The government has brought more than 800,000 personnel of paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF and NSG under a new 'charge-free' salary scheme which entitles them to have concessional loans and hassle-free withdrawal of salaries.
Under the new scheme, the spouses of these men and women in uniform will also be provided with a free 'add-on ATM card' which will enable them to withdraw money and carry out financial transactions in the absence of the earning member of the family, posted far away along the border or in the Naxal-hit areas of the country.
The country's largest banker -- State Bank of India -- recently launched a unique paramilitary salary package on the lines of a similar facility for the Armed forces -- Army, Navy and the Air Force.
The new scheme will entitle the paramilitary jawans to enjoy 'charge-free' facilities like zero balance account, free ATM-cum-shopping card without an annual maintenance fee and freedom to draw their salaries from the nearest SBI branch or an ATM of any bank, when they are deployed away from their parent units.
"In central paramilitary and police forces, a jawan and officer are not posted at the parent unit or a battalion headquarter often.
"Under the new scheme, the troops can have free cheque books and ATM cards to draw their salaries at any place," a senior paramilitary officer said.
The scheme was inaugurated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on September 29 for forces like Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Border Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal and the elite National Security Guard.
The other facilities that can be enjoyed by the troops include free multi-city cheques, free demand drafts, free Internet banking, free transfer of money through Real Time Gross Settlement and National Electronic Funds Transfer and concessions in interest rates on home, car and education loans and discount on purchase of gold coins.
The headquarters of the paramilitary forces have also issued orders for conducting awareness camps on these new facilities for jawans and officers at various battalions and company headquarters.
"We want them (force personnel) to avail the benefits of the new service as soon as possible. Senior officials from the forces and experts from the banking sector will be conducting lectures for these facilities," the officer said.
General costumers have to pay a certain service charge for these facilities.