State to increase grants to gallantry award winners

State to increase grants to gallantry award winners

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Col Vasanth Venugopal excluded

But the decision does not apply to the State’s decorated heroes of the recent time - Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Col Vasanth Venugopal.

The Government has in an order dated June 15 hiked the one-time cash grant to all eight categories of gallantry awards, including Paramaveera Chakra and Mahaveera Chakra, by nearly three times with immediate effect.

For example, the grant for Paramaveera Chakra award has gone up from Rs 1.74,500 to Rs five lakh. The grant is over and above what the Union Government gives to gallantry award winners.

“As the new decision has come into effect from the date of issuing the order, it does not apply to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Col Vasanth Venugopal. The Government has issued the order with prospective effect, despite the State Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement specifically urging it to issue the order retrospective from January 1, 2007 so that Col Venugopal is included,” said official sources. Col Venugopal, who was a commanding officer of the 9th Maratha Light Infantry Battalion, died on July 31, 2007, while battling a group of militants who were trying to cross the India-Pakistan Line of Control (LoC) in the Uri sector in Kashmir. Similarly, Major Unnikrishnan became a martyr during Mumbai terrorist attack.

Both war heroes were honoured with Ashoka Chakra award posthumously.
“Burden, if any, on the government would have been a mere Rs 10 lakh (for two war heroes), as the one-time grant for Ashoka Chakra has been enhanced from Rs 1,45,800 to Rs five lakh,” sources pointed out.

The Department of Sainik Welfare had in 2008 urged the government to hike the grant amount on par with Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which have recently hiked the cash grant by nearly twenty times.

A Paramaveera Chakra awardee, for instance, would get Rs 25 lakh in Uttarakhand.

No annuity

As per the new order, the gallantry award winners in Karnataka will not get the annuity and grant-in-lieu of land. The Government used to give annuity (different amount for each category of award).

Besides, it used to give one-time grant-in-lieu of land. Both has been dropped following enhancement of the one-time grant amount. “However, the only solace is that Karnataka is one of the few states in the country to enhance the grant. Several other states are not according anything to the gallantry award winners, sources said.