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HP Govt committed to welfare of soldiers
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the state government was committed to welfare of serving soldiers, ex-servicemen, war widows and their dependents. He said that rates of annuity and one time lump-sum grant to the recipients of Gallantry Awards had been enhanced. He was addressing a press briefing today at New Delhi.
He said that one time lump-sum grant to the recipients of Param Vir Chakra, Ashok Chakra had been enhanced from Rs. 25,00,000 to Rs 30,00,000 and Mahavir Chakra from Rs. 15,00,000 to Rs. 20,00,000 whereas rates of annuity of these categories of Gallantry awards winners had been enhanced from Rs. 1,25,000 to Rs. 3,00,000, from Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 3,00,000 and Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 respectively.

He said that rates of annuity to the other recipients of Gallantry Award Winners and Distinguished Services Awardees of Armed Forces i.e Army, Navy and Air Force had also been enhanced from 1st April, 2016.

The Chief Minister said that next of kin of soldiers working in the Defence Security Corps belonging to State of Himachal Pradesh had also been declared as defence personnel and were entitled for the payment of ex-gratia grant from the HP Chief Minister's Sainik Welfare Fund from 04th January, 2016. An amount of Rs. 2 crore had been provided for the repair/maintenance of Sainik Rest Houses, he added.

Virbhadra Singh said that the State had 1,10,202 ex-servicemen, 1050 war widows and 33,099 other widows besides large number of officers and Jawans serving the nation. He added that the state government had constantly improved its efforts for ensuring the welfare of these families.

The Chief Minister said that the ex-gratia grant had been revised from 25th May, 2015 and the beneficiaries would now get an ex-gratia @ Rs 5.00 lakh to the next of kin of battle casualty, disabled soldiers during operation @ Rs. 1.50 lakh (50% disability or above) and Rs. 75,000/- below 50% disability) and members of Para Military Forces, who die in active operations @ Rs. 1.50 lakh and physical casualty @ Rs. 35,000.

Virbhadra Singh said that annual income limit criteria had been enhanced from Rs 15,000 to 35,000 per annum (excluding the income of MNREGA) for availing the benefits of financial assistance (Old Age Pension) being paid to ex-servicemen/their widows aged above 60 years and not getting any kind of pension.

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