The Ministry of Defense, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare has issued clarification notes on various demands. One of the most effective demands is to improve the pension. Statistics published by the Ministry of Defense itself show that every year 55000 soldiers retire at an average age of 40 years. It is apparent to mention here that this is not the age of retirement and a number of responsibilities is already mounted at this age which includes education of children, construction of home, treatment of old aged parents etc.
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Among these 55000 retirees who retire every year, only 10,000 ex-servicemen can be accommodated in govt/PSU/corporate jobs based on the vacancies and reservation/ job opportunities open to the ex-servicemen. So, every year, 45,000 ex-servicemen become unemployed and their one and only earning source is pension. Some of them accept the job of security guard with local firms with a nominal salary of 8-10 thousands pm.
So, it is considerable that approx 40,000 retired JCOs / OR are fully dependent on their pension income to meet their daily expenses after retirement. Average pension after implementation of OROP for the Indian armed forces retiree is approx Rs. 22,000/- pm. It is evident from the Consumer price index published by Govt that at the at of 40 years with all the responsibilities of family, minimum income should be Rs 60,000/- pm to meet the essential expenses of a family.
The pension amount which is awarded to the Armed Forces personnel on their retirement is approx one third of the minimum requirement as per CPI model. Formula of pension at present is equal to the civilian employees which is 50% of last pay drawn before retirement. In such a situation govt should consider the reality and difference between civilian pensioners and Armed Forces pensioners. With effect from 1.1.1973, a regular scheme for grant of relief on pension / family pension was introduced for compensating pensioners towards erosion in the real value of pension due to increase in price.
The Veterans organisation have placed the demand for fixation of minimum pension of exservicemen atleast 75% of last pay drawn to provide minimum support after retirement to them. Such a valid demand should consider by the government by constituting a proper Armed Forces Pension Evaluation Committee. But, the recent govt circular/ note has disappointed the entire veterans group –
Extract of DESW, Ministry of defence Circular dated 20.07.2023 ( Point No 10) – “As per existing provision, service pension is calculated at rate of 50% of last emolument drawn by Defence Forces Personnel. Further, there is no proposal under examination for changing the existing policy.”
No proper justification against cancellation of the demand has been shown in their note. Reference of Existing policy on the issue is not a justification merely. Reason behind non feasibility to change the existing policy can only considered as justification for cancellation of demand. So, veterans organizations have left no way other than to adopt the ways of agitation and protest.