Expanding health benefits for former defence personnel, the government on Wednesday approved a proposal for setting up of 199 additional polyclinics in areas having minimum ex-servicemen population of 1,500.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also gave the go ahead for re-organisation of the Central Organisation Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and extension of ECHS facilities to Nepal Domiciled Gorkhas (NDGs), an official spokesperson said.
Government will spent Rs. 141 crore towards creation of infrastructure. This will include a capital expenditure of Rs. 118.52 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 43 crore per annum, the spokesperson said.
With the new facilities, the expanded network envisages 426 polyclinics in 343 districts of the country which will benefit about 33 lakh ex-servicemen residing in remote and far-flung areas.
The ECHS was introduced with effect from April one, 2003, to provide comprehensive medical coverage to ex-servicemen pensioners, war window and dependents by establishing 227 polyclinics.
Such polyclinics have been set up at stations with ex-servicemen population above 2500. However, a large segment of ex-servicemen are staying at locations where there is no ECHS Polyclinic within a radius of 200 to 300 km causing great inconvenience in accessing medical facilities for them.
To address this problem, 199 polyclinics will be established in those places with minimum ex-servicemen population of 1500, the spokesperson said.
The expansion of ECHS will provide easy access to health facilities for such ex-servicemen and their dependents.
The Cabinet also approved extension of ECHS facilities to NDGs. There are about 1,00,000 ex-servicemen and their dependents domiciled in Nepal who will benefit from the ECHS.
The cost of providing health care at the existing rates to 1,00,000 NDGs along with their dependents will be about Rs. 85 crore per year. The scheme will cover all the ex-servicemen of Indian Armed Forces and dependents domiciled in Nepal.
They will be entitled for medical treatment under ECHS Scheme at Polyclinics, military hospitals and ECHS-empanelled civil hospitals in India. Emergency treatment in India under existing provisions will also be available.