Saturday, June 6, 2009

Army Headquarters Transport Company celebrates 67th Raising Day

Friday, June 05, 2009 14:51 IST

The Army Headquarters Transport Company of the Army Service Corps celebrated the 67th Raising Day with great zeal and enthusiasm in the unit, today here. The celebrations commenced with Special Sainik Sammelan in the unit. While presiding over the Special Sainik Sammelan, Col Mukaesh Chadha, Commanding Officer Transport Company commended his men including the civilians for their dedication to duty. He applauded the way all men had worked with great perseverance in keeping with the high traditions of their Corps motto “Seva Ashmakam Dharm”. He also expressed confidence that they would continue to strive hard to achieve higher levels of excellence. The Commanding Officer presented excellence awards to the outstanding performers and the sammelan culminated with ASC Corps song. A barakhana was organized at Arvind Stadium where unit personnel along with their families were present. A variety entertainment programme was also organized.

Since its inception on Jun 05, 1942, the Army Headquarters Transport Company ASC has welded itself into a fine and efficient organization. The unit played a vital role in evacuation of refugees during partition and is popularly known as “The Company that Never Sleeps”. Army Headquarters Transport Company ASC is engaged in providing transport support to IHQ of MoD (Army), ISO and MoD and is amongst the first that has been certified to the highest level of management standard ISO-9001:2000 and the only unit which received Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Trophy in Dec 2008.
Army Headquarters Transport Company celebrates 67th Raising Day

The Transportation & Logistics sector of Indian Army comprises a wide range of service providers, covering all modes of transport – air, road, rail, sea – as well as related services such as warehousing, handling, stevedoring, and finally services like packaging, labelling, distribution etc. In addition to these 'physical' services, T&L includes all sorts of planning, organisational and management services in the area of transportation and logistics of Ammunition and POL. It is in this field that ASC can modernise and with innovative and cost reducing technologies. There is a greater need to reduce corruption while entering into contracts with Civilian and Politically connected big wigs who are forever trying to cheat the Armed Forces of quality products which the Soldiers truly deserve. Modernisation and elimination of corruption can save the National exchequer of hundreds of crores of Rupees annually.

President Address: Readers Responses

Dear Veterans,
My appreciation of the hurry of the UPA Government before and after elections is that the Government has made up its mind to give in to some extent to the ESM. Earlier I had sent an email ‘Beware of the Trap’. They are now ready to spring the trap.

At the best the Government may offer to fix the pay of the ESM notionally on the lines of the SAI 1 & 2/S/2008 and then fix the pension. This decision, they might take reluctantly because of the recent Court order in the case of the rank pay for major generals. Such revision will certainly impress the maximum of the ESM community and in the bargain, cause shelving of the idea of parity for ever. This is the improved trap.

Certainly we should not get trapped. Those who count must unite and rally to get the concept of OROP or APIP (name does not count the definition is what matters) quite clear and make it equally clear to the Government that the ESM is not settling down with anything other than absolute parity.
I for one intend sending my paper in the individual capacity to the RM within a couple of days and place it on the net as well for information of all.
RN Radhakrishnan (Retd Major General)

Date: Thursday, 4 June, 2009, 5:59 PM
My very sincere congratulations.The fact that the Government had to take such serious notice of our movement as to include it in the President's address is a feather in your cap and and a recognition of your selfless and unwavering efforts. We are proud of you and grateful.
Lt Gen V Madan (Retd)

Date: Thursday, 4 June, 2009, 3:50 PM
Dear Gen Kadyan,
Your efforts and that of the core Committee have at least made the GOI take a serious note of the issue and it has found a mention in the President's address in the Joint Session to both the Houses today. Though it says the a decision will be taken by the end of this month, we MUST NOT ACCEPT anything less than full & complete OROP as defined in our demand.
Wish IESM the very best in their efforts.
J K Nangpal

Indian Army: What the kids miss?

1 You were born in a Military Hospital
2 Half your toddler years were spent being looked after by Bhaiyas (no explanation here)
3 You went to school either on Bhaiya's cycle or in a Shaktiman
4 You know what a Shaktiman is. ( No! it isn’t the TV serial about half man and half machine starring AB lookalike)
5 Jeeps & Jongas don't excite you- they were your regular mode of transport!
6 The only alternative to the Central School was the Army School
7 You always called Kendriya Vidyalaya Central School. Gosh even today that sounds better!
8 Your entire family could survive in one room temporary quarters with 25 trunks, wooden crates, the dog, the bedroll and two bhaiyas flitting around
9 The smell of Brasso & shoe polish was regular staple
10 Mess was not what you created in your room, it was where you went every Friday for the free "English" movie
11 The "English Movie" was very often a western and you couldn't follow a word! Sometimes you just went for the samosas and the local drink that they insisted was Cola
12 At the end of the month your dad had to pay for many pink slips showing how many samosas and local drinks that they insisted was Cola you had consumed. They never missed any!
13 You attended many May Queen Balls before you knew what Miss India was
14 Your mother regularly got dressed, perfumed and disappeared for the Ladies Club
15 You knew towns like Mhow, Wellington, Deolali and Bhuj
16 You weren't a millionaire but hey you had Swimming, Horse Riding, Squash, Tennis and Golf!
14 You thought the main reason to have a Golf Course was to have a Holi Bash
15 You can still take one quick look at the epaulets and figure out the rank
16 You discussed Wednesday's Chitrahaar in the Shaktiman
17 You can still recall the special & particular smell of the CSD canteen! A special prize for the correct concoction- mine is- it was a mix of Hamam Soap, Ponds Dream flower Talc & Surf I think. In some corners it had overtures of Brooke Bond red Label as well
18 Your vacations were a package deal consisting of D-forms, Sharma Uncle Ka jonga and Arty Mess ka kamra

With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi

Friday, June 5, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Friday, 5 June, 2009, 9:02 PM
Dear Colleagues,
On the Kargil Diwas (26 July) this year, the IESM plans to project a positive image in the society. In addition to paying the traditional homage to our brave martyrs at the war memorials, we plan to organise blood donations. For those above 60, who are not allowed to donate blood, signing of pledges for organ donation will be included. Participation is planned to be widened to include civilians in our campaign. Free medical checks can also be on the roster. The events can/ should be organised at all major metros in the country that have a significant ESM population. Media can be contacted to cover the events. This is still a broad-brush plan. Details are being shaped up. Views are welcome.
An MP informed me that Arun Jaitley of the BJP raised the OROP issue in the Rajya Sabha today. Reportedly, accusing the Congress of stealing the BJP manifesto on OROP, he told the government to implement it straightaway and that there is no need for a committee for this purpose.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

President Address to Parliament- Armed Forces

New Delhi, 4th June, 2009
Our armed forces are the nation's pride, a symbol of our values of sacrifice, valour and the spirit of national integration. India's defence forces stand committed to the task of defending the territorial integrity of the country. They will be fully enabled with modern technology to repel any threat from land, sea or air. To enhance combat efficiency as also to address the requirements of modern day warfare, a number of steps are under way. The welfare of ex-servicemen will continue to be accorded high priority. The Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary, to look into the issue of One Rank One Pension has already commenced its work and expects to complete it by the end of June 2009.

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Friday, 5 June, 2009, 12:42 AM
Dear Colleagues,
I could not watch the TV in daytime today. However, from around midday onwards there has been a flurry of telephone calls from different parts of the country on the President’s address to the joint session of the Parliament. Everyone is applauding the efforts of the IESM in getting OROP to the point that it has reached. I pass it on to my colleagues who weathered it out on the Jantar Mantar pavement.
The exact words used by the President in her address will be known only through the print media on June 5. However, one is happy that the government has considered OROP issue important enough to be included in the Presidential address. One also hopes that the OROP is sanctioned in full without riders so as to give the veterans a sense of justice.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

ECHS: Health care at crossroads?

Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 5:00 PM
I was in a dilemma for a long, whether to express my opinion on ECHS or not? And if decide to express, then in what form? Having shredded uniform 25 years back I would like to express my view without any reservation. Some of this is my personal experiences some realised while working in ESM organization. Let it be a healthy discussion.

First I must say it is a very good scheme, but very badly implemented. Good for few but worst for the majority. Majority residing in the area where polyclinics are not located. Or even if located in same town, it is at a distance of 30-40 kms. In town where polyclinics are located, there the problems of ESM are less. Polyclnics at present are in less than 200 places in the country. Where as there more than 550 districts in the country. For some it is at a distance of 600-700kms. What benefit he can have of this ECHS? Those residing in Delhi and north are not aware of the reality. They have polyclinics, MH and number of empanelled hospitals with easy access to command HQS, Stn HQ and ECHS polyclinics. It is the plight of others where polyclinics are not located. I would surely agree that probably strength of ESM is not adequate for establishing polyclinic. The problem of ESM of this area can be addressed very well if those in the chair adopts a human approach and has a consideration for the unfortunate ESM and desire to work and take up the matter with appropriate authority. I have few suggestions.

(1) On joining of ECHS scheme the very first loss to veteran is stoppage of FMA. ESM of far flung area firstly does not get the medical facility within a reasonable distance. On top of it he has to surrender a meager sum of Rs.100/- which he is being paid if not a member of ECHS. This needs to be reviewed. ESM can continue drawing FMA till such time a polyclinic is opened within say a distance of 50 kms of his/ her residence. If I recollect correctly this FMA is out of pocket allowance granted to ESM for their day to day medicines and treatment at MH. Hence discontinuation of FMA is not correct. Other central Government servants receive this FMA as well aand are covered under CGHS. Then why this injustice to ESM?

(2) A special drive be undertaken by all Command HQS to get at least 2-3 hospitals empanelled in each district. For this they should depute 2-3 persons who are well conversant with ECHS rules like filling up the forms, CGHS approved charges and so on. They should go to all the places from where a local ESM organization has forwarded name of a hospital for empanelling. Empanelment of hospitals will give some relief in emergency to ESM residing in area where polyclinic is not available. If possible at each district HQs where sufficient number of ESM are not available veteran officer/ hon offr/ Sub maj can be appointed as officer i/c polyclinic and local polyclinic with the help of empanelled hospital.

My experience is that hospitals are not coming forward for empanelling as they are not well conversant with filling of the form/ claim etc. We had proposed one very good hospital for empanelment at Surat about 3 yrs ago. A team from Vadodara/ command Hqs also had inspected this hospital. Hospital had filled up the form for empanelment and draft of Rs.2500/- handed over. Till date no progress. Form missing. Report of expert team not traceable. Rs.2500/- credited to regimental fund. Can any one take up the matter with Army HQ/ Southern Command to investigate? The same hospital is still ready but we have not received any help from Stn HQ at Vadodara to fill up the form.

Recently Director of Medical Services of Army HQ has issued a directive and stopped issue of medicines for more than one month at a time. Explanation given is not digestible. Has the gentleman issuing directive aware of the agony individual has to under go if he has to get medicine every month? I know a case where a widow of a PBOR has to start her journey a day in advance to reach in time for receiving medicine. The expense, time spent on journey and energy expended is much higher then the one months medicine. I do not know why an out station ESM cannot be issued medicine for three months, if recommended by the specialist? We in services believe in withdrawing the privileges than to extend a helping hand.

In emergency, policy says, member of ECHS can get admitted in any hospital and get treated. But within 2 working days must communicate about admission to parent polyclinic. It is next to impossible for the officer, to get through polyclinic in normal circumstances. How can we expect PBOR or their family to get in touch when in Emergency. For this I feel organization should have TOLL free BSNL/ MTNL number on All India basis and ESM can record admission and give his requisite information. Subsequently action as required can be initiated by the polyclinic like intimating ECHS member the requirement for claiming reimbursement, forward him form etc to fill up.

I request every one who are in the ECHS administrative loop give TOP priority to ECHS as it has not reached more than 50%-60% of ESM.
Sqn Ldr Bankim Sutaria (Retd)

Revive the morale of the armed forces

THROUGH THICK AND THIN- The government must revive the morale of the armed forces
Unsung lives
Through this column I would like to congratulate Manmohan Singh and his party for having provided this nation with what was most needed at this critical juncture — a stable government. While doing so I must confess that I am guilty of not being one of those who have made this possible. I chose not to exercise my franchise since the denial of the right to exercise the option of ‘none of the above’ is to my mind not being fair to the spirit of our democracy.

The subject of this article, however, is not electoral reform, but the one institution that has served the nation through thick and thin at the cost of tremendous human hardship and sacrifice — the armed forces of the republic of India. While the public still holds the armed forces in some esteem, the same cannot be said of those who govern the country. Had it been otherwise, there would not have been a progressive decline in the status of the armed forces in the national scheme of things. To quote the Kargil review committee report, “India is perhaps the only democracy where the armed forces headquarters are outside the apex governmental structure.” It would be fair to say that every government since Independence has contributed to the decline of the status of the armed forces and its veterans, either by design or by neglect.

But one needs to make an exception. There was one minister of state for defence under the Rajiv Gandhi government, whose understanding of matters military and the ethos of the armed forces was profound. He later chaired a committee on defence expenditure set up by the V.P. Singh government, and the task force on management of defence set up as a consequence of the Kargil review committee report. Both these exercises had the stamp of his understanding of the issues involved and their national implications. Had the recommendations of these committees been implemented in the spirit in which they were made, the need for this article may well not have arisen.

The nation today is faced with stark choices. The national security environment is the most demanding since Independence and deteriorating by the day. The spectrum of warfare now spans the nuclear at one end to urban and internal at the other. Decades of insurgency in the East and years of proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir are taking a heavy toll on a professional army. Incidents of fratricide and suicides are increasing alarmingly. Hostile interests are taking advantage by spreading disinformation about the armed forces — ‘psychological warfare’ in today’s parlance. We are losing dozens of lives on active duty even during peace. Our borders with both Pakistan and China are underprepared. Revolutions in military affairs demand much greater levels of technological and training skills than at present, but the pool of volunteers is fast shrinking. Yet opportunities in civil life are expanding with generous salaries and stable lives.

That over the years the status of the armed forces has progressively declined is no secret. What is less evident is that the morale of this fine institution is being sapped bit by bit. Because service ethos demands cheerful acceptance of orders, this decline has been taken as meek acceptance. As internal security challenges rise, the polity becomes more competitive, and for the 24-hour electronic media hungry for breaking news, there is a temptation to make a scapegoat of the military. It happened in Manipur some years ago, it occurs frequently in Jammu and Kashmir, and happened recently in Tamil Nadu where an army convoy was needlessly attacked. Successive service leaderships have failed to convince the government of the adverse implications of this state of affairs. The sixth pay commission has merely added another insult to the already wounded psyche of the armed forces.

For the first time in the nation’s history, veterans — from soldiers to three-star ranks — have been driven to express their anguish publicly by holding rallies across many cities, sitting in dharna at Jantar Mantar and, in a regrettable gesture, surrendering their prized medals to the supreme commander in their thousands. These unheard of incidents would have evoked instant response from the government in any democratic country. Our silence is both pregnant and deafening.

The nation needs to introspect. Why, for instance, are we the only democracy where civilian control of the armed forces has come to mean bureaucratic control? Why has there been a systematic and progressive decline in the standing of the armed forces over these last six decades? Why is it that the only living five-star rank-holder should feature in the warrant of precedence below the cabinet secretary? And why was it thought fit not to give a state funeral to a field marshal, who contributed to our 1971 war victory? One could go on; suffice it to say that slowly but surely we are robbing our armed forces of the oxygen of izzat and iqbal, shorn of which they will become mere mercenaries.

The nation under the leadership of Manmohan Singh needs to decide whether it needs professional and combat-worthy armed forces or is content with forces that will be runners-up. Military morale is a strange phenomenon. You can neither define it easily nor see it. While perceptive commanders can feel it in their bones, once it begins to evaporate, even the finest of them need godly qualities to revive it. Too much is at stake for it to be left to the very institutions that have brought us to this pass — and every arm of governance must accept the blame. The legislature for taking little interest in matters relating to the forces, unless there was some political mileage. The government for remaining a mute spectator and resisting bringing the military into the decision- and policymaking process. The bureaucracy for having converted the dictum of civilian control over the military to bureaucratic control. And finally, the armed forces leadership for sometimes failing to protect the ‘safety, honour and welfare of the men they command’ in the face of this onslaught.

The Mumbai attacks tell us how fragile the security environment is and the newer threats that are emerging. Pakistan has kept even the sharpest strategic minds guessing, but the prognosis is far from good. The West sees its war on terror as somewhat different from ours. A senior American navy commander’s recent revelation of Chinese maritime intentions in the Indian Ocean should cause us no surprise. The situations in Nepal and Sri Lanka are still evolving. In every area, without sounding pessimistic, we need to be prepared for far greater security challenges.

The nation can not afford to sit idle while our armed forces continue down a slippery slope. The time has come to opt for innovative solutions — something for which Singh is best known. Let the nation respond by setting up a ‘Blue Ribbon commission’ to look at all aspects of our armed forces. This would encompass every sphere, from the changing nature of warfare to what sort of armed forces are needed in the future, to inter-service working, to the way the forces are organized and integrated within the national decision-making process, to their place within the hierarchy and that of veterans in society, to the creating of a war memorial as well as other issues that contribute to making the armed forces of any nation a unique institution.

The ‘Blue Ribbon commission’ would include citizens known for their experience and non-partisan interests, and will give the beleaguered armed forces some level of comfort. Its recommendations must be debated in Parliament, which should then legislate on major issues determining the role and place of the armed forces in our country.

Legislative direction is the surest way to ensure that decisions that become law are implemented. Otherwise they are open to administrative sleight-of-hand. Even in the United States of America it was the Goldwater-Nichols Act that mandated the joint chiefs of staff institution, scrutinized professional military education and mandated strengthening of focus on joint matters.

It is possible that our precedent-driven administrative system will resist this as a Blue Ribbon commission approach is a departure from the norm. But Singh must have faced similar hurdles when he embarked on the bold economic reforms in 1991. The institution of the armed forces now looks up to him for similar salvation.
The author is a retired air marshal of the Indian Air Force
THROUGH THICK AND THIN- The government must revive the morale of the armed forces BRIJESH D JAYAL

Report on one rank one pension by month end: President

05 Jun 2009, 0247 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: After tying itself in knots over the long-standing demand for one rank-one pension (OROP) for armed forces during the run-up to the general elections, the UPA government has now promised to resolve the contentious matter by this month-end.

In her address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Friday, President Pratibha Patil said the committee headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar had "already commenced its work and expects to complete it by the end of June 2009''.

Just before the crucial fourth phase of polling on May 7, the defence ministry had declared that a high-level committee headed by the cabinet secretary had been constituted to "reduce the gap in the pensionary benefits to officers and jawans, bringing it as close to OROP as possible''.

But slapped with a notice from the Election Commission for violating the model code of conduct, the government had swiftly backtracked and denied that the government has constituted any special committee for the purpose.

The grouse of ex-servicemen is that all political parties have used OROP to garner votes but have never implemented it after coming to office. The government had obviously announced the setting up of the committee to counter the BJP's strong `Jai Jawan' tune in its manifesto.

The defence community of 14 lakh serving and 23 lakh retired military personnel, after all, swells into a sizable votebank of around 1.5 crore people if family members are taken into account.

The UPA government, however, is promising only a partial implementation of OROP at best, with the defence ministry itself acknowledging that full implementation is simply not feasible "administratively''.

The defence ministry, however, admits that a case does exist for bringing the quantum of pension of pre-January 1996/October 1997 pensioners at par with post-January 1996/October 1997 and pre-January 2006 ones because the gap between the pensions of past and present retirees has considerably widened after the 6th Pay Commission.

This will entail an additional financial burden of only around Rs 500-600 crore annually, with the government keen to reduce the present four categories of pensioners to only two broad ones of pre and post January 2006 retirees.

"Full OROP implementation, in turn, could mean an annual outgo of around Rs 1,200-1,300 crore, apart from payment of arrears in the range of Rs 4,000 crore,'' said an official.
Report on one rank one pension by month end: President

Elections and the Indian Military: A perspective

The results of the 15th General Elections have already had major influences on a number of entities, from political parties to the stock exchange, the media and the very large number of military veteran organisations that abound in our country

THE RESULTS of the 15th General Elections, announced on May 17, 2009, have already had major influences on a number of entities, from political parties to the stock exchange, the media and the very large number of military veteran organisations that abound in our country. This piece will confine itself to the military veterans.

For starters, it is obvious that in the election jungle, the military veterans are novices. Elections in India require money - lots of it, including masses of the ‘black’ variety; a well-oiled organisation; loyal workers who are either ideologically motivated or kept on the pay-roll for long periods; a ‘vote bank’ well nurtured and kept ‘satisfied’ over a long period; ‘gumption’ and ability to work in the hurly-burly environment, where gentleness has no place and street-smartness is the order of the day. Can you imagine a military veteran being weighed against ‘ladoos’ or some such culinary delight and smiling through the ordeal for the benefit of the media! During this election, the few who were brave enough to stand for the elections fared miserably, as was expected. I think all must have lost their deposits. Two I know – Lt Gen BKN Chibber (Amritsar) and Colonel Suri (Chandigarh) surely did.

The veterans political party, a minnow really, the Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD) did field a few candidates, but they were also nowhere, although a very senior and highly respected veteran, Col MS Krishnamoorthy , had put his heart and soul in bringing up this party in the last six to eight months. However, political parties need a great deal of time, dedication, large number of volunteers and of course funds to come up to a stage where they can give the established parties a run for their money. The veterans should be thinking of a timeframe of 20 to 25 years and not just a few months, as was the case this time.

Over a period of time, the military veterans created a myth and started believing that if they decided to participate in the political process, they will have a ready-made vote bank of nearly 25 lakh veterans, 13 lakh of active duty military personnel and nearly four times these numbers comprising the families and dependents, making it a tidy one and a half crore. It was conveniently forgotten that all these numbers are spread throughout the length and breadth of the country, resulting in very few numbers available in different constituencies. In addition, all veterans are already associated with one party or the other or vote in the same fashion as their brethren or kin. Weaning them away would need sustained efforts. As far as the serving persons are concerned, a large number are still not registered as voters, as the service headquarters dilly-dallied in conveying detailed instructions and the civil authorities, in any case can not be hurried.

Till 2008, most retired military officers were fairly blasé about political activity in the country. That is not to say they were ignorant, but their thinking continued to be influenced by their in-service experience of being apolitical. The prevailing political culture of corruption, vote banks, emphasis on castes and classes, exploitation of religion to whip up emotions, distributing largesse selectively and downright nepotism also resulted in the veterans distancing themselves from the entire political process, as an exercise in futility. Consequently, the retired rank and file were left to their own devices and as a natural progression they adopted the culture of their civilian counterparts. A large number did, however, coalesce into small veteran organisations within their own villages or surrounding areas. This had little effect on their ability to take advantage of the political dispensations, as they were not organised strongly.

It was the highly skewed recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission of March 2008, that proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back and activated the military veterans, especially the veteran officers. The recommendations of the Commission were so unjust and so heavily biased for the civilian bureaucracy that there was no other course left to the military veterans but to vehemently oppose the recommendations by all means. There was a sudden awakening amongst veteran officers, which soon percolated down to the rank and file. The credit for this must go to a newly formed organisation called the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM), which galvanised the veterans. Here, it needs to be recorded that the internet became the vehicle for both dissemination of information and for net-working. An existing blog started by the Signal Officers of the Indian Army a few years back, “Report My Signals,” played a sterling role and continues to do so, in bringing together the veterans spread far and wide throughout the country. However, predictably the reaching out to the rank and file had to be based on more conventional means of communications.

At this stage, it may be useful to have a reality check of the existing veteran organisations. All are involved in pursuing the issues affecting the veterans but each has adopted a different methodology. Their primary and other objectives are also different. These are conditioned by the agendas of their organisations, the environment in which they operate, the extent of official patronage, if any, that they get, which is actually pitifully little when compared to what even the run of the mill (and mostly fake) non-government organisations (NGO’s) get.

The oldest veteran organisation is the Indian Ex Services League (IESL), founded by two early and highly respected Chiefs of the army – Field Marshal Carriapa and General Thimayya. This is the only veteran organisation that is recognised (whatever that means!) by the government and gets funds from the Central government. Most, if not all state governments, have not considered it fit ever to assist or nurture any veteran organisation, on the specious plea that they assist the veterans officially through their departments of defence. Without sounding offensive, most activities of these departments are in actuality designed for furthering the cause of the politicians in power! An offshoot of the IESL is the All India Ex-Services Welfare Association (AIEWA), which had carried out considerable work in the past to get equal pension for the veterans. Then there is the Sainik Sangh, also known as All India Ex Soldier’s League. The Navy and Air Force have Foundations, which have a well laid out agenda, and they seem to work only within this.

The IESM comes next. It is a comparatively recent organisation, which has only one aim – to get One Rank One Pension (OROP) at the earliest. It is the first veteran’s organization to adopt an agitational approach to meet their objective. They have captured the imagination of a large number of veterans and it continues to increase its membership. It professes to represent all ex-servicemen of the country, a claim disputed by many. They are in the eye of the storm at present because of the manner, in which they pushed their Advisory supporting a particular political party during the elections, disregarding the sensibilities of a large number of their members. Other groups are really local, as their membership and agendas have a predominantly local colour.

The military veterans of the nation are as fractured as the verdict that was expected to be delivered by the electorate according to all pundits. While the polity has proved them wrong, the veteran organisations continue to be fractured. Despite the past failures in efforts to forge unity, it continues to remain the goal of all veteran organisations, as they do understand that without unity they will continue to be marginalised. Let us hope they succeed.
Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)
War Wounded Foundation
Elections and the Indian Military: A perspective

Thursday, June 4, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 12:26 AM
Dear Colleagues,
The grapevine has it that the government is wanting to grant a one- time parity instead of OROP as a principle. To legitimise their escape route they are reportedly looking for some ESM willing to endorse it to give their action a façade of acceptability by the ESM community.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

SCPC: Revised Family Pension increased Rs 7000

As per MOD letter No.16(6)/2008(2)/D (Pension/Policy) Para 9 dt.4.5.2009, the minimum Special Family Pension has been increased from Rs.2,550 to Rs.7,000/- w.e.f. 1.1.2006.
The Banks as per MOD letter dated 11.11.2008 would have revised the pension from Rs.2550 to Rs.5763 as per Annexure I and paid arrears of Rs.13660 (40%) and the balance of 60% amounting to Rs.20,492 to be paid after the government announcement. (Arrears for the period from 1.1.06 to 31.12.2008 for 36 months)
In the meantime, the revised pension has to be increased from Rs.5763 to Rs.7000/- and arrears paid for the period from 1.1.06 to 31.5.2009 for 41 months and thereafter from June 2009 the revised SFP has to be paid.
A detailed working sheet has been prepared for the benefit of the widows. Readers of this Blog, please help the eligible widows to get their correct pension & arrears.

Political party bribed Indian Army officers during polls: EC

A report that has apppeared in the HT of 3 May 2009 is reproduced below.
As the Head of the State of this sovereign nation you are required to prosecute Mr SY Quraishi, EC for spreading canards in a foreign country about our army and the much acclaimed ECI. As a socially responsible citizen I am also interested in knowing what action the EC had taken to prosecute the alleged offenders whom he is duty bound to know by virtue of the office he holds and because of which he has dared to make such statements.
Yours truly
Veteran Major P M Ravindran

Dipankar De Sarkar, Indo-Asian News Service
London, June 03, 2009
First Published: 20:13 IST(3/6/2009)
Members of a political party bribed army officers in a blatant bid to rig postal ballots during last month's general elections in India, according to Election Commissioner SY Quraishi. He did not identify the party.
The visiting Indian official, who was giving a presentation on the just-concluded elections at the House of Commons on Tuesday, said the malpractice came to light during the polls in Punjab.
He said Punjab Police personnel found that army soldiers were being corralled into voting for particular candidates by their commanding officers.
"We realised that the commanding officers of these forces were being approached by a political party and they were being bribed. And these soldiers had been told to just say 'yes sir.'
"There is no other word in their dictionary. So if a commanding officer says 'just vote for this man', all the soldiers will vote for that man," Quraishi said, answering a question about whether India - like Britain - faced problems with postal ballot fraud.
Six Pakistani-origin men were jailed for a total of more than 13 years last month after a major police investigation into an attempt to rig local council elections by fixing ballot papers in the London suburb of Slough.
The malpractice was described by the British judge as a "serious criminal offence... that attacks, affects and corrodes the roots of our democracy".
Quraishi said he was not aware of the British scandal but added that India was trying to address the problem of postal ballot fraud by strengthening the secret ballot. He said every ballot in India has to be posted separately and by registered post, the cost of which is borne by the Election Commission.

Posted at :
Political party bribed Indian Army officers during polls: EC

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

PBORs: Pension Scales downscaled?

Patiala, 01 June 2009
PBORs (Personnel Below Officers Rank) in the Defence Forces, while in war, face a much heavy risk than their counter parts among the officer cadre, apart from the alarming stress they suffer during the peace time which is quite evident from the census reports of ex-serviceman under taken by Zila Sainik Boards in the country.

On 26/11 at Mumbai, two Havildars have given their life. They are Hav Gajender Singh, Para, 51 SAG, and Hav Bahadur Singh Bohra, 10 Para (SF). Both were posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra on 26 Jan 2009. Everyone remembers Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan, but very few remember these PBORs. Four PBORs were awarded Kirti Chakras, nine were awarded Shaurya Chakras and 53 Sena Medals (Gallantry) were given to PBORs On 26 Jan 2009.

Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh, has found that the census report up to March, 2006 consolidated by Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) shows that a total number of war widows registered with KSB is 13594. Out of this, number of war widows of officers cadre is 576 whereas war widows of JCOs (Junior Commissioned Officer) count for 896 and war widows of other ranks (Hav and below) form a big chunk, numbering 12124.

Going by the above facts, it is highly distressing to find that the pension packets of PBORs (Pre-2006) is much below the rational scale. Ex-servicemen up to the rank of Hav (Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) who face the highest risk, have been placed in a minimum pension packet of Rs 3500/- per month along with class IV employees in Pay Band- I where as maximum pension has been fixed at Rs 45,000/- for the person who faces the least risk during the war.

Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh, has asked the Centre Government to look in to this fact and find out a rational solution to this problem prevailing among the PBORs lest the Indian soldiers, who are known for their bravery the world over, may lose the shine. In its earlier communiques submitted to the High Powered Committee formed under the Chairmanship of Defence Secretary (Ex-Serviceman affairs), Shri SM Acharya the league has asked the committee to consider the change of Pay Band for Hav to PB-2 and for Sub Major to PB-3.

At the same time, league has demanded that rate of minimum pension for ex-servicemen (Reservist) be raised to Rs 4,600/- For other ranks league has asked a raised pension of Rs 6,000/ for a Sepoy, Rs 7,000/- for Nk 9,000/- for Hav Rs 10,000/- for Nb Sub Rs 11,000/- for Sub Rs 13,000/- for to Sub Major which will only assuage the heart burning among the PBORs prior to demand of One Rank One Pension, being reviewed by the new government at the centre.

IESL is highly indebted to those few officers and organizations who have lent support to this demand of PBORs and further expects that the remaining big brothers will also think of welfare of their subordinates who stood shoulder to shoulder with them, both in war and peace during service and after retirement. The morale of PBORs are under severe strain. It is high time that the big brothers take up the issue with the Government on top priority.

Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal (Retd)
President, Indian Ex-Services League,
Punjab & Chandigarh.

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 10:35 PM
Dear Colleagues,
Telephone calls continue to be received from PBOR ESM across the country expressing faith and confidence in the IESM. They all underscore the fact that if OROP today has acquired centre stage, it is all because of the efforts and perseverance of the IESM.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

UPA Ministry quick facts

NDTV Correspondent, Thursday May 28, 2009, New Delhi
  • Of the 33 Cabinet ministers, 15 hold a degree in law.
  • 11 Cabinet ministers are postgraduates while 16 have completed their graduation.
    Four cabinet ministers including the PM hold a Ph.D., one has an M.Phil. degree and one is a doctor.

  • Six Cabinet ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's new team are 'non-believers'. These ministers "solemnly affirmed" that they would bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution while taking oath.
  • The 'atheist' ministers are A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, M Veerappa Moily, S Jaipal Reddy and C P Joshi, a first-timer in the cabinet.

  • The Prime Minister and 13 of his ministers took the oath in the name of God. The other ministers took oath in the name of God include Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Vayalar Ravi, S M Krishna, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni, B K Handique and Anand Sharma.

  • As many as three MPs from the national capital, which is nearly half of the total MPs of Delhi, are in the PM's council of ministers.

  • Agatha Sangma is the youngest minister at 28, SM Krishna the oldest at 77.
  • The average age of the council of ministers is now a little over 62 years.
  • One out of every four UPA MPs is a minister.
  • The southern states have a higher MP:Minister ratio than the North.
  • Karnataka, with four ministers with 11 UPA MPs.
  • Kerala is close with six out of 19.

  • Of 35 UPA MPs, Tamil Nadu has nine ministers - most of them from the DMK.
  • But DMK chief Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is not a minister, but son MK Azhagiri is.
  • Andhra Pradesh has the least of the southern states with four ministers.
  • Vilasrao Deshmukh and SM Krishna are not members of any House.

  • Among dropped ministers from last time: Arjun Singh, Shivraj Patil (who had already been dropped post 26/11), Sis Ram Ola, Saifudin Soz, Mahavir Prasad, TR Baalu, Oscar Fernandes, Ashwini Kumar, Santosh Bagrodia.

  • Despite the Congress bounty in Haryana, only Kumari Selja makes it to a ministerial post.
  • UP, which gave the Congress 21 seats under Rahul Gandhi's party revival plan, has only five ministers, but not a single Cabinet post.

  • There are five Muslim ministers.
  • There are 10 Dalit ministers.
  • There are nine women ministers.
  • There are nine former chief ministers in the Cabinet.

  • Ally tally: Trinamool Congress seven (one Cabinet, six MoS), DMK even (three Cabinet, four MoS), NCP three (One Cabinet, one MoS Independent Charge and one MoS), Muslim League and NCP one each.

  • Four former Indian Youth Congress presidents become ministers - Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Gurudas Kamat and Selja.
    Most of the younger bunch of ministers are sons and daughters of politicians.
    UPA Ministry quick facts
  • IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 10:30 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    As brought out many times, the ESM from Kupwara District of J&K had been in regular telephonic touch with us. Now they have started becoming members of the IESM. We extend a hearty welcome to our following 20 colleagues:
    Sub/H Capt H.U Khan
    H/Capt Dilbar Khan
    Nk Zafar Ali Khan
    Nk Shamishuddin Khan
    L/Nk Wafadar Khan
    RfnAshiq Hussain Khan
    Miss Haleema Bano D/O Sep Assad Shah
    H/Capt Mohd Amaim Khan
    Hav Ahmad Ullah Khan
    Hav Mohd Yousif Wani
    Nk Md Youqab Khan
    Nk Md Sarwar Khan
    Nk Gh Md Khan.
    Nk Ab Rashaid Rashi
    Hav Saif Ullah Khan.
    Hav Md Serwak.
    Hav Sarandaz Khan.
    Nk Ab Majeed Wak
    Nk Ab Qayoom Chanu
    Nk Gh. Hussain Khan

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Mohali Grievance Cell set up by Col SS Sohi doing wonders for ESM Welfare
    Achievements by Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, Mohali

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    DGR: Is it welfare oriented?

    Dear Veterans,
    I have been informed by Gen Kadyan that the case of Capt AK Singh has been taken care of. However, such news are disturbing. We in the Armed Forces have mastered one trait- cutting our own feet. We also like to grope in the dark. What we need is some concrete steps. At the outset, we as a community should develop a sorority and alliance. We should learn to fraternise and hold each other's hand and express our concern. If there is any black sheep we should form an alliance to shun it.
    As of today, the biggest issue is of resettlement of ESM. The biggest farce is DGR where corruption is at its peak. I suggest IESM to take up this matter with MoD and ensure transparency in the system.
    Two glaring irregularities introduced by DGR are:
  • Entrance Test for Security Agency. Does it mean that Armed Forces Officers are not fit for running a security agency when any Tom, Dick & Harry in the civil street starts one on his own?
  • Job Placement. Why should DGR forward names? Let it be an open call. They should only advertise and let ESM know of various openings. Is it a way to mint money by DGR officers? It is an open secret now. Only a handful of corrupt officers know this ball game and making hay while sun shines. Some middlemen, in connivance with DGR have flourished. I know a few.
    I can give you concrete irregularity proof happening in CG with DGR support. Can IESM take up such issue? Somehow ESM are getting to feel that IESM is only working towards OROP. We must deviate and include some more welfare activity in our agenda. We will have more ESM joining in near future.
    Jai Hind
    Col Siddhartha Bose
    State Convener IESM
  • Sunday, May 31, 2009

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Sun, May 31, 2009 at 9:50 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The Steering Committee met again this afternoon for three hours. A large number of issues were discussed and resolved. Minutes will be disseminated shortly. Among other points, it has been decided that the Steering Committee will meet on second Sunday of every month.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Military Pension: Comparison with other countries (OROP)

    Dear Friend,
    I am tempted to forward a mail which I sent to Thomas, who has been following the compensation package in the USA very closely (He has many friends and relatives in the US, and has attended a long course with their Air Force) and also his reply thereto.

    I hold the view, that complete 'justice' for our ESM is contingent on our national ability to revise the terms of engagement of soldiers. Now, it is easy to dismiss this as a responsibility of the Government of India. Indeed, they have the ultimate power, and therefore the responsibility. But I suspect our own headquarters has not done enough to pursue this issue. Papers have been written at various levels. But no one has been able to evolve a consensus on this contentious issue even within the Army HQ, leave alone the polity of our land.

    Sometimes, I feel that this should be a primary issue of the ESM organizations. The 6th Pay Commission made specific recommendations. But they say, "Man proposes, God disposes" In this case the 'proposal' of the Pay Panel has been summarily rejected by the MHA and MoD has caved in without as much as a whimper.

    I am a die hard optimist. I have full faith in the ability of the IESM to fight it out. And yet, I am not too sure that the OROP will come through. Not during the foreseeable future any way. And what will come in its way is our numbers. They are too large.

    To provide medical care for two million ESM with at least four million dependants is a daunting task. A visit to an ECHS clinic can be a harrowing experience.
    May the Lord guide us on the righteous path.
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    Dear Surjit,
    Thanks. Let me answer your points.
    Q. "Every other country has OROP."
    A. Thanks. No other country discriminates among pensioners on the basis of date of retirement.
    Q. "But do tell me, which other country gives pension to all (or nearly all) soldiers who enlist?"
    A. None at all. It shows how poorly we manage our human resources.
    Q. "Also, is there any other country which retires its soldiers at the age of 35, with pension?"
    A. Again, none at all. But sir, 23 years ago, when you were in the IV Pay Commission I sent you a note arguing for lateral transfer of soldiers from the arms to the services. What is the sense of approaching the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis for crumbs from their table when we don't make use of the 5 lakh civilian jobs in the defence sector and an equal number of services vacancies within the armed forces? In my note of 1986 I had predicted that the government's pension bill will eventually exceed its salary bill. I think that has already happened for the Defence forces. Defence HQ do not feel the pinch because, under our opaque accounting system, the Defence pension bill is buried under a different ministry. Since pension is deferred wages the Defence pension bill should be brought back under the Defence budget. That will impose greater discipline and a greater sense of responsibility. We will not then send out jawans on retirement at age 35 with pension. We will absorb them in the services and Defence PSUs. Long time ago, the combatant jawan was semi-literate and usually from a farming background. Today the minimum entry level is matriculate. So the retiring jawan is far more employable. We need to go back to the old system of 9 years colour service followed by lateral entry to the services, defence PSUs and defence civilian jobs. Direct entry to the services should be stopped.
    Q. "The total number of military personnel in all the five services of the USA is over two million. But the number of their pensioners (as per my information) is no more than half a million."
    A. Quite right. But that is because the United States has a national contributory pension system called Social Security. Defence personnel are part of this system, whether in uniform or out of it. The Defence forces only give a Disability Pension, where applicable.
    Q. "Comparison with other countries is not a plank on which this case can be based. At least that can not be the only basis."
    A. Agreed that it is not the only basis. What we are asking for is pension equal to that of current retirees. Every other country gives this.
    Joseph Thomas

    Politician's Family Business in India

    - by sundaram 29 May 2009
    After years of Dynasties and Colonial rule India has been going through a period of shameful politicians and disastrous political culture which is affecting the life and living of common Indians in this country.
    No where in the West or East politicians are so rich; where do they get all the money? Only swindling the legal way through making politics not for service of fellow countrymen but as way of life to earn more.
    Most of the politicians become media barons, own television channels, run huge business establishments and produce movies not by their family business but after entering politics and these business are done to convert their ill gotten money into legal money.
    The politicians don't drive Indian made cars and they drive cars which no one can afford to live in palatial mansions all at the cost of poor people of this country.
    Panthers become pussy cats after the elections, fool the electorate. Son becomes union minister nephew becomes cabinet minister son in law to become gets women and welfare. And there is no law and justice in this WORLDS LARGEST DEMOCRACY. Family dynasty is the order of the day. Very soon there will be a revolution and we hope that will save our democratic system and values.
    Politician's Family Business in India

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Sat, May 30, 2009 at 10:32 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The IESM Core Gp met as scheduled. The participants included the members from NCR (Sharan Ahuja, Vinod Gandhi, Aditya Jaini, Kanwar Bhardwaj, Barin Ghose, Rakesh Chaturvedi, Pravesh Renjen, CK Sharma, Satbir Singh, Raj Kadyan) as well as Rajan from Bangalore. A very useful meeting that lasted from 1600 to 2015 hours. The agenda included many points that were received from ESM friends.
    The meeting is to continue May 31.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    SCPC: Plight of PBOR Pensioners

    There is a general impression throughout the nation that all demands of Defense Services pertaining to 6 CPC have been accepted by the Government. The services have raised 4 core issues as anomaly in the recommendation of 6th CPC. Three pertains to Officers and one related to pension of PBOR. Two demands of Officers, granting HAG+ to Lt Gens and placing Lt Col in PB 4 have been accepted and necessary notification issued. However, there is no news about pension of PBOR and this issue is to be understood in totality.

    6th CPC recommended that as PBOR retire at an early age, hence they be provided alternate job and be absorbed in para military forces or other such civilian defence organizations. Commission further recommended that since they will be provided job after retirement, hence, their pension be reduced and extant pensionary benefits which they were enjoying due to early retirement and truncated career be withdrawn.

    Government did not accept the demand to provide them job after retirement but accepted the demand of reduction in pension. Prudent decision on the part of Govt to reduce the pension burden on Govt exchequer. But PBOR lost on both counts. They will have to retire at an early age, no guarantee of job after retirement and reduction of pension.

    As per the news reports when the Defence Minister as well as Defence HQ raised the issue with Cabinet Secretary during the month of Sep 2008, the Govt agreed in principal to restore the reduced pension. Then news came the formation of GOM. News agencies further reported during last week of Dec 09 that PMO has issued instructions to MOD accepting three demands of the services including restoration of pensionary benefits to Jawans.

    Five months have passed since then, notification pertaining to the issues of Officers have been issued during Apr 09 but no news about the pension of PBOR. Pension of these personnel, who retired after 01 Jan 06 and currently retiring has been fixed on the old rates i.e. As per 5th CPC. Further, as their pension is still to be decided, no DA has been granted to them as announced on 01 Jan 08 and 01 Jan 09. As a result, their pension which is on old scale is static for the last one year.

    PBOR pension case is not of any enhancement but only restoration of reduced pension. Still so much delay. Nobody knows how much time it will take. No word either from service HQs or MOD. But, surely, these PBOR have been treated badly.
    Sub Sharawat (Retd)
    Posted By Muthukrishnan to indianexserviceman at 5/31/2009 06:00:00 AM


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