Regularise absence period of personnel who couldn’t join duty due to lockdown: Govtt to armed forces

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has conveyed to the three armed forces to “regularise the absence period” of their personnel who could not join duty because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, according to an official communication.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

The absence period of such personnel would now be considered as “special casual leave”, it said.

A large number of armed forces personnel who were on leave or away from their duty base could not join work due to the lockdown that has been in place since March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“I am directed to convey the sanction of the President to regularise the absence period on account of ‘lockdown’ due to orders of the Central government/state government/local authorities/service headquarters on account of anti-COVID-19 measures as special casual leave in respect to Army/Navy/Air Force personnel,” a defence ministry official said in a letter to the chiefs of the three armed forces.

“Personnel are permitted to utilise the fastest available means of travel (as per their entitled class/mode) so as to return to their units at the earliest, post-lifting of lockdown,” the official said.

The letter stated the grant of the special casual leave must not have any impact on current leave entitlement and permissible service of the personnel.

Nearly two lakh people have been infected and over 5,500 people killed by coronavirus in India till now.