After a long wait, the defence ministry on Friday approved former servicemen status to women nursing personnel Military Nursing Service (MNS), said top officials. MNS was set up as an auxiliary force in 1943 and has only women officers with permanent commission, who serve as nursing staff in all three forces. Sources said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given in-principle approval of extending all the privileges to serving and retired officers of the MNS, making them at par with officers from other disciplines in the armed forces.
To begin with, the serving officers will be allowed to use star plates on their official vehicles. Now an officer from MNS will be entitled to have a single star on the car in case of a brigadier, and two stars if she is a major general. Other ex-service personnel benefits that were denied till now are likely to be given soon since a decision has been taken on this, even as the proceedings in Supreme Court have not reached finality.
The Armed Forces Tribunal had earlier ordered that MNS officers should be entitled to equal benefits but the MoD appealed against the verdict and the matter is pending since 2009. In all, there are 28 issues on which MNS officers wanted equality, ex-service personnel status for several privileges being paramount, sources said. The demand for equal benefits regarding post retirement government jobs and educational benefits for children that retired officers are entitled to have also been met.
With the ministry giving an approval, this should be implemented soon after the due procedures, said an official. Sources said the definition of ex-servicemen will need to be tweaked to include them and is being examined by a department dealing in MoD. Source: India Today