By Brig. VK Atray

. Year 2018 dedicated to the seriously disabled soldier

. Year 2019 dedicated to the NOK  (  next of kin )

. Suggests veterans to get united

New Delhi. 13 January 2019. In a run up to the Indian Army Day being celebrated on 15th January Army Chief General Bipin Rawat mentioned that he heard a pathetic story of a soldier whose both legs were amputated and his son was taking care of him for the last 45 years -who did not marry so as to take good care of his father . The soldier questioned that my both legs got blown off during war but why am I getting 1/5 th disability pension compared to an officer with a similar injury. This touched him deeply and on investigation was shocked to learn that none thought of this all these years. Accordingly he dedicated the year 2018 for such serious disabilities. General Rawat informed that by mid this year a comprehensive disability pension scheme would be announced, so as to mitigate such gaps, to an extent. This scheme may however impact the usual life cycle disabilities slightly.

General Rawat is also ceased with the problems of certain NOKs of soldiers who are leading miserable lives due to their financial state . He mentioned that during 2019 Army Headquarters will work on the ways and means to alleviate the problems of such NOKs. He added that such issues have many dimensions hence thorough examination and thought has to be given before a matured policy is announced.

Speaking about the veterans’ fraternity he stated that the veterans are our ambassadors in civil circle and play an important role to project the army’ point of view in the correct perspective. General Rawat mentioned that he is  having  a regular interaction with them in various forums. However, he lamented that they are not united. He clarified that there are only two recognized Ex Servicemen organizations viz Indian Ex Serviceman League and Air Force Association . However, it is noticed that every state has a veterans’ organization and their demands are not in unison with each other. This poses a problem to decipher as to which demand should be projected to the Government. The Guru mantra which emerges from his talk is that the strength lies in unity.