In a message on AFFD, which is celebrated on December 7, Rajnath Singh termed it the moral responsibility of every citizen to contribute to the efforts being made by the Ministry of Defence towards the care, assistance, rehabilitation and treatment of veterans, war widows and their dependents through a number of welfare schemes.
“It is our collective duty to ensure that they get due recognition from all of us,” he said.
The Defence Minister emphasised that the soldiers safeguard the borders with discipline, dedication and patriotism, besides making a valuable contribution to relief and rescue operations during natural and man-made disasters as well as peacekeeping missions across the globe, said the official statement by the Ministry of Defence.
Rajnath Singh also paid tribute to the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland, with many becoming physically disabled to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
He exhorted the people to ensure their contribution to the AFFD Fund and inspire others to join this noble cause.On the occasion, Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence, Ajay Bhatt, also extended his best wishes to the armed forces personnel, ex-servicemen and their families.He stated that the AFFD provides an opportunity for the people to express gratitude to the gallant soldiers who are always ready to protect the country. He urged people to contribute to the AFFD Fund and support the welfare schemes.
The press note further mentioned that Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, in his message, paid homage to the fallen heroes and those in uniform who strive bravely to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the country and called for generous contributions from the people in the AFFD Fund.
Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Vijoy Kumar Singh hoped that the AFFD would create awareness among people about the welfare activities being carried out by the Ministry of Defence for the ex-servicemen, Veer Naris and their dependents, said the official release.
The AFFD is celebrated to honour the fallen heroes and the personnel in uniform who fight valiantly on the borders to protect the motherland. The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence, has been working for the welfare and rehabilitation of war widows, wards of fallen soldiers and ex-servicemen, including disabled ones, by providing financial assistance for their identified personal needs, such as penury grants, children’s education grants, funeral grants, medical grants and orphan/disabled children grants.
The press release by the Ministry of Defence mentioned that recently, the medical treatment grant for veterans and dependents was increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 30,000, the vocational training grant for widows was enhanced to Rs 50,000 from Rs 20,000 and the serious diseases grant was raised to Rs 1.50 lakh from 1.25 lakh, which is a continuous process.
The assistance is provided out of the AFFD Fund and the contributions to the fund are exempt from income tax under Section 80G(5)(vi) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
During the financial year 2022-23, a grant of approximately Rs 250 crore was distributed to more than 99,000 beneficiaries. Apart from this, institutional grants have also been given to the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Kirkee and Mohali, Cheshire Home, Dehradun, Lucknow and Delhi, and 36 War Memorial Hostels across the country.