THE ESM CORNER

A LIFELINE FOR VETERANS: THE PENURY GRANT SCHEME EXPLAINED

ESM-CORNER-PENURY-GRANT

INTRODUCTION TO PENURY GRANT

India is proud of its Armed Forces for their bravery and dedication. But, it knows that retired soldiers, or Ex-Servicemen (ESM), can face problems after they leave the service. Not all ESM have a comfortable life after they retire. This is especially true for those who don’t get a pension or other help from the government. They can have money problems because of things like not having a job, being sick, or having family issues. India understands these problems and is working hard to solve them

To provide some relief and support to these non-pensioner ESM and their widows, who often struggle to meet their basic needs, the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) administers a scheme of financial assistance under the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFD Fund). This scheme, known as the Penury Grant, aims to provide a monthly grant to the destitute ESM and their widows for their lifetime.

HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF THE SCHEME

The Penury Grant scheme was introduced in 1981, with financial assistance of Rs 100 per month for two years for non-pensioner ESM/their widows who had attained the age of 65 years. This amount was revised to Rs 500 per month for two years in 2007, with an additional one-time grant of Rs 30,000 at the age of 70/75 years.

In 2011, the scheme was simplified and revised to a monthly grant of Rs 1,000 per month per beneficiary for a lifetime, irrespective of the age of the ESM/widow. In 2017, the amount was increased to Rs 4,000 per month (paid annually) per beneficiary, for a lifetime.

ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION PROCESS

The eligibility criteria for availing the financial assistance under the Penury Grant scheme are as follows:

  • The applicant must be a non-pensioner ESM or his widow.
  • The applicant should be of rank Havildar/equivalent from the Navy/AF and below.
  • The grant is open to ESM/widows who have reached the age of 65 by 01 Apr of the financial year they are applying in
  • After the demise of ESM who was already availing the Penury Grant, his widow is eligible for the grant irrespective of her age at the time of the death of ESM.

To apply for the Penury Grant, the applicant has to log in to the web portal of KSB and fill out the online application form. The following documents have to be scanned and uploaded on the portal along with the application:

  • Service document/discharge book of ESM (all pages in sequential order without any alterations).
  • Age proof, if date of birth is not given in the service document/discharge book.
  • Identity card of ESM/widow issued by Zila Sainik Board (ZSB).
  • First page of bank passbook and a cancelled cheque, showing the bank account number, IFSC code and personal details of the account holder.
  • Certificate of penury, attested by a gazetted officer or a Sarpanch.

The application has to be verified and recommended by the Zila Sainik Welfare Officer (ZSWO) before it is forwarded to the KSB for approval. The ZSWO has to check and confirm the authenticity of the uploaded documents online and the information furnished by the applicant.

 RENEWAL AND CONTINUATION OF THE SCHEME

For subsequent grants, after the initial penury grant has been awarded, the beneficiary has to login to the website, apply for Penury Renewal, and submit a life certificate online, duly countersigned by the respective ZSWO, between 01 Dec and 31 Mar of the current financial year. The life certificate should be signed only by the ZSWO. It may be noted that the financial assistance is non-transferable and will cease automatically upon the death of the ESM or widow.

After the expiry of ESM, his widow will have to apply afresh for financial assistance under penury. Before applying for Penury Initial, the widow is required to update the column “Who are you” as “Widow” and “Date of Death” of ESM in the Profile Page.

If the widow’s husband was already in receipt of the Penury Grant, there is no requirement of fresh registration by the widow. The widow can apply for the Initial Penury Grant by using the husband’s KSB account and editing “Who are you” as “Widow”, entering “Date of Death” of ESM in the Profile Page and editing other details. The age limit of 65 years is not applicable in such cases. For subsequent grants, the procedure given in the preceding paragraphs may be followed for Penury Renewal.

BENEFITS AND IMPACT OF THE SCHEME

The Penury Grant scheme is a lifeline for veterans who have fallen on hard times and have no other source of income or support. The monthly grant helps them to meet their basic needs and live a dignified life. The scheme also acknowledges and honours their service and sacrifice for the nation.

The Penury Grant scheme is a noble initiative by the KSB to provide financial assistance to the non-pensioner ESM and their widows who are in penury. The scheme is a testament to the commitment and gratitude of the nation towards its veterans, who have served the country with valour and dedication.

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