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Military fraternity miffed at proposed retirement age increase, pensions cuts

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The proposals of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat to increase the retirement age of officers and cut down the pension of officers opting for Pre-Mature Retirement (PMR) has drawn sharp responses from the military fraternity, both serving and retired.

“The move has no legal standing. The DMA has no jurisdiction over pensions,” said a former Defence Ministry official with knowledge of the matter. “There will be legal challenges”, he stated.

These decisions have to come through Group of Ministers, Union Cabinet and pay commissions after wider consultations, he noted.

The office of Secretary DMA issued a letter dated October 29 proposing an increase in the age of retirement for various ranks, for Colonels from existing 54 to 57, for Brigadiers from 56 to 58 and for Major Generals from 58 to 59. The same is applicable to equivalent ranks in other Services.

Defence circles and social media were abuzz with concerns and questions on the proposed move. “There is shortage of officers in the lower ranks, which this move will not address. In addition this will cause stagnation in the higher ranks too,” a senior serving officer said on condition of anonymity.

“If people who have no growth prospects want to go, they must be let go. Otherwise there is no motivation. The moment this PMR clause is put in, they wont leave,” said a second officer.

Greater heartburn

The proposed cuts in pensions for PMR have caused greater heartburn across the fraternity. As per Service rules, anyone who completes 20 years of service is entitled to full pension. The proposed move went against that, said the second officer. A third officer questioned as to why there was no proposal to extend the retirement age of Lieutenant Generals from present 60 to 61.

The DMA has proposed to “review” the pension entitlements for those opting PMR in four slabs. For 20-25 years of Service - 50% of entitled pension; for 26-30 years of service - 60% of entitled pension, for 31-35 years of service - 75% of entitled pension and full pension for 35 years and above service.

The age of retirement of Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and Other Ranks (OR) in Logistics, Technical and Medical branches is also proposed to be increased to 57 years to retain skilled personnel.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:45:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/military-fraternity-miffed-at-proposed-retirement-age-increase-pensions-cuts/article33031542.ece

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