Army to observe 2011 as the 'Year of the Disabled Soldier'



New Delhi: Honouring its troops who were severely injured and left disabled in operations, the Indian Army has decided to observe 2011 as the 'Year of the Disabled Soldier'.

"We have been giving great respect to our martyred soldiers and the time has come to give due honour to our soldiers who have been disabled in operations. For this, 2011 will be the year of the disabled soldier," Army chief General V K Singh said while addressing the 63rd Army day parade.

He said a grant of Rs one crore has been sanctioned for the purpose and in the remaining part of the year, the Army will focus on providing rehabilitation, training and basic amenities to the disabled soldiers.

Announcing other welfare schemes for the families and personnel, Singh said a grant of Rs 25,000 would be provided to widows of soldiers and an additional Rs 400 would be given every month for education of their children.

"An additional Rs 20,000 would be given to the wheel-chair bound soldiers," he added.

Commenting on the counter-insurgency operations, the Army chief said, "Our units have been successful in maintaining peace and security in both Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast."

"We are also providing training to the police forces in the Northeast to enhance their capability to carry out internal security duties on their own," he added.

Commending the performance of Indian troops in the UN peacekeeping missions, Singh said, "today, 1,10000 troops of the Indian Army are taking part in the different UN missions and our efficiency in these operations has been praised."

"I am proud that our soldiers in blue berets (of the UN) are doing a splendid job there. We have the third largest contingent among troop contributing nations," he added.

On improved ration supply for jawans, he said for troops deployed at heights above 12,000 feet, special rations would be provided and an attempt has been made to equate the ration scale of jawans and officers.

The Army had come under severe criticism from the CAG over the supply of rotten rations for troops and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had also called the three Services chiefs for clarifying on the issue.

PTI