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Gurkhas

Volume 712: debated on Friday 10 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Gurkhas who served prior to 1997 receive education and medical treatment for dependants once they have retired, as provided for by the Fifth Indian Pay Code for Indian Gorkhas. [HL4802]

The British Army Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) is based on the Indian Army pension code. This arrangement stems from the terms and conditions of service that supported the Tripartite Agreement of 1947 between Nepal, India and the UK.

The GPS does not include specific provision for the education or medical treatment of retired Gurkhas' dependants, although it does pay a family pension to surviving dependants of deceased pensioners. In 2000 the rates of pension paid under the scheme were doubled, in recognition that the Indian Army pension scheme provides benefits in kind to members, such as medical facilities, that could not be replicated by the UK Government in Nepal.

The work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust also makes a significant contribution in the area of medical and educational provision. Among the objects of the trust are the advancement of the education of Gurkhas and their dependants and the provision of medical diagnosis and treatment of Gurkhas and their dependants. The trust provides free primary healthcare for all Gurkha veterans in Nepal. Free secondary healthcare is also provided for all those not in receipt of a service pension and subsidised by 70 per cent of the cost for those who are.

Although the Gurkha Welfare Trust is independent of the Ministry of Defence, the department gives just over £1 million annually to the trust in order to contribute to the administrative costs of its field arm operating in Nepal, the Gurkha Welfare Scheme.