Now Military Officers Cannot Buy Discounted Cars From Canteens Worth Over Rs 12 Lakh
- Military officers will not be able to zoom around in discounted high-end SUVs any longer. In what is being widely seen as yet another “perk” being withdrawn from the armed forces, orders have been issued to enforce a price cap on four-wheelers being bought from the subsidised Canteen Stores Department (CSD) as well as restrict their purchase to only once in eight years for serving and retired officers.
- The Army’s Quarter Master General (QMG) branch on May 24 directed that officers would be able to buy cars worth up to only Rs 12 lakh, excluding GST, and with an engine capacity up to 2,500 CC through the CSD route from June 1 onwards.
- A similar norm will be enforced for serving civilian officers in defence establishments. Other ranks or jawans, in turn, will be able to buy a car up to 1400 CC and not exceeding Rs 5 lakh, excluding GST, once during service and once after retirement.
- A person can save from Rs 50,000 to upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh, depending on the four-wheeler purchased through CSD, because the government gives 50% rebate on the GST on them after reduced prices are negotiated with the automobile manufacturer.
- Ranging from the government’s refusal to grant them NFU (non-functional upgrade) like the civil services to the opening of roads in cantonments, it has led to a lot of anger especially among young officers and veterans. “Why can’t I now buy a Jeep Compass (its basic price range begins from Rs 15-16 lakh) through CSD, like many senior officers have done?” said a Major.
- “The new orders are illogical. Earlier, there were no restrictions on the price or engine capacity, and officers could buy new cars once every four-five years. Yes, there was some misuse but the monitoring system needed to be strengthened instead of such blanket orders,” added a brigadier.
- But the defence ministry-Army headquarters combine is not convinced. “While car sales registered an overall dip in the country in 2018-2019, there was over 20% increase in them through CSD. Last year, the value of car sales was over Rs 6,000 crore, leading the overall CSD budget to overshoot,” said a senior officer
- “More car sales through CSD means more loss to the national exchequer because of the GST rebate. There were cases of two, three, four cars being purchased by a single person in less than five years. A correction was desperately needed,” he added.