Capt Amarinder singh protest tuition fee cap by MOD
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 1The armed forces, former Army Chief General VK Singh and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh have separately sought that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should not “cap” educational expenses paid to children of martyrs, or those disabled in action. Some 3,200 students studying in schools, colleges and professional colleges are beneficiaries under the scheme. The facility is from the lowest class like nursery till the child acquires the first degree (like BA, MBA, B.Com, B.SC, engineering or MBBS, among others). A letter dated September 13 this year, issued by the department of ex-servicemen, capped the fee for tuition and hostel at Rs 10,000 per month. With children of martyrs or disabled soldiers studying professional courses like MBBS, MBA, or engineers in private institutes, this fee cap may trouble several of them. The fee in private colleges in such courses runs into a couple of lakh each year, besides the hostel fee. The Tribune had first reported this matter on December 1. The scheme is applicable to the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force. It never had a “cap”. The three armed forces have collectively written to the Defence Minister, seeking lifting of the cap, sources have confirmed. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asking the ministry to review its decision to restrict its educational expenses paid to children of martyrs. In the letter, the CM has called the decision to cap educational expenses paid to martyrs’ children at Rs 10,000 ‘immoral’ and ‘unprincipled’. He added: “The fee being paid to the children of martyrs and disabled soldiers was a small price in exchange for what they had given, and continued to give, to the nation”. Former Army Chief and Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh tweeted: “Have written on the issue to RM (Raksha Mantri). Am sure Babus of the MoD will rectify this as early as possible”. The scheme for government bearing the cost of education of martyrs’ children was announced on December 18, 1971 – two days after Pakistani forces surrendered at Dacca (now known as Dhaka) in the India- Pakistan war to liberate Bangladesh. In stages, children of officers and jawans killed or disabled in operations were added in the scheme.
"Decision to cap educational expenses paid to martyrs’ children at Rs 10,000 is ‘immoral’ and ‘unprincipled’. The fee was a small price in exchange for what martyrs had given to the nation." — Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister "I have written on the issue to RM (Raksha Mantri). I am sure babus of the Ministry of Defence will rectify this as early as possible. " — General VK Singh, Union Minister of State