New Delhi, The Army has endorsed the government’s decision to tax the disability pension given to armed forces personnel disabled in the line of duty.
In a series of tweets, the Army said over the years broad-banding and compensation awarded for disability with income tax exemption has led to rise in personnel seeking disability, even for life style diseases.
The trend is worrisome when the security challenges to the nation are on the rise, it said.
“Indian Army is concerned for all personnel who are invalidated out of service in combat conditions or otherwise, and need additional support and discourages those who seek financial gains through their disabilities,” it added.
Armed forces personnel get separate pension if they suffer any kind of disability in the line of duty. The amount depends on their rank and the kind of disability.
The Army’s reaction came hours after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s office tweeted a letter, saying unscrupulous personnel have gained from disbility benefits provided by the government to disabled soldiers.
“The Army is concerned about all the personnel who because of their disability are boarded out of service and therefore need additional financial support. Any soldier with disabilities that are due to combat conditions or otherwise, need to be cared for, irrespective of the the situation in which they have been physically disabled,” the letter said.
It said there should be no segregation amongst genuinely disabled personnel.
“At the same time, those who have found the leverages in the existing system for seeking financial gains through disabilities need to be scrutinised and taken to task, where ever necessitated,” the letter said.
Recently, a group of ex-servicemen had cited example of Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo (retd) while referring to the issue of disability pension.
During the 1971 war, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Cardozo as a young Major had amputed his leg with his khukri to prevent setting of gangrene before he could be evacuated out of the war zone.
The letter issued by Sitharaman’s office said the officer in spite of his disability, has never in his service career in the Army sought shelter for disability and continued to serve in the Army with complete dedication and rose to the rank of Major General.
“Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (Retd), #IndianArmy is a highly respected gallant soldier of 1971 war whose deeds exemplify true ethos of soldiering. As a living legend he has never let disability come between profession & military rigours,” the Army tweeted.