Respect Human rights: Antony tells defence Forces

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today appealed to troops to be extra sensitive towards human rights while combating militancy in some parts of the country to help build trust between the forces and the civilian population.

''I would like to appeal to you that you should be extra sensitive to human rights while combating militancy in certain parts of the country. This will help in building trust between the forces and the civilian population,'' Mr Antony said in his address to Defence Forces broadcast on the All India Radio on the eve of India's 62nd Independence Day.

He lauded the services rendered by the forces to the civilian population and the 'Sadbhavana' programme merited recognition in ushering development in remote places where the civilian administration is constrained to reach.

Highlighting the welfare schemes started by the government for the defence Forces and their families, Mr Antony said funds had been earmarked for setting up at least six schools every year.

The government had scrapped the individual's contribution towards Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) being run for ex-servicemen, war-widows and soldiers disabled in action.

The government had also considerably raised the financial grants for gallantry awardees and .decided to formulate a long-term national policy on Ex-servicemen in consultation with all stakeholders.

Special care had been taken to improve nutrient value in food provided to soldiers deployed on altitudes above 12,000 feet besides the spices allowance has been hiked by 84 percent.

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