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Thank you for your question. While there is a Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare in the Ministry of Defence, veterans continue to struggle with their problems.
I have taken up their causes since the time I stepped into Parliament in 2006. While the Armed Forces Personnel selflessly guard the nation and protect the country against enemies, there is a feeling that the country does not understand their concerns and that they do not have a forceful platform to voice their demands. I have long maintained that it is time for the nation to address this concern.
In 2011 I wrote to the then Prime Minister and Defence Minister to consider giving an independent, non-political voice, to the Armed Forces veterans by reserving one Parliament Seat – anywhere in lndia – for a representative of the Armed Forces veterans or nominating one representative from the veterans to the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha who can be the voice of the over 26 lakh ex-servicemen and their families. Our founding fathers have recognized the need for giving representation to distinguished citizens such as artists, poets, sportsmen etc. in Parliament and a nomination of one distinguished Armed Forces veteran I believe will be perfectly consistent with this tradition
Although I did not receive a positive response, but I will continue to push for this idea of giving representation to the veterans in Parliament. This will send a message to the armed forces personnel and their families that the Nation understands and accords the highest priority to their welfare.