The office of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday released an army statement that disability pensions for armed forces personnel have been taxed due to the increase in the number of people seeking disability, even for diseases related to lifestyle, and that this has led to the operation of the mechanism in place. The statement added that the interests of the soldiers were its top priority.
Some Twitter users noted that the military statement was not released by the Department of Defense, but by the Department of Finance. Nirmala Sitharaman was Minister of Defense until May, when the ruling Bharatiya Janata party was re-elected.
“Broadband and higher disability compensation with tax exemption have over the years led staff to seek disability, even for lifestyle-related illnesses,” the military statement said. “The trend, if not verified at this point, is cause for concern, as the military cannot have large numbers of personnel with medical disabilities on the base, while the challenge of security for the nation is on the rise. “
Members of the armed forces who suffer from any disability as a result of their service receive a separate disability pension. On June 24, however, the Central Council of Direct Taxes issued a circular stating that the disability pension would be taxable. The circular indicated that the tax exemption would continue to be available to those who are “disabled” out of service due to a physical incapacity that has arisen due to or aggravated by their length of service. But he said the tax exemption will not be available to disabled staff who retire after a full period of service.
The matter attracted more attention when Major General Ian Cardozo, who had lost his legs during the 1971 war and remained in service, expressed resentment at the circular. “The general officer, despite his disability, has never, during his military career, sought refuge for disability and continued to serve in the army with total dedication and reached the rank of major general” , said the military. He said Cardozo has received all the assistance he needs and is supported by the military even after his retirement.
“Unfortunately, some veterans believe that the courage and bravery displayed by wounded soldiers in combat should be compensated for their courage by simple financial compensation,” the circular added. “Such remuneration alone cannot compensate for their handicap. “
“This aspect is exploited by these unscrupulous personnel, who have benefited from disability benefits provided by the government to disabled soldiers,” the circular added. “The military is concerned about all personnel who, due to their disabilities, are taken out of service and therefore need additional financial support.”
“At the same time, those who have found levers in the existing system to seek financial gains through their disability, must be examined and taken to task, whenever necessary,” he said in his statement. conclusion.
On June 28, the opposition discussed the issue in Lok Sabha. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said the government will review new changes to the disability pension.
Veterans of the armed forces said the move took place on recommendations from the Army, Indian Air Force and Navy, according to Economic times.
“There is a lot of acrimony over retirement from IT [income tax] Exemption for disabled staff, ”said Commodore Sudheer Parakala (retired) Economic times. “I came back from London and checked with the FM [finance minister] if it was done by his ministry. It is specified that this was done on the recommendations of the service HQ [headquarters] and not initiated by his ministry ”.