Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mumbai Mayhem: Coastal Security Fast Tracked

Cabinet Secy to head review panel
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
Backed by the Indian Navy’s assessment that it will take up to two years to make the 7,600-km- long Indian coast line “totally safe”, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home, in separate developments, today got down to ensure that the matter is speeded up and all plans are kept on track.

The Union Cabinet Secretary was today appointed to head a high-level committee that will, at regular intervals, review the measures taken for the coastal security. Other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, Secretaries of Ministries like Defence, Home, Petroleum and Chief Secretaries of all coastal states.

The decision to set-up the committee was taken by Defence Minister AK Antony here today. The National Security Adviser, MK Narayanan and the Defence secretary Vijay Singh were a part of the decision making process. This comes within weeks of the Navy having conveyed that procurement of additional boats, setting up coastal radars, sensors and tracking equipment, besides having other systems in place, will take time.
Coastal Security: Cabinet secy to head review panel

A ghost story for the brave hearts

Dear Friend,
One of the shortest ghost stories of our childhood was about a paranoid traveller who checked the cupboard, then looked beneath the bed, closed the window then bolted the door. He got into the bed and as soon as he blew out the candle, a voice said, loud and clear, "Now we are locked in this room for the night!"
But the story which Talat Zamir has sent in is far more scary. And to make things worse, she tells me that it is a true incident, which happened to some one she knows.
Please proceed further only if you are not suffering from any heart related ailment.
Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

This happened about a month ago near Lonavala.
A guy was driving from Mumbai to Pune and decided not to take the new expressway as he wants to see the scenery. The inevitable happens and when he reaches the ghats his car breaks down - he's stranded miles from nowhere.

Having no choice he starts walking on the side of the road, hoping to
get a lift to the nearest town. It's dark and raining. And pretty soon he's wet and shivering. The night rolls on and no car goes by, the rain is so heavy he can hardly see a few feet ahead of him.

Suddenly he sees a car coming towards him. It slows and then stops next to him - without thinking the guy opens the door and jumps in.

Seated in the back, he leans forward to thank the person who had saved him - when he realizes there is nobody behind the wheel!!!

Even though there's no one in the front seat and no sound of any engine, the car starts moving slowly. The guy looks at the road ahead and sees a curve coming. Scared almost to death he starts to pray, begging the Lord for his life. He hasn't come out of shock, when just before he hits the curve, a hand appears through the window and moves the wheel!

The car makes the curve safely and continues on the road to the next
bend. The guy, now paralyzed in terror, watches how the hand appears every time they are before a curve and moves the steering wheel just enough to get the car around each bend.

Finally, the guy sees lights ahead. Gathering his courage he wrenches open the door of the silent, slowly moving car, scrambles out and runs as hard as he can towards the lights. It's a small town.

He stumbles into a dhaba, and asks for a drink, and breaks down. Then he starts talking about the horrible experience he's just been through.

There is dead silence in the dhaba when he stops talking .....

.....and that's when Santa and Banta Singh walk into the dhaba. Santa points and says "Look Banta - that's the weird guy who got into our car when we were pushing it "
......Just a Stress Buster:-)

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Friday, 19 June, 2009, 10:23 PM
Dear Colleagues,
The media reports today carry news of the formation of the Armed Forces Tribunal. The reports also listed out names of eight ESM who have been selected to fill the administrative posts in the Tribunal. Our heartful felicitations to all of them. This is very happy augury that the government would be putting to constructive use the vast experience, expertise and a disciplined and orderly approach to work of the ESM. This is also a welcome change from the practice of largely neglecting veterans and letting them fade away into oblivion.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM
Armed Forces Tribunal to start functioning next month
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Indian Armed Forces: Inheritors of the priceless apolitical tradition

Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
An article published in the June, 2009 issue of the journal, "Defence Watch" is attached, should a differing point of view be of interest to the readers of "Report my Signal".
Rajendra Prakash,


The recent displays of blatant praetorianism across our eastern and western borders have served to confirm that the Indian Armed Forces are truly the sole sub-continental inheritors of the priceless apolitical tradition bequeathed by their British progenitors. Armies are sent into battle only when statesmen and diplomats have been unsuccessful in ensuring peace. Our Armed Forces have not only fought gallantly on the battlefield but consistently and impartially upheld India’s integrity and secular democratic tradition, when all others have failed the nation.

Their darkest hour occurred in the wake of Operation Blue Star; an unseen internal crisis which threatened to rend the taut fabric of discipline and loyalty which binds together our magnificent Army. The manner in which it contained and defused this calamity will remain another (untold) saga of outstanding military leadership.

This monastic devotion to discipline is the reason that Subhash Bose’s Indian National Army and the Free Indian Legion are, till today, spoken of in hushed tones in the Service environment. The exact details of the 1942 Royal Indian Navy mutiny (even though it imparted a decisive impetus to the freedom movement) will forever remain confined to confidential volumes kept under lock and key on board every warship. Similarly, public expressions of defiance like hunger-strikes, dharnas, marches and demonstrations by civilians cause acute discomfort to the soldier, sailor and airman because they run contrary to the essence of all that he has been ever taught: unquestioning respect and obedience of lawful authority.

Once he doffs his uniform, an ex-Serviceman (ESM) is technically liberated from the restraints of military discipline, and is free to adopt the demeanor and behaviour of any civilian on the street. But deep inside, his soul cringes at the very thought of conducting himself in a manner which would have brought disrepute to his uniform, unit or Service.

Why then did our ESM start resorting to demonstrations in April 2008, in the heart of the national capital as well as in many states? Why did they thereafter graduate to relay fasts at Jantar Mantar? And why are they now surrendering their precious medals to low level functionaries in Rashtrapati Bhavan?. Although they have conducted themselves in a most dignified and orderly manner, the very fact that veterans ranging from Generals to Jawans have been marching on the streets and squatting on footpaths has sent shock waves throughout the Services community; even if the media and our fellow citizens have largely ignored this disturbing development.

I am not about to argue the case of the ESM, but a brief summary of events would help to orient the reader. In early-2006 when the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) loomed into sight, the Service Chiefs, individually and collectively, through the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), appealed to the Raksha Mantri, on the basis of bitter past experience, that a Service member be included in the CPC. This request having been declined, when the CPC Report was released in 2008, the Services found to their dismay that the recommendations expectedly contained many glaring anomalies impacting adversely on serving personnel as well as ESM.

At the persistent urgings of the Service Chiefs, a Review Committee was constituted; ironically yet again bereft of a Service representative. The Review Committee aggravated the anomalous situation by arbitrarily making some further unwarranted modifications. A series of instructions were issued by the Defence Accounts and pension disbursing authorities which were self-contradictory and compounded the prevailing confusion as well as unhappiness. While the Chairman COSC took up the issues relating to serving personnel with the Government, the ESM became convinced that since no one was listening to them, they had no choice but to adopt agitational methods. They have, therefore, taken to the streets since April 2008.

Military veterans, world-wide are objects of spontaneous respect, affection and admiration because they are national symbols of courage, patriotism and sacrifice; a segment deserving of special consideration by the Government. The grievances of our ESM, should, therefore, have been handled with far more sensitivity and responsiveness, than they actually were.

The current ESM movement has been able to mobilize opinion country-wide and gather self-sustaining momentum, mainly due to connectivity provided by the Internet and cellular phone networks. While the MoD seems to have adopted a disdainful and detached stance towards their grievances, the ESM roll-on agenda now encompasses canvassing political support for their cause, and even the formation of an ESM political party which will put up candidates for the forthcoming General Elections.

Thus it is now obvious that, while the nation slept, the process of “politicization” of our Armed Forces is well under way, if not complete. The 6th CPC has also inflicted serious collateral damage by deepening the existing civil-military chasm and thereby further slowing down the languid functioning of the MoD.

As a former Army Chief has pointed out, the ESM retain “an umbilical connection” with the serving personnel; they hail from the same regions or neighbouring villages and often belong to the same extended family, whom they meet when on leave. In any case, the Services and ESM constitute one big family. No one should have any doubts that the essence of whatever happens at Jantar Mantar or India Gate will slowly but surely filter back by a process of “reverse osmosis” to the men in uniform.

Even if the politicians and bureaucrats do not care, the nation’s intelligentsia (where are they?) need to introspect. Does the nation want proud, independent and self-respecting Armed Forces who live by the professional soldiers’ honour code and die unquestioningly for their country; or do we want their soldiers tainted with the stain of “politics”. Were this to happen– even by default– it would constitute the most grievous injury to be needlessly inflicted on itself by the Indian state.

India’s democracy requires that the Armed Forces must be restored to their original pristine state at the earliest; detached from politics, and focused on the profession of arms. The first step is to remove the ESM from the streets, and the best means would be to constitute a multi-party Parliamentary Commission (what is termed a Blue Ribbon Commission in the UK), and NOT another committee of bureaucrats, to examine and address the full gamut of issues.
Defence Watch

War Injury Pay and Disability Pension

12522 / VO / W I P 08 June 2009
Shri A K Antony
Raksha Mantri
Ministry of Defence
South Block
New Delhi – 110011


Hon’ble Raksha Mantri,
Please accept my heartiest congratulations on the thumping victory of your party in the General Elections and your assumption of the office of Raksha Mantri once again. I am sure the serving and retired personnel of the Defence Forces will be benefited greatly under your sagacious leadership.

I am writing this letter on behalf of the entire disabled community of ex-servicemen, especially the war disabled, to bring to your notice the grave injustice that has been done to them in the matter of granting disability allowance and war injury pay. Brief details are appended in the succeeding paragraphs.

The Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare has issued two letters relating to the implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in respect of armed forces personnel who are disabled or become so in future, on account of wounds suffered in war or warlike situations or under other circumstances. Letter No. 16(6)/2008(1)/D (Pension/Policy) dated 04 May 2009 relates to ex-servicemen who had been invalidated out / retired from service prior to 01-01-2006. The second letter of even number dated 05 May 2009 relates to similarly categorized personnel who have or are retiring or being invalidated out after 01-01-2006. The disability allowance and the war injury pay of the two categories thus created are different. This defies any logic, especially when the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission (6CPC) do not make any such distinction.

The 6 CPC, in its recommendations had unequivocally stated that all disabled personnel of the military need to be brought up at the same level as the disabled amongst the civilian government employees, by giving them compensation for their disability as a percentage of pay, like their counterparts in the civil have been getting. This was an attempt to correct a historical wrong that has existed for a very long time. Although the 6 CPC had made no such recommendations, the military veterans have now been neatly divided into pre -01 Jan 2006 and post - 01 Jan 2006 veterans. This is a clear case of creating a divide without any justification. The upshot is that while the military veterans of post-01 Jan 2006 would at long last become at par with the civilian government employees and come under ‘a percentage of pay dispensation’, the poor ex-servicemen of earlier vintage would continue to remain ‘on a lumpsum basis’ as hithertofore. This is obviously biased and illogical.

Only one actual example should suffice to illustrate the huge difference. Sepoy Jigme of Ladakh Scouts had lost both his arms and both his eyes during the Kargil War and was granted a disability of 100%. With the new dispensation, he will receive a war injury pay of only Rs. 7,020, but a Sepoy of same length of service and same percentage of disability invalidated out after 01-01-2006 will receive Rs. 11,400 (being 60 % of total emoluments of Rs. 19,000), if he is retained in service, as is the case of this Sepoy. If a similar case occurs and the Sepoy gets invalidated immediately after his injuries, he will receive Rs. 19,000.00 (100 % of emoluments last drawn). This distortion affects all ranks - officers as well as PBOR.

The non-war disabled personnel are equally badly off. Prior to 01 Jan 2006, they were entitled to Disability Element of Rs. 2600 for officers, 1900 for JCO’s and 1550 for jawans for 100 % disability. This has been enhanced to Rs. 5880 for officers, 4300 for JCO’s and 3510 for jawans for 100 % disability. On the other hand, for those retiring after 01 Jan 2006, the disability element would be 30 % of emoluments last drawn, which amounts to higher compensation. The disparity between the two categories is similar to the war injury category.

This invidious treatment of the pre and post - 2006 disabled / war injured ex-servicemen is arbitrary and contrary to the letter and spirit of the 6 CPC recommendations. The 6 CPC, in its recommendations, had no where drawn a distinction between pre-2006 and post-2006 ex-servicemen. The dilution of the 6 CPC recommendations, restricting its application to only the post-6 CPC personnel, is inexplicable, to say the least. Had 6 CPC decided to restrict the benefit of the liberalized disability / war injury dispensation to future disabled / war injured ex-servicemen only, they would have so reflected it. It may be pointed out that the upward revision of the Constant Attendance Allowance for the 100 % disabled has also been applied equally to pre-2006 and post-2006 personnel. It is obvious that the 6 CPC has been guided by similar thinking, as it is a monetary compensation for disability and is not pension. This was also the case when the recommendations of the 5 CPC were implemented in January and May 2001.

Disparities highlighted above need to be removed so that all ex-servicemen who are disabled or war disabled receive equal compensation, on the ‘basis of percentage of pay’. The division into two categories of pre and post 2006 ex-servicemen is neither desirable nor warranted. The issue may please be favourably considered and the orders issued earlier may be suitably revised, so that the pre and post - 2006 disabled and war disabled personnel are placed at an equal footing for getting compensation for the disabilities they have incurred in both war and non-warlike situations.

Copies are being endorsed to officials dealing with the subject, for their advance information.

Thanking you.
Yours Sincerely
(Vijay Oberoi)
Lt Gen
President War Wounded Foundation
Copy to:
Shri Vijay Singh, IAS
Defence Secretary
South Block
New Delhi - 110011
Shri S M Acharya, IAS
Secretary (ESW)
Ministry of Defence
South Block
New Delhi - 110011
Shri Sanjeeva Kumar, IAS
Joint Secretary (ESW)
South Block
New Delhi - 110011
Shri Harbans Singh
Director (Pension/Policy)
Ministry of Defence
213, A Wing, Sena Bhawan
New Delhi -110011

Friday, June 19, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Thursday, 18 June, 2009, 8:33 PM
Dear Colleagues,
Telephone queries continue to be received from ESM across India regarding OROP. Most are aware of the Presidential reference to it in her address to the joint session of the Parliament earlier this month. They are curious to know when it is coming through.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Across the road now and then

The Spice Mall across the road from my flat has eight Screens providing enough choice and variety to any Movie buff.

I walk across, am checked with a metal detector followed by body patting, how I detest and hate it but suffer in the interest of security, for any hidden WMD and enter the cool innards of the Mall; a welcome escape from the heat outside radiating from the shimmering concrete pavement and the massive facade of the mall in the baleful Gaze of the Jun sun looking down from the clear sky overhead.

I choose the escalators, in preference to the lift, to the third floor box office as the slow ride provides me a birds eye view, as I ascend from floor to floor, of the mall-rats, the so-called foot-falls, in a frenzy of window shopping and aimless wandering.

There is a choice of tickets; the Rs 500 Gold class, ideal while dating, or the budget at Rs 150. I am neither dating nor have a date waiting and opt for the later. Another metal detector and body patting ritual over I am allowed to enter the foyer; choose a corner bench for the entry gate of the Audi (as the hall are named ) to open and watch in amazement and a bit of smile the rush of people of all hues and ages, very young and those not so old to the counters selling popcorn, coffee, tea, ice cream and an out of place Bhel Poore, all at astronomical rates except bottled water at MRP. Eating, talking, using the cell phone, unmindful of others, while watching the movie all go together are part of the ritual and the mall culture

Once inside I look for the corner or the isle seat marked on my ticket and settle down. The lights dim, the screen comes alive with the credits and the high decibel surround sound surrounds me; for a moment my mind wanders and takes me back down the memory lane across the road to times in 1958.

It was some times after we had settled down in our two room house, our first, situated at a corner of the Sujanpur Sericulture Farm near the village of the same name and not far from the unit lines, that a ‘Tented touring Talkies, very much in vogue those days, came and pitched itself on the open ground just across the road from our house.

Come evenings the loud-speaker would be blaring out the current popular film songs interspersed with commercial breaks with some one, in an equally loud voice, announcing the virtues of the film enthralling the urchins collected around and beckoning all and sundry of Sujanpur village to the show.

Unpredictable as ever, Jeet, my bride of a few months, one evening decided to visit the current show; in no position to say no, I walked across to the manager telling him of our plans. He was flabbergasted; least expecting a visit by the dress-circle clientele to his cinema. Since there were no suitable chairs for us, others sat on the ground, he requested if two could be borrowed from our house. Jeet did see the movie, with us sitting on our own chairs; what movie it was is beyond recall.

Certainly watching the movie in the company of late Jeet was far more enjoyable, even though in a simple tent, than sitting alone in the cool comfort of the plush Audi of Shipra Mall across the road.
Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Wednesday, 17 June, 2009, 11:04 PM
Dear Colleagues,
The ESM eagerly await the outcome of the Government Committee presently considering OROP.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Military Pension in comparison with other nations

Where to go to obtain or replace missing records?
Over 24 lakh Ex Servicemen and their widows, regardless of when they retired or left military service, do not have "one source" when requesting for lost or missing records and awards to claim entitled pensions and other benefits– the ESM Welfare Department under MOD which has a statistical branch sadly does not have the statistics nor Records! Secretary ESM Welfare Department should be tasked to get the Statistics and Records of ESM for online downloads.

OROP: Recomendations for Approval

Dear Friend,
I suddenly got a call from Brig R K Gulia for attending a meeting at the IESL Headquarter on 15 June 2009 at 1130hrs. He said that was the meeting of the Committee appointed by the MOD for ex-servicemen. Incidentally this Committee is the result of our efforts about which the Honble Raksha Mantri ji confirmed to me through his DO letter dated 16 Feb 2009. I went there as I am always prepared to go and help the cause of ex-servicemen.

2. I went their and to my horror I found it was his own meeting in which he had invited some people to spread falsehood about achievements of his IESL. Basically these were points which the whole world acknowledges that materialized only through our efforts.

3. If that was not bad enough, they came out with a paper produced with their half-baked knowledge which they as a Committee were going to present to the Government. This paper had been produced, as per their assertion, by incorporating views of all Organizations except our Association. The Association which has transformed the Government thinking over the past 30 years and got you many things was not considered necessary for consideration.

4. Obliviously without our inputs they have produced a disastrous paper which would nullify all our efforts to bring the GOI to do the needful. While we struggle to get you our dues the IESL colludes with vested interests to scuttle our submissions and curry for personal gains. This exercise to bridge the gap is merely to scuttle OROP by working out a half-backed solution. When we then go to the Govt we will be confronted by their recommendations which would obviously have come from a representative ex-servicemen body. I appeal to you all to kindly reject it and tell them to pack up.

5. We have got a paper ready which will be presented to the powers that be and not to the self-styled representatives of the ex-servicemen. This paper I had brought with me to give to the Committee. When I found it was an IESL tamasha. I brought it back as with them it was waste of time and energy.

6. You are all invited to come and take part in this gigantic exercise. Read on our papers one by one and then come and join for signing. We will send this jointly to the authorities.
With warm wishes,
Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd)
OROP Paper presented by AIEWA

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rank Based Pension: Consolidated Recommendations

Dear Members,
1. We have kept you briefed on the progress with our quest for OROP and in our last communication informed you of the inclusion of our demand in the President address to the Parliament.
2. After some discussion, all the major organisations fighting for OROP mutually decided to pool their resources and forward a single consolidated paper for consideration by the Cabinet Secretary Committee. This was co-ordinated by the IESL and we agreed to be one of the members and RAdm Sushil Ramsay was nominated as our representative on this committee. One of the other major issues was to safeguard the rights of the PBOR, who must come first, before us, as per our ethos and this was always kept in mind.
3. The committee received and looked into a large number of proposals that had been received by various orgs. RAdm Ramsay generally co-ordinated the examination of the proposal and has in fact in due course prepared the paper, presented the same before the entire committee and the Presidents of the participating Organisations. There were generous contributions by MajGen Radhakrsinan and some others. The final Presentation was very well attended and more importantly generated very constructive and meaningful discussions. All constructive and rational suggestions were thereafter incorporated in the final proposal.
4. The three Tables agreed to, are quite explicit to indicate the basis for formulation of our projections which were finalised with a view to arrive at a consensus. In addition we have included request for resolution of another anomaly for the pre 01 Jan 2006 Pensioners relating to Disability Pension/War Injury Pension/Special Family Pension/Liberalised Family Pension/Dependent Pension(Special), etc, which have emerged out of recent GOI notifications of 04 and 05 May 2006.
5. At the conclusion of the deliberations it was agreed to forward the attached proposal to the GOI for consideration. It may be added that the service headquarters were also requested and have forwarded a proposal. We feel that our proposal is somewhat better than the one forwarded by them and we all owe thanks to RAdm S Ramsay for the tremendous amount of effort put in and a job well done.
6. I , may conclude by saying that it is a very difficult task to synthesise and harmonise the views and aspirations of a large number of the Veterans of various vintages, issues and differently impacted by various Pay Commissions. We have arrived at an agreed consensus and that should be accepted as the most viable solution. Am sure, there will be some who will take issue but it is a corporate decision and is best left at that. We have, as a major milestone, managed consensus amongst all the major stakeholders and that's good too.
Vice Admiral Harinder Singh (Retd)
President NFDC
Recommended Pension Tables

Positive Aspects
The existing wide Pension Disparity between a Sepoy and Lt Gen has been bridged to the right ratio of 3:10. The Government needs to accept the recommendations without creating anomalies or riders to the recommendations.

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Monday, 15 June, 2009, 10:52 PM
Dear Colleagues,
New Members
We extend a very heartful welcome to the following new members into the IESM family: (and thank Maj Gen Aditya Jaini for motivating them)
1. SL 3061 Maj Aravindakshan
2. IC 32561 Maj TS Bevli
Calls continue to pour in from ESM across India. Everyone is aware of the President having included OROP in her address to the Joint session of the Parliament on 4 June. With the issue having remained unresolved for so long there is a mix of hope, expectation, apprehension, trepidation…
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Date: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 10:39 PM
Dear Colleagues,
Received an early morning call from an IESM District head in Haryana. His ESM team were always there for all the Jantar Mantar shows and were one of the first to voluntarily deposit their medals to press the government to accept OROP. Today he was agitated and complained against IESL claim (made in the Hindi Tribune, 16 June 2009) that it is with the efforts of Brig RK Gulia alone that the government has agreed to grant the long standing demand of OROP. In the newspaper report the IESL also severely criticised the ‘small ESM organisations’ for depositing their medals with the President.
It is not my intention to join issue with anyone or be judgemental. I only make a truthful report; readers can form their own opinions.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Veteran Voice: An Appeal
It is necessary that we Ex- Servicemen at this juncture, reduce to silence by an overwhelming vote those who so far have prevented union, and who at the same time have acted as if they had all the members in their pockets.
Do not be deterred from "Governing Body" of some Unions or Leagues whose intentions by the fact that this or that majority resolution does not suit you. Such resolutions may be altered in the course of time. But the disgrace of separating here without accomplishing any results can never be blotted out; should such happen it would be equal to a crime against our cause which is the cause of the whole ESM community.
But the form can be found in which minor differences of opinion can be resolved in harmony, which the striving for a higher universally acknowledged ideal, common to us all, demands.
Now friends, our sense of duty must be stronger than our self-will; our love for the cause must make us forget personal injustices we may have suffered; our entire thinking, feeling, and wishing must be consumed by enthusiasm for the work of rescue which we have to perform in common with Ex Servicemen all over the Nation. But perhaps one or other among you may say:
“These are but words, phrases which cannot stand before the real facts as they exist.”
We need the movement to gather voice and so let us join IESM in greater numbers to silence those who seek to silence the voice of the majority. We have full faith in the leadership of Raj Kadyan. The movement has grown leaps and bounds in a short span of time. Let us therefore doubly resolve to be motivated to maintain the momentum. We have miles to go before we achieve our goals!

IESM: Unity efforts being scuttled through news media

Dear Friends,
1. Photocopy of a News Published in Hindi Tribune dated 16 June 2009 page 2 is as above for your perusal please.
2. It is very evident from the contents of the above News that IESL headed by Brig Gulia is playing a double game. The attitude of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds is most deplorable and needs to be taken note of by all veterans.
3. It is very despicable that while we have extended our hand in good faith to the IESL on a number of occasions in order to forge a United Voice of all ESM in getting Justice for Defence Personnel, the same has not been reciprocated by him. On the contrary, Brig Gulia has called all other organizations, which include the IESM (a massive mass movement spread all over the country in over 26 states), as small organizations, shows his insight. His calling the depositing of medals by ESM to the President as an act warranting severe condemnation shows his indifferent attitude towards the anguish and hurt feelings of the ESM for the rejection of their just and fair demand of OROP and the apathy of the Govt to our one year’s protest Movement which included Dharnas, Relay Hunger Strikes, arrests of veterans and members of the their families. IESL is totally divorced from the ground realities and instead of espousing the cause of ESM, it is ipso- facto harming their interests by such actions. One really wonders what his compulsions could be in making such negative statements, damaging the cause of ESM, unless he has ulterior motives best known to him. It is pertinent to note that the role of IESL has all along been at cross purposes with the demands of ESM. Now that the success appears to be at hand, IESL has jumped into the arena from the blue, taking credit for it.
With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Dear Friends
1. A Rejoinder sent to Hindi Tribune in response to the News Item by IESL is as given below.
2. All ESM Organisations and ESM are requested to get the same printed in local News papers and periodicals for wide publicity please.
With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rising Chinese military power

China is highly sensitive to challenges to its security. It considers US as its long-term strategic threat. It sees US foreign policies and military strategies in Asia in conflict with its long-term interests. Clash with the US is considered inevitable in the long-term perspective, whether over Taiwan without which it feels its sovereignty is incomplete or when it is sufficiently strong militarily.

After Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwan is its next objective, over which it is willing to go to war if pushed. Presently, it prefers to concentrate on building economic bridges with the US while simultaneously building its armed forces technologically.

China is wary of resurgent Japan as a future challenge though presently its pacifist military posture is no threat. It also distrusts Russian revival and India’s growing politico-military profile. It doesn’t like India’s closer ties with the US or even Russia, for it views them as detrimental to its regional and global interests. It does not want another giant in Asia. That’s why it tries to keep India on tenterhooks as regards the Sino-Indian relations. It wants India to remain embroiled regionally with its neighbours and dissipate its vital resources.

It’s time India realised the security implications of China’s rising military profile. The government has no long-term plans or resource allocation to meet current or distant security challenges. The plans drawn by the armed forces remain without government approval for want of politico-bureaucratic combine’s reluctance to commit. Consequently, India doesn’t have a coherent strategy to manage its security challenges.

Ad hocism without any defined objective prevails in all matters of security. No other country is so lackadaisical towards its national security. China’s rise as a military power and its policy of strategic containment of India has serious ramifications.
Read the full article:
Regional security under long-term threat by Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (Retd)

ECHS: Respite for ESM suffering chronic ailments

Thursday, June 11, 2009
Welcome Step: ECHS to issue medicines for 90 days for chronic ailments. The ECHS Central Organisation has decided to issue directions for release of medicines for a period of three months to patients suffering from chronic ailments since issuance of medication for shorter periods was causing hardship to patients who had to visit ECHS establishments time and again to get the same re-issued.

These instructions have been circulated vide Letter No B/49762/AG/ECHS dated 13 May 2009 and have been disseminated to all Commands (including IN & IAF).
Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh

UT admin enhances monthly allowance of decorated soldiers

Punjab Newsline Network. Tuesday, 09 June 2009
CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Administration has enhanced the monthly allowance for various Decorations. For Paramvir Chakra the revised rate of monthly allowance is Rs. 10,000, Ashok Chakra Rs. 10,000 and Sarvotam Yudh Seva Medal Rs. 2,500.

An official spokesman said here Tuesday that allowance has been revised for Mahavir Chakra and Kirti Chakra revised allowance is Rs. 7,500 each, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal it is Rs.2000, Vir Chakra and Shauriya Chakra is Rs. 3,500 each, for Yudh seva Medal it is Rs. 1,500 and for Sena Medal (Gallantry) it is Rs 2,000. For Mention-in-Dispatches it is Rs.1,000, for PVSM it is Rs.2,000 AVSM 1,500 and VSM and Sena Medal (Distinguished Service) is Rs. 1,000 each.

The Administration has also fixed lump sum one time monetary grants to the future gallantry awardees of Paramvir Chakra is Rs.25,00,000, for Ashok Chakra Rs. 25,00,000, Mahavir Chakra and Kirti Chakra Rs.15,00,000 each, for Vir Chakra and Shauriya Chakra it is Rs. 10,00,000 each. For Sena Medal (Gallantry) and Sarvotam Yudh Seva Medal Rs.5, 00,000 and for Yudh Seva Medal and Param Vishisht Sewa Medal Rs.3, 00,000 . For Mention-in-Despatches ,Ati Vishisht Sewa Medal it is Rs. 2,50,000 each and Uttam Yudh Seva Medal is Rs. 4,00,000.For Vishisht Sewa Medal and Sena Medal (Distinguished Service) it is Rs 2,00,000 .

The lump sum rates will apply only to the future winners of these awards and the previous cases would not be re-opened. These amounts will be given in lump sum to the future awardees only once and they would not be entitled to any other benefits. The rates will be applicable from the date of issuance of notification that is June 5, 2009, spokesman added.
UT admin enhances monthly allowance of decorated soldiers
Related Reading
Gallantry awards sans Honour or Respect

Comment: There should be uniform scale of monetary allowances to be followed by the State Governments. Why this region wise discrimination when the Jawan has served to protect the territorial integrity of India?

Monday, June 15, 2009

War widow gets promised land after 37 yrs

Vijay Mohan, Tribune News Service, Chandigarh, June 14
It was a battle that took 37 years. Now at the age of 70, Balwant Kaur, whose husband was killed in action during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, has finally got possession of the land promised to her by the state government as a mark of recognition of her husband’s sacrifice.

She was promised 10-acre land in Ludhiana district by the Punjab Government and is now in the possession of eight acres. The remaining land is yet to be handed to her as some issue pertaining to entries are still to be sorted out.

Balwant’s husband, Hav Kehar Singh of the Sikh Regiment, had died fighting in the Leepa Valley in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the Punjab Government’s policy to help war widows, the Revenue Department initially allotted her 10 acres in the riverbed of Churwal village, near Ludhiana.

Since the area was unusable, she sought alternative land that could be used for cultivation. As the area re-allotted to her was under the possession of some villagers, she had to embark on another battle for getting its possession.

Over the years, uncooperative attitude of the subordinate staff, original files going missing and bureaucratic hassles became the order of the day. Ultimately, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, ordered recompiling of the case file.

In 2003, the matter was reported to the Chief Minister during a public hearing, who ordered immediate action and a progress report. However, nothing moved even thereafter. It was in 2004 that the new case file reached the DC.

Though Balwant Kaur and her sons kept visiting the offices concerned regularly, there was no progress on ground. Meanwhile, an appeal filed by the then occupants of the land was dismissed by the court.

It was in late 2008 that the DC forwarded the case to the Revenue Department, but the inaptness of the subordinate staff came to the fore. Issuing incorrect orders, officials facing corruption charges and bureaucratic lethargy led to further delays.
War widow gets promised land after 37 yrs

Armed Forces Tribunal: Coming of age, will it take off?

The setting up of the AFT which is bound to bring the much needed relief to military litigants, shall also ensure handling of critical issues by former members of judiciary who would be from outside the ‘chain of command’ and therefore dealing cases with a clean slate with no biases or prejudices. They shall of course be assisted by former military officers- the administrative members, who would, with consensus, be providing important inputs resulting in what hopefully would be well-rounded judicial pronouncements meeting the aspirations of all affected. The AFT would also be in conjunction with the observations by the Supreme Court about providing a proper appellate body for courts martial. But the AFT, without in-house introspection (below) would not be an answer to the shortcomings of the system. What needs to be eliminated is the subjectivity at all levels, starting from initial stages of Inquiry ending with the Trial. The letter of law at all stages needs to be followed in spirit and not as a sheer formality, an effective system of defence for the accused needs to be put into place and senior officers in the chain of command need to be sensitised so as not to interfere in the deliverance of justice in the military. Presiding officers and officers of the JAG Branch have to be absolutely inert from slanted influences and pre-decisions at all levels. Objectivity, change in judicial perception coupled with the inception of the AFT, hopefully this would put to rest those strong adjectives for military system of jurisprudence.
Posted by Navdeep/ Maj Navdeep Singh at 5:25 AM

Comment: We need to keep track of the first case and its judgement for Military Records. Will Pension anomalies hanging fire for decades be resolved? What about string of cases pending in courts? Will we see the syndrome of delayed Justice redeemed for litigants?

SCPC: Why ESM Pensions got short circuited?

Sixth Central Pay Commission was set up by Government of India on 5-10-2006 for revising the salaries and pensions of Central Government employees to fulfill its commitment in persuasion of advisory note given by the Fifth Central Pay Commission (CPC) in which the CPC drew a guideline for the Central Government to make permanent provision to appoint CPC after a gap of every 10 years.
The commission was comprised of following members:
1. Chairman Justices Sh. B. N. Sri Krishna
2. Member Prof Ravindra Dholakia
3. Member Mr JS Mathur
4. Member Secretary Smt Sushma Nath
(Sh. JS Mathur passed away in February, 2008 before the submission of the report to the Govt by the Commission)
Immediately after the formation, 6 CPC circulated a questionnaire on its official Website, Sixth Central Pay Commission" and invited all interested persons, including members of the public, peoples' representatives, consumers association, staff associations, State/UT governments, ministries/departments to send their views on the subject by 31st December 2006. Questionnaire had been prepared to facilitate response from Individuals/Groups on the items of specific interest to the Commission with facility for online response. Consequent to an addition in the terms of reference, Unions/Associations of officers and employees of the Supreme Court of India were requested to submit memorandums to the Commission before 31st August 2007. Unions and Associations of civilian officers and employees flooded the Commission with memorandums without waiting for a day whereas We, Gentlemen (Veterans) went on asking for an addition of member out of Veterans in the Pay Commission to which the Govt. did not accede. As per the record available on the website, a total of 412 (R) 412 memorandums were submitted to the Sixth CPC (R) CPC. Out of this total, 403 (R) 403 related to civilians (employees and pensioners) whereas only 9 (R) 9 memorandums related to serving Soldiers and Veterans which were submitted by the following NGOs and Government offices.
1. Air Force Association, Jodhpur
2. Air Force Association (Western Zone), Pune
3. Army War College, MP
4. Defence Services Officers' Institute, Kerala
5. Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh
(Then headed by Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon Retd. with present President, Sgt. Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS Retd. then working as General Secretary)
6. National Ex-Servicemen Coordination Committee, Delhi
7. 6th Pay Commission Cell (Army), New Delhi .
8. Tirunelveli District Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association Chennai.
9. Zila Sainik Welfare Office Shillong Meghalaya.
As evident from the above list, One and only One memorandum was submitted (By Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh) from Punjab in respect of serving Soldiers and the Veterans. Should we not think that, to same extant, we, the Veterans, are to be blamed for this un-justified recommendation by the Pay Commission in our case.
The Commission had meetings with officers, unions and associations in 22 cities, such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Port Blair, Chennai, Puducherry, Guwahati, Gujarat, Banglore, Jummu & Kashmir, Hyderabad, Mussoorie, Ambarnath and a few other cities (from where the Commission received bunch of memorandums) apart from its New Delhi office. The Commission did not come to Punjab for meeting with the NGOS. Since there was only one (R) one memorandum from Punjab, the Commission did not give a chance of hearing to Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh, which has been regularly interacting with the previous Pay Commissions i.e. Fourth and Fifth CPCs.
In spite of denial of meeting with the Pay Commission, the following demands, which were projected only by Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh, in un-mincing words, in its memorandum, No. IESL/ Pay Commission/2006, dated 24 December, 2006 were acceded to and recommended, with certain changes, by the Pay Commission to the Government.
1. The league demanded a pay scale of Rs. 12000-24000 (minimum) for the serving soldiers and a minimum Pension of Rs. 6000/- for the Veterans. However, the Pay Commission took a lenient view for serving soldiers but crushed the Veterans up to the Rank of Havildars.
2. League demanded the right of family pension for un-married daughters above the age of 25 years in its memorandum. But this was agreed to by the Central Govt. as a result of sustained efforts being made by the League on the administrative channels before the Commission submitted its recommendations to the Govt. However, the Commission did take notice of it and affirmed that the Central Govt. has already agreed to this and issued the required instructions.
3. The league demanded an increase in basic pension above the age of 65 and 75 years quoting the example of Punjab Govt. which gave an increase of 5% in pension at the age of 65 years and an other increase of 5% at 75 years. However, the Commission gave an increase of 20% at the age of 80 years, 30% at 85 years, 40% at 90 years, 50% at 95 years and 100% at 100 years of age. Now it is up to the Veterans to see how long they can live to enjoy these increases in Pension.
4. The league demanded that Constant Attendant allowance be increased an made equal to the salary of class 'D' employee and DA also should be paid on this amount. The rate of this allowance was Rs. 600/-PM at that time. However, the Commission increased this amount to Rs. 3000/-PM and also recommended that their should be an increase of 25% in this amount when the DA increase by 50%. It may be noted that only this (R) this allowance has been increased five times where as all other allowances have been doubled only.
5. The league demanded two pensions for the widow of an Ex- Serviceman who drew two pensions during his life time. However, the Commission made a mention of this demand by the league but gave no comments regarding this.
6. The league demanded that Disability Pension (100%) should be at least two times than the normal pension and be reduced proportionately for lesser percentage of disability. However, the Commission has shown much favour to serving soldiers than the Veterans in the case of disability pension. Barring this, all other demands projected by Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh found not much favour in the hands of Pay Commission since the league did not get a chance to be heard or discuss the demands with the Pay Commission. Had the league been heard by the Pay Commission, the Veterans could have got a little more to be satisfied. While making recommendation for serving soldiers, the pay commission depended mainly on the note submitted by the Integrated HQs of Armed Forces and the suggestions made by the civilian staff of the Pay Commission where as in case of Veterans, the Pay Commission based its recommendation more on the suggestive brief prepared by its civilian staff than the demand projected by the NGOs of Veterans. When the civilian staff working in the Pay Commission found that there was a special allowance i.e. Constant Attendant Allowance which was, hitherto, being paid to Veterans only and it was increased five times, the lobby prevailed upon the Chairman and the members of the Pay Commission resulting in to grant of this allowance to the civilian disabled persons also.
The Veterans must note it clearly that the cause of delay for One Rank One Pension not being granted to Veterans in spite of several promises by different Govts is the bureaucratic pull and push which creates the hurdle.
Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS (Retd)
Indian Ex-Services League,
Punjab & Chandigarh.

IESM: Chairman's Desk

Date: Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 11:43 PM
Dear Colleagues,
The IESM Steering Committee met this evening from 1800 to 2130 hours as scheduled. Apart from discussion on other topical issues the concept paper on OROP was finalised.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Readers Responses
Dear Col Karan Kharab,
Thanks for the complements though I,personally, do not deserve the same. It is my organisation which has given me a chance to contribute a bit towards the welfare of my brethren. As for as the unity is concerned, we are open for unity on merit (R) merit with any organisation working for the same goal.
Root cause of dis-unity among the Veterans is none else than rank -consciousness and if we remove that every thing will be smooth. I am proud of my body ,Indian Ex- Services League ,Punjab and Chandigarh, which has emerged as First body of Veterans to shed the rank-consciousness. As a result, I am here in front of you working as President of the body in which a no. of Brigadiers are adoring the organisation as common members.Most of our Dist. Presidents are donning the Rank of Col and Lt Col. I joined this body as a common member about 34 years ago and on 21st December, 2008 my body has honoured me by electing me as 4th President, unanimously, for a term of five years.
Late Maj Gen Mohinder Singh (Retd) headed this body from April, 1978 to March, 1984 as 1st President when Late Lt Gen Gurbachan Singh 'Buch' (Retd) became its 2nd President and lead the body till July, 1998 when he was ordained by the almighty to leave this world. Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (Retd) became 3rd President of this democratic body of Veterans and worked as such upto 21st December, 2008 when I was elected to shoulder the responsibility of leading this body of Veterans. Our organisation has, already, submitted a couple of communiques regarding the demands of Veterans to High Powered Committee headed by Mr SM Acharya Secy. Defence Welfare, on its own, since IESM could not entertain anything other than OROP. I had a long talk with Gen Kadyan and Brig Kamboj about three months ago. But I must say, earnestly, that every right thinking Veteran or a body of Veterans is contributing its might towards the welfare of Veterans.
God bless all
Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLs Retd.
President,Indian Ex-Services League,
Punjab & Chandigarh.

Date: Sunday, June 14, 2009, 4:30 AM
Dear Prabhjot,
I have read your mail giving information about how the 6th CPC went ahead while most of the ESM Organisations did not care to present their case to it as you did. I am indeed highly impressed about the vision and sagacity you have displayed in projecting the case most objectively. People like you who are genuinely focused are an asset to us all. I congratulate you and wish you many long healthy years so that the Veterans throughout the country can avail of your contribution in achieving our common goal.

I am sure when people like you, Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, Brig RKS Gulia and other friends who are actively involved in the on-going struggle join up together, no Government will be able to ignore our demands. But if we remain divided, we shall be brutally exploited like the monkey did to the two quarrelsome cats! Also, there are already sinister conspiracies silently at work to create a wedge between our ranks. We would give in- if we ever did- to these unholy temptations at our peril.

Let's rise above all one-upmanship considerations and move on with a single-minded concentration on our common Goal. I am indeed proud of you and admire the acumen you seem to have to handle complicated issues with requisite finesse and success.
Wishing you best of luck,
Col Karan Kharb (Retd)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

High-level committees to look at ex-servicemen’s ‘One Rank, One Pension’ demand

By KiChU on May 5th, 2009
New Delhi, May 4 (ANI): Heeding the long held demand of retired defence personnel, the Government has constituted two high-level committees to look into the various issues concerning ‘One Rank, One Pension’ of ex-servicemen.

In the absence of ‘One Rank-One Pension’, anomalies in the pension of two persons of same rank arise and also there are instances of hundreds of war veterans drawing lower amount of pension as compared to personnel who retired in the recent past.

The Government has constituted a high level committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary to reduce the gap in the pensionary benefits to soldiers and officers and bring it as close to ‘One Rank, One Pension’.

“The other members of the committee are Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (Personnel), Secretary (Expenditure), and Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare),” said a senior Defence ministry source.

Financially the decision will additionally cost the government around 500-600 crore per annum and would be much less than the estimated financial liability for grant of OROP, the source said.

The other committee set up by the Ministry of Defence will be headed by Secretary (Defence Finance), Indu Liberhan, to sort out anomalies in the implementation of orders relating to armed forces pensioners.

The Sixth Pay Commission report had recommended 50 per cent weightage for armed forces PBORs during retirement, whereas earlier they would receive 70 per cent weightage until rehabilitated in other paramilitary forces. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)
High-level committees to look at ex-servicemen’s ‘One Rank, One Pension’ demand By KiChU on May 5th, 2009
Committees: List of Committees

Comment: Several government commissions and committees have been set up with an intent to provide effective and timely address of issues and resolving grievances of citizens of India. Invariably the commission/ committee suggestions and recommendations are so confused and distorted that implementation is near impossible. Generally the aim is to appease and confuse and maintain status quo. Corrupt Bureaucrats are suitably chosen to head all commissions and committees and toe a policy that is degenerative!


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