Modi govt flaunts ‘fake nationalism’, betrays Armed Forces by ‘stealing’ away pension, alleges Congress

The Congress on Friday alleged that the Modi government was denting the morale of army officers by ‘snatching away’ their pension

 Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
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NH Web Desk

The Congress on Friday alleged that the Modi government was denting the morale of army officers by 'snatching away' their pension.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "The Modi government has become the first regime in history to steal the pension and alternate career choice after the active service of those officers who protect our motherland. A letter circulated by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the office of the CDS has sought suggestions for the same."

The Congress general secretary said while the Modi government is habitual of seeking votes on the sacrifice of brave soldiers and on "fake nationalism", it has become the first regime in the country's history to "steal the pension" and alternate career choice of those officers who protect our motherland.

"This Diwali, PM Modi exhorted the nation to light a diya for our soldiers, but has ensured darkness in their lives by attempting to reduce their pension by half. If this is not BJP's 'fake nationalism', then what is it," he asked.

"The Modi government's fresh attack on the forces has exposed the anti-army face of the 'fake nationalists'," he alleged.

Surjewala said, "According to the Modi government's new proposal, only those officers who have spent more than 35 years in the Armed Forces service shall be entitled to a 'Full Pension'. But reality is, 90 per cent of the army officers retire before 35 years of service. In such a situation, the Modi government is hatching a conspiracy to deny 90 percent of the army officers their full pension."

The Congress said at the time of recruitment in the military, every officer in the Indian Military Academy has to compulsorily sign a 20-year mandatory service bond. An officer after 20 years of service, presently gets 50 per cent of the last drawn salary as pension, but the Modi government's new proposal is snatching away 50 per cent of that.

The Congress also cited the internal memo for 'the reconsideration of the pension in the Armed Forces'. Surjewala said, "For instance, if an officer gets Rs one lakh as their last drawn salary, presently he will get Rs 50,000 as pension. But BJP's new proposal shall only give the officer Rs 25,000. Only an anti-army Modi government can indulge in such ruthless brazenness to deduct half the pension of the officers serving the country and insult their valour and sacrifice."

"The terms of service of the military officers also cannot be modified with 'back date'. When 20 years of compulsory service and full pension after 20 years has been prescribed for retirement, then how can the Modi government revise all those conditions of service? This will only lower the morale of our Armed Forces," said Surjewala.

"How can the government change the service condition and modify the terms of service of military officers with 'back date'," he asked.

Surjewala also alleged the government is not serving the interests of the armed forces, as it did not implement 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP), withdrew the much deserved 'Non Functional Utility' (NFU) benefits and did not provide full protective gear to armed forces on the borders.

He alleged that the government has also shelved a special regiment -- Mountain Strike Corps -- along the China border with 70,000 additional soldiers, citing lack of money.

The Congress leader said there is already a shortage of 9,427 officers in all the three Armed Services of India. The figures available for June 2019 show that there is a shortage of 7,399 officers in the Army, 1,545 in the Navy and 483 in the Air Force.

The party said in the Armed Forces on an average 65 per cent of the army officers are limited to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Only 35 per cent officers can aspire to reach the post of Colonel or above.

With input from agencies

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