Unprecedented financial stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Union Finance Ministry to reject a long-running proposal by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to improve monetary benefits for paramilitary soldiers rewarded with bravery medals.
The Finance Ministry, in a letter to the Home Office, also said it will take a few years for budgetary normality to return, hinting that the proposal is unlikely to find its way into the near future.
The Ministry of Interior, in its proposal, had requested the Ministry of Finance to increase the monetary allowance from the current Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 4,000 for Medal of Bravery winners.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) may refer to its note seeking the agreement of this department on its proposal for the increase of monetary allowance from Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 4,000 per month attached to the Police Medal for Bravery (PMG) and at each bar. to PMG,” says the letter from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of the Interior.
“The above MHA proposal has been reviewed in this department. It is said that the government is facing unprecedented financial difficulties due to the pandemic and that it will take a few years for budgetary normality to return. The government has taken unprecedented measures like freezing the AD,” the letter adds.
The Ministry of Finance further stated that the last revision of the above allocation was made in 2013 with the previous revision dating back five years before that of 2008 and taking this as a starting point, the increase of Rs 900 to Rs 4000 would be 4.4 times in 14 years. “In view of the above circumstances, the above proposal from MHA is not accepted. This matter is subject to the approval of the Secretary of Finance/Secretary (Expenditure),” the letter reads.
Asked about the rejection of the MHA proposal, a senior finance ministry official, while defending the decision, told News18.com that the former asked for more than the armed forces are getting. “They are asking for more than armed forces. At a time of severe financial constraints, further increases in personnel benefits, more than those of the armed forces, were not deemed appropriate. This is a monthly addition to salary, not a one-time reward,” the manager said.
A response from the MHA is awaited.
Recipients of the Police Medal for Bravery (PMG) receive a special allowance of Rs 2,000 per month from the date of the gallant action for which the award is given. The special allowance is exempt from income tax. Other facilities they get are a 75% discount on journeys to be undertaken in economy class, free passes for first class/II AC bed card by Indian Railway and an educational concession for admission below 5% of children/widows (CW) quota.
“These awards were instituted by the President’s Office on March 1, 1951. Medals of Bravery are awarded for conspicuous acts of bravery in saving life and property, or in preventing crime or apprehending criminals,” says the Ministry of the Interior website.
Proposals received from state governments, CAPFs/CPOs, etc. are reviewed by the Central Police Awards Committee (CPAC) headed by the Union Home Secretary. The committee examines each case based on the act of bravery and the risks involved. The committee’s recommendations are then processed for approval by the Home Secretary/Prime Minister and the President of India. The citations of each of the laureates are published through a notification from the President’s Secretariat in the India Gazette.
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