The Confederation of Ex-Paramilitary Forces Welfare Associations has sought an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek redress of their demands including restoration of the old pension scheme for paramilitary personnel.
National coordinator of the association Ranbir Singh on Monday said: “We have sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking an appointment with PM Modi to press for our longstanding demand of restoration of the old pension scheme for paramilitary personnel.”
The veterans as part of the association are also demanding salaries equivalent to that in the army for serving paramilitary personnel and also an exemption of goods and services tax (GST) at central police canteens on a par with the defence forces.
Singh said this was the worst discrimination as paramilitary forces had been clubbed with their civilian counterparts under the National Pension Scheme even though they are performing duties in hostile terrains and protecting the country’s borders like the defence forces.
The government had stopped the regular pension scheme to jawans of paramilitary forces working under the command of the Union home ministry who joined from January 2004 and brought them under the NPS, which is contributory in nature.
“Under the NPS, 10 per cent of the salary and dearness allowance is to be paid by the paramilitary personnel and an equal percentage is contributed by the government,” Singh said.
The top brass of the political leadership every year celebrate Diwali with the troops who are posted on the borders. “In reality, these initiatives are nothing but photo ops as the government has not been addressing the actual problems faced by personnel of these paramilitary forces. We want this discrimination to end and that’s why we have sought an appointment with PM Modi,” Singh said.
A former BSF director said personnel of the paramilitary forces work very hard to ensure the country’s security at the borders. “It is high time the Centre should ensure the welfare of these personnel and their families. The discrimination has to end,” he said.
The Old Pension Scheme is applicable to the army, navy and air force, he said.
The BSF guards Indian frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ITBP with China, the SSB with Nepal and Bhutan and the CRPF is the lead internal security force of the country.
The association is also demanding salary on a par with the defence forces for the over 12 lakh paramilitary personnel.