I-Day bonanza for soldiers

On the eve of Independence Day, the Centre has come out with a welfare package for the jawans, which if implemented, will cheer up soldiers across the country.
Special rations have been sanctioned to troops deployed in counter-insurgency operations as well as for troops serving in high-altitude areas above 12, 000 feet, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Saturday.

The Centre is also taking steps to improve the quality of rice, atta (wheat flour), pulses, tea and vegetables supplied to the soldiers, he said. The minister’s comment assumes significance in the wake of a recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that pulled up the government for serving the soldiers 6-28 month-old ration in violation of quality norms.

Pilot project
With the objective of doing away with an archaic warrant system for rail travel, the government has initiated a pilot project at 20 locations across the country for rail e-ticketing. through IRCTC websites at unit locations. With this facility, the system of railway warrants will be eventually replaced.

This project will be gradually extended to more than 5, 000 Army, Air Force and Navy units across the country.

The Centre has also decided to grant a disability element or war injury element to some armed forces personnel, who are retained in service despite the disability.
They will be awarded this allowance at the time of their retirement and it will be in addition to the retiring or service pension and retiring or service gratuity.  
In case of pensioners who retire on disability pension, a decision had been taken to pay them a Constant Attendant at the rate of Rs 3, 000 per month, in addition to the disability pension, he said.

Under the married accommodation project (MAP) 1,98,881 houses will be constructed all over the country in four phases.  The work is going on in full swing.  
The Centre has also initiated action to reduce the telephone rates for soldiers serving in Siachen so that they communicate with their family more, Antony said, adding that emphasis was being given in creating the infrastructure for the armed forces to function better.

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