7th Pay Commission: The central government has restored the provision of 'ration in kind'. This move will benefit military officials who are posted in peace areas of the country. It has been approved by Union Defence minister, Rajnath Singh, after he took into consideration the welfare of the defence officials. This is one of the first major decisions taken by the minister after he assumed role in the second term of the Modi government. Just weeks after taking charge as the defence minister, Singh stepped in and cleared the proposal.
"The Government of India has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Defence for restoration of the 'ration in kind' to the defence officers posted in peace areas," a defence official said.
It may be noted that the government had removed this facility (provision of ration in kind) given to armed forces back in the year 2017 and replaced the same with allowances. The decision to withdraw the facility did not go well with the armed forces as they had not agreed to this. The provisions, however, for the officers, Jawans, and JCOs on the field were not discontinued.
The central government had decided on July 1, 2017, that officers would be given an allowance instead of free ration in kind, a practice that was being followed since 1983. Earlier, the armed forces had told the defence ministry that if the ration in kind facility was discontinued, an allowance of Rs 205.11 per officer per day without tax exemptions must be paid. However, the officials posted in peace areas were paid only Rs 96 as allowance and the money was directly credited to their bank accounts.
A cost analysis had revealed that in case of free ration, the cost came up to Rs 100 per officer per day. Based on a recommendation of the 7th Central Pay Commission, the ministry of defence had taken the decision to cancel free ration for officers in peace postings. Meanwhile, the move for the provision of ration in kind has also met with criticism from various quarters.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)