Centre lifts Rs 10k cap on educational aid to martyrs’ wards
The government had faced a backlash from various quarters after the defence ministry instructed the three chiefs and the coast guard head that the combined amount of tuition fees and hostel charges for wards of martyred and disabled soldiers be restricted to Rs 10,000 per month.india Updated: Mar 22, 2018 19:31 IST
In a move that will benefit over 3,200 students, the government has withdrawn a controversial order that capped educational aid to children of martyred and disabled soldiers at Rs 10,000 per month last year.
“Educational concession will continue without the cap of Rs 10,000 per month,” an order issued by the finance ministry on March 21 stated.
The government had faced a backlash from various quarters after the defence ministry instructed the three chiefs and the coast guard head in a letter dated September 13, 2017, that the combined amount of tuition fees and hostel charges for such wards be restricted to Rs 10,000 per month.
The new order said the educational concession will be admissible for pursuing studies in government and government-aided educational institutions. It can also be availed for studying in military/sainik schools and other educational institutions recognised by the central and state governments (including autonomous organisations financed by the administration).
“By removing the cap on the educational concession, the government has restored the faith of families left behind in the system. We know we are not alone. The country is with us,” said Captain Shalini Singh (retd), whose husband – Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria – was posthumously awarded the Kirti Chakra in 2001. Their son is pursuing a course in engineering.
“This is the least we, as a country, can do for the children of our bravehearts,” said a senior army officer.
The government spends over Rs 15 crore on the scheme annually. “The defence ministry persuaded the finance ministry twice in this regard,” a defence ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
The cap on financial aid was imposed in keeping with the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission last year. The defence ministry re-examined the matter and reached out to the finance ministry after the armed forces wrote to it in this regard.
Admiral Sunil Lanba, navy chief and chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, had also sought the withdrawal of the Rs 10,000 cap in a letter to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She then met finance minister Arun Jaitley to get the matter resolved, said a defence ministry official familiar with the issue.
The scheme to provide financial aid to children of martyrs was announced in December 1971, days after India’s victory in its war with Pakistan.