PM announces 20% hike in freedom fighters' pensions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a 20-per cent hike in the pension of freedom fighters across various categories.

"Pension for our freedom fighters will be increased by 20 per cent. So those who are receiving Rs25,000 will now get Rs30,000," Modi said in his address to the nation from the Red Fort on the 70th Independence Day.

He also announced that museums would be established in different states to glorify the role of lesser-known tribal freedom fighters.

''When we speak of freedom fighters, a few are mentioned far more than others. Our Adivasi brothers fought valiantly largely unsung, many have heard of Birsa Munda but few others. In the next few days, it is our intention to record the history of such Adivasi freedom fighters in the areas of their origin on a museum,'' Modi said.

"Tribals played an important role in our freedom struggle. Our government is planning to open museums all over the country to glorify their role so that future generations can know about their sacrifices," he added.

The government, last August, on the 73rd anniversary of the Quit India Day also increased the pension for freedom fighters by hiking dearness relief by 218 per cent.

The present rate of pension is Rs23,309 per month for political prisoners jailed in the Andamans, Rs20,1291 for freedom fighters/spouses, Rs4,770 for unmarried/unemployed daughters and Rs10,064 for two spouses.

The total number central freedom fighters pensioners as of 1 January 2015 stood at 35,900.

Besides, he said, the government will bear the health-care expenditure of up to Rs1,00,000 per annum for the BPL families.