“Despite critical finances, government is sympathetic towards armed forces”

Even as ex-servicemen have voiced dissatisfaction over the UPA government’s Rs. 2,300-crore package for pensioners, saying it has fallen short of their expectations, sources in the Defence Ministry maintain that “One Rank, One Pension” is a continuing process.

In a bid to blunt criticism, a senior official on Wednesday said the government’s package, despite the critical finances of the country, “is indicative of its sympathetic attitude towards personnel of the armed forces.”

Aim to cover gap in phased manner

The sources said the overall aim of the package was to cover the gap in a phased manner. It was the third time the government increased pensions of ex-servicemen after the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations had been implemented in 2008. “Every ex-serviceman has benefitted from this latest exercise, which has several measures aimed at enhancing the pension of pre-2006 persons below other ranks (PBORs) pensioners and family pensioners.” This would benefit about 13 lakh pensioners, the total cost entailed being Rs. 1,400 crore.

9.7% to 13% rise

On implementation, the sources said, the PBORs would get a raise ranging from 9.7 to 13 per cent over the existing pension, and Commissioned Officers would get an increase ranging from 10 to 28 per cent.

As a result, the basic pension of a sepoy in group ‘Y’ with 17 years of service would increase by about Rs. 500 a month, of a Naik with 22 years of service by about Rs. 550 and of a Havaldar in Group ‘Y’ with 24 years of service by about Rs. 800, the sources explained. Dearness relief would be payable in addition.

Raise for Commissioned Officers

For Commissioned Officers, the increase would range from Rs. 565 to Rs. 3,741 a month depending on the rank. It would range from Rs. 1,500 for Captains to Rs. 3,650 for Major-Generals. These benefits, the sources said, would be in addition to what already accrued to them after implementation of the 2005 order and increase in pension on account of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations with reference to a change in the pay band of a Lieutenant Colonel to pay band 4.

Family pensioners would also benefit by an increase of Rs. 242-2,500 depending on their existing pension.

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