Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh today officially sanctioned a four-fold increase in the financial assistance provided to the next kin of battle casualties from existing Rs 2 lakh to Rs 8 lakh. The said the financial assistance will be granted under the Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF).
Till now, Rs 2 lakh was given to battle casualties in case of death and also to those sustaining 60% and above disability besides several other categories. After the Defence Minister’s sanction, the families of the soldiers grievously injured or martyred in a battle will receive Rs 8 lakhs from ABCWF welfare fund.
Announcing the decision, a defence ministry spokesman said, “The defence minister has given in-principle approval to the enhancement of monetary assistance to next of kin of all categories of Battle Casualty from Rs two lakh to Rs eight lakh.”
This assistance is in addition to unrestricted family pension, financial assistance from Army group insurance, Army Welfare Fund and ex-gratia amount.
The ABCWF was established under Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) after a legion of people offered monetary assistance to the families of battle casualties following an incident in February 2016 at Siachen where 10 soldiers were buried in an avalanche. The ABCWF came into being in July 2017 and was put into action retrospectively with effect from April 2016.
There are other schemes, along with ABCWF fund for the welfare of the next kin of the soldiers martyred or critically injured in the battle. As per officials, alongside ABCWF, the already prevailing monetary grant includes ex-gratia for various ranks ranging from Rs 25 lakhs to Rs 45 lakhs and Army Group Insurance ranging from Rs 40 lakhs to Rs 75 lakhs.
Besides this, Rajnath Singh as Home Minister in the previous government, along with actor Akshay Kumar had launched the ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ initiative, a crowdsourcing portal providing a platform for citizens to donate for the welfare of the martyrs’ families.