Praveen Yadav | Jul 25, 2021 | 0
Don’t DISABLED CADETS deserve financial support?
Ask any soldier if he has not been injured during training? INJURY to a trainee soldier is not a chance but a reality. But some get serious injuries and are medically boarded out. The tragedy is they are boarded out without any proper support from authorities. From bright young students and grade 1 Government employees they suddenly turn crippled. The trauma they deal with is unimaginable and then the unfair step behaviour and discrimination they face is another stigma.
Shubham Gupta, 25, joined the National Defence Academy in 2010 to train to become a Grade 1 officer when he was just nineteen, two years later, during the advanced stage of his training he was wounded, which rendered him completely disabled. He was then boarded out of service, as he was unable to conduct himself without an attendant. “My son sustained injuries because he was doing what he was ordered to do,” says Anupama Gupta, his mother. “He is left crippled with no graduation, no option to continue his education, zero medical cover and none of the camaraderie that he so fiercely believed in.”
Like Shubham, there are over 300 cadets, who since 1985, have been boarded out of different military academics on medical grounds.
“Whether a cadet is boarded out on his first day or just a day before his commissioning, sees the same fate,” says Ankur Chaturvedi, son of an Army officer, who was boarded out of the academy in 1996, in this 6th term, on grounds of 20% disability. Ankur has started a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking justice. Ankur is determined to fight for the cadets boarded out on medical grounds, with an option to complete their degree, get ex-servicemen status EHS coverage.
According to available data, approximately 4 lakh people apply for NDA exams every six months, of whom approximately 400 are finally selected, which is 0.1% per cent of the total applicants. Each youngster selected to serve the nation would have within them the
determination, courage, leadership, and inner strength essential for his role as an officer in the forces. Once selected, he is put through rigorous training to enable him to fulfil his future responsibilities. The training includes physical and mental aspects designed to convert the individual from a civilian to a dedicated armed forces officer capable of leading from the front effectively, under extreme conditions, with confidence and composure.
Despite precautions, there are some who suffer unfortunate accidents, rendering them physically unfit for the forces. In the past 35years over 400 cadets from different military training academies have been boarded out on the medical ground. Of these almost 50% of cases are from the National Defence Academy. These cadets are paid a lump sum amount based on their disability percentage which is attributed to military service. They are also given a small ex-gratia payment monthly. However, they are not entitled to any other benefit despite being trainees for a Group A service.
What must Government do?
- Firstly, they must be granted ex-servicemen status, opening doors for treatment in ECHS and service hospitals.
- Secondly, the grants made of them must not be termed as ex-gratia but pension and should be financially suitable to enable surviving with the disability.
- Thirdly, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves, the government must consider employment suitable for their disability, post completion of their education. As with cadets. They could be employed in multiple central government organizations.
- Fourthly, cadets should be covered under relevant insurance schemes that enabled additional financial support in the event of any mishap.
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