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Troops at high altitudes to get more
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
In an effort to control stress-related violence, specially fragging, the union cabinet today cleared the proposal of the ministry of defence (MoD) to hike the perks and allowances of the armed forces personnel posted in high-altitude areas, fighting insurgency and terrorism.

A meeting of the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the proposal to provide high-altitude (uncongenial climate) allowance at enhanced rates of Rs 5,600 per month and Rs 3,734 per month for officers and personnel below officer ranks, respectively. The decision will benefit a large number of armed forces personnel.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting of the cabinet, information and broadcasting minister P.R. Dasmunsi said for the past several years, the issues concerning the plight of the armed forces personnel had been taken up with the government. This particular decision had been taken by the government on the recommendation of the MoD in an effort to boost the morale of the armed forces personnel.

There have been a large number of fratricide cases at these high-stress postings over the past few years and a large number of armed forces personnel have also been committing suicide. Even yesterday, a jawan committed suicide in Jammu.

The decision from the cabinet came almost after an hour-long debate following a note brought forward by defence minister A.K. Antony.

Their living conditions and the hazards they faced during their high-altitude postings in places like Siachen and Nathu La had been considered by the government, he said.

Under the package approved, the government decided to provide one additional free rail travel warrant to these personnel per year to visit their hometown, compared with once a year now.

The services personnel would also be eligible to undertake leave journey to their choice station without any distance restriction, Dasmunsi said.

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