By Our Staff Reporter
Haldwani, 14 Jul: ‘Raksha Rajya Mantri’ Ajay Bhatt attended an outreach programme for Ex-Servicemen, here, today.
The programme was organised by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Union Ministry of Defence, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. In a day-long outreach event, the Minister laid the foundation stone of ECHS Polytechnic buildings in Vikasnagar, Raiwala and Pauri Garhwal across the state via video link, and gave away 64-KB ECHS Smart Cards to ESMs and their dependants. He also distributed job letters to ESMs. Bhatt also addressed a rally of Veterans from nearby areas. He reiterated the Government’s resolve to ensure all possible steps for the welfare of ESM. Raksha Rajya Mantri said that the dedication and sacrifice of the Armed Forces for the Motherland cannot be adequately compensated, however, the Government is committed to the welfare of the ESMs in all circumstances.
He reminded that the Government has disbursed Rs 50,000 crore under One Rank One Pension (OROP).
Highlighting the recent steps taken by the Government for the welfare of ESM, he mentioned the dedicated Defence Pension Grievance Redressal Portal launched for pension-related grievances of ESM. He revealed that an amount of Rs 398.18 crores was distributed as financial assistance to 1,84,198 ex-servicemen/dependants in 2021-22. Rs 1.71 crores were provided for the purchase of modified scooters for divyangs, Strokes Resettlement Centres in Kirkee and Mohali, and as a grant for War Memorial Hostels. An additional fund of Rs 320 crore was granted for the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) in FY 2021-22, Rs. 284 crores provided as education grant, and Rs 3 6crores as marriage grant released to 7583 applicants.
Bhatt added that the Kendriya Sainik Board has increased the annual grant amount per resident from Rs 9,000 per to Rs 15,000 per year for Cheshire Homes in New Delhi and Lucknow and Raphael Ryder International Cheshire Home at Dehradun from FY 2021. He added that 15,957 beneficiaries were provided Rs 53.24 crores under the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS). From FY 2019-20, the amount of scholarship for boys has been increased from Rs 24000 to Rs 30,000 per annum and from Rs 27000 to Rs 36,000 per annum for girls. A total of 32,209 Ex-Servicemen have been resettled during the financial year 2021-22 through the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR). A total of 10,871 ESM were given new jobs by DGR.
On the issue of healthcare facilities, Bhatt said the rules relating to the employment of contractual staff in ECHS Polyclinics have been revised for the recruitment of doctors and para-medical staff on a part-time basis to meet the shortage arising due to the non-availability of full-time personnel in these grades.
He stated that the Government has decided to increase the period for purchasing unavailable medicines and consumables from the open market from 15 days to 30 days on a payment basis. The maximum amount for purchasing cancer medicines has also been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
Secretary (ESW) B Anand said the outreach programme was based on the vision of the “Whole of Government Approach” under which services offered by the Department of Ex-servicemen along with Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB), Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) and Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) along with Controller General Defence Accounts (CGDA), Local Command Formation and State Government Rajya Sainik Board, Zila Sainik Boards and District Administration were showcased and grievances addressed. The event included a Medical Camp, Raksha Pension Samadhan Aayojan and SPARSH outreach, stalls of Welfare/Resettlement Schemes for ESMs/Widows/their dependants, Disbursement of Education/Marriage Grant/ other welfare schemes, Interaction with Veterans/Veer Naris/ and Grievance Desk for local administration related problems.