Indian Army officers were in for some bad news earlier this week after they were informed that they would not be able to avail the Canteen Stores Department to buy high-end cars. They will also be able to buy a car once in eight years and once after retirement.
Army officers previously could buy cars through the CSD at a subsidized rate and could avail discounts of up to Rs 1.5 lakh. They also had an additional perk of 50 per cent rebate on GST.
However, on May 24, Army's Quarter Master General (QMG) passed a ruling that from June 1, officers can only buy cars worth up to Rs 12 lakh, not including GST. This is applicable only if the cars have an engine capacity of up to 2,500cc engine.
In addition to this, jawans and other ranks in the army would be able to buy cars up to Rs 5 lakh and 1,400cc engine.
This new rule angered many members in the Army who felt that their rights were being taken away, reports The Times of India.
"The new orders are illogical. Earlier, there were no restrictions on the price or engine capacity, and officers could buy new cars once every four-five years. Yes, there was some misuse but the monitoring system needed to be strengthened instead of such blanket orders," a brigadier told TOI.
However, the Army headquarters stood firm on the ground and did not budge. A senior officer said, "While car sales registered an overall dip in the country in 2018-2019, there was over 20% increase in them through CSD. Last year, the value of car sales was over Rs 6,000 crore, leading the overall CSD budget to overshoot."
He explained, "More car sales through CSD means more loss to the national exchequer because of the GST rebate. There were cases of two, three, four cars being purchased by a single person in less than five years. A correction was desperately needed."