New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday greeted the defence forces personnel and remembered the martyrs.
“My best wishes to the officers and jawans of Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and other defence establishments, posted in both, peace and conflict areas on the borders and in the remotest corners of the country,” the Defence Minister said in the customary radio address.
“As we celebrate this festival of freedom, my heart goes out to those brave martyrs of the soil and their families who gave the supreme sacrifice to protect our motherland. We remember them with gratitude and the nation will always remain indebted to them,” she added.
She said to recognize and honour the gallantry of our soldiers, the National War Memorial under construction near India Gate will soon be inaugurated.
She said that the government would be endeavouring to provide all dues and facilities to the soldiers, and added that all ‘one rank one pension’ (OROP) arrears have been cleared with over Rs 10,788 crore spent. More than 65.81 lakh defence pensioners have benefited from this, she said.
“In line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, we have taken the decision to pay the uniform allowance and clarity has been brought in with respect to what is covered within the ambit of the allowance and what clothing items will be provided by the Government…,” she said.
Sitharaman said that greater financial and decision making powers have been delegated to the services headquarters and other lower functionaries.
She said the reformation of Indian Army has started in and the first phase of the reforms involves redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers, JCOs, ORs and civilians.
She also mentioned various welfare measures for the personnel and their families including the liberalised family pension, enhancement of monetary allowances for Gallantry Award winners, recruitment of disabled ex-servicemen and dependents in Group C and D posts in public sector enterprises, housing scheme for Army personnel and their widows on “No Profit, No Loss” basis and Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund among others.
“The country looks at you with great pride and you must keep on guarding the border-lines with all the might and be always prepared to reply to any aggression by the forces inimical to the nation. Let us give our very best in the service of Mother India,” Sitharaman said.