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Ex-SSC officers demand pro rata pension, benefits of ECHS

One of the key demands of the protesters is reversal of 10 years of mandatory period to original 5 years.

SNS | New Delhi |

Retired Short Service Commission (SSC) officers of the Indian armed forces have been demanding pension from the government for some time now.

To highlight their grievances and draw the attention of the authorities, a group of ex-SSC officers recently came together at Jantar Mantar with a series of demands including Employees Contributory Health Services (ECHS) facility for all SSC, ex-Emergency Commissioned (EC) and Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES) officers.

Alleging “indifference and unfair treatment” that is causing “grave injustice and humiliation” to them, the former servicemen demanded that OROP on pro rata basis for all released ex-SSC/EC/WSES officers.

“There seems to be the Ministry of Defence (MoD) policy to get the job done by the faujis without paying for it or somehow deprive the SSC Officers in getting equal benefits as compared to the permanent commissioned Officers by calling  direct SSC  Officers  service  up to  14 yrs as ‘Short Service’,” the protesters alleged.

One of the key demands of the protesters is reversal of 10 years of mandatory period to original 5 years.

SSC term, which was previously for five years, was in 2006 increased to 10 years and now stands at 14 years of service.

Major Randeep Hundal (Retd), president of All India Ex Short Service Commission Society (AIESSCOS), said, “The shortage of officers in our country is now widely known fact. But the MoD appears to be addressing this by extending the duration of Short Service Commissions and lately also considering to increase the intake of SSC officers vis-à-vis regular commission Officers.”

“It is a criminal waste of India’s human resources that young officers, well-trained, qualified, medically fit, and willing to serve, are simply let go because they were hired under one category so called SSC rather than another,” he added.

According to the ex-servicemen, the 14-year duration of service leaves a vast majority of the SSC officers with very little scope for adjustment to civilian life and career at a time when the burden of family on their shoulders is heavy.

At Jantar Mantar, the ex-servicemen demanded that the government withdraws its appeal in the Supreme Court against the AFT Chandigarh order of 2010 which had given a verdict in favour of the SSC officers with respect to medical facilities in military hospitals.

Veteran officer Captain RK Bhardwaj (Retd) said, “Armed Forces Tribunal Chandigarh has given verdict in favour of SSCOs/ECOs for grant of Medical Facilities in respective MHs. Government constituted Expert Committee in 2015 and submitted their recommendations for grant of Medical Facilities to SSCOs besides withdrawal of ongoing litigation.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on 11 February.

Highlighting their grievances, the veterans, many of whom fought 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars as well as insurgency in Kashmir and Northeast India, asked that when a Permanent Commissioned Officer is entitled to pension when “permitted to retire” why were SSC/EC/WSES Officers not given the same benefits upon their release.