In what can be called as a tribute to martyrs, the Central government has decided to fully fund the education of the children of those who were killed or rendered disabled in action. The decision was announced in a release from the Ministry of Finance on Thursday.
Earlier, the education of these children was funded up to INR 10,000 per month, but after widespread protests from the affected families and armed forces, the government has taken the decision to revoke the ‘educational concession’ and fully fund their studies.
“Cap on Educational Concession removed for the children of Armed Forces Officers / PBORs, missing/ disabled/ killed in action,” a relase from the Ministry of Defence said, adding, “Educational concession will continue without the cap of Rs10,000/- per month.”
“The ‘Educational Concession’ will be admissible only for undertaking studies in a government/government-aided schools. Military/Sainik schools and others schools and colleges recognised by the central or state government, including the autonomous organisations financed entirely by the central/state governments,” the release added.
Under the original scheme, which was initially rolled out in 1972, martyr’s chidren were provided full tuition and hostel fees without any cap till they acquired the first degree (BA, BTech, MBBS, BCom etc). The scheme was later extended to children of officers and soldiers killed or disabled in Operation Meghdoot (Siachen-Saltoro Ridge) and Operation Pawan (IPKF in Sri Lanka) as well as in counter-insurgency operations.
According to reports, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had requested the Ministry of Finance to remove the cap. The Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force chiefs had also written to the Ministry of Defence to remove the cap.
As per media report, over 250 students were affected during the current financial year after the government decided to cap the assistance. The scheme covers around 3,400 children and entails an expenditure of around INR 5 crore a year currently.