Jalandhar: If facts are any indication, youngsters from Punjab who became commissioned officers in Indian armed forces are still awaiting Rs 1 lakh cash incentive promised by state government. The cash incentive scheme was brainchild of then Finance Minister, Manpreet Badal, who wanted to give a push to Punjabi youth to join armed forces i.e. Army, Air Force and Navy, as there was a sharp decline in number of those becoming commissioned officers from state.
As per information gathered by Daily Post, as many as 481 Army officers are still awaiting the cash award of while 336 officers have got their incentive money. Though the Department of Defence Services Welfare, Punjab claimed that incentive was being released continuously but the families of many officers maintained that they are still awaiting for cash award.
Initially, the scheme was launched with much fanfare and during the first year, cash incentive was awarded to parents of commissioned officers by respective Deputy Commissioners. A retired senior army officer said, “Punjab government’s initiative to motivate the youth to join armed forces was laudable but such a delay in releasing the incentive money, dampens the spirit of a wonderful scheme.” Director, Defence Services Welfare, Brigadier (retd) JS Arora said that the department was clearing pending cases.
“Recently, the department cleared as many as 200 cases of year 2014-15 while an amount of Rs 2 crore has been sanctioned by Punjab government in current fiscal year for pending cases”, added Brig Arora. He also said that during a meeting with state government officials, the requirement for more funds to clear the pending cases was taken up. It is pertinent to mention that youngsters from states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have been faring well in armed forces selection whereas, Punjab’s record is dismal.
However, Punjab government has been trying its best to improve this declining number. 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 armed forces in great numbers. Recently, 11 students from Sainik School, Kapurthala made it to National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadagvasla for 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’, among youngsters in Punjab.
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