1971 War Hero Criticizes Indian Army's Statement Supporting Govt’s Decision To Tax Disability Pension
Maj General Ian Cardozo, who amputated his leg as a young major after a landmine blast, has criticised the Indian army’s decision defending the government’s decision to tax Disability Pension.
Army’s Reference To Cardozo’s Injury
In a series of tweets, the Army had referred to Cardozo’s case, as a move to tax the pension. Some personnel were even seeking the pension for “lifestyle diseases”, the Army said, receiving furious responses from serving and retired soldiers.
Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (Retd), #IndianArmy is a highly respected gallant soldier of 1971 war whose deeds exemplify true ethos of soldiering. As a living legend he has never let disability come between profession & military rigours.https://t.co/KL0BQ5Lowi
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) July 2, 2019
“What soldiers suffering from any disability require is care and compassion, not disdain!”, he wrote to the Army HQ. He criticised the Army HQ for supporting a decision that will deride soldiers with non-combat disabilities and medical conditions.
Rage Over Disability Pension
Income tax on disability will be levied on officers of all ranks who retire under normal circumstances, as per a recent notification of the Finance Ministry. The pension for the defence personnel will be tax-free only for those who have been injured on duty.
The two types of disability benefits available to soldiers include War Injury Pension in case of injury on duty and Normal Disability Pension due to the pressure of the service.
The disability pension at present is 20-50% higher than usual.
The Army Chief, as well as the government, have faced backlash for the decision.
Addressing the misuse of disability pension by army personnel, the Army issued a statement, “The trend if not checked at this stage, is a cause for worry.” “The army cannot have a large number of personnel with medical disabilities in the rank and files when the security challenges to the nation are on the rise,” the statement read.
The decision invited a lot of flak from the Veterans who do not consider it fair to target those with genuine disability pensions, just because some have misused it.
Maj Gen Cardozo clarified that the lifestyle diseases are well covered under the disability pension for all armed and central armed police forces, because of the rigorous service environment.
“If there indeed are a few instances of ‘feigned disabilities’, the loopholes may be plugged rather than broad- brushing. It is not understood why permissible benefits mandated by law are being demeaned,” Maj General Cardozo told The Times Of India.