Penury grant for ex-servicemen hiked to Rs 4,000 a month

 A Defence Ministry decision hiking the penury grant at one go from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 a month has come as a big relief to hundreds of ex-servicemen in the state, several of them veterans of multipl

Published: 20th June 2017 02:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2017 02:28 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Defence Ministry decision hiking the penury grant at one go from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 a month has come as a big relief to hundreds of ex-servicemen in the state, several of them veterans of multiple wars, who are deemed ineligible for pension. 

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare under the ministry hiked the penury grant on June 8. ‘Non-pensioner’ ex-servicemen and widows of service personnel are eligible for the grant, provided they are 65 years of age. The grant falls under the Raksha Mantri Ex-Servicemen Welfare Fund scheme. Funds are sourced from the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The revised rates will come into effect retrospectively  from April 1, 2017, according to the Defence Ministry.  

‘’This is quite a relief to former soldiers like me who have fought wars, but, strangely enough, are ineligible for a pension as we did not complete 15 years in service,’’ says C Vimalanandan, a sepoy who left the Army Medical Corps (AMC) after 11-and-a half-years of service, shortly after the 1971 Indo-Pak war ended. This former soldier had fought in the 1962 war against China, and the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan. 

Rough estimates put the number of aging, ‘pension-less’ soldiers like him at 2000 in the state, the sole reason for their dismal state being they cannot claim the required number of years - 15 - in service. These battle-scarred veterans have shot off several petitions to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, seeking financial support in their old age. 

Problems persist despite the hike, however. Many former soldiers, over 60 and 70 years old, are quite unaware of the scheme. Veterans who were receiving the monthly grant of Rs 1,000 allege the payment had stopped over the past two years. Officials at the Sainik Welfare Directorate, Kerala, say the mode of applying for the grant went online last year, making the process simpler, faster. The primary clearance is granted by the district-level Sainik Welfare Office, which forwards its recommendation to the Sainik Welfare Directorate. The final clearance is granted by the Kendriya Sainik Board, New Delhi, says Lal K, assistant director, Sainik Welfare.  

Ray of hope for nation builders

Beneficiaries
‘Non-pensioner’ ex-servicemen and widows of service personnel are eligible for the grant, provided they are 65 years of age. The grant falls under the Raksha Mantri Ex-Servicemen Welfare Fund scheme

Clearance procedure
The primary clearance is granted by the district-level Sainik Welfare Office, which forwards its recommendation to the Sainik Welfare Directorate. The final clearance is granted by the Kendriya Sainik Board, New Delhi,says Lal K, assistant director, Sainik Welfare.  

This is quite a relief to former soldiers like me who have fought wars, but, strangely enough, are ineligible for a pension as we did not complete 15 years in service
— C Vimalanandan, ex-Army Medical Corps (AMC) sepoy

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