Government To Stick To Rs 10,000 Study Fund Limit For Soldiers' Children

The children of soldiers killed in action, those missing or disabled were previously given a full reimbursement of tuition fees, hostel charges, cost of books, cost of uniforms and clothing. This was capped to Rs 10,000 in an order that was issued by the government on July 1.

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Government To Stick To Rs 10,000 Study Fund Limit For Soldiers' Children

Due to the new rules government saved just Rs 3.2 crore in 2017-2018 (File Photo)


New Delhi:  Ignoring an appeal from the senior-most armed forces chief, the government has decided to not review the decision to cap the education expenditure of children of soldiers killed or disabled in action. In a statement in parliament on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry has said that 2,679 students were availing the scheme, of which 193 students have been drawing more than Rs 10,000 per month, the cap proposed by the pay panel.

Due to this Rs 10,000 limit on educational expenses, the government saved just Rs 3.2 crore in 2017-2018.

"The savings have been reported to be Rs 3.20 crore approximately. The highest amount drawn has been reported to be Rs 18.95 lakh per annum per student," Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in Rajya Sabha.

The children of soldiers killed in action, those missing or disabled were previously given a full reimbursement of tuition fees, hostel charges, cost of books, cost of uniforms and clothing. This was capped to Rs 10,000 in an order that was issued by the government on July 1. 

Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month requesting the government to withdraw the order. "This small gesture would assure the families of our brave women and men that the nation cares for them and their sacrifices are truly appreciated by the government," Admiral Lanba, also the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, had written.

Ms Sitharaman, hinting that the government could review the decision, had said she understood the sentiment against the move, adding that she would "go back to consider it".

"This government is never against the will of, particularly our soldiers, particularly our gallantry award winners, particularly those disabled soldiers. I have understood the sentiment which is going on. It is not as if I have done something myself," she said.

The reimbursement of the education expenses of children of soldiers killed in the line of duty was first introduced two days after the armed forces won the 1971 war which led to the creation of Bangladesh. This was a gesture to convey the country's gratitude and support towards the children and widows of soldiers killed in the war.

Over the years, there was a demand that this concession should be extended to personnel of the central armed police forces such as the Border Security Force and the Indian Coast Guard.

The pay panel accepted this demand but also stipulated that the monthly expenditure on tuition fee and hostel charges should not exceed Rs 10,000 per child.

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