The Military Nursing Service  has its origin from the Army Nursing Service formed in 1881 part of Royal Army. The force went through many changes in its 126 years of glorious existence. In 1893, it was designated as Indian Army Nursing Service. The force went through further changes in 1902, when the Indian Nursing Service and the Army Nursing Service were combined and on 27th March 1902, it was redesignated to Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service . At the outbreak of world war in 1914 there were just fewer than 300 nurses in the QAIMNS, by the end of the war this had raised to 10,404. The Army nurses served in Flanders, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Middle East and onboard hospital ships. Of the 200 plus army nurses died on active service, many were Indians. After, the war on 1st October1926, the Nursing Services was granted permanent status in Indian Army. This date is formally recognised as the formation day of Military Nursing Service, though in actual its origins occurred 45 five years before (many Corps of the Army, including Army Medical Corps  traces its origin to more than hundreds of years back in the similar way, though they were actually formed after independence).
With the outbreak of second world war, nurses once again found themselves serving all over the world, including Singapore, Burma, Italy, Mesopotamia, Ceylon, Egypt and Western Africa. The changing working conditions and wartime shortages led to changes in uniform. Khaki slacks and battledress blouses replaced the grey and scarlet ward dress and rank insignia was adopted to signify the officer status of the nurses. In the Far East, the fall of Hong Kong and Singapore led to many army nurses (including Indian) being captured by the Japanese and endured terrible hardships and deprivations of the Far East prisoner-of-war camps. During the middle of the war in 1943, the Indian arm of the Nursing Services was separated through Indian Military Nursing Service Ordinance, 1943 and redesignated it, there by constituting the Military Nursing Service (MNS) in its present form.
The Officers of the Military Nursing Service are governed by Indian Military Nursing Service Ordinance 1943 and Military Nursing Service Rules, 1944. The Section 5 of the ordinance provides that, all members of the Indian Military Nursing Service shall be of commissioned rank and shall be appointed as officers of the Indian Military Nursing Service by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette. The Nursing Service Officers are also subject to Army Act 1950, Army Rules 1954, Defence Service Regulations and various Government Orders, Army Instructions, Army Orders, issued from time to time.
The Military Nursing Service stands out as one of the oldest services where women have contributed directly to the nation’s war effort by providing care to the sick and wounded soldiers. This is also true for all the armed forces of the world. The army nurses have made a permanent place in every Nation’s heart by nursing millions of sick and wounded soldiers back to health. The Officers of Military Nursing Service had distinguished them selves in the Second World War, through the care of the sick and wounded soldiers in India and also at many foreign theatres of war. Post independence, the Nursing Officers cared for the wounded soldiers in five major bloody conflicts with the neighboring countries. Many Soldiers injured in encounters with militants in terrorism strafed North and North Eastern states owes their life to these brave women who were forced to remain in the shadows.
Now, the Military Nursing Service is an integral part of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). The AFMS consists of Army Medical Corps (AMC), Army Dental Corps (ADC) and Military Nursing Service (MNS). The AFMS personnel serve in the medical establishments of Army, Navy and Air Force. Among the three, the AMC occupies the proud of the place. The Military Nursing Service was treated as under dogs since the inception of AFMS in 1948 (the AMC and ADC are more or less equally positioned, though most of the cream appointments in AFMS are occupied by AMC). However, they have silently endured the negative changes happened around them in the armed forces (being actively encouraged by AMC) and so far rendered glorious service to the armed forces and nation by delivering the best nursing care in the Country. The mission of MNS is ‘Excellence in Patient Care’ both in war and peace, which is pursued with utmost fervor, zeal and zest. After the independence, the Officers of MNS have not only served in India but have also played a vital role in United Nations peace keeping missions abroad in UN missions to Lebanon, Cambodia, Somalia and scores of other Nations. Many of such missions are still active.
Recently, they had been a part of the Medical team, which was sent to Iran to give medical cover to the wounded in a devastating earthquake, which struck Bam in Iran. Their professional capabilities have been highly recognized and appreciated by all (even by the Army Doctors!). They have received a number of distinguished service medals and other military recognitions. Apart from the professional activities, MNS Officers have also participated in sports and adventure activities at National and International levels. An MNS Major won a gold medal in shooting in the last Common Wealth Games.
The various ranks of the Military Nursing Service are listed below in descending order: Commissioned Officers
Presently there are no personnel below officer rank (PBOR) in Military Nursing Service as the other nursing personnel such as Nursing Assistants, Ambulance assistant, Stretcher Bearer etc are part of Army Medical Corps.
The Military Nursing Service was formally established in the present form through the Indian Military Nursing Service Ordinance, 1943. The Section 5 of the ordinance ordained that, all members of the Indian Military Nursing Service shall be of commissioned rank and shall be appointed as officers of the Indian Military Nursing Service by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette. The Section 9 (1) provides that provisions of the Indian Army Act, 1911 (now Army Act 1950), shall, to such extent and subject to such adaptations and modifications as may be prescribed, apply to Officers of the Indian Military Nursing Service as they apply to Indian commissioned officers, unless they are clearly inapplicable to women. The modifications and adaptations of the Indian Army Act 1911, as applicable to Officers of Indian Military Nursing Service were published in the War Department notification no. 923 dated 13 Jun 1944. After the independence of our country, through a special gazette of India notification, the Army Act 1950 was subsequently made applicable to the Officers of Military Nursing Service with suitable modification and adaptation. These adaptations and modifications are contained in Army Order 197/59. These modifications and adaptations of Army Act, 1950 are only pertaining to Military Offences, otherwise, the rest of the Army Act in its entirety is applicable to MNS Officers. The Sections of Army Act dealing with offences (at that time) were modified for the Military Nursing Service, because it was constituted as an all women force. The Nursing Service Officers were the only women serving in the Indian armed forces during the Second World War.
The Central Government, under the powers conferred by Section 10 of Indian Military Nursing Service Ordinance, 1943, framed the Military Nursing Service (India) Rules, 1944. The Rule 3(a) lays down that the provisions of the Indian Army Act, 1911, shall apply to officers of the Nursing Services mentioned in Sub Section 1 of Section 9 of the Ordinance, as if they were Indian Commissioned Officers, and Sub Rule (b) stipulates that, the provisions of the Army Act shall apply to officers of the Nursing Service mentioned in Sub Section (2) of the said Section, as if they were Officers of the Regular Forces. The Rules 5 and 6 gives the specific adaptations and modification as ordained in Section 9(1) of the Ordinance. As a whole, the Rules lay down the modalities for the implementation of the Ordinance.
The Army Act, 1950 is applicable to the Officers of Nursing Services, with some exceptions to certain sections, which are from Section 34 to 70 dealing with offences. Of the provisions of the Army Act dealing with offences, only Section 39 - Absence without leave and Section 63 - Violation of good order and discipline shall apply to offences committed by Officers of Nursing Services. The Army Rule, 1954, in its entirety is applicable to Officers of Nursing Services. The Rule 16A lays down the authority for release of Officers from Nursing Services. The Rule 16A: Retirement of officers. — (1) Officers shall be retired from service under the orders of the Central Government, or the authorities specified in sub-rule (2), with effect from the afternoon of the last date of the month in which they—(a) Attain the age limits specified in sub-rule (5);or (b) Complete the tenures of appointment specified in sub-rule 5 (f) (ii) and (g) (ii) and sub-rule (6), whichever is earlier.(2) The authorities referred to in sub-rule (1) shall be—(a) The Director-General, Armed Forces Medical Services in respect of officers of the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service;
The Officers of Nursing Services are governed by Defence Service Regulations - Regulations for the Army 1987, various Government Orders, Army Instructions and Army Orders. The Defence Service Regulations - Regulations for the Army (DSR), Para 733 (b) ordained that women officers serving in the Army Medical Corps and officers in the Military Nursing Service will rank equally with male officers of the same titular rank, e.g., a captain (women officer) in the Army Medical Corps, will rank equally with a captain in the Artillery or Engineers. The Army Rank was granted to Nursing Officers by Army Instruction 4/59. They are entitled to salute and other compliments as laid down in Army Order 353/73. The Army Order 70/73 lays down that, persons subject to Army Act who are placed under the professional care of officers of the Military Nursing Service shall obey and comply with professional orders and direction of such Nursing Officers. They shall be liable to be punished for non-compliance of such orders, under Section 63 of Army Act, 1950 for violation of good order and discipline. The pay and allowances of Officers of Nursing Services are as per the government orders issued from time to time. The Army Order 11/82 lays down the order of precedence of Military Nursing Service in the hierarchy of the Arms and Services of the Army. The DSR, Vol – I Para 235, assigns ADGMNS (Additional Director General MNS – held by an Officer of Major General rank), the duty of technical advisor to DGAFMS, DGMS (Army), DGMS (Navy) and DGMS (Air Force). Further, the DSR, Vol – I, Para 242 (read with Para 243, 247, 250 and 251) lays down that, all Nursing Officers in charges of wards and departments are responsible only to the Principal Matron of the Military (including Navy and Air Force) Hospital (Medical Establishment).
1. Military Nursing Service Ordinance, 1943
2. Military Nursing Service Rules, 1944
3. Army Act, 1950
4. Army Rules, 1954
5. Defence Service Regulations (Regulations for the Army)
6. Law Governing the Armed Forces (Rekha Choudhary & Nilendra Kumar)
7. Gazette of India Part IV notifications
8. Report of Parliament Standing Committee on Defence, 2006
9. Geneva Convention, 1949
10. Ten member committee report on grievances of MNS Officers
11 PIB on parliament questions
12. Sainik Samachar, September 16 – 30, 2006
13. Number of web sites on Army Nurse Corps/ Medical Corps of the other countries on Internet.
14. Joint Services Staff Duties Manual (JSSD) Vol-II
15. Certain letters originated within AFMS