Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why this bias against the Army?

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with his troops

Recently an inspired news- item appeared in the Press (obviously at the instance of the IAS bureaucracy) ridiculing the Service Chiefs’ claim not to deflate the parity of the Army officials vis-a-vis the civil servants. The Army’s request is more than genuine. One fails to understand the IAS lobby’s blatant partisanship. The late Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukerjee, one of the best of the lot, described the IAS as an anachronism in post- 1947 Independent India and recommended its abolition and substitution by expert technocrats as in the rest of the world.

I am surprised at the bureaucracy’s partisan, one- sided criticism of the Army. It ignores the harsh reality like the non- family period being half of their service period. This partiality may be due to what is called in journalist jargon “ debt to repay” for some special scoop having been passed on to the paper (nothing wrong of course in a free Press — the only objection is why make the Army the whipping boy).

It is still more surprising that the Army’s case is being deflated deliberately by ignoring the shocking facts disclosed, namely that all DGPs (which are state-related posts) are placed above the Lieutenant General. By what reasoning is the demand to put the Generals in the same grade as the civilian DGP described as spurious?

More serious, Lieutenant Colonel had earlier the same pay as IAS Director (an officer between Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary). But the revised scale now gives IAS Director Rs 14,000 more and even a non-IAS Director Rs 11,000 more than Lieutenant-Colonel.

Is the Army demand to keep the parity as earlier fanciful? Will the government have a second look at the claim of the Army which has genuineness written all over? Let us not forget that in our feudal setup, hierarchy sometimes carries more weight. That is why sometimes a Deputy Secretary would carry more clout than a university professor. Will the Centre ignore the babus and give the Army its well deserved pay and rank?

Justice RAJINDAR SACHAR (Retd), New Delhi
Why this bias against the Army?

Indeed, for a soldier, it’s not money alone but izzat that counts and which spurs him to face the enemy’s bullet! Amazingly, soldiery that was always held in high esteem in India has been downgraded. This despite an acute shortage of 13,000 defence officers in the past 10 years! Ironically, no politician or bureaucrat has ever thought about this and its consequences on national security.

For the armed forces to retain their traditional values of devotion and sacrifice, the Centre should restore their dignity and rank and look after their interests properly. When confronted with a similar situation, Second World War veteran Gen Omar Bradley of the US Army aptly said: “Inferior inducements bring second-rate men. Second-rate men bring second-best security. In war, there is no prize for the runner-up.”

Brig Govind Singh Khimta (Retd)

SCPC: Anomalies In Pension

While the Armed Forces serving personnel continue their just fight against the disparity in their revised pay scales, military pensioners too have been forced to join them for disparity in their pension. True, the pensions have been somewhat increased and some new concessions introduced, but it is the wide variation in the pensions of similarly placed pensioners that now is the bone of contention.

Past pensioners have been granted a fitment of 40 per cent for the calculation of pension. The new pension, however, will not be less than 50 per cent of the lower limit of the new pay bands plus the applicable grade pay. This may result in a huge difference between the pensions of old pensioners of different grades. In case of the Fifth Pay Commission, there were separate pay scales for each rank, the minimum of which was taken as the basis of pension. However, after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, there are only four pay bands. At the upper end, serving personnel in the scale of Rs 24,050-26,000 have now been moved to the pay band of Rs 39,200-67,000, while those in the fixed pay scale of Rs 26,000 have been placed at Rs 80,000. An officer, who was placed in the erstwhile scale of Rs 24,050-26,000 and who may have retired with a pension of Rs 13,000 as on December 31, 2005, would now receive a basic pension of Rs 29,380, while an officer, who retired in the earlier fixed scale of Rs 26,000 and who was also receiving the same pension, would now get Rs 40,000. Hence both officers on equal basic pension earlier would now have a difference of about Rs 11,000 between them There will be similar disparities down the echelon.

The disparities, notwithstanding, pensioners are satisfied over some new elements introduced by the commission. The minimum basic pension without DA has been fixed at Rs 3,500 and the maximum at Rs 45,000 as on January 1, 2006. The minimum disability pension has also been fixed at Rs 3,500. The government has also approved additional quantum for old pensioners. Now a pensioner on attaining 80 years of age will be granted 20 per cent extra basic pension. The said increase will be upgraded to 30, 40, 50 and 100 per cent on attaining the age of 85, 90, 95 and 100 years, respectively.
The same upgrading has also been accepted for family pensioners. The grant of full pension on completing 20 years service has also been accepted and the provision of 33 years service for earning full pension has been abolished.

A revised commutation has been implemented and the maximum amount of gratuity has been increased from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Constant attendance allowance for 100 per cent disability has been extended to civilian pensioners on the lines of that granted to Defence personnel. To overcome the problems of military pensioners, a decade and a half old One-Rank-One-Pension scheme already accepted by the Government, be implemented with immediate effect.

Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal
World war II Veteran
Founding President Indian Ex-Servicemen Society British Columbia

ESM Self Employment Schemes

Financial assistance is available under SIDBI's NEF (National Equity Fund) scheme upto rupees 50 lakh with the benefit of maximum soft loan upto Rs 10 lakh per project with 5 per cent rate of interest per annum. The objective of the scheme is to provide equity type support to entrepreneurs for setting up new projects in small scale sector, SSI and service enterprises and for rehabilitation of viable sick units in the SSI sector which fulfill the specified eligibility criteria. Assistance from NEF helps the small scale unit in strengthening their equity base and thereby improve their acceptability for term financing by primary lending institutions (PLIs).

SEMFEX-II scheme has been promoted with the assistance of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It provides refinance to banks for financing for development of agriculture and allied activities, such as minor irrigation, farm mechanisation, mushroom cultivation, dairy, poultry, sheep and goat rearing, fisheries, plantation and horticulture agri-processing units including food processing, forestry, wasteland development, etc. NABARD supports bio-gas industries, small scale industries, tiny, cottage and village industries handloom and handicrafts and service sector activities in rural areas. Under this scheme, interest free Soft Loan Assistance for Margin Money (SLA-MM) under farm sector is provided. Refinance assistance is also available to transport vehicles. Ex-servicemen Transport Corporation, registered society and other institution can be formed to acquire a maximum of 30 transport vehicles under the SRTO Scheme.

SEMFEX-III scheme has been launched to help rehabilitate the ex-servicemen and widows to undertake rural industries. The scheme is operative in collaboration with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. There are 110 rural industries including service sector activities which have been identified viable for financing to ex-servicemen and widows. Under this scheme ex-servicemen will be considered as a special target group and their loan cases will be sanctioned on preferential basis. The facility of margin money grant will be at the rate of 30 per cent of the project cost upto rupees 10 lakh and above this amount upto rupees 25 lakh it will be 10 per cent of the remaining cost of the project. It means that an amount of rupees 3 and 4.5 lakh would be provided as grant subsidy for the loan amount of rupees 10 and 25 lakh respectively.

The borrower would be required to invest his own contribution (5 percent) of the project cost and the remaining 95 per cent of the project cost would be sanctioned by the KVIC/KVIB/banks. All the schemes within the purview of KVIC are financed through the State Khadi and Village Industries Boards or banks but in some cases the project can also be directly financed by the KVIC head officer, Mumbai. However, such cases will be admissible only after prior approval from KVIC. In case of bank finance scheme the KVIC has already placed a lumpsum deposit of margin money in advance with the corporate officer of each bank of a nodal branch designated by the bank in savings bank account in the name of KVIC. The lending institution would be fully responsible for recovery of consortium bank credit.The ex-servicemen can also avail free training facilities at the KVIC training centres. Eligible ESM and widows desirous of getting loans will have to apply to the concerned Zila Sainik Board/ Rajya Sainik Board (ZSB/RSB) on the prescribed form.

Lt Col HS Oberoi
New department to look after ESM
Self-employment Schemes for ESM and Widows
Comment: Excellent Self Employment opportunities for the ESM. One wonders how many widows and ESM have availed of this facility? How popular and attractive is this scheme? What methods are adopted by the Regimental Centres, Veteran Organisations and IESL to popularise these schemes? Or are these schemes only on paper?

Simple rules to be Happy

Everyone dreams of a life which is full of peace and joy. But how can we attain that as a retired Ex- Servicemen? Priya Kumar talks about a few simple, yet effective ways to a happy life.

The problem is that we have complicated our attitude towards life and living to the point that our own lives have gone out of our control. And after having complicated our lives, the mistake that we make is that we expect a complicated solution to straighten out the problem. And just the reverse is true. Problems occur when we deviate from simplicity and complicate communication. Being happy is so simple, that many people find it difficult to practice. Live life by these simple rules and often people compliment you with a question, “How do you stay so happy?”

1. Tell the truth: To tell the truth is the mark of a person with character. In today’s professional warfare, twisting the truth has become a norm. Trust is lacking in personal and professional relationships. People are not honest about their feelings, their agendas and their intentions, for the fear of being rejected or judged. Being rejected and judged on the truth is far better than living a lie. Aspire to be honest no matter what the consequences. You will be happier and abundant in all that counts.

2. Appreciate goodness: Some of us rank first in the queue of criticism and in the same breath; we are the last to appreciate. Remember this that whatever you appreciate will grow in your experience. When you compliment and appreciate someone, they will always return your gesture. Appreciation like any other outflow of emotion and it has a boomerang effect; it comes back to you multiplied. Give genuine appreciation and you will be richly rewarded with more.

3. Don’t do to others that you would not have others do to you: Often I have seen people put others down on one pretext or another. The person who puts others down is far unhappier than the person belittled. Measure every action by the rule, “Would I have this done to me?” If your answer is no, don’t do it. Always treat people with the grace and dignity they deserve even if your opinion about them is otherwise. When you treat people a certain way, indirectly you are sending out the message of how you should be treated. Treat people with respect, no matter what your opinion.

4. Take care of yourself: Some people look after their cars better than they look after their own bodies. I sincerely believe that someone who is not interested in looking after himself is a disaster waiting to happen. The ultimate disrespect one can bear upon oneself is not to consider oneself worthy enough of being treated well. You can’t complain when others don’t treat you well, if you can’t do that for yourself. Treat yourself with love, and you will find yourself in a zone of pure happiness.

5. Be competent: The greatest joy one gets is out of his own competence and accomplishments. Competent people have higher self esteem and self worth. They consider themselves capable of adding value and that increases their happiness quotient. Be competent in your field of endeavor.

6. Have the attitude of gratitude: Gratefulness is the key to greatness. It puts you in a state of acceptance and tolerance. You can’t be grateful and not be happy. Gratitude is the most gracious path to happiness. Be grateful for all that you have, and when you are grateful for that, you will never be in a position of lack.

7. Set a good example: The highest form of living is by setting a good example. No matter who you are, how small or big, there is always someone watching you and emulating you. And if you have children, then the responsibility of setting a good example is far greater. When you direct your life consciously towards setting a good example, you can never go wrong. Life is beautiful and the keys to happiness are simple. Infact, unhappiness is a clue that we have deviated from fairness, honesty and compromised on our integrity. The slightest pinch of negativity should direct us towards the simple rules of being happy. Life is worth living if you allow yourself to be happy. It’s easy. Be happy. Be Positive.
Simple rules to be happy

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two colleges for children of ESM planned

Pune, April 07 To enable the children of ex-servicemen and widows of army personnel to get higher and better quality education, the Department of Sainik Welfare, Maharashtra, has proposed two professional colleges predominantly for them. Slated to be on the lines of the Army Institute of Technology (AIT), the department plans to construct the colleges and hand over their management to the Army. The Southern Command GOC-in-C Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj has said that he will discuss it with the Ministry.

Department director Col Bhagatsinh Deshmukh (Retd) has suggested a proposal to the Southern Command for the two institutes in Kolhapur and Pune, with at least 50 per cent of the seats reserved for the children of ex-servicemen. “The land is available with the department in both the locations. We have offered to construct the colleges on the site. We have suggested that the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) should run the colleges,” said Deshmukh.

On 07 April 2007, while addressing retired veterans of Bombay Sappers, Southern Command GOC-in-C Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj stressed the importance of education among the wards of the army personnel. “We have received the department’s proposal and it’s definitely feasible. However, the department’s demand about the percentage of reservation needs to be discussed with the AWES,” said Thamburaj.

“The institutes will be on the lines of the Army Institute of Technology (AIT) located here in Dighi Hills,” said Deshmukh. “However, we have proposed that the children of ex-servicemen hailing from Maharashtra be entitled to 50 per cent of the seats, while the remaining can be thrown open to children of serving officers and ex-servicemen from other states,” he added.

  • Pune: 21,564 ex-servicemen and 3,137 widows of army personnel.
  • Kolhapur: 10,183 ex-servicemen and 3,712 widows of army personnel.
  • Maharashtra: 154,554 ex-servicemen and 40,464 widows of army personnel
    Two colleges for children of ex-servicemen planned

    Comment: A noble idea and 18 months have elapsed since birth of the concept. When is the expected date of the two Institutes becoming a reality?
  • NCC promises help to ESM

    Promises made on 10 December 2007.
    VIJAYAWADA: Hundreds of ex-servicemen and their families have a long list of demands with regard to their welfare, property, house site, employment, basic amenities and other facilities.

    Seeking to ensure a better deal to them, the NCC officials have mooted a plan to work in coordination with the district administration and the District Sainik Welfare Officer so that it would be easier to solve the problems of ex-servicemen.

    NCC Kakinada Group Commander PV Mohan has said that efforts are on to conduct an ‘ex-servicemen Adalat’ soon to solve problems and grievances of the families of ex-servicemen. Col. Mohan has promised provision of as many services as possible through the NCC Unit Run Canteen in the city.

    All steps were being taken to ensure the welfare of ex-servicemen and a coordinated effort would be made with District Collector and District Sainik Welfare Officer in this regard, he said. The families of all ex-servicemen were also involved in the NCC Day celebrations.

    “Quite a number of grievances are coming to our notice. These relate to houses, lands and other property matters. Everything that is possible will be done to take care of ex-servicemen’s interests,” Col. Mohan told ex-servicemen. A large number of ex-servicemen were participating in all the programmes including the NCC Day celebrations held at Canteen Stores Department’s Unit Run Canteen every year. Officer-in-charge A.S. Rao and other officers were extended all support to them.

    The canteen was established in the city in 1984 and there has been a steady growth in its functioning and reach. “Nearly 700 items are made available for you and even small items like brooms (sweepers) are there in the list,” Col Mohan pointed out.
    NCC promises help to ex-servicemen

    Comments: How many ESM, families and widows have been rendered help till now? Huge profits are made by NCC Group Canteens. Most sales are from the liquor category which unwittingly is sold in large quantities to civilians at a premium price. Ideally NCC canteens should not be selling liquor, to set an example to NCC cadets in schools and colleges. However the bitter truth is that the instructors seconded by Infantry Battalions, Naval units and Air Force are mostly die hard alcoholics. This not only sets a wrong trend but also misuse by alcoholics and staff by consuming and selling large quantum of liquor in the open market does not spell well for the Defence Forces at large. We need to exhibit the best traditions of service and example to the Youth of the Nation.

    Cabinet may take up Services' pay grievances

    Wed, Sep 10 02:52 AM
    Grievances of the Armed Forces about the 'lowering of status of defence officers and men' in the new pay panel are likely to be taken up at a meeting of the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Sources said the Cabinet was set to discuss the issue after chiefs of the Armed Forces insisted that the matter be resolved at the top political decision-making level in a letter to the Defence Minister.

    While a representation on the issue has been forwarded to the Defence Ministry and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the forces have firmed up a detailed note, bringing out seven major points that need to be addressed to keep the parity of Armed Forces personnel with their civilian counterparts.

    The disparity of pay bands, where the director rank has been moved into Pay Band 4 but the Lt Col and equivalent rank has been retained in Pay Band 3, is a major issue of contention. The Armed Forces are contending that while earlier, a Lt Col got the same pay as an IAS director and Rs 800 more than a non-IAS director, after the new pay panel, he gets Rs 14,000 less than an IAS director and Rs 11,000 less than a non-IAS director.
    Cabinet may take up Services' pay grievances

    Questions to be resolved:
    1. Why One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, that was earlier recommended to be sanctioned by the Parliamentary Committee in 2004 has not been approved yet ?
    2. Over 95% of defence personnel are compulsorily retired at the age of 35-45. Why an assured second career till the age of 60 years (as in the case of other government employees) is not granted to them through an act of Parliament ?
    3. Why a civil servant (IAS) with 14 years of service gets almost double the salary compared to his defence counterpart with the same amount of experience ?
    4. Why does a jawan get Rs 950 less than a police constable ?
    5. Why does a defence officer after putting in 30 years of service get Rs 30 lakh less than his counter part in the civil services with same service period ?
    6. Why is the year- wise edge in emoluments of defence personnel not ensured over other civil services ?
    7. The concept of civilian control over the defence forces implies the control by elected representatives and not by bureaucracy. Why is the government dealing with the military through the bureaucracy, which in any case, is biased ?

    Cdr Harpaul Singh (IN) Veteran
    Chairman of Indian Navy Foundation, Canada

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    ESM may be roped in adventure tourism

    NEW DELHI : The Tourism Ministry is considering a proposal to use the services of ex-servicemen as part of an exercise for manpower development in adventure tourism.

    There is a need for manpower development in adventure tourism and the services of ex-servicemen may be used for the purpose, said a senior Tourism Ministry official. With an aim to boost adventure tourism, the Ministry has worked out an action plan to be carried out in close coordination with state governments. Currently there are about 25 projects related to adventure tourism being implemented with central financial assistance in different states.

    The projects include development of river rafting facilities, ski destinations, water sports complex, eco and adventure centre and trekking routes in several states. Tourism Ministry at a recent review meeting decided to provide an updated list of these ongoing projects to adventure tour operators association to enable them to plan activities and marketing initiatives accordingly. "We are trying to sort out various issues related to adventure tourism concerning other ministries like Environment and Forest Ministry and Defence Ministry," said a senior Tourism Ministry official.

    A meeting with other Ministries where clearances are required for adventure tourism activities will be convened by the Tourism Ministry shortly, said the official. There is also a proposal to construct an Adventure Tourism Centre in Sikkim whose model can be replicated in other states as well.
    Ex-servicemen may be roped in adventure tourism

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Army Group Insurance Refund

    Refund of Army Group Insurance Medical Benefit Scheme Subscription

    1. Consequent to introduction of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) with effect from 01 Apr 2003, enrolment and subscription into AGIF Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS) was discontinued from the same day. The Medical Benefit Scheme of Army Group Insurance was closed on 01 Apr 2006 for its members.

    2. Refund of MBS Subscription. All members of AGI MBS (Whether they have joined ECHS or not) who have not collected their refund of AGI MBS subscription from AGIF so far are advised to apply on a plain paper to AGIF at the address given below for the refund alongwith:
    a) Membership of ECHS-Yes/No(This information is for data collection only)
    b) Original MBS card issued by AGIF alongwith supplementary card if issued.
    c) Details of Bank Account Number and address of Bank.
    d) Present address of member.
    e) Your contact Number if available.

    3. For any further information, contact Army Group Insurance Fund:
    a) Director(Claims): 011-26145709
    b) MBS Section: 011-26142897 Extn 428
    c) E-mail:
    d) FAX: 011-26148471
    e) Address: Army Group Insurance Fund, AGI Bhawan, Rao Tula Ram Marg, PO Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057

    4. Last date for refund is 31 MAR 2009.

    Brig JS Kanwar
    Dir Adm & Secy AGIF

    Maintain Pension Parity: Supreme Court of India

    Here are some pearls from the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court:

    “….The larger issue involved is whether there could be a disparity in payment of pension to officers of the same rank, who had retired prior to the introduction of the revised pay scales, with those who retired thereafter….”

    “….The question regarding creation of different classes within the same cadre on the basis of the doctrine of intelligible differentia having nexus with the object to be achieved, has fallen for consideration at various intervals for the High Courts as well as this Court, over the years. The said question was taken up by a Constitution Bench in the case of D.S. Nakara (supra) where in no uncertain terms throughout the judgment it has been repeatedly observed that the date of retirement of an employee cannot form a valid criterion for classification, for if that is the criterion those who retired by the end of the month will form a class by themselves. In the context of that case, which is similar to that of the instant case, it was held that Article 14 of the Constitution had been wholly violated, inasmuch as, the Pension Rules being statutory in character, the amended Rules, specifying a cut-off date resulted in differential and discriminatory treatment of equals in the matter of commutation of pension. It was further observed that it would have a traumatic effect on those who retired just before that date. The division which classified pensioners into two classes was held to be artificial and arbitrary and not based on any rational principle and whatever principle, if there was any, had not only no nexus to the objects sought to be achieved by amending the Pension Rules, but was counter productive and ran counter to the very object of the pension scheme. It was ultimately held that the classification did not satisfy the test of Article 14 of the Constitution….”

    “….The object sought to be achieved was not to create a class within a class, but to ensure that the benefits of pension were made available to all persons of the same class equally. To hold otherwise would cause violence to the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution. It could not also have been the intention of the authorities to equate the pension payable to officers of two different ranks by resorting to the step up principle envisaged in the Fundamental Rules in a manner where the other officers belonging to the same cadre would be receiving a higher pension….”
    Maintain Parity of Pension between Defence Officers retiring on different set of dates
    Maj Navdeep Singh

    Maintain parity in pension of Army officers: SC
    Comments: It is likely that the MOD and the Bureaucrats in the Finance Ministry will attempt to thwart the decision of the Supreme Court by any foul means they can engineer. Basically Bureaucrats are crafty Mathematicians and one up in the numbers game!

    Rehabilitation of Disabled Jawans and ESM

    Queen Mary's Technical Institute, Pune
    1. The Queen Mary's Technical Institute (QMTI), Range Hill, Pune, a private charitable institution, conducts rehabilitation training courses for disabled servicemen, ex-servicemen and their dependents. It is recognized by National Council of Vocational Training. It runs courses for Fitter, Electrician and Motor Mechanics of two years duration; courses for Welder, Diesel Mechanic, Cutting-Tailoring, Master-Tailoring, Fashion Designing and Information Technology of one year duration and six months courses for BPO Training, Multimedia, Graphic Design, Web Design Technologies and Computer Hardware.
    2. Last date of application duly recommended by OC/CO is 25 Jul each year and applications are routed through respective Records, AG's Branch (CW-5), Directorate General of Resettlement to QMTI. Limited married accommodation is also available. Details are available on website Queen Mary's Technical Institute (This website is not actively loading!)
    3. Address of the institution:
    The Queen Mary's Technical Institute
    Range Hill, Khadki,Pune -411 020
    Tele:020-25816779 and 020-258032174

    Paraplegic Homes
    4. Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centres (PRC) at Kirkee and Mohali with a capacity of 109 and 34 beds respectively are being run for rehabilitation of paraplegic and tetraplegic ex-servicemen. These are being run as charitable trusts registered with the respective State Governments. These institutions are funded by Kendriya Sainik Board, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, AG's Branch and other State Govt/Private Organisations. Postal address of PRC Kirkee and Mohali are as under:
    Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Park Road , Kirkee, Pune-411020 (Maharashtra)
    Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre,SAS Nagar (Mohali) Phase VI,Dist Roopnagar (Punjab)-160055

    St Dunstan's After Care Organisation, Dehradun
    5. The Institution provides rehabilitation of blinded service and ex-servicemen including 'after care' in the form of financial assistance to these ex-servicemen. The training is conducted at National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) which is co-located on the campus, i.e. both, adjustment training of three months duration (orientation and mobility) and specialised training in a particular trade for one year duration. The institution is funded by Kendriya Sainik Board, Ministry of Defence and occasional grants by Service HQs. The address of the organisation is as under :-
    St Dunstan's After Care Organisation, 116 Rajpur Road, Dehradun (UA)

    Red Cross Home, Bangalore
    6. Red Cross Home, Bangalore, is a home for disabled (physically challenged) Ex-servicemen as well as Rehabilitation Centre. It can accommodate 75-100 inmates. However, at present there are only 07 inmates due to lack of funds available with Red Cross Society which runs this home. As result of this paucity of funds, no new inmates have been admitted since 1991 though there are a large number of applicants waiting. Red Cross Home, Bangalore provides free medical, nursing, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, food and accommodation. Funding of the institution is by Indian Red Cross Society, New Delhi. In addition, KSB, Ministry of Defence also gives an annual grant to partially meet the running expenditure of Red Cross Home, Bangalore. AG's Branch, Army Headquarters provides Rs 50,000/- as annual grant to meet the pocket allowances and training expense of non-pensioner inmates.

    Issue of Identity Cards to Disabled Ex-Servicemen
    7. The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment have requested the States/Union Territories Administration to prescribe the procedure for issuing Identity Card to disabled ex-servicemen. Appropriate authority for issuing the cards would be designated keeping in view the convenience of the disabled ex-servicemen. The cards can also be distributed through Rajya Sainik Boards/ Zila Sainik Boards and Army Formation Headquarters on the basis of disability certificate given by competent medical authority in the Defence Forces. For further information the Rajya Sainik Boards/ Zila Sainik Boards may be contacted.
    National Defence Fund
    War wounded Foundation
    War Wounded Foundation: Carry on Soldier!

    "The disabled personnel of the armed forces are the forgotten heroes who have given their today for the rest of the country's safe tomorrow. Until the Kargil war of 1999, even the widows of the martyrs were shabbily compensated, but the disabled soldiers were studiously ignored. There is urgent need to employ the Spouses of the disabled and war wounded ESM. This will ensure the financial state of the families to improve to a greater extent.

    "Even the disability pension that they get now is not sufficient for them to lead a decent and financially independent life. Hence we decided to help these personnel by persuading corporate houses to give them jobs in the retail outlets of their products," said Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, former Indian Army Vice Chief and president of the foundation.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Leg Amputee Subedar Jagmail Singh to Trek Thar Desert

    One of the oldest Signal Regiments of the Indian Army, the “1 Army Headquarters Signal Regiment” has always been in the forefront to promote the spirit of adventure. The Regiment has a well established Adventure Club which in the past has promoted various adventure events including high altitude trekking expeditions to various parts of Himalayas. The Regiment is now organizing a unique desert trekking expedition in the great Thar Desert from 09 Sep 2008 – 03 Oct 2008. The expedition is a novel large-scale venture of its kind being attempted 1200 kms away from the home base in the areas along Hanumangarh – Jaisalmer.

    Led by Col Vivek Dogra the 17 member team will attempt to cover more than 480 Kms of desert stretch by trekking on foot, an attempt, considered by people as extremely challenging in the sandy camel country of Thar. The young robust team includes Maj SPS Bali an expert in desert navigation, a must for survival in the vast expanse of desert and Capt Divya Gupta a petite but tough as a nail lady officer who amidst the grind of sun, sand and heat will be managing the complex affairs of communications and logistics, a critical link in an activity of this magnitude. Amongst the team members is Sub Jagmail Singh a leg amputee, who lost his leg during Sri Lanka operations whose steely determination will be a constant source of motivation for everyone.

    The proposed expedition besides trekking and exploring the desert flora and fauna also has an important aim of showcasing the unique versatility of Corps of Signals and the Indian Army to the people inhabiting remote hamlets of the desert. The chief patron of the expedition, Lt Gen P Mohapatra, Signal-Officer-in-Chief and Colonel Commandant of Corps of Signals alongwith with patrons Maj Gen TK Das and Brig Ajay Kohli of Army Headquarter Signals flagged off the expedition from the historic India Gate lawns today.
    Leg Amputee Subedar Jagmail Singh to Trek Thar Desert

    The Large Hadron Collider

    Our understanding of the Universe is about to change...Countdown starts in quest to pierce secrets of Universe... accelerate sub atomic particles to speed of light...

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

    Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

    There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what's for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.
    LHC- The Large Hadron collider

    Indian Connection: Professor SN Bose, Satyendra Nath Bose was an internationally renowned Indian physicist. His best known work was on quantum mechanics which he put forward in the early 1920s. This paved the way for the formulation of what is known as Bose- Einstein Statistics and the theory of Bose- Einstein Condensate. The particle bosen is named after him. Because of his contribution to Einstein’s theory of relativity, Professor Bose was popularly known in Bengal, his homeland, as ‘Einstein Bose’. The first test in LHC is in honour of Bose who had predicted particle "Boson" known by his name.
    Indian connection to Big Bang experiment

    DGR Ministry of Defence

  • Collection, compilation, analysis, maintenance & dissemination of selected statistics concerning ex-servicemen like registration, placement of ex-servicemen, ex- servicemen on live register, World War- II Veterans, War Widows and employment preferences and age distribution of retirees. The statistics is available to users free of cost on demand.
  • Furnishing of clarifications concerning to status of ex-servicemen /widows in consonance with Notifications/ Memorandum issued by the Department of Personnel & Training, Ministry Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Government of India and monitoring of policy guidelines thereof.
  • This Directorate is also a repository of Notifications/ Memorandum issued by the Department of Personnel & Training, Ministry Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Government of India with regard to status of ex-servicemen. The definitions of ex-servicemen have been widely publicized through the Journals “ Sainik Punarvas” and “News Letter” published by the DGR. Copies of the definition of ex-servicemen are available to interested persons free of cost on demand.
  • Preparation of draft reply to Parliament Questions and dissemination of inputs to Parliament Questions and other Parliament matters pertaining to registration, retirement, placement, live register of ex-servicemen and status of ex-servicemen.
  • Undertaking of Adhoc studies & analysis of data.
  • Handling of court cases relating to status of ex-servicemen.

    Directory of officers and staff:
    Ser/ Name/ Designation/ Pay scale
    1. Shri Mukat Singh Director(S&R) Rs.14300-18300
    2. Shri Laxaman Singh Assistant Rs.5500-9000
    3. Smt D. N. Sharma DPA Rs. 5500-9000
    4. Ms Sunita PA Rs. 5500-9000
    5. Shri Ravinder Kumar Group D Rs. 2550-3200

    Public Information Officer: Director (S&R) has been designated as Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) for Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) and Kendriya Sainik Board(KSB). For seeking information, in respect of DGR & KSB under The Right to Information Act, 2005, a request may be sent to Director, (Statistics and Records), Directorate General Resettlement, Ministry of Defence, West Block-IV, R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066 (Telephone 26192364), e-mail:

    Comments: This organisation is staffed and run by bureaucrats for the Veterans. Very laudable aims! No online data of ESM. The website merely gives out information. No user friendly interface. No online list of WWII Veterans, Widows list and so on and so forth. Why statistical data should be "On Demand"? Should it not be available for free online. Is the stat information "Secret"? How many ESM have obtained placement region/ statewise? Another shoddy function is issue of ESM identity cards of such poor quality which no one is proud to display.
  • How Government Salaries Work

    Government salaries work like this. As long as everyone is in the same boat, you grin and bear it. But if someone starts trying to ensure that their service gains an edge over other services, it is an unhealthy management practice, and one which is bound to cause problems which could rock the boat.

    So the answer is, yes, if everyone was getting paid the same thing, the service chiefs, and indeed, all other civil services would have no plaint. But that is not the case. Government salaries defy newton. They dont come down, they only go up. So the only way to end disparity is by (notionally, because they haven't been paid yet in this new scale) raising military pay back to the same level as the civilian ones.

    The feedback from members of various civil and military services is that the IAS lobby has launched its version of "Operation Grand Slam" with the 6th pay commission. The portents are all good- a weak central government, which cannot stand up to the bureaucracy, and a well stacked commission having produced the results which they wanted. Only thing is, its not gone down well at all with other services. Indeed, all this talk of the IAS's "Historical Edge" which must be maintained, doesn't wash very well with other services (and in the case of the military, it is false, as the military has had historically higher pay scales anyway).

    At any rate, there is a lot of discontent about this naked attempt by one service to elevate itself above all others. Its an extremely unhealthy practice, and the government should have known better than to accept it. Result? A huge mess.
    Indian Army Discussion: Bharat Rakshak
    Two letters by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd) to the Editor, Indian Express, Delhi

    Resentment In Armed Forces On Pay Parity

    Taking a bold step, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Suresh Mehta, has directly met and told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the resentment prevailing in the Armed Forces after the 6th Pay Commission was notified. Admiral Mehta, who is Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, met the P M and handed over a written note stating how the 6th Pay Commission had lowered the status of officers. He had gone to brief the PM on his recent visits to Japan and Korea.

    He requested for direct intervention by the PM to restore parity of the Defence Forces Officers with their Civilian Counterparts. He also requested directions to the Finance Ministry to correct the parity and not let it rot at the Anomalies Committee. Meanwhile, in the Defence Circles, the step by the Naval Chief is seen a bold step keeping in line with the leadership qualities of a Chief. Admiral Mehta along with the two other Chiefs, General Deepak Kapoor and Air Marshal Fale Homi Major, has already protested before the Defence Minister A K Antony seeking restoration of parity.

    The brief note of Admiral Mehta to the PM was that the Pay Commission has upset the parity especially at the middle level. This will have an effect on the organizational structure in various fields when Defence Officers and Civil Officers work together. Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force form the backbone of the Forces. However, they have been left in the lurch. By one stroke of the pen, a Commandant of Assam Rifles, who is Second in Command to the Lieutenant Colonel, has been placed in higher pay band. Even the Military Service Pay that is supposed to meet the aspirations of the Defence Forces and maintain the edge over civilian pay scales, cannot bridge the gap in the present format.

    Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal (Retd)
    Founding President
    Indian Ex-Servicemen Society British Columbia

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    Indian Military warns PM over poor wages

    NEW DELHI (AFP) — The Indian military on Friday took its long-running battle for higher wages to the prime minister, warning poor perks were hurting morale in one of the world's biggest armies.

    A top commander representing the army, air force and navy met Manmohan Singh to repeat demands for better pay for India's million-plus military. The military has stepped up its demands after the government unveiled a hefty wage hike for some five million federal workers last month. Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who met with the premier, discussed the "core issue" of low salaries, a defence ministry official told AFP after the meeting.

    The admiral handed over a memorandum to Singh which called for a review of the relatively modest perks offered to the military on August 14 when civilian government employees were given the 21-percent wage rise. "The (wage hike) notification has unwillingly upset existing relativity's between the defence forces and other central government officers," Mehta said in his appeal.

    "This has not only resulted in lowering of their status, especially in the middle ranks, but also has an effect on the organisational structure in various fields where they work together," the admiral warned. The Indian military, the world's fourth largest, has been campaigning for a 200-percent wage hike for non-ranking personnel.

    More than 120 army, navy and air force middle-rung officers have sought early retirement this year, saying they were not being adequately rewarded. The resignations have come at a bad time for the army, which is already facing a shortage of more than 11,000 officers.
    Indian military warns PM over poor wages

    The young educated men who are needed to lead the armed forces in war, insurgency or natural disasters, are far more aware of their market worth, and are definitely not overawed by the scheming bureaucracy, whose palpable failures require them to swing into action and retrieve the situation. It is high time that the political leadership stepped in to prevent demoralisation and destruction of leadership in the armed forces. The consequences of poor leadership or the unwillingness of military officers to lead from the front and sacrifice their lives may result in removing the last line of defence of this nation. Other unpleasant consequences would be a further drop in volunteer response, a larger number of officers wanting to leave and, worst of all, greater corruption, lack of discipline and loss of esprit de corps. One only hopes that the political leadership acts in time so that the services too can join their civilian and paramilitary counterparts in Diwali celebrations. The time has also come for a military member to be a part of the Pay Commission.
    Give military good news for Diwali by Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh

    Comment: We need to eliminate some of the career gates of Armed Forces Officers. Career ladder of Lt Col's (and equivalent in AF and Navy) need to be broad based with adequate opportunities. The current career patterns obstruct utilisation of the talents of most experienced rank (approx 19,000 officers). This promotes breadth of experience that is not rewarded in a branch- dominated, skewed ACR cum Medical promotion system that reinforces narrowness of experience. Another is the placement of a brigadier in command on the tactical level. Need of the hour is to restore the honour and dignity of the Rank, which has been eroded successively first by Military Brass themselves and then seconded by the Central Pay Commissions. We need to restore Honour and Pride of a Soldier!


    The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
    Neither the "Report my Signal -Blogs" nor the individual authors of any material on these Blogs accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused (including through negligence), which anyone may directly or indirectly suffer arising out of use of or reliance on information contained in or accessed through these Blogs.
    This is not an official Blog site. This forum is run by team of ex- Corps of Signals, Indian Army, Veterans for social networking of Indian Defence Veterans. It is not affiliated to or officially recognized by the MoD or the AHQ, Director General of Signals or Government/ State.
    The Report My Signal Forum will endeavor to edit/ delete any material which is considered offensive, undesirable and or impinging on national security. The Blog Team is very conscious of potentially questionable content. However, where a content is posted and between posting and removal from the blog in such cases, the act does not reflect either the condoning or endorsing of said material by the Team.
    Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)