BJP manifesto promises better pay, privileges for armed forcesApril 3rd, 2009 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Hoping to woo the armed forces, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday announced a slew of benefits for them, including exemption from income tax, in its election manifesto.
The party promised to resolve issues pertaining to the Sixth Pay Commission - armed forces personnel have said they have been shortchanged by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and have been placed lower than their colleagues in the civil services.
“Our forces are performing a service to the nation and deserve better pay and privileges,” said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
He said the BJP was committed to revisiting the pending issues of pay and privileges. Besides, “the modalities for setting up a separate pay commission for the forces will be expedited, all personnel of the army, air force and navy, as also paramilitary forces, will be exempted from paying income tax on their salaries and perquisites”.
Incentives will also be offered to state governments for “ensuring honourable settlement of retired personnel of the defence services”, Prasad added.
Highlighting welfare proposals for the armed forces, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani said: “We have thought about the welfare of the soldiers so elaborately that nobody has ever tried to even think in that direction. Principle of ‘one rank and one pension’ will be implemented.”
He said the party proposed to increase tenfold the honorariums for those given gallantry awards of “abysmally low” sums from Rs.500 to Rs.3,000.
The increase will be with retrospective effect.
Underlining the need for the modernisation of the armed forces, the BJP said in its manifesto that long pending acquisitions of military hardware would be expedited in a timebound manner and budget allocations for defence forces would not be allowed to lapse.
The party also promised to toe a tough line to deal with terrorism and strengthen the internal and external security of the country and assured that “fear shall no longer stalk this land”.
“We will deal with terrorists, whether inside or outside the country, stringently. A strong law like POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) will be enacted and coastal security will be strengthened. The fencing of Indo-Bangladesh border which was on the backburner will be taken up earnestly. The Chhattisgarh model of fighting Naxalism will be replicated across the country,” said Prasad.
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