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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Army Headquarters clarify that medical facilities to SSCOs and ECOs have not been withdrawn

Well, this should end the controversy perpetrated by some self-styled interpreters in M-Block who brought disrepute to the medical top brass and in a way to the entire services medical set-up by writing to all Commands that SSCOs and ECOs were not entitled to medical facilities in service hospitals.

Earlier, Medical facilities were only available to the following categories of retired defence personnel :

(i) Ex-Service Pensioners

(ii) Families of Ex-Service Pensioners

(iii) Families of deceased personnel drawing pension of some kind

Then in the year 1996, the Ministry of Defence in the name of HE The President of India amended Paragraph 296 (O) of the Regulations of Medical Services Armed Forces (RMSAF, 1983) and directed that the term ‘Ex-Service Pensioners’ shall be replaced by the term ‘Ex-Servicemen’ thus leading to the following entitled categories with effect from 26 Sept 1996 :

(i) Ex-Servicemen covered under the definition of ‘Ex- Serviceman’ issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) from time to time

(ii) Families of Ex-Servicemen

(iii) Families of deceased personnel drawing pension of some kind.

In 1998, an amendment to the existing Army Order on the subject of entitlement was also issued vide AO 08/98 whereby the term ‘ex-service pensioners’ was replaced by the new term ‘ex-servicemen’, needless to say, the AO was issued under the hand and seal of the COAS. The following was explicitly stated in the AO 08/98 :

“AO 10/97 is amended as follows :- (a) The term ‘Ex Service Pensioners wherever used in the AO is replaced with the term ‘Ex Servicemen’.”

However despite the fact that the above mentioned amendments had been carried out more than a decade ago and Regulation 296 (O) RMSAF stood amended, still in blatant contravention of the Presidential sanction, no correction was carried out in the copies of RMSAF available in service medical establishments and the old (unamended) Para 296 (O) in which the word ‘pensioners’ appeared was being quoted to refuse treatment to SSCOs and ECOs who were ex-servicemen but not pensioners. Vague letters were also issued asking MHs to withdraw such facilities from SSCOs and ECOs.

The Army HQ has now clearly stated that such facilities have not been withdrawn and the Secretariats of COAS and AG have also been informed about the same.

It is only hoped that such letters leading to total chaos in the system are not allowed to be floated by functionaries in the M-Block again. It is also hoped that the executing authorities give due regard to Presidential and govt sanctions by proper application of mind rather than to locally issued letters by self-styled interpreters which have no value in the eyes of law.


Anonymous said...

That's the typical way the M Block functions.Sad to say, the attitude of a sizable number of AMC officers is the same - negative, unhelpful....this is in sharp contrast to the officers of say the Infantry, Arty, Armd etc or the Officers of the flying branch of the Air Force - they all generally are large hearted and have a positive attitude. You transit through a place and stay in an AMC officers mess(that is if they let you in) and in an Officers mess of say an Infantry regimental centre. you will find the difference. Incidentally, I am a retired AMC officer.

Beniwal said...

just for info, I had raised this issue with DGAFMS/AHQs after reading Navdeep's earlier post. I have yet to get correct reply. I am happy before replying to me they have done what I had asked and as stated by navdeep today.

Anonymous said...

AMC offrs with great personality, managerial skills and leadership qualities donot go beyond col level.Only half baked jokers reach beyond this level.sad but true.failure of implimentation of DACP is due to above reason.By the way DACP is another presidential order that has been overruled by IQ < 40s.

Anonymous said...

Comment from my friend (30 june 3.45 pm)who appears to be an AMC guy, has refreshed memories of an incident during periodical med examination in 1997.
While a superceeded Lt Col med secialist and thorough professional loaded with work ,disposed me of quickly after thorough check up, the Comdt of MH ,an upcoming Brig and of course a GD doc made me wait for 3 hours for a customary 2 minutes interview even when he had little work and was busy in news paper and tea etc.
DACP to AMC docs seems to have been blocked by this attitude of their top brass rather than babus or the govt.Being a non AMC officer and having gone through such attitude of AMC COMMANDERS and not professional docs,I seem to agree with the obsn of my friend.

Anonymous said...

I have been at the receiving end of AMC docs.My mother ,a cancer patient who passed away recently,was treated at RR.The docs there are busy pampering so called VIPs,read politicians/beaurocrats/senior offrs.The lesser mortals are made to feel like second grade citizens and docs behave as if they are doing one a personal favour.Looking at the experience with total objectivity,without any personal emotion,I can describe the attitude ,to put it euphemistically,as insensitive,abrasive and unprofessional.Surprisingly, the attitude of MNS offrs was extremely positive and one only hopes the so called super specialists at RR imbibe some compassion from them.

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,

My comment may seem out of place with this post of yours.

However, may I request u to give an update on constitution of committee for upgrading grade pay, implication of recent circular on automatic upgradation of gpA service offrs in relation to IAS on their pay and grade pay ( a comparative table indicating incr in total emoluments will certainly help) and Number of other anomalies like wrong fixation of pay from S24 table rather than S 25table for Lt Col and Col.

force1 said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Sorry to butt in ,in this AMC bashing.The AMC never decides who all have to be treated. That is decided by The AGs branch and the Army HQs.
AMC is the only sevice that still looks after u after u have retired and stop wearing brass.
None of the other services do it and I am quite sure that if by chance your erstwhile unit gets posted to the same station as you, they will not be able to tolerate your demands more than a few months(try the ration stand as an example,or ask for a vehicle).
While , on this topic, let us consider the burden that has been created by most of the men and officers producing false certificates for entitlement for nonentitled people (most commonly their parents and quite often their close relatives!).After ECHS even exservicemens' parents have been added to the list!
I would agree that in our social mileu the parents and in-laws should be entitled medical treatment,because as a service we are secluded from the civilians and cantonments are generally at the distance from the city.
But , this has to be legalised and adequate resources should be provided to AMC - and not frittered away on civil hospitals, who at any given time are at least 5 times as expensive.
However,it seems that most of the effort is wasted at denying DACP to those who toil for u at all hours and for an extremely ungrateful clientele!
As for anonymous at 0900 hrs,we agree that AMC messes are not very friendly places, but so are the other messes ,unless u have a filial claim.
As to the negative attitude,as you have yourself been an AMC Officer you would know that whatever an AMC officer does for u,is done by him personally and not by a sahayak.It is easy to be positive when you r not the one who is toiling.
Dear Anonymous @5.25 pm , how often have u waited to meet your Bde Commander.You seem to feel that the AMC Brigadier is not as important and what makes u feel that maybe the Commandent of the hospital was not handling weightier issues.
A genuine doubt- What is the definition of an exserviceman as per DOPT?

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Force 1

I agree with your thought process. However I differ on certain aspects.

Yes, AGs Branch decides the entitlement but you know what, in this case, the office of DGAFMS had not only been refusing entitlements in accordance with relevant AOs but also an explicit Presidential sanction.

Secondly, we cannot possibly refuse entitled cases on the ground that some unscruplous elements are illegally abusing the system.

Thirdly, let us just put this 'overburdened system' bogey to rest once and for all. Please compare the 'burden' of all MHs incl the busiest ones such as the Army Base Hospital with civilian establishments like PGI and AIIMS, we are not even catering to a fraction of doctor : patient ratio. If we have a job to do, we have to do it and cannot question the authority of the govt in bringing into ambit more categories of entitled personnel.

All those pers are accorded ESM status who have been released from the forces on completion of terms of engagement irrespective of whether they are pensioners or not. This includes SSCOs.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous at June 30, 2009 5:25 PM

The story of the superceded med specialist and the ever so busy newspaper reading Brigadier....

That is a compelling reason to deny DACP to the lousy docs...

May we have more of superceded med specialists in the years to come...

Anonymous said...

Its not for us to ask what or why,
its for us to do or .....
so said the write up in front of Hunter squadron in those good old days.

As a retired officer I do feel that the humbug of overburdened system is an oft repeated one.

I wish the EME wud emulate with free entitled Ex-Servicemen Contributory Veh-Health Scheme and repair my Maruti Car with as much sensitivity and expertise as the Maruti Outlet next door without any additional manpower.

As Martin Luther King said, " I have a dream" of the sparrow providing me with a Virgin-mobile prepaid with number portability without any ceiling limit.

@ Navdeep

"If we have a job to do, we have to do it and cannot question the authority of the govt in bringing into ambit more categories of entitled personnel" or more facilities... for those who gave their yesterday for someone else's tomorrow

Irrefutable aint it... I have a dream.

force1 said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Thanks for the prompt reply.
However, a query-suppose I retire after just completing 18 years of service or 10 years of service (and not 20 years), will I be able to avail free medical services and CSD facilities throughout my Life?
And a second point -its no use denying the fact that we are overburdened - every specialist and superspecialist OPD generally runs till at least 4 pm, and it is only Command hospitals and RR that have working hours till 430 pm and beyond( No Sir,none of our Command HQs).
And thirdly, I certainly feel that inspite of this, we should be permitted to treat our relatives ( have a more liberal approach),for I know that even as a Doctor if any my closeones (non dependants) fall sick I wouldnt know where to take them as we have minimal contacts with civilians.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


A regular post-1987 retiree Permanent Commissioned Officer who retires without earning pension is not entitled to ESM status or medical facilities even if he/she had completed 19 yrs of service. However the same is admissible to an SSC offr even after 5 yrs of service since an offr becomes entitled to ESM status on completion of terms of engagement which happen to be 5 yrs (now 10 in certain categories) for SS Offrs. Prior to the year 1987, all offrs who had served for 5 yrs or more were entitled to ESM status across the board. Hence PC offrs who retired with 5+ yrs of service prior to 1987 shall maint their ESM status granted to them during those times when the pre-revised rules were applicable.

Hope this clarifies.

Anonymous said...

Force1 @ 8:48 PM

".......& in-laws should be entitled medical treatment"????????????

Doctor said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Now I am really confused.
Having been “brought up” to the concept of “no pension – means not entitled”, am I now right in assuming that - All short service officers who have completed their tenures and are no longer serving in the armed forces can avail treatment at Military Hospitals.
If that is so, what about their dependents (Wife, children, parents)? Are they entitled for treatment too?
If this Ex-SSC officer is employed in civil (which most of them would definitely be after they leave), is he still entitled for the above treatment.
Pardon my ignorance and request for repeated clarification on what would seem something clear as daylight to you, but I need to know this as I am on the “other side” of clientele Vs AMC divide.
Finally, though I agree with you on most accounts, I feel that we should not look to emulate the PGI or AIIMS models for our healthcare because it is not good enough. It is unfair on the patient to be the 47th one to be seen by a particular doctor (as it is unfair on the doctor as well). Unfortunately that is what happens in these “premiere” hospitals (and in some of our busier hospitals).
In the first world, no consultant will see more than 15 patients a day (with a cap on number of new patients being 5-7). This gives the consultant and the patient enough time with each other. I too have been guilty of seeing a patient in about 2 minutes many a times due to pressure of 50 more patients to be seen. But the experience is unsatisfactory to both (patient and me).
We must aim for a first world system of health care for the armed forces and not be satisfied or aspire for the existing third world system.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


To answer your queries.

Yes, medical facilities are available to dependants of SSC Officers during the life time of the offr. After the offr is no more, medical facilities are only available in case some kind of pension is being drawn by the family.

No, in case an SSCO or ECO is employed with the civil govt and is entitled to receive medical care from his civil department, then the said offr is not entitled to med facilities from the defence services. Moreover, the AGs Branch does not issue med entitlement card to SSCOs and ECOs who are re-employed with the civil govt and are entitled to med facilities from the civil.

KB said...

Just anxious Maj Navdeep....

Do u always write ur blogs in the wee hrs of the morning...abt 0500hr? So say ur blogs...

Guess u sleep over some notion n put ur thoughts to pen..errr blog...the first thing in the morn.


Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
I am a PC officer with 9yrs 6 mnts service. I am an Air Force Officer. I am permanent on LMC without it being attributable to service. The process of invalidating me out of service not solely on medical grounds is under process. Now when i am out of service, will i get ESM status including all medical facilities for me and my dependents.


Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@anony at 5.21 PM

No, you shall not be entitled to ESM status.

It is requested that you may not please post your queries through the comments tab of blogposts. You may email me if you require specific answers.

Beniwal said...

Dear navdeep, please give reference of the clarification or put the letter for download. many thanks.

Ashok said...

I quite agree with the view that the AMC does't decide entitlement.

I am not sure you are right in stating that medical facilities are entitled to those NOT receiving a pension. Certain benefits are pension linked. I am not cetain u have the right authority. If you are right why are the words "some kind of pension" in the so called presidential order?
Did you know just AIIMS has as many docs as the entire AMC?
The AMC is the only org that is working full capacity even in peace time. Others are just preparing for war, if and when.
I am not aware of denial of DACP. It doesn't make so much of a difference now. But rest assured that AMC will be last choice when docs have to join service as AMC will get less than even state services. So the bottom of the barrel will treat u. Till then u can be happy that u have denied DACP to our AMC which u today deem useless.
See the manpower in Inf messes then comapre to AMC. See the amount of money that comes to the mess from the canteen. Add this to continuity of command / regimnetation. Do the AMC messes have a chance.
The same officer who will rudely walk up to a senior AMC officer will piss in his pants in approaching his own CO or Cdr on genuine matter.
See the accn that is dished out to the AMC offrs and jawans. EME hav has 100% accn but AMC 75% (?). Care of Army vehs is more imp than men.
Negativity is more in the AMC because the AMC is always fending for ourselves- no sahayaks, cooks, vehs, etc etc.
PBOR are one of the most neglected. The corps is too busy caring for patients, it has no time to care for its own.
Not surprisingly I am AMC. But I am proud of the corps. My corps right or wrong. If wrong to be set right, But my corps right or wrong.

Ashok said...

I do not agree with the authority.

Ex-Servicemen covered under the definition of ‘Ex- Serviceman’ issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) from time to time

(ii) Families of Ex-Servicemen

(iii) Families of deceased personnel drawing pension of some kind.

I think the para should read :

Ex-Servicemen covered under the definition of ‘Ex- Serviceman’ issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) from time to time

(ii) Families of Ex-Servicemen

(iii) Families of deceased personnel

drawing pension of some kind.

If that is the case then the phrase "drawing pension of some kind" becomes applicable to all three paragraphs.

Why should deceased personnel's familes be sepatrately specified to draw pension and not the others?

Medical is a pension linked benefit and Maj Navdeep is not the final authority on anything. The RMASF applies still. Incidentally the RMSAF is a DSR, which is issued by Min of Defence. If the Presidential Order had to be implemented then the ministry should have issued the appropriate order.

inf offr said...

i can see force1 has so much of positive attitude in him.

good nice to see someone caring in army.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Ashok at 8.39

My dear Sir, kindly go through the Presidential sanction and the AO before commenting. If I am not an authority, the same applies to you. It is the mandate of the Govt which has to prevail and not my 'opinion' or M-Block's interpretation.

Yes, the RMSAF applies but do you know my friend that Para 296(O) of RMSAF has already been amended but still till date the amendment has not been properly circulated to service hospitals ?. If Pension was a criterion, then there was no need to amend the previous term 'ex-service pensioners' to the new term 'ex-servicemen'. Pray tell us why this amendment was carried out ??

Please do not take it as AMC bashing, this is simply a case of non-application of mind.

Medical entitlement cards issued to SSCOs and ECOs by the AGs Branch were not being honoured by MHs, why ? On the basis of a self styled interpretation issued by someone sitting on a chair of authority and that too without keeping the top military and medical brass in loop !!!

U P Mathur said...

It is pointless seeing what good or bad AMC is. I may tell you that my life was saved by AMC doctors and every time I visit military hospitals I am not disappointed. As a young boy of 10 yrs when seriously sick the family doctor advised I be shifted to MH, but my mother resisted and commented if I will go to MH I will not return. This was in 1954, when in 1986 I was removed from office on a stretcher to The GH by my RMO, I was treated by GD doctors and one medical specialist at Zakhama with limited facilities. It was their dedication that I survived. So let us not pick on AMC as a Corps.
U P Mathur

Inf Offr said...

we tend to target soft targets and AMC unfortunately is our soft target to rent out our illfeelings or good feelings since every one of us have visited MH atleast once (all fall ill sometime or other).

i have great admiration for those guys in AMC who work hard for us with limited resources some spl are really intelligent among them.

Anonymous said...

I am a specilist in one of bussiest military hosp,I came at 0800 hrs in morning and slept in OT only for emergency operation,as I am leaving just 20 km fm hospital,and goes home next evening at 1900 hrs,this I am doing for last 2 yrs,this duty I am doing on alternate basis,I have encashed 7 mth of AL in 7 years of my speciality,as no reliver no leave basis,now tell me one non AMC officer/ retired officer who have done for ARMY in their life,secondarly I am not availing any sahayk,fauji gaddi.I know many of specilist have the same routine.now compare my routine with others,still u think DACP should not be implemented

MBG said...

With reference to you blog dated
Tuesday, June 30, 2009, captioned
"Army Headquarters clarify that medical facilities to SSCOs and ECOs have not been withdrawn", what is the status of Permanent Commission Officers who might have taken premature retirement before completing minimum pensionable service? Logically, they should also be now permitted to avail of ECHS facilities.
I know the case of one such Officer, a Major, who was not initially allowed to enrol in ECHS. After this story broke, he has apparently made rounds of the ECHS HQs, Delhi Cantt. without any luck. He has been told on each visit that the ECHS HQs were not aware of any changes in current orders.
What do personnel like him do next?

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


let me clarify this once again.

SSCOs/ECOs and non-pensioner ex-servicemen are NOT entitled ECHS facilities. They are only entitled to limited medical facilities at MHs. For major surgeries, just as pensioners are entitled to ECHS, non-pensioners are entitled to be re-imbursed through the Kendriya Sainik Board @ 80% of expenses for PBOR and 60% for Officers.

Permanent Commissioned Officers who are released before completion of pensionable service are NOT entitled to ESM status or any kind of med facilities however SSCOs are since according to DoPT definition, a person has to be either a pensioner or someone who has completed his / her terms of engagement - SSCOs are covered under the latter while PRC offrs who retire earlier than 20 yrs are covered in neither.

Hope this clarifies.

Anonymous said...


anurag said...

Dear Navdeep Sir,

Can you please email me your Contact number please .

Maj Anurag Singh

Ajit said...

Dear Major Navdeep,

Thanks a million for providing such a useful blogsite for ex-serviceman.

I have a querry. I'm 1977 technial entry permanent commission taken compassionate ground retirement in July 1991. If I remember correctly there is an army order that stated that we could seek premature retirement after 10 years and can also have ex-serviceman status. Can you please add on the specific terms of engagement?

Major Ajit Raka

Dr Nitin Agarwal said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

I must appreciate for this blog. I am Maj Nitin Agarwal got released from Army Dental Corps as SSCO.

I think we should make an association of released SSCO/ECO who are not entitled for ECHS Membership and together fight a legal battle for our entitlement at par with ESM PENSIONERS.

Post release I got my Medical entitlement card made from MPRSO but in spite of having the card I had a tough time to explain the MH Authorities regarding my entitlement to take the treatment.Moreover the statement "Subject to limited medical facilities available in the MH" is very ambiguous and authorities interpret as per their whims and fancies.It needs to be explained properly.

Further do you have any idea how should I get my daughter name endorsed in the card as she was born after my release, I contacted MPRSO but they say for SSCO their is no such provision.

We in the army keep blaming civic authorities and bureaucrat for all the odds but I feel we ourselves are more responsible for discrimination in the system at various level and our poor plight.

Dipak Kumar Sriwastwa said...

Dear sir,
I am retired from Indian Navy on compassionate grounds after 12 years of service having status of Non -pensioner Ex serviceman. Kindly advice me if I am eligible for medical facilities in military hospital. My last rank was JCO.
If cant publish the reply on blog please send your guidance on my mail address
dipak2578@yahoo.co.in. I am in desperate need of your advice.

Anonymous said...

Dear sir i have completed 17 years of service in medical corps as pbor now i am seeking premature retirement.Our records have denied Am i have legal right to get it?

Anonymous said...

Does the seniors of the Indian Army has any responsibility towards the fellow army men?
Could the help the family of an Army person to get Justice or the Life of an Army person has no importance at all????

This is the incidence of Village Ghoraghat,district Gaya in Bihar where a 23 year old Arvind Kumar(an Education instructor AEC)posted in Haryana A.D brigade was shot dead while he was on leave. Despite of every possible steps by the family members police is not taking any action.
Even if the brigade is sending letters to the C.T. S.P. but still no action has been taken. Coluld any one help us ......?????

Unknown said...

It is an unjustified fact that whereas a large number of empanelled hospitals exist in NCR and even in Regional HQs of ECHS, Mumbai has none. We are dependent solely on a naval hospital located at southern most part of the city whereas ex-servicemen reside in Eastern & Western suburbs with travelling time to this only facility being at least 2:30 hrs.I have raised the issue again and again with all concerned; none have even responded.The is Govt subsidized scheme and we took membership on payment. Why than are we being neglected? Will some other agency too take up this matter on our behalf?

Brig (retd) T R Marwa