Govt sanctions polyclinics for ex-servicemen

In addition, 15 regional centres — one in Bangalore — and 17 mobile medical units will be established to ensure that more and more soldiers get the benefits of the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS). The entire package will cost Rs 141 crore.
The new clinics will be in addition to the 227 existing polyclinics set up by the government in 2003. There are over 30 lakh ECH beneficiaries now.

Clinics in Karnataka
The clinics in Karnataka will be in Kolar, Tumkur, Hassan, Shimoga, Bangalore, Gulbarga, Bidar and Virajendrapet (Kodagu). After the Kargil episode, the government approved 106 polyclinics at military stations and 121 clinics at non-military stations as a welfare measure for soldiers.

But many retired soldiers living in far-away places found it difficult to reach the clinics as they were set up at places where the ex-servicemen number more than 2,500.
While approving the new clinics, the Union Cabinet even opted for those places where the ex-servicemen  are less than 2,500.

Over seven lakh ex-servicemen who retired before April 1, 2003, have not opted for the ECHS due to the non-availability of clinics near their places of residence. The new clinics are expected to cover them.With 60,000 servicemen retiring every year, the number of ECHS beneficiaries are likely to be increased every year, for not only 60,000 soldiers but 1,44,000 dependents can also avail of the benefits.

There will be 10 new clinics in Andhra Pradesh, six in Tamil Nadu, 12 in Kerala and one each in Goa and Puducherry in the South, in addition to the Karnataka units.
The Cabinet approved 2,263 doctors and technicians— who can be hired on contracts — to man the additional 199 polyclinics.

Sanctions were given to 315 serving personnel — 60 officers and 255 soldiers—for manning the 15 regional centres, and seven officers and 15 soldiers for the central organisation ECHS.The massive expansion of ECHS was approved for curbing the alleged financial irregularities in approving the medical bills in the three services.

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