CAP On Educational Expenses of Martyrs’ Children Removed & Limit on Tax Free Gratuity Hiked To 20 Lakhs

GOI has removed the cap on educational expenses it pays to children of martyrs or those disabled in action. In July 2017, the fee paid to such children was fixed 10,000 INR per month affecting about 3,200 students in schools, colleges and professional institutions drawing flaks from the public. After nationwide protest from media and public, The Ministry of Defence agreed to review the matter and referred the same to the Ministry of Finance .The Union Ministry for Finance headed by Arun Jaitley has issued a notification saying  for such kids,  “Educational expenses shall continue without the cap of 10,000  INR.” It, however, has made it clear that fee would be paid only for government run or government ‘recognised’ schools and colleges, autonomous institutes under the Central government. Most top private educational institutes at the school level and professional colleges offering MBA, MMBS or Engineering streams are under the ‘recognised’ category. The scheme to bear the cost of education of children of martyrs was announced in the Lok Sabha on December 18, 1971, two days after the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indian forces at now known as Dhaka  after the liberation of Bangladesh. The scheme, introduced in the 1972 session, allowed complete exemption of tuition and ‘other fee’ school onwards, recalls The Tribune. Parliament has approved Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017  paving the way for doubling the limit of tax free gratuity to  20 lakh INR and empowering the government to fix the ceiling on the retirement benefits through an executive order. The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Bill   which was Okayed by the Lok Sabha on March 15.The Bill ensures harmony amongst employees in the Private sector and Public Sector Undertakings and the Autonomous Organizations under government who are not covered under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. The employees will be entitled to receive higher amount of gratuity at a par with their counterparts in government sector. It also envisages to amend the provisions relating to calculation of continuous service for the purpose of gratuity in case of female employees who are on maternity leave from twelve weeks to such period as may be notified by the Central Government from time to time. The Bill was necessitated to tide over the anomalies surfacing in implementation of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, after the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission’s recommendations. The Act will benefit of wage earning population in industries, factories and establishments, and applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. The present upper ceiling on gratuity amount under the Act is Rs 10 lakh. The provisions for Central Government employees under CCS (Pension) Rules with regard to gratuity are also similar. Before implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission, the ceiling under the rules was Rs 10 lakh. However, the ceiling with regard government servants was raised to Rs 20 lakh in implementation of the Commission’s recommendation. (pic courtesy pib)

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