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Agniveers killed in action should get same benefits as regular soldiers, says Parliament committee

NEW DELHI: Finding the benefits given to Agniveers dying in the line of duty inadequate, a parliamentary committee has said they should get the same benefits that are extended to the next of kin of regular military personnel.

Under the existing provisions, families of Agniveers killed in action are not eligible for regular benefits including pension.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence in its latest report said, “Considering the plight of family members/next of kin, the committee desire after martyrdom of an Agniveer, the same benefits should be provided to their family members that are provided to the family of a regular soldier.”

Under the new scheme, rolled out in June 2022, 100 per cent of the recruits will leave after four years and then around 25 per cent will be taken back from among them under a fresh process and will serve on a permanent basis. Under the old system, youth between 16 and half years and 21 years were selected for a minimum of 15 years of service and used to get a pension for serving this much.

The committee also recommended increasing the ex-gratia amount granted to families of soldiers dying in the line of duty by Rs 10 lakh in each category.

As per the Ministry of Defence, the ex-gratia amount varies for different categories of death of the soldier.

Compensation of Rs 25 lakh is granted in case of death occurring due to accidents or acts of violence by terrorists, anti-social elements while performing duties.

A compensation of Rs 35 lakh is paid in case of death occurring in border skirmishes and action against militants, terrorists, extremists, sea pirates etc, the report mentioned.

Besides, an amount of Rs 45 lakh is granted as compensation in case of death occurring during enemy action in war, it noted.

“The committee desires to reiterate that the government should seriously consider increasing the ex-gratia fund by Rs 10 lakh in each of the above categories. The minimum amount under any category will be Rs 35 lakh and the maximum Rs 55 lakh,” it said.

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