Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved major changes in Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme under National Defence Fund for wards of deceased defence personnel. This was first decision taken by PM after assuming office for second term. It was also in line with PM’s vision for India’s safety, security and the well-being of those who protect the nation
- Rates of scholarship: It has been increased from Rs. 2000 per month to Rs. 2500 per month for boys and from Rs. 2250 per month to Rs. 3000 per month for girls.
- Extension: The ambit of this scheme has been extended to wards of State Police officials who are/were martyred during terror and naxal attacks. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be the nodal Ministry in this regard.
National Defence Fund (NDF)
- It was set up in 1962 (aftermath of 1962 Sino-Indian War) to take charge of voluntary donations in cash and kind received for promotion of the national defence effort, and to decide on their utilisation.
- It is being currently used for the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces, Para Military forces and Railway Protection Force, and their dependents.
- The fund is administered by an Executive Committee with Prime Minister as Chairperson and Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as Members.
- The scholarship component of this fund is meant to encourage technical and postgraduate education for widows and wards of deceased personnel of the armed forces, the paramilitary forces and the Railway Protection Force
- Note: This fund is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from the public and does not get any budgetary support. Moreover, all voluntary donations towards NDF are exempted from Income Tax under section 80(G) of Income Tax Act, 1961.