1971 war hero Major General Ian Cardozo expresses anguish over tax on disability pension, criticizes Army HQ 

Pallavi Kulkarni  Friday 5th of July 2019 11:22 AM
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Major General Ian Cardozo.

New Delhi: Major General Ian Cardozo (retired), a 1971 war hero, has expressed deep concern and anguish over government’s decision to tax disability pension given to soldiers. In an open letter, the veteran also criticized the Army headquarters for supporting the initiative and for using his name to defend the move.

“What soldiers suffering from any disability require is care and compassion, not disdain!” he said. Gen Cardozo, then a young officer, had amputated his own leg with his khukri after getting injured in a landmine blast during the 1971 war with Pakistan.

While reacting to the concern expressed by the Army headquarters over significant rise in personnel seeking disability pension even for lifestyle diseases, Gen Cardozo said, “The disabilities painted as lifestyle diseases by the Army are fully covered under the rules for disability pension for the armed forces as well as central armed police forces because of their tough service conditions.”

Maj Gen Ian Cardozo’s open letter.

“If there indeed are few instances of feigned disabilities, the loopholes may be plugged rather than broad-brushing. It is not understood why permissible benefits mandated by law are being demeaned,” he added.

Earlier, in the wake of rising row over taxing disability pension, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman has posted an internal note listing reasons for making disability pension taxable for the armed forces on Twitter.

The Army HQ has come out in support of the government’s decision to tax disability pension given to personnel that are superannuated and who serve till the end of their service and not to the soldiers who suffered disabilities in the line of duty.

“Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (retd), #IndianArmy is a highly respected gallant soldier of 1971 war whose deeds exemplify true ethos of soldiering. As a living legend, he has never let disability come between profession & military rigours [sic],” the Army said in a tweet quoting Sitharam’s tweet on the matter.

The Army further said, “Over the years broad-banding and compensation awarded for disability with income tax exemption, have led to a rise in personnel seeking disability, even for lifestyle diseases. The trend is worrisome and that too when the security challenges to the nation are on the rise.”

The decision to tax pension has disappointed many serving and retired personnel of the armed forces whereas some members are supporting the move while admitting the misuse of disability pension by some senior officers.




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