As discussed in this earlier blog titled ‘A tale of two departments’, while the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ welfare (DoPPW) continues to push for pensionary reforms on the civil side, just the opposite can be said about the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare which views defence pensioners as its adversaries.
The DoPPW continues to take the views of all stakeholders before issuing fresh policies and for removing the anomalies in existing policies. The meetings between employee/pensioner organizations and the staff side are routinely followed up by Action Taken Reports (ATRs), a latest example of which can be viewed by clicking here, and the parleys between various stakeholders is also a continuous process.
On the defence side, while it is understandable that serving defence personnel cannot directly agitate their grievances due to the prohibition of unionism, what stops the Defence Ministry to have a similar recognised official mechanism for veterans and their families?
It’s the worst irony of our times that the department of ex-servicemen welfare, which is supposed to look after the interests of ex-servicemen, itself becomes their sworn enemy by filing mindless appeals against favourable verdicts rendered for veterans by courts and tribunals and also by stonewalling and opposing every single progressive move initiated by the Services HQ or veteran organizations. To sample this animosity, I would not be off mark when I say that 90% of appeals filed by the MoD in the Supreme Court are against disabled soldiers. Sad.