President Pratibha Patil on Thursday said that the cabinet committee formed to look into the long standing 'one rank one pension' demand of armed forces veterans will submit its report by the end of June.
"The welfare of ex-servicemen will continue to be accorded high priority. The committee headed by the cabinet secretary to look into the issue of of one rank one pension has already commenced its work and expects to complete it by the end of June 2009," the president said in her address to a joint session of both houses in parliament.
The government formed the panel headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar after many ex-servicemen returned their medals to protest the rejection of their 'one rank one pension' demand.
Ex-servicemen have so far returned about 13,000 medals won in combat or for distinguished service to Patil, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces.
However, the president has not met the protesters, who have handed over the medals in three batches to a member of her staff.
The Indian Ex-Servicemen's Movement (IESM) says that irrespective of the date on which a soldier retires, he or she should get the same pension. The government had rejected this demand earlier this year, pointing to the logistical and financial problems it would create.
Patil also talked about modernisation of the armed forces to counter the threat to the country.
"They (the armed forces) will be fully enabled with modern technology to repel any threat from land, sea or air. To enhance combat efficiency as also to address the requirements of the modern day warfare, a number of steps are underway," she said.