M A I N   N E W S

MoD clears pending pension orders
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 10
Just five days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised in Lok Sabha to address the issue of pensions for ex-servicemen, the Ministry of Defence today circulated instructions to implement two pending matters.

This would increase the pensions of jawans and also bring the much-awaited parity between persons who were getting lesser pension than their juniors.

The Ministry has issued orders to bring about parity between persons who retired before October 10, 1997, and those who retired after that date. This will be applicable to all persons below other ranks (PBORS) of the Army, Air Force and the Navy.

About 12 lakh retired jawans, airmen and sailors, who form the core of Defence Minister AK Antony’s long-term welfare measures, will be benefited.

The second part of the latest instructions is to improve the pensions as per the award of the Group of Ministers in 2006. This mean the award has been accepted and orders issued in this regard.

It may be mentioned that these two issues were pending since last year’s Lok Sabha polls, and even ended up creating a minor controversy. Media reports were then published quoting unidentified sources that the same had been cleared, even as the five-phase polling process was on.

The Election Commission had sought a clarification and the Ministry had to clarify that the said media reports were false.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence today explained that a Committee under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary has considered the demands of the ex-servicemen and made seven recommendations. Five of these had been cleared and two were pending.

The other five points cleared by the Cabinet Secretary and implemented by the MoD were: Inclusion of Classification Allowance for PBOR from 1.1.2006; Removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from 1.1.2006; Revision of Lt Generals’ pension after carving out a separate pay scale for them; Broad banding percentage of disability/war injury pensions for pre 1.1.2006 disability/war injury pensioners, and Removal of cap on war injury element of pension in the case of disabled pensioners.

All these moves will collectively cost Rs 2,200 crore to the exchequer annually.

Implementation of these orders will not only significantly reduce the gap between the past and the current pensioners but will also considerably improve the pension of ex-servicemen, including disabled ex-servicemen. Last week, the Prime Minister and BJP veteran LK Advani had an exchange of sharp words over the matter. Advani has accused the government of going back on its words of helping the ex-servicemen in and implementing ‘one rank one pension”.



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