Chandigarh, December 8
Punjab, often referred to as the sword arm of the nation, has the highest number of widows of armed forces personnel amongst all states in the country, accounting for 10.63 per cent of the total number of such persons.
The number of registered widows of ex-servicemen in Punjab is 74,253, according to data shared by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with Parliament on Friday. This includes 60,261 from the Army, 4,236 from the Navy and 9,756 from the Air Force.
The total number of widows of ex-servicemen in the country from Three Services is 6,98,252. Punjab is followed by Kerala with 69,507 widows and Uttar Pradesh with 68,815 widows.
At the sixth place in the list is Haryana, where the total number of such widows is 53,546. These include 47,224 from the Army, 3,620 from the Navy and 2,702 from the Air Force, the MoD’s data shows.
The total number in neighbouring hill states of Himachal Pradesh is 39,367, with 38,490 from the Army, 508 from the Navy and 369 from the Air Force. The number in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu is higher than this.
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have a strong martial tradition and are among the top states to contribute manpower to the Armed Forces. In addition to other arms and services, five Infantry regiments, Punjab, Dogra, Jat, Singh and Sikh Light Infantry, draw the bulk of their troops from these states.
As far as individual services are concerned, the highest number of widows, in decreasing order, from the Army are in Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, from the Navy in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana and from the Air Force in Punjab, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.
In response to a question Member of Parliament Sunil Dattatray Tatkare regarding the welfare of widows of ex-servicemen, the Minister of State of Defence, Ajay Bhatt, stated in the Lok Sabha today that widows of ex-servicemen are entitled for family pension which is revised under the One Rank, One Pay formula after every five years and is also linked with dearness relief which is revised after every six months.
He added that the government reviews the various welfare measures extended to war widows/families in the Armed Forces from time to time and they are provided compassionate employment. In the year 2022, compassionate appointments have been granted to 32 widows/family members of deceased defence personnel.
There are a number of schemes where varying quantum of financial assistance is also provided to such families to meet various expenses or exigencies.
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