Respecting & rewarding is the least we could do for the freedom fighters. As part of the Freedom Fighter Pension scheme, the government spent a total of 8669 crore rupees on pensions and an additional 261 crore rupees on free railway passes in the last 13 years. As on date, more than 37000 beneficiaries receive pension under this scheme.
Every Independence day, we recollect and remind ourselves about the great sacrifices by our forefathers. But what exactly is the government doing for those freedom fighters and their families? The Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme is aimed at providing pension to freedom fighters & their dependent families. As of March 2017, a total of 37,356 individuals receive pension under this scheme.
Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme
During the Silver Jubilee year of Independence (1972), a Central Scheme for grant of pension to freedom fighters and their eligible dependents (where freedom fighters have already expired) was introduced by Government of India. In 1980, the Scheme was liberalized and renamed as Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 and made effective from August 1980.
The Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 was introduced to extend the pension scheme to the freedom fighters and their dependent families. The scheme is now known as the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Yojana.
The following list of movements/mutinies are recognized for award of pension under this scheme.
- Suez Canal Army Revolt in 1943 during Quit India Movement & Ambala Cantt. Army Revolt in 1943.
- Jhansi Regiment Case in Army (1940)
- Rani Jhansi Regiment and Azad Hind of INA
- Hollwell Revolt Movement conducted by Netaji in 1940 at Calcutta.
- Royal Indian Navy Mutiny, 1946.
- Khilafat Movement.
- Harsha China Morcha (1946-47)
- Mopla Rebelion (1921-22)
- Arya Samaj Movement in the erstwhile Hyderabad State (1938-39)
- Madurai Conspiracy Case (1945-47)
- Border Camp Cases in erstwhile Hyderabad State (1947-48)
- The Ghaddar Movement
- The Gurudwara Reform Movement (1920-25) including :-
- Taran Taran Morcha
- Nankana Tragedy of Feb. 1920
- The Golden Temple Ke Affairs (Morcha Chabian Saheb)
- Guru Ka Bagh Morcha
- Babar Akali Movement
- Jaito Morcha
- Bhai Pheru Morcha; and
- The Sikh Conspiracy (Golden Temple) of 1924
- Praja Mandal Movement in the erstwhile Princely States (1939-49)
- Kirti Kisan Movement (1927)
- Navjavan Sabha (1926-31)
- Quit India Movement 1942
- INA & IIL (1942 to 1946)
- Merger Movements in the former French and Portugueses Possessions in India.
- Peshawar Kand in which members of the Garhwal Rifles took part
- Read leaf Conspiracy Case (1931)
- Chaura Chauri Kand (1922)
- Aranya Satyagraha of Karnataka (1939-40)
- Goa Liberation Movement
- Kalipattanam Agitation (1941-42)
- Kallara-Pangode Case
- Kadakkal Riot Case
- Chengannur Riot Case
- Vattiyoorkavu Conference
- Anti-Independent Travancore Movement
- Punnapra-Vayalar Movement
- Karivelloor Movement
- Kauvambai Movement
- Kayyur Movement
- Morazha Movement
- Malabar Special Police Strike (MSP Strike)
- Dadara Nagar Haveli Movement.
- Goa Liberation Movement, Phase II
- Kuka Namdhari Movement , 1871
- Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, 1919
Who is eligible?
The following categories of freedom fighters are eligible for the Samman Pension under the Scheme. Anyone who wishes to apply for pension under this scheme has to follow the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Eligible dependents of martyrs.
- A person who had suffered a minimum imprisonment of six months on account of participation in the freedom struggle.
- A person who, on account of his participation in the freedom struggle, remained underground for more than six months.
- A person who, on account of participation in the freedom struggle, was interned in his home or externed from his district for a minimum period of 6 months.
- A person whose property was confiscated or attached and sold due to his participation in the freedom struggle.
- A person who, on account of participation in the freedom struggle, became permanently incapacitated during firing or lathi charge.
- A person who lost his Government job for participation in the freedom struggle.
- A person who was awarded the punishment of ten or more strokes of caning/flogging/whipping for his participation in the freedom struggle.
- As a special dispensation for women freedom fighters and for the freedom fighters belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the minimum period of imprisonment/jail sufferings has been kept at three months in place of six months.
- Spouses (widows/widowers), unmarried and unemployed daughters (up-to maximum three) and mother or father of deceased freedom fighters (as also of martyrs) in that order are eligible for grant of dependent family pension under the scheme.
What is the pension amount?
The following amount of pension is extended to various categories of freedom fighters and their dependents. This pension amount is not taxable.
|Category of the Freedom Fighter||Total amount of pension|
(in Rs. as of 2017)
|Ex-Andaman Political Prisoners/Spouses||30,600|
|Freedom fighters who suffered outside British India/spouses||28,560|
|Other freedom fighters/Spouses (including INA)||26,520|
|Dependent parents/eligible daughters (maximum 3 daughters at any point of time)||50% of the sum that the freedom fighter would have been entitled to|
What other facilities are extended to Freedom Fighters?
Apart from the pension amount as mentioned above, Freedom Fighters are also extended the following facilities
- Free railway pass (2nd/3rd AC in Duronto, 1st Class/2nd AC by any train including Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi) for freedom fighters/their widow/widower, along with one companion in same class, for life.
- Medical facilities under Central Government Health Services (C.G.H.S) and free medical treatment in hospitals run by PSUs under the control of Department of Public Enterprises.
- Telephone connection, subject to feasibility, without installation charges, and on payment of only half the rental.
- Provision of 4% reservation under “Combined Category” for Physically Handicapped Personnel(PH), Outstanding Sports Persons(OSP) and Freedom Fighters(FF) in the normal selection procedure adopted by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies for allotment of petrol pumps, gas agencies etc.
- General pool residential accommodation (within the overall 5% discretionary quota) to the freedom fighters in Delhi. Widow of a freedom fighter is also permitted to retain the accommodation for a period of six months after death of the freedom fighter.
- There is a Freedom Fighters’ Home at New Delhi providing transit accommodation (stay & meal) for freedom fighters/ their eligible dependents.
- Ex-Andaman freedom fighters/ their widows have also been allowed to avail free air travel facility to visit Andaman & Nicobar Islands, once a year, along with a companion.
Expenditure on Railway passes was Nil in the last two years
The government spent a total of Rs 8669 crore on pensions from 2004-05 to 2016-17. The expenditure on free railway passes during the same period was Rs 261 crore. The government also spent Rs 2.1 crore on the freedom fighter home in Delhi.
The expenditure on free railway passes has been decreasing in the last 4 years. Only Rs 3 lakh was spent on free railway passes from 2014-15 to 2016-17. The reasons for nil expenditure are not known. It could be that the government is not reimbursing the railways or that the freedom fighters are not travelling.
Most Pensioners in Andhra Pradesh & West Bengal
As of March 2017, a total of 37356 individuals were receiving the freedom fighters pension including dependents. Of these, 12657 are freedom fighters themselves while 23127 are spouse pensioners. An additional 1572 are daughter pensioners. Of the states, both Andhra Pradesh & West Bengal account for 4937 pensioners each while Maharashtra has 4738 pensioners. Ten (10) states have more than 1000 pensioners each and these 10 states make up for 80% of all the pensioners. Close to 50% of all daughter pensioners are from West Bengal.