For Broadsword readers, a clarification.
The so-called government "denial", which PTI first carried, and was picked up by newspapers like the Times of India, is not an official denial at all. It is a plant that does not name any government office or official --- only "sources".
When the government denies a story, it puts out an official denial... and posts it on the Press Information Bureau (PIB) website. This so-called denial is from anonymous sources. Nobody in government wants to put their name to a patently false denial.
All of Monday, the government has been getting hammered on social media after Broadsword reported the reduction of disability pensions for soldiers invalided out of service as a result of battle injuries. The government simply had no defence.
So the government did what governments tend to do. Call up a few pliable reporters, plant an anonymous denial and then wait for the hordes of Modi supporters on social media --- who, mind you, are not interested in disabled soldiers' welfare, but in exonerating the government that has treated them so shabbily --- to pick up the "non-denial" and hold it aloft as a sign of victory.
It's sad that this is how we treat our soldiers --- all of whom know the truth. And its even sadder that a trusted agency like PTI, and a widely-read newspaper like The Times of India, cannot differentiate between a "source-based story" that is obviously a plant, and an official denial.
The non-denial is posted below.
Government trashes media reports, says 'disability pension not reduced, but significantly increased'
NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday rubbished media reports which claimed disability pension for the armed forces had been reduced and slammed negative reporting on the issue by the "usual suspects".
"Media reports have tried to create an impression, by selective misquoting, that the disability pensions have been slashed. The truth is that the disability pension for non-battle cases has increased for majority of the personnel," sources in the government said.
"There was a dramatized article in the media today describing how the pensions of Army personnel who participated in the surgical strike get cut drastically if they got severely injured during the surgical strike. But the fact is, that the disability pensions for war injury cases for personnel who have been invalidated have not been touched, according to the recommendations of the 7th pay commission," government sources clarified.
"The disability pension of almost 90% of the armed force personnel have been significantly increased," the sources said, adding, "the increase ranges from around 14% to 30% among the PBORs/JCOs."
Contrary to the media reports, the disability pension for sepoys has increased from Rs 9282 to Rs 12,000, for havildars from Rs 10,542 to Rs 12,000 and for naiks from Rs 9680 to Rs 12,000 after the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, they said.
The government has accepted the recommendations of the 7th pay commission to ensure increase in the disability pensions for majority of the personnel in the Indian armed forces. The resolution based on the 7th pay commission recommendations has been passed. The details and the actual order are yet to be issued.
In 2015, a total of 62,311 armed forces personnel retired. Of these, 60,662 were personnel below officer rank (PBOR) and junior commissioned officers (JCO) and 1649 were commissioned officers. Naiks and Havildars constitute the maximum proportion of armed forces. 24035 Naiks and 23124 Havildars retired in 2015.