Nirmala Sitharaman to chair meet to re-examine cap on educational expenses of deceased soldiers' children

Following protests, the Central government has decided to re-examine the cap on educational expenses paid to the children of deceased security forces personnel.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair a meeting on Wednesday to take a call on the issue, reported News18.

"It is a sentimental issue and I respect martyrs and their families and I know that the order is hurting them. I will take a relook at the issue," the report quoted Sitharaman as saying. The minister added that the decision was taken by the government on the basis of the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

File image of Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

File image of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

The report also quoted army sources as saying that if the government refused to get rid of the Rs 10,000 cap, the forces will fund the education of the soldiers' children themselves.

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had also sought a review of the government's decision.

In his capacity as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), Lanba had written to the defence ministry requesting it to remove the cap which was incorporated in July.

Under the scheme, 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.

However, on 1 July, the government had issued an order capping the amount to Rs 10,000 per month, triggering discontentment among all the three services.

As per estimates, around 3,400 children of armed forces personnel were impacted following the decision.

The original scheme had entailed waiver of "other fees" as well along with tuition fee.

However, the provision of "other fees" was removed in 2010.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had also criticised the government's decision, terming it "immoral" and "unprincipled".

"The move to cap the expenses at Rs 10,000 per month would make a mockery of the objective behind the scheme, announced in the Lok Sabha in 1971 and introduced the next year," PTI had quoted him as saying.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 06, 2017 12:40 PM

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