Village Defence Guards’ Capabilities May Get SLRs, Added Renumeration


SRINAGAR: The government is planning to bring all Village Defence Guards (VDGs) under a new mode of payments and gradually replace their vintage .303 weapons with Self Loading Rifles (SLRs). This move aims to bolster the VDGs’ ability to combat militant threats effectively, a necessity highlighted by the recent surge in terror attacks in the Jammu region, Jammu newspaper Daily Excelsior reported

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The newspaper said the a decision has been made to ensure that all VDGs receive their monthly honorarium, with the entire cost covered by the Union Home Ministry under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) of Jammu and Kashmir. Prior to the recent increase in militant attacks, the sanctioned number of VDGs was 4985, with 4153 actively serving. However, this number is on the rise as police work to block routes used by militants infiltrating into areas such as Udhampur, Doda, Reasi, Rajouri, and Poonch.

While most VDGs are compensated, a number remain unpaid for various reasons. “Now, a decision has been taken by the MHA in consultations with the Jammu and Kashmir Government to ensure all VDGs receive an honorarium of Rs 4500 for group leaders and Rs 4000 for other members per month, deposited directly into their bank accounts,” officials quoted by the newspaper have said. Some VDGs had felt discouraged due to lack of payment, but intervention by local police officers has renewed their commitment and efficiency.

Besides, regular payments, the modernisation of VDGs’ weaponry is another priority for both the Jammu and Kashmir Government and BJP leaders. “There is virtual consensus that VDGs should receive sophisticated weapons gradually, as it is challenging for them to counter terrorists equipped with M4 Carbines and assault rifles using .303 weapons. Some VDGs have already been equipped with SLRs, and others will receive similar upgrades in phases,” the newspaper quoted sources saying.


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