The ministry of Defence will now approach state governments to standardise the cash rewards given to winners of gallantry awards. The decision comes a day after an HT report that highlighted how the disparity in rewards given by different states is demoralising the country’s soldiers.
Defence Minister AK Antony told HT on Tuesday: "Varying rewards for identical honours is creating tension and frustration within the armed forces. We will pursue this issue."
While Antony’s own state, Kerala, gives cash rewards of Rs 1.93 lakh for the Ashok Chakra, the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, other states like Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu offer Rs 1.45 lakh for the same award.
Senior officers within the Army said that this disparity affected motivations levels and troops from different regions sometimes behaved differently while facing the same challenges.
Those from less generous states often encouraged their comrades from other states that offer better cash rewards.
Although the Centre has fixed the minimum grant to be given to gallantry awardees by states, each state is free to fix their own ceiling. Consequently, while a Param Vir Chakra awardee would receive Rs 25 lakh in Punjab, he would get a mere Rs 22,500 in Gujarat.