Exemption of Income Tax
The entire compensatory financial package to the war disabled must be exempt from income tax. This must include all ex-gratia payments, both the service and war injury elements of the pension, Constant Attendance Allowance and other allowances. Exemption of income tax should also be applicable to those retained in service and drawing pay, instead of pension. As has been highlighted earlier, except the ex-gratia payment, all other pay & allowances must be counted towards enhancements on account of dearness allowance.
Rationalisation of Categories
There are at present many categories of war disabled personnel, like those boarded out on medical grounds, those seeking voluntary retirement, those retiring after completing pensionable service, and those who retire on superannuation. These are unnecessary and need to be rationalised by having only one set of rules for all categories. It needs to be appreciated that the disability of the war disabled person remains the same, irrespective of when he leaves service.
The message that needs to go to all ranks is that both NOK of martyrs and war disabled personnel will be adequately compensated for their sacrifices on the battlefield. Sadly, this aspect is completely lacking in the present dispensations for the war disabled. Even the little that is granted as compensation for limbs and organs left on the battlefield is couched in ifs and buts of bureaucratise and the penchant of our financial mandarins and accountants, to obfuscate issues in language which even officers, not to speak of soldiers, find difficult to decipher.
Other Disabled Personnel
Notwithstanding the above, it must also be stated that cases of personnel disabled on account of other reasons also need to be viewed with utmost sympathy and care. It would be fair and reasonable if the compensation between war-disabled and those disabled on account of other causes is in the ratio of three to one in all respects.
It would be fair and reasonable if the compensation between war-disabled and those disabled on account of other causes is in the ratio of three to one in all respects.
Summary of Recommendations
The following recommendations have been made in this paper, which need to be considered by the Sixth Central Pay Commission: –
- Ex-gratia payment to all war disabled personnel at the same rates as paid to NOK of martyrs, in accordance with their percentage of disability, assessed by the first post-disability medical board. No distinction between those retained in service and those boarded out.
- War Injury Pension at the rate of last pay drawn, including dearness allowance, subject to not being less than the salary of a Havildar in the case of Other Ranks, not less than the salary of a Subedar Major in the case of JCO’s; and not less than the salary of a Colonel in the case of officers, for 100 percent disability.
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the rate of 25 percent of total pension or Rs. 6,000.00, whichever is more.
- Need to rationalise categories by having only one category for all war disabled personnel.
It is essential that they are compensated fully for their sacrifices in the service of the nation and not merely given token relief as is the norm now.
- Special War Disabled Conveyance Allowance for all war disabled personnel at the rate of 25 percent of pay or total pension.
- Exemption of income tax on entire financial package.
- Ratio of compensatory package between war disabled and other disabled personnel must be three to one.
The plight of war disabled personnel has neither been appreciated nor recognised till now. They need to be considered at par with those officers and soldiers who lay their lives in the service of the nation. The compensatory package for the war disabled must take into account the years and decades ahead of them as disabled persons, the adverse psychological impact of their disabilities, the need to ensure that they lead an honourable life and the dire need of sending a message to the environment that the Government will ensure that adequate monetary compensation is paid, not only to the NOK of our martyrs, but also to those officers and jawans who lose their limbs and vital organs in war and warlike situations. It is essential that they are compensated fully for their sacrifices in the service of the nation and not merely given token relief as is the norm now.