Mandetira N Subramani
The retired armed forces soldiers up to the rank of Havildars in the Army, Petty officers in the Navy, and Sergeants in the Air Force, are openly expressing their resentment, & perhaps with good reason, as they feel they have been discriminated against under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).
As per the ECHS policy functioning under the Ministry of Defence, retired Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) and ex-servicemen belonging to Other Ranks & their equivalent ranks in the other two forces and their spouses / widows are only eligible for being admitted and treated exclusively in general wards in ECHS empanelled private hospitals. However, by some reasonable progressive logic, a similar health scheme run by the Central Govt., as Central Govt Health Scheme (CGHS), D Group employees such as Chowkidars & Mess Waiters et al are eligible for admission and treatment in Semi Special wards.
The issue has been raised by Mandetira N Subramani, President of Mysore based Vekare Ex-Servicemen Trust (VKET), who himself is a retired senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO) of the Indian Air Force, and an Advocate. He questions whether the status of Ex-NCOs & ORs of the three forces is far below the status of Group-D Civilians of Central Govt. who are eligible for admission and treatment in Semi Special Wards, as per the policy of the Central Govt. Health Scheme (CGHS).


Ex-Sgt Subramani also reiterated that the present day ex-servicemen belonging to the rank of Havildar & below and their spouse who are members of ECHS are educated and well informed, who constitute well over 70% of the total ECHS membership, have started debating amongst themselves regarding the retrograde and discriminatory policy of ECHS, which is degrading the status of NCOs and ORs in the public eye, by the authorities of the ECHS organization which comes under the Ministry of Defence.


However, the term Group-D employees of Central Govt. has been abolished and they are elevated and now referred to as Multi Task Staff (MTS) who come under Pay Band-1 with the basic salary 5200-20200, w.e.f. 01.01.2006 as per 6th Central Pay Commission according to Subramani.


Ex-Sgt Subramani claim that, his Trust has been constrained to take up the issue with Ministry of Defence and the Chiefs of the three forces & Managing Director of ECHS Organization, since VKET is flooded with innumerable representations from ECHS members who are Ex-havildars / Ex-Petty Officers / Ex-Sergeants, other ranks and their widows.


“It is surely incomprehensible why ex-servicemen up to the rank of Ex-Havildars and their equivalent in the IAF and the Navy are treated as second class citizens insofar as hospital admissions are concerned, as they are entitled only to the general wards on admission for treatment in ECHS empanelled private hospitals. The disparity with Group-D civilians of Central Govt. who are eligible for admission and treatment in Semi Special Ward under CGHS is lamentable.


Subramani who is a retired Senior Non Commissioned Officer of Indian Air Force opined that, it is surely sickening when one considers the trials & tribulations that the ordinary soldier faces during his service, & then again on his retirement a similar fate befalls him, as he is yet again prejudiced. The ECHS organization surely shouldnt grudge if its medical reimbursement bill to the desolate ex-servicemen creeps up to any extent, as the ex-servicemen community under NCOs ranks is not that very humongous that the ECHS Budget cannot absorb them by plugging the loopholes which may exist in health scheme itself!


The discriminatory eligibility policy:
According to Subramani, under CGHS policy, the eligibility for admission and treatment in private hospital is based on Basic Pay?last drawn by the Central Govt. employees. Any employee who has drawn basic pay more than Rs. 13,960/- pm are eligible for admission & treatment in Semi Special Ward in private hospitals empanelled under CGHS. Most of the Multi Task Staffs (Formerly termed as Group-D employees) draw more than Rs. 13960/- prior to their retirement on attaining the age of superannuation under Pay Bank-1 as per 6th Central Pay Commission Report.


The learned policy makers in ECHS organisation while formulating the policy on ECHS deliberately brought in the concept of Grade Pay?and the?Rank Structure. It is needless to mention that, Grade Pay is only an element of remuneration depending up on the rank structure in the Armed Forces which was not in existence prior to 31.12.1995 as per 4th Central Pay Commission.


Why the concept of Basic Pay?is not considered as the bench mark for eligibility of different wards in the hospital under ECHS as it is considered under CGHS since, Basic Pay alone taken into account as bench mark for all purposes, such as for calculation of Dearness Allowances, House Rent Allowances, City Compensatory Allowances etc is a question that begs an answer, Subramani said and further added “there was nothing called ‘Grade Pay’  paid to those retired armed forces personnel prior to 31.12.1995” irrespective of any rank i.e. from Sepoy to General officers while they were in forces.


The ill-conceived dual concept, Grade Pay for initial contribution w.e.f. 01.01.1996 which was again revised upward w.e.f. 01.09.2009 to become a member of ECHS and the Rank Structure for eligibility of different wards in ECHS empanelled private hospitals as the bench marks, has subtly been included to deny the eligibility of admission and treatment in the Semi Special Ward for non commissioned officers and their spouses / widows and family members who constitute well over 70% of the total strength of ECHS membership Ex-Sgt Subramani said, and reiterated that this dual concept of Grade Pay and rank structure concept is not only discriminatory but also aimed at belittling the NCOs & the combatant soldiers below Havildars rank, who are forced to retire at a very young age, i.e.,? between the age group of 33 to 38 years and to fend for themselves with their meager pension.
Are retired soldiers, up to the rank of Ex-Havildars in the Army, Ex-Petty Officers in the Navy and Ex-Sergeants in the IAF, lower in grade to the status of Group-D retired civilian employees?questions Mr. Subramani, whose organization has already raked up  the issue with the Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces Headquarters and Managing Director of ECHS organization, New Delhi.


He also opined and in agreement that no ECHS member should / would have any grouse if Sepoys / NCOs are admitted and treated in general wards, JCOs in Semi Special wards & Officers in Private or Deluxe Wards, as per their rank structure, on their admission in any Military Hospital, so as to maintain the services protocol. Subramani also added that regimentation is all very fine while in active service to maintain discipline and decorum in the forces, but to extend the same rationale after retirement is fallacious, and quipped as the term ex-servicemen includes from the rank of Ex-Sepoy to retired General officers for all purposes including ECHS except for pension.


Subramani also cites another area of contention in the ECHS policy, wherein retired Generals to Sepoys, who retired prior to 01.01.1996, are totally exempted from the initial ECHS contribution and forgo the monthly Fixed Medical Allowances?of Rs. 300/- per month from their pension, on becoming members of ECHS. This again defies logic, as under the principles of natural justice every ex-servicemen should be treated on par, & especially more so when the scheme in itself is contributory in nature.?


He also opined that since the scheme is contributory in nature, any ex-servicemen who wishes to enroll himself as a member of ECHS, should be given an option, wherein on payment of a initial pre-designated contribution / fee w.e.f. 01.01.1996 at the time of becoming the ECHS member, he can gain admission into the special ward or private ward or general ward of an empanelled hospital, irrespective of the retired rank in the Armed Forces and grade pay. Needless to mention that, the initial contribution to become a member of ECHS has been exempted as per ECHS policy for all those ex-servicemen who retired prior to 31.12.1995 and their widows.


The sooner this contemptible policy is discarded the faster will the beleaguered ex-servicemen find relief & cheer. Surely the Indian armed forces owe it to the humble sepoy who sacrificed the prime of his life towards the service of the motherland in odd service conditions, whose grievance deserves to be treated with empathy. Will the Armed Forces settle this issue with alacrity? Subramani questioned and asserted as “Our Trust shall impress upon all the powers that be, to end this bias
Jai Jawan – Jai Kisan
Jai Hind


  1. The fight against the discrimination is is truly a great service to Ex-Servicemen, especially SNCOs and below. If the power that be open their eyes, that would be historic and the entire credit should go to my dear M N Subramani.

  2. The system seems to have been designed in such a way that the NCOs genuine and deserving healthcare facilities are diverted elsewhere who are empowered to do whatever way they could in order that the elite could enjoy all the benefits at the cost of the vulnerable and even impowerished NCOs and ORs. Will this malady find a shiny light any time soon?

  3. There must be no disparity on basis of rank or grade pay in the treatment of a soldier of defence force. If in the CGHS a Class IV employee admitted in semi private ward and a Hav or Sgt admit in general ward then our ECHS policy must be corrected as early as possible. Every one of the defence forces must be entitled for semi/ private ward and upper ward must be choose on personal expenses only .

  4. Its a BIG INJUSTICE to numerous Retired Hav/Petty Offr/Sgt including their widows due to LACK OF EMPATHY and application of mind astutely by erstwhile POLICY -APPROVAL TOP-MEN… UPA Defence Minister,RMM, policy maker-IAS BABUS…Secretary MoD looking after-ESMs…as well as Serving uniformed General Saab in DGR …..well its a collective-failure….Lets set ir right FORTHWITH…..instead saying…this or that…70 % CUTTING-EDGE/FRONT-LINE RETIRED WARRIORS ..Sgt/Hav/Petty Offr/Widows are ADVERSELY AFFECTED PLZ……Can you EVER think of such gross injustice happening in our NEIGHBORHOOD known adversaries..Pak or/and China….both Armies are highly politicaslised…unlike APOLITICAL INDIAN ARMED FORCES ….its SHAMEFUL….We faujis..pay price to these HIGHLY-POLITICIZED-MANDALIZED-CORRUPT…majority BABUS’ lobby/service cadre called..IFS-IAS-IPS etc ..or their ASSOCIATIONS-TRADE-UNIONS….to REMAIN INDIA INTACT…and go with a begging bowl to RESTIFY THE WRONG -DONE -TO US in the Past…and JUSTIFY TO THESE CORRUPT CLAN…..THAT HURTS ME…and my clan of FIGHTERS who fought CORRUPT-SERVING FAUJIS also….JAI HIND.

  5. I fully agree with ur views in fact I raised these issues 10years back.but our own friends having rank complex were not a good able join with me.I congratulate u for raising this issue

  6. Dear all,
    1. I have known this gentleman veteran Subramani for a very short time. However, I have seen and heard his selfless service to all the ESMs and families for the last 25 years. The contribution in terms of work he has done all alone and all by himself is more than outstanding. I dare say that what he has achieved in these last 25 years is more than what all three service HQs has done for the welfare of all the ESMs. He has not charged any ESM but has gone out of his way to help them in rendering justice to all who have approached him which cannot be measured in any terms or quantified.

    2. Coming to the point of discrimination in the policy matter of treating ORs/NCOs/JCOs in the empanelled hosp, I do feel there is strong case to set right this issue. He knows what he is writing and has written. We cannot degrade our soldier’s status and is pathetic. Hope the case is taken up in earnest and change the whole policy/terms/condition on this issue. We have to give the due that he / they deserve if not more. It does definitely affect his morale and that indirectly affects the mind set of other younger generation in deciding whether it is worthwhile to join the Armed Forces or Look for other / better career. That would affect the national security as an end result which cannot be perceived if we fail to apply our mind.

  7. So long as we have babu’s heading committees which have their entire meaning in the defence sphere, whether it be man management, defence eqpt aquisition or whatever, nothing will be achieved that would be suitable to anyone in the defence services. This situation is so abrassive and corrosive that it will ultimately lead to the total degradation of the defence services, thus leaving the country open to all sorts of threat. Isn’t what is happening at present a threat to national security?? should not such decisions be pushed through under these premises….

  8. This is part of the policy which which has resulted in down gradation of of status of Defence forces in our country . This tendency must be curbed to maintain the high standard of the uniformed community .

    There is also need for correction in AGI where there is considerable gap in insurance of AGI and civil policy .

  9. Veteran M.N.Subramani is a selfless voluntary worker for the welfare of hapless Veterans, not restricted to JCOs, NCOs and OR and their widows and children, but also for officers and their widows & children. He deserves the highest praise for doing this continuously for over two decades. He has successfully challenged / changed / reversed discriminatory policies at MoD and Service HQ levels single-handedly. This ECHS issue which he has taken up along with many other such matters deserves the support of all ranks, especially senior officers, who can and must write to ECHS and AG’s Branch.

  10. you are doing a great job — quietly, sincerly and honestly.No. you don`t seek publicity.Your work brings it to you.well done and GOD be with you always.

  11. Today I feel proud of by seeing nature of help,know ledge &news related to exservimens.provided atyour end. God bless you.

  12. Veteran M N Subramani has clearly bought out the lacunae in the existing Echs policy as regards admission of soldiers to general wards. The matter must be taken up by Echs at the highest level to sort out this indiscriminate policy. Kudos to veteran Subramani for tirelessly taking up issues pertaining to welfare of exservicemen

  13. It is great injustice to PBOR, how can there be discrimination for soldiers, surely the are better educated and many retired as graduate and post graduate after having furthered the education while in service. They definitely deserve equal if not better deal than their counterpart in civil.
    Is Govt and the Bureaucrats instigating and creating mutiny like conditions. The anamolies in ECHS be removed forthwith and soldiers treated with dignity.

  14. Dear friends
    As long as the management of ECHS is in
    The hands of defense officers this kind of discrimination is difficult to over come. To start with we should demand that MD of ECHS must be an IAS officer and replace officer in charge of poly clinic with civilian officers

  15. Health Care is a Right for all ex-servicemen and should be dealt with in a fair and just manner. It is a basic facility under ECHS. NCOs being part of the services should have ECHS facilities that are on par with others.

  16. Dear Subramani, As per Ann ‘A’ of PCDA circular no 567 , all ranks UpTo Havildar are in pay band RS 5200-20200 which is equivalent to civ staff. There should be no problem in occupying ward at par .PL check.

  17. This discrimination is very wrong since the Jawan also lays down his life with the officer by his side. Immediate corrective measures need to be instituted to withdraw the lower-level treatment.

  18. This discrimination is very wrong since the Jawan lays down his life with the officer by his side. Immediate corrective measures need to be instituted to withdraw the lower-level trearment.

  19. Great efforts by ex SNCO of IAF.Should continue in his efforts till the mission is achieved.We support him whole hearted in his endeavours.
    Salute him.

  20. Our status is never defined even after devoting our prime time and service to IAF. This discrimination is bad but good to grow in civil life with this frustration. For example how many airmen opted their wards to join as an airman but opted for other types of employments.

  21. Hi Sir,
    To start with its told that SNCOs (Sergeant) are the backbone of IAF, but when previlage is concern they stand at bottom line. This is a very good initiative and I support and stand with you sir, JaiHind.

  22. Dear exam it’s great respect and matter of pride that Mr Subramani has taken lot of effort for exm day will come v will succeed To make it more strong it can be taken with all India exm association based in Delhi.Thanks and great salute to you sir.

  23. I also agree with this proposal that the ongoing system must be looked into and the discriminations should be terminated. Our seniors, retd
    officers & JCOs also should extend their kind hands wholeheartedly recommending their support atleast on a humanitarian conscience in order to upgrade HIGH QUALITY OF MORALITY in defence personnel.

  24. A genuine case of discrimination that exists in our system wherein serious Plight of the front line soldiers has come to the fore. This seriously undermines the respect due to the ex-servicemen, their widows and their children who can’t understand their parents love for the Services and the gross injustice metted out to them by a ungrateful Nation. I wonder, if the generations to come will ever be as selfless when they learn about this kind of thoughtless discrimination to their predecessors.
    I felt the same when my Late father, an ex-Sgt met similar fate and I too wondered if the same fate awaits me in a few more years to come.
    Hats off to Shri MN Subramani for taking up the burden.

  25. There should be no discrimination after retirement atleast. And at no cost, air warriors are less than civilians.

  26. I too agree. The colonial rule mindset is still persistent in our defence services. Hope that the raised matter will be looked into at earliest.

  27. I had put up this case to the then sb manoher parrikar, the Defence Minister of india who has put negative marks in response to our memorandum for up grade the Ors to semi A c rooms as per the line of CGHS.Our seniors officers of ECHS turned down the topic on very small contributions. Bad luck to us he sent to goa as cm. We are happy with sgtsubrMani to take this echs point again.

  28. Mr. Subramani, We acknowledge your sincere effort in demanding our truly deserving paid mandatory services to Sargent and below ranks at par with their civilian CGHS members. This is surely the height of negligence of our Indian bureaucrats who are against their soldiers still following Britishers policy in degrading their own fellow India warriors. My sincere thanks, support and wishes to Ex-Sgt. Subramani in his struggle to clear brains of those arrogant officials responsible for this kind of un-human activities.

  29. It is unfair to compare pbor with Group D civillians. We are far better in all aspects the work concerned.I am a ex sgt Moulali.

  30. Thanks sir for taking up the case for PBOR. It’s really shameful condition when we are placed in general wards. Most of the Warriors pay from pocket to be admitted in pvt or semi private wards to save their respect in society.

  31. I am hundred percent agreeing with the subject matter of the above said write up. It is truly pathetic. The blind law makers must open their eyes to give the minimum justice to the Sergeants and below for their heroic services rendered in the past. Intentionally giving the status of the Group D employees to the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and below of the Armed Forces is nothing but a great slap, insult, under valueing and demoralising to the Armed Forces at large by the law makers. Time to wake up.

  32. Sir ECHS should be restricted to officers and we ORs should be given option for comprehensive health insurance please.

  33. Sir at age of 68 why should I should go to ward and receive treatment when officers are getting air cocditined accommodation.

  34. E jyothiprakashan Rtd.Sgt.

    Hats off to u Subramanian sir for taking up such an issue wherein a grave injustice is meted out to PBORs. There are no empaneled hospitals worth mentioning in Coimbatore. The reason being non payment of outstanding dues to the hospitals. Another anomaly is the SNCOS are only eligible to travel in three tire class only whereas a clerk in Govt. Service is eligible to travel in first class. To become a Sgt it takes minimum 14 to 15 years (this is the period when I was in service i.e fm 1966 to 1984). This anomaly also to be removed. We are with u in your endeavor to get justice to other ranks. All the best. Keep it up.

  35. Sir veterans above 60 years may be allowed to use the room facilities instead of wards. Officers are given five star facilities in the ECHS and in the empanelled hospital. Medical officers are appointed in the ECHS for prescription of medicines for next sixty days and we are paying hefty sum of money and this job can be done by a medical assistants.

  36. I am also an Ex Sergeant retired on 31 Dec 2014 .Because of this type of discriminative behaviour I never visitied ECHS and its Panelled hospitals

  37. Sir, such treatment to the PBOR’s specially Sgt and below is nothing but grave insult to the selfless and dedicated service rendered by the individual to their respective force they belonged to, this will continue as long as decision-making is vested with only officers.

  38. Discrimination between officers and jcos other rank veteran community to be minimised in ECHS CSD vehicle etc

  39. You are doing a great job to the exserviceman fraternity , well done we all are with you, god bless u in this endeavor.

  40. I am really proud of u my most dearest Subramanian sir. May the authority go through message and may do accordingly. All the best to u sir.

  41. I think this is the high time to take shelter in the court of law of this country. The selfish, adamant and deaf authority won’t correct their policies unless there’s strict direction from the court of law. The authority has no right to openly insult a veteran, whatever the ex-rank may be in public domain. All Veteran Sgts and below and their equivalent ranks of the Navy and Army should go for the ‘Maanhaani Mokkadamma’ to claime the compensation for being insulted for quite a long time. Mere giving the representations of anguish and publishing in the print media won’t affect the callous authority.

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