Govt hikes pension for freedom fighters by 21%
The Government of India, on Wednesday, hiked the monthly pension for freedom fighters, including those who were imprisoned in Cellular Jail in Andaman Islands or suffered outside British India, by nearly over 21%.
Its decision to give 21% hike in pension to all categories of freedom fighters, their spouses and dependents was taken at the Union Cabinet's meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cited the Cabinet in an official statement.
The revised scale of pension has taken effect from August 15, 2016, and the revised total amount of pension will be taken as basic pension for the respective categories of freedom fighter pensioners for calculating Dearness Relief, the statement said.
The existing Dearness Relief system based on All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers, which was so far applicable to freedom fighter pensioners on annual basis, is being discontinued and replaced by the Dearness Allowance system applicable to central government employees twice a year. This will be termed as "Dearness Relief”, the appropriate term in case of pensioners, it further said.
As per the revised pension structure, pension for freedom fighters in the category of ex-Andaman political prisoners and their spouses has been increased by 21.1% from Rs 24,775 to Rs 30,000 per month.
Pension for freedom fighters, who suffered outside British India and their spouses, has been hiked by 21.3% from existing Rs 23,085 to Rs 28,000 per month.
Pension of other freedom fighters and their spouses, including those who were members of Indian National Army (INA), has been raised by 21.52% from Rs 21,395 to Rs 26,000 per month.
During India's 70th Independence Day on August 15 this year, PM Modi had announced 20% hike in the pension for freedom fighters.
Central freedom fighter pensioners and eligible dependents under the 'Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme (SSSPS)' will get the revised pension with effect from August 15, 2016.
"All freedom fighters and spouses and dependent parents/eligible daughter pensioners of deceased freedom fighters drawing pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980, would be benefited by the decision," the Cabinet said in a release.
Till date, a total of 1,71,605 freedom fighters and their eligible dependents have been sanctioned pension under the scheme.
At present, 37,981 freedom fighters and their eligible dependent pensioners are covered under the scheme. Out of these, 11,690 are freedom fighters themselves, 24,792 are spouses (widows/widowers) and 1,490 are daughter pensioners.
In 1969, the government had introduced the 'Ex-Andaman Political Prisoners Pension Scheme' to honour the freedom fighters, who had been incarcerated in the Cellular Jail in Port Blair.
In 1972, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the country's Independence, a regular scheme for grant of freedom fighters' pension was introduced.
Thereafter, from August 1, 1980, a liberalised scheme namely the 'Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme’ was implemented.
Besides the freedom fighters, spouses (widows/widowers), unmarried and unemployed daughters (up to maximum three at any point of time) and parents of deceased freedom fighters are eligible for pension under the scheme.