Pune,home to over 22,000 ex-servicemen,depends on public donations from the other districts of the state to make ends meet,even for the education of the children of retired Defence personnel. With nearly Rs 80 lakh collected last year by the Zilla Sainik Welfare Office (ZSWO),Pune,falling short for these requirements,it has now turned to the IT companies and government departments in the city.
We have made an appeal to various government offices the police and the revenue department and even private IT companies to donate generously through the Flag Day that comes in December. We have appealed to the IT companies through the Software Technology Park of India, said Zilla Sainik Welfare Officer,Pune,Lt Col (retd) S S Karajgi.
The ZSWO Punes expenditure on welfare activities for ex-servicemen last year was to the tune of Rs 1.42 crore and the shortfall had to be bridged with funds collected from other districts of the state. Though the welfare office has kept a modest target of Rs 88 lakh for this fiscal,it expects to raise much more by reaching out to the industrial houses and IT companies.
In fact,Pune is expected to come good for a few crores on its own this year. Col (Retd) Suhas S Jatkar,director,Department of Sainik Welfare,said,We expect to raise more than the target. We have plans to run publicity campaigns for increasing collections by even roping in film stars. We need to remind the people about the sacrifices made by soldiers at a young age. Now they are old,each one of us should contribute towards the Flag Day fund. We have people who regularly contribute towards Flag Day fund and we honour them at the annual function in December. But,we need to look beyond and increase our support base.
Though Maharashtra has the largest number of ex-servicemen,with nearly two lakh ex-servicemen registered with the ZSWOs,the state government provides money only for the administrative expenses of the ZSWOs. For the welfare programme of the retired defence personnel,ZSWOs continue to depend on public donations,something it hopes to change this year by bringing in corporate houses under its net. On an average,about Rs 10 crore is collected in the entire state each year,nearly one-tenth of which is spent in Pune.
What it gives out Marriage
* Rs 3,000 to ex-servicemen for marriage of a single daughter
* Rs 4,000 each up to a maximum of two daughters to those with more than 50% disability
* Rs 5,000 to widows of ex-servicemen with a ceiling on one daughter
* Rs 10,000 each to war widows with no ceiling on number of daughters
* Rs 1,000 a year till class XII
* Rs 5,000 a year to those in government-aided colleges