Retired SSC officers protest for health, pension benefits

New Delhi: Retired Short Service Commission (SSC) officers of the armed forces on Saturday held a protest at the Jantar Mantar here demanding pension and health facilities.

Visuals from the protest at the Jantar Mantar.

Retired SSC officer Major S S Pandey told ANI, “The grant of commission in the Army is prestige and we were given the opportunity to serve the nation. But the benefits associated with the rank are being denied to us.”

The former officers claimed the post-retirement facilities and privileges accorded to them have been either diluted or withdrawn.

“All facilities including medical benefits have been withdrawn and the only facility available to us is the canteen, which too may be withdrawn soon,” he added.

An Armed Forces tribunal verdict in favour of health facilities to the retired officers was challenged by the Defence Ministry and the case pending in the Supreme Court is scheduled to come up for hearing in the apex court on February 11.

Major Randeep Hundal, also president of All India SSC Society, said that the 10-year service of the officers is reversed to five years so that after that they could be hired by other private companies who look for young candidates.

SSC term, which was previously for five years was later increased to 10 years and now stands at 14 years of service.

The officers welcomed the decision of the Defence Ministry to allow women to join as jawans in the Corps of Military Police in the Army.

These retired officers are amongst about 10,000 officers including veterans of 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars and also include officers who have fought the insurgency in Kashmir and North- East India during their tenure in service.