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Report on risk allowance gathers dust, heartburn among Army ranks

The committee, which was formed to study the disparity of compensation amount between the Central Armed Paramilitary Force and the Indian Army despite having similar risk and hardship, gave its report in February this year, but the file is dangling between the ministries of defence and finance. 

Report on risk allowance gathers dust, heartburn among Army ranks
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New Delhi, First Published Jul 27, 2021, 5:19 PM IST
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Bureaucratic wrangle has hampered the decision-making process of the government on a report submitted by the Defence ministry-appointed committee on the risk and hardship allowances.

The committee, which was formed to study the disparity of compensation amount between the Central Armed Paramilitary Force and the Indian Army despite having similar risk and hardship, gave its report in February this year, but the file is dangling between the ministries of defence and finance. 

It was set up in the wake of the Pulwama attack of 2019, wherein 40 Central Reserve Police Force were killed in a terror attack in Jammu & Kashmir. 

The report was submitted six months ago, but the government is yet to take any decision on it, which is causing heartburn among the ranks and officers of the Indian Army. As per the sources, the committee recommended bringing uniformity in allowances for both forces. 

Post Pulwama, the Union Home Ministry upgraded the areas in the risk and hardship matrix for the CAPF, including the Border Security Force, which led to Indian Army troops getting lesser allowances despite facing the same situation.  

There are different categories of risk and hardship allowances. 

The troops of CAPF and the Indian Army posted in Kashmir Valley, Rajouri, Ramban, Kishtwar, Shopian, among others, are facing similar risks and hardship, but their allowances are different. The officers and jawans of CAPF deployed in these areas get monthly allowances of Rs 25,000 and Rs 17,300, respectively, while the Indian Army's officers and jawans receive Rs 16,900 and Rs 9,700. 

Delay hurting morale of soldiers? 

Prior to the Pulwama incident, the troops of the Indian Army and the CAPF were getting allowances on equal footing. 

The Indian Army gave representation to the defence ministry, which in turn appointed a tri-service committee. After the creation of the Department of Military Affairs, which is being headed by CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, the committee came under it as the defence pay services are being looked at by the DMA. 

The upgraded allowance is applicable to all paramilitary personnel deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, and Naxal-hit areas.

A senior Indian Army official said, "The development has adversely affected the morale of the soldiers."

"Irony is that the command and control in these areas are with the Indian Army. We are at the frontline when an operation is to be conducted, but there is a disparity in the allowances," another officer said.

CAPF for equal work, equal pay

The CAPF has always been raising the issues of equal work and equal pay. A senior retired BSF official said, "The salary of CAPF official and jawans are lesser in comparison to its Indian Army's counterparts. If we look at the salary of Commandant in BSF, which is equal to Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army, the difference is of around 20 per cent."

He further added that the ration allowances in the CAPF are taxable while there is no tax on ration for the Indian Army personnel. 

On the pension front, the retired BSF official said, "After 2004, there is no provision of pension in the CAPF while the Army troops get."

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