In its last meeting before the nation goes to polls, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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.
The ECHS programme was launched in 2003 by the first NDA government headed by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to provide quality medicare to 54 lakh ex-servicemen pensioners, their dependants and a few other categories.
The decision by the Modi government to extend the scheme is expected to benefit over 43,000 individuals who previously could not access cashless medical treatment at ECHS facilities. The ECHS network presently consists of over 425 ECHS polyclinics, over 2500 empanelled private hospitals and all Government hospitals throughout the country.
Also, as a special gesture towards the sacrifice of martyrs, war-widows will now be exempt from one-time contribution to join ECHS.
“Today's decision is yet another landmark step in the pro-active policies of the Government since its very first days for s welfare of our valiant ex-servicemen, who rendered valuable service to the country,” said a government release.
It should be noted that it was the present government under PM Modi that had implemented the 'One Rank One Pension' for ex-servicemen, a demand which had been pending for over four decades.
The scheme has benefited over 20 lakh ex-servicemen, who have cumulatively received more than Rs. 35,000 crores under it.
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