Servicemen to get more monetary incentives under proposals by CSNS
National servicemen could get more monetary incentives under proposals submitted to the government by the Committee to Strengthen National Service or CSNS.
More help will also be given to balance their duties with personal commitments.
The committee has recommended disbursing an extra $6,000 in Medisave grants, at each of the three "milestones" an NSmen reaches, under a proposed NS HOME (Housing, Medical and Education) Awards.
This is on top of the $9,000 under the existing system.
They'll also be provided with a free life and personal accident insurance, to cover for their entire serving period.
Incentives for those who do well in their IPPT will also increase by $100.
The number of NSmen who receive monetary rewards for their good performance during In-Camp Training will also triple.
Defence Minister and Committee Chairman Ng Eng Hen says these recommendations are meant to recognise the contributions, sacrifices and commitment of national servicemen.
"The Committee felt that because family size is getting smaller, or has become smaller, this has resulted in increased dependence on our NSmen. We therefore recommend increasing the recognition benefits for NSmen. This is to respond to the fact that opportunity costs have gone up. The Committee members would like to reiterate that once again, that these benefits for National Service must never dilute the spirit of service."
36-year-old Tan Khai Yang welcomes the additional grants.
"If the money can be utilised to offset our mortgages, that's great, if we don't not utilise the amount then it's be part of our CPF minimum sum. So, it's always appreciated. "
The committee also proposed more time for NSmen to train and pass the Individual Physical Proficency Test, or IPPT.
They will be given up to 12 months to obtain a pass for the test each year.
Failing which, they'll be allotted another 12 months to complete the Remedial Training or RT.
Currently, servicemen are only given up to 12 months to complete both.
Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing hopes that this would spur the men to take ownership of their own fitness.
"That is the strongest deterrence message that we can send to anyone, because our NSmen have within them the fire in their belly to want to do well for themselves, our family and our nation."
26-year-old NSman, Kelvin Koh, lauds the move.
"It's helpful because sometimes, you can have unforeseen circumstances like if you have a duration where you need to be overseas, or you get injured at some point during the year, you just need to have a bit more flexibility when it comes to passing that IPPT window."
The committee's also proposed reducing the wait time for enlistment.
It wants 90 per cent of pre-enlistees enlisted within four months of completing their post-secondary education, double the number now.
This means they can start work earlier after completing NS and poly students need not be disrupted for local unversity studies which start in August.
The committee has also eased administrative restrictions.
It's recommending that NSmen notify MINDEF or the Home Team only when they're travelling overseas for more than 14 days.
Currently, they are required to do so for trips of more than 24 hours.
-By Lee Gim Siong
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