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The fact : Just tag, no benefits for paramilitary personnel


02 Nov, 2012 8:53p.m.

The Union Home Minister Sushil Shinde has yesterday announced that the retired paramilitary personnel will be granted status of "ex-servicemen". Lakhs of serving and retired paramilitary personnel were overjoyed by this announcement. But what is the reality?

The first point to note is that they will be granted the status of "ex-servicemen" and not "ex-servicemen". Instead of parity with retired armed forces personnel as demanded, all they had received was an "ex-CAPF (central armed police forces) personnel" tag. There is no commitment on the benefits or job and education quotas for their children.

The government sources have indicated that the the cabinet committee on security, which took the decision, was told "there is no commitment on giving quotas, etc, by the central government and there are no financial implications for the Centre,"

Instead, the Centre will "request" the states to reserve seats and jobs for the wards of "ex-CAPF personnel". That just passing on the responsibility to the states. 

No binefit paramilitaryThey will also not share the quota of ex-servicemen from defence forces, but have separate reservations as decided by different states. 

So whats this announcement all about?

We have to understand the state of Himachal Pradesh is one of the states which sends a large number of its men to various forces and this is the time the state is facing elections. Also with the parliament elections only a year and a half away or even earlier, 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.  

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 hopes of the  three lakh-odd retired paramilitary personnel have been dashed, leaving the veteran troopers livid.

All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association general secretary P.S. Nair said that over 10,000 retired personnel will gherao the Central Government Offices (CGO) complex off Lodhi Road on November 21 in protest, . "We are not satisfied," he said.

Shinde had told a Central Reserve Police Force event in the morning that he was hopeful of "ex-servicemen" status being granted. The large audience of former and serving paramilitary troopers, who had come with their families, broke into applause.

By afternoon, the harsh reality had become clear. Sources said the defence ministry had fought the proposal tooth and nail, refusing to widen the pool of claimants for ex-servicemen benefits.

"Ex-serviceman" denotes anyone who has served in any rank in the army, navy or air force and is earning pension. Ex-servicemen receive benefits in re-employment in the government's A, B, C and D category jobs.

A tenth of assistant commandant vacancies in all the paramilitary forces are reserved for ex-servicemen. They receive medical benefits and a liquor quota at military canteen stores.

The government said a welfare and rehabilitation board would facilitate bank loans and arrange job counselling for the "ex-CAPF" or family members of the dead, but the retired BSF officer was sceptical.

He cited how police canteen stores had been set up in 2007 following demands "but we hardly get a two or three per cent relief in prices against the massive concessions given to ex-servicemen".

A retired Central Industrial Security Force additional director-general, Kashmir Singh, said the defence ministry jealously guards its turf by preventing parity to paramilitary forces.

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