Saturday, November 8, 2008

ESM: Toll Tax Exemption

Some toll operators continue to charge toll tax from ex-servicemen by distinguishing them from defence personnel on the ground that they have retired from the armed forces. Section 3 (a) of the Indian Toll (Army & Air Force) Act 1901 provides for toll tax exemption on all public or private roads and bridges in India for armed forces personnel.

Yet, the National Highway Authority of India makes different interpretations of the provision. The Centre and the states should enforce the Act in letter and spirit and exempt ex-servicemen from paying the toll tax.

No toll exemption

SCPC: The Pay Commission outcome as opportunity

There has been an attempt to generate a controversy around the military's propositioning the government on raising its emoluments and addressing the perceived decline in status. Inspired leaks have tried to bring into question the sense of propriety and self-discipline of no less than the Chiefs for doing this. Such critical commentary could be considered damaging for the morale of the services. However, the Chiefs by adopting a collective and proper approach have not only added to their individual stature but have enhanced the pride in uniform of both serving members and of their veteran well-wishers.

The controversy does not brook repetition. Suffice it to mention that the services felt let down by the Pay Commission's outcome and have sought to apprise the government of their concerns, lest injustice is done to the soldier. Since the Chiefs are held accountable for their respective force, they have not only a right, but a duty to bring any possible disquiet, or prospect of this, to the notice of the political head. Political control being the prerogative of the elected political authority, it is to the political representatives of the people that the services need answer. This, the Chiefs have done and while doing so have explained the situation of resultant delay in disbursing the pay bonanza through the time- honoured medium of a respective service- wide communication. That the government is seized of the matter is evident from the matter being taken up by a group of senior ministers to resolve. While not preempting the outcome, it may be anticipated that the nation would not begrudge its guardians a positive response.

Ali Ahmed
Security Analyst, New Delhi
Full Article: The Pay Commission Outcome as Opportunity

SCPC: Stand up for the Indian soldier

The Indian government is fooling itself if it thinks that by dragging its feet on the issue of the armed forces dissatisfaction with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, it can make the issue go away.

A country that refuses to respect its armed forces will eventually end up getting forces that will not respect the nations' aspirations. A country makes a sacred contract with its soldiers that while he/she will lay down his/her life when called upon to do so, the nation will take good care of his/her and his/her family's needs to the extent its resources would permit.

This contract underpins the very survival of a nation as when its territorial integrity and political independence are under threat, the nation looks upon the only instrument that can protect it -- its armed forces.

While all governments have to look for a considered bargain between their commitments and power and between power and resources, a responsible government will always be aware of the serious implications of not spending adequate resources on defence.

The debate as it has been made out to be in some quarters between defence and development is a spurious one. Unless adequate provisions are made for defence, no state will be able to pursue its developmental agenda. This is much more important for a country like India that faces a unique security environment with two of its 'adversaries' straddling it on two sides of its borders and problems on all sides of its periphery.

A government can keep spouting pious rhetoric about global peace and non-violence but it realises fully that force is the ultima ratio in international relations. Politics among nations is conducted in the brooding shadow of violence. Either a state remains able and willing to use force to preserve and enhance its interests or it is forced to live at the mercy of its militarily powerful counterpart.

Even Nehru, after neglecting defence for all the years after independence had to eventually concede in 1962 that India's military weakness 'has been a temptation, and a little military strength may be a deterrent.'

Harsh V Pant
King's College London
June 06, 2008
Full article click: Stand up for the Indian soldier

SCPC: Pay anomalies, isn't it deliberate?

The more I deliberate over the problem created by lowering of the status and pay anomalies of the defence services and bring them at par with the police and the Central Police Organisations (CPOs), the more I am convinced that the web in which we find ourselves today is a deliberately created situation.

What do they indicate? The non- creation of the post of CDS, lowering the pay and status of Lieutenants- General below that of the Directors- General of Police, bringing down the Lieutenant- Colonels at par with the second in command of the CPOs by lowering them to Pay Band 3 and now the alteration of the definition of the rank pay in the Special Army Instructions are deliberate attempts to equate the Army with that of the police and CPOs based on the badges of rank worn.

It is another matter that the junior officers of the police and CPOs were allowed to wear badges of higher ranks of the Army structure, perhaps with a long-term intention of lowering the status of the Army and equating them with these organisations.

Does any one still believe that the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister are oblivious of the goings on? Are the meek bureaucrats capable of doing all these on their own? I think not.

Isn’t it deliberate?

Comments: Has the President's Commission become worthless compared to a State Policeman? Honour, Rank and Status of policeman have steadily increased.

ESM: Our Voices and Demands are they heard? Yes Mortified and Degraded!

Respected Sirs,

Of late I came to know that the wave of disgruntlement and frustration amongst Armed Forces (serving as well as retired) is being highlighted by eminent and prominent personalities and in this regard a lot has been done.

I agree that there is virtually no public voice and hue and cry on the issue of the demands raised by the defence forces. You all have taken up the burden to communicate to all ESM of the country to unite and raise their voice which is very encouraging. Every body acknowledges the fact, that is the defence forces still remain the only true and honest Indian institution that has been relatively immune from politicisation and institutionalised corruption. As a result, the Indian Armed Forces soldier, sailor or airman is the most misfit person on the civvy street and the Netas & Babus treat them with indignity and ignominy. The ESM himself is equally at a loss and is unaware as to where does he stand. The DGR is doing the greatest harm by converting ESMs capability to a mere Chowkidar. They could have tied up with PSUs on various other jobs rather than Security.

I therefore feel that the fight for of status and not for money is laudable; money will come along with status.

I am located in Chhattisgarh. Although there are a handful of ESM in the State but the State is unable to utilise their expertise. As a result, the image of ESM is further mortified and degraded. Lately, the State authorities have conceded to my request to have a Golf course created (there in none in the state) to attract international golf tourism; the state immediately accepted the fact and reserved 130 hect but when I suggested that an ESM body be give the task of monitoring, they are quiet and have conveyed a reply with silence that these are the privileges of Bureaucracy. An IAS fella can head the State Transport despite not knowing ABC of Motoring, and an Army Officer who has handled a MT fleet with different types of transport besides other skills of HR, planning, Technical or has been an Instructor in D & M has no value. There are many such similarities. Most of the corporate sector has learnt management from the ESM and have now flourished. At one time, the Govt and Corporate were seeking the services of Ex- Armed Forces Officer. If IA or AI is what it is today, it is because of Armed Forces Officers giving it an impetus or fillip at the right time and if that has gone to dogs then it is because of the Babus heading it later.

It may be prudent to take along some organisations like BRSP of Shiv Khera and Foundation India launched by Capt SP Chaudhary, an IFS officer.

Jai Hind
Col Siddhartha Bose (Retd)

Comment: ESM are totally averse to the DGR Policy of brandishing the Veterans as "Chowkidhars". You can see them all over, shabbily dressed in all the banks and public sector firms and also an array of security personnel recruited by own Defence Forces Companies run by ESM Officers. The manpower Employment Policy of DGR is skewed! DGR Service is a disservice to ESM.

ESM: Remembrance Day?

We in India, were once upon a time considered extremely hospitable- and we gave refuge to varieties of people- Parsis, Moguls, Jews, the English, Portuguese, the French and others. Nowadays- very often at the drop of a hat, we remember a host of people on their death anniversaries, and their birthdays.

But, I have sometimes wondered as to the reasons that we in Mera Bharath Mahan, do not extend this courtesy to our soldiers- who have always done wonders in every imaginable situation- be it war, militancy, peace or whatever.

The Western World, remembers 11 Nov as veterans' Day or/ and Remembrance Day.

Am forwarding an article I just saw regarding the same. Maybe, we to are justified to have a day remembered and dedicated for our ESM who are second to none.....

Brig VA Subramanyam (Retd)

Here in the USA it is known as Veteran's Day. In Canada, it is known as Remembrance Day and is a national Holiday.

The number 11 took on a new meaning after 9/11. Before then, it signified freedom.

I had no idea what it meant. To me it was just another holiday. It was just a day when stores were closed and more importantly, there was no school. I knew about the war, but I was free to play. I knew people died for our freedom, but I could sleep in. I knew my parents had little when they were growing up because of the war, but I had food on my plate and a day to watch TV. The real meaning of the day was distant to me.

Years later my daughter joined the Brownies. The first year she was a member, I set the alarm to wake us on the morning of 11/11. She had to participate in a parade. Every Brownie, Girl Guide, Cub Scout, and Scout had to participate in this parade in remembrance of those who died for our freedom.

My wife and I left our daughter with the Guide leader and proceeded to the Canadian Legion where we waited for her. The kids paraded a mile along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia, carrying their flags high and proud. As we waited for her, the veterans arrived - old men, long past their prime. They'd fought in the trenches and watched their comrades die. Many came in wheelchairs. Some limped. A few still stood strong.

They joined the kids and walked as proudly as they could to the legion where a band waited. The band played, speeches were made, and on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour, the 11th minute, and the 11th second there began two minutes of silence.

I looked at the veterans. Their sacrifices allowed us to stand there that day. They gave us our freedom. The cold seeped through my jacket. I reached out and held my wife. A tear trickled down my cheek.

For years, I slept as these brave men still marched in the cold November air in remembrance of their comrades who died in battle beside them. It took my daughter to make me realize the importance of the day.

I've never missed another Remembrance Day.

Years later, because of work, I was separated from my family. I was in another city, but on Remembrance Day, I heard there was going to be a service in the city square. I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. I put on my jacket and a tie, walked the mile to the service, stood in the damp cold with a poppy proudly displayed on my lapel.

I watched those brave men once again march for our freedom. I don't know if it was because I was away from my family or the sight of those old men still walking proudly, but the memory of that service never fades from my memory.

They marched, wheeled, and limped to the city square. The mayor gave a speech. The two minutes of silence came. A bagpipe began to play "Amazing Grace." After the first chorus, a second one joined in, along with a small band. On the third chorus, more bagpipes joined and a brass band began to play. The building of sound, the magic of the moment is something I will never forget.

Tears filled my eyes that day, as the blood must have filled the trenches in battle. The moment is burned in my mind forever.

On November 11th, please take a moment to remember those who fought for our freedom and those that continue to fight for it.

May God bless them all.

SCPC: Emoluments of Army Officers

In his address to West Point, President Eisenhower said, " When diplomats fail to maintain peace the soldier is called out to restore peace. When the civil administration fails to maintain order the soldier is called out to restore order. As the Nation's final safeguard, the Army cannot afford a failure in either circumstance. Failure of the Army can lead to national catastrophe, endangering the survival of the Nation." I would urge our decision- makers to ponder over this statement of Eisenhower.

As one who served in the Indian Army both before and after Independence, I would like to apprise you how the emoluments and status of Army officers have been persistently lowered since Independence.

Before Independence, the Army got emoluments at par with the ICS and at some points higher than the latter. After Independence the Government brought down the salary of Army officers to the level of IPS officers, with a slight edge for the former. This resulted in our salaries getting considerably slashed.

At the time of Independence, I was drawing a salary of Rs 1300 a month which overnight got reduced to Rs 770. Never before or after, have salaries of serving personnel been reduced so arbitrarily. The old salaries of our contemporaries in the ICS and IP were duly protected. No one from the Army went to court or launched any agitation. We accepted this blatant injustice with a stiff upper lip and enthusiastically went to war in Kashmir in which many of my colleagues got martyred. That was in 1947. We must accept that India of today is very different.

The pay equation between Army and Police officers was maintained till the Fourth Pay Commission, when this started being altered to the disadvantage of Army officers. I compliment the three Service Chiefs for doing their bounden duty in taking up the case of the emoluments of Lt Cols and Lt Gens at the highest level. I am surprised that some journalists, ignorant of facts have been critical of the Army and the Chiefs on this score.

I do not wish to bother you with details. I understand that to scuttle the case of Lt Cols, a red herring of comparing them with Deputy Commandants of Para Military Forces, has been raised. The latter till recently were Class 2 officers and even today are not at par with IPS officers. Moreover, the role and responsibility of the Army is different from that of the Para Military. As for Lt Gens, they got higher emoluments and held higher status than the Chief of Police of a State. That equation is also now sought to be altered to the disadvantage of the Army.

In 1973 Manekshaw was appointed Field Marshal. As Adjutant General I took up the case of the salary of Field Marshal with the Government. It took the Babus 33 years to take a decision and finally Manekshaw got his arrears of Rs 1.2 crores in 2007. The Defence Secretary handed over a cheque for that amount to him. Soon after, I met Manekshaw in the hospital, when he was on a ventilator. I congratulated him. He smiled and in his imitable way said that a Babu had given him a cheque but he was not sure if that cheque would be honoured.

Not only in terms of emoluments but also protocol, the position of Army officers has been persistently lowered after Independence. This applies to the Army Chief downwards and often this has been done after the Army has fought a war successfully. The protocol status of a Field Marshal has not yet been fixed in the Table of Precedence because Babudom wants to preserve the higher status of the ' Bara Babu ', the ' Cabinet Secretary '. When our first Field Marshal passed away recently, only a Minister of State attended the funeral. When the first British Field Marshal, the Duke of Wellington, passed away, Heads of States , Ambassadors, Prime Minister and Ministers attended his funeral. Such a cavalier approach of our rulers to the Army, aptly described by Eisenhower as the Nation's ultimate weapon, is not in our national interest.

Lt Gen SK Sinha (Retd)

Sinha criticises centre

Health and Happiness: Science And Art Of Healthy Living

Dear friends,
Our happiness, throughout our life, depends on our health. Unless we are having sound physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, we can’t remain happy; and unless we are happy we can’t have peace of mind, which is our ultimate aim. Unless we are having peace of mind, we can’t work efficiently. Unless we work efficiently, our output will not be optimum. Our aim in life is ‘to work efficiently’. By efficiently I mean– with optimum utilisation of available resources to achieve optimum results. We will try to answer these questions– What is life? What is the purpose of our life? What is life management? How to live life- the right way? What are our life’s goals? How to set life’s goals? How to set life’s priorities? Before doing any work, we should ask our self– why should we do it? Once we decide to do the work, then we should plan the work in detail and do it, so that we achieve our targets.

How I Bypassed My Bypass- Surgery?
Due to modern lifestyle, it is not uncommon to learn that ‘so and so’ has been advised bypass surgery or angioplasty by the famous cardiologists of famous hospitals. On one pretext or the other, the hospitals are encouraging people to get full body checkups at throw- away prices, basically to get some patients for the expensive surgery procedures.
People, who have medical insurance or for whom their company/organisation is paying for their medical problems, are more attracted for such offers and become their clients. Minor blockages in the heart arteries are amplified and the person is advised to undergo angioplasty or similar tests leading to ‘immediate bypass surgery or angioplasty with stents’.
My advice to ‘such people or likely victims for such traps’ are to just go through my medical history appended below. If you wish to remain healthy inspite of blockages in your heart arteries ‘follow the lifestyle changes adopted by me’. If you follow the similar lifestyle you may also achieve the desired results irrespective of your health status and age. If you are looking for answers to similar questions than be part of this yahoo group:

Wishing you good health and happiness
Yours truly,
Lt Col Harish Nagpal
More Reading:
How I bypassed my bypass Surgery
Health and Happiness (blog link)
Science and Art of healthy Living

Thursday, November 6, 2008

SCPC: In defence of our defence forces

There is no contesting reality that in a democracy, the authority of the elected government is supreme and that is how it should be.

Our defence forces have an impeccable record on that score, but no civil authority can sustain itself if the pillars on which it stands are corroded, as it has happened in the case of our defence forces. The position of Chiefs of Staff with rank equivalent to a full General has, over a period of time, been down graded to the twelfth position. Today the Chiefs of Staffs, the chief defenders of our nation, rank behind the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Delhi, about seven notches down.

The very nomenclature ‘para-military’ means organisations that are there to assist the regular forces and work under their command and control of the Field Commander in case of war. In the current scenario, unless the situation is addressed quickly, the chiefs of para-military forces stand taller than their counterparts both in terms of ranking and remuneration and perks.

It is common knowledge that all the three services are woefully short of officers and those in service are seeking premature retirement, for the salaries on civvy street are heavily skewed against the services. Just one example will do to illustrate the disparity. An Air Force pilot who captains a Boeing aircraft on a VIP flight, gets one fourth the salary of his counterpart, in civil aviation who flies the same type of aircraft.

The defence forces have been requesting the government to correct the situation but the recent Pay Commission has further distorted the position particularly in the middling ranks of the forces of Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels and their equivalent in the other two services.

The result of it all is that it is the first time in the history of India that a chief had to communicate and explain to his sailors, that he was withholding the revised pay from being distributed, because he was not happy with what had been given to them. It is again the first time in the history of India that the military pensioners took out a protest march to Rajghat, went on fast and wanted to return their medals, because their case for a better pension had fallen on deaf ears.

In a recent report, the CAG states that the Army forces deployed on the Siachen glaciers have been receiving torn clothing to kit themselves in sub-40 temperatures. Ask a serving Air Force officer and he will tell you that the LCA fighter being thrust upon him is outdated and behind the times. Ask a sailor and he would say the same about the submarines that he is supposed to dive in and defend the nation’s waters.

The political leadership needs to realise that everything else being the same, the morale of the defence forces is the single most important factor that counts between victory and defeat.

I have read somewhere that a nation that does not respect its soldiers is doomed. I think this is an important thought for our political leadership.

By Dinesh Kumar
In defence of our defence forces

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why Orderlies?

Excerpted from the book Follow Me-II by Maj Gen Aubrey Newman (Lancer International 1993 Price Rs 200). The write- up is equally informative to both, the Armed Forces and citizens.

1. After I assumed command of my first company, the first sergeant a decorated veteran of World War came in to my office and asked "Captain, will you select your orderly or do you want me to pick one for you?" Of course I knew it was customary for the company commander to have an orderly- even in garrison in that day. But I replied "Well Sergeant, live in the BOQ and take care of myself, there is not much to do, so I don't think an orderly necessary."

2. The old sergeant stood silent a minute. Then choosing his words carefully, he said "Captain the company will not like it that way, its best you take care of the company and we take care of you." So I got an orderly who was also the company bugler and company runner.

3. Battle- Wise soldiers know that if their captain is chasing his own chores in the field, caring for his equipment running his own errands-plus using the first sergeant as a legman-the company will suffer as a result. In fact a company commander who operates in this way during combat will not only fail to take good care of his company, he might jeopardize their lives by poor decisions. His rank and responsibilities do not make him a superman immune to laws of time, space, and fatigue.

4. Professional soldiers, especially combat veterans know this goes beyond physical factors-for a state of mind and a mental attitude are concerned. This does not happen suddenly after bullets begin to snarl, but is established during training based on mutual respect and understanding. Any outfit that has failed to gain this officer enlisted relationship of mutual responsibility towards each other will be tremendously handicapped in battle. While the captain and his orderly or a symbol of this, it should pervade the whole outfit.

5. Unfortunately distorted diatribes alleging universal abuse of orderlies appear in the public press from time to time. This deceives civilians about the place and function of military orderlies. It also misleads many inexperienced soldiers, officer and enlisted, who think in terms of privileges rather than multiplicity of duties and responsibilities.

6. The reality of need for orderlies does not condone their misuse or abuse, nor should we dignify absurd allegations by trying to justify them. In every endeavour involving large numbers of people there will be some poor judgement, some injustice. And orderlies are vulnerable to abuses. Proper corrective action in such instances is the elimination of errors, not emasculation of an operational procedure for which no adequate alternate has yet been found. As to orderlies and aides in garrison for senior officers in peace- time that is a different situation beyond discussion here.

7. Perhaps the function of military orderlies may be clarified by my experience when in command of a regimental combat team (more than 5000 men) in the assault landing on Leyte. There was a regimental staff to help me, but I also had a personal enlisted staff of five.

8. One orderly in the command post responsible for my personal gear, laundry, meals, sleeping arrangements anything that it would rob me of time and energy, or distract my concentration from our battle mission and to have coffee always available.

9. One orderly was (bodyguard) with me everywhere I went. He was an armed fighter, but his primary mission was to conserve my strength in every possible way. It is amazing how much energy and time an alert bodyguard can save his commander- in addition to protecting him from enemy action. One radio operator who followed me everywhere was instantly available when needed. One jeep driver, ready day and night to take me anywhere. One standby jeep and driver.

10. These five man were soldiers whose only job was to do my bidding, instantly, thus helping me carry out my heavy responsibilities. All of us had the same mission: success of our regiment in battle. They understood this and were picked men, proud of their jobs and eager to do their part. Without any one of them I would have been seriously handicapped. Make no mistake: when you stumble back into the command post at sundown, physically and mentally exhausted, your heart bleeding from what you have seen, yet faced with the necessity of issuing orders on which many lives will depend- it is important that a cup of coffee come a running, and that you need give no thought to food, where you will bed down, or other personal needs.

11. If these procedures are not established during peace, they will not suddenly be there during war. A state of mind on both sides, is concerned that cannot be achieved by pressing a button it is a feeling. Inexperienced officers and men who have never been in battle are likely to be deluded into getting the wrong feeling after reading some of the things about orderlies that appear in the public press.

12. Be alert to stop abuses, yes. But my veteran first sergeant stated a universal principle that is beneath the dignity of no soldier, and must pervade every good outfit if it to achieve its greatest combat effectiveness: "Captain it's best you take care of the company, and we take care of you."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

SCPC: At Defence Meet, PM Skips Pay Talk

Monday, November 03, 2008 9:54 PM
NEW DELHI: If the armed forces expected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce the resolution of their "core demands" about their new revised pay scales, they were left sorely disappointed on Saturday.
During his address to the combined commanders' conference, the PM talked about India's quest for better relations with China and Pakistan - despite several problems and concerns - to ensure a peaceful and stable neighbourhood. Assuring the armed forces that funds would not be a constraint for their modernisation, he also said India would still be able to manage a 7-7.5% growth despite the global financial meltdown.

But Singh, said sources, skipped any mention about the 6th Pay Commission in his address to the top military brass, who feel that the extant parity of the armed forces with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts had been "destroyed" by the new pay scales.

Moreover, deciding that discretion was better part of valour, the government did not make the PM's speech or even excerpts from it public this time, as has usually been the norm over the years.

The armed forces, on their part, contend the committee of secretaries has actually introduced "far more serious anomalies" rather than resolving the ones present in the 6th Pay Commission report.

Moreover, they are now even more upset with the defence ministry for "changing the definition of rank pay" and "diluting the definition of MSP (military service pay)", among other things, in the special Army, Navy and IAF instructions issued in mid-October. Incidentally, the three-member ministerial committee is yet to finalise its recommendations about the "core demands" raised by armed forces.
Source: 2008 The Times of India. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
At Defence Meet, PM Skips Pay Talk

Monday, November 3, 2008

ESM: Tall promises four years ago

One-rank, one-pension promise yet again?
19 Mar 2004, 0109 hrs IST, Rajat Pandit, TNN

NEW DELHI: Ex-servicemen, be forewarned. Politicians will once again try to woo you with tall promises of ushering in the long- sought "one- rank, one- pension" (OROP) principle in the run up to the general election.

But, as has happened in the past, they will promptly consign it to the dusty files in South Block once they assume power.

Successive Union governments have brushed aside recommendations by parliamentary committees to swiftly resolve "the disparity of pensioners benefits between pensioners of the same rank" without much ado.

"The OROP proposal," say defence ministry officials, "is simply not feasible at the moment. If the principle is accepted, the total financial implication is estimated to be well over Rs 3,500 crore, with the additional liabilities being around Rs 650 crore annually."

This estimate takes into account payment of arrears with effect from January 1, 1996, the date from which the recommendations of the fifth pay panel were effective.

"It's also not possible to implement OROP due to administrative reasons and possible repercussions from the civil side, public sector and autonomous bodies," said an official.

Political parties, however, continue to pull the OROP rabbit out of their hats every time a general election comes near. Ex-servicemen, after all, constitute a sizable vote-bank.

Defence pensioners alone notch up a tally of over 20 lakh, with another 55,000 being added every year. If you add family members, over one crore people in India are directly connected with defence personnel or ex-servicemen.

So, it's no wonder that most political parties want to lure ex- servicemen to their fold. The Congress, in its 1999 election manifesto, for instance, said: "The issue of OROP will be re- examined and a solution to the satisfaction of ex- servicemen found expeditiously."

The BJP said, "The government will recognise the services and sacrifices of retired personnel."
One-rank, one-pension promise yet again?

Comment: Present status the Court rulings are systematically being scuttled by MoD. If Government has no money it should cut down on bureaucratic extravaganza and not deny pension to ESM who have defended the nation with their sweat and blood.

SCPC: MoD lets down armed forces

Pay Row
Now, MoD lets down armed forces
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
Even as a high- level committee comprising three Cabinet ministers is examining the four “core issues” that the armed forces have raised after the Sixth Pay Commission report was released, a fresh controversy has erupted. The ministry of defence (MoD) and the forces are at loggerheads again over salary related issues that have cropped up in the past one week.

It all started on October 20 when the MoD’s special instructions to implement the pay commission reached the forces.

To their dismay, the forces have now found some anomalies in the special instructions that were not there in the Sixth Pay Commission report approved by the Cabinet and notified by the government. Angered at being “short-changed”, the chief of personnel officers committee (COPOC) of the three forces has shot a letter to the MoD asking it to remove seven aberrations that include the dilution of the provisions of the pay commission as approved by the Cabinet and in some cases restore the deleted portions. These are separate from the four core issues being examined by the ministerial committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee.

The adjutant general at present heads the COPOC that also comprises the personnel officers of the Air force and the Navy. Out of the many serious anomalies, the key ones are: the dilution of the definition of the military service pay; the subversion of the definition of rank pay and the fixing of the initial pay scale for Colonels and Brigadiers at a level that is lower than what is due.

The foremost issue is of the rank pay that will result in a lesser hike in wages of all officers. The adjutant general has pointed out that the Fourth Pay Commission onward the rank pay is counted part of the basic pay. This is the government policy to club the two increases, thus affecting the quantum of house rent allowance, travelling allowance and DA. Under new orders, the MoD has delinked the rank pay from the basic pay. Hence, effectively reducing the HRA, travelling allowances and DA for each officer.

In case of the military service pay (MSP), the Sixth Pay Commission explains it as “?compensation for difficulties specific to military life”. The MoD in its latest orders to implement the pay commission report refers it to as a type of hardship allowance to “security forces” in forward areas. The personnel officers have questioned as to why the definition of the MSP has not been adopted from the pay commission itself.

Furthermore, on the MSP, the pay commission says that “in case of employees drawing the same grade pay, the priority (for status) should be on the total emoluments, including non-practising allowance for doctors and the MSP for forces”.

The personnel chiefs have pointed out that the MoD has said the MSP shall not be linked to status and rank.

The initial pay fixation for Colonels and Brigadiers was to be done as per scale “S-25” of the pay commission. Under the new instructions, the Colonels and Brigadiers have been given scale “S-24” that is applicable to a grade that is lower in the civil ranks. This means the initial pay of a Colonel will be reduced by Rs 1,300 while a Brigadier will lose Rs 3,000.
MoD lets down armed forces

"The changes in the definition and meaning of key pay commission recommendations have been done on the sly to deal a blow to the armed forces' morale and to deny them their due," they alleged.
New "pay anomalies" cause rift between Services, Ministry

Comments: This is in consonance with bureaucrats who are well versed in creating ever increasing anomalies which will not be easy for the armed forces personnel to detect. This proves the point that Defence Minister and cabinet committee are manipulated by the bureaucracy. The "Permit Raj" government is delving deep to the peril of the armed forces! If this be the attitude, the officers and Jawans desirous of leaving the services should be allowed to go.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

SCPC: Lt Col left high and dry

I have often heard retired officers commenting that the fight for status and equivalence is a battle which is to be fought by the serving community and it is the One Rank One Pension (OROP) demand which really concerns retired personnel.

This is a misconception. The pension of retired personnel is directly linked to the status and pay of serving personnel. Some instances may be absolutely glaring and some may not, but the fact remains that the two issues are intertwined. I’ll explain how.

Whenever Pay Commission recommendations are implemented, it is provided that the pension of earlier retirees (for example, pre 1-1-2006 retirees) would not go below a value @ 50% of the starting rate of the new pay scale for every grade or rank. To take an example, after the 5th CPC, the minimum basic pension admissible to a Major could not be less than Rs 6,400/- (that is, 50% of starting of Rs 12,800 – the start of a Major’s scale). But now see below how things changed for retired personnel this time due to a change in the pay equation of serving officers - especially for the rank of Lt Col :-

Situation till now
Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) Officer of the Civil Services (Director to Govt of India) : Rs 7150/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 14,300/-)

Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Lt Col : Rs 7550/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 15,100/-)

Situation after the 6th CPC
Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) Officer of the Civil Services : Rs 23,050/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 37400 + Rs 8700 Grade Pay)

Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Lt Col : Rs 11,600/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 15,600 + Rs 7600 Grade Pay)

Or Let’s put it more simply :

Minimum possible basic pension of an NFSG Officer after the 5th CPC : Rs 7150/-
Minimum possible basic pension of a Lt Col after the 5th CPC : Rs 7550/-
Minimum possible basic pension of an NFSG Officer after the 6th CPC : Rs 23,050/-
Minimum possible basic pension of a Lt Col after the 6th CPC : Rs 11,600/-

Could you spot the difference? Oh really? Don't tell me!

Though practically speaking the pension of Lt Colonels who retired prior to 2006 after full pensionable service (33 years with or without weightage) would be around Rs 17,000, officers who retired pre-maturely in the rank of Lt Col prior to 1-1-2006 would be the worst hit. Another category facing the heat would be disability pensioners. The service pension part (service element) of disability pensioners invalided before completion of pensionable service would be fixed at Rs 11,600/- flat and this shall be applicable both to pre and post 1-1-2006 cases, while the service element of their erstwhile civilian counterparts (pre and post 1-1-2006) would now be fixed at Rs 23,050/-.

Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 10:32 PM
Status, equivalence and pay parity: does it affect pensioners and retirees? It damn well does!

How bureaucrats perceive Warrant of Precedence
Since the declaration of 6th CPC, a campaign is continuing in print and electronic media stating that CPMFs Officers are paid much more than what they deserve. It is also pointed out that status of Armed Forces Officers’ has been lowered. Status is directly linked with the role played. The warrant of precedence mentioned below and is being quoted by Armed Forces repeatedly, need amendment. During 1939 Lt was commanding a Company, in 1966 Captain were commanding Company and Lt Col were commanding Battalions. In 2008, Lt Col is commanding a company and Col is commanding a unit/ battalion. In CPMFs, Asstt Comdt performs the duty of a Company Commander. There has been dilution in the rank structure and role performed by a particular rank in Army, similarly there has to be dilution in the warrant of precedence.
The Armed Forces need to restore the original (pre 1962) rank and command structure if the warrant of precedence is to be preserved and not slide downhill at the behest of the successive pay commissions.


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