Tuesday, February 8, 2011

War widow was getting Rs. 70 a month as pension

New Delhi: The Centre today told the Supreme Court that the monthly pension of a 90-year old war widow has been enhanced to Rs. 18,000 from a pittance Rs. 70 and a proper mechanism is being evolved to address the grievances of ex-service personnel at their "doorsteps".

The widow Pushpavanthi, through counsel Ramesh Haritas, had earlier complained that she was getting Rs. 70 as family pension on behalf of her late husband Major Dharam Chand who died in 1967 at the age of 42. Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a bench of justices Markandeya Katju and B S Chauhan that the government was fully concerned with the welfare of the armed forces and greatly valued their contribution to the nation. The counsel said the government had enhanced Pushpavanthi's pension to Rs. 18,000 after she moved the apex court.

He told the bench that there was no need at the moment for setting up any separate commission to address the problems of ex-servicemen as the defence department has separate welfare wings at the district level to tackle the grievances. The court had earlier mooted the idea of a separate commission to deal with the service-related problems of army personnel both serving and retired as courts were flooded with such complaints.

The Solicitor General said the government was in the process of formulating a suitable mechanism to ensure that the grievances of the ex-servicemen are addressed at their doorsteps instead of compelling them to visit the headquarters for the same.

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