The proposals to enhance retirement age and reduce pensions of personnel seeking premature retirement were aimed at the welfare of the frontline combat soldiers, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Friday.
The seniormost defence officer in the country said with these proposals, only those personnel are unhappy who are technically qualified and want to seek opportunities outside taking retirement with full pension.
"We are, however, more concerned about the well-being of the competent frontline soldiers who face the real hardships and on whose courage and valour, we all seem to be basking in glory," General Rawat told ANI on the new proposals initiated by the Department of Military Affairs under him.
The proposals to increase the retirement age of both officers and jawans and reduction in pension entitlements of personnel seeking premature retirement have come under criticism from some quarters within the veterans' community after a document with details of the proposal was leaked on social media earlier this week.
General Rawat said the frontline combatant soldier spends his entire youth and early years of service in places like Siachen, Drass, Tawang, Gurez and Sikkim borders and mostly stay away from their families and during their peace tenures also, they are mostly tasked to do internal security or state government assistance tasks.
He said the combatant soldier when forced to leave service at a relatively young age after 17 years of service, gets around Rs 18,000 per month and has to look after his family, children's education and accommodation.
"Hence, he and his wife are out looking for second employment to ensure decent living and sometimes, even picks up a menial job. One way to get better emoluments is to get disability benefits. Should we encourage this type of behaviour," the CDS said.
He said by extending the ages of the retirement of services and some other like the Corps of Military Police and clerical staff, "we should be able to care for combatants by lateral absorption into the services after they have done their hard tenures."
"We cannot send them out of service with a family and young children still in school to fend with a meagre pension," the CDS said.
On the issue of extending service tenure of officers, the CDS said Colonels retire at 54 and then seek reemployment to serve till age of 58 and they have to be employed in a lower status.
"Is this a good way of extending service or should we not allow them to serve longer with respect for the rank," Gen Arafat said.
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