Seriously, what is wrong with the Defence Ministry? What according to them is the worth of a fauji in this country?
As most readers would know, earlier there used to be a system of colour-reserve scheme of service wherein a person used to serve for a few years in colours (continuous physical service) and then reserves when he was free to follow any vocation but could be mobilised in times of an emergency.
According to the applicable rules, such personnel became entitled to ‘Reservist Pension’ after 15 years of combined colour and reserve service, irrespective of the length of colour service rendered.
Prior to the year 1968, although reservists were entitled to reservist pension on completion of minimum 15 years of combined colour and reserve service, an option was given to them by the govt to either opt for reservist pension which amounted to a few rupees per month OR for a one-time lumpsum gratuity amounting to a few hundred rupees. Despite being entitled for life-long pension under the rules, many of these reservists were encouraged to opt for lumpsum gratuity after which a certificate was taken from them that they shall forfeit the right to reservist pension.
Since such reservists realised much later in the day that they had in fact been cheated of their life-long pension in accordance with the rules since they had completed the minimum qualifying service for reservist pension, they took up a case with the Govt to undo the wrong. The Army HQ also supported the move strongly, and ultimately, in the year 2000, the Govt agreed to grant such reservists a monthly ex-gratia allowance at the rate of Rs 600 per month for such reservists who had completed their pensionable service but had only been released the one-time lumpsum gratuity but not reservist pension. In fact, before this was done, the Govt had already sanctioned an amount of Rs 605/- per month for the families of such reservists who had opted for the one-time amount and had subsequently passed away.
Since the amount of Rs 600 was initiated during the currency of the 5th Central Pay Commission when the minimum pension under the Govt was Rs 1275, many organisations again took up the case after the 6th Central Pay Commission to raise the amount to a logical figure with effect from 01 January 2006 and at least to the rate at which the minimum pension is grated to any govt employee.
Lo and behold, the Defence Ministry has agreed to the representations.
But what should shock your conscience is this:
The Defence Ministry, in the name of the President of India, has now increased the amount of the monthly ex-gratia and monthly family ex-gratia to the following rates with effect from 04 June 2013:
Monthly ex-gratia to reservists : Rs 750/- per month (Raised from Rs 600/- admissible earlier)
Monthly ex-gratia to families of deceased reservists: Rs 645/- per month (Raised from Rs 605/- admissible earlier)
In this time and age, do you think an old reservist who had been tacitly cheated of his pension in the 1950s and 1960s, could survive with a basic amount of Rs 750/- per month?
This is the value of a fauji in this country.
And by the way, the minimum amount of even compulsory retirement pension on the civil side is Rs 3500/- per month plus dearness relief.
Even proper Reservist Pension for reservists who did not opt for the one-time ‘lumpsum gratuity’ stands at Rs 3500/- per month plus dearness relief.
What else can one say except….Jai Hind!