Cabinet nods ECHS facilities to veterans, pre-mature retirees

NEW DELHI, Mar 7: The Cabinet on Thursday approved the grant of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) facilities to World War-II Veterans, Emergency Commissioned Officers (ECOs), Short Service Commissioned Officers (SSCOs) and pre-mature retirees.
As a result, over 43,000 individuals not covered so far under ECHS will be able to avail the benefits of cashless medical treatment under ECHS facilities through a network of over 425 ECHS polyclinics, over 2500 empanelled private hospitals and all government hospitals throughout the country, subject to certain conditions, an official statement said.
As a special dispensation, war-widows will be exempt from one-time contribution to join ECHS.
Launched by NDA government in April 2003, ECHS provides quality medicare to 54 lakh ex-servicemen pensioners, their dependents and a few other categories.
Today’s decision is yet another landmark step in the pro-active policies of the Government since its very first days for welfare of our valiant ex-servicemen, who rendered valuable service to the country, it added.
Implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ for ex-servicemen, a demand which had been pending for over four decades, has resulted in over 20 lakh ex-servicemen receiving more than Rs 35,000 crore under the scheme.
Other welfare measures by the Government for ex-servicemen include increase in pension by 40 per cent, disability pension for pre-mature retirees, applicability of battle causality compensation at Line of Actual Control, Line of Control and International Border, financial assistance to soldiers on their supreme sacrifice through newly created Army Battle Causalities Welfare Fund, enhancement of ex-gratia ad-hoc allowance, Special Pension to Ex-sailors and skill development training in 36 job roles to over 30,000 retiring soldiers so far. (UNI)