12522 / VO / W I P 08 June 2009
Shri A K Antony
Ministry of Defence
New Delhi – 110011
INJUSTICE AND DISCRIMINATION IN WAR INJURY PAY AND DISABILITY PENSION
Hon’ble Raksha Mantri,
Please accept my heartiest congratulations on the thumping victory of your party in the General Elections and your assumption of the office of Raksha Mantri once again. I am sure the serving and retired personnel of the Defence Forces will be benefited greatly under your sagacious leadership.
I am writing this letter on behalf of the entire disabled community of ex-servicemen, especially the war disabled, to bring to your notice the grave injustice that has been done to them in the matter of granting disability allowance and war injury pay. Brief details are appended in the succeeding paragraphs.
The Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare has issued two letters relating to the implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in respect of armed forces personnel who are disabled or become so in future, on account of wounds suffered in war or warlike situations or under other circumstances. Letter No. 16(6)/2008(1)/D (Pension/Policy) dated 04 May 2009 relates to ex-servicemen who had been invalidated out / retired from service prior to 01-01-2006. The second letter of even number dated 05 May 2009 relates to similarly categorized personnel who have or are retiring or being invalidated out after 01-01-2006. The disability allowance and the war injury pay of the two categories thus created are different. This defies any logic, especially when the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission (6CPC) do not make any such distinction.
The 6 CPC, in its recommendations had unequivocally stated that all disabled personnel of the military need to be brought up at the same level as the disabled amongst the civilian government employees, by giving them compensation for their disability as a percentage of pay, like their counterparts in the civil have been getting. This was an attempt to correct a historical wrong that has existed for a very long time. Although the 6 CPC had made no such recommendations, the military veterans have now been neatly divided into pre -01 Jan 2006 and post - 01 Jan 2006 veterans. This is a clear case of creating a divide without any justification. The upshot is that while the military veterans of post-01 Jan 2006 would at long last become at par with the civilian government employees and come under ‘a percentage of pay dispensation’, the poor ex-servicemen of earlier vintage would continue to remain ‘on a lumpsum basis’ as hithertofore. This is obviously biased and illogical.
Only one actual example should suffice to illustrate the huge difference. Sepoy Jigme of Ladakh Scouts had lost both his arms and both his eyes during the Kargil War and was granted a disability of 100%. With the new dispensation, he will receive a war injury pay of only Rs. 7,020, but a Sepoy of same length of service and same percentage of disability invalidated out after 01-01-2006 will receive Rs. 11,400 (being 60 % of total emoluments of Rs. 19,000), if he is retained in service, as is the case of this Sepoy. If a similar case occurs and the Sepoy gets invalidated immediately after his injuries, he will receive Rs. 19,000.00 (100 % of emoluments last drawn). This distortion affects all ranks - officers as well as PBOR.
The non-war disabled personnel are equally badly off. Prior to 01 Jan 2006, they were entitled to Disability Element of Rs. 2600 for officers, 1900 for JCO’s and 1550 for jawans for 100 % disability. This has been enhanced to Rs. 5880 for officers, 4300 for JCO’s and 3510 for jawans for 100 % disability. On the other hand, for those retiring after 01 Jan 2006, the disability element would be 30 % of emoluments last drawn, which amounts to higher compensation. The disparity between the two categories is similar to the war injury category.
This invidious treatment of the pre and post - 2006 disabled / war injured ex-servicemen is arbitrary and contrary to the letter and spirit of the 6 CPC recommendations. The 6 CPC, in its recommendations, had no where drawn a distinction between pre-2006 and post-2006 ex-servicemen. The dilution of the 6 CPC recommendations, restricting its application to only the post-6 CPC personnel, is inexplicable, to say the least. Had 6 CPC decided to restrict the benefit of the liberalized disability / war injury dispensation to future disabled / war injured ex-servicemen only, they would have so reflected it. It may be pointed out that the upward revision of the Constant Attendance Allowance for the 100 % disabled has also been applied equally to pre-2006 and post-2006 personnel. It is obvious that the 6 CPC has been guided by similar thinking, as it is a monetary compensation for disability and is not pension. This was also the case when the recommendations of the 5 CPC were implemented in January and May 2001.
Disparities highlighted above need to be removed so that all ex-servicemen who are disabled or war disabled receive equal compensation, on the ‘basis of percentage of pay’. The division into two categories of pre and post 2006 ex-servicemen is neither desirable nor warranted. The issue may please be favourably considered and the orders issued earlier may be suitably revised, so that the pre and post - 2006 disabled and war disabled personnel are placed at an equal footing for getting compensation for the disabilities they have incurred in both war and non-warlike situations.
Copies are being endorsed to officials dealing with the subject, for their advance information.
President War Wounded Foundation