NEW DELHI: Steering the pressure of the soldiers away from Finance Ministry which got generated after the CBDT notification on making disability pension of soldiers taxable, Nirmala Sitharaman has brought out the response from the forces which not only expressed worry on the rise in the trend of soldiers seeking disability pension but also said that this should be stopped now.
Putting a two page recommendation letter on her Twitter handle, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs brought out that it was the Armed Force which had responded on the matter pointing, “The trend, if not checked at this stage, is a cause of worry, as Army cannot have a large number of personnel with medical disabilities in the rank and file, when the security challenges to the nation are on the rise.”
The response highlights the misuse saying, “The broad banding and higher compensation awarded for disability tax exemption has over the years led to rising in personnel seeking disability, even for lifestyle diseases.”
The Armed Forces in their response have mentioned that there should be no segregation amongst genuinely disabled personnel, “At the same time those who have found the leverages in the existing system for seeking financial gains through their disabilities, need to be scrutinized and taken to task, where ever necessitated.”
The ex-servicemen and serving soldiers were miffed at the 24 March Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular saying tax exemption for disability pension will be “available only to armed forces personnel who have been invalidated from service on account of bodily disability attributable to or aggravated by such service and not to personnel who have been retired on superannuation or otherwise”.
There are nearly 25 lakh veterans. Many soldiers who have served their full tenure including chiefs get a disability pension. Rs 1,12,080 crore has been allocated for pension in the current fiscal.