Monday, Feb 17, 2020 | Last Update : 06:23 AM IST

Army: New norms to curb misuse of disability pension

THE ASIAN AGE. | PAWAN BALI
Published : Nov 1, 2019, 1:03 am IST
Updated : Nov 1, 2019, 7:05 am IST

The Indian Army is also planning to remove the current practice of assigning “percentage of disability” while officers are in service.

Anyone suffering from 30 per cent and above disability is eligible to get disability pension, which is over and above the service pension that all Army personnel are eligible for.   (Representational Image)
 Anyone suffering from 30 per cent and above disability is eligible to get disability pension, which is over and above the service pension that all Army personnel are eligible for. (Representational Image)

New Delhi: In a move aimed at discouraging Army officers from claiming the disability pension, the Indian Army is planning to make it mandatory for officers below Brigadier level to get a medical certificate from “command hospitals” before retirement. Seniors will have to get their medical done from a military hospital.

The Army has also submitted a proposal to the government that disability pension for Army personnel should be exempt from income tax only up to a fixed limit. Anything beyond that limit must be taxed.

These measures are being taken to prevent misuse of the provision of disability pension. There have been instances when officers, just before retirement, have claimed to be suffering from disability due to service conditions. This puts pressure on the defence budget, and other critical functions suffer due to the lack of funds.

Anyone suffering from 30 per cent and above disability is eligible to get disability pension, which is over and above the service pension that all Army personnel are eligible for. Those who suffer 100 per cent disability get extra disability pension (apart from service pension), which is 30 per cent of the last salary drawn. For lesser disability, the amount reduces proportionately.

“Every month out of 70-80 officers who retire, 35 per cent are in medical category. Out of these 35 per cent, some 50-60 per cent are successful in getting disability pension,” sources said.

“Any officer from Brigadier level and above who is in shape can get his medical done from any military hospital. But others with medical problems will have to get it done at the Command Hospitals (which are located under each of the seven army commands). Those who are posted in Delhi will have to do it in the Armed Forces Clinic in Delhi,” an Army official said.  

He added that this has already been implemented for officers of the rank of major general and above.

In June this year the finance ministry had said that income tax exemption on disability pension would be available only for those Army personnel who have been “invalidated” from service due to disability. However, defence minister Rajnath Singh had said that the government will look into the finance ministry’s circular.

The Indian Army is also planning to remove the current practice of assigning “percentage of disability” while officers are in service.

“It is only on retirement that the Army officer will be told whether he has 20 per cent disability or 30 per cent,” a senior official said.

“This is because when an Army officers is designated to have 30 per cent disability while in service, it becomes difficult to reassign the disability percentage later on to 20 or 10 per cent if the same officer recovers after treatment. He can go to court to claim that I was 30 per cent disabled and now wrongly put in 20 per cent,” said the officer.

Tags: indian army, disability pension