New Delhi: In a first-of-its kind initiative, the CRPF has decided to provide a comprehensive health cover and pay full premium for family members of its about 2,200 personnel who were killed in the line of duty since its raising.

The country’s largest paramilitary force, with 3.25 lakh personnel in various ranks, has launched a theme of ‘proud of our martyrs, we celebrate their valour’ as part of its 81st anniversary on March 19.

The healthcare cover and other measures are being launched as part of this theme.

“We have decided to provide a comprehensive health care cover to family members of all our martyrs. The force will pay the full premium for these services and it will be drawn from the welfare fund,” CRPF Director General (DG) A P Maheshwari told .

This will benefit the families of our 2,200 martyrs and will also fill the existing gap in ensuring better healthcare to those whose loving family member laid down their life for the nation, the DG said.

Till now, the family of a slain trooper used to make self-payment of premium to avail government health care benefits.

For the lowest rank of constable or jawan, the premium amount is Rs 30,000 per annum and its goes up with the rank to Rs 1.20 lakh for officers.

A senior official said the DG was informed about the issue when he met troops in various ‘sainik sammelan’ meetings in the country.

Families of 40 personnel who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack last year were extended this full premium paid facility and hence a special sanction was accorded by the DG to bring all martyr families under this healthcare umbrella, the official said.

Special health cards will also be issued to these families in due course, the official said.

The force, as part of its new welfare initiatives to help its troops incapacitated in combat operations, has also inked MoUs with disability support and information technology training organisations.

“We want to re-skill our soldiers who have had to undergo amputation or some sort of disability during operations. We do not want that their self-esteem is affected by these developments.

“By collaborating with these expert institutions the aim is to provide alternate skills to these troops,” DG Maheshwari said.

He said troops will be trained in streams like artificial intelligence, cyber space techniques, languages and even to hone vocal skills so that they can be absorbed in various jobs within the force, be it desk jobs, classroom lectures to officials, handling control room duties and working as announcers during ceremonial or other events.

The force will also soon tie-up with the IIIT-Hyderabad from where the specially-abled CRPF troops can obtain, through distance learning, a one-year certificate degree in various information technology areas, the force chief said.

The anniversary parade and other celebrations of the force to be held this week across the country have been cancelled in view of coronavirus precautions.

However, a team 20 senior officers led by the DG will lay wreath at the martyrs column at a CRPF base in Gurgaon to mark the 81st raising day to launch the latest theme-based mission of welfare of martyrs and specially-abled troops, the official said.

A special blood donation drive where one lakh troops will participate in the noble cause is also being undertaken, he said.

The Central Reserve Police Force was raised in 1949 and it is the lead internal security and anti-Naxal operations force of the country apart from being the mainstay for counter-terrorist tasks in Kashmir valley.

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