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Armed Forces form panel to examine disability pension

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The Indian military has set up an inter-service panel chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff (AG) of the Army to consider various aspects of disability pensions for its employees, a senior official with knowledge of the matter told the Indian Express.

Armed personnel receive higher payments of up to 30% of their pension benefits, depending on their percentage of disability. The exact amount of disability pensions, which are also exempt from income tax, is not available, but government sources estimate that it has increased significantly over the past two decades and will reach around 400 billion rupees in 2022-23. Total defense pension for 2024 is estimated at Rs 1.38 crore.

The order to create the commission was made by Gen Anil Chauhan of the Department of Defense (CDS) after a Director General of Accounts (CAG) report presented to Congress on March 27 called into question the provision of an obstacle element. Chauhan) issued by the military ministry headed by the General. of pensions to a “higher proportion” of officers, including medical officers. It asked the Department of Defense to assess the reasons.

The commission to consider disability pensions was formed on March 20, before the CAG’s final report was submitted to parliament, according to government officials. The decision was prompted by a draft report on disability pensions, the findings of which had been discussed at length at the Department of Defense over the past few months. The Panel is known to have held at least one meeting. This includes senior medical officers from the Directorate General’s Directorate General of Military Medical Services (DGAFMS) and former Military Welfare Officers, Department of Defense (Finance), Department of Military Affairs (DMA), and officers from branches of the Deputy Chief of Staff. We also have representatives from the personnel departments of the three services (for officers and men).

Defense pension over the last five years increased from INR 1.08 lakh in 2018-19 to INR 1.38 lakh in 2023-24. Higher Disability Pension and revision of ‘1 Rank 1 Pension’ scheme and delinquency of Rs.

According to CAG reports, retired officers with disabilities range from 36% to 40% of all retired officers. For officers below officers (PBOR), it ranged from 15% to 18% between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Furthermore, the report states that 22% and 13% of disability pension cases granted to officers and PBORs, respectively, are solely due to lifestyle-related diseases, particularly hypertension and diabetes.

Another observation from the report was that the proportion of military doctors who retired on disability pensions was significantly higher than that of other officers in the Army. According to CAG data, in 2015-16 and 2019-20, his 50% and his 58% of medical personnel retired with disability pensions, respectively.

Disabilities suffered by military personnel include combat casualties (war wounds) and disabilities due to service conditions. The disability factor for his 100% disability at various ranks is his 30% of the last paid allowance, and proportionally less for less than 100% disability. Any employee with less than 20% of her disability will not receive any benefits. Percentage disability grading is done by the Medical Commission.

According to the CAG’s report, the lack of information entered into the pension payer’s database (categories and illnesses) leaves no meaningful analysis of the causes of Wehrmacht disability and possible corrective actions to drop such cases. said to be impeded.


Beyond higher payouts

Disability pension payments are around Rs 400 crore, but the auditor’s observation that up to 40% of all officers retire with disability has raised many eyebrows in the government. A comprehensive database of pensioners not only saves money, but is important in analyzing the leading causes of disability such as lifestyle diseases and facilitating possible corrective actions.

The Ministry of Defense recommended that a complete database of pensioners should be maintained and the main reasons for disability, including lifestyle-related diseases, should be analyzed for possible corrective actions.

Government officials said the stress associated with working in difficult areas, such as high altitudes and riot-prone areas, has caused military personnel to suffer injuries that lead to severe and minor disabilities and exacerbation of lifestyle-related diseases. , also claim pensions for disabilities such as partial hearing loss and back pain.

In 2019, the Central Direct Tax Commission (CBDT) issued a notice stating that the Disability Pension tax exemption is only available to employees who are disabled from service and not to employees who have otherwise retired. This was contested in the Supreme Court and an order dated August 30, 2019 instructed all parties to maintain the “status quo” on the matter.

© Indian Express (P) Ltd

First published date: Oct 4, 2023 04:14 IST

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