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Monday, July 27, 2009

Do not disown your own

There is an increasing tendency amongst us to disregard and disrespect our past and present comrades, and I do not have to amplify this further since most of us would understand what I am pointing at. Let us make it a point to help out our officers, soldiers and their families, past and present in whatever little way we can, let us not treat petty inconsequential requests as liabilities. Before pointing fingers at outside agencies, let us first look within. We should go all out to provide all assistance that we can and get out of this I, me, myself mode.

Which brings me to one point. We all are aware that the govt has been trying hard to attract and retain talent in the services. One such move has been to promote the concept of Short Service Commission and arm released SSCOs with a good corporate career after their stint with the services. As has been discussed earlier on this blog, the central govt through a Presidential sanction had removed the pre-condition of being a ‘pensioner’ to avail limited medical facilities in military medical establishments and had ordained that all personnel granted the status of ex-servicemen would be entitled to such medical facilities. Still, in blatant contravention of govt orders and missives by the Army HQ, non-pensioner ex-servicemen were denied their rightful dues ostensibly now since the matter had attained the proportions of a ‘prestige issue’ for a limited few. Even today these limited few are treating the matter of medical care to our old veterans very lightly. In a welcome move, the Punjab Sainik Welfare Directorate has now written to all concerned highlighting how this attitude is leading to failure of GoI medical schemes which were specially designed for non-pensioners. For a non-pensioner (non-ECHS member) ex-serviceperson to avail medical re-imbursement from the central govt under GoI schemes, a certificate is to be issued by an MH that the facility is not available in that particular hospital, hence when in the first instance there is reluctance in even accepting non-pensioner ex-servicemen at MHs, the second step of issuance of such a certificate never materialises. And who are these non-pensioners ex-servicemen readers may ask. Well, the definition has been altered from time to time but this category includes our ECOs who are in their late 60s to late 70s and World War II veterans in their 80s to 100s who were released due to reduction in establishment, besides SSCOs who are not re-employed. To disown them at this stage by blatantly ignoring GoI and Army Orders for medical facilities is not only illegal but also unethical.

While the office of the DGAFMS makes out a claim for DACP with the Army HQ and the Govt of India, it should first clean up its own house and ensure that already existing govt sanction letters are not consigned to files and bins in M-Block.


Harry said...

@ Maj Navdeep.

Its really disgusting ! We keep blaming all others all the time w/o realising that MORE OFTEN THAN NOT fault lies WITHIN!

I am reminded by BeeCee's famous line (said in some other context though) "OH GOD, PLEASE SAVE US FROM OURSELVES."

Ex-Sgt Gavini VN said...


You have rightly hit the nail on its head.

This I, me, myself attitude of Sub Area Cdr in Sec'bad(refusal of permission) had stalled Exsm wish to pay homage to Kargil Heros. However the function was held at the entrance gate and the local press too ignored the event as there was no Neta turning up.

I do not know as to what he gained?


Beniwal said...

Navdeep, since long, been reminding all that in sevice uniformed officers(DGAFMS and others at service HQs) must provide to ESM, what is granted/ordered by Govt. Not obeying govt. orders itself is punishable and its criminal act towards entitled ESM, who have been suffering financial loss for getting medical treatment in private clinics/hospitals since issue of unauthorised/incomplete/confusing letters by DGAFMS 11.8.97 on wards The lastest categories of released/retired servicemen/women granted status of ESM as per notifications in force, as per the last govt./MoD letter dtd 26.9.96 is fully/completely/correctly given in Kendriya Sainik Board guide book Ch 2 for all to refer, which includes WW-II veterans/EC/SSC and all others granted status of ESM depending on their date of release/retirement as per notifications and made them all entitled for medical treatment as per rule 296(O)RMSAF 1983 as amended by 26.9.96 govt.letter. The only requirement for medical treatment in MHs is to have status of ESM(non-pension/pension)as per notifications. Now my humble request to all, to please always say to provide medical treatment to all granted status of ESM and not only EC/SSC officer. My fear is that another discrimination will be done if DGAFMS accepts EC/SSC only and not all other entitled ESM, because for some time now we are only talking about EC/SSC officers.

kuldeep said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

You are absolutely right in saying that in order to retain talent in services, facilities including medical, should be promoted. This includes concept of SSCOs.

The issue of medical facilities including ECHS for the SSCOs/ECOs again crops up because of the expressions 'pensioner' and 'non pensioner' exserviceman.

Even if all medical facilities are extended to SSCOs/ECOs, there will not be huge number of takers (practically a few thousands) per month.

Capt Kuldeep Khera

Gurkirat Singh Dhillon said...

A very sad state of affairs !

But i must tell you of something more where it concerns the Directorate of Sainik Welfare Punjab.

It looks all very well for them to write to GoI but they never take up
anything that relates to similar
issues concerned with the Punjab Govt!

and thats because they report to

the Govt of Punjab!

Many issues related to the Govt of Punjab are actively brushed under the carpet by the said Directorate!

because they cant find someone to

"bell the cat" !

Anonymous said...

A view from the medical establishment.
An important observation about medical facilities to non-pensioner ex-servicemen from Maj Navdeep and apparent stalling by various medical authorities. Let us be very clear that this "facility" is not endless.How much extra load can any service take on and still be expected to deliver quality? Not to deny the ex-servicemen their due, facilities need to be created in various medical est to take on this load. Specially with the kind of post-office job being done by all ECHS polyclinics, our workload keeps on increasing without any augmentation of manpower.

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

May The God Almighty give you the strength to come back to the right issues like those you have been highlighing these days. There are two aspects which need atention:
1. Lack of awareness
2. Lack of accountability
But for forums like yours, the veterans have no means to know what is happening around. The media give no coverage. For Eg. I came to know of abolition of Lt Col (Selection) rank only recently from this forum. Incidentally not a bit of news on that issue ever came out in any of the media from this side. The so called District Sanik Welfare Department does many things except Saink welfare. Forums like yours can help a lot by bringing out such goodies to the notice of interested veterans
2. The Veterns do have all the problems one can imagine. Whenever they confront such problems there is none to help them.Even willing veterans like me also is helpless as we also have no means to iknow such welfae measures. Even the latest defenition of Ex servicemen is not published in the media. The Station HQ or Sub Area HQ or Area HQ does not help them.I am sory to say that offficers at Stat HQ/Sub Area and Area HQ believe that they will never retire. What the ex-servicemen urgently need is a "Mai Baap". whom they can open their problem. If the government can nominate an Agency who is made to solve veteran's problem an made accountable for each and every failure or delay in helping it will be a boon. For eg. The problem of getting a Medical certificate you had brought out.. Had there been an agency to attend to such complaint and is vested with the power to literally "SCREW' the culprit, it could have resolved the issue and no one would have dared to shoo away the old ECOs The newly formulated Ministry can give this a high pririty if influencial likeminded officers like you lead.

Anonymous said...

Hi Navdeep,

I fully agree with you when you say that we need to improve a lot with in the services before we point out fingers at our netas, civilians & babus.

Lets accept that majority of our officers when in uniform ends up treating our ex servicemen as a liability and carry an impression that these guys are going to ask for favours if they mingle little more with them. Upto some extent, I blame our ex-servicemen also who don't maintain the diginity enough by asking for petty favours from our uniformed brotherens.

I had a case of a very senior officer who was quite allergic to ex-servicemen and never use to meet any one of them let alone doing anything for them. This guy also had the audicity of calling ex-serviemen as parasites. This gentleman settled in the same city after retirement.He was a real pain for every one by asking for working parties, vehicles and payment rations and other favours, finally his own statements and acts towards ex-servicemen were reminded by a bold younster and all such help was stopped immediately. There is a serious need for our senior officers to look within themselves. They keep preaching a lot, but when it comes to them they conviently forget all.

An ex-serviceman

Anonymous said...

one needs to find out that when entitlement of medical facilities was extended to all exservicemen did someone calculate the extra load in terms of manpower and funds needed to extend the facility to all ex-men. were the concerned ministries and depts apprissed and their comments taken,OR was it a tughlakian order. if the DGAFMS office was in the loop when the orders to extend med facilities to all exservicemen was given then they do need to explain reasons for passing orders to the contrary. lastly dear navdeep please do not expose your bias against the AMC doctors by linking this issue with DACP.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Anonymous 4.07

Absolutely not. I have no bias against the AMC and hold the entire corps in high esteem. The point is not linked but intertwined. Here we are asking the govt to implement DACP on the basis of a notification by the Govt of India while in our own house we brush aside a Presidential sanction issued by the same Govt of India on the basis of flimsy grounds such as 'overburden'. By the way, keeping the o/o DGAFMS into loop or not is not the question here, once the orders have been issued they have the force of law till these are withdrawn. Moreover if you go through the Punjab Govt letter minutely, you would find that due to this attitude of ours, all Govt of India schemes for non-pensioners and non-ECHS members have become redundant.

@ Anony 3.28

It is not that only veterans are treated as such, even serving members are subjected to 'tu kaun' syndrome but we need to alter this mindset.

Anonymous said...

Just to bring some persepctive from AMC.
Last PE revision for hospitals was done more than 25 yrs back.
The dependants at that time were only serving pers and their families and pensioners with dependant children only.
Cut to present:
Dependants are
1. All serving personnel and their families (very loosely taken)
2. All ex-servicemen (incl non pensioners) and their families incl parents with an ever increasing pool
3. Defence civilians
4. Paramil in op areas
Add to that the def of approx 25% esp in junior ranks.
Add to that the Op and UN committments and resultant requirement of pers to such assignments and thus not available to hospitals.

Any augmentation done in manpower?? The answer is a big NO.

Are we to blame. I seriously do not know, but would like to know.

The final sufferers, Patients, who so ever they may be, serving or retired.

Blaming the AMC is like shooting the messenger. The fault does lie within, but we need to look deeper as well.

Anonymous said...

Last Anonymous

I don't think Navdeep says that do not increase your hospital PE. However I am in total agreement that once there is a Government of India order, it has to be respected till the time it is cancelled by the Government itself. DGAFMS or DsGMS of three services can't decline to accept patients who have been authorized facilities in MHs. Moreover whatever you may say about your overburdened infrastructure, it is only the AMC doctors who have the concession of saying NO (rightly or wrongly) to patients on the ground of entitlement. You can refuse patients by taking them as non-entitled cases but does a civil doctor have that privilege ? No Sir. Look at the rush at AIIMS, can doctors there refuse to accept patients by saying that they are not entitled to health care. Let us visit the least busiest civil hospital and the most busiest MH, and then re-talk of burden.

Jai Hind.

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Dear Anony...4.07,
Forget about funds, manpower position etc.,WE THE POEPLE OF INDIA have elected someon to look after that area. Yon are relieved of that ' englishmens ' burden. Some unknown souls have worked in silence to get some of the goodies for ESM. Certain orders were issued. Kindly abide with those orders. The only probloem is that there is none to check whether these orders are obeyed or not and poor ESM have no ' mai bap' to complain. What we need is an iron hand or agency or something like that to see at least these orders are obeyed and all those who could'nt careless about these orders are kicked necely 'thaaki unko nani yad ayem'

Anonymous said...

M block needs to be taken to task for DISOBEDIENCE of govt orders.
This talk of being "overburdened",very heavily committed,rush of patients is just hogwash.acomparison with civil hosp will prove that.
Look at the number of doctors who do just AWWA/AFWWA JOBS. They are eager to do those jobs to earn that VSM !
See the number of doctors employed in M block as "supernumery" or "research pool offrs" who are virtually jobless.
I am a retired AMC guy who is quite conversant with the system.

why do u always crib said...

why dont u retired guys just rest in peace. instead of cursing the system why dont u augument the system and enjoy the benefits.

IN AD for SSCO there is no mention of post retirement benefits for medical treatment so why crib.

and DGAFMS is not the authority he isnt boss of army. DGAFMS comes under AG branch and AG is the boss so dont crib ask AG to augument or change the system.

some one said take in patients like in AIIMS have u ever fallen sick and went into free treatment section for AIIMS u will get your number just to see the doctor after 4-5 hrs of wait well u want that in army too to happen u are most welcome include every one for treatment and u will be the losers..u guys have no vision at all

doctor said...

maj navdeep i can understand u are a retied SSCO so u ring up this issue of medical schemes again and again.

u start the spark and enjoy the bites people do on AMC. we keep telling u the augumentation of manpower and these type of policy implimentation is not in hand of dmafms but we get all letters from AG branch which is vry well part of army. We are not working indipendently and are very well under army chief. as a doctor i dont like your repeated cribs about SSCO inclusion for medical treatment. please avoid

or rather direct your comment towards Adjutant general branch (AG)

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


My dear friend, I am NOT an SSCO and am also not affected by the medical scheme.

So please keep your thoughts to yourself.

And secondly, the Army HQ and the AG's branch as also the MoD have been highly supportive of non-pensioners ex-servicemen in this issue, it is only the medical establishment which has been opposing it. Moreover we have to care for our old veterans, if we do not, who would ?

Sorry to burst your bubble though.

kuldeep said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

Good you have clarified the wrong notions of some. Pl take up all issues including those of medical benefits for SSCOs as you have been doing on its merits.

Yes, there is a need for someone to take up matter effectively with Army HQ and AG's Br and get the necessary instructions in clear words for AMC.

Capt Kuldeep Khera

T S said...

Dear Sirs (all young & older to me)
Being a fourth gen faugi,now gracefully retired, I say, do not disparage,while in your first innings ie your service life or having a second inning,in civil street and some are into the third innings ie minding our own business.If we can be of any help,do contact us at veteransmas@gmaqil.com ;our venture is called VETERANS MANPOWER & ALLIED SERVICES PVT.LTD at Navi mumbai.With Regards: Col TS Tanwar (Retd.)

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep, you commented at 4:-7 on 27 july, that .." we are asking the Govt to implement DACP on the basis of a notification by the Govt of India .. "..DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCRETE INFO? Can you clarify, whether actually any case been taken up at any level for implementation of DACP for Armed Forces Doctor? If you have information then please update us.Thanks "DACP awaiting Doctor"

ak said...

its true that we service officers are the ones creating an atmosphere of why instead of why not and i believe it to be the moral responsibility of the officer cadre to open up and start afresh if we r to regain any sense of camaraderie and pride in the uniform ,

Anonymous said...

Provision of Medical cover to "Exservicemen" including ECOs and SSCOs is not a charity. Government is only fulfilling its contractual obligation. During training and operation, all ranks are compelled to take risks, starting from crossing a double ditch in BPET to attacks at Kargil. No one in their senses will ever attempt such risks unless one is on adventure tourism. All ranks are assured that the government accept the responsibility to look after their health. Let the service be one year or 33years. The government who has subjected or forced the soldiers to undergo the risk is duty bound to repair the damaged inflicted even if such damages are not falling under the ambit of any disability.

Pied Piper said...

Every resource, whether it is manpower or equipment has been authorized for a specific laid down purpose. Therefore if any additional task is assigned to AMC, necessary resources have to be provided otherwise the task cannot be done how-so-ever pleased the President may be in passing the order.

As brought out by one of the bloger earlier, the PE of MH has not been revised since last 25 yrs. That’s really amazing. Why blame them?

Anonymous said...

@pied piper

what you are saying is not just utterly disgustful but also dangerous and I hope you AMC officers don't think like this. Tomorrow if there is a war and there is a heavy flow of casualties would you refuse to treat them saying that you do not have the resources ? Tomorrow If a Hon'ble Court is 'pleased' to pass any order against the Govt saying that DACP should be made applicable to AMC can the Govt turn around and say that "how-so-ever pleased the Court may be in passing the order", we cannot implement it because we do not have the finances or 'necessary resources' as you put it. Only the wearer knows where it pinches and this non-implementation of DACP should atleast come as poetic (in?)justice to you to show you that you are not above law or the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Surprised doctor said...

@ anonymous at 7:39 am
I am really disgusted at the some of the comments made by a few bloggers. One retired soul wants to "kick to remind us our grandmothers" (I am happy that he retired as a colonel and did not get opportunity to kick an entire corps as chief or a general).
Another one finds it "poetic justice" when doctors are denied DACP (because he did not like the comments of somebody who was bringing out a perfectly valid point of view).
Everytime there is an AMC related column, there are plenty of comments and most guys seem to be deriving pleasure in AMC bashing.
This attitude is absolutely sick.
While there is no denying that GOI orders have to be carried out, pointing out that quality of service shall be better with better resources is no great crime.
And anon @ 7:39 am could do well to remember that "heavy inflow of casualties in a war" to a poorly equipped hospital will result in something like a "one ton ambulance" the AMC is still straddled with (this "ambulance" is actually just a patient transporting vehicle, but I don't expect anybody who hasn't seen a real ambulance to appreciate this). The hospital will be a forward referral center at the best (like a post office) or a mortuary at the worst.
Just as you can't expect soldiers to fight a war without guns and ammunition, please don't expect doctors and paramedics to "treat" sick people without resources.

amit said...

Since the orders have been given to treat all ex servicemen, it should be followed, there should be no doubt in that.
PE reqires revision that is also a must but cannot be grounds for refusal.
Regarding comparison with civil hospitals well it is advised to please go ahead and register as a patient and watch the tamasha ie if you can manage to see your doctor, lab , radiology, get your medicines etc in a reasonable time without resorting to jaan pehchaan,pull etc.
Also I am surprised at the language and jay factor with DEFINITE bias towards the AMC when I read some of the comments on the blog, esp by dragging DACP in that that. Why not comment on irregular house allotments in Stn HQs, all the scams that are unearthed with GCMs going on, quality of rations, MES services and even new MAP accn showing roof and wall seepages etc. There are lot of things to introspect with other ARMS and services. Lets not sling mud but be positive and improve.
Refusal of patients in MHs may be an aberration in some cases and not the rule. We treat all cases first (in our MH where I am posted) and then if he is a non entitled we refer/shift him to an appropriate centre.
Positive thinking Serving AMC doctor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Navdeep
Unfair to speak of the doctors in such condescending terms. You must realise most of the terms of references for such orders originate from AG's Br and not from Med Br itself.
In formation HQs, the A Br dictates most of the policy matters for the tps. Similarly Area and Sub Area HQs dish out the directions thru the med br.
I think they are doing a damn good job with the resources (or the lack of) they hold.

rgkadam said...

If AMC officers donot change their attitude towards our seniors i.e. ex-servicemen, lets actively oppose their DCAP proposal at every forum where ever any soldier gets an opportunity. These people seems to want GOI to honour the commitment made to other doctors for themselves but donot want to honour the GOI orders issued in favour of ex-servicemen. Docs no one is begging and you are not giving anything out of your pocket.
In respect to Sub Area Cdr in Sec'bad(refusal of permission)not granting permission to pay homage to Kargil Heros, What stops ex-servicemen in chasing the Cdr when a girl half the size of a jawan can succesfully chase him to protect her honour in Assam. After all once a soldier always a soldier, protect honour at all cost. Jai Hind.

mahendra said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

I fully agree with you. There is need to do intorspection. Issues such as manpower constaints can be resolved by being positive in opprotuch the problem at hand. I only wish this get resolved at the earlist.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Medical profession is often misunderstood and one of the major reasons is that the clientele to it is already in pains and involves many guidelines, not applicable to any other service. There is an emotional part to it and this is where things go wrong. As per the Indian Medical Act, a physician has a right to see a patient after mutual consent, charge him/her fees and a RIGHT TO REFUSE also. Few relevant exceptions are
(a) Hospitals run by public money where services are available free of cost and the physician is being paid by Govt in the form of salary, etc cannot refuse patients.
(b) Life saving emergencies cannot be refused by any physician.
ECHS does not comes free of cost to the patient, he pays some amount to become beneficiary of the scheme, hence the doctor patient relation in this case is not similar to that of a serving man. It goes out of the Govt Hospital clause and an independent doctor-patient relationship is established.
Incidentally, the doctors in AMC are not shared with any extra perks so gained by the scheme, but are loaded with the legal and emotional liabilities attached with an ECHS patient. Why can’t they be refused or referred to an empanelled hospital? Despite this, doctors in uniform are serving their clientele, most of them ignorant to this liability.
I would request you to see these acts again and correct me, if I have misunderstood the things as I am a firm believer of the fact that ignorance brings misunderstanding.
I understand all this started with the faulty planning of ECHS. Were not ESMs getting services from service hospitals before? The scheme was started in the name of lessening the burden of service hospitals, but when the founders realised that their interests are over, in the name of fund crunch these patients have again been loaded upon to service hosps (All the resources available in the service hospital to be used first). I know how difficult the situation is when the patient sitting in front of you is needy and you don’t have resources. Most of the time when resources are short they make their share in what is due for a serving soldier.
Once we retire, Medical services and CSD services are perhaps the only services we get as an umbilical cord to the service world, no matter I hail from which arm and service. I would suggest few more services to be added to it like; free govt accn from stn pool, free ration of ‘my choice’, rly seat resvn from DDQ, a horde of helpers whenever I need them and one for my daily needs. Absurd demands! Naa!!

Anonymous said...

Further to my comment at 0645h
Please clarify in reference with Indian Medical Act and Consumer Protection act along with amendments to it and rulings made by The Hon'ble Courts of India.

entdr said...

i am an ex serviceman who took preemature retirement after 15 years of service. i request for a copy of the MOD 26.9.96 letter,a nd any other such GOI order which strengthens our case for medical benefits/ issuance of ECHS card... i promise to take the matter ahead as well as serve notice to concerned authorities/ take legal recourse if required. kindly assist me in providing this information. thanks
Maj Rajesh Bhardwaj, Retd

Anonymous said...

I wonder what happened to this issue! Nobody seems to be bothered any more when the issue remains unresolved.
I wonder why is nobody fighting for all ex-servicemen getting ECHS benefits, and not just pensioners. That would be the best way out of this imbroglio. As such, a large number of ex-servicemen (members of ECHS) are being referred to empanelled civil facilities.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Further to my blog on 28 Aug.
A 70+ old illiterate lady, wife on ex sepoy, unaware of ECHS comes to MIRoom with complaints of poor vision. Ignorantly without adequate screening, she is referred to my OPD. I diagnose and plan cataract surgery for her. At the time of admission, confusion arises in the MIRoom when it is known that she is a non ECHS member.
Tomorrow, she will undergo surgery with an IOL implant. Despite all Stupid Schemes running all over the country side, she is being treated in your own hospital, and with equal care. Thank God I am a doctor first, an officer later.
Critics are most welcome to critise the doctor community as well as our boss DGAFMS, Keep comparing yourself with us, and do your best to stop our privileges (DACP included)

Anonymous said...

If you take premature retirement, then why should you get the facilities and services fromthe army that must be kept reserved only for those who have done their full duty, and not ditched prematurely totake up more lucrative jobs outside. If you have taken up more lucrative jobs outside, then you should pay for the medical facilities outside as well. My father is a serving AMC Officer.

samorette said...

AMC bashing has become a habit of many souls as they try to find out solace out of it.Staying happy is everybody's right.

AMC is associated with u before u take birth in army&also in life after army(You may forget ur dirty bosses)

Have u ever filed a complaint against any MCO or the office the charter flight where ur vacancy was given to some of ur bosses soon after u were denied of it?
Do u complaint if ur conversation was cut whn da signalman drops ur call coz ur senior wants to call home?(don't worry no nursing staff will cut ur oxygen supply if u r in ICU,to secure the place for ur senior,we carry a noble job)
Some gentleman told what if there's a war and what would the MH do?I'd request the gentleman to read about the organization once again.Come to an MH with ur family after u retire and during a war,u r always welcome.

T S said...

ECHS is a good facility ,however its upto us(all faujis) to accept it , use it,and improve it.Although we as Indians have been labeled as the 'Argumentative Indian',its our birth right to crib and in old age be critical of 'them and us'.
Lets be fair and uphold the integrated fabric of the defence services, and thank all for the care and share bestowed upon us and the families.
Best wishes to all for Diwali.
Col TS Tanwar (Veteran)

drhealth said...

Hi! i wanted to inquire about payment of disability pension to officers who left service on own request prior to 2006, but had disability attributable to service? has any such officer started to recieve disability pension? thanks

RP Chaturvedi said...

Aside from the non ECHS entitled classes mentioned by you, Regular Officers not in receipt of pension are also not entitled to ECHS facilities. Also while recruits boarded out and in receipt of disability pension are entitled to ECHS usage, cadets at NDA/ IMA/ OTA are not.