Sunday, March 20, 2011

Punjab enhances welfare funds for Veterans

3-fold hike in Sainik welfare Budget- Non-plan expenses up 11 pc by Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 14
Though no new welfare schemes have been announced, a three-fold increase in the planned expenditure by the Department of Defence Services Welfare has been proposed in the state Budget for 2011-12, while the department’s non-planned Budget is earmarked to rise by about 11 per cent.

The non-planned Budget, which relates to establishment-oriented expenditure and recurring expenses, has been pegged at Rs 23.5 crore for the coming fiscal as compared to Rs 21.1 crore for 2010-11.

Similarly, the planned expenditure, which relates to various welfare schemes and other projects introduced or approved by the state government from time to time, is set to rise to Rs 13 crore from Rs 4.1 crore.

The combined expenditure for this department for 2011-12 is pegged at Rs 36.5 crore vis-à-vis Rs 25.2 crore for 2010-11, representing an overall increase of over Rs 11 crore or close to 45 per cent. Punjab has 2.87 lakh ex-servicemen and 53,000 widows.

For the next fiscal, Rs 2 crore has been proposed to meet the expenditure relating to grant of Rs 5 lakh to next of kin of battle casualties in lieu of a plot. Last year the Budget on this account was Rs 4 crore. Departmental sources said that as of now there were no pending cases in the state on this account and payments would be made as and when fresh cases came in. However, the cases for grant of land to 28 war widows of the 1971 Indo-Pak war have still not been resolved.

The planned segment proposed today also includes Rs 6 crore for the construction of Sainik Rest House and Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum at Ludhiana. Coaching classes for entry into service academies, training of wards of ex-servicemen, grant to Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre and ex-gratia to families of martyrs are among schemes falling in this segment. The increase in the Budget also caters to 40 per cent hike in the allowances of gallantry award winners introduced in December 2010 and grant of Rs 1 lakh announced last year to every candidate who enters a service academy for training as an officer.
3-fold hike in Sainik welfare Budget

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