Cabinet nod for grant of ECHS facilities to WW2 vets

Cabinet nod for grant of ECHS facilities to WW2 vets

The Union Cabinet Thursday approved the grant of ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS) facilities to World War II veterans, emergency commissioned officers, short service commissioned officers and pre-mature retirees, the government said.

"As a result, over 43,000 individuals not covered so far under the ECHS will be able to avail the benefits of cashless medical treatment through a network of over 425 ECHS polyclinics, over 2,500 empanelled private hospitals and all government hospitals throughout the country, subject to certain conditions," it said in a statement.

The Cabinet approved the grant for WWII veterans, emergency commissioned officers, short service commissioned officers and pre-mature retirees during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"As a special dispensation, war widows will be exempted from one-time contribution to join ECHS," it said.

Launched by the NDA government in April 2003, the ECHS provides quality medicare to 54 lakh ex-servicemen pensioners, their dependents and a few other categories, the government said.

"Today's decision is yet another landmark step in the pro-active policies of the government since its very first days for the welfare of our valiant ex-servicemen, who rendered valuable service to the country," the statement said.

Implementation of the '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, it said.

Other welfare measures by the government for ex-servicemen include an increase in pension by 40 per cent, disability pension for pre-mature retirees, the applicability of battle causality compensation at Line of Actual Control, Line of Control and International Border, it added.

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 are other such measures, the statement said.