May 28: There has been an increase in instances of security personnel working in Nepal's security agencies of quitting their jobs. A large number of security personnel from both the Nepalese Army and Nepal Police are opting for voluntary retirement of late.
According to the government’s Pension Management Office, there has been an increase in security personnel retiring prematurely for the past 5/6 years. Altogether 71,282 army personnel and 44,273 policemen were receiving pension till the fiscal year (FY) 2074/75. The data shows that 92,885 army personnel and 58,398 policemen received pension in the last fiscal year (FY 2078/79).
In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (FY 2079/80), a total of 4,949 Nepalese Army personnel and 1,004 police personnel retired. In recent years, the number of security personnel of lower ranks (soldiers, constables) taking voluntary retirement has increased significantly.
Currently, the Nepalese Army gives voluntary retirement after 16 years of service and the Nepal Police after 20 years. As the trained and experienced security personnel do not remain in service till the mandatory retirement period, the state is being deprived of the benefits that can be taken from them. Also, the question has arisen as to why the security personnel who spend their prime time in the peace and security of the country are not staying there for a long time.
Office bearers of the Former Security Personnel Council of Nepal say that low-ranking security personnel take early retirement due to lack of proper services and facilities. The president of the council, Kamal Rawat, says that the state should increase the services and facilities of the security personnel who work for peace, security and border protection round the clock.
The number of security personnel who take voluntary retirement or leave their jobs before the mandatory retirement period is quite high. This is because the services and facilities they get are not adequate.
“It is difficult for low-ranking security personnel to provide decent living conditions for their family members and education for their children with the current salary and allowances,'' said Rawat.
After acquiring a certificate of working in Nepal's security forces, the retired personnel can get good jobs as security guards in foreign countries.
Security experts say that it is ironic that the security personnel who contribute to strengthening the country's security system during the prime time of their life are going abroad to fulfill their basic needs. Stakeholders say that the state should be serious about the complaints of lack of services and facilities for security personnel.
The spokesperson for Nepal Police, DIG Kuber Kadayat, does not agree with the argument that security personnel retire early only because of very low salary and allowances.
"Compared to the neighboring countries, the services and facilities of Nepal's security personnel are less. However, they are following the standards of Nepal government. In other words, they are well aware of the salary, allowances and service facilities from the time they join the service,” he said.
According to police spokesperson Kadayat, the reason for the recent increase in voluntary retirement is more attractive opportunities in other fields and the possibility of getting double benefits through pension. He says that some security personnel are retiring early due to family obligations.