New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the very first decision after assuming office on Friday, hiked the rates of scholarship 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 under the National Defence Fund (NDF).

Approving the major change, Prime Minister’s new Cabinet also extended the ambit of the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ to the wards of State Police officials who are/were martyred during terror/Naxal attacks.

The quota of new scholarships for wards of state police officials will be 500 in a year. The Ministry of Home Affairs will be the nodal Ministry in this regard.

The NDF 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 ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS)’ was 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.

Under the PMSS, every year new scholarships are given for 5500 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.

(Inputs from