Monetary grant to gallantry award winners doubled

May 15th, 2008 - 12:39 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) The government Wednesday doubled the amount of monetary grant to gallantry award winners, even as President Pratibha Patil conferred awards on brave soldiers at an investiture ceremony here. “The proposal for the increase was initiated on the direction of Defence Minister A.K. Antony. The increase has been 100 percent irrespective of the ranks and income of the recipients,” defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.

A Param Vir Chakra (PVC) awardee, who till now was paid around Rs.1,500 monthly grant, will now get Rs.3,000. Similarly, awardees from the pre-Independence period, who were being paid a paltry Rs.50-200 per month, will now be uniformly given Rs.2,000 a month.

The Param Vir Chakra is the highest award for gallantry during war.

“The government has also decided to grant monetary allowance at enhanced rate of Rs.500 per month to armed personnel decorated with the Sena Medal, the Vayu Sena Medal and the Nau Sena Medal,” said Kar.

In the case of the Sena Medals, the increased rates will only be applicable for those decorated with awards after Jan 26, 1999. In the case of other medals, the hike will be from the date of award.

“All states need to give gallantry awards. We have been writing officially to all state governments to give the awards,” Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor had said at a defence investiture ceremony here in May.

“We are also taking all steps to ensure that their next of kin live respectfully,” Kapoor added.

The announcement came as, among others, President Patil awarded a militant-turned-soldier from Lolab in Jammu and Kashmir, Rifleman Hamid Chara, the Shaurya Chakra for laying down his life while fighting militants June 12, 2007.

Chara was kidnapped by terrorists from Al-Barq outfit when he was 14-year-old and was forced to join their group. He deserted after a couple of days and surrendered to the police.

Hamid served with the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and provided valuable inputs leading to many successful anti-terrorist operations. Hamid continued to work for ushering in peace in Lolab.

Frustrated over an unsuccessful IED (improvised explosive device) attack on Hamid, terrorists killed his father in 2004.

In October 2004, Chara joined 62 Infantry Battalion (TA) and was posted with Divar (Markul) Company of 18 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion. In June last year, he died while intercepting two terrorists.

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