`Fake nationalism’: Congress lambasts BJP, MoD for challenging relief to disabled soldiers

Col (Retd) Rohit Chaudhry demanded withdraw of all cases challenging relief to disabled soldiers, hits out at BJP

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  1 March 2024 3:21 AM GMT
`Fake nationalism’: Congress lambasts BJP, MoD for challenging relief to disabled soldiers

NEW DELHI, February 29: Congress today flagged the callous attitude of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in challenging the relief provided to disabled soldiers by the Armed Forces Tribunals (AFTs).

The party accused the BJP government of fake nationalism and demanded immediate withdrawal of cases challenging the tribunals' decisions passed in favor of disabled soldiers.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here today, Chairman of the Congress Ex-Servicemen Department Col (Retd) Rohit Chaudhry raised pressing concerns of ex-servicemen and their families.

He disclosed that about 3,000 cases were pending in various high courts and the Supreme Court of India, wherein the defence ministry had challenged the relief granted to disabled soldiers by the Armed Forces Tribunal.

He observed that nothing could be more callous than how this government was treating its soldiers who had been disabled while serving the country.

He also referred to the new policy which will govern the award of casualty pension and disability compensation to the deceased and disabled soldiers which was issued by the Modi govt in 2023. The new policy has stopped the disability pension of disabled soldiers. He said, now the government had named the disability pension as “impairment relief” and had made it taxable while the disability pension was exempted from the income tax.

Besides, the government has decided that the “impairment relief” will be stopped after the demise of the disabled Ex-Serviceman. The disability pension comprises two components i.e. service and disability elements. Earlier, only 40 percent of pension was reduced from the two combined elements to make it a family pension of the disabled soldier after the demise of the Ex-Servicemen. Now the disability element will be cut by 100 percent and the service element will be cut by 40 percent to decide the amount of family pension. He disclosed that total expenditure on disability pension was Rs 4,000 crores only which the Modi government was refusing to allocate while it easily waived off Rs 14 lakh crores of corporate loans.

Col Chaudhry also questioned the Prime Minister’s lies about the one rank one pension. He said that while the total allocation for the OROP till now was Rs 23,000 crores, Modi once said in October 2023 in Jhunjhunu during Rajasthan elections that the government had spent Rs 70,000 crores on OROP and a few days ago while speaking at a rally in Rewari on 16 February 2024, the Prime Minister claimed that one lakh crores had been spent on the OROP. It is not understood how Rs 30,000 crore has been added within 3 months. It means that the Modi govt is fooling the nation by quoting different at different times from 2015 to 2024 which raises huge discontent among the defence community about the credibility of the Prime Minister's public utterances.

He said, the BJP government had caused discrepancies in the OROP scheme and the retired JCOs were getting Rs 12,500 less pension every month.

The AICC Ex-Servicemen department Chairman also referred to the denial of medical facilities to lakhs of Ex-Servicemen as the government had failed to make payments to the empanelled hospitals because of poor budget planning and inadequate funds allocated to Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) which requires approx 10,000 crores whereas only 4700 crores payments have been done to the hospitals. In the absence of non-payments, old and ill Ex-Servicemen are facing acute difficulties.

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