Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 12
An erroneous policy of the Indian Army is holding back benefits to a particular category of personnel wounded in war, including those who were hit by the enemy bullet during the Kargil conflict (May-July 1999) or those injured in ongoing operations.
Such cases cropped up recently during the review of disability pension norms which the Army is in the process of tweaking following allegations of misuse of claims. Recognising the anomaly, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has ordered a correction, which is being worked out, sources said.
In 2012, the Army, while defining the norms for battle casualty and war wounded, had said the war wounded implied those who were injured in enemy action. Within this policy, it was defined who all were to be classified as ‘low medical category (LMC)’.
In 2014, the policy was tweaked. It said those who had been wounded in war but had regained fitness to ‘shape 1 levels’, that is on a par with the highest physical fitness standards required in the Army, could be treated as ‘fit’.
Here comes the catch. The battle casualty and war wounded classified as ‘LMC’ under the 2012 policy get weightage for promotions, fee exemption of children’s education, reservation in educational institutions, income tax exemptions and preference in foreign postings and also advanced courses. Following the 2014 tweak, that allowed the war wounded who regained fitness to ‘shape-1 levels’ to get back to the battle front, all benefits accruing to the war wounded were stopped for this class of personnel.
Within the Army, it was felt that the 2014 tweaked policy was too harsh on personnel who, after being hit by the enemy bullet, had regained fitness and had the will to fight again. Sources said some kind of incentive would be restored to this category of persons.
On the other hand, those under the ‘low medical category’ continue to get benefits. Those who have lost a limb, were hit by bullets or have been maimed come under this category.
The 2014 tweak
While those under the ‘low medical category’ continue to get benefits, in 2014 the Army policy was tweaked, laying out that benefits would be stopped to war wounded who had regained fitness to ‘shape-1 levels’ and were ready to return to the battle front.
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