Banks have been asked by the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions) to deduct income tax from the pensions of disabled soldiers. As per the clarification issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in June 2019, banks have cut pensions of disabled veterans for the month of February. The controversial move has sparked protest a protest amongst the affected veterans, some of whom have been credited with meagre amounts as their monthly pensions.
Many veterans took to social media to express their disappointment on social media after they received on Rs 100 as pension for the month of February while the rest of the amount was deducted in the name of tax as per the latest instructions by the defence pensions department.
The CBDT had last year issued a circular in which it had opined that disability pensions of soldiers who were released on superannuation from the army were taxable while those who were ‘invalided out’ prematurely from service were exempted.
As per reports, IT department had later conveyed that no instructions had been circulated by the department to the banks to deduct tax and that the circular was only issued as clarification not for disability pensioners, but only for those cases where a person superannuates and thereafter develops a disability.
Major DP Singh (retd), also known as the 'blade-runner' told Times of India, "I am not personally affected since I was invalidated out as a battle casualty. But it's so painful to see my fellow-soldiers who gave their youth to the nation, including warriors like Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and Maj Gen Ian Cardozo who lost their limbs but continued in service to be treated like this in their old age. The nation should be indebted to them."