Saturday, December 17, 2011

Concrete Steps for Welfare of Ex Servicemen

Ten Percent of Group ‘B’ Posts in Paramilitary Forces to be Filled up by Ex-Servicemen
Government Aggressively Pursuing Measures for Welfare of Ex-Servicemen: Antony
The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to fill 10% of the Group ‘B’ posts in Central Paramilitary Forces from among Ex-Servicemen. Disclosing this at the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry here today, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said efforts are now being made to persuade public sector undertakings and the private sector to tap this invaluable reservoir of talented and disciplined Ex-Servicemen.

Shri Antony said the Government is taking ‘aggressive measures’ for the all-round welfare and well-being of Ex-Servicemen. He said the health of the Ex-Servicemen and their dependents is a prime concern for the government. Giving details of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) which has been operating since April 2003, Shri Antony said, presently the scheme caters to 38 lakh beneficiaries including 12 lakh Ex-Servicemen and over 26 lakh dependents. Initially, 227 polyclinics had been approved by the Cabinet. Later, in 2008 another 199 polyclinics were sanctioned, out of which 20 are functional and 179 polyclinics are in various stages of implementation. This scheme is currently being implemented through 247 polyclinics. Shri Antony said the reach and coverage of the scheme can be easily appreciated from the fact that during 2010-11, a total of 89 lakh patients attended the polyclinics. He hoped that with the commissioning of all the sanctioned polyclinics the entire fraternity of Ex-Servicemen would be covered comprehensively.

Cutting across party lines the Members of Parliament wholeheartedly appreciated the contribution of the Armed Forces personnel in ensuring the security and territorial integrity of the country as also their contribution in providing relief during natural calamities. They wanted to know the latest status as far as the demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’is concerned. The members also suggested that seats for the children of serving Armed Forces personnel and Ex-Servicemen should be reserved in all medical and dental colleges. Some members felt that there should be periodic inspection of the ECHS facilities so that the quality of service rendered by these units are kept high at all times. There was also a suggestion that the few surviving veterans of Second World War and war-widows should be given higher pension for dignified livelihood. Other suggestions were that the government should take urgent measures to build a suitable National Memorial for martyrs in the national capital and inclusion of the Members of Parliament in the Zila Sainik Board meetings.

Replying to queries Shri Antony said the issue of setting up of a war memorial in the capital is a long pending one. He said serious discussions are now on and hoped that the issue may be settled in the near future.

Referring to the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ Shri Antony said that the UPA government has twice increased the pension amount of Ex-Servicemen. He said the issue is not a closed chapter but it has to be approached in a phased manner. ‘Sincerity of the government is very much evident on the issue’, Shri Antony said.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM PallamRaju said MoD is working with National Skill Development Corporation to upgrade the skills of Ex-Servicemen so that they can be gainfully employed in various sectors of the economy.

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri GajananDharmshi Babar, Shri Rakesh Singh, Shri SS Ramasubbu, Shri Gopal Singh Shekhawat, DrShashiTharoor, Shri Ram Chandra Khuntia, Shri BalwantAlias BalApte, Shri Veer Singh, DrMahendra Prasad, Shri HK Dua, Shri Ishwarlal Jain and ShriPiyushGoyal. The Secretary Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Shri SamirendraChatterjee, the Secretary Department of Defence Production Shri ShekharAgarwal and other officials of the Ministry of Defence also attended the meeting. SitanshuKar/NN (Release ID :78716)
Ten Percent of Group ‘B’ Posts in Paramilitary Forces to be Filled up by Ex-Servicemen

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