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Problem isn’t taxing disability pension of Armed forces, but demonising disability

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Dear All,

It is Indeed Rather Ironic and Regretful,that the Army commemorated 2018 as the ‘Year of the Disabled in the Line of Duty’, which include both war disabled and other disabled personnel...And in the Year 2019 , the same Army, Comes out "Hammer and Tongs" Against, its own Veterans both the war disabled and the  other disabled personnel...

I would like to post a link on what Maj Navdeep Singh and Ratna Viswantahan have to say on the subject,recently.

..https://theprint.in/opinion/the-problem-isnt-modi-govt-taxing-disability-pension-but-demonising-those-with-disability/260385/

Navdeep Singh is an Advocate at the Punjab & Haryana High Court, and writes on public policy, military and legal issues. Ratna Viswanathan is a former civil servant who has served in the defence ministry. Views are personal.

To quote them-Some Extracts " 

The circular in question from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) under the Ministry of Finance, mentions that tax exemption to disability pensioners would not be applicable to disabled personnel who retired on superannuation, but only to those who prematurely boarded out.

While the circular is counter-intuitive and may go against the spirit of established conditions of service for armed forces personnel, we are in no way questioning the sovereign right of the government to levy taxes. The moot point here is not the exemption but an unsigned note circulated from official handles, demonising military disability and branding pensioners as ‘unscrupulous’ and exploiters.

In any event, these disability benefits are either released by the government or on judicial directions, and to call them “unscrupulous” is both disrespectful and imminently imprudent.

Stressors in the military are universally on the rise and this is a reality the military has to deal with. The US military (which follows a six-monthly tour of operational areas for individual soldiers as compared to 24 to 36 months in our case) reported an increase of disability pensioners by 117 per cent from 1990 to date, and currently pays disability benefits to 4.75 million retirees. On the other hand, the number of such beneficiaries in India, with almost an equal strength of standing Army, is less than 0.2 million.

If there is a concern that soldiers and officers disclose their disabilities at a later stage in their career and hide them, this is a reflection of the lack of tolerance in policy. Disclosure leads to being categorised as unfit, and ironically, this leads to less than fit soldiers in the military, which benefits nobody. It is a classic Catch-22 situation – if they disclose disabilities during the earlier part of their career, they are labelled as weak or boarded out; if they do so later when the disability gets accentuated, they are told that they are doing it to claim benefits. The problem is not with the disabilities, the problem is with the policies and the overall attitude.

By vilifying disabled military personnel, we are neither doing them nor ourselves as a country, any favour. It is well known that perception equals reality and if all of us, civil society as well as the establishment, turn around and trounce those who need to be cared for, it is indeed a sad state of affairs. Our disabled personnel need to be supported and treated with dignity and respect.

Please Read the Full Article by clicking on the Link

Regards,

A Sunder Rajan

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