Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh approves enhanced monetary limits for procurement of Drugs and consumables for Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS)


Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh today approved the enhancement of the monetary ceiling for purchase of Not Available (NA), emergent, lifesavings and essential drugs by 100% in all categories of polyclinics from Authorised Local Chemists (ALC).  This will ensure easy & timely availability of medicines for ECHS beneficiaries. (Type A & B from Rs 2.5 lakh to 5 Lakh, Type C from Rs 1.5 lakh to 3 Lakh, Type D from Rs 1 lakh to 2 Lakh).


There have been various representations from the veterans regarding supply of medicines.  The Government has already undertaken a series of modifications to procedures of procurement of medicines for ECHS beneficiaries.  In all stations with ECHS Polyclinics, local medical stores/chemists are empanelled for supply of Not Available (NA), emergent, life-saving and essential drugs on as required basis.  The empanelled local medical stores/chemists are being done by a Board of Officers constituted by the Station Commander.   Any expenditure above this limit will be approved by MD, ECHS.  The CO, ECHS may re-appropriate the required funds from other ECHS Polyclinics, if required.


It may be seen that the Government on 25.03.2022 had already conveyed the sanction for reimbursement of cost of medicines and consumables, purchased from open market, not Available at ECHS Polyclinic/Authorized Local Chemist for a maximum period of 30 days from earlier 15 days at a time subject to the maximum value of medicines and consumables not exceeding Rs. 25,000/- each time under the general conditions and Rs. 75,000/- each time under the special conditions except in the case of Cancer Medicines where the maximum value of medicines and consumable would be Rs.5 lakhs each time from the earlier Rs.2 lakhs each time. This will be a big move towards making essential medicines available to the Veterans.




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Raksha Mantri Addresses the Senior Leadership of Indian Army During Army Commanders’ Conference


The Army Commanders’ Conference, an apex level biannual event, is being held in New Delhi from 18 to 22 April 2022. During the event, Indian Army’s apex leadership is comprehensively deliberating upon all aspects of existing security scenarios, situation along the borders, in the hinterland and challenges for the present security apparatus.   In addition, the conference is also focusing on issues pertaining to organisational restructuring, logistics, administration, human resource management, modernisation through indigenisation, induction of Niche technologies and assessment of impact of the Russia – Ukraine war. The main highlight of the fourth day of the conference was the address by the Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh, to the senior leadership of the Indian Army, which was preceded by a brief on the “Modernisation through Indigenisation” plans of the Indian Army.


The Raksha Mantri reaffirmed the faith of the billion-plus citizens in the Indian Army as one of the most trusted and inspiring organisations in the country. He highlighted the stellar role played by the Army in guarding our borders and fighting terrorism apart from providing assistance to the civil administration whenever called for.  The Raksha Mantri also remarked “The Army is present in every domain from Security, HADR, Medical Assistance to maintaining the stable internal situation in the country.  The role of Indian Army is very important in Nation building as also in the overall national development”.  He reiterated his happiness to be present in the Army Commander’s conference and complimented the Army leadership for successfully taking ahead the ‘Defence and Security’ vision of the Nation and the Hon’ble Prime Minister.  He also complimented the COAS, General MM Naravane of having successfully led the Army in last two and half years of his tenure as COAS, Indian Army.


The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri stressed upon the present complex world situation which effects everyone  globally. He stated that “Unconventional and asymmetric warfare, including hybrid war will be part of the future conventional wars. Cyber, information, communication, trade and finance have all become an inseparable part of future conflicts. This necessitates that Armed Forces will have to keep all these facets in consideration while planning and formulating strategies”.


Commenting on the current situation along the Northern borders, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri expressed full confidence that while troops are standing firm, the ongoing talks for peaceful resolution will continue and disengagement and de-escalation, is the way forward. Expressing his gratitude, he remarked “It is our ‘Whole of Government’ approach to ensure availability of best weapons, equipment and clothing to our troops braving extreme weather and hostile forces to defend our territorial integrity”. The Raksha Mantri complimented the efforts of BRO, which has led to the quantum improvement of road communication in the borders both Western and Northern, while working under difficult conditions.


Referring to the situation along the Western borders, he complimented the Indian Army’s response to cross border terrorism, however the proxy war by the adversary continues. The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri said “I compliment the excellent synergy between the CAPF/ Police forces and the Army in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The synergised operations in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are contributing to increased stability in the region and the same should continue”.


The Raksha Mantri complimented the forces for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities which he has always been experiencing first hand during his visits to forward areas. He also paid tributes to all the brave hearts for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland. He complimented the significant contributions made by the Army in military diplomacy to further our national security interests by creating sustainable cooperative relationships with foreign Armies.  He also complimented the Armed Forces for the recent evacuation of Indian Nationals from Ukraine in ‘Operation Ganga’.


The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri stressed upon the technological advancement taking place in every sphere of our life and applauded the Armed Forces for aptly incorporating them.  He appreciated the Army’s efforts to develop niche technologies in collaboration with civil industries, including premier educational institutions and thereby progressing towards the aim of ‘ Modernisation through Indigenisation’ or ‘Atam Nirbharta’.


The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri highlighted that “the Government is focused on enhancing combat capability and ensuring welfare of soldiers”. He also remarked that “the Policy of Atmanirbhar Bharat is a big step towards self-reliance in defence which offers  great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to meet the future requirements of the Armed Forces”.  He applauded the Indian Army for working towards this goal and remarked that in 2021-2022, in keeping with the Atamnirbhar Bharat, Rs 40,000 crores worth of contracts by the Army are being awarded to Indian Vendors, which is commendable.


The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri also brought out that the recent corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is proving as a successful step and all 7 x DPSUs are working towards capability development of Armed Forces.  He remarked that the government is committed in every manner towards the welfare of our Veterans and the Next of Kin of all categories of Battle Casualties. He also announced that Government is aware of the Risk and Hardship the defence personnel faces in the field areas, apropos, Government has decided to enhance the Risk and Hardship allowance for the Army personnel posted in such areas.  


He concluded by saying that issues related to “Defence diplomacy, indigenisation, information warfare, defence infrastructure and force modernisation should always be deliberated upon in such a forum. The formalisation of Integrated Theatre Command is the need of hour and I am happy with the progress being made towards the same. I have full confidence in the senior Military leadership.  The Nation is proud of its Army and the Government is committed to facilitate the Army in their forward movement, on the road to reforms and capability modernisation”.




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Raksha Mantri virtually inaugurates 5th World Congress on Disaster Management

Key Highlights of RM’s speech:

·         Effective response mechanism to address humanitarian crises & natural disasters one of the most important pillars of SAGAR

·         Our Armed Forces have always stood for the country’s partners in times of need

·         Need for collective solution to deal with global challenges in post-COVID world

·         Benefits of emerging cutting-edge technologies must be shared with all

·         Need for new ideas in global & national strategies for implementation of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals post COVID

“Our Armed Forces have time and again demonstrated that they care for and stand by the country’s partners in times of need without distinguishing between natural or man-made disasters,” said Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh while virtually inaugurating the 5th World Congress on Disaster Management on November 24, 2021. He reiterated India’s vision for the Indian Ocean encapsulated by the concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) as articulated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The Raksha Mantri underlined that SAGAR has both distinct and inter-related elements such as deepening economic and security cooperation among the littoral states; enhancing capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories; working towards sustainable regional development; Blue Economy and promoting collective action to deal with non-traditional threats like natural disasters, piracy and terrorism.

Shri Rajnath Singh maintained that while each of these elements requires equal attention, developing an effective response mechanism to address humanitarian crises and natural disasters is one of the most important pillars of SAGAR. India’s engagement with the world and especially the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has been robustly strong, he said, lauding the Armed Forces for being the first responders in the region for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. He said, India’s unique position in the IOR, complemented by a capability of the Armed Forces, enables it to contribute significantly in HADR situations.

The Raksha Mantri made special mention of some notable HADR missions in the IOR undertaken by India in recent years, including Operation Rahat in Yemen in 2015 when India rescued and evacuated over 6,700 persons, including over 1,940 citizens of more than 40 other countries; cyclone in Sri Lanka in 2016; earthquake in Indonesia in 2019; Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and flooding and landslides in Madagascar in January 2020 where Indian assistance was promptly provided. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has not dented India’s commitment, which was demonstrated by India’s response during the Oil Spill in Mauritius in August 2020 and Oil tanker fire in Sri Lanka in September 2020. 

India taking lead and offering expertise of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) to its friendly countries was also highlighted by Shri Rajnath Singh. “Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was first proposed by India during the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in New Delhi. It is today an international coalition of countries, United Nations (UN) agencies, multilateral development banks, the private sector and academic institutions, that aim to promote disaster-resilient infrastructure,” he said. The Raksha Mantri added that India has been regularly conducting exercises to deepen the HADR co-operation and co-ordination with its neighbours and friendly countries with a focus on sharing expertise and building capabilities.

The Raksha Mantri shared his views on the challenging geo-political landscape and the traditional and non-traditional threats including natural calamities like COVID-19 faced by the world. He said, to deal with the pandemic, India has developed a large capacity for production of COVID-19 vaccines and is extending help to many countries. He emphasised on the need for a collective solution to deal with global challenges in the post-pandemic world. He said, the pandemic has reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism in the interconnected world for matters not only related to international security but also disaster management.

Shri Rajnath Singh also spoke about the emerging cutting-edge technologies in the fields of space, communication, bio-engineering, bio-medics and artificial intelligence. He said, these include precision tools and sensors which can revolutionise the way the risks of disasters are assessed and communicated through early warning. He also shed light on the smart technologies for post disaster recovery and reconstructions. The Raksha Mantri stressed on sharing the benefits of these technologies with all along with funding initiatives for capacity development for better application and use of these technologies.

The Raksha Mantri called for cooperating more closely to strengthen international architecture for building structures to prevent and manage future disasters. He also suggested a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the pandemic on the implementation of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, emphasising on the need to incorporate new ideas in global and national strategies for the implementation of the goals.

The 5th World Congress on Disaster Management (WCDM) is being organised in New Delhi between November 24-27, 2021 at the campus of IIT Delhi on the overarching theme of ‘Technology, Finance and Capacity for Building Resilience to Disasters in the context of COVID-19’. It is an initiative of Disaster Management Initiatives and Convergence Society (DMICS) having its headquarter in Hyderabad to bring researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world on the same platform to discuss various challenging issues of disaster risk management. The aim is to promote interaction of science, policy and practices to enhance understanding of risks and advance actions for reducing risks and building resilience to disasters.

Director General, India Council of Medical Research & Secretary, Department of Health Research Dr Balram Bhargava delivered the keynote address, while Convener 5th WCDM Dr S Anandababu gave the welcome address. Special Representative of UN Secretary General on Disaster Reduction Ms Mami Mizutori also spoke during the inaugural session.

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Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh to address SCO webinar on Role of Women in Armed Forces

Key highlights:

  • CDS General Bipin Rawat will deliver welcome address
  • Session on ‘Historical Perspective of Women’s Roles in Combat Operations’ will be chaired by Dy Chief of IDS (Medical) Lt General Madhuri Kanitkar
  • Former Foreign Secretary Mrs Nirupama Rao Menon will chair session on ‘Emerging Trends in Wars and Likely Roles of Women Warriors’         

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh will deliver the inaugural address at a webinar on ‘Role of Women in Armed Forces’, being organised by Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on October 14, 2021. The international webinar in video conference mode is hosted by the Ministry of Defence.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat will deliver the welcome address. The representatives of the SCO member countries will share their experiences which will enrich and inform policy makers and practitioners alike.

The webinar will be conducted in two sessions. The first session on ‘Historical Perspective of Women’s Roles in Combat Operations’ will be chaired by Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Medical) Lt General Madhuri Kanitkar. Apart from India, speakers from China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will share their perspectives in the session. 

The Second session will be chaired by Former Foreign Secretary Smt Nirupama Rao Menon. Theme of the session is: ‘Emerging Trends in Wars and Likely Roles of Women Warriors’. Representatives from Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will share their views on the subject.

The conference was originally planned with the physical presence of the representatives of the member states in the year 2020, however, owing to COVID-19 pandemic, is now being conducted via video conferencing, as despite the pandemic the interaction between the SCO member states remain important.

Closing address will be delivered by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) Air Marshal BR Krishna. Senior civil and military officials of MoD will also be present in the webinar.

The Government of India has recognized women as proud and essential members of the Indian Defence forces and the potential they bring to the Armed Forces. Accordingly, in the last seven years, the Government has taken several steps to bring in more opportunities for women in the Indian Defence forces as well as create equality in service conditions for women and men. Today, women are greatly empowered within the Indian Defence Forces, whether it is the Indian Army, Indian Navy or the Indian Air Force.

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Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh appeals for generous contribution to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund

Key Highlights:

  • Over 38,000 beneficiaries in FY 20-21
  • Rs 133.21 crore spent under AFFDF in FY 2020-21
  • Rs 33.35 crore collected during FY 2020-21

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has appealed to the general public to generously contribute to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF), which is used in rehabilitation and welfare of dependents of our brave soldiers who were killed in action or disabled. The Flag Day gives the countrymen an opportunity to fulfil this obligation.

Out of the income earned on the AFFDF corpus, 7.5 per cent is ploughed back into the corpus and balance is used to fund the welfare and rehabilitation schemes for Ex-Servicemen (ESM)/dependents.Rupees 133.21 crore were spent on 38,049 beneficiariesunder the AFFDF in FY 2020-21.

A sum of Rs33.35 crore was collected during Financial Year (FY) 2020-21.The Fund is administeredby Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB)Secretariatunder the aegis of its Management Committee, headed by the Raksha Mantriand Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW).Generous contributions for AFFDF are solicited from the countrymen.Bank details of the AFFD Fund as follows:

  1. PNB A/C No. 3083000100179875         IFSC: PUNB0308300
  2. SBI A/C No. 34420400623                     IFSC: SBIN0001076
  3. ICICI A/C No. 182401001380                IFSC: ICIC0001824

The KSB Secretariat,an attached office under the administrative control of Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence (MoD), is the apex body responsible for implementing Central Government policies for rehabilitation and welfare of the war widows/disabled,retired service personnel and their dependents.  The welfare schemes are implemented through Rajya Sainik Boards (RSBs) located in State capitals and Zila Sainik Boards (ZSBs) located at district level.The major source of funding for these welfare schemes is Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF).

Financial assistance is provided to ESM/widows/dependents for their personal identified needs including penury grant, children’s education grant, daughter’s marriage grants and funeral grant.Some of the important welfare schemes funded out of AFFDF are as under:

Raksha Mantri’s Ex-servicemen Welfare Fund (RMEWF)

Financial assistance is provided to ESM/dependents for their identified personal needs, including Penury Grant and Children Education Grantunder RMEWF. Financial assistance amounting to Rs 132.96 crore has been disbursed under RMEWF during FY 2020-21.

Financial Assistance for Serious Diseases

Financial assistance upto90and 75 per cent expenditure subject to maximum Rs 1.25 lakhs (for heart ailments, etc) and Rs 0.75 lakhs per year (for dialysis and cancer) is being providedto non-pensioners Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and officersrespectively.Total amount of   Rs22.69 lakhs was paid during FY 2020-21.

Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centres (PRCs)

In addition to Rs30,000/- per annum per inmate, annual grant of Rs120lakhs and Rs 10.00 lakhs is being provided for upkeep/establishment to Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC),Khadkiand Mohalirespectively, the autonomous organisations run for rehabilitation of paraplegic and tetraplegic ESM. Total amount of Rs 168.72 lakhs has been disbursed to both PRCs during FY 2020-21.

War Memorial Hostels (WMHs)

War Memorial Hostels (WMHs) grant of Rs 1,350/- per month per child is provided to wards of war widow/war disabled.An amount of Rs23.24 lakhs have been disbursed under this scheme duringFY 2020-21.

Armed Forces Flag Day is observed on December 07 every year throughout the country to honour the fallen heroes and men in uniform who bravely fought for our motherland.On this day, Army, Navy and Air Force personnel who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the nation are remembered by observing two-minute silence at 1100 hours as a mark of respect.

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