New Delhi: Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat felt that Army officers drawing “exceptionally high” disability pension shouldn’t grudge “a little amount of income tax”.
Deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence chaired by BJP leader Jual Oram, the CDS said that there was a “wide variation” in the disability pensions of Army jawans and officers and that it was “creating heartburn”, which “is not being understood by officers”.
The report of the 31-member parliamentary committee, which was tabled in Parliament said it has asked the Modi government to present a “factual position” and its “clear decision” on the deduction of income tax from disability pensions and communicate it to army personnel, both serving and retired, by April 13.
This came after top military brass and defence ministry officials, in their depositions to the committee, sought to defend the government’s controversial move to tax disability pensions in June last year. The government backed off early this month but there are still apprehensions about it, as the parliamentary committee flagged in its report.
Apprising the committee of the “wide variation” in the disability pensions of Army jawans and officers, General Rawat said he has been meeting jawans who were asking why this gap was not being narrowed.
“So, one of the ways of narrowing this gap is this. Those who are drawing exceptionally high pensions, can they not pay a little amount of income tax? It is not applicable to a jawan because in spite of his disability pension being given to him, he is not coming into the tax bracket of Rs five lakh as per the new tax regime,” the CDS said in his deposition to the committee.