Clarification on NSRA eligibility criteria
MINDEF would like to provide clarifications on the eligibility criteria for the National Service Recognition Award (NSRA) in response to queries from various letters ("Not called for in-camp training, so no NS award" by Mr Leslie Teo Chin Hin, Aug 21; "Penalised for insufficient high-key ICT sessions" by Mr Koh Kong Ghee, Monday; "Volunteered to continue NS but denied award" by Mr Christopher Sim Kwee Teck, Monday; "Redefine end of NS cycle" by Mr James Ong Ken Sern, Forum Online, Monday; and "Made up for missed ICT but still not eligible for award" by Mr Vincent Lim How Siang, Forum Online, Monday).
The NSRA is disbursed to Singaporean NSmen to recognise their contributions when they have attained various milestones, namely: (i) at completion of full-time National Service (NS), (ii) the mid-point of the Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) cycle, and (iii) completion of the ORNS training cycle which typically consists of 10 ORNS years and seven High Key In-Camp Training (ICT). The NSRA was implemented in 2010 and three letter writers (Mr Sim, Mr Ong and Mr Lim) were not eligible for the award as they had completed their ORNS training cycle before the implementation date. We seek the understanding of NSmen in this matter as the introduction of any new policy may not be able to be effected retroactively.
However, besides the NSRA, we do appreciate all NSmen in other ways. Over the years, Government has provided National Service Bonus, additional allotments of the Goods and Services Tax Offset Credits and Growth Dividends. More recently, in conjunction with celebrating 45 years of NS, the NS45 SAFRA and HomeTeamNS Benefits scheme was launched to thank all National Servicemen for their contributions to defence.
Two letter writers (Mr Teo and Mr Koh) did not receive the third milestone NSRA as they were not called up for the requisite number of ICTs before they reached the statutory age. MINDEF agrees that it should provide opportunities to NSmen who would like to contribute their services through more ICTs beyond the statutory age and will explore ways to achieve this going forward.
MINDEF thanks the various NSmen for their feedback and will continue to review our policies to recognise the contributions of our NSmen.
Teo Eng Dih
Ministry of Defence
MINDEF's reply was published as "Eligibility criteria for NS award: Mindef replies", The Straits Times, 29 Aug 13