Medals on a soldier's uniform are a unique representative of his courage and sacrifice but for the past eight years, Indian soldiers have been deprived of the honour of receiving medals from the government. They have been purchasing replicas from local stores instead.
The medal division of the Defense ministry is in charge of issuing medals to military personnel but has failed to do so for the past eight years. This has resulted in a massive backlog of nearly 14.5 lakh medals of various types with the government, reports Hindustan Times.
Medals are awarded to soldiers for bravery, distinguished service and other key accomplishments in their military career. It's a matter of national shame that the personnel are being forced to purchase them on their own.
“Several letters have been written to the Medals' department but there has been no movement,” a defense official told The Hindu.
The difference between authentic and duplicate medals is that the authentic ones come with soldier's name and service number etched on them. While there is a gross shortage of other types of medals and awards, the ones conferred on personnel for gallantry are adequately available.
“Medals that are awarded at investiture ceremonies are available. But the problem is with other awards that soldiers are automatically entitled to after completing a certain number of years in service, serving in difficult areas or taking part in some operation,” a senior officer told Hindustan Times.
The problem is so severe that certain junior army officials are not even aware of the fact that the medals are issued by the government.
“We are not even aware that there is a separate department and these medals are issued. We have always purchased them in the market,” one young officer told The Hindu.