Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 30
The Ministry of Defence has capped educational expenses it pays to children of martyrs or those disabled in action at Rs 10,000 per month, impacting some 3,200 students in schools, colleges and professional institutions.This will result in a meagre saving of less than Rs 4 crore per annum, say sources.
The orders came into force on July 1 this year. Since then, the ministry has received several requests for continuing with the old system, which had no such ceiling. The MoD had on November 2 clarified to an Agra-based petitioner, wife of a Lt Colonel, that a letter to cap fee had been drafted as per the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
The scheme to bear the cost of education of children of martyrs was announced in the Lok Sabha on December 18,1971, two days after the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indian forces at Dacca (now know as Dhaka). The scheme, introduced in the 1972 session, allowed complete exemption of tuition and ‘other fee’ school onwards.
In 1990, the MoD extended the scheme to children of officers and jawans killed or disabled in Operation Meghdoot (Siachen) and Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka). Another amendment in 2003 included children of those killed or disabled in counter-insurgency operations. The dilution began in 1983 when a ceiling was imposed on expenses for uniform. In 2010, the clause ‘other fee’ was removed. The forces protested but to no avail. The ceiling introduced this year will hit students in the midst of their degree courses.
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