Antony fiat to finetune pension payouts
By N C Bipindra | ENS | Published: 06th December 2012 08:55 AM |
Union Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday instructed the Ex-servicemen Welfare Department(EWD) to pay half of the mandatory pension to personnel immediately after retirement, relating to their disability benefits.
The 2012-13 pension payout of the defence forces work out to over Rs 40,000 crore, which is part of the civil estimates for the Defence Ministry, over and above the Rs 1.94 lakh crore budgetary estimates.
The move came two weeks after Lance Naik Surender Singh, a National Security Guard (NSG) commando who fought terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, claimed at a press conference with Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal that he failed to get his dues from the government, including disability benefits, for hearing loss suffered during Operation Black Tornado.
Antony also directed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials to implement the recommendations of a committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth with regard to defence personnel before the end of this fiscal.
The Union Cabinet had approved the allocation of `2,300 crore annually to fix the anomalies in the pay and pension of 13-lakh strong defence personnel, 20 lakh ex-servicemen and another 4 lakh military widows.
Presently, the government is awaiting Finance Ministry approvals for implementing the decision.
Antony carried out a comprehensive review of the pension benefits to physically-challenged soldiers and heard out from department officials the issues plaguing the pension payout system to the nearly 24 lakh military pensioners, apart from those who suffered disability during service. About 50,000 defence personnel retire from service annually.
“The Defence Minister has directed the department to disburse 50 per cent of the provisional pension, pending paper work for disability pension. The arrears, as calculated after all paper work is completed, could be paid later,” MoD officials said after the review meeting. Earlier, only personnel suffering from tuberculosis and leprosy had this facility.
“The Minister said that orders would be issued by the end of this month on implementing the Cabinet decision. The disbursal of the enhanced pension will begin before the end of this fiscal,” the officials said.
In the case of war casualty and invalid personnel, who retired from service early, the department officials and officers from the Army and the Navy have been asked to keep a tab on the progress in the paper work through an online system everyday, as followed by the Air Force.
Those personnel who retired due to disability or war injury would be instructed to submit the medical papers to avoid delay. Antony also asked for “assigning” responsibility to officers for “personal intervention” in case prescribed time lines for clearing pension claims were not being met.