VAC objects to subsidies aimed at boosting military recruits
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
October 4, 2012, 12:19 am TWN
The China Post--The Cabinet-level Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) yesterday voiced its objection over a proposal to allow discharged volunteer service soldiers to enjoy government subsidies after completing only six to eight years of service, a move that is intended to attract young people to join the military.
“We have to express our opposition to the proposal since the incentive scheme could drag down the country financially,” VAC Minister Tseng Jing-ling (曾金陵) said yesterday in the legislatures when asked by lawmakers to comment on the plan.
The draft proposal raised by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) plans to lower the threshold for those qualified as veterans and to give subsidies to those who have served six or eight years in the military before choosing to file for retirement.
The current subsidies only give grants to veterans who have served 10 years in the military.
The MND's scheme, through increasing the incentive to enlist, aims to boost the recruitment of personnel in the local military as the nation moves toward a full-voluntary system in 2015.
But according to a calculation made yesterday by ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lin Yu-fang, the military's proposal, once finalized, could be a huge burden on the national coffers, costing an estimated NT$160 million per year.
Lin said the proposal would be a financial burden on the nation especially given the Taiwanese economy's current difficulties.
Asked to comment, Minister Tseng said that it would be an irresponsible move to lower the veteran subsidy threshold just to boost recruitment.
In Taiwan, the term veteran often refers to those soldiers who came to the island in 1949 along with the KMT government after it lost a civil war with the Communist Party.
The total number of these veterans is around 400,000, and the number is dropping annually.
Now, however, the term may also refer to the new generation of veterans, which are those who have served 10 years in the local army before retirement.