'Suicides among PBORs result of frustration'
Report by parliamentary panel says 635 suicides, 67 fratricidal killings in the ranks in five years
HT Live Correspondent,
MEMBERS OF the Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh added a supplementary demand to the memorandum submitted to Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Affairs S.M. Acharya alerting the Union government about the rise in suicides and fratricidal killings among personnel below officers rank (PBORs). They say the trend is fallout of rising stress levels among the defence forces.
The retired army officers say the report, "Stress management in the Armed Forces," prepared by a Parliamentary panel appointed by the Union government and tabled in the Lok Sabha recently, says about 635 suicides and attempted suicides and 67 fratricidal killings took place in the ranks in the past five years.
According to the League, the main reason behind this is inadequate promotions among PBORs. League president Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal says the government earlier took steps to assure career progression among lower and middle rank officers by adopting measures like reduction of age profile among these officers, as recommended by the Ajay Vikram Singh Committee and putting in place the provision of promotion up to the Colonel rank in 15 years service.
The League suggests the committee, headed by S.M. Acharya, recommend assured promotion among PBORs up to the JCO level in 15 years of service as in the case of officers. At present, most PBORs retire as Havaldars without being promoted as JCOs before the age of 40.
They also added that additional conditions imposed by the Ministry of Defence on the post retirement canteen benefits granted to PBORs must be done away. As per the present policy in this respect, a Short Service Commission Officer, with five to seven years of service and no pension, can purchase a car of any capacity, after every two years from the CSD canteen whereas PBORs who have been made eligible for this facility recently, can purchase a car only up to 1300CC after a gap of seven years and if they draw service pension. Such conditions frustrate soldiers, the league observed.
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