Provisions For The Treatment Of Military Veterans In India

Source - The CSR Journal

For all militaries, it is essential to get the best possible treatment as are rewardable for serving the country in all situations by sacrificing their own lives. 

In India, there were restricted hospital centres to accommodate as they were a huge increase in the army and insufficiency to expand the services. Yet in many hospitals, there were fewer specialist and were expensive in private hospitals. The military forces and veteran organizations have consistently advocated for the establishment of a specific healthcare programme for veterans.

ESM Contributory Health Scheme (2003 Onwards)

The government authorized the ESM Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) in 2003, this scheme is a cashless one that reaches the veteran community and thereby furnishing them with a good health care system. 

Medical Care through Public Health System

At the time of pre independence the government of India took the position for disabled veterans in medical care and in rehabilitation. The following were considered as disabled in the system:

(a) Loss of limb 

(b) General medical and surgical disability 

(c) Loss of speech 

(d) Deafness

(e) Blindness and natural impairment of vision

(f) Pulmonary tuberculosis

(g) Mental diseases

Till 1966 there were no medical facilities up to a level and were only available with certain limitations

Medical Care through Service Hospitals (1966-2003)

The government liberalized the restrictions for military veterans and their spouses seeking treatment at military hospitals in 1966. 

Veterans and their families, as well as the families of deceased persons receiving a pension from the Department of Defense, were eligible to receive free outpatient department (OPD) treatment and drugs from service hospitals under these rules.

Free outpatient treatment which is near to the Armed Forces Hospital is authorized to ex service pensioners and to the families of service personnel who receive a low pension from the defense. 

There are nearly 31 service hospitals that were localized in garrison in the year 1966. Nowadays the hospitals are increased to more than 100. 

There are several types of service hospital as mentioned below:

Section Hospitals

In these hospitals, the bed count varies between 10 and 24. 

Peripheral Hospitals

The bed count differs in from 25 to 99 calculated as 0.8% of the Garrison strength. 

Mid Zone Hospitals

Military hospitals that offer only a few basic services. To accommodate specialist beds, bed count ranges from 100 to 200, which is determined as 1.5 per cent of Garrison strength plus 0.3 per cent of dependent peripheral and mid zonal station strength. 

Zonal Hospital

Specialists in some broad disciplines such as eye, ENT, Dermatology, and Pediatrics may be provided at chosen stations with a Garrison strength of 10,000 or more.

Command Hospitals

In addition to providing required assistance to the local Garrison, it also facilitates other allied departments such as Cardiology, Neurology and Nephrology. 

Military hospitals

Military hospitals that offer only a few basic services. 

To accommodate specialist beds, bed strength ranges from 100 to 200, which is determined as 1.5 per cent of Garrison strength plus 0.3 per cent of dependent peripheral and mid zonal station strength. 

Army Hospital

The purpose of this hospital is to conduct research and provide referrals. It is designed as one army hospital. Moreover, there were facilities are accessible to expenditure. 

Medical Benefit Scheme (1991-2003)

High-cost medical treatment wasn’t available to the required number and veterans couldn’t spend loads of money in private hospitals.

There was an urgent need to cater for such high-cost treatment. AGI Fund (AGIF) and Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) made some distress grants available on a case-by-case basis to help people in need.

Reimbursement was unmanageable and frequently overdue, however, reimbursement has consented, but in a very limited way to the real expenditure. 

Still, it was under the control of the Government there wasn’t much growth. the AGIF built a medical care scheme called Army Group Insurance Medical Benefit Scheme [AGI (MBS)] in order to handle the demand. 

Fixed Medical Allowance

The fifth pay commission suggested a monthly FMA of Rs 100. The recommendation was granted, and veterans began receiving a monthly FMA of Rs 100/- as of January 1, 2008.

1st of January. As ECHS was brought up in the year 2003 FMA was stopped for members of ECHS. Then FMA was reintroduced for ECHS members on 01 November. Members in their district who do not have access to an ECHS polyclinic, Service Hospital, or Up graded MI Room for treatment will be eligible for FMA.

If a member chooses to draw FMA, he will no longer be eligible for outpatient treatment in polyc linics, service hospitals, or MI Rooms. He would be able to receive IPD treatment, however. The monthly FMA has raised to Rs 1000. 

The long term efforts lead a way to develop and facilitate ECHS by improving the functions of the scheme and were made to enhance and streamline ECHS by developing capabilities and functionalities of the scheme by policy enterprises.

Written By - Pratthiksha shree A

Edited By - Tushna Choksey

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