People's Party of Punjab (PPP) lashed out at the Punjab government for minimising the chances of Punjab to serve the nation. In a statement issued on Tuesday, PPP president Manpreet Singh Badal stated that the incentive scheme for Punjabi youngsters to join the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force as commissioned officers has been thwarted by the lopsided policies of the Shiromani Akali Dal- Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government.
A total of five such schemes have been put in the cold storage by the Akali Dal-BJP government, Manpreet alleged.
The scheme of grant of one lakh to each young Punjabi joining the armed forces has suffered due to lack of allocation of funds in the Punjab budget. As against the requirement of Rs 369 lakh, the Punjab government allotted only Rs 20 lakh. This scheme, called Defence Services Welfare Incentive Scheme (DSWIS) is meant for youngsters joining NDA, IMA, OTA, Naval academy and Air Force academy. But the lopsided approach of the government has killed the scheme, added Manpreet.
Manpreet further stated that the Sainik School, Kapurthala used to be granted one crore every year, but during the fiscal year (2013-14, 2014-15), the grant has been reduced to zero. This prestigious school has been serving the nation since 1961 when it was inaugurated by the then defence minister VK Krishna Menon.
The incentive scheme of Rs 30,000 grant per every jawan was proposed but it has been lying with the Punjab government since the past one year. This is against the backdrop that about 7,000 vacancies exist in the Sikh regiment alone due to shortage of qualified youth from the State.
Manpreet regretted that qualified and disciplined manpower of ex-servicemen are not being utilised in Punjab, and their services could be used for security-related activities and for disaster management.
Former minister also alleged that the immediate family members of the martyrs had not been given jobs by the Punjab government, adding that he has come across scores of such cases.
While concluding he said only 3-4% of posts in all Punjab departments have been filled with ex-servicemen as against 13% reservation. Moreover, the lack of interest shown by the Punjab government in defence related issues is now affecting all departments in the state.