New Delhi: The issue of tax on disability pension for military personnel was Thursday raised in the Lok Sabha by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh saying his ministry will look into the issue. As soon as Chowdhury raised the issue during the zero hour, Congress members rushed to the well and raised slogans like “Sena ko nayay do’ (Give justice to Army) and ‘sena ke naam pe vote mangana band karo’ (stop asking votes in the name of Army). Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah With Congress members creating a ruckus in the House, Speaker Om Birla said they were disturbing new members which was not right. Chowdhury said new members should be given chance to speak again and again. The Congress leader said that in June CBDT came out with a circular which said disability pension will be taxable for military personnel. This, he said, was very sad. Replying to him, the defence minister said, “I will look into the issue. The ministry is gathering information and will get back with details to the House”. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey Colony The defence minister also said that in the last 40 years people were kept in the dark as far as ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) is concerned and were misled “but our government brought it into force”. Armed forces personnel who suffer any kind of disability due to their service receive separate disability pension. Sources had earlier said that disability pension will be taxable for military personnel who superannuated under normal circumstances. Pension will be non-taxable only for those personnel who have retired due to any kind of disability, they had said. Citing a Finance Ministry circular, dated June 24, the sources had said, “Tax exemption will be available to armed forces personnel who have been invalidated from the service on account of bodily disability attributable to or aggravated by such service and not to personnel who have been retired or superannuated or otherwise.”
The Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) is launching a Geoscience Portal that provides free access to multi-disciplinary datasets from Ngamiland, a district in the country’s northwest, for a period of one year. Building on the success of online geoscience initiatives in North America, Europe and Australia, the portal is intended to help Botswana attract new investment in resource exploration, improve transparency and stimulate collaboration between government, industry and the public to advance understanding of the economic and social needs of the North-West district.“In addition to encouraging investment, improved discovery and interpretation of the Ngamiland datasets can assist us in furthering our understanding of other issues, such as the causes of earthquakes in the region, evolution and geodynamics of the delta system, and contribution in the development of seismic hazard maps and zonation,” said Motsamai Tarzan Kwadiba, Chief Geophysicist with the Botswana Geoscience Institute.Partnering with the BGI and industry stakeholders, Geosoft will make geoscientific and supporting data and information from Ngamiland freely accessible through a web portal, and will support the portal for the duration of the pilot project.The Botswana Geoscience Portal was presented during the Indaba African mining conference in Cape Town, and will launch in mid-February, 2016.