The Indian Army is rightly looked up to as a disciplined organisation but evidently, there is a surprising lack of coordination among its various wings, especially when it comes to delivering medals of service to recipients.
Army personnel who are awarded medals for their service often end up buying replicas from private shops since the Army takes several years to deliver the originals.
In fact, the backlog of non-gallantry medals runs as far back as 10 years, say sources in the Defence Ministry.
According to a report in the Times of India, these replicated medals are known as 'tailor copies' and can be procured for as little as ₹40 to ₹180 from private outlets. In fact, one can buy an entire uniform, complete with medals and badges, for less than ₹2,500. However, gallantry medals cannot be brought from private shops, probably because they bear the recipient's name and ID number.
The TOI cites the example of Mohammed Rafee who served in the Army for 24 years and had to buy 9 out of his 10 medals from private shops.
The director of Sainik Welfare, Colonel P. Ramesh Kumar (Retd), admitted to the delay in delivering medals and said that the armymen who didn't want to wait often went and purchased the medals. He was reluctant to label the substituting as a 'fraud' since those buying the medals were legitimate recipients.
However, the so called 'tailor copies' are available to any willing buyer as shops don't ascertain if the person buying a medal is a legitimate recipient.
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