Current AffairsIndia

Paid life insurance for the insurers of life, should Soldiers be paying for their own insurance?

Relentless pursuing of the discrimination in the AGIF (Army group insurance fund) against soldiers for the last 15 years

Lt. Col. Jasper Sandhu, Chandigarh based, an apolitical Army Veteran, 66 years, the second generation in the Indian Army. A graduate of St Stephen’s College, New Delhi. Served in the Indian Army for 24 years. Commissioned in Armour Corps, Regiment – 17 Poona Horse. A tenure in MI Directorate Army HQ’s New Delhi. The last fifteen years as a one-man- Army, I have been vigorously pursuing against this Emergency Era Policy Decision thrust on gullible simple Army warriors in January 1976.

Irrespective of the profession, individuals are entitled to insurance coverage however insurance companies refrain from providing insurance coverage to individuals having a high risk of losing their lives in jobs such as Indian Army, police personnel. AGIF is an insurance fund solely designed by the Armed forces for their staff members, likewise, a similar fund is offered to the Navy and the air force. Depending on the ranks of the Soldiers, the insurance coverage is paid by the cadres which are directly deducted from their salaries. Currently, Indian armed forces get an insurance up to Rs40 Lakh, Jawans-up to 20 Lakh. To avail of this insurance coverage, the officers and Jawans have to endow a premium.

  • Jawans- Rs 2000 per year
  • Officers- Rs 4000 per year

”Insurance is something that is sold to you when you do not need it, so that it there when u need it, the Soldiers have dedicated their lives to the Nation, they are presently not getting their due for the amount they are contributing, primarily due to their ignorance and lack of knowledge in regards to the insurance cover” said Col Jasper Sandhu.

Soldiers are dependent completely on AGIF feeling a sense of security with the insurance cover provided while they are at the borders then why is the insurance cover terminated when the Soldier is about 35-40 years old? Taken away at the crucial time when one needs it the most. No war but several Soldiers still lose their lives, if the potential of AGIF is tapped, and only after a revision in policies the brigade strength of gallant officers who have laid down their lives for the Nation, their families have yet not received their dues. Col Jasper Sandhu approached Generals with this cause and it was unfortunate knowing, the lack of interest they showed, General JJ Singh- the then COAS and a Soldiers General, GOC-in C’s including several budding Generals were approached, none rising to the occasion.

Credits: Fauji India

The insurance cover should be available at the soldiers’ disposal in the best possible way. Insurance companies across the globe have witnessed tremendous growth and the Government is highly dependent on these insurance companies to make investments for infrastructure development via bonds. Insurance cover suggestions:

  • The prestigious Indian Armed forces deserve an insurance cover of at least Rs 2 crore for officers and 1crore for Jawans in case of death
  • Combination of endowment policy to be enforced, so the endowment compounds mature by 60 continuing the life cover up to the age of 70.

Jawans being the Major contributors to AGIF, should the Jawans be paying for their insurance? The answer is NO, it has to be the Government paying for the soldiers’ insurance cover, soldiers who are guarding the country from the day they join the Indian Army till they leave the service. The most unfortunate aspect being the Jawans contributing maximum to the AGIF (more than 95% of the contribution comes from Jawans) their insurance cover is withdrawn at the age of 35-40 years whereas the COAS along with Lt Generals who do not even give one percent into the AGIF are unfairly getting an insurance cover up to the age of 60 years. Why this kind of discrimination against Jawans? At the age of 35-40 people are flooded with responsibilities, then how can they snatch away their insurance cover. How will a Jawan feel secure ever, if after retiring their insurance cover is taken away for which the Jawans themselves pay? Why is this security cover being taken away in the first place? When Jawans are in service, they are fit and fine, the sad truth is as they grow older their physical fitness decreases, becoming a liability, hence they shed the soldier at a young age. Soldiers’ money is utilized for the 20 years but the security cover is withdrawn when the necessitated time would arrive.

Comparison of Insurance cover given to Generals VS Jawans

  • Generals: 350 Generals approx.
  • Monthly premium: Rs 5,000
  • Annual premium: Rs 60,000
  • Lt General’s insurance cover up to age 60 years
  • COAS insurance cover up to age 62 years
  • Contribution annually: Rs60,000
  • Total contribution by the Generals: Rs 2,10,00000 (two crores and ten lakh)
  • JAWANS
  • Total no of Jawans: 13 Lakh approx.
  • Annual contribution: Rs 30000
  • Total contribution by Jawans to AGIF: Rs 39,00,0000000 (three thousand nine hundred crores)

Note: the day they retire, the same day another Jawan is enrolled so strength never decreases, meaning the quantum of money will never decrease. The Corpus will always be a huge amount of Rs 3900,00,00,000/- multiplied by the number of years

No government official can hold a post in the civil department, this being a sort of profit-making organization (accumulation of wealth) not even) not even a serving officer can hold any position, even the President is required to quit before the nomination of President post. In AGIF army officers and Jawans are being used to run this organization, AGIF is registered under the societies act, blatant misuse of official position & diversion of funds for illegal trade practice.

  • One can go ahead and can take the following actions:
  • PIL in a court
  • Lokayukta
  • CAG
  • Consumer court.

”Can AGIF be considered as the biggest scam ever?’’ said Late Manohar Parrikar sir, served as the Minister of defence from 2014 to 2017 March. AGIF had been heavily criticized by the retired officers in regards to the inadequacies of the insurance cover given to the rank and file comparing it to private insurance policies which seemed to be a better deal. Lt Col Jasper Sandhu wrote several letters and made presentations raising issues simultaneously suggesting schemes more beneficial for the army personnel and presented it to Late Manohar Parrikar sir, the then Defence Minister.

Putting in front 2 letters out of several letters sent by Col Jasper Sandhu to several Generals, President of India, Prime Minister of India

Col Jasper Sandhu states, ‘This is my personal opinion and viewpoint. It is most likely to put to shame all other combined scams-BCCI, 2G, Coalgate, Augusta-Chopper,”Damaad” -land, Commonwealth Games, Aadharsh Society, etc. You may mull over and ask as to how???

‘’Has the LIFE INSURANCE POLICY actually been so Excellent for the Soldier’s for last 45 years? If that be so then WHY NOT make it MANDATORY with SAME DISCRIMINATORY TERMS & Conditions at High- Premium for all IAS, IPS, IFS, Railways employees etc, Central Armed Police Forces, all farmers, all Netas, all Judiciary, etc? Are they not claiming/ claimed that they too, per se, are/were doing in equal measure; and with equal risk as EQUALLY Excellent DESH- SEWA and BALIDAN for Mother land  and exposing themselves to EQUAL RISK to their Lives?’’ Col Jasper Sandhu

AGIF is not in sync with today’s commercially-opened-up Insurance Service sector privatized in India. AGIF has per se lost its socio-economic obligation trust and faith of gullible honest soldier/ veterans and dependents. Whereas, AGIF exposé is “ALL-RANKS-CENTRIC” for the entire Indian Army being adversely impacted by the life insurance-cum-disability benefits offered by the AGIF in an era of Digital India/Global village with smartest-technology within easy reach of the Faujis and all. Here again, paradoxically, it’s the witty management (err..Mismanagement) of figures or mathematics, by own men in connivance with top-notch serving and retired government functionaries as well as the Captains of the Industries in banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector acting as investment advisors, etc in various official capacities. Only if, the Lodha type committee goes into AGIF’s ostrich-like functioning, it shall be an eye-opener to all.

Unparallel financial ramification by a conservative approximation Rs 2 lac crores, and liberal estimate of Rs 5 lac crores kitty of AGIF from 1976 Jan till 2016 in 41 years duration. 1.30 million faujis hard-earned tax-paid income is collected as monthly Life-Insurance premium (Rs 5000/- and Rs 2500/- by officers and JCOs/ORs respectively) 84% of this premium goes towards savings/investments with so many GoI rebates, 1.28% as higher rates of interest by RBI as well as crores of rupees service tax evasion as per on-going investigations, it’s assessed that the daily interest earned may be up to Rs 2 to 3 crores.

In all other scams, it was public money or India’s natural resources that were alleged to have been misused/undervalued/given as free doles, etc. Whereas in AGIF its alleged misuse, bad investments, financial mismanagement on extraneous considerations by advisors having a direct or indirect conflict of interest in AGIF’s investments running into crores of rupees per year.

AGIF Monopolized Life Insurance to Faujis Fraternity, in 1976 the LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) monopolized the life insurance business in India. Our faujis use to get a raw and unfair deal from LIC. Ironically, in 2016 the AGIF has monopolized life insurance cover to faujis and veterans with no accountability; and only cosmetic-honesty through so-called non -professionals Board of Administrators akin to BCCI espousing the cause of Indian Cricket; and AGIF doing Life Insurance for its faujis/veterans.

Loan schemes and employing serving Soldiers in Private Society of AGIF Introduction of Circus Cricket/IPL by BCCI is akin to loan schemes for house-building, conveyance, computer purchase, etc introduced by AGIF to its stakeholders, financed from their own money.

Poor man pays EMI on loans at a rate of interest marginally lesser than the commercial rate of interest charged by our Banks. Also, AGIF charges a Processing fee from faujis on loans being processed by serving officers/JCOs/ORs posted (which itself is not permissible to serve in a private society while in active army service) in AGIF and paid salaries from the Defence budget. These serving soldiers should be posted to newly raised IB/LAC/LoC formations of IA: thereby cutting down teeth to tail ratio of the IA.

Plus, the acute shortage of married accommodation in Delhi would be mitigated by allotting houses in Delhi cornered by AGIF serving army men. What a shame indeed!!

Needle of Suspicion of Bad Investments, and Conflict of Interest. AGIF generates crores of money into their kitty and invests in the financial market through so-called Czars of Investment Advisers, having direct or indirect conflict of interest in influencing AGIF investments. Just one instant is highlighted here. A percentage of investments of AGIF gone indirectly to guys like Vijay Malaya through a consortium of Government banks approved loans/investments into the Kingfisher, and subsequently, all investments were declared as non-performing assets (NPA). The possibility is not ruled out that Government Banks/ other financial institutions have had AGIF monies invested with them during the last 41 years, and these investments have not earned very competitive/good returns to pay a much higher bonus/interest as terminal benefits to our trusting faujis proceeding on retirement at a very young age, and also life insurance cover is deprived to them.

Questionable Donations, in the light of another case, detected wherein profits earned by AGIF are siphoned off under the garb of donated buses to ASHA/AWWA/ECHS estimating the cost of on-road one bus as one crore rupees, its Rs 13 crores donation in the form of 13 buses. If calculated as 100% disability of one invalided out fauji’s insurance payment at Rs 25 lacs. Therefore, (13 crores  @ 25 lacs each person=52)  52 faujis having 100% insurance invalidity payment siphoned out by AGIF to another Private Society headed by the respected lady of the COAS, and AGIF headed by the COAS himself. Coincidentally, both the Societies do not come under RTI, CAG, IDRA, etc scrutiny, and work (like infamous BCCI) under the social welfare mandate. Undoubtedly, this is a massive scam. At least, the Lodha Committee has gone into BCCI opaque functioning to set the house in order as per Honorable SC monitoring.

Suggested Remedial Measures by Col Jasper Sandhu:

“Choice-Option” In fairness to all, various disclosures provided by the AGIF to its beneficiaries should be significantly improved. In 2016, the availability of “Choice-Option” is very vital to the Faujis’ finances (it’s our constitutional right) in matters of Life Insurance- cum- related Disability Clauses/Benefits. The soldier must have a “choice-option” between the AGIF and the open-commercial market life insurance companies. If a Fauji opts for AGIF, thereafter, within the AGIF “Life-Insurance-Menu” the army men ought to be given a considered choice to select from the bouquet of life-insurance policies (Term Life, Whole Life policies, Variable Life, Universal Life, Universal Variable Life, Endowment policy with its variations or any tailor-made life policy) Presently, the mandatory-one-choice life-insurance coverage by AGIF is the most archaic in 2016 environment of robust Indian economy.

None of the progressive democratized countries like USA,UK,Australia,France and several other countries offer this AGIF-type antiqued and opaque Life insurance coverage to their valiant faujis/veterans/dependents

A similar cause:

In the March 2010 order, apex court consolidating with the logical reasoning of Kerala High Court in Major Dhanapalan’s case, Officers contended stating a wrong fixation of rank pay granting the fourth pay commission constituting of rank pay which was introduced for all ranks. One could say, this was a similar issue raised and reached the supreme court, to re-fix the Army officers pay scale which led to SC directing the government to do the needful in favor of the Army officers who were affected by the fourth pay commission which would now entail paying out of Rs1600 crore, benefiting a large number of Army officers especially for the rank holders from captain to brigadier and equivalent ranks in the air force along with the Navy, benefitting the ones between 1st January 1986 and January 1st, 2006. Supreme Court also instructed the center to pay interest and implement it within 12 weeks stating, from January 1 2006 @ of 6% interest to all officers irrespective of any petition filed before High Courts or even Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal will be governed only by this order. Three judges bench of Justices RM Lodha, TS Thakur, and Anil R Dave, while dismissing the application filed by central government suggesting to recall and to modify the order passed on 8th March 2010.

AGIF is also capable of assisting those who come under the low medical category and are not given assistance leaving them to find a way for themselves.

Shefali Kochhar,

Journalist, Goa Chronicle .

I am an entrepreneur who has tried her hands on various ventures like Electric Vehicle Charging Station , Online Retail Store / Trading and few more ventures. I have done my entrepreneurship from Amity University Noida.

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