Protesting war veterans return nine cartons of gallantry medals

December 9th, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) War veterans and ex-servicemen have returned nine cartons of gallantry medals to the defence ministry as a sign of protest against their demand of “one rank one pension” not being accepted, union Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday.
“Nine cardboard boxes full of medals have been received, in protest against non-acceptance of their demands of ‘One Rank One Pension’,” Antony told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The main demand of the armed forces veterans, who returned their medals either won in combat or for distinguished service during peace time, is that irrespective of the date on which a soldier retires, he or she should get the same pension.

An army sepoy who retired before 1996 gets a monthly pension of Rs.3,670. But one who retired between 1996 and December 2005 gets Rs.4,680. A sepoy who retired after January 2006 gets Rs.8,700.

Effectively then, an army havildar, who retired earlier, gets pension money that is less than that of a sepoy retiring after January 2006 though the havildar enjoys a higher rank. The mismatch applies to all ranks.

“Although the ‘one rank one pension’ demand has not been accepted, keeping in view the spirit of the matter, the Committee constituted has recommended substantial improvement in pension of PBOR (personnel below officers rank) pensioners of pre January 1, 2006 and bring pre Oct 10, 1997 pensioners on par with post Oct 10, 1997 pensioners,” Antony added.

The government has rejected the ‘one rank one pension’ demand on grounds that it will entail huge financial costs.

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