President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Shaurya Chakra to an army major in New Delhi on March 23, 2013.
Indian soldiers who win awards for gallantry and exemplary service get more than medals—they get various concessions from central government departments and extra pension.
But the most substantive awards come from the states these soldiers hail from, and this is where a great variance is evident, according to Factly.in, a data-journalism portal.
Let’s first understand the awards:
There are two categories of awards given to men in uniform:
- Gallantry awards
- Non-gallantry awards
We will focus on the gallantry awards, which are presented in two categories:
- For gallantry in the face of the enemy and
- For gallantry other than in the face of the enemy.
The first category of gallantry awards includes:
- Param Vir Chakra (PVC) or “Bravest of the brave” award: India’s highest military decoration, awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice. Replaced the colonial Victoria Cross.
- Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) or “Great hero” award: Second-highest decoration, awarded for conspicuous gallantry.
- Vir Chakra (VrC): For acts of battlefield bravery.
- Sena, Nao Sena and Vayu Sena Medal (SM): Awarded for “individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage”.
- Mention in Dispatches: For acts of gallantry, distinguished or meritorious service, but of an order below the main gallantry awards.
- Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card: For acts of gallantry or devotion to duty in non-battlefield areas and of a lower order than the main gallantry awards.
The second category of gallantry awards includes:
- Ashoka Chakra (AC): Peacetime equivalent of the PVC, for “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice”. For soldiers or civilians.
- Kirti Chakra (KC): For valour and courage away from the battlefield. Peacetime equivalent of the Maha Vir Chakra.
- Shaurya Chakra (SC): Peacetime equivalent of the Vir Chakra.
What the central government offers
The central government gives cash awards for each decoration, apart from other concessions extended by its departments.
The cash award is in the form of a monthly pension:
Various central government departments extend concessions/incentives to gallantry award winners:
|Concessions/ Incentives For Gallantry Award Winners|
|Award||Railways ministry—First Class/AC 2 tier Complimentary Pass to Awardee along with a Companion||Indian Airlines—75% Concession On Economy Fare||MTNL—No Rental, No Installation Charges, No Registration Charges||Finance ministry—Award Amount & Pension Amount exempted from Income Tax||Road transport ministry—Exemption from paying Toll Tax|
|Param Vir Chakra||?||?||?||?||?|
|Maha Vir Chakra||?||?||?||?||?|
|Sena, Nau Sena & Vayu Sena Medal||?|
Cash Awards By State Governments
Various state governments also extend cash and other incentives to award winners from their states.
The state governments extend awards in three forms:
- Cash in lieu of Land (CIL); and
The highest cash award for Param Vir Chakra (PVC) winners is Rs 31 lakh, given by the Haryana government. The lowest is Rs 22,500, given by the governments of Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha. Meghalaya does not give any of awards mentioned.
Similarly, decorated soldiers are given cash by state governments. For instance, the cash amount given by the government of Andhra Pradesh is:
Only a few states extend CIL and annuity to decorated soldiers.
(Dubbudu has been working on issues related to the Right to Information for a decade. He is a data/information enthusiast & is passionate about governance/policy issues. Factly.in is dedicated to making public data meaningful.)
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