Government underpays peacekeepers | india | Hindustan Times
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Government underpays peacekeepers

Over 8,000 Indian soldiers serving in various peacekeeping missions around the world are not being paid in keeping with the rates fixed by the United Nations. The UN reimburses all troop-contributing countries at a rate of US $1,100 (Rs 55,000) a soldier (irrespective of his rank), while the Indian jawans are paid $100 (Rs 5,000) less every month. Rahul Singh reports.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2009 23:38 IST
Rahul Singh

Poor march

While the UN reimburses all troop-contributing countries at a rate of US $1,100, Indian jawans are paid $100 less every month.

The officers, in contrast, take home US $2,200 (Rs 1.1 lakh). Junior Commissioned Officers get US $1,650 (Rs 82,500).

The UN reimbursement is over and above their Indian salaries.

According to a UN source, Indian troops are getting a better deal than their counterparts in other developing countries.

The unknown Indian soldier fighting someone else's war on foreign soil is getting step-motherly treatment from the government.

And it shows on his salary slip.

Over 8,000 Indian soldiers serving in various peacekeeping missions around the world are not being paid in keeping with the rates fixed by the United Nations (UN).

While the UN reimburses all troop-contributing countries at a rate of US $1,100 (Rs 55,000) a soldier (irrespective of his rank), Indian jawans are paid $100 (Rs 5,000) less every month. The officers, in contrast, take home US $2,200 (Rs 1.1 lakh). Junior Commissioned Officers get US$1,650 (Rs 82,500). The UN reimbursement is over and above their Indian salaries.

Defence ministry sources said the soldiers were getting trimmed salaries to subsidise higher pay for officers and maintain parity in their Indian pay scales.

"How else do you pay $2,200 to officers?" asked an official.

UN sources in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 4,250 Indian soldiers are deployed, confirmed to HT that the UN reimburses each soldier at a rate of $1,028 for pay, $68 for clothing and gear and $5 for personal weaponry and ammunition. The UN mission in Congo is the army's largest deployment on foreign soil.

In response to a written query by HT on the issue, the Army said, "Financial matters related to reimbursement of all expenditures to Indian Army's UN contribution are dealt by the PCDA (Principal Controller of Defence Accounts.)"

A senior PCDA official, however, clarified that the PCDA's job was only to release the money and not fix pay scales. "Pay scales are fixed by the Army with the consent of the defence ministry. We have no role in it," he said.

With over 8,600 troops deployed in peace missions, India is the third-largest contributor of troops to the UN after Bangladesh and Pakistan.

A senior Army officer, who has served as a UN force commander, said, "Indian troops are still getting a better deal than their counterparts from other developing countries. Their governments pay them as little as $600 to $700."

He said peacekeepers were paid by their governments in keeping with their national rank and salary structure.

All expenses for troops deployed in peacekeeping missions are borne by the UN. These include transportation for induction and repatriation, kitting, equipment and overseas allowance. The UN peace missions are sought after as much for prestige as for tax-free dollar salaries.