While “surgical strikes” were under way, govt slashed army’s disability pensions - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Sunday 9 October 2016

While “surgical strikes” were under way, govt slashed army’s disability pensions

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 10th Oct 16

As army para-commandos slipped silently across the Line of Control (LoC) on September 28 on a perilous mission to punish anti-India jihadis and their Pakistani army backers, the Government of India quietly put the finishing touches on a plan to slash disability pensions for injuries incurred in the line of duty.

On September 30, the day after India began celebrating the successful “surgical strikes”, 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.

It was just as well that the commandos returned without significant casualties. If a young soldier with severe injuries --- what cold medical jargon terms “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 per month.

The team leaders in the “surgical strikes”, majors with ten years of service, have been hit even harder --- with pension for 100 per cent disability slashed by over Rs 70,000 per month. Junior commissioned officers, the spine of the army, are also badly affected. Naib subedars with 26 years of service will find their 100 per cent disability pensions slashed by Rs 40,000 per month.

“Shocked is an understatement to describe what we feel. Instead of joining us in celebrating the strikes, the MoD has stabbed us in the back”, says a top serving general.

Two weeks later, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) uses military images and the army’s intrepid cross-LoC raid as vote-catchers in four impending state elections, news is filtering through the army hierarchy that the slashing of disability pensions includes not just battle disability pensions, but also pensions for medical disabilities found to be attributable to, or aggravated by, military service. These include training accidents, including parachuting, respiratory ailments caused by long exposure to extreme altitudes, loss of digits/limbs due to frostbite, etcetera.

This bombshell has been lobbed onto the army through a draft gazette notification dated September 30, issued ironically by the “Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare”. In this document, posted on the defence ministry website, the reduced rates are listed out in a paragraph titled: “Enhancement in rate of disability pension”.

It scraps a decade-old system that the 6th Central Pay Commission (6CPC) 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.

Adding insult to financial injury, civilians will continue to be paid pensions according to the earlier “percentage system”.

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” of pensions remains unchanged (50 per cent of last pay drawn), but a “slab system” has been introduced for disability pension, which is significantly lower than the percentage system. The slabs are: Rs 27,000 per month for officers, 17,000 for junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and Rs 12,000 for all other ranks (ORs).

A soldier with five years service earns Rs 30,400 per month; 100 per cent disability pension, according to the now-scrapped system, would have matched that figure. In its place, he will now be entitled to a flat rate of Rs 12,000 per month. A major with ten years service earns Rs 98,300 per month. In place of that figure for 100 per cent disability, he will get just Rs 27,000 per 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.

According to the army headquarter’s calculations, the new “slab system” calculation of pensions for disabilities attributable/aggravated by military service would cause a loss of Rs 2,040 per 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.


  1. It is ironic for a country that a combatant incurring disability while serving in hostile and inhospitable areas facing bullets gets less disability pension than a Autocrat or civilian sitting in an AC office of a Metro city.It can happen only in India where Armed Forces have been taken for granted as slaves of Autocracy/Politicians.

  2. It is ironic for a country that a combatant incurring disability while serving in hostile and inhospitable areas facing bullets gets less disability pension than a Autocrat or civilian sitting in an AC office of a Metro city.It can happen only in India where Armed Forces have been taken for granted as slaves of Autocracy/Politicians.

  3. Govt of India shame on you.

  4. The Mafiosi Babus are ruling the roost n not pulling but dragging the Netas by their nose.
    The fault largely lies with the Armed forces Top brass who do not have the spunk to put it across to the PM .

  5. Treason by RSS, BJP! Not that Congress was better earlier, but many defence personnel had lots of faith in BJP's rhetoric and thought they will be in heaven, once they come to power!
    OROP, 7 Pay Commission was not sufficient but now politicalisng our deaths and sacrifices has become norm! Even some of veterans are happy that Pakistan is 'isolated' but so is us, workers, peasants and beneficieries of rising GDP and war mania is going to few super elites, like Ambani, Adani!
    Wonder, if such dictatorship against us is necessary, then why through these rogues, who are dividing India in caste, religious lines?

  6. I pay my taxes and demand that any Indian solider/ sailor / airman who fights on my behalf gets more than his/ her share of dues for loss of life or ability. Read that again "More than his/ her share". PERIOD.

  7. Wait so now you BELIEVE there was a "surgical strike" ? I thought you were skeptical about it?

  8. Who expected anything better/different.The government claims that armed forces of India are its finest organ of governance and nation building. However, while deciding the pay, perks and status of various class 1 services, it places them at the lowest rung of the hierarchy. This is injustice and double-speak and can't be allowed to go on now. I have started a petition ( through change.org) to get the nation to put its money where its mouth is.
    My petition is at https://www.change.org/p/pm-of-india-get-the-armed-forces-more-pay-and-status-than-other-class-1-government-services-e-g-ias?recruiter=60196756&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
    If you agree with my contention, please sign it. Also, it'll be helpful to the soldier community if you circulate it among your contacts. The petition is moving ahead very very well - close to 10000 supporters in just 2 days.
    If not now, when?

  9. These b'crats in tandem with poorly informed politicians will ruin the defence forces. All because defence forces do not have a collective voice and access to polity. A selfish class of b'crats improving their own service conditions by pushing combatants down in all possible ways eg salaries, perks, service conditions,status etc. They are akin to vibhishans.Members of defence forces are helpless during and after service. Mr PM Pl see through this one sided game plan by b'crats to crush the army. Pl intervene.

  10. This does not go well with the intent and the image, but since Col.Shukla is always interested in the accounts, I have a humble request to explain with respect to the context given below by the Pay Commission as I as a common man don't understand this well. And what seems to be the Govt's response, ( whatever the explanation) how are they seeing it and how that will benefit the solider.

    It would be great if you could respond.

    The Recommendation by the 7th Pay Commission.

    "The feature that stands out when the historical evolution of the regime relating to disability pension is studied is the shift from slab based system to a percentage based disability pension regime consequent to the implementation of the VI CPC’s recommendations. This move has been contrary to the tenets of equity insofar as treatment of disability element between Officers and JCOs/ORs is concerned borne out by the fact that the ratio of maximum to minimum quantum of compensation for disability across the ranks is now disproportionately high at 8.6. The Commission is therefore of the considered view that the regime implemented post VI CPC needs to be discontinued, and recommends a return to the slab based system. The slab rates for disability element for 100 percent disability would be as follows:"


    last para.

    1. " The ratio of maximum to minimum quantum of compensation for disability across the ranks is now disproportionately high at 8.6." If this is the contention, based on which the VII CPC recommended a return to a slab based system for the Armed Forces, the same should hold true for the Civil Services too. In fact,the ratio of maximum to minimum quantum of compensation for disability across the ranks in Civil Services would be greater than 8.6, since the variation in pay scales is also greater.
      As per the recommendations of the VII CPC, a civil servant, who in most cases rests on his fanny for most of his working years, will draw a higher disability pension, as compared to a soldier of an equivalent rank. That....is the crux of the issue, which, Mr Mathur, as the Chairman of the VII CPC, should have addressed.

  11. BJP has backstabbed the defence forces by harming them across the board financially as well as status parity, they have been misguided by the slimy and scheming bureaucrats. The post surgical strike glory which BJP is basking in is going to be shortlived. BJP wont win single election because they have betrayed the soldiers.2014 landslide victory was because they were trusted and supported by the soldiers and their family members.The chest thumping will vanish in thin air, soldiers are still hoping that some sense will prevail. If the govt fail them then God only save us INDIANS.

  12. Sir,
    Trust the harsh decision on disability pension will be reviewed to the satisfaction of armed forces.

    Like natural disaster criteria for agriculturists was reduced from 50% to 33% crop loss, Govt should consider it mire as a tribute to armed forces' exemplary service towards our country.
    we need to have a ceiling on pension payable, but surely not only for armed forces, but to all Babus too.

    Its irony that the cut began with armed forces.
    We surely need to have a ceiling on Govt Babu's salary, otherwise invoke accountability clause, on their " performance".

  13. Sad state my only worry is the defence force shouldn't get demoralised congress did it during there time BJP Follows to the dot

  14. Sad state my only worry is the defence force shouldn't get demoralised congress did it during there time BJP Follows to the dot

  15. Dear Col : Whether Govt has finalised the proposal ? If it's so when Sir ??? In the maze of scores of allowances it's important to know Whether Serving or Retired have got no increase & if they got whether it's lessor vis a vis Govt servants !!
    By the way Col, the other day You on Rajdeep Sardesai program reportedly said that our Army is ' not professional ' & 'lack capability to undertake such missions ' ?
    It seems you love to create imaginary disaster in the making!

  16. This will keeps the Bhakts quite for a little while or maybe not! LOL

    Can the Bhakts please stand up and ask their overlords in BJP/RSS to sort this mess out, unless you have been programmed not to question your masters?

  17. Ajay,

    Is that correct what you reported ? You may like to go through the notification once more and inform your uninformed readers as to what would the the system for grant of " War Injury Pension" .... I am sure three is a paragraph on that which appears to be either beyond your comprehension or that of mine or you are deliberately inciting your readers on false grounds.

    Will you please come back on the issue of "War Injury Pension" ??

  18. http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Government-trashes-media-reports-says-disability-pension-not-reduced-but-significantly-increased/articleshow/54785090.cms

  19. Afterall business is in Modi's blood.

  20. It is a shame that Ajay Shukla is more often reporting like typical prestitutes ....i did have better expectations from someone who was a colonel in the indian army...

  21. It's unfortunate that the deserving soldiers like the disabled are impacted. Inefficiency affects all. Unless we reduce the size of the standing Army and arrive at an optimal size everybody is going to suffer.

    And the benefits enjoyed by the personnel are not as bad as a developing country like India can provide its people.

    "A major with ten years service earns Rs 98,300 per month" This is way more than even the highly risky private sector job pays. Even if you forget the orderlies, the other benefits like tax free canteen items like cars, groceries and life time access to the best facilities like golf clubs and health - We are are talking about a privileged class which is mirror of the Royals.

    Because of such extravagance, the poor disabled soldiers could not be taken care better...

    Any idea how much Gen. Deepak Kapoor is going to be impacted..? That Poor Gen became disabled at the last few days of his retirement..

  22. Once again, you are proved WRONG ,MOD has denied such reports and dismissed as baseless! Read Business Standard to know the truth! I don't know why at all you do such things particularly at such a time when Armed Forces are in to war like situation.

  23. क्या आपने उसे पूरा पढ़ा है या फिर ऐसे ही लिख दिया है जनाब। have you read that GO completely or posted hear-say. दो तरह की पेंशन है ये। नॉर्मल डिस्चार्ज्ड डिसेबिलिटी और इन्वाइलिड आउट। इन्वाइलिड आउट डिसेबिलिटी पेंशन पर टैक्स नहीं है, जबकि नॉर्मल डिस्चार्ज्ड डिसेबिलिटी टैक्स के दायरे में है। थोड़ा पढ़ा भी करें

  24. Shuklaji,

    In battles and battle like situation one does not get injured but "wounded" .... I know you learnt it in staff course..

    Disabilities suffered under such conditions are terms as "War Injuries" and are entitled to WE element of pension for which there seems to be no change as given in Para 12 Annx to the Notification? Coupled with acceptance of broadbanding post 01-01-16, there seems to be status quo.

    However Para 8 is an absolute fraud on retiring Defense Service personnel as comapred to Babus.

  25. Mera Bharat Mahan aur soldiers are pareshan! surgical strikes has become a political gain for the greed of power. No one has sincere thoughts about those soldiers who have lost their lives. many of them have lost limbs while removing the mines. many of them have lost eye sights. these disabilities restrict their job opportunity in the civil world. soldiers with disabilities solely depend on their pension/ pay. with growing inflation how will they live their lives. many of them have families. old parents children.

    as a proud wife of a truly brave soldier who lost his limbs while removing the mines at a very young age feel sad and also angry .I dont want my children to join the army in our country because they are not respected, they are not given their dues . it is true that soldiers and God is remembered only in hard times.

  26. Pakistan claims that india develop secretly Nuclear City


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