New pension scheme for armed forces still on paper

New pension scheme for armed forces still on paper

Though the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for implementing the one rank-one pension scheme for defence personnel, a working group chaired by the Controller General of Defence Accounts has failed to provide a roadmap for scheme implementation.

Under the scheme, soldiers of the same rank and same tenure of service are entitled to get same pension, irrespective of the retirement dates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ,in his first visit to the high altitude forward post of Siachen on Deepavali, had told the soldiers that the scheme was an “emotional subject” for him. He had chided the United Progressive Alliance regime for dragging the issue.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised the ex-servicemen the implementation of the scheme during Lok Sabha elections. A parliamentary standing committee on defence, headed by veteran BJP leader B C Khanduri, has suggested roping in an Indian Institute of Management for conducting a study to suggest measures for welfare of the ex-servicemen. The parliamentary panel, that scrutinised the defence ministry’s budget for 2014-2015, will submit its report on Monday.

Though a working group under the chairmanship of Controller General of Defence Accounts was constituted for examining a proposal submitted by the services, it failed to arrive at any consensus on the modalities.

The Defence Ministry has already missed the April deadline to implement the programme that would help attract youth to join forces.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, in his interim budget presented before Parliament in February, had announced the decision to implement the scheme and allocated Rs 500 crore.

The budgetary allocation later was revised by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to Rs 1,000 core for this fiscal year.

The standing committee on defence is also believed to have expressed its displeasure with the Department of Ex-servicemen’s Welfare for being insensitive towards ex-servicemen.

The panel members were miffed to know that the department does not have a clear database of skilled servicemen though appreciated that the ministry was trying to reach out to corporate representative bodies for their employment.

Of the 34,364 retired personnel registered with directorate general of resettlement and its affiliates in states last year, only 14,320 got employment available for resettlement of former officers and ‘persons below officers rank’.

These personnel are recruited against quota earmarked for them but they do not get any seniority or salary drawn by them in armed forces. 

The panel is learnt to have suggested that defence personnel’s seniority post recruitment in paramilitary forces should be protected.

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