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  • Wednesday, 30 December 2020

    Wednesday, 23 December 2020

    किसानों को समर्थन दे रही पूर्व सैनिक मेजर अजमेर सिंह सुदेश गोयत क्यों आक्रोशित हैं?JAWAN का संकल्प

    Military not responsible for pension burden

    Recommendations of the parliamentary committee and various pay commissions regarding the absorption of armed forces personnel after their military service into various government organisations where their unique skills, training and discipline can be optimally used have been mostly ignored by successive governments, mainly on account of bureaucratic hurdles and sustained obstructions in the ministries.
    Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan (retd)
    Former South Western Army Commander
    Defence pension is once again in the media glare. A false narrative is being created that it has grown astronomically in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as compared to other ministries. This narrative, different from the ground reality, is causing great concern to serving soldiers and the veteran fraternity.
    Pensionary benefits for the armed forces personnel are far less than other government employees as soldiers retire at the prime of their youth, resulting in shorter spans of service for pension. Their counterparts, in contrast, have much longer lengths of service for pension. This is also attributed to the special privilege of non-functional grade and assured career progression, resulting in much higher pension than soldiers. The fact is that the military receives the lowest per capita pension amongst all government functionaries.
    The total number of pensioners was 51.96 lakh as on January 1, 2014, as per the data from the Seventh Pay Commission report — 33.36 lakh civil pensioners and 18.6 lakh defence ones. The real concern is the pension of other government employees and not the armed forces. Civil servants serve up to 60 years and comparatively attain higher positions than most soldiers and more attractive pay package. The narrative about soldiers emptying the coffers needs to be challenged with facts and figures, not hearsay.
    Another revealing fact is that more than a third of the defence pension allocated in the MoD caters to over half a million civil defence employees. The remaining two-thirds is for the military.
    This raises another pertinent issue of a compelling need to have half a million other government employees in the MoD to maintain 1.3 million military personnel. The subject of teeth to tail ratio only focuses on the reduction of uniformed personnel and there is never a discussion on cutting down this flab in the MoD. Whenever this issue is raised, it is overlooked because of obstacles and protests by the unions concerned.
    The government is faced with an increased pension burden for the retired defence forces personnel who are still in their prime of youth and have always exhibited a will to sacrifice their youth for the motherland and have no platform to voice their concerns. Rehabilitating these trained young personnel who are too young to take total retirement from all work is the responsibility of the government to keep them motivated. Keeping the armed forces young is essential for national security and defence services have an important role to play in this but it is not the sole responsibility of the armed forces to maintain a young profile as also to keep the pension budget under control.
    It is important to remember that recommendations of the parliamentary committee and various pay commissions regarding the absorption of armed forces personnel after their military service into various government organisations where their unique skills, training and discipline can be optimally used, have been mostly ignored by successive governments, mainly on account of bureaucratic hurdles and sustained obstructions in the ministries.
    The straight response for the reduction in pension expenditure is to implement recommendations of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Pay Commissions, AV Singh Committee and Koshyari Committee for the lateral shift of young, trained and disciplined manpower proceeding on pension from our defence forces to other organisations and expand the concept of short service commission by making it more attractive, another viable proposal pending with the government for a long time.
    Outside the borders of India, armed forces personnel, after their military engagement, are absorbed in civil government organisations, including the police in many countries. These include China and other advanced economies like South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, and the United States. The Sixth Pay Commission has also recommended that there is adequate potential to allow lateral shift of nearly all defence forces personnel to the CAPFs and various cadres of defence civilians.
    There is need to find ingenious and practical ways of addressing the issue of defence pension at a national level rather than aiming for resolution at departmental levels by the defence services within their own means.
    Since increasing defence pension is a cause of concern, armed forces have been contemplating ways to optimise engagement of its personnel by increasing the number of years they serve. Measures like the feasibility of increasing the retirement age of soldiers are under consideration. A change in the age or manpower profile, though definitely possible to some extent, will have a direct impact on national security. Therefore, there is need for a resolution of this challenge at the national level for a long-term solution rather than only the three services addressing this challenge at the departmental level.

    Over a period of time, the Defence Budget has gradually reduced in terms of percentage of GDP despite facing two hostile nuclear neighbours with whom we have unsettled border issues and they are always endeavouring to create new challenges for us. It has sunk to just about two per cent which is lowest amongst contemporary countries. This low allocation results in an unrealistic allocation for capital expenses. This has resulted in resorting to emergency purchases in times of crisis for our essential weapon and equipment whenever there has been a major terror attack or border clash. Keeping in view the threat perception and security challenges, recommended expenditure of a minimum three per cent of GDP on defence is essential and with that allocation, apparently things fall in place.
    The figures about budgetary allocation for pension which are in the public domain indicate that the growth for both defence personnel and other government employees have shown an almost similar growth in the last decade. Therefore, the need for concern should not be restricted to military pension.
    Pension for the military will reduce considerably if recommendations of the pay commissions and other committees about the lateral shift of soldiers retiring in their prime youth to other organisations and making the short service commission more attractive are implemented.

    Monday, 21 December 2020

    FILE PHOTOS FROM JOVA AGM MEETING HELD ON 20/12/2020

    Senior Veteran & VOPian JWO Dr.P Murugesan Adressing the AGM

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