M A I N   N E W S

Pension up to Havildar to be raised
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
In an effort to provide benefit to a large section of ex-servicemen, the government today said that demands of retired service personnel with regard to the one-rank-one-pension issue had been “substantially” met and the pension of those up to the rank of Havildar would be raised by Rs 400 to Rs 500 per month.

Addressing the 26th meeting of the Kendriya Sainik Board here, which looks after the well-being of retired defence personnel and their families, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “Substantial demands on the one-rank-one-pension issue have been met and the increase in pension will cost the government about Rs 460 crore per year.”

Nearly 60,000 officers and men retire from the armed forces each year and about 80 per cent of them belong to non-commissioned ranks equivalent to those of sepoys, naiks and havildars in the three services. These ranks will benefit from the government's decision to raise pension.

Mr Mukherjee said that as part of more schemes for the ex-servicemen, the government had also decided to launch a new “Prime Minister's Scholarship Scheme” for children of retired personnel for their technical and professional education from the current academic year.

Under this scheme, girls will be entitled to scholarships of Rs 1500 per month and boys Rs 1200 per month, the Defence Minister said.

He praised the states of Bihar and Rajasthan for creating jobs for ex-servicemen, including their recruitment in the police force. Mr Mukherjee appealed to state governments and Union Territories to explore all possible avenues of providing re-employment and extend their various development and welfare programmes to retired soldiers.

Lauding the work done in afforestation by ecological battalions under the Territorial Army, Mr Mukherjee also asked the states and UTs to seriously consider raising at least one battalion for afforestation work.

Maintaining that several states had taken initiatives that open new avenues for ex-servicemen, he said there was a need to rejuvenate the institutions of 32 Rajya Sainik Boards and 342 Zila Sainik Boards and their activities effectively coordinated by the Directorate-General of Resettlement.

The meeting was attended by several Chief Ministers, Governors, the three service chiefs and other top officials.

Mr Mukherjee gave away awards to the Maharashtra and Delhi units of Kendriya Sainik Boards for raising money for the welfare of ex-servicemen. 





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