In a historic decision, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has cleared the proposal to allow Invalid Pension to Armed Forces Personnel with less than 10 years of qualifying service. The proposal that received a green signal from the government today will be applicable to the Armed Forces Personnel who were in service on or after 04.01.2019. Notably, Invalid pension is granted to the Armed Forces Personnel who is invalided out of service on account of disability. As per the existing rules, the minimum period of qualifying service actually rendered and required for 'Invalid pension' was 10 years or more. For less than 10 years qualifying service, 'invalid gratuity' was admissible which is not enough to live a dignified life after the service.

Soldiers of the Indian Army

Different rules for civilian employees and defence personnel

Section 47 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (Annexure-A) protects the employment of disabled government servants. The provision provides the government not to remove disabled government employees from their services. The provision also says that even if a disabled government employee cannot be adjusted on any suitable post, he or she may be kept on supernumerary strength till the age of superannuation or retirement. This means the employee is entitled to be paid full pay and allowances, and pension thereafter, even if the affected employee is unable to attend to any official duty.

Indian Army
Indian security personnel stands guard in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.Reuters

However, the provision empowered the government to exempt certain organizations from the operation of the section through a gazette notification. The government exercised its power and exempted combatants in the armed forces from the applicability of the protection under Section 47. It very shocking to know that all in government services, the employment, pay, allowances and pension of a person who suffers any kind of disability (whether connected with service or otherwise) are fully protected due to the applicability of the Act except for the disabled army personnel discharged out of the duty.

Armed force personnel discharged or invalided out with disability attributable to service conditions is entitled to 'disability pension' irrespective of the length of service but these provisions were not applicable to disabilities not connected with service such as injuries sustained on leave. But the cap held on such benefit was 10 years which now has been removed by the government.