Defence minister AK Antony told Lok Sabha on Thursday that counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir had claimed the lives of 180 army personnel, including 12 officers. The figures represent casualties that took place in the space of 11 months between January and December 2004.
Enumerating special facilities provided to troops in J&K, Antony said they were entitled to special compensatory counter-insurgency allowance that varied with deployment in field areas, modified field areas and peace stations. The defence minister said widows of soldiers could retain married accommodation for a period of two years on payment of normal rent and this was extendable by another 18 months in exceptional circumstances.
The defence minister said the families of the army personnel declared battle casualties are granted ex-gratia compensation ranging from Rs five lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh. They are also entitled to monetary compensation under the Army Group Insurance of Rs 15 lakh for officers and Rs 7.5 lakh for personnel below officer rank.
Such families are also eligible for air/rail travel concession, reservation of seats in professional institutes, allotment of oil product agencies and assistance from Army Wives Welfare Association and Army Officers' Benevolent Fund. Besides, the Army Welfare Housing Organisation reserves 3 per cent of its dwelling units for widows. The army also offers financial assistance for marriage of daughters and agro-based ventures.