India’s defence minister requests removal of fees cap for education of martyrs’ children

On Saturday the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requested Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to remove the education fee cap under 7th Pay Commission for children of soldiers who lost their lives while serving the country. 

Earlier in January, the government made it clear that there will be no immediate review of its decision to put a cap of Rs 10,000 per month on educational assistance given to children of martyrs or of those disabled in action. 

The three services of the Indian Armed Forces- Army, Navy and the Air Force, protested the cap. And they wrote a letter to Sitharaman, “These personnel have made the supreme sacrifice for the country and the provision for the educational concession to their wards is a small gesture to recognise their commitment to the defence of our country”.

Under the scheme, which was initially 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. 

Approximately 250 students were affected in the current financial year following the government’s decision to cap the assistance, according to officials. 

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre last month had said that the annual saving on account of putting the cap would be Rs 3.20 crore per annum. 

He had said the highest amount drawn has been reported to be Rs 18.95 lakh per annum per student.

Meanwhile, the government has given its in-principle approval for the establishment of two boarding schools, to give educational assistance to children of martyrs, or of those disabled in action.