New Delhi: In a major development the 7th Pay Commission in its recommendations to the Government on Pay and Allowances of the Armed Forces had recommended that the provision of free rations and the grant of Ration Money Allowance to officers of Defence Forces posted in peace areas should be withdrawn.
However, the Government of India while considering this recommendation took a different view, given the important role of the Armed Forces. It was decided that Ration Money Allowance should be continued. While those in forward stations, will continue to get their free ration without any change, officers posted in peace stations will be provided this benefit in cash. The cash would be credited directly into the bank account of officers. This will benefit approximately 43,000 officers. There is no change in ration allowance for JCOs and PBORs (Personnel Below officer rank) numbering more than 9 lakh.
As far as ongoing case in this regard in the tribunal is concerned, the Government will give the rationale behind the decision, in the judicial process as and when a notice is received.
A senior Army officer had served a legal notice to the Union government protesting against the alleged withdrawal of free ration to Army officers in peace areas and sought restoration of the benefit within 60 days. Col Mukul Dev, Deputy Judge Advocate General, HQ 12 Corps, wrote to the Government of India through Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra seeking immediate withdrawal of the order. "The government is instead offering Rs 96.03 per day as ration money in lieu, which is highly inadequate," his lawyer Col Rajiv Manglik (retd) has told earlier. "Can the sum offered be enough to provide calorific value required a day?" Manglik asked. In the notice, Col Dev said "I was commissioned in the Indian Army on August 20, 1988 based upon an advertisement ... for Combined Defence Services Examination. "Beside other terms and conditions of the service spelt out in the said notification, provision for free rations too was clearly given," Dev, who is at present posted at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, said. "There is no mention of cash in lieu of the free rations in the said notification. It was only after weighing all the conditions of service as laid out in the said notification that I had applied for getting commissioned in the Army," he said in the notice. "It has now been intimated that with effect from today i.e July one, 2017, no free ration shall be provided to the officers in the Indian Armed Forces while they are serving in peace area and they shall be provided with a paltry sum of Rs 96.03 as ration money instead," the notice said. The letter said the decision was violative of his service conditions upon which he was employed and commissioned and which he claimed was done without obtaining any written consent from him.