pri Response of Armed Forces on issue of taxability of disability pension Response of Armed Forces on issue of taxability of disability pension

1. Some veterans have highlighted the case of Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (Retired) to express resentment against the recent directive to not allow tax exemption for disability pension.

2. Disability is granted to personnel who are disabled in combat or, during peace time and their disability is attributable to service conditions. The latter have some how exploited the weakness in the mechanism, for grant of disability pension and along with the tax exemption.

3. Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (Retd) as a young Major became a casualty in 1971 in Bangladesh The officer amputed his leg with his Khukri to prevent setting of gangrene, before he could be evacuated out of the war zone. He, thus displayed courage of exemplary order.

4. The General officer in spite of his disability, has never in his service career in the Army sought shelter for disability and continued to serve in the Army with complete dedication and rose to the rank of Major General. His disability notwithstanding he always participated in all activities, his soldiers were expected to perform including physical activities. He finally superannuated in the year 1993. The General officer was provided all support including medical assistance for his disability and continues to be supported by the Army post his retirement. There are many other officers like General Cardozo, who have been severely injured in combat and have continued to serve in the Army, with dignity and grace, never taking shelter in their postings or appointments because of their disabilities. Some have even risen to rank of Army Commanders.

5. Unfortunately, some veterans feel that the courage and valour displayed by soldiers wounded in battle, should be compensated for their courage by mere financial remuneration. Such remuneration alone cannot compensate for their disabilities. The service must continue to provide them necessary support, through their career in the Army and post their superannuation. This aspect is being exploited by those unscrupulous personnel, who have gained from disability benefits provided by the Govt to disabled soldiers. The Army is concerned about all the personnel who because of their disability are boarded out of service and therefore need additional financial support. Any soldier with disabilities that are due to combat conditions or otherwise, need to be cared for, irrespective of the situation in which they have been physically disabled. There should be NO segregation amongst genuinely disabled personnel. At the same time, those who have found the leverages in the existing system for seeking financial gains through their disabilities, need to be scrutinised and taken to task, where ever necessitated.

6. The broad banding and higher compensation awarded for disability with tax exemption has over the years led to rise in personnel seeking disability, even for life style diseases. The trend, if not checked at this stage, is a cause for worry, as Army cannot have large number of personnel with medical disabilities in the rank and file, when the security challenge to the Nation are on the rise.


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July 2021