“Enrol more ex-servicemen into health scheme”

MADURAI: Ex-servicemen associations should take the initiative to enrol more of their brethren into Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). The benefits of the scheme also extends to their family, Managing Director of ECHS, R.K. Kalra, has said.

“Many people are not aware of the benefits of the scheme. They think that it is temporary. You must convince them otherwise,” he told a gathering of former members of defence forces here on Saturday.

The ECHS is a comprehensive public-funded Government health scheme, which came into effect in April 2003, and is scheduled to be completed in five years. It covers all diseases and provides medical care to ex-servicemen in receipt of pension or disability pension and their dependents.

Major General Kalra also urged those present to coordinate with the Officer-in-Charge of ECHS Polyclinic here while availing treatment in private hospitals that were empanelled with ECHS. “This would help us keep proper accounts. This is tax-payers’ money and has to be properly accounted for,” he said.

A large number of hospitals/facilities throughout the country are recognised and empanelled by ECHS so as to augment, where necessary, the facilities available at the polyclinics and service hospitals.

Salary of specialists

The issue of increasing the salary of medical specialists working with the poly clinics was being raised with the Central Government.

“The Government cannot pay on par with the private sector. But I have asked for increasing the pay so that vacancies could be filled up.”

The Major General also assured the veterans that good Indian medicine would be provided.

However, he urged them to ensure that the scheme was not misused.

When the issue of extending the scheme to members of Defence Security Corps was raised, he said that the scheme was specifically intended for former members of army, navy and air force. The rules are every clear and explicit in this regard, he said.

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