Higher monthly allowance for national servicemen
All national servicemen across all ranks will see their monthly allowance increase by $70 to $120 this month, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How.
This increase includes a minimum $50 vocation allowance given to all national servicemen in recognition of the different vocational demands, and applies to servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
The vocation allowance replaces the combat allowance, which was given to servicemen in combat vocations in the SAF, such as armour, guards and infantry.
National service allowances were last increased in December 2015, by $80, across all ranks.
The current increase means a recruit in the SAF or SCDF who used to receive $560 a month will now get $630.
This was among the moves to benefit national servicemen announced in Parliament yesterday during the debate on the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) budget.
Others include expanding a free gym membership scheme for pre-enlistees and increasing the number of courses servicemen can take to prepare for life after NS.
The programme Prep4NS, launched last November to give pre-enlistees free access to Safra gyms for a year, has about 6,000 applicants, Mr Heng said.
Mindef and the SAF are working with Sport Singapore to extend the trial to 24 ActiveSG gyms.
More details will be provided later.
NSFs will also have more courses to choose from under the electronic pre-release employment programme from April 1, including credit-bearing courses from the National University of Singapore.
They will be able to choose from more than 4,000 courses from April 1, up from about 3,000 now.
On adopting digital technologies, Mr Heng said e-services will be improved so that pre-enlistees can complete most of their transactions online in one go, such as their bond and exit permit applications. They could be informed of their application outcomes up to 40 per cent more quickly when the initiative is ready.
In his speech, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also announced the formation of a high-level committee to look at in-camp training and deployment of manpower.
This will be chaired by Mindef's deputy secretary for administration and the chief of army. - LIM MIN ZHANG