Defence minister approves four-fold increase to families of battle casualties


New Delhi: Heeding to a long-standing demand of the Army, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has given in-principle approval to enhance monetary assistance to next of kin of battle casualties from existing Rs 2 lakh to Rs 8 lakh, officials said Saturday.

They said the financial assistance will be granted under Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF).

At present, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh was given to battle casualties in case of death and also to those sustaining 60 per cent and above disability besides to several other categories.

The assistance is given in addition to liberalised family pension, financial assistance from Army group insurance, Army Welfare Fund and ex-gratia amount.

“The defence minister has given in principle approval to enhancement of monetary assistance to next of kin of all categories of Battle Casualty from Rs two lakh to Rs eight lakh,” said a defence ministry spokesperson.

The ABCWF has been set up under Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) after a large number of people offered to provide 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 was instituted in July 2017 and was implemented retrospectively with effect from April 2016.

This fund was set up in addition to the various existing schemes for the welfare of next of kin of battle casualties and their children.

In addition to the assistance under the ABCWF, the already existing monetary grant includes ex-gratia for various ranks ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 45 lakh and Army Group Insurance ranging from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 75 lakh, officials said.

Singh, as home minister in the previous government, had launched Bharat ke Veer fund’ to assist families of paramilitary personnel killed or injured in action. (PTI)