India Today

DEFUSING THE PENSION BOMB

Over the past 11 months, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, has opened many fronts in the battle for reform. He has attempted to bring down military expenditure, create new joint commands and encourage jointmanship among the forces. All of these are part of his mandate to create a leaner, meaner military. The Department of Military Affairs (DMA), which he heads within the MoD (ministry of defence), is responsible for ‘all major aspects of armed forces functioning’—this includes the organisation, recruitment, training and terms and conditions of service for personnel, as well as career management of all ranks of service members.

However, some of his proposals, though well-meaning—like cutting down on ceremonies and the number of officers’ messes in peace stations—have attracted scorn from service members and turned into social media flamebait. Yet nothing has created as much discontent as the proposal to increase the retirement age of Indian Army personnel and to slash defence pensions. Among other changes, the proposal suggests the retirement age for colonels be increased from 54 to 57, brigadiers from 56 to 58 and

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