Saturday, June 13, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Friday, 12 June, 2009, 10:04 PM
Dear Colleagues,
Efforts are continuing to produce an OROP document that can be sent to the government jointly by all ESM organisations.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

ECHS: Army freezes empanelment of Fortis

Arun Sharma, Tribune News Service Chandigarh, June 8
An ex-serviceman while going through a notice informing them of de empanelment of Fortis hospital at ECHS centre, Sector 29, in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

In a significant development that could put hundreds of ex-servicemen patients, specially those suffering from heart ailments, in a spot, the Army authorities have put on hold the re-empanelment of Fortis Hospital while accusing it of “overcharging and harassing” Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) beneficiaries.

While Fortis Hospital stopped the treatment of fresh referral cases after the expiry of the empanelment term on May 17, the Army authorities recently displayed notices at its Referral Centre at Sector 29, stating that until the issue of overcharging and harassment of beneficiaries was not resolved, the scheme would not be extended.

The notice states: “No referral is being given for Fortis Institute and Multi Speciality Hospital as agreement has not been signed for the reasons - (a) overcharging ECHC; (b) charging extra money from ECHS beneficiaries; and (c) making veterans run around to get referrals during emergencies”.

The Army authorities and the Fortis management refused to comment, but maintained that “efforts were on to resolve the issue”.

An Army spokesman said they had received several complaints from ECHS beneficiaries about the shabby treatment meted out to them. He said several complaints regarding overcharging had also been received.

However, the director of Fortis, Dr Ashish Banerjee, denied such incidents, maintaining that they were in contract with the ECHS since 2004 and since the same wasn’t renewed, they had stopped accepting new indoor patients. Another official of the hospital, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the settlement of the outstanding payments of crores of rupees by the Army had become a bone of contention.

Claims and counterclaims notwithstanding, the impasse is going to cause suffering to patients, but the allegations of harassment are not unfounded. Readers would recall the incident where representatives of the ex-servicemen association of Chandigarh and Mohali had staged a dharna outside Fortis Hospital in May to seek the release of the body of a warrant officer.

While the ex-servicemen association and the family members of the deceased had accused the hospital of harassing them and not releasing the body, Fortis had denied the allegations and stated that the patient was not registered as member of the ECHS at the time of admission and the authorities were not ready to reimburse the expenses on his treatment.
ECHS: Army freezes empanelment of Fortis

Comment: Crores of Rupees are paid to the empaneled Hospitals which are only utilised by less than 1% ESM. Whereas funds transferred to empaneled Hospitals is in the range of over 50% of the allotted budget. There is a need to ensure that empaneled Hospitals do not eat up all the ECHS budgetry resources and 99% ESM left high and dry by the skewed expenditure analysis. The Popularity of the scheme is only about 40% implying only about 9 lakh ESM have found favour with ECHS. Great majority of about 15 lakh ESM who reside in villages have not found the ECHS favourable. We need to drastically prune the scheme and make it accessible to all ESM in a just and equitable manner.

Children of a lesser God: Has the perception changed after a decade?

MANY national dailies carried a news report about the abysmal neglect of ex-servicemen pensioners and much more. Some of it was in an abridged form and therefore, it becomes necessary to quote a few pertinent lines which appeared in The Hindu only: "It was a mockery of the well-settled principle of service jurisprudence that pay and allowances (and pension which is a deferred payment) were compensation for sacrifices made in service. Lack of such appreciation by the Pay Commission in the past was evident from the fact that all of them treated the soldier as a semi-skilled worker. It is callous to treat a person who handles the Bofors guns, rocket launchers, missiles, tanks and state-of-art missiles (Prithvi and Agni) as a semi-skilled worker."

These were some of the observations made by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Mr. Justice B. N. Kirpal and Ms. Justice Ruma Pal. They issued a notice to the Ministry of Defence on a PIL filed by the All-India Defence Service Advocates Association (AIDSAA).

The petition had pointed out many anomalies. While implementing the Fifth Pay Commission's recommendations, the Government had brought in a provision directing that full pension at the rate of 50 per cent of the average of the last 10 months emoluments would be paid only if a person had served for 33 years. This may be justified in the case of civil employees, but in the defence forces, there is no common fixed age of superannuation.

About 94 per cent of the people retire with 17 to 24 years of service. About eight lakh get 33 per cent of the emoluments as pension instead of the 50 per cent fixed by the Pay Commission.

Soldiers are forced to retire early in order so that the army remains young. Soldiers, who are 58-60 years old, would have the mandated 33 years service like civilian clerks but, even though their temper and spirit would be willing to fight for their motherland, possibly an army of old men may not be able to easily handle young Pakistanis and Chinese. A 60-year-old Indian clerk would of course be a better than equal match for any 60-year-old Pakistani or Chinese post office or sales tax clerk.

It has also been stated that low pay, early retirement, service in inhospitable regions and family sacrifices put the defence forces at the bottom of the career choices of the youth.

The Armed Forces had an edge of 15 to 20 per cent over civilians in terms of pay and allowances and pension throughout the world and pension ranged from 75 to 100 per cent of the last pay drawn by them was the case in India till 1947.

Departmental bias
One of the reasons for the raw deal given to the defence personnel in the matter of fixing pay and allowances and pension was the absence of a separate Pay Commission for the armed forces as in other countries. Besides the Commission suffered from "The inevitability of departmental bias of civil services towards the Armed Forces."

This writer was one of the three petitioners (the only ex- serviceman in India) in the pension case in the Supreme Court in 1982. The judgment is a kind of Magna Carta for the pensioners.

But the bureaucrats in their mind set of delay, threatened to nullify the judgment by going to Parliament. This is based on my personal experience with the mandarins in the North Block. They did not go to Parliament, however, but have otherwise ensured a continuous nibble of the pensionary benefits to ex-servicemen.

There is another most unfortunate category of family pensioners; this is divided into ordinary family pension and special family pension, the latter being the entitlement where the death of the jawan or officer is attributable to service reasons.

Only the other day was referred to me the case of the widow of a sailor, M. O. Oommen, who went down with INS Khukri in 1971 and was awarded the Vir Chakra (Posthumous). She had applied for revision of her family pension at the correct time along with various documents. While other widows getting ordinary family pensions have already received the revised pensions and arrears, the orders regarding the special family pension have not yet been issued by the Government. So she waits and waits!

Why cannot ordinary family pension be given to her, in the interim, until her special entitlement comes when the bureaucracy has had the time to issue such an edict.

Pathetic case
There is the other most pathetic case of jawans who have served the Raj and also put in some service after independence. One such case was that of Sepoy Abdul Hafeez of the erstwhile Dewas State Forces who served from 1943 to 1948 in India and in the mountains of Italy during World War II. As a special case, he was sanctioned a compassionate allowance of Rs. 9 a month and received Rs. 27 every quarter. Unfortunately he lost his pension book, three or four years after the sanction of this compassionate allowance and for that quarter Abdul Hafeez received Rs. 26 only.

Poverty haunts another World War II veteran even in the twilight of his life. The 82-year-old Mohammed Bashu who served in the army between 1942 and 1947 as a sepoy has been eking out a living as a daily wage manual worker in a brick kiln on the outskirts of Eluru town in Andhra Pradesh. There are many more such cases.

And lastly, the Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, on April 10, 1999, made an announcement in the holy city of Anandpur Sahib. While undoubtedly some progress has been made, it is still a far, far cry from implementation of the Minister's announcement.

Ironically those who have salaries fixed like the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force and the Army, Navy and Air Force Commanding in Chiefs, have fully benefited, those who were on a running pay scale only got a pension assessed on the minimum of the rank even though they had rendered full and complete service to entitle them to the maximum pension of the rank. So where is the justice for the young retired Naik or Major? For the older ones, in this category, life ebbs fast!

The Supreme Court judgment of December 1982 has a quote which can also be mentioned here. Quoting Cardinal Wolsey: "Had I served my God as well as I did my King, I would not have fallen on these days.." And it also finds an echo in Shelley: "I fall on the thorns of life, I bleed..."
Rear Admiral Satyindra Singh (Retd)
Children of a lesser God

Comment: The Sixth Central Pay Commission has taken a giant step over the Fifth Pay Commission in creating extraordinary Pension muddles/ anomalies which will take ages for Judicial Intervention to resolve. The bureaucrats cobweb of pension tables and and anomalies is going to haunt the ESM for ages to come!

Friday, June 12, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk- Coordinating ESM Organisations

Date: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 9:47 PM
Dear Colleagues,
The meeting of the heads of ESM organizations was held at 1600 hours on 11 Jun 09 as scheduled. Following ESM organizations were represented:
1. RDOA– Colonel Satwant Singh
2. National Ex Servicemen Welfare Organisation – Colonel SC Sharma
3. Indian Ex Services Welfare Association- Colonel Inderjit Singh
4. IESM- Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Admiral Harinder Singh (Naval Foundation) could not make due to his sudden admission in hospital.
Brig RK Gulia (IESL) had conveyed regrets for his inability to attend due to a prior engagement.
Following decisions were taken:
  • All agreed on a joint approach to pursue OROP.
  • A Task Force should be constituted on preparing a case that would be jointly forwarded to the government.
  • Admiral Barin Ghose was nominated as the IESM representative for the Task Force.
  • Colonel Satwant Singh agreed to forward the name of RDOA nominee.
  • Names of nominees from IESL will be requested.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Veteran Voice: Call for Unity
    For all of those currently caught in the debate that is taking place within progressive ESM organizations; the common denominator amongst us is that we are all Ex Servicemen, all other considerations set aside. As such, we have quality of life issues that effect each and everyone of us, as well as that of our families, and increasingly that of our neighbors. We also have a responsibility to ensure that today's Jawans/ Soldiers are properly cared for. This, regardless of personal political ideology. There must be unity of purpose amongst us, in order to bring national focus on those issues, and create momentum for change or reform. Pragmatic solutions will not be forthcoming, not without our setting aside our political and ideological differences, and agreeing to work together on achievable common focus issues. By pooling our talents and our resources at the grass-roots, we can bring about change, at the national level.

    The model for this as a workable strategy is exemplified by open letter to all the ESM community, from Raj Kadyan, Indian Ex Servicemen Movement, President. It is based on striving for unity as spoken by Vijay Oberoi, SK Bahri, and ever so many other Veterans; they have already put the plan into action which is slowly but surely bearing fruits. Unity of purpose, and clearly defined achievable works!
  • Dehra Dun Ex Services League- Annual Report

    Annual General Body Meeting of Dehradun Ex-Services League was held on 31 May 2009 in which Brig Behl, Col Chhetri and Col Arya were re- elected President, Senior Vice President and Vice President respectively where as Lt Col B M Thapa and Lt Col R P Jairath remain as General secretary and Treasurer respectively for another term of three years.
    Meeting was attended by about four hundred ESM. The Secretary Lt Col BM Thapa presented his Annual Report and minutes of the last years AGM which were approved by the house by voice vote Lt Col RP Jairath, the treasurer presented Annual Accounts and Balance Sheet which too was passed by the house with voice vote. Lt Col B M Thapa who is also IESM member high lighted the great contribution of IESM for implementation of anomalies of 6 CPC and commended IESM for pressurizing the Government for getting through OROP/ Ranked Based Pension soon as announced by the President.
    Maj Gen RS Taragi, President UESL, who was the chief guest, addressed the house and gave details of the activities being carried out for the welfare of Ex-Servicemen and how Lt Gen H B Kala, PVSM, AVSM, SC is helping by taking up cases to solve the problems of ESM.

    Brig KG Behl, the President DESL, pointed out that Ex–Servicemen were eagerly awaiting the 6th CPC awards but the instructions issued to PDAs(Banks) created problems not only for them but for veterans as well. Disbursements were made as per whims and fancies of the Banks creating chaos as people of the same seniority got different amounts from different banks and in some cases even juniors got more than seniors. DESL wrote to PCDAP Allahabad and got revised instructions issued to sort out the issue. Brig Behl gave details of the activities carried out during the year especially about various rallies held in support of anomalies in 6th CPC and one Rank one Pension issue taken up by IESM at Delhi.
  • Col KL Dewan, expert on Pension matters, in his address explained what one Rank one pension means and how he has worked out the differences bought in his Pamphlet.
  • 20 War Widows and old veterans from different Shakhas were honoured by the Chief guest and others with suitable mementos. Shyampur Shakha was declared best shakha and Hony Capt BS Thapa, President, received the award. Oldest veteran Sub Maj C L Sharma of Gurkhas who is nearing 100 years awarded as senior most veteran of function. The function was compered by Lt Col B M Thapa, Secy DESL and IESM Member.
  • Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Mumbai Mayhem: Pakistan's war against terrorism is a farce

    B Raman
    June 09, 2009
    Some years ago, when General Pervez Musharraf, the blue-eyed warrior against terrorism of the then United States President George W Bush, was the President of Pakistan, its police had arrested an individual on the charge of belonging to the Al Qaeda.

    When he was produced before an anti-terrorism court, it asked the government lawyer to produce a copy of the notification under which Al Qaeda had been declared a terrorist organisation. After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had overlooked declaring Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation.

    He promised that a notification would be issued shortly and requested that the arrested person continue to remain in custody till then. The court did not accept the plea. It ordered his release. It held that even if it was a fact that he belonged to the Al Qaeda, he had not committed an offence because Al Qaeda was not a terrorist organisation under Pakistani laws.

    Some years later, in December 2008 to be precise, the Pakistani government placed Professor Hafeez Mohammad Saeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political front of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images], under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai [Images] terrorist strike of November 26. The action was taken following the decision of the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council to include the JuD and the LeT as associates of the Al Qaeda.

    Saeed went to the Lahore high court to challenge his house arrest. The government lawyer told the court that the action of the UN Sanctions Committee obliged the government to act against him. When the court did not agree with that contention and asked the lawyer whether the government had any independent evidence of its own, the lawyer met the three judges privately and showed them, what he claimed, was independent evidence of the LeT's links with Al Qaeda. The judges wanted to see a copy of the government notification under which Al Qaeda was declared a terrorist organisation.

    After some days, the lawyer went back to the court and told it sheepishly that the government had not yet declared Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. The court told him that if that was so, the LeT's having links with the Al Qaeda is no offence under the law.

    The court, which ordered the release of Saeed on June 2, released on June 6 the details of the grounds on which it ordered his release. One of the grounds says: "The security laws and anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan are silent on the Al Qaeda being a terrorist organisation."

    The court added, "Even after the perusal of these documents we do not find any material declaring that the detention was necessary for the security of the petitioners and there was no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al Qaeda or any terrorist movement."

    Thus, eight years after 9/11, Pakistan is yet to declare Al Qaeda a terrorist organisation. Is this sheer, shocking negligence or is there something more sinister to it? Does one require any more evidence to show that Pakistan's so-called war against terrorism is a farce?
    Pakistan's war against terrorism is a farce

    Our corrupt babus

    June 8th, 2009
    A Hong Kong-based political and economic risk consultancy, which conducted a survey of 12 Asian economies recently, says that Singapore’s civil servants are the most efficient among their Asian peer, though they tend to clam up unhelpfully when things go wrong.

    The survey ranked India’s “suffocating bureaucracy” as the least-efficient. The appraisal said that working with Indian civil servants was a “slow and painful” process. That the bureaucrats are a power-centre in their own right, at both the national and state levels, and are extremely resistant to reforms that affect them or the way they go about their duties. The survey’s ranking in descending order of efficiency was: Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Indonesia and India.

    This is in conformity with the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2008, prepared by Transparency International, which ranked India as the 74th most corrupt country among the 180 countries of the world.

    The government is by far the biggest culprit and contributes a large part to the staggering backlog of civil suits, over 10 million at last count, clogging the courts. The Centre, states and public sector companies determinedly appeal every adverse verdict despite winning only a small minority.

    The extent of government involvement in litigation was acknowledged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a conference of chief ministers and Chief Justices in 2004. He revealed that a sample survey conducted in Karnataka found that in 65 per cent of civil cases, the government was a litigant, sometimes on both sides, and that “government litigation crowds out the private citizen from the court system”.

    The Prime Minister, in the same speech, also confirmed that the Karnataka survey found that most of the government’s litigation was in the form of appeals and that 95 per cent of government appeals fail. He observed: “In a way, they are appeals that shouldn’t have been made in the first place”.

    There is little reason to assume that things have changed since then. In fact, the Chief Justices of India themselves have drawn attention to government litigiousness on numerous occasions.

    Incidentally, the Law Commission also observed nearly three decades ago that there was much avoidable litigation by the state. It exposed many instances where the judges found that citizens were compelled to litigate because of the “utter indifference” of the government, where government pursued litigation on “frivolous” grounds, as a “matter of prestige” or with an attitude of “vengeance” or “callousness bordering on vendetta”, displaying “arrogance and a superiority complex”. About the officials responsible for avoidable litigation, the Law Commission said that “the lack of accountability of the officer in whom the power vests to initiate litigation or perpetuate the same by preferring appeal, is largely responsible for mounting litigation ...cases are not unknown where corrupt motives may be at the root of the tendency to continue litigation so as to exhaust the other side in the fond hope that he/she may, out of exasperation, be willing to grease palms”. There is a third independent cause generating this tendency to initiate or perpetuate litigation and that is to avoid taking decisions.

    But, regrettably, even after such an incisive report, there does not seem to be any change in the profligacy of government litigation. India has seen major transformations in many areas during these years. But few of these changes have been in the government itself, and the colonial mindset that set the bureaucracy apart from and above the ordinary citizen still continues.

    The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by Union minister for law and justice M. Veerappa Moily, observed that bureaucracy in India is generally perceived to be “unresponsive, insensitive and corrupt” and a common complaint against it pertains to excessive red-tapeism.

    It’s not that there is a lack of data or inputs as to how to make the bureaucracy more effective and responsive. It is because there is so much over-protection in the law that we seem to have reached a dead-end. It is not that the government does not know how to deal with the deadwood. It is just that it won’t. The government has the absolute power to sack anybody. But there is not a single case where an inefficient or a corrupt official has been shown the door. Everybody wants a government job, as it gives lifelong job security, whether you work or not. At the end, you get pension for life.

    This is apart from the corruption which a vast majority of bureaucrats indulge in. As per the statistics, 24,130 cases, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, were pending trial in Indian courts at the end of 2007. A large number of them range between 15-20 years.

    Incidentally, 153 of the newly-elected MPs have criminal cases pending against them. Rajiv Gandhi once said, “Only Re 1 out of Rs 10 allocated to the poor is reaching them”. His son Rahul Gandhi, just before the 2009 elections, had said, “Only 10 paisa out of Rs 10 allocated to the poor is reaching them”. No amount of tall talk or big schemes is going to ameliorate the lot of the poor if all this money is to end with middlemen, bureaucrats, in a nexus with corrupt politicians.

    The present laws have failed to either deter or prevent corruption and make India’s bureaucracy effective in its delivery system. The leaders should govern well and the lethargy and corruption should be weeded out by it, instead of waiting for the court judgments to come.

    The government should put its own house in order before it can put the country in order. It should end the reign of clerk-o-cracy and substitute it with develop-o-cracy.
    By Joginder Singh
    * Joginder Singh is a former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation
    Our corrupt babus

    Comment: Many Pension Parity cases won in courts by Military personnel- but corrupt babus prolong the cases for decades. Joginder Singh has rightly inferred that 75% court cases are litigation perpetuated perpetually by the State on its citizens. Prudently the courts should be safeguarding the citizens from corrupt babus and statistics should be reversed ideally.

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Date: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 12:31 AM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The meeting of the heads of ESM organizations is scheduled on 11 Jun 09. The expectations of the ESM are high. Let us hope we succeed in firming up a joint approach.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Army continues relief measures

    Staff Reporter
    KOLKATA: Even as the agencies concerned struggle to contain the outbreak of enteric diseases in areas affected by the cyclone Aila, the Army has sustained relief efforts and medical aid to North and South 24 Parganas, the districts of West Bengal worst affected by the cyclone.

    Senior officers of Eastern Command, including Major General Ravi Dastane, VSM, GOC Bengal Area, visited the cyclone-affected villages in Gosaba on Tuesday.

    Sixteen medical teams, each with one doctor and four medical assistants, have been deployed in the area since June 4 and have treated over 8,000 people for diarrhoea, dysentery as well as respiratory and skin infections. Diarrhoea has affected over 5,000 and has killed about 10 people, government officials said. The medical teams provide training to the locals in water sterilisation and first-aid.

    Even as the waters recede, tube wells have submerged and saline water has mingled with the sweet water sources in the Sunderbans, causing a scarcity of drinking water and an outbreak of enteric diseases.
    Army continues relief measures

    Tailpiece: Do the state civil authorities have a disaster management drill in place? The Military is called out as a routine to manage disasters. In fact most of the civil authorities vanish from place of disaster to save their skin!

    7 Inf Bde: Parallel tasks in 1962 and 1965 conflicts

    I read the trials and tribulations of Maj Rastogi OC 7 Brigade Signal Company, with amusement and nostalgia. I had commanded the same company in 1962, when it was a only a section and a captain's command, (those interested can refer to my book 'Letters From the Border" covering the ill fated op Leghorn). It is always the fate of Seven Brigade to fight an unplanned war. Even our commander Brig Dalvi was taken prisoner a fate worse than being sacked. My congratulations to Rastogi to have penned the incident. Yes, 4 grenadiers was also one of our battalions during 1962 Sino Indian conflict at the tri- junction of India, Tibet and Bhutan border in the Keming Forward Defences of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) as it was then known. Truly down the memory lane!
    Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)

    Blog Links
    Indo China War 1962
    Memoirs: 1965 Indo- Pak Operations Khemkaran Sector

    IESM: Press release- OROP

    Dear Members of the Media,
    1. In her address to both houses of Parliament, the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces Mrs Pratibha Patil on 04 June 2009 announced that long pending demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP) of the Defence Forces will be reexamined and decision arrived at by 30 June 2009. The announcement has been widely welcomed by the Defence personnel specially the Ex-Servicemen who have been agitating for the past one year to press for their demands specially the One Rank One Pension. Deeply hurt and anguished at the apathy shown by the Government in not accepting their main demand of OROP, they on four occasions deposited over 15000 gallantry and distinguished service medals with the President.
    2. The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM,) an umbrella organization for all Ex Servicemen of India appeals to the Government that the committee headed by Mr Chandrasekhar must not dilute the Definition of OROP, that is, irrespective of the date of retirement, the Defence Personnel who have rendered same years of service and holding same rank must get same pension. Only the grant of Full Parity with the new pensioners will meet the ends of justice.
    3. We appeal to the Government to accept the concept of One Rank One Pension with full Parity and make it the policy for grant of pensions to the Defence Personnel. Any other thoughts/ proposal of One Time increase/ modified parity/ near parity will not be in line with the “Just and Fair” solution to the emotive issue of OROP. We are hopeful that the Government will resolve this Pension tangle in respect of the Defence Forces.
    With regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    Related Reading
    Website for Pensioners & Senior Citizens
    Pay Commission History

    Passing the Baton

    Dear Friends,
    In a few days, I will turn 68. Admiral Tahiliani, whose word I value, tells me that this is no age. But it is just two short of the "three scores and ten" prescribed by the holy Bible for us human beings. I also find that nearly one-third of my course mates are gone. In the last few months two of my contemporaries dropped like the ripe mangoes on the tree in the backyard of our house, without any notice at all. Even this would have made no difference to me, but an event occurred last week. It shook me.
    I had gone to the dentist for some fillings. The waiting room was full, with no vacant seat. As I entered, I noticed a lady who resembled the mother of an officer who was my adjutant thirty years ago. While I was trying to place her, she got up and said, "Uncle, how are you?" And that was a body blow to my ego. Soon, some more people got up to make space for me. I got a chair to sit down, but my tooth ache turned into a heart ache. How I wish the Admiral was there to see my plight!
    On my way back, I picked up a few books on "how to make your own Will" and within the next three days, I had learnt all that there is to know on this business of 'passing the baton'.
    I then jotted down the points in the form of a paper which is attached for the benefit of those who may like to browse through it. It has been seen by three lawyers, including Maj Navdeep, and I have it on their authority that the paper has no technical errors. I plan to include it in a forthcoming book, and should you have any additional questions, do let me know.
    With best wishes,
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)
    Guide for making a Will

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    SCPC: Disability Pension brutally mauled and impaired

    Dear Sir,
    1. As stated by the President in Lok Sabha today,the Cab Secy is heading the committee to resolve disparities in pension of Armed Forces personals. quote "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" unquote.
    2. The case of disparity in "Disability Pension", a baffling anomaly created recently in May 09, must also be addressed by this committee. The details are given below.
    3. We request you to project this issue to the Cabinet & have this anomaly removed through the committee headed by Cabinet Secretary.
    4. This Petition may also be brought to notice of all Ministers concerned with this issue.
    With Regards,
    Brig AS Kahlon

    1. Vide 6 CPC recommendations, approved by the GOI Resolution No 305 dated 29 August 2008 in so far as it relates to Disability Pension (DP) for Armed Forces personals the following needs to be noted.
    a) Prior to 6 CPC the Armed Forces personal were getting a fixed rate DP of Rs 1550 to Rs 2600 per month, depending on the rank held. Refer para 5.1.66 of 6 CPC Report.
    b) The DP for civilian has been granted at 30% of pay all along 6 CPC Report para 5.1.21 (ii) refers.
    c) Demand made to 6 CPC for revision of rates of DP for Armed Force personal to percentage basis (30 % of pay) as applicable to civilians is at para 5.1.67 of 6 CPC Report.
    d) The 6 CPC, after carrying out due analysis, accepted the demand and recommended that DP for Defense Forces personal be paid @ 30% of pay, similar to as applicable for civilians. 6 CPC report para 5.1.68 refers.
    2. Revisions of rates of DP for Defense Forces Personal from fixed to percentage basis @ 30% of pay (as recommended by 6 CPC) was approved by GOI vide Resolution dated 29 August 2008.

    Why are only Disabled Personals of Armed Forces being Targetted by NOT giving them DP on %age basis as is being given to ALL Similarly placed Civilians Retirees of ALL VINTAGE.

    1. In the notification No 16 (6)/ 2008(2)/D Pension and policy dated 5th May 2009 for Post 01-01-2006 retirees the rates of Disability Pension( DP) have been changed from fixed to 30% of pay as approved by GOI resolution.
    2. However in the notification No dated 16/ 06/ 2008(1)/D Pension and Policy dated 4th May 2009 for Pre 2006 retirees the DP rates have not been changed to 30% of pay but revised to fixed rates of Rs 3100 to Rs 5980 pm in total contradiction to 6 CPC recommendations approved by the Cabinet.
    3. There is absolutely NO rationale or logic for going against what has been approved by the Cabinet and arbitrarily adopting fixed rates of DP for Pre 2006 retirees of Armed Forces only.
    4. following points need to be considered:
    a) Keeping in view that ALL CIVILIANS were getting DP @ 30 % of pay the 6 CPC had rightly recommended the SAME (as against fixed DP) to be made applicable to defense personal to remove injustice being done to them vis a vis civilians for the past so many years.
    b) In case of Civilians there is no distinction between pre 2006 or post 2006 retirees. ALL were & are getting DP on percentage basis @ 30 % of pay. In good faith this should be applied to ALL Defense pensioners as well, as was recommended by 6 CPC.
    c) The 6 CPC Recommendations and its Cabinet approval do not mention anywhere that the revised rates of DP on percentage basis will not be applicable to Pre 2006 retirees of the Armed Forces.
    d) This notification divides the single homogeneous class of Armed Forces pensioners into two groups, subjecting them to different treatment, by arbitrarily fixing different rates of DP for each class.
    5. The spirit behind the 6 CPC recommendation which was to mitigate the injustice meted out to Armed Forces personal in the past by giving them DP at fixed rates vis a vis civilians who were getting much higher DP on percentage basis (30 % of pay) the CPC had recommended the same rate as applicable for civilians. This was to bring about equality amongst all classes of physically challenged government servants.
    6. Therefore there is absolutely no justification in targeting pre 2006 physically challenged retirees of Armed forces only by not giving them DP on percentage basis as are being given to all others, across the board.
    7. In View of above it is requested that MOD (ESW Dept) Notification No 16(6)/2008(1)/ D (Pension Policy) Dated 4th May 2009 on Disability Pension for Pre 2006 be cancelled.
    8. Also it must be investigated as to who is responsible for targetting these phsically challanged/ war wounded personals of Armed Forces & why has a GOI Resolution, approved by the Cabinet, not been implemented in letter & spirit as intented.
    9. It appears to be a deliberate mischief to add another anomaly to host of them already existing & to further compound the existing confusion over 6CPC anomallies related to Armed Forces.
    10.Please read the Article given below to further confirm this. JAI HIND.

    Ironic ‘Rationalisation’
    Ironically, the orders of revision of disability pension and other casualty pensionary awards issued on 04 May 2009 for Armed Forces have been ostensibly promulgated to ‘rationalise’ the said pension structure of pre-2006 retirees. But the same, to put it mildly, are baffling. Firstly, it is not understood as to why pre-06 pensioners have not been put on the percentage system recommended by the 6th CPC as has been accepted for post-06 pensioners. While recommending the new system of calculation (as was in force earlier for civilians), the 6th CPC had nowhere stated that it shall only be applicable to post-06 pensioners. The emerging disconnect cannot be ignored. For instance, a General who retires on 31 Dec 2005 with 100% disability is now entitled to a fixed amount of Rs 5880 as disability element while an officer of the same rank with the same disability for the same injury or disease who retires a day later on 01 Jan 2006 is entitled to a disability element of Rs 27000. While the disability remains the same, is the suffering of a pre-06 retiree lesser than that of a post-06 one ?. And in addition to disability element, officers are entitled to service element (service pension) in the area of which, as it is, there is great gap between pre and post-2006 pensioners thereby ultimately resulting in creation a huge space between the total package of disability pensioners. Perhaps the committee under the Cabinet Secretary looking into bridging the gap between pre and post-06 pensioners would take a note of this ‘rationalisation’.

    Some varying examples of disability element rates for pre and post-2006 pensioners:
  • Disability element of a pre-01-01-06 freshly commissioned Lieutenant who got disabled: Rs 5880
  • Disability element of a post-01-01-06 freshly commissioned Lieutenant who gets disabled: Rs 8100
  • Disability element of a pre-01-01-06 freshly promoted Lt Col who got disabled: Rs 5880
  • Disability element of a post-01-01-06 freshly promoted Lt Col who gets disabled: Rs 15759
  • Disability element of a pre-01-01-06 Colonel who was at the end of scale at the time of retirement: Rs 5880
  • Disability element of a post-01-01-06 Colonel who is at the end of scale at the time of retirement: Rs 24510
  • Disability element of a pre-01-01-06 General: Rs 5880
  • Disability element of a post-01-01-06 General: Rs 27000
    Some rationalisation eh !!!
  • PM’s reply to the debate on the President’s Address (Provisional Transcript)

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009
    I would, however, like to inform the House about the several steps that have been taken since November 2008 to further tighten the vigil against future terrorist attacks of this nature. As Members are aware, the perpetrators of the November 26 attack came by sea. We were all aware of our vulnerability to such attacks from this quarter and had taken already a number of steps, but obviously these were inadequate. A massive effort has hence been taken to streamline our maritime security which included the setting up of a Maritime Command under the Coast Guard with overall responsibility vested with our Navy.

    We have increased the number of Marine Police Stations to supplement the efforts of the Coast Guard and the Navy. There have been several other steps that have been taken. But I shall enumerate only a few. Improvements in intelligence sharing is one. The Multi Agency Centre has been fully energised and Subsidiary Multi Agency Centres constituted in more States. The process will be completed shortly. The Net-Centric Information Command structure is being put in place to achieve online transfer of all actionable intelligence in a streamlined manner. Generation of actionable intelligence has simultaneously been given priority and measures put in place for this purpose. Technical innovation and technical support to intelligence production has been given the highest priority. Steps have also been taken to improve the quality of intelligence analysis. Investigation into serious terrorist offences will, from now on, be the responsibility of the newly-constituted National Investigation Agency.

    Additional legal measures taken include - apart from the new NIA Act - significant amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Home Minister is in constant dialogue with Chief Ministers of States keeping them informed of the specific aspects of the two new pieces of legislation.

    Madam, following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on 26th November, 2008, the imperative necessity to have dedicated counter terrorist forces has been further reinforced. The National Security Guard is the principal counter terrorist force in the country. A major effort has been made to improve its capability, improving better mobility and state-of-the-art equipment. At least, four new NSG hubs have been set up in different parts of the country. In addition, certain other dedicated counter terrorist forces are sought to be created.

    Madam, it goes without saying that both the challenges of the troubled times that we live in terms of security of our nation and the unique opportunities within our reach for the well being of our people, enjoin us to work together for common goals. I am grateful to the hon. leaders of the Opposition who offered their support on both these counts. I consider it the duty of my Government to build further unity of purpose. I have always felt that our differences will melt away when we consider the overwhelming nature of the challenge that our country faces.

    Madam, I would like to say a few words about our relations with our neighbours. We are living in a neighbourhood of great turbulence. I have believed India cannot realize its ambitions unless there is peace and prosperity in South Asia as a whole and if our neighbourhood is suffering from instability, turbulence that has direct bearing on our own evolution as a democratic polity committed to sustained growth and development. I have, therefore, a vision for a transformed South Asia where, with the cooperation of all our neighbours, we move from poverty to prosperity, from ignorance to a knowledge society and from insecurity to lasting peace. What is at stake is the future of one-and-a-half billion people living in South Asia. I sincerely believe it is in our vital interest therefore to try again to make peace with Pakistan. I recognise, it takes two hands to clap. There are some disturbing trends, but I do hope that the Government of Pakistan will create an atmosphere in which we can realize this vision. I expect the Government of Pakistan to take strong, effective and sustained action to prevent the use of their territory for the commission of acts of terrorism in India, or against Indian interests, and use every means at their disposal to bring to justice those who have committed these crimes in the past, including the attack on Mumbai. I believe that such actions will be welcomed by the people of both countries.

    If the leaders of Pakistan have the courage, the determination and the statesmanship to take this road to peace, I wish to assure them that we will meet them more than half way.

    I should say a few words about Sri Lanka. We have centuries-old ties with the people of Sri Lanka and we have a deep and abiding interest in the well-being of the Tamil people in that country. The Tamil problem is larger than the LTTE and I sincerely hope that the Sri Lankan Government will show imagination and courage in meeting the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people to live their lives as equal citizens and with dignity and self-respect. We have been taking an active part in the relief and rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced Persons in Sri Lanka and I have already earmarked Rs.500 crore for this purpose. We are willing to do more to restore normalcy and to return such people to their rightful homes and occupations.

    In this House as well as in the other House, Members have expressed concern about the developments in Australia. Madam, Australia has emerged as a major destination for Indian students. Like many other Members who have spoken in this House, I have been appalled by the senseless violence and crime, some of it racially motivated against our students in Australia. I propose to engage the authorities in Australia in a high level dialogue with a view to taking stock of the situation and to providing adequate security for Indian students.

    Madam, I have already spoken to Prime Minister Rudd of Australia on this subject. He assured me that any racist attacks on Indian students would be strongly dealt with. He made a Statement in Parliament in which he condemned and deplored the attacks and said that they were unacceptable. He emphasised that Australia is a multi-cultural nation which respects and embraces diversity. He said that these would be countered with the full force of the law.

    Madam, I do not wish to under-play the anxiety of the parents of our students, but I wish to request the media to be mindful of the fact that there are over 200,000 Australian citizens of Indian origin. We should be mindful of their interests and avoid willy-nilly creating a situation where these citizens of Australia of Indian origin become the targets of racist intolerance. India and Australia have very good relations and it has been our effort to widen and deepen these ties in the last five years.

    Madam, I should say a few words about our relations with China. Hon. Members have raised the issue of our relations with China and I should say that China is our strategic partner. We have a multi-faceted relationship with China. There is enough space – I have said so often – for both China and India to develop and contribute to global peace, stability and prosperity. We do not see our relations with China in antagonistic terms. We have a large trading relationship, we consult each other on global issues, whether in the G-20 process on climate change or terrorism, and we share a common commitment to maintain peace and tranquillity on our border.

    There are, of course, issues which are complex such as the boundary question. But we have agreed upon a mechanism to address this matter. We wish to build a strong and stable relationship with China. This is in the mutual interest of both our countries. I have been assured by the Chinese leadership – I have interacted with them extensively in the last five years – that they also subscribe to the views I have expressed just now. But whether it is China or any country, we will ensure the territorial integrity and unity of our country and protect the security in every manner necessary. The House should have no misgiving on that score.

    Madam, the President's Address has covered a vast territory. I could not do justice to all the points that have been raised. But as I listened to the debate, I was struck by an underlying sense of unity on all sides that India should move forward as a united nation to achieve its coveted place in the comity of nations. That is the mandate, a mandate for change, a mandate for inclusive development, a mandate to strengthen the secular foundations of our magnificent republic. It is to these tasks that I commit our Government and I invite all hon. Members to join me in passing this Motion of Thanks unanimously.”
    click me for the full address by Prime Minister

    Gallantary Awards sans respect- Vir Chakra symbolises monetary benefits?

    Date: Tuesday, 9 June, 2009, 10:22 PM
    Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
    I'm forwarding what I received from a friend. You may like to include this in your news letter.
    With warm regards,
    Lalit Bhatnagar

    Passage from the pages 110 & 111 of the book "Toward Resurgent India" written by Lt Gen (Retd) M M Lakhera, PVSM,AVSM,VSM, one time Lt Gov of Pondicherry and now the Governor of Mizoram.

    "I had gone to UK in 1995 as Deputy Leader of the Indian Delegation to take part in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the victory in Europe during the Second World War. I along with four other Army officers, had just stepped out after attending the inaugural session and were waiting on the roadside for the traffic to ease so as to walk across the road to the vehicle park. Among those with me was Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, a Victorian Cross winner (unfortunately, I have received the sad news of his expiry just two days back). All of a sudden a car moving on the road came to a halt in front of us and a well dressed gentleman stepped out. He approached Umrao Singh and said, "Sir, may I have the privilege of shaking hand with the Victoria Cross?" He shook hands with him. Evidently he had spotted Umrao Singh's medal from his car and had stopped his car to pay his respect to a winner of the highest gallantry medal of his country. Then he looked at me and said, "General, you are from Indian Army." When I replied in affirmative, he gave out his name, saying that he was Maichile Hailstine. I was absolutely astounded as the recognition dawned on me that he was the Deputy Prime Minister of UK.

    I was totally overawed by such courtesy shown by a dignitary of the second highest status in the British Government and humbly thanked him for having invited our delegation for the VE Day function. Again his reply was typical of his sagacity, "General, it is we the British, who should be grateful to your country and your Armed Forces, who had helped us win both the first and the second World wars. How can we be ever so ungrateful to forget your country's great contribution."

    Suddenly I became conscious that all the traffic behind his car had come to stand still. I hurried to thank him and politely requested him to move along to relieve the traffic hold-up. He stated, "Sir, how dare I drive off when Victoria Cross has to cross the road." Realizing his genuine feeling I and my colleagues quickly crossed the road. Reaching the other side I looked back and saw that Mr. Hailstine was still standing waiting for the Victoria Cross to be safely across.

    Ladies & Gentlemen, that is the type of regards they have for their decorated soldiers. I have always aspired that similar respect could be shown at least to a Param Vir Chakra or Ashok Chakra winner by the leaders and prominent figures in our country."

    Tailpiece: Will any Indian Politician or a Bureaucrat ever stop his car for Param Vir Chakra or Ashok Chakra winner and give him due regards in a public road just as the British Deputy Prime Minister respected Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, VC on a busy road in UK? No wonder that still the Indian Ex- Servicemen mainly PBORs are denied Pension Parity!

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- new members

    Date: Tuesday, 9 June, 2009, 10:47 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    We extend a very hearty welcome to the following new members into the IESM family: (a well deserved ‘well done’ To Maj Gen Aditya Jaini, who, assisted by Col Roshan Lal Goel motivated them into joining)
    1. Capt Vikas Gupta
    2. Wg Cdr RK Sapory
    3. Maj LR Sharma
    4. Lt Cdr Prabhu Dayal Rana
    5. Col KP Singh
    6. Col AK Mehra
    7. Brig PN Shukla
    8. Col Ashtaputre JK
    9. Col BM Malhotra
    10. Lt Cdr RS Patyal
    11. Lt Cdr Ishwar Singh
    12. Brig Rajendra Mehrotra
    13. Lt Col Narendra Behl
    14. Lt Gen BK Bahri
    15. Col RK Sud
    16. Col IJS Lamba
    17. Col Suresh Bakshi
    18. Maj Gen Suraim
    19. Hony Capt Bhup Singh
    20. Hony Capt AP Singh
    21. Lt Col RS Faujdar
    22. Maj SS Verma
    23. Gp Capt B Sahai

    1. Sub Maj Budhi Singh Dhatwalia
    2. Sub Phul Singh
    3. Sub Joginder Singh
    4. Sub Jai Singh
    5. Ris Maj Sukhbir Singh
    6. Sub Ram Chander
    7. Sub Hari Singh
    8. Hony Flg Offr SC Dhiman
    9. Sub Maj Dilbagh Singh
    10. Hony Sub Maj Roshan Singh
    11. JWO Devender Singh Rawat
    12. Sub Nar Singh
    13. Sub Maj Suraj Mal
    14. JWO Bhagwan Singh
    15. Hony Capt Kundan Singh
    16. Sub Surender Singh
    17. Hony Sub Maj Ajit Singh Rana
    18. Hony Sub Chhatar Singh
    19. Sub AN Jha
    20. Sub Maj Jagat Singh
    21. Sub Om Prakash
    22. Sub Santosh Kumar
    23. Sub Laxman Singh
    24. Sub Maj Sampooran Singh
    25. Sub Maj Laxmi Narain
    26. Sub Ram Singh
    27. Sub Puran Singh
    28. JWO Avinash Chander Kapoor
    29. Sub Munni Lal
    30. Nb Sub Hawa Singh
    31. Nb Sub Roshan Lal Manhas
    32. Sub Jai Singh
    33. Sub Ram Niwas
    34. Sub SN Sharma
    35. H/ Capt Ram Pukar
    36. Sub Maj Ashok Kumar Dube
    37. Sub Dalbir Singh
    38. Ris Raj Kumar
    39. Nb Ris Ved Ram
    40. Sub Daya Nand
    41. Sub Maj Joginder Singh
    42. Sub Satbir Singh

    NCOs/ ORs
    1. Ex PO Dhani Chand
    2. Sgt Rajpal
    3. Sep Roshan Lal
    4. Sep Balbir Singh
    5. Nk Ratan Lal
    6. Nk Dev Vansh Singh
    7. Sgt RP Pandey
    8. Sep Ajit Singh
    9. L/Nk Hari Singh
    10. H/Nb/Sub Mohan Lal
    11. Nk Deep Chand
    12. Spr Darbara Singh
    13. Hav Ram Kishan
    14. Hav Rajinder Kumar
    15. Sep Amar Nath
    16. Dfr Jagvir Singh
    17. Hav Ajit Singh
    18. Sep Rattan Singh
    19. Sep Ram Phal
    20. Hav Tarif Singh
    21. Sep Ram Kumar
    22. Nk Narain Singh
    23. Hav Ram Phal
    24. Nk Surat Singh
    25. Hav Ram Babu Singh
    26. L/Nk Sadanand
    27. H/ Capt Braham Pal Singh
    28. Hav Harkesh Singh
    29. L/ Dfr Dharambir Singh
    30. Sub Maj Rajbir Singh
    31. Nk G. Santhanam
    32. Dfr S Narayan Jat
    33. Spr S Kannaiyan
    34. Hav V Ariyalagan
    35. Hav Risal Singh
    36. Nk Jagat Ram
    37. Nk Randhir Singh
    38. Nk R Kulothunkhan
    39. Sep S Jayaraman
    40. Sgt Dharamvir Bhardwaj
    41. Sep Sukhbir Singh
    42. Nk Ranbir Singh
    43. Sep Joginder Singh
    44. Gnr Gurdev Singh
    45. L/ Hav S Kalia Moorthy
    46. Hav Hoshiar Singh
    47. Hav Dayanand Sharma
    48. Nk Fateh Singh
    49. Nk Narendralal Sharma
    50. Nk Ran Singh
    51. Hav Vinod Kumar
    52. Hav Virendra Singh
    53. HMT Gorakh Prashad Singh
    54. Nk Sukh Sagar Sahu
    55. Nk Madhavan AP
    56. Nk Ushpender Singh
    57. Hav Kishan Lal
    58. Hav Munshi Lal
    59. Hav Mahendra Singh
    60. Sep Gulab Singh
    61. Gnr Dharam Pal
    62. L/Nk Ram Parkash
    63. Sep Bhag Singh
    64. Sep Pritam Pal
    65. Sep Mam Chand
    66. Nk Vinod
    67. Nk Rajendra Singh
    68. Hav Mahavir
    69. Nk Balwant Singh
    70. Rfn Lila Ram
    71. Hav Ram Chander
    72. Hav Madan Singh
    73. Hav Dharamvir Singh
    74. Hav Ratan Lal
    75. Hav Om Parkash
    76. Hav Sri nagesh
    77. Hav Kunwar Singh Negi
    78. Hav O.P. Gupta
    79. Sigmn Rameshpal Singh
    80. Nk Om Prakash
    81. Cpl B.K.Singh
    82. Sgt GK Bajpai
    83. Nk Devi Prasad
    84. Sep Ram Prasad
    85. Hav Radhe Shyam
    86. Hav Bansi Lal
    87. CFN Kamal Singh
    88. Nk Kartar Singh
    89. Hav Krishan Lal
    90. Sep Ragbir Singh
    91. Sep Ranbir Singh
    92. Sep Hari Singh
    93. Hav Amin Chand
    94. Hav Rup Chand Kaushik
    95. Nk Rameshwar
    96. Sep Babu Lal
    97. Sep Udai Singh
    98. Sep Dharam Paul
    99. Nk Rohan Singh
    100. Hav Manphool Singh
    101. Nk Gulbir Singh
    102. Hav Balbir Singh
    103. Hav Ranbir Singh
    104. Sep Rati Ram
    105. L/Nk Sanwant Singh
    106. Hav Raj Kapoor
    107. Hav Naresh Singh
    108. Hav Jagbir Singh
    109. Hav Ram Kumar
    110. Sep Matu Ram
    111. Nk Balbir Singh
    112. Hav Jai Bhagwan
    113. Nk Sugriv Singh
    GRAND TOTAL – 178
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    National RTI Awards, 2009: A sham of shameful standards

    Please find the details click me that appeared in an advertisement published in the Mathrubhumi daily today.

    Can we find any nominees for the first two categories? Since Best is a relative term we really cannot object to such awards. And we really do not know of any good IC or PIO. I would have thought of Shailesh Gandhi but I really do not have any data to support the view that he has lived upto his promises. In fact we really do not have any criteria for nominating any person in any of the categories. For the IC is the number of cases disposed any criteria or should it be the number of cases in which penalty has been imposed or should it be both and in that case what should be the weightage for each? In fact if you see the website of the information commissions one would be shocked that even the commissions have not complied with Sec 4 requirements of mandatory disclosure. How does one say a particular PIO is the best- by the number of applications (s)he has answered completely? In that case how does anybody get this data now from various PIOs or would it be just some whimsical nomination based on ONE response to AN application? Of course, coming to best citizens, the efforts of Arvind Kejriwal, Urvashi Sharma, Krishnaraj Rao, Bimal Khemani, Mahendra Gaur, Babubhai Vaghela, etc stand out. This is just from the activities we know through our networking.

    Anyhow, I believe that this award is going to be a farce and would propagate a false picture of the RTI scenario. The information commissioners and the judiciary have ensured that the Act is already on ventilator. So the most appropriate awards should have been for the worst IC and PIO/ Public Authority. While the Central Chief Information Commissioner himself would have vied with his counterparts in the states there would have been NO such problems in the case of the public authority/ PIO. That honour has to go to the office of our Chief Justice and its PIO, for reasons we well know.

    30 Jun 2009 is still some time away, I suggest that we address the above issues, and whatever activists in this area can think of, to Mr Ratan Tata and Mr Narayana Murthy besides the members of the jury.
    Regards and best wishes,
    Maj PM Ravindran (Retd)
    Visit: National RTI Awards- 2009

    OROP: ECHS savings to offset OROP implementation costs?

    Date: Sunday, 7 June, 2009, 9:44 PM
    Dear Gen Kadyan,
    Your mail of 06 Jun is really thought provoking, yes the credit for the appointment of Committee with Cabinet Secretary as Chairman goes to our movement under your Captaincy- IESM.

    Can we for a minute look at solving the problem adopting another approach, now we have a golden opportunity? Rather than branding all the members of the Cabinet Secretary Committee as "anti- Service", help them, convince them, carry them with us with supporting facts and figures to help us.

    I am convinced that if this Committee recommends OROP it will get the support from RM, FM and PM and will get implemented.

    But what is our argument in support of OROP, yes it was well debated and discussed by all Veterans/ Legal experts amongst us and it was presented to all concerned, good enough.

    The important aspect is, have we ever looked at it any time from the point of view of the Finanial Pandits? (there is no point in arguing that Govt had written off huge sum of Agricultural loan). The ground reality is that the Govt have to find additional funds to the tune of Rs 2700 crores to pay the arrears of OROP and another Rs 600 crores annual recurring revenue expenditure for introduction of OROP.

    Rather than the technicalities of the issue, the main issue before this Committee is the generation/ availability of huge funds required for implementation of OROP. Can we help them in this regard, so that they can help us. The question is how do we find the money?

    YES, there is a simple way- TWO BIRDS AT ONE SHOT. Ensure that the proposal (Liberalized ECHS ) submitted 3 years back by a Techno Management Consultant R Admiral G Kuruvilla (Retd) is implemented. Understand that the proposal is still haunting the ECHS authorities, never mind, if the Liberalized ECHS is implemented, the savings made in Capital expenditure itself is more than that is required for the payment of arrears of OROP and the additional funds required yearly for payment due to OROP is less than the savings Liberalized ECHS can make in revenue expenditure every year. Let us use the words which can be more appealing to the Financial Wizards, yes we are proposing a MATCHING SAVING for the implementation of OROP .

    I have a request to make to ALL the ESM organizations and elder ESM brothers in the Country, please spare 10 minutes to understand that the Liberalized ECHS proposal gives lot of additional privileges to the Urbanites. (by making the system more user friendly and access friendly) Only Negative point is that those in Rural areas will also be able to enjoy the same privilege which was earlier monopolized by Urbanites. Is it not a shame that all ESM Organizations (including the few where I am heading) which are City based never did anything worthwhile for the prime requirement of about 85% of our unlucky brothers settled in Rural areas (out of which 95 % of them are PBOR category). PBOR Organizations are of the opinion that most of the ESM Organizations are officer dominated and that is the main reason for the inaction by most of these Organizations in looking after the TOP most requirement of Rural Veterans.

    Think what is the best line of action as an Organization in this regard. I am sure A CONGRESSMAN like Maj Rao can play a key role in this regard. I am always available for providing any clarification to any one in this regard. I wish I had been stationed in Delhi!. We must try hard in this direction and I am sure WE can and WE could achieve what we want.
    Warm regards,
    Rear Admiral G Kuruvilla VSM (Retd)

    Additional expenditure for OROP
    The additional expenditure of Rs 2400 crores and yearly recurring Rs 600 crores is really over estimated and wrongly interpolated. Realistically it would be under Rs 1000 crores with annual recurring expenditure of Rs 300 crores taking into account corrections for parity in pension already implemented. The Government has the finances but the bureaucrats who are obverse to ensuring Pension Parity are bent on keeping 20 lakh PBORs forever subjugated. ECHS popularity is hardly 40 percent. We can surely reduce expenditure to the tune of 60 percent which will offset the additional expenditure incurred if OROP is implemented.

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Date: Monday, 8 June, 2009, 11:00 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    We all know that OROP is currently under active consideration of the Government and the Cabinet Secretary’s committee is due to make its report by the end of this month. We also know what mountains all of us in the ESM community had to move to bring OROP issue to this stage. Every organization has been working for this goal in its own way. It is now more essential than ever that every ESM speaks with one voice.
    In keeping with the wishes of the environment, and in order to dispel all doubts of any perceived lack of unity among the ESM on the subject of OROP, it is proposed to organise a joint sitting of heads of all the ESM organisations of the three Services. Details are as under:
    Date: 11 June 2009 (Thursday)
    Time: 1600 hours
    Venue: Pool Side Bar Room, DSOI, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Cantt.
    Agenda: To devise a common stand and coordinate our activities to further enhance our chances of OROP.

    Presidents/ Chairmen/ Heads of all ESM organisations are requested to make it convenient to attend. They are welcome to bring along any colleague, if desired. Total number attending may kindly be conveyed telephonically to me in advance to button up logistics.

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

    Dear Veterans- Do you know the History of pay commissions?
    The first two Central Pay Commissions (First -May 1946 and Second- Aug. 1957) did not consider the pay scales, allowances and other service conditions of Defence Forces personnel. At that time, the structure of emoluments of the Defence Forces personnel was looked into by the Departmental Committees which included the representatives of the three services.

    1. Post-war Pay Committee (1949)
    After the First Pay Commission, a Post -War Pay Committee was constituted for the Defence Forces personnel. The Committee simplified the pay structure of the Defence Forces personnel considerably and abolished a number of allowances which had either relevance only to war conditions or which could be merged with the pay. The Committee established a broad relativity of officers of Defence Forces with the officers of Class-I Central Services and the Indian Police Service (IPS). In Personnel Below Officer Ranks (PBORs), the fully trained infantry solider with 3 years service was equated with a semi-skilled worker. Pension related issues of the Defence Forces were considered by the Defence Forces Pension Revision Committee constituted in 1949 which gave its report in 1950.

    2. Raghuramaiya Committee (1960)
    Subsequent to the report of the Second Pay Commission, the consequential changes for Defence Forces Personnel were effected as per the recommendations made by the Raghuramaiah Committee that gave its report in 1960. The Committee did not modify any of the principles followed by the Post War Pay Committee. The Raghuramaiya Committee specifically mentioned that the accepted parallel between defence service officers and Class-I services of the Central Government, particularly the Indian Police Service should be continued.

    3. Third Pay Commission (April 1970- March 1973)
    The Third Pay Commission was the first Commission whose terms of reference included examination of the structure of emoluments, the retirement benefits and terms and conditions of the Defence Forces personnel. The Commission noted that the relativity of the officers in Defence Forces vis-à-vis IPS was only a working method of devising scales of pay for the service officers which did not mean that the functional role of the two services were similar. The Commission, specifically, noted that the pay structure of the Indian Administrative Service with its long pay scales was particularly unsuitable for service officers.

    4. Fourth Central Pay Commission (June 1983- Dec 1986)
    The Fourth Pay Commission recommended an integrated pay scale of Rs. 2300-100-5100 for all officers up to the rank of Brigadier & equivalent in three services and Major Generals was placed in the pay scale of Rs. 5900-6700. It was, in fact, Fourth Central Pay Commission which gave a regular increase in pension to the old pensioners (Veterans). Minimum Pension of Rs. 375/- (Sepoy) and Maximum Pension of Rs. 4500/- (Gen.) was fixed for the old Pensioners. Fourth Central Pay Commission met a number of Pensioner's organizations in various parts of the country other than its New Delhi office In North Zone, the Pay Commission held a meeting with the ex-servicemen at Sub. Area Hq. at Ambala Cantt. on 6-12-1984 Meeting was arranged by Brig. Irwin David. Mr. Justice Shyngl was the Chairman of the Fourth Central Pay Commission. A deputation of ex-servicemen headed by late Lt. Gen. Gurbachan Singh 'Buch' (Retd.) which included Sgt. Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal (Retd.), the present President of Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh (IESL P&C) Lt. Col. Mohinder Singh Sandhu (Retd.), the present Senior Vice President of (IESL P&C), late Hony. Capt. B.R. Soin (Retd.) and late Hony. Capt. Haqiqat Singh (Retd.), all from Patiala , met the Pay Commission for discussion of demands of ex-servicemen included in the memorandum submitted, earlier, by the Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh to the Pay Commission. Sgt Prabhjot Singh discussed the pension case of Reservist Dalip Singh of Vill. Khanian in Tehsil. Nabha, Distt. Patiala who has been drawing Rs. 3/- P.M. as pension since 1939. The case, which was earlier highlighted in various news papers which attracted the attention of Govt. of India for a suitable disposal and hectic correspondence was made between the Govt. and the Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh. The correspondence about the said case was presented to the Pay Commission which took no time to make recommendation to grant a regular increase in pension for old pensioners (Veterans) who were so far being given, some or other types of ad-hoc increases to which re-employed ex-servicemen were not entitled. Commission immediately declared that here after minimum pension will be paid to re-employed ex-servicemen. Thus, there was a regular increase in pension for the veterans as a result of sustained efforts made by Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh.

    5. Fifth Central Pay Commission (April 1994- January 1997)
    The Fifth Central Pay Commission recommended the abolition of Rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Commission also recommended abolition of integrated pay scales. For old pensioners (Veterans), Fifth Central Pay Commission recommended Rs. 1275/- P.M. as minimum pension and Rs. 15000/- P.M. as maximum pension.

    6. Sixth Central Pay Commission (Oct, 2006 – March, 2008)
    What the Sixth Central Pay Commission has granted to the Soldiers and the Veterans, is known to all of you and needs no description here. It has given a minimum pension of Rs. 3500/-P.M. (which covers PBORs up to rank of Hav.) and maximum pension of Rs. 45000/-P.M. (General). Mark the difference between the minimum and the maximum pension among the Soldiers. This difference will, certainly, increase to the range of Rs. 1,30,000/- P.M. if no remedial steps are taken by the concerned quarters at the earliest.
    L.Tel. S.C. Sharma CTO (Retd)
    General Secretary.
    Indian Ex-Service League, Punjab & Chandigarh.

    One Rank One Pension- New Committee

    The Congress led Government has appointed yet another so called high power committee to consider OROP. However, still it is a committee of bureaucrats!! No service rep has been included. We all know that the bureaucrats are so crafty and will come up with a percentage solution not a full fledged OROP. Their resolve to keep the Services down seems insatiable.

    There is no statement from Mrs Sonia Gandhi or her son who lay down the policies and priorities. The Prime Minister has not spoken a word himself either; All three should have. The seriousness of the issue does not seem to have sunk in, even though a mention was made about the welfare of the veterans in the President's address.

    The committee formed appears to be to counter the BJP, some sop for the agitation launched by the veterans and also in view of the fast approaching elections in Haryana, where the veterans have sizeable vote bank. The verdict by the Supreme Court in the case of Maj Gen's pension could also be a reason.

    Perhaps the euphoria is misplaced. Let us not count the chickens before these are hatched!! The need to lobby with the highest and keep the pressure on is absolutely necessary.
    Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

    Date: Sunday, 7 June, 2009, 5:09 PM
    Lets not claim credit ahead of each other and try to score brownie points. Fact is that the agitation of exservicemen, be they under any flag, has forced the government to declare that they will do justice to them. Its time we stopped bickering amongst ourselves and let our adversaries take advantage of us. I agree with RKRN that we should address the Cabinet Secy and the PM to ensure that the ESM point of view is made known to them. I would request all the heads of all the ESM organisations to meet and chalk out a plan of action and prepare a paper on the compelling reasons for OROP. Lets forget our differences and unite to solve this problem.
    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    Memoirs: 1965 Indo- Pak Operations Khemkaran Sector

    My story begins in May 1965, when I was asked to move to Ambala on Temporary Duty. Immediately on arrival, Lt Col R C Rawat, CO, overruling the objections gave me acting Major’s pips and asked me to move to Ferozepur next morning, where 7 Mtn Bde had concentrated. We were manning the border during the Kutch ops. After suffering heat and dust and doing nothing, the Bde reverted to Ambala sometimes in July. During the first week of Sep, after bombardment in Jaurian, we were asked to move to Khemkaran on 4th Sep 1965.

    It was a classic case of high level comedy of inefficieny and lack of foresight and planning. Almost a corps moved on the narrow roads of Punjab; Tactical signs obliterated temporarily from OG vehicles, but carrying camouflage nets; All ranks moving in civvies but carrying weapons and ammunition and helmets even. There was utter confusion on the roads, more so because at every crossing in the towns, they offered us tea and biscuits even late at night; the result was a complete traffic jam. To achieve surprise on the enemy [could they!!!!!!], there were no road signs and MP’s had no idea about who was to go where. So everyone navigated for himself. Some may have reached their village even.

    I was asked to collect the Top Secret Op Order from the Div HQ, which was Not ready till the mid-night on 4/5 Sep. I spent the evening with my wife at the dilapidated Perry’s Hotel, which, I believe was the accommodation for British NCO’s. On my way, I saw the complete confusion on the road side, but managed to reach Kalia Sanktara, North of Khemkaran, by the morning of 5 Sep. I was able to read the Op Order, as had been directed. In my civvies I had just a few rupees in my pocket, so the problem was to locate the company to have some breakfast. Luckily, I found the Line laying team along the road, but their first complaint was that all the ‘B’ echelons had been separated and there was no food available for any unit. Luckily, some road side villagers over heard our plight. In less than an hour, they brought chapaties and lassi and gur for the company. They had come to know about our imminent attack, so cheered us up and offered to help us to carry our heavy stores even. So much for the surprise on the enemy.

    FUP’s for the battalions had been fixed on the map, but no body had the idea where to locate them exactly on the ground. Even own scattered troops could not be collected, leave alone the marrying up with various other sub–units and detachments. Under these circumstances, our boys laid the telephone lines during day time on the road side and waited for the units to arrive. Even Bde HQ was not located in one position. They were still in the vehicles, everyone trying to locate everyone else. There was complete radio silence imposed.

    Evening orders: Change into Uniform and battalions ordered to attack as planned. As anticipated, there was no contact with Bns. Radio silence would be lifted only prior to the H hr of the First Bn attack. Bde Cdr, Brig D S Sidhu [9 HORSE], asked me to establish contact with each Bn along with GSO3 [Col Abdul Rasul Khan, 4 Greanadiers, Retd, living in Noida]. Their rifle companies were not even 50% strength, support company all scattered; ammunition, except carried on person, not available. But the assaulting Bns were not unduly perturbed because border posts were not supposed to give them much opposition and surprise was expected.

    6 sep 0600 hrs. Pre H hr bombardment began on Theh Pannu where 4 Grenadiers were supposed to attack on the border post. Radio Silence was lifted but no body except the SIGNALS radio operator attached with each unit was using it. After the attack, ENGINEERS were supposed to clear mine fields. But there were changes in H hr etc; plenty of flexibility, but supporting and neighbouring units were not informed. Engineers reached the objective long before the Infantry and had to face the pre- H hr bombardment. While pulling back they were in the line of fire of 4 Grenadiers having taken up position in the FUP. Luckily, Lt Col Farhat Bhatti [later M/Gen] came on the line asking permission to fire before the revised H Hr. Fortunately, Bde Cdr having nerves of steel refused. Subsequently we used to meet the Engrs Coy Cdr, Maj Satish Thareja who would tell the story of escape from own fire with relish. 4 Grenadiers captured the post by about 1100 hrs.

    06 Sep 2300 hrs. Heavy artillery shelling on the border posts. Radio silence partially lifted but the operators in the FUP were not allowed to answer since the nearby enemy would come to know their location. We both ie Sparrow & Pigeon were watching the scene from the top of a school. Pre H hr bombardment was a spectacular scene. 7 Grenadiers were going in for the assault when we wanted to move back. Unfortunately the jeep bogged down. After wasting about an hour to retrieve it, we decided to move on foot and report the details to Cdr. It was about 4 AM in the morning when we had a cup of tea under a Kikar tree, and reported to Cdr. After sunrise, I and the jeep dvr, moved back to bring the jeep. We were lost in wheat fields. Locals refused to help us because the assaulting battalion had fallen back and they were scared the enemy may close in. Luckily a threat with sten gun worked and by about 9 AM we reached the jeep and pulled it out. But we found retaliatory heavy shelling from the enemy side. Very many vehicles and other stores were lying scattered all over. But where was the Bn? Had it captured the objective? But some of the farmers informed us that the unit had fallen back leaving behind plenty of stores and some wounded even. Utter chaos and confusion. We started as many jeeps as we could drive, each offr and dvr and even untrained dvrs. On the way back we met many wounded personnel, some with heavy weapons -- machine guns and heavy mortars. We tried to locate the Bde HQ, but it was not at the place where we had left it at dawn. Vehicle marks, cooking places were visible. Again the locals informed us that they were disappointed since the troops had fallen back. It was a lucky break that we found Cheema Village,the mound, 11r, on the Road Bhikkiwid – Khemkaran, where bang on the road Bde HQ was to be established. Cdr told us not to waste time in telling him about the situation in the front, but ensure defences were ready as soon as possible. Defences? I thought we had come for an assault.

    Gradually the mist had cleared up. Our Op Order had said Pak Armr Div would move from Quetta and not reach before 8th Sep, so we had planned our assault for 6th. Unfortunately they had already concentrated there for an imminent attack on the 8th. Hence the complete failure of our assaults and this hurried defence. Of course, in the hind sight this was the wisest decision of our Top Guns and it saved our country from being overrun by their Pattons, supported by Sabres.

    Our defences were barely started when we had a visit from a saber for about 45 minutes. We cursed our own Air Force; luckily, I don’t recall any casualty from their straffing, though I dug out later on two 50 mm bullets about one foot each Left and Right of my position in a trench of about two feet deep. A narrow Providential escape, indeed.

    08 Sep 1965. We were a very compact Bde HQ on 11r, in Cheema Village, on the Road itself. Signals Company deployed around it to the North. 4 Grenadiers across the road. On the East was 62 Mtn Bde, Yati Pratap[later M /Gen] was the sparrow. The enemy began their assault from Asal Uttar on 1/9 GR of the neighbouring Bde. By about 1100 hrs they contacted 4 Grenadiers. Luckily MMG & RCL guns were effective. The enemy tank troops were mostly sticking to the narrow road, so quite a few tanks were damaged and abandoned, thus choking those narrow roads. Later in the evening, I went with Cdr to have a look at these invincible tanks. Our boys pulled out some radio equipments along with their Instruction books which were still wrapped in polythene bags. I forwarded these to the Regimental HQ. Luckily like Mahabharat, there was no fight at night. The enemy tanks used to pull back and rest for night.

    09 Sep 1965. Next morning the enemy came close to probe our defences, but 4 Grenadiers were ready. Especially, CQMH Abdul Hamid had destroyed three tanks, for which on the recommendation of the Bn Cdr, Brig Sidhu asked me to send an ‘Emergency’ Signal, recommending him for Maha Vir Chakra. In the mean time some tanks outflanked us from the West but were stuck up in the flooded fields where the drains had been ruptured by the Artillery fire. They surrendered to the Infantry Pl of 4 Grenadiers sent to round them up.

    10 Sep 1965. Early morning, plenty of smoke and dust, but the enemy was halted at a distance only. Later we learnt that their commanders expecting the road to Delhi to be clear were advancing in jeeps protected by armour, to reach Harike. CQMH Abdul Hamid again destroyed one tank, but was killed on the spot. Cdr asked me to send a ‘Flash’ message to read ‘Param Vir Chakra, posthumous’ in place of ‘Maha Vir Chakra’. Luckily the same evening AIR announced his decoration and Pakistan Radio, the decoration, Hallal e –Zurrat, for their GOC. Brig Shami, their C Arty was killed and his jeep with his body was captured along with their Op Order and fully marked Arty map. The body of another Cdr, perhaps the Armd Bde Cdr had been taken away.

    In the afternoon, one Pakistani tank had reached behind our location but was abandoned when bogged down on a bund near the water tank along the road. We had a shower of machine gun fire from behind. Everyone lying doggo thinking the end of our stories, since surrounded by enemy tanks. Somehow I heard some shouting and thinking it to be our own troops, I crawled forward along the grove to meet them with a soiled so-called white kerchief. Maj Vohra (?) of 3 CAV had been told that our position had been over run so they came to liberate us. Luckily we escaped again, this time from our own fire.

    11 Sep 1965. An eerie silence. But everyone on tenterhooks. The enemy may come back any time. Early morning a ring in the Ops Room, which I was manning.

    "Oye, this is Corps Cmdr, Gen Dhillon. Your boys have done extremely well; we are proud of you all. Call your Cdr, chhetti."

    Of course, we were all proud, to have resisted the attack of the Armd Div successfully. By the afternoon I took a jeep with some of our daring boys. Telling 8 CAV crew in front of our defences to protect us, we moved forward about two KM, when we spotted a Pak Sigs trailer abandoned right in the middle of the road. I reversed the jeep and the boys hurriedly hooked the trailer; we rushed back. Of course there was a cloud of dust raised. Our tanks had withdrawn for some other purpose. At our Bde HQ entrance there was a great commotion. Bde Cdr came running out & fired me for not informing any one and making the entire Brigade stand to. Another lucky escape. There were plenty of spare parts and instruction books all of which were sent to the Regt.

    In the evening we were told that 4 SIKHS would infiltrate behind the enemy lines and 2 MAHAR coming from Rajasthan will link up with them. No time for recce or marrying up. 13 Sep, SARAGARHI day, so 4 SIKHS must recreate history.

    13 Sep. 0400 hrs. In order to hand over the radio detachment, I met L/Col Bakshi, CO 2 MAHAR, traveling non – stop from Jodhpur, trudging along the road with a pack on his back. He asked me the names of the Bde Offrs and the units under command and support. He was worried about finding his companies arriving later. He did not have enough maps of the area for his Coy Cdrs. I gave him my own. Wishing him luck, I passed on all this info to Bde HQ. About 0600 hrs Bde Cdr asked me to join his Rover Gp. We advanced to the place of assault. There was murderous fire even before the Bn reached their FUP. A very large number of casualties. Commander gave me his jeep also, so we ferried as many casualties as possible to the make shift RAP just behind the Bde HQ location. By 0900 hrs, Cdr still on foot reorganized another attack, but the enemy was well prepared and no movement was possible. Where was 4 SIKH ? Only in the evening Pakistan radio announced the capture of Col Anant Singh & his troops. A complete fiasco of Saragarhi Day.

    As far as we were concerned the main activity was over. There was a talk of holding Col Bakshi responsible for failing to link up with 4 SIKH, but Brig David Sidhu, a true soldier stood by him. One evening I was asked to accompany BM to Corps HQ, where BGS wanted to hear the actual happenings. After a sumptuous dinner we returned. R S Kardam, my colleague [ Later on he too was transferred to Infantry. Retd as Brig, now settled in Gurgaon], mentioned jocularly that how did we reappear when we had vanished from the face of the Earth. For them 7 Mtn Bde had been over run and decimated completely and ceased to be a formation.

    For the Board of officers, I accompanied L/col AS Vaidya [ later Chief], CO, 9 HORSE, to count the enemy tanks destroyed in the ‘Grave yard of Pattons’. I, in my own hand wrote down the serial number, tactical sign, the exact location and the likely cause of the damage of each. I remember counting 69 tanks, and most of those were destroyed by our tank fire, as assessed by L/Col Vaidya. Of course, having seen the performance of 4 Grenadiers, I had disagreed, but juniors have a muffled voice.

    Subsequently, Brig Sidhu was asked to relinquish the command and we moved to Chharhata near Amritsar, where we all saw the tremendous fireworks at midnight till 0400 hrs on 22 Sep, the time of cease fire. The ammunition brought forward was NOT to be carried back.

    In 1968, I asked a Corps Commander, that everyone had asked for one more day for recce and joint planning, but their request was turned down, because the date 13 Sep was sacrosanct. Yet, when 4 SIKH had never reached their objective, 2 MAHAR had no chance to link up, so there was no question of failure. How could they sack such a gallant Commander, who single-handedly had withstood the enemy Armd Div assault, and had tried to protect his subordinates. His answer was very simple. If the Operations were NOT feasible, Commander should have put his foot down and refused to take part in these operations and faced the music as an individual, but spared the formation that he commanded. In other words, Junior commanders are responsible even for the poor planning at higher levels.

    Luckily, in my Sigs company, I think, we were able to decorate three of our boys with gallantry awards.

    I would Salute Brig David Sidhu and the troops of 4 Greandiers, for their outstanding gallantry and the heroic tenacity, and always leading from the front. He had full confidence in SIGNALS and kept me close to him always.

    Khemkaran was the graveyard of Pattons, the terror of those days. Strategic and Tactical planning at the highest level paid the dividends. The Invincible Armoured Division had been lured into a terrain most unsuitable for armour operations, where it was restricted to be used in penny packets and was decimated slowly but surely. Enemy commanders were cocksure of themselves and ignorant of the capability of Indian troops and locals. They had decided to reach Delhi in jeeps following their armour; such an audacity had to be paid dearly. Our planning and execution of operations, including the mechanism for information collecting and intelligence building, on ground was dismal, to say the least. But leaders like Brig David Sidhu, L/Col Farhat Bhatti and troops like CQMH Abdul Hamid showed exemplary courage and cool leadership, which saved our country from a 1962 repeat.

    I was commissioned in the Corps of Signals in June 1957; transferred to 8 Madras in June 1971, which enabled me to see Infantry operations in Jessore & Khulna and later in Western Sector in 1972.

    Over the Years some details may have dimmed in memory, but most of the activities are still vivid in mind.

    Lt Col Naresh K Rastogi (Retd)

    SBI launches product for army personnel

    Concessional loans, free ATM cards, credit cards
    Our Bureau: hindubusinessline
    New Delhi, May 31 State Bank of India has launched a new product – ‘Defence Salary Package – Army’ – that offers a bundle of free/concessional banking services to the officers and jawans of the Indian Army.

    This product offering, which has already undergone a pilot run in three cantonments, includes concessional loans, free drafts, free cheque books, free fund transfer to the State Bank Group’s network of 15,000 branches besides free ATM cards, the SBI Chairman, Mr O.P. Bhatt, said here on Friday.

    “Defence salary package is a gift wrapped with love from SBI employees to the Army,” Mr Bhatt said at the launch function for this new product. The Chief of Army Staff, Gen Deepak Kapoor, was present on the occasion. Mr Bhatt also said that the bank was looking at a new loan product to help jawans purchase two-wheelers by availing themselves of loans at concessional interest rates. SBI would also provide home, auto and personal loans to Army personnel at 25 basis points lower than floor rate. Also on the anvil is a SBI credit card tailor made for the armed forces.

    This Defence Salary Package initiative would benefit many jawans and senior personnel of the Indian army who are posted in far-flung areas of the country and could not hitherto get good banking facilities. Once this product is rolled out to the entire army network, SBI will get about 12 lakh customers within its fold.

    The Army is also at present undergoing a pilot project with the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) to convert its current cash system into a monthly salary payment system through bank accounts. The project includes a complete computerisation of salary records which are being maintained manually. Currently, the salary of personnel below officers rank (PBOR) of the army is paid on the “acquittance roll system” by which only their monthly requirement is paid to them in cash and the rest accumulates with the Government, usually until retirement.

    SBI launches product for army personnel

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Date: Monday, 8 June, 2009, 12:08 AM
    Dear Colleagues,
    Received calls from ESM at Alipur (Haryana) and Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) expressing their support for the IESM.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    APIP: letter addressed to RM
    Major General RN RADHAKRISHNAN (Retd)
    193, Vira Ma Munivar St,
    Bastin Ngr, Madurai-625016.
    RNRK/ESW/11/20090608(1) 2009-06-08

    Dear Sri Antony Ji,
    At the outset, may I request you to accept my warm felicitation on the electoral success and the consequent regaining the portfolio of the Defence. We, the community of Veteran Servicemen, by and large, are thrilled with these developments; more so, because of the prompt and specific promise in the presidential address regarding the issue of ‘OROP’.

    Being aware of the magnitude of your responsibilities, I feel inhibited to write to you. But as vast majority of the existing 2 millions of the Ex-Servicemen pensioners have felt that their demands have not been addressed with objectivity by the Government in the past, I have overcome my inhibition and now seek your intervention.

    I feel extremely confident that the Cabinet Secretary will address the matter of OROP expeditiously and objectively. Being apprehensive of our problems, I wanted to put forward a comprehensive analysis of the issue to help the Secretary more as a review.

    I seek your intervention as your word shall carry the desired persuasion. May I, therefore, request you, Sir, to browse over the enclosed paper and pass it on to the Cabinet Secretary through your Ministry, with some encouraging words!

    With regards and best wishes,
    Yours Sincerely
    Sd: RN Radhakrishnan

    Sunday, June 7, 2009

    Reality Check: Veteran Organisations

    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
    Full article:
    Elections and the Indian Military: A perspective


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