Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Armed Forces Covenant Bill

The Sunday Standard> A Bill that arms the supreme sacrifice by Ritu Sharma Last Updated : 18 Dec 2011 09:37:37 AM IST
NEW DELHI: A soldier’s sacrifice may no longer be in vain. A Bill on military covenant— the nation’s promise that soldiers and their families will be cared for in return of their sacrifices— will soon be introduced in Parliament.
The Indian armed forces are among one of the largest volunteer forces in the world. With their life so fraught with risk, the Armed Forces Covenant Bill plans to honour the “unique service” given by the members of the armed forces and their families.
The British Armed forces got its Military Covenant law this year. The Indian Armed Forces Covenant Bill is awaiting Parliament to resume normal functioning to be introduced.
“The country needs to demonstrate its commitment to the well-being of the members of our armed forces and their families. This Bill underlines the country’s commitment and moral obligation towards them,” Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who will pilot the Bill, told The Sunday Standard.
The proposed Bill envisages “pledging of commitment” that soldiers— both retired and serving —and their families will be provided with medical support, education; good quality and affordable accommodation; a comprehensive compensation system; maintenance for disabled soldiers and bereaved families; reservation in civilian jobs particularly related to security and more. It also entails the government set up the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission, comprising senior judges and top army brass to oversee that the provisions of the law are fulfilled.
“The Bill will also require the Minister of Defence to present an Annual Covenant report to Parliament every year on the progress of improvements in key areas including healthcare, housing and education,” Chandrasekhar added.
The serving officers see the idea of making military covenant a law as a distant dream but hope that the legal pledge on the part of the country will go a long way in buoying the spirits of the soldier.
“In the present scenario where corporate culture is taking toll on the recruitment in the armed forces, the legalisation of military covenant will boost the trust of army men that his family and loved ones will be taken care of if he is gone. This would enable him to discharge his duties with ultimate fearlessness,” a serving officer said.
A Bill that arms the supreme sacrifice

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