can now finally wear their genuine medals with pride. The
has begun to get deliveries of the 17.27 lakh service medals that were awarded to soldiers but never actually presented to them over the years.
Both officers and soldiers were being forced to buy from the market cheap white metal replicas or “tailor copies” of medals, instead of the genuine Cupronickel ones, for their ceremonial uniforms due to general bureaucratic apathy over the last several years.
The Army in October last year finally ordered the 17.27 lakh genuine service medals of 17 different types, at a cost of over Rs 13 crore. “The deliveries began this month and will be completed by August. They will meet all outstanding demands of service medals in respect of soldiers who have served and are serving in the Army,” said an officer.
TOI in 2017 had reported the huge backlog of service medals that had built up over the years due to the defence ministry’s failure to order genuine ones in time.
Though some orders were then placed for the service medals, which range from Siachen Glacier Medals and High-Altitude Medals to Sainya Seva Medals and 9-Year-Long Service Medals, the huge shortages only increased with time.
major gallantry medals
presented every year, like the
Param Vir Chakra
in peacetime), Maha Vir Chakra (
) and Vir Chakra (
), among others, of course, are the genuine ones.
“But service medals are also important for morale because everyone cannot be awarded a gallantry medal. Many participate in an operation but only a few get gallantry medals. It should be remembered that the basic ethos of Indian soldiers revolves around “Naam, Namak and Nishaan” (reputation of battalion/paltan, fidelity and ensign/colours),” said another officer.