The Kerala government would increase by Rs. 1,000 the monthly pension for freedom fighters, the Chief Minister Oommen Chanday said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

He was speaking after unfurling the national flag and taking the salute of the parade at the 66th Independence Day celebrations held at the Central Stadium behind the Government Secretariat in the capital city.

This is being done by the government as a mark of respect for those who fought for the nation’s independence, he said.

From April 1, 2013, all welfare pensions would be disbursed through bank accounts. The Right to Services law would take effect from November 1, the ‘birthday’ of Kerala State. Mr Chandy said he expects a ‘coalition’ of the government, the government employees and of the people at large to make this law a grand success.

The Kerala Public Services Commission is already engaged in the task of filling the 1188 vacancies (from 2004 to 2007) for the differently-abled in government service. This would be completed in six months. Similarly all vacancies, till 2008, for those belonging to then Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes would be filled by December 31, he said.

The Independence Day programme began at 8.30 a.m. with Mr Chandy hoisting the national flag at the stadium. Subsequently he inspected the guard of honour and accepted the salute from the marching contingents of the Kerala Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, NCC cadets, Scouts and Guides and from the Student Police Cadets.

He also gave away the President’s police medals and medals for meritorious service. Later, 500-odd students from various schools in Thiruvananthapuram rendered patriotic songs.

The Speaker, G. Karthikeyan and the Director General of Police, Jacob Punnoose, were among those who were present on the occasion.