New Delhi: The monthly pension of freedom fighters, including those who were incarcerated in Cellular jail in Andaman Islands or suffered outside British India, was Wednesday hiked by around Rs 5,000 each.
The decision to give 20 percent enhanced pension to all categories of freedom fighters, their spouses and dependents was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The revised scale of pension has taken effect from August 15, 2016 and the revised total amount of pension will be taken as basic pension for the respective categories of freedom fighter pensioners for calculating Dearness Relief, an official statement said.
The existing Dearness Relief system based on All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers, which was so far applicable to freedom fighter pensioners on annual basis, is being discontinued and replaced by the Dearness Allowance system applicable to central government employees twice a year.
This will be termed as "Dearness Relief", the appropriate term in case of pensioners, it said.
Pension for freedom fighters in the category of ex-Andaman political prisoners and their spouses has been enhanced from Rs 24,775 to Rs 30,000 per month.
Pension of freedom fighters, who suffered outside British India, has been raised from Rs 23,085 to Rs 28,000 per month.
Pension of other freedom fighters, including those who were members of Indian National Army (INA), has been raised from Rs 21,395 to Rs 26,000 per month.
Addressing the nation on the 70th Independence Day from the Red Fort, the Prime Minister had announced a 20 percent hike in the pension for freedom fighters.
Central freedom fighter pensioners and eligible dependents under 'Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension' will get enhanced pension with effect from August 15, 2016.
All freedom fighters and spouses and dependent parents, eligible daughter pensioners of deceased freedom fighters drawing pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 would be benefited by the decision.
So far, 1,71,605 freedom fighters and their eligible dependents have been sanctioned pension under the scheme.
At present 37,981 freedom fighters and their eligible dependent pensioners are covered under the scheme. Of these, 11,690 are freedom fighters themselves, 24,792 are spouses (widows/widowers) and 1,490 are daughter pensioners.
In 1969, the central government had introduced the 'Ex-Andaman Political Prisoners Pension Scheme' to honour the freedom fighters who had been incarcerated in the Cellular Jail at Port Blair.
In 1972, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of country's Independence, a regular scheme for grant of freedom fighters' pension was introduced.
Thereafter, with effect from August 1, 1980, a liberalised scheme, namely the 'Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme' was implemented.
Besides the freedom fighters, spouses (widows/widowers), unmarried and unemployed daughters (up to maximum three at any point of time) and parents of deceased freedom fighters are eligible for pension under the scheme.