Punjab government launched the ambitious Rs 1 lakh incentive scheme in the year 2010 with an aim to motivate youth to take up a career in the armed forces
Jalandhar: A total of 481 young officers from Punjab who became commissioned officers in the Indian Armed Forces are still awaiting the Rs 1 lakh cash incentive, an ambitious scheme that was launched by the Punjab Government in the year 2010.
The Rs 1 lakh incentive scheme was the brainchild of the then Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who wanted to give a push to the Punjabi youth to join the armed forces ie Army, Air Force and Navy, as there was a sharp decline in the number of those becoming commissioned officers from the state.
As per information gathered by Daily Post, as many as 481 Army officers were still awaiting the cash award of Rs 1 lakh while 336 officers had got the incentive money. Though the department of Punjab Sainik Welfare claimed that the incentive was being released continuously but the families of many officers maintained that they were still awaiting the cash award.
Initially, the scheme was launched with much fanfare and during the first year, the Rs 1 lakh incentive was awarded to the parents of the commissioned officers by the respective Deputy Commissioners. A retired senior army officer said, “Punjab government’s initiative to motivate the youth to join the armed forces was laudable but such a delay in releasing the incentive money, dampens the spirit of a wonderful scheme.”
Director Punjab Sainik Welfare, Brigadier JS Arora said that the department was clearing the pending cases. “Recently, the department cleared as many as 200 cases of the year 2014-15 while an amount of Rs 2 crore was sanctioned by the Punjab government in the current fiscal year for the pending cases”, he said. Brig Arora also said that during a meeting with the Punjab government officials, the requirement for more funds to clear the pending cases was taken up.
It is pertinent to mention here that while states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have been faring well, Punjab’s record was declining. However, the Punjab government has been trying its best to improve this declining number, as the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute, Mohali, pre-recruitment training at District Sainik Welfare Board, Jalandhar and Sainik School, Kapurthala have been sending youth to the armed forces.
Recently, 11 students from Sainik School, Kapurthala made it to National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadagwasla for the 136th course commencing in July while two joined Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun. Senior army officers maintained that a big reason of this decline was the trend of getting ‘easy money’ and a ‘luxurious lifestyle’, whether it was going abroad or a well paid job in private sector.
Who is eligible for the award?
Under this scheme, candidates who have undergone training in the armed forces academies, namely, NDA Khadagvasla, IMA Dehradun, OTA Chennai, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy on or after April 1, 2010 were eligible for the Rs 1 lakh incentive of Punjab government.
The Directorate of Sainik Welfare, Punjab send letters to commandants and heads of all armed forces academies to provide a list of Punjab domicile cadets and gentlemen cadets undergoing training or those who have undergone the training at the academies after April 1, 2010.
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