Friday, November 2, 2012

Ex-servicemen status for retd paramilitary troops

In the run up to Himachal Pradesh assembly and an eye on 2014 parliamentary polls, the government has decided to extend ex-servicemen benefits to retired central paramilitary personnel. The move will please 17 lakh serving and retired personnel from the forces, who were treated like any other government employee. 
The Cabinet on Thursday passed a proposal moved by the home ministry to declare retired personnel from Central Armed Police Force(CAPF) as "ex-central police personnel" and extend them several benefits that ex-servicemen from the armed forces get. 

Like former servicemen, now the retired paramilitary forces personnel will get quota in jobs, higher education for their wards and attendant medical benefits. However, they won't be eligible for certain Central government benefits such as preferential allotment of petrol pumps and gas agency as the Centre has put financial burden of the development entirely on states. 

They will also not share the quota of ex-servicemen from defence forces, but have separate reservations as decided by different states. 

The move has come at a time when Himachal Pradesh, which sends a large number of its men to various forces, is facing elections. And with general elections only a year and a half away, the policy decision will bring cheer to over seven lakh retired paramilitary personnel across the country apart from nine lakh serving in various forces such as CRPF, BSF, SSB, ITBP and CISF. 

The government also hopes the move will help bring attrition in the forces down. Around 44,000 personnel have resigned from paramilitary forces since 2009 due to stressful conditions of work and lack of medical benefits. 

Though the proposal for these benefits was made in 2010 itself, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced its passing by the Cabinet in quite a dramatic fashion. While attending a CRPF function on Thursday morning, he said, "I am moving a proposal in the Cabinet to grant retired paramilitary personnel the status of ex-servicemen. Paramilitary personnel, like defence forces, put their life at stake in the line of duty and there is no problem in granting them this honour." 

Four hours later, at function organized by CISF, the minister said, "I had announced at the CRPF function about granting ex-servicemen status to retired paramilitary men. After that I went to attend the Cabinet meeting and the Cabinet approved the proposal. These personnel will be called as 'ex-central police personnel' on the same footing as ex-servicemen in the defence forces." 
The forces, in particular their retired personnel, have a mixed reaction. P S Nair, general secretary of All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, said, "We have been struggling for this for the past several years. We are happy it has come now. It will make us eligible for 60-65 benefits given to ex-servicemen by states. However, this is not enough. We also want one-rank-one-pension like the Army. We are doing a gherao of the CGO Complex on November 21 to press for our demands." 

Source : Times of India

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