Bill proposing Rs 2 cr ex gratia, 5% job quota to kin of martyrs introduced in Lok Sabha

Economic Times, July 21, 2019

A private member bill seeking to provide one-time lump sum honorarium of Rs 2 crore, free railway passes and reservation up to 5 per cent in private and public jobs for dependents of martyrs of armed forces, was introduced in Lok Sabha.

The bill which proposes a slew of benefits for the dependents of martyrs, including annual free vacation, was introduced by NCP leader Supriya Sule.

Introducing the bill in the Lower House of Parliament, she said a new Act titled ‘The Payment of Financial Assistance to the Families of Martyrs Act, 2019’ should be constituted.

Under the Act, a Financial Assistance Payment Authority chaired by the defence minister should oversee the welfare and payments to the dependents of martyrs of armed forces, she said.

Describing the martyrdom of soldiers as “supreme sacrifice” for the motherland, Sule, in the bill, said it is the minimum responsibility of the government to provide the families (spouse, children and parents) of such martyrs necessary facilities, to compensate for their loss.

According to the bill, all soldiers of army, air force, navy and coast guard, who died during duty–either in combat or natural death–will be considered as ‘martyrs’.

“The need is to give one-time ex gratia lump sum honorarium of rupees two crore to families of martyrs, which will be indexed to inflation. In addition, the family is entitled to get pensionary and other benefits which the soldier would get if he were alive,” the bill states.

For guarding the martyr’s family against any risks and uncertainties, the bill proposes complete medical insurance coverage for them. And to secure their future, there is the need for life insurance cover in the name of the widow, it said.

For ensuring quality education of the children of martyrs, the bill makes provision for reservation of up to 5 per cent seats in all educational institutions and in jobs in both public and private sector, for eligible dependents of martyrs.

Apart from the various benefits, lifetime free railway passes, annual vacation within India with accommodation in government guest houses, passes to visit monuments, museums and Republic Day Parade, to the dependents as a mark of respect to the martyrs should also be provided, it added.

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