Gorkha soldiers to get medical benefits in Nepal too

New Delhi: Over one lakh former Indian army soldiers from Gorkha community, who reside in Nepal, and their dependents will now get benefit of a health scheme for ex-servicemen in the neighbouring country also. A decision to this effect was taken by the Union Cabinet today.

“The Cabinet has approved extension of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) to Nepal Domiciled Gorkhas (NDGs) pensioners ex-service men (ESM). The scheme will be optional for retired ex-servicemen NDG Pensioners. Only NDG ex-servicemen pensioner are eligible for ECHS membership,” a Government official said.

The facilities availed by the Nepalese Gorkha ex-soldiers would be on the same pattern as provided to their Indian counterparts here. There are about one lakh ex-servicemen and 2.17 lakh dependents domiciled in Nepal who will benefit from the ECHS. They were till now entitled for medical treatment under the scheme at polyclinics, and empanelled civil hospitals in India. However, officials said considering the practical difficulties being faced by ex-servicemen in availing treatment, “government decided to provide medical facilities to them in Nepal itself.”

To avail the facilities, ex-servicemen have to make one-time monetary contribution at the time of their retirement and same procedure would be followed for the Nepalese soldiers also. “Persons retiring after the issue of this order will also exercise the option of deduction of contribution by the pension payment authority,” the official said. The officials said the forms in this regard can be downloaded from Indian Army website.