefited equally. I see no good reason why one house should be bigger than the other when the nameplate on both houses reads—Rtd. Colonel?

— SAMIYA SINGH, Chandigarh

Defence personnel deserve more

If the President of India, Members of Parliament and so-called freedom fighters can be granted such benefits, then the defence personnel deserve more than anyone else. The following are the reasons why one rank, one pension should be granted to defence personnel:

The President of India safeguards the government as per the Acts of the Constitution, whereas a soldier safeguards the sovereignty of the country. Most of the Members of Parliament contribute to the nation by staging walkouts, rushing into the well of the House, throwing political mud at each other and misusing the Constitutional powers for their self-gain, whereas a soldier gives the prime of his life in safeguarding the sovereignty of the nation from external as well as internal threats. The freedom fighters faced lathi charge during the freedom struggle, whereas the soldiers faced the hail of bullets to keep the enemy at bay, even not caring to sacrifice their lives.

— Sqdn Leader BRIJ LAL DHIMAN (retd), Hamirpur

Constitute separate pay panel

One rank, one pension for pre-1996 ex-servicemen is must since there is a huge difference in pension in comparison to post-1997 retirees. This gap can even become wider after the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission.

After retirement, defence personnel have to afford the financial burden of their grown-up children’s education/marriage and house building. While they serve the nation round the clock in remote areas under adverse conditions and remain separated from their families, government employees with 8-hour duty spend the maximum period with their families. They earn full wages up to 60 years and also manage all their responsibilities by that time.

Defence personnel after retirement are ignored for re-employment in the government sector. They are forced to serve in the private sector with meagre wages, that too far away from their homes.

Hence the genuine demand of one rank, one pension deserves serious and sympathetic consideration by government policy makers. The government should have a separate pay panel for armed forces, as is prevalent in the United Kingdom.

— Sub/Hony Sub-Maj RAJINDER SINGH, Palampur (HP)

Govt should meet the just demand

Whether a flood, an earthquake, a famine or any other catastrophe strikes, it is only the Armed Forces that come to the assistance of people. Innumerable soldiers had sacrificed their precious lives when the nation was at threat and would be giving their lives when required. Veteran soldiers in the past were less educated and conscious about their surroundings. After retirement, they suffered a lot when they came in contact with civil atmosphere. Still it is very difficult for ex-servicemen to deal with the corrupt in government departments.

Soldiers, who are known for their honesty, sincerity and dedication, are totally dependent on their meagre pension.

There are many soldiers who are suffering from various diseases, and they have no source of income other than the pension. Therefore, it would be in the welfare of the nation if the government accepts the one rank, one pension proposal.

The acceptance of the just demand is the need of the hour, so that ex servicemen and their families can lead a decent life with dignity.

— SUBER SINGH, PARIHAR, Ex-Petty Officer (IN), Yol Cantt (HP)


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