In his first decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to keep his word on the issues that remain at the helm of political affairs in India. His first decision was dedicated to those who protect India. Modi approved a major change in the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ under the National Defence Fund, which was set up in 1962 to take charge of the voluntary donations in cash and kind received for promotion of the national defence effort, and to decide on their utilisation.
Currently the fund is being 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 the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as Members.
Further on, the prime minister didn’t leave the farmers behind. From the very first day in office, Modi walked along with them. Here is the list of decisions taken by PM Narendra Modi in his first Cabinet:
Hike in scholarships for wards of armed forces personnel:
- PM Modi approved a hike in scholarship given to widows and wards of deceased or ex-service personnel of armed and paramilitary forces from the National Defence Fund and extended its ambit to include wards of state police officials martyred in terror or Maoist attacks.
- The rates of scholarship have 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. As many 500 individuals will be able to avail the quota for state police officials every year.
- Under National Defence Fund, the Prime Minister’s scholarship scheme (PMSS)’ is being implemented to encourage technical and post-graduate education for the widows and wards of the deceased, ex-service personnel of Armed Forces and Para Military Forces and Railway Protection Force.
- Scholarships are mainly given for medical, engineering, MBA, MCA and other equivalent technical courses.
- Every year new scholarships are given for 5,500 wards of armed forces controlled by Ministry of Defence, for 2000 wards of paramilitary forces controlled by Ministry of Home Affairs and for 150 wards of forces controlled by Ministry of Railways.
Bonanza to farmers:
- Modi’s first Cabinet also decided to extend PM-KISAN scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country costing Rs 87,000 crore a year and also announced over Rs 10,000 crore pension scheme for 5 crore farmers, thereby fulfilling the BJP’s poll promise.
- The Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Siddhi (PMKSS) was announced in the interim Budget under which the government decided to provide Rs 6,000 per year (in three equal instalments) to an estimated 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares.
- Now, the revised scheme envisages to cover around 2 crore more farmers increasing the coverage of the PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries.
So far, the first instalment has been given to only 3.11 crore beneficiaries and second to 2.66 crore beneficiaries, as many states did not provide the data of eligible farmers.
The Cabinet also approved the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana under which small and marginal farmers will get a minimum fixed pension of Rs 3,000 per month on attaining the age of 60 years.
- In the initial phase, the government will cover minimum 5 crore small and marginal farmers in the first three years.
- This scheme is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for a small and marginal farmers across the country, with the entry age of 18-40 years.
- The Centre said it will match the contribution made by the eligible farmer in the pension fund.
- After the subscriber’s death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the beneficiary will be entitled to receive 50 per cent of the pension amount, provided he/she is not already a beneficiary of the scheme. Farmers can use benefits under PM-KISAN scheme for the making contribution under the pension scheme.