The Telangana State Government has decided to introduce a comprehensive policy for the welfare of the soldiers and their families in the State, including setting up of a special Sainik Welfare Fund.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced this in the Assembly on Tuesday stating that since it was the bounden duty and responsibility of the society to look after the well-being of the soldiers and security of their families, the State government wanted to be a role model for all other States in the country in this regard.
Accordingly, the Telangana Government has decided to set up a Sainik Welfare Fund with the financial support of ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs and government employees. While the Chief Minister and Ministers would give Rs 25,000 per year, the MPs, MLAs and MLCs would contribute Rs 10,000 per annum. The State government employees also decided to extend their support by contributing to the Sainik Welfare Fund one day salary. “I whole-heartedly thank the people’s representatives and the employees for their gesture”, the Chief Minister said.
Another welfare measure of the Telangana Government was with regard to the pensions for ex-servicemen. The central government was giving pension to ex-servicemen. Whosoever it may be the soldier after retirement and get employed with the State government would get double pension. However, wives of deceased ex-servicemen are exempted from this facility. The policy of providing only one pension, whether given by the Centre or by the State, was in vogue. But the State government was giving two pensions to ex-servicemen, who worked as employees of the Telangana government. Now, the State government has decided to extend this facility of two pensions to the wives in case of death of ex-servicemen.
The Chief Minister said the Telangana Government has decided to give more cash awards than any other State to soldiers, who are recipients of Param Veer Chakra, Mahaveer Chakra, Veer Chakra, Ashok Chakra, Keerthi Chakra, Sourya Chakra, Sena Medals. While the Punjab government was giving a maximum of Rs Two crore for Param Veer Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees, the united Andhra Pradesh government declared Rs 10 lakh. Now the Telangana government has decided to give the sons of soil of Telangana, who got Param Veer Chakra an amount of Rs 2.25 crore. Similarly, the Punjab government was giving a maximum of Rs one crore for awardees of Mahaveer Chakra and Keerthi Chakra. Now the Telangana government has enhanced the same to Rs 1.25 crore.
Likewise, the Telangana Government also decided to enhance the amounts being given to Veer Chakra and Sourya Chakra awardees to Rs 75 lakh and Rs 30 lakh to awardees of Seva medal. Also the awardees of mention in Dispatches Gallantry would be now given Rs 25 lakh, Rs 25 lakh to Sarvotham Yudh awardees, Rs 20 lakh to those who got Uttam Yudh Seva medal and Rs Five lakh to those who got Yudh Seva medal.
The Chief Minister pointed out that there was variation in the compensation being paid to those who died during their service period and those who died with other reasons. Also there is variation in other facilities being provided. However, compensation, facilities, whichever being given to the families of soldiers, who died in the war, the Telangana government decided to give the same compensation also to those families of soldiers who died with other reasons like ill-health, road accidents and so on, he said.
KCR further announced that the State and district-level Sainik Welfare Boards would be strengthened. At present, these Boards are in 10 districts and they would be established in the newly formed 21 districts also for implementation of Sainik Welfare programs. Reservations would be provided to the children of soldiers and ex-servicemen in Government Gurukul Schools besides giving State recognition to military schools. The State government would encourage scouts, guides, NCC training in educational institutions. The government was also giving Rs Two lakh each to encourage students, who are admitted in National Defence Academy, he added.
The Chief Minister said the Centre has agreed to establish a Sainik School in Warangal and an MoU would be signed shortly. Instructions were also issued to the RTA authorities not to collect vehicle tax again in the State if the soldiers had already paid the life tax once in any State. The Telangana Government also decided to exempt property tax to the houses to be constructed by soldiers. This exemption would also be applicable to houses, which stand in the name of the soldiers wives. It was also decided to give two percent quota for ex-servicemen in double bed room houses.
The Chief Minister further disclosed that his government has enhanced the pension from Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000 being given to courageous soldiers and their wives, who participated in the Second World War. Measures were also being taken to enhance salaries of ex-servicemen working as Special Police Officers and to pay salaries regularly every month on par with other employees. A State-level Sainik Welfare Advisory Board was constituted to take up more measures for the welfare of soldiers in the coming days, he added. (NSS)