In a note issued yesterday, the Finance Ministry said the educational concession will continue without the cap of Rs 10,000 per month.
Bowing to a demand of the armed forces, the government has removed the cap of Rs 10,000 per month on educational assistance given to children of martyrs or those disabled in action, eight months after imposing it. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said it had twice taken up the issue with the Finance Ministry which has now withdrawn the cap. Under the scheme, which was initially rolled out in 1972, tuition fee of children of martyrs or those disabled in action were completely waived in schools, colleges and other professional educational institutions.
The government order in July last year saying the assistance under the scheme cannot exceed Rs 10,000 per month had triggered widespread discontent among all the three services. Three months ago, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, in his capacity as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), had taken up the issue with the Defence Ministry, asking it to remove the cap. “The Ministry of Defence had persuaded the Finance Ministry twice in this regard, which is agreed upon by the latter,” the Defence Ministry said. In a note issued yesterday, the Finance Ministry said the educational concession will continue without the cap of Rs 10,000 per month. It, however, said the concession will be admissible for undertaking studies in government or government aided schools and educational institutes or those “recognised” by the central or state governments.
The concession will also be applicable to students studying in autonomous institutes financed by central or state governments. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had requested the finance ministry to remove the cap. Approximately 250 students were affected during the current financial year following the government’s decision to cap the assistance, according to officials. Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha in January, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said that the annual saving on account of putting the cap would be Rs 3.20 crore per annum. He had said the highest amount drawn has been reported to be Rs 18.95 lakh per annum per student.