Government of India has reduced the disability pensions for injuries incurred in the line of duty.
The ministry of defence (MoD) issued a letter that dramatically reduced pensions for soldiers invalided out from the army after being crippled by battle injuries, or by injuries directly attributable to hazardous military service.
Until the September 30 notification, officers and soldiers who had suffered 100 per cent disability in battle were entitled disability pension that matched their last pay drawn. In addition, they would draw a “service component” of pension, which amounted to 50 per cent of their last pay drawn.
Under the new rules, which come into effect retrospectively from January 1, 2016, the “service component” remains unchanged, but a “slab system” has been introduced for disability pension, which is significantly lower than the percentage system — Rs 27,000 a month for officers, 17,000 for junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and Rs 12,000 for all other ranks (ORs).
A soldier with five years of service earns Rs 30,400 a month; 100 per cent disability pension would match that figure. In its place, he will now be entitled to a flat rate of Rs 12,000 a month. A major with 10 years of service earns Rs 98,300 a month. In place of that figure for 100 per cent disability, he will get just Rs 27,000 a month.
For lower disability percentages, disability pension is calculated on a pro-rata basis.
Besides battle casualties, most service-related disabilities are those categorised as “attributable to/aggravated by military service”. This too has been badly hit for the army.
The new “slab system” would cause a loss of Rs 2,040 a month to a senior sepoy with 100 per cent disability, Rs 3,472 to a subedar, and Rs 6,855 per month to a lieutenant colonel.
If a young soldier with severe injuries (100 per cent disability) — from that operation had been invalided out from service, he would have found his monthly pension slashed from Rs 45,200 to just Rs 27,200 — down by Rs 18,000 a month.
It scraps a decade-old system that the Sixth Central Pay Commission (6th CPC) instituted in 2006. In that, disability pensions arising from battle injuries, or disabilities attributable to/aggravated by military service, were calculated on a “percentage basis”, related to the last pay drawn.
Now, for unspecified reasons, disability pensions will be calculated according to a far less generous “slab system” that existed earlier. The 7CPC has proposed, and the government accepted, that the earlier system be reinstated.
Civilians will continue to be paid pensions according to the earlier “percentage system”.