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If Modi cares for the forces, Rajnath Singh must act on the ‘mischievous’ MoD order

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On 15 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the soldiers safeguarding India’s sovereignty in eastern Ladakh. Ironically, a month earlier on 16 July, a Ministry of Defence letter, sanctioning ‘invalid pension’ for soldiers with less than 10 years in service spelled a devious rider, virtually making it impossible for any eligible soldier to get the benefit. The sanction had come after decades of representation/litigation and a nudge from the Supreme Court.

The media and the veteran community hauled the defence bureaucracy over the coals for “stabbing the soldier in the back” by design or default. The question that goes a begging is why are the concerned ministers are not being held accountable?

Also read: Comments on disabled soldiers return to haunt Lt Gen amid talk of armed forces tribunal job

As per pension regulations for the armed forces, if a soldier with less than 10 years of service is disabled out of service due to an injury that is neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service, then she/he is not entitled to any disability pension. However, in lieu, one-time gratuity calculated at the rate of half-a-month’s pay for each completed half year of qualifying service, is granted. Similarly placed personnel who have served for 10 years and above are granted a pension equivalent to normal pension adjusted to the number of years in service.

This provision covers injuries suffered when not on duty, or disability due to diseases not caused by military service. For example, if a soldier with nine years of service is disabled in an accident while on leave, she/he will only be entitled to gratuity equivalent to nine........

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