KATHMANDU, March 7: The government of United Kingdom, heeding the decade long demand of veterans Gurkhas, is increasing the individual pension to its Gurkha soldiers by between 10 to 35 percent. For this significant uplift to Gurkha pension provision, the UK government will invest an extra £ 15 million (NRS 2 1/4 billion), according to March Lancaster, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces in UK.
“Alterations to the Armed Forces existing terms and conditions must always be fair to all members of the British Armed Forces. It isn’t possible to meet the expectations of everyone. But having listened intently to veterans concerns I believe there is more we can do. So today I announce a significant uplift to Gurkha pension provision. It will see the UK Government investing an extra £15 million (2 ¼ billion Nepali Rupees) to increase individual pensions by between 10 percent and 34 percent, wrote Lancaster, in a article titled ‘Announcement for Gurkhas’ published in Republica on Thursday.
The increase will also see the average Gurkha pension to around NRS 730 k per year which will “provide for a good standard of living and this history means many of those Gurkhas receive better pensions over a lifetime than their British counterparts with similar service.”
According to him, the British government has also agreed that the veterans discharged after more than four year of service before 1997 can settle in the UK and receive access to welfare and medical support. In addition, The UK government has also decided to provide an additional £25 million (NRS 3.6 billion) for healthcare for Gurkhas in Nepal over the next ten years.
Lancaster on February 20 had held discussions with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister K P Shamra Oli and Minister for Defense Ishwor Pokhrel, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali about the demands of ex-Ghurkas and a report prepared by a joint task force of Nepal and British governments and agitating ex-Gurkhas.
The report, submitted to both governments on March 2, 2018, highlighted equal pay and pension to serving and retired Gurkha soldiers. Moreover, it also stressed on equal pay, medical and other facilities to Gurkhas killed or injured in war and their widows.