- The Standing Committee on Defence (Chair: Maj Gen B. C. Khanduri) submitted its report on ‘Resettlement of Ex-Servicemen’ on August 10, 2017. The Committee examined the issue of rehabilitation and welfare of ex-servicemen. Every year, nearly 60,000 armed forces personnel retire or are released from active service, and most of them are in the age bracket of 35-45 years. The salient observations and recommendations of the Committee include:
- Restructuring of DGR: The Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) under the Ministry of Defence facilitates re-settlement of ex-servicemen by organising pre and post retirement training, re-employment and self-employment. The Committee noted that presently, there are no specialised experts available in the fields of management, finance, insurance and marketing consultancy in the DGR. In addition, the DGR does not have any powers to ensure that central government organisations that have not prescribed a certain percentage of vacancies for ex-servicemen do so. It also observed that reservations made for SCs, STs, OBCs, and Persons with Disability (PWD) are statutorily backed and consequently, implemented by all central government organisations. However, this is not the case for reservations made for ex-servicemen, as the directions of DGR are presently only executive in nature.
- The Committee recommended that the DGR should be re-structured and granted statutory powers. The Committee noted that this will enable them to function in a professional manner and generate self-employment projects for ex-servicemen on a large scale. It will also ensure that reservation for ex-servicemen are implemented on the lines of those for SCs, STs, OBCs, and PWD.
- Enhancement of percentage of reservations: Post the implementation of the 6th Central Pay Commission, group ‘D’ posts have been merged with group ‘C’ posts in central government services. In light of this, the Committee recommended that there was need to upgrade reservation for ex-servicemen in group ‘D’ to group ‘B’ and ‘C’ posts, and raise the percentage of reservation in group ‘C’ posts from 10% to 20% in central government jobs. In addition, reservation of 10% in group ‘B’ posts should also be provided as result of upgradation of group ‘D’ posts, which previously had a higher percentage of reservations. The Committee reasoned that re-settlement measures such as these will boost the morale of serving personnel, and attract talented youth.
- Re-employment of ex-servicemen: For access to better employment opportunities, the DGR empowers retiring/ retired service personnel with additional skills through training courses. The Committee noted that DGR does not have a mechanism to find out the number of trained personnel who have been employed. In the absence of this, money spent on training is not efficiently utilised. Additionally, there is no rule for providing re-employment to ex-servicemen by the corporate sector under their Corporate Social Responsibility programs.
- The Committee recommended that a mechanism should be designed by the DGR to collaborate with the private sector and seek greater employment opportunities for ex-servicemen. In addition, a clause for providing job placement assistance to all ex-servicemen receiving training should be incorporated in the agreement with all training institutes. The duration of all training courses should be made greater than six months for the training certificates to be accepted for government jobs as per recruitment rules.
- Welfare measures for ex-servicemen: Key welfare measures recommended by the Committee include: (i) 100% pension to the widow of a deceased soldier; (ii) exemption of income-tax for family pensioners of soldiers who have lost life in war-like/ counter-insurgency situations or on the line of control; and (iii) financial assistance to world war veterans.
*As carried by PRS India