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April 13, 2024
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Restore ESM status back to Ex Military Nursing Officers

Asking the Government, Why delay to deliver justice?

Social activist Ashwani Joshi created awareness among Ex Military nursing officers for their welfare.

Military Nursing Service (MNS) is integral part of the Armed Forces medical Services(AFMS) which consists of Army Medical Corps (AMC), Army Dental Corps (ADC).

The AFMS personnel serve in the medical establishments of the independent India. Military Nursing Officers have history of serving in India as well as also played a role in United Nations peace keeping missions abroad to Lebanon, Cambodia, Somalia and scores of other Nations and many of such missions where needed.

In a conference held in Delhi convened by Mr Joshi, he reminded the participants proudly  that First ever female Major General in armed forces was Military Nursing officer, Gertrude Alice Ram of the Indian Army,  a recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, leaves no doubts that MNS is integral part of the Indian regular Army.

 Joshi under the banner EMNOWOI asked “Govt is playing double standard and making only rhetoric claims about so called women empowerment, denying ESM status to Ex MNS officers is the example. Where as for their crucial duties MNS is covered by Army Act 1950 while on Ex Servicemen (ESM) status they are being denied Army benefits!”

:  “A  bitter fact that MNS officers have been stripped off the Ex Servicemen status killing their reemployment opportunities in civil services for their right to age relaxation and job reservations meant for ex Military personnel, upon having dedicated best youthful life in Military Service. This is particularly hard on those young MNS officers who had to leave the service after the Short Service Commission of 5+5+4 pattern and wish to re-employ civil services as livelihood.

As an example that while dismissing the petition of one of the Ex MNS officer, challenging the invalidation of her candidature as ESM candidate for PCS and Allied Service competitive examination held by Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), the Punjab and Haryana High Court noted that,

“No doubt, the members of MNS are serving the nation for the last about 80 years and it is also not in dispute that despite being females, they are rendering services in extreme difficult situations; sometimes in most unfavourable weather conditions at high altitudes; yet they have not been according the status of ESM for claiming certain benefits which are available to the Armed Forces Veterans and that certainly may be a cause of heart burning”.

Even the High Court has observed that the members of MNS deserve sympathetic consideration for the redress of their grievance. Same petition has been allowed on 3Feb 2024 favorably.

It’s urgent matter as delay by Govt in restoring the ESM status to all Ex MNS officers has been causing irreparable loss to the life time carrier opportunities to these high skilled deserving prospective military women into civil services as they are getting over-aged by such delay by govt.

We  most humble appeal to the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, the President of India;  the Prime Minister of India to look into the matter personally. 

We remind the Govt that Military nursing service, an all women force existed when our nation had no other women in any of Indian military services! And first female Major General of Army was from Military nursing service. Next year this cadre is completing 100 year of service.

He advised the Ex MNS officers to unite together under one banner EMNOWOI and stay together and not to fall prey to political gimmicks of any politics, to ask the Govt of India justify women empowerment slogans and bring exact correction to the ESM eligibilty notification with Department of Personnel & Training of indian Govt.

In his powerful speech to motivate the attending Deligates among Ex MNS Officers said that despite prolonged litigation and sympathetic stance by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and even the judiciary and the three service Chiefs as well as the Department of Personnel & Training, the ESM right still pending to  the military nursing officers is the issue that need urgent attention on priority.

Infact previously  MNS officers had been getting ESM status after release from military  service but govt has stripped off them of ESM rights due to erratic orders and biased policies toward this all women force. Therefore ex MNS officers today question the rhetorics of Govt about Nari shakti to deny them their rights.

Making these young military officers to march in Republic Day parade has no meaning when our future is being cut short resulting us fighting for ex-servicemen status and other equal gender rights continues even in courts.

The government’s funny situation has been that while military nursing officers who complete their pensionable service get many benefits of ESM like canteen services, Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and One Rank One Pension (OROP), but yet they are now being denied recognition as ESM?

For many of their duties they are covered under regular Army Act but for ESM status they are being excluded from regular Army. Thus double standard applied to them which is gross injustice being done.

 Denial of ESM status severely restricts the opportunities which are available in civilian life.

“Under same army act, at the perils of life after serving in the same harsh field conditions as our counterparts from army Ex  MNS officers  are being denied the status of ESM. Apart from causing lack of opportunities in jobs, this is also humiliating for us.

Joshi pointed out toward a policy letter issued by the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) in 2014 attempted to clarify the status of the MNS officers as ex-servicemen and categorically stated that they enjoyed the status of ESM. However, a subsequent letter by the Board in 2019 rescinded the earlier directions and denied being considered ex-servicemen after the retirement.

In 2019, news reports emanating from the MoD suggested that an ‘in-principle’ decision had been taken to record the status of ESM to MNS officers. However, nothing has happened on the ground in this respect.

In 2018, while answering a question on ex-servicemen status of MNS officers by Rajya Sabha MP Anubhav Mohanty, the then MoS Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre stated, “As per Department of Personnel and Training (DoP&T) Notification dated 15.12.1979, an Ex-Serviceman means a person who has served in any rank in the Armed Forces of the Union, including the Armed Forces of the former Indian states. The definition of Ex-Servicemen was revised as per DoP&T’s Notification dated 27.10.1986 as a person who has served in any rank whether as a combatant or non-combatant in the Regular Army, Navy and Air Force of the Indian Union. Military Nursing Service (MNS) is not included in the definition of Regular Army”. He had added that the matter is under consideration of the Ministry. But nothing has changed yet.

Social activist and National Convener Ashwani Joshi said that the media will help yesterday’s military daughters, highlight our appeal to the law makers and make the deaf ears listen loudly.

Press conference was addressed by  Ex MNS officers of Major General, Brigadiers, Colonels, Lt. Colonels, Major and Captains ranks.

Conference was attended by national delegates from different states of India and successfully convened by Ashwani Joshi a social activist and naval veteran.

Read More: MNS officers are not part of Army, says various conflicting orders! Then why such advertisements?

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