Ex-Servicemen on Thursday lamented that their long standing demand of “one rank one pension” remained unfulfilled, forcing several retired soldiers to return their medals to the government as a mark of protest.
According to the Defence Ministry, nine cardboard boxes full of medals were received.
In December, ex-Servicemen submitted a memorandum to both the Prime Minister and Defence Minister for equal pension for the same rank having equal number of service years irrespective of the date of retirement.
“The contention of the government - that “one rank one pension’ has not been recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission as such and could not be granted - is totally absurd, as the government has the supreme power to amend/alter/modify the recommendations of the Pay Commission, which has been done in other aspects by the government in the recent Pay Commission,” Warrant Officer (Retired) P.R. Balathilakan, coordinator for the movement, said in a press release.
He said ex-Servicemen were asking that all those who retired before January 1, 2006 be given pension equal to their counterparts, who retired after that date. For instance, after having served 15 years, a sepoy who retired before January 1, 2006, was getting Rs.3,500 as pension, against his counterpart with same number of years in service, who got Rs.6,800.
“So the difference is pinching the heart and soul of every sepoy…the government should and must rectify this mistake,” he said. He thanked the Prime Minster for assuring some improvement closer to “one rank one pension’ and hoped of its early implementation.