Saturday, August 29, 2009

SCPC: Military Pensions Screwed Beyond Comprehension

Dear Brig Kamboj,
In an idle reverie, I worked out the total terminal benefits received by two Cols who had put in identical lengths of service. Of them one retired in Dec 2005 and the other was luckier and served one month longer. The difference in their take home packages is a whopping nineteen lacs of rupees, tax free. Some friends tell me that this kind of anomalies have occurred during the previous pay commissions also. True. But the magnitude this time is far greater.
As far as I can see it, the hard feelings this time are unlikely to die out in a hurry. The legal eagles tell me that the government is pretty sure that they can hold their ground in the court of law. Indeed they may be able to make the case drag on for years on end, but I doubt that they can ever face the veterans face to face.
I do not see this 'movement' dying in a hurry!
The worksheet is given for those who care for figures.
Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

Daylight Robbery which can haunt the Pre 2006 Retirees till doomsday
The typical military officer retiring these days is a Col or Col (TS). At the time of superannuating, he receives some terminal benefits, apart from his pension. I took the case of two such colonels one of whom retired in Dec 2005 and the other in January 2006, for the sake of comparison.

Benefits/ Jan 2006/ Dec 2005
Gratuity/ 10,00,000/ 3,50,000
Leave encashment/ 6,96,000/ 4,14,000
Commutation/ 18,91000/ 9,40,000
Total/ 35,87,000/ 17,04,000

The monthly pension is as under:
Full pension/ 31,200/ 26,050
Commuted portion/ 15,600/ 6,509
Residual pension +DA-CV(Jul 09)/ 24,024/ 26,574

With each passing year, Jan 2006 retiree will get a greater sum, because his DA will accrue on a larger ‘basic’ pension, and by 2012, his monthly pension will also be higher.

The Bottom Line
It is evident that the officer who retired just one month later gets about nineteen lac rupees more than his colleague who went home just one month earlier. The difference in their dates of birth could be just one day! (And this amount is tax free). Even at a conservative 10% rate of interest, this can yield a monthly income of Rs 16,000 per month, with the capital intact. The officer born just one day later therefore becomes that much richer.

Imphal: Army pensions misused by State Bank of India

Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network
Imphal, August 28 2009: The individual bank accounts of 360 Army pensioners who have their respective bank accounts with State Bank of India (SBI), Chakpikarong branch, Chandel district of Manipur, for the purpose of drawing their respective monthly pensions are found misused by the branch manager, Chitrabhon Singh with his subordinate staff by way of forging their specimen signatures on the loose withdrawal cheques/ slips, alleged a press statement issued by RT Dahring, secretary of Ex-Servicemen's Association, Chandel district of Manipur.

The branch manager and his subordinate staff had abandoned the premises of SBI at Chakpikarong bazaar on October 18, 2008 after a hot argument with one ex-serviceman on October 17 over a matter concerning sanction of loan, claiming that they will not operate the bank until and unless the bank is provided with security guards and since then the SBI branch at Chakpikarong bazaar remained closed totally, informed the press statement.

Thereafter, the functioning of the SBI Chakpikarong branch started on December 8, 2008 from the premises of SBI Kakching branch, Thoubal district, where the account balance of the pensioners were transferred to A/C No 30644212885, belonging to the branch manager, Chitrabhon Singh, without the knowledge and consent of the pensioners, it stated.

Monthly pension of the Army pensioners were withdrawn by forging their signatures and the withdrawn amounts were distributed to the pensioners at their houses by one of the bank staff who is a local man, after deduction of certain amounts varying from Rs 300 to Rs 1000 from each and every pensioner, which many of the pensioners refused to accept, further alleged RT Dahring.

Monthly pension of even those who had already expired have been found withdrawn which have caused unnecessary problems in the process of conversion to family pension, and some pensioners have not received their pension for more than one year due to the lack of transparency of the bank staff, lamented the pensioners.

Highlighting the plight of the pensioners and requesting necessary corrective actions, the Chandel district ex-servicemen's association had submitted a representation to the chief minister of Manipur to provide security guards to SBI Chakpikarong branch to ensure functioning of the bank at Chakpikarong itself rather than at Kakching in the interest of the pensioners and the public, stated the press release, and it further stated that the grievances faced by the pensioners had also been highlighted to the Union defense minister and GOC, 57 Mountain Division, C/O 99 APO.

If the request of the ex-servicemen's association is not attended and redressed immediately, they would resort to any other form of action as they deem fit, the press statement warned.
Chandel Army pensions misused

Ex-servicemen plan stir on ‘One rank one pension’

Saturday, Aug 29, 2009The Hindu: Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI: The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement on Friday threatened to re-launch their agitation by returning their medals protesting against the government’s recent decision on ‘One rank one pension” stating it did not meet the demand.

Addressing a press conference, the Movement president Lt. Gen (Retd) Raj Kadiyan and his deputy Major General (Retd) Satbir Singh said here that while announcing it, the government said that in order to improve the pension of retired Lt. Generals, it proposed that a separate pay scale may be created for the officers of the level and this would be extended to Additional Secretaries.

“What a clever way for a Committee tasked solely with looking into the issues of One Rank One Pension that pertains to Defence Forces and for which ex-servicemen have been struggling, to benefit their own class,” the Movement said in its release.

It said while less than one per cent of defence officers rose to the rank of Lt. Generals, more than 70 per cent bureaucrats become additional secretaries. Lt. Gen. Kadiyan said, unlike a bureaucrat who continued to serve till 60 years, in the services, the personnel retired as per their rank.

He said while the bulk of persons below the officers rank retired around 35 years, most officers retired around 54 years, when they became Colonels or equivalent ranks in the Navy and Air Force.

Since, the avenues of promotion were restricted, a Brigadier ranked officer retired around 56 years and so on. “There is no provision in the government to retain the retired personnel till 60.”

He said the demand was that equal pension benefits should be given to the retiring personnel based on the duration of their service irrespective of the time they retired.
Ex-servicemen plan stir on ‘One rank one pension’

India’s External Intelligence: Secrets of RAW: Outlook Scoop- 2007

Outlook scooped V.K. Singh's expose on RAW. Now, he's booked under the Official Secrets Act. Is this act meant for misuse? Saikat Datta: Draconian Law
What is wrong with the OSA?
  • Has several vague, "all-inclusive" provisions; anyone can be prosecuted for sharing even harmless information
  • What is "secret" has not been defined, leaving scope for misuse
  • Any document can be deemed secret on the opinion of an "expert"
  • Heavily loaded against the accused. Only Section 5 has a provision for bail which is rarely given.
  • Is used as a vendetta tool to book whistleblowers and unpliable officials.

    Maj Gen V.K. Singh is the latest in the line of people to be targeted under the OSA. The law, which is heavily loaded against the accused, is usually invoked whenever the state wishes to settle scores or rein in whistleblowers. Here are some examples:

  • Capt B.K. Subbarao was hailed as one of the finest nuclear scientists in the country. He was seconded from the Indian navy to help with the nuclear submarine programme but ended up being branded as a spy
    Reason: he detected serious flaws in the designs being drawn up for the prototype at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Trombay. This upset the top brass in the nuclear establishment. Subbarao was hounded out of BARC and arrested under OSA at Mumbai airport in 1990 before he boarded a flight to the US. His repeated appeals to the judiciary fell on deaf ears till the prosecuting agency was directed to come up with the "evidence" it had to prove his guilt. It turned out to be Subbarao's doctoral thesis on nuclear science, submitted to IIT Powai! As the case began to crumble, Subbarao had to face 65 judges in the search for justice. Finally, two years after his arrest, Subbarao was acquitted.

  • Iftikar Gilani, a Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist, was picked up by the IB for allegedly accessing secrets "prejudicial to the safety and security of the nation". After several months in jail, it finally came to light that the case against Gilani was based on a book published by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, 13 years ago.
    Reason: The opinion of the director general of military intelligence (DGMI) stating that the material recovered from Gilani was not secret was kept away from the courts. Finally, after then defence minister George Fernandes directed the DGMI to personally appear in court with his revised opinion, it was taken into account. The case was dismissed.

  • Ajay Kumar, a low-level functionary in the Indian Parliament, was not so lucky with the OSA. The evidence against him: possession of parliamentary reports that had already been tabled. The prosecution chose to ignore the fact these were on sale in Parliament. His lawyer V.K. Ohri told Outlook: "They finally planted a hand-written map of a cantonment that even the army officers have said on record does not have any position authenticated. In fact, they don't even know whether the places marked in the crude map exist or not. Finally, in the age of Google Earth what is the relevance of a hand-drawn map?" asks Ohri.

  • Babulnath Maurya, a designer who served in naval headquarters, was also booked under OSA. Incredible as it may sound, the evidence submitted by the prosecution against Maurya were files which were on his desk. "Can you believe the absurdity of the case," asks Ohri, also Maurya's lawyer. "The papers which were supposed to be on his official desk were collected from his office drawer as proof that he was spying."
    The OSA is a handy tool for the government because it is very vague on what is secret. A personal diary can be deemed "secret" if it is stamped by an official. Similarly, information passed on in the course of official work can become secret. And once anyone is arrested under OSA, there is little chance of bail.

    With such blatant misuse, it was a welcome and overdue development when the Administrative Reforms Committee (ARC), in its first report a few months ago, targeted the OSA, saying it was "enacted in the colonial era". The ARC's chairman Veerappa Moily is unequivocal in his demand that the Act be repealed. "After the enactment of the RTI Act, the OSA, has no place to survive and even its relics may no longer remain," he says.

    Echoing Moily is former member of the National Advisory Council and Magsaysay award winner Aruna Roy. "The OSA should have been scrapped in 1947 when we gained independence," she says.

    In fact, the scrapping of the OSA is a demand that has found support from across the political spectrum with former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K Advani and Jaswant Singh stating that the OSA, at the very least, needs to be reviewed. Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, in an article published in 2001, had pointed out that unlike the British OSA, the Indian Act continues to remain "unrevised despite decades of effort". Calling the OSA "anachronistic", Singhvi argued that to empower society, the government must "reduce the culture of secrecy and limit the power of service providers (bureaucrats) with the reforms of the OSA".

    Not only does the OSA threaten individual freedom and liberties, it has also been used as a tool to deny information as Moushumi Basu, an associate professor at the centre for international politics, jnu, found out. During her doctoral research on the World Bank, she was shocked to learn that the loan agreements executed by India with the World Bank to bail itself out of its financial crisis in 1991 are state secrets. Recalls Basu: "When I asked Manmohan Singh, who was then only a Rajya Sabha member, he insisted that all these papers had been tabled in Parliament. But that is not the case and they continue to be a state secret. So not only is defence under OSA but even development programmes are under its ambit," says Basu.

    Veteran journalist B.G. Verghese had a similar experience when he discovered that maps of Indian rivers, freely available on the internet and in shops, was actually covered under the OSA. Points out Verghese: "Information is power and that is why the bureaucrats want to deny citizens information. But in India instead of taking corrective measures we usually shoot the messenger." B. Raman, former additional secretary with RAW, says then prime minister V.P. Singh had set up two committees during his government. One was to examine whether the intelligence agencies could be brought under parliamentary oversight and the second to review the OSA. "There was unanimous opinion within the intelligence community that the British model of parliamentary oversight should be accepted."

    But in the case of Major General V.K. Singh, the government seems to have let vendetta blind it from the fact that it has no shred of evidence against him. Little wonder then that his book has so far not been banned.
    official secrets act: The Iron Fig Leaf
  • IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Date: Friday, 28 August, 2009, 9:27 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    Gen Satbir, Hony Lt Pandey and self addressed the Press this afternoon at the Press club of India, New Delhi. There were about 30 journalists from the print and visual media.
    The hour long session that included the interactive, was very good. We were able to project our stand on OROP and our planned actions to press our demand.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Vijay Diwas at Navi Mumbai- 15 Aug 2009

    Dear All
    Over 200 ESM comprising of All Ranks from Army/Navy/Airforce, in Navi Mumbai celebrated VIJAY- DIWAS on 15 Aug 2009 at YMCA Hall CBD Belapur under the aegis of EX-SERVICEMEN LEAGUE, Affiliated to IESM.
    This was to provide a platform for exchange of views between Defence & Civil fraternity, on various issues affecting ESM,Defence/Security of Nation,local matters like,naming of roads after the Defence Martyrs/ Hero's, War Memorial, Property Tax exemption & Allotment of accommodation for ESM to meet/ interact etc.
    Mr Suresh Haware renowned Social activist, Scientist & Entrepreneur, was the chief Guest,large number of speakers from both sides spoke, including Vice Admiral IC Rao, PVSM, AVSM(Retd) Col DP Singh, President, Ex servicemen League gave out resume of ESM activities in Navi Mumbai including compilation of ESM directory. The meeting ended with National Anthem followed by Tea & snacks. We plan to hold regular meetings to bring all ESM on one platform and Interact with local Civil/ Political entities in the cause of ESM.
    Brigadier Dharam Prakash (Retd)

    SCPC: Majors and PBOR continue to get a raw deal

    Absolutely no doubt that service personnel of the rank of Majors and their equivalents have been given a raw deal through the implementation of the 6CPCR; for that matter, all ranks who had to retire before completion of the possible full tenure of the service. This occurred due to the concept that physical fitness associated with each rank is demanding and hence beyond certain age it is not possible to employee a soldier in a particular rank. This, in a way, is a misconception. True! Age related fitness is paramount in battle condition during war or training. But, is there no scope to employee the soldiers in suitable alternative administrative posts and permit them to continue to be employed?

    Our leaders in the field of HRM in Service HQ faulted in the past and continue to fault to ensure employment to soldiers till the age of sixty. Besides, they doled out such posts to civilian counterparts and threw the soldiers literally on the street to fend for themselves with so called reservation of a small percentage of posts in the civil market. They did not even see the necessity to monitor effective utilization of the reserved posts. You and I are to be equally blamed, because either we did not have the courage to challenge this injustice in the court of law or we were too naive to understand the implication of early retirement.

    Notwithstanding, we must remedy the ill of the ESM; not by seeking subsidies out of sympathy but by introduction of suitable statute. If subsidies come about promptly and in a dignified manner, we should have no objection whatsoever. It shall be accepted as a gesture of goodwill from a grateful nation.. But when such measures are to be fought for and given grudgingly, I find it difficult to accept.

    The remedy lies in fighting UNITEDLY to claim APIP. The pension that is considered as due to a soldier who retires after any pay commission must be awarded to the soldier who retired prior as well, in the same rank and with the same length of service. Besides, it has to be ensured that the pension-award for a soldier amply compensates for deprived service. We, the ESM have to ensure that the Pay Commission consults us, before they recommend pay structure for the services, as that pay structures affects our pension as well..

    I do not see much difference in the oppression by the British of Indians before Independence, and that of ESM by the present Democratic Indian Government. We are enslaved by draconian service conditions. We have to struggle to get ourselves freed.

    Questions which remains to be answered
  • how many of us realize the true nature of our problem?
  • how many are willing to fight for the remedy?
  • how many know how to fight?

    I, for one, am fighting to the best of my ability by highlighting to the Defence Minister the incorrect approach of the Administrative Officialdom in interpreting the Absolute Parity in Pension (APIP). I feel encouraged from two letters I received from Shri AK Antony, in my reply to my so called verbose and pompous paper on APIP. I am hopeful that something worthwhile may happen in this process. Some may sneer ‘What a Hope?’. They may be justified based on their experience. But this is what I am capable of.
    Maj Gen RN Radhakrishnan (Retd)
  • Bravery of Indian Defence Personnel

    I was touched by the piece on people who are writing about our military heroes. I wanted to inform the larger fraternity, that my son Aditya Bakshi has started a series on Indian War Comics which are based on the lives and exploits of our military heroes. He has started with our PVC and AC winners. The first one on Capt Vikram Batra PVC was released by the former Army Chief Gen Malik last Jul.

    This year Aditya is publishing war comics on Col NJC Nair AC, KC and Maj Unnikrishnan AC. In the pipeline are war comics on H/ Capt Bana SIngh PVC, Ptr Sanjog Chetri, AC, 2/Lt Arun Khetrapal PVC and many others.

    The intention is to create a new post- independence mythology based upon our military heroes and promote the values of DUTY, HONOUR, COUNTRY amongst our youth and children. Comics are a medium that can be used to target the impressionable minds of our children.

    These war comics are being distributed by Om Books International and are available in all metros and big cities. The intention is to translate them in Hindi and spread them throughout the country. The aim is to restore the traditional respect and reverence in which war heroes were usually held in this country.

    Today, unfortunately all we get to hear in the media are mostly false and trumped up charges of HR violations which are being used to hamper our operations. The likes of Arundhati Roy and now Chetan Bhagat are advocating that we give up J&K and outsource our security to the Americans as the Armed forces are too heavy an economic burden! it is extremely distressing as I have seen so many of our good men lay down their lives for J&K.

    I do think it is time for ex- servicemen to stand up and raise their voice in defence of a simple but fast vanishing value: Patriotism.
    Maj Gen GD Bakshi, SM, VSM (Retd)

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    PM addresses XVII Biennial Conference of CBI

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today urged the CBI and state anti-corruption officials to go “aggressively” after “high level corruption” to change the perception that “petty cases get tackled quickly but the big fish escape punishment”. “Rapid, fair and accurate investigation of allegations of corruption in high places should remain your utmost priority. The nation expects you to act firmly, swiftly and without fear or favour. You have... constitutional protection... to do so,” Singh told officers from the CBI, Central Vigilance Commission and anti-corruption bureaus of all states and UTs at the inauguration of a two-day conference in the Capital.
    The PM presented medals of outstanding service to 20 officers.
    No fear, go after big fish, PM tells CBI at anti-corruption meet
    Related reading:
    PM addresses the XVII Biennial Conference of CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureaux

    By: Dr Rekha Jagannath 27-Aug-2009
    After such a impressive election win it is certainly time to pursue this greatest monster roaring against our Democracy and Economy. Our currency is not readily accepted in rest of the world due to this bane. Quality at all levels of governance is sacrificed to feed corruption. Education system is topsy turvy and scare of the genuine because of it. All infrastructural work is suffering controlled by it. Dr Singh did initiate a bit of anti corruption drive in 1991 when when he introduced delicensing and other versions of it attacking the lion's den of corruption. Corruption in high cadres is the biggest crime against the Nation(Late eminent Economist who remains obscure, Dr Venkatagiri Gowda of Karnataka who did his best to fight corruption at all levels till last days often said "Corrupt at the top have to be hanged!"). A significant proportion of GDP gain could be garnered if serious attempts are made. Hope it is a serious statement coming from our incorruptible PM!

    Corruption in Defence Forces
    The scale of corruption especially emanating from Services like ASC, Ordnance, MES, CSD (I) is escalating from PBORs to higher echelons of Command. The "commission" syndrome is sucking the quality of life in the Armed Forces. The clamour for commission for every kind of local purchase, tender process and so forth is galloping at an extraordinary pace! The Chief who heads the organisation is morally responsible for the declining standards.

    National Commission as proposed by Maj Navdeep

    National Commission for ESM
    The proposed "Servicemembers' Redressal of Grievances Act": Statutory liability to respond to/ act upon grievances of service members
    Blog link: Click me

    We thank Navdeep/ Maj Navdeep Singh for the excellent proposal and presentation.
    Will the National Commission for ESM take off?

    Indian armed forces confident about nuclear arsenal

    The scientists said the tests were enough and tested. We believe the scientists. click me

    Rajat Pandit, TNN 28 August 2009, 01:29am IST
    Indian armed forces seem quite confident about the country's nuclear arsenal despite the controversy over the "yields'' of the 1998 Pokhran-II nuclear tests, which included a 15 kiloton fission device, a 45 kiloton thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb) and three sub-kiloton devices.

    Outgoing Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, also the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, on Thursday said India had "a credible minimum nuclear deterrent" in line with its no-first use (NFU) policy.

    "We are a nation which maintains a credible deterrent...more than enough to deter anybody, "said Admiral Mehta. And should someone do the unthinkable by launching a first-strike, then the "consequences will be more than what they can bear".

    Asked about former DRDO scientist K Santhanam's statement that the hydrogen bomb tested during Pokhran-II was actually "a fizzle", Admiral Mehta said, "As far as we are concerned, scientists have given us a certain capability which is enough to provide requisite deterrence...the deterrent is tried and tested."

    That may well be so but there are still some lingering doubts over whether India has a swift and assured second-strike capability, crucial for a country like India whose nuclear doctrine is centred around the NFU policy.

    The doctrine, on its part, declares that nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be "massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage". This connotes a robust stockpile of nuclear warheads, safe and ready for use if needed. Estimates indicate India's weapons-grade plutonium stockpile is enough for 80-90 warheads at present.

    Pakistan, on its part, has deliberately kept its nuclear policy ambiguous in the belief it deters India from undertaking any conventional military action against it.

    Moreover, recent reports indicate Pakistan has pressed the throttle to enhance its arsenal much beyond 60 nuclear warheads as well as supplement its ongoing enriched uranium-based nuke programme with a weapons-grade plutonium one.

    But more than the actual number of nuclear warheads, the worry of the Indian armed forces has been the gap in their delivery systems. Pakistan, for instance, is well ahead in the missile arena, borrowing as it has heavily from China and North Korea.

    China, with its long-range ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), is in a different league altogether. Its road-mobile DF-31A missile, for instance, can hit targets 11,200 km away, while JL-2 SLBM has a reach beyond 7,200 km.

    India, of course, has no ICBM or SLBM. While it's developing the 3,500-km Agni-III and 5,000-km Agni-V ballistic missiles, the only missiles available to armed forces as of now are Prithvi (150 to 350-km range), Agni-I (700-km) and Agni-II (2,500-km). But they, too, have not undergone the rigorous testing nuclear-capable missiles should undergo.

    IAF has some fighters like Mirage-2000s jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons but the Strategic Forces Command has no dedicated bombers. Similarly, Navy has only two "dual-tasked'' warships armed with Dhanush (variant of Prithvi with a 330-km range) missiles, INS Subhadra and INS Suvarna.

    Moreover, the nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant, which was launched on July 26, will take at another two to three years to become fully operational. And it will be equipped only with 700-km range missiles to begin with.
    Indian armed forces confident about nuclear arsenal

    Armed forces will need Chief of Defence Staff in future: Mehta

    New Delhi, Aug 27 (PTI) Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta today said the present system of having a chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) was working fine but the armed forces would need the services of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as they move towards a larger strategic setup.

    "Within the existing limitations, it (COSC system) is working fine.. but in the due course of time as we go on to have a larger strategic set up, we will certainly need a CDS," he told reporters here. "It would be difficult for one of the services chiefs to devote so much of time," he added.
    PTI: Armed forces will need Chief of Defence Staff in future: Mehta

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Maj Gen and Joint Secretary work equation?

    The members of the armed forces perform arduous nature of duty both in field and peace station. Therefore, considering their job weight the members of the armed forces may be given all parity with civil servants apart from attractive other benefits. While a Joint Secretary in a Dept. deals with purely administrative matters of one or two Divisions, a corresponding level officer of the army i.e. Major General is responsible for mobilization of his force comprising three Brigades, each Brigade comprising 3 Battalions and each Battalion comprising 800-1000 persons. A sample survey conducted by the organization in one of the central ministry reveals that there are 300 posts at HQs and a field staff and officers of 3500 under the control of a Secretary and 4 Joint Secretaries. One Joint Secretary is given dairy development activities & poultry activities with full complement of technical officers and other staff, another Joint Secretary is given animal health & animal production with a stream of technical & subordinate officers, third Joint Secretary is assigned the fisheries division, fourth Joint Secretary is made responsible for administration of 300 staff & officers at HQs. The travels on official tours conducted by these senior officers indicate that they are out of the Headquarters most of the times on foreign tours as, for the implementation of schemes, the Govt. of India has to borrow or import technology from foreign countries, whereas the subject matter is purely a state matter. A Major General made equivalent to a JS, has to control and command over 9000 officers and staff in the field as well as in the peace areas with 24 hours preparedness to deal with insurgency, terrorist hunt, natural calamity, civil commotion etc. This comparative study reveals that the senior bureaucrat and other civilian employees of the central Govt. have around 254 working days out of which they avail 30 day's EL, 20 day's Half Pay Leave apart from 8 day's Casual Leave and 2 Restricted Holidays. As the defence service personnel are stationed in the field areas and also in difficult terrains in the defence of this nation, their pay and other benefits should be made at least at par with the all India Service officers and other similar civil servants.
    By:-Association of Citizens Charter Empowerment and Social Service Delhi
    Extracted from:
    Questionnaire Wise Responses: Sixth Central Pay Commission

    Hollywood and the Stars who served in WWII

    Ronald Reagan: Later became the President of United States of America

    Captain, US Army Air Corps. Because of a severe hearing loss, he was not allowed any flying duties. However, he appeared in training films. Prior to the war, he was a cavalry officer in the Nebraska National Guard.

    I find this information interesting and while our "Bollywood" stars are experts in cooking to doing stunts, I wish they did what they are supposed to do well- act.

    In contrast to the ideals, opinions and feelings of today's "Hollywood and Bollywood" the real actors of yesteryear loved their Nation. They had both class and integrity. SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WW II MOVIE STARS?

    With the advent of World War II many of the actors went to fight rather than stand and rant against their country. They gave up their wealth, position and fame to become service men & women, many as simple 'enlisted men'. So remember; while the "Entertainers of today" have been in all of the news media one is reminded of the people of what the entertainers of 1943 were doing (66 years ago). Most of these brave men have since passed on.
    Click here to read the stirring contributions of real Soldiers who later acted on screen

    CSD restricts mobility of Officers and PBORs- More bureaucratic controls more corruption

    Monday, August 24, 2009
    “The way to procure insults is to submit to them: a man meets with no more respect than he exacts”: William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

    What can I say about this ?
    How often do we hear this thing today about military izzat that is on constant decline on the societal ladder ? And our veterans and serving members alike are quick to point the finger at the bureaucracy. But what about the issues that are directly under our control ?

    The world is moving towards an era of transparency, the end of license raaj, RTI, simplification of procedures et al. But still we ourselves ensure at times that we live in an age of regressive approach. Or else why would we let others put into motion such a cumbersome procedure wherein in order to buy cars from CSD serving and retired defence personnel are made to undertake numerous rounds of Agencies, Depot Managers, and, this takes the cake - even tax barriers and excise staff !!!

    ‘The Tribune’, Chandigarh reports how officers, besides dealing with other documentary red-tapism, have to ‘report’ to the CSD Depot Manager in Ambala Cantt alongwith a representative of the Agency to get their vehicles ‘inspected’. This inspection is also refused unless there are a certain number of cars available on a particular day. Moreover even the days are set when the ‘Manager’ would oblige serving and retired military officers with the ‘inspection’. The Depot Manager then issues a slip which the officers have to carry to the excise staff manning excise barriers for obtaining a stamp on it. To put it shortly, the entire procedure is not only time-consuming and unwieldy but also utterly disgusting, retrograde and humiliating.

    Since institutions such as the CSD exist for our welfare, I would request officers posted at Delhi to kindly apprise the concerned section at the AG’s/QMG’s branch about what is happening on ground and to simplify the procedure, and also, if I may put it crudely, immediately stop this nonsense. ‘Adelphi’, Mumbai also needs to be taken in the loop. I’m sure the CSD staff (like always) would come up with a hundred justifications and excuses on this retrograde approach, but please do not buy such explanations !!! The Canteen Stores Department is meant to render services to fauj, not the other way around.

    Following is a reproduction of what appeared in the newspaper:
    Car through CSD: New system raises officers’ hackle
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh

    CSD (I) spins it own formulae to mask its real Mission
    Riders for PBORs
    Following conditions are to be fulfilled by the PBORs before they can purchase car:-
    1. PBOR should have retired honorably with pension after a colour service of 15 years.
    2. The retired PBORs shall submit an affidavit of Rs. 5/-on Non Judicial Stamp Paper stating the following:
  • He has not purchased the car in the last 5 years (for JCO) and 7 years (for other rank).
  • The vehicle is for his personal use.
  • Vehicle will be registered on his name.
    Entry with regards to purchase of car by retd PBOR will be made on the original PPO at the Depot.
    After that CSD will take the following action:
  • Verify the correctness of the details furnished by the PBOR.
  • Cross check from CSD HO whether the Concerned PBOR has already purchased a car from any other CSD Depot in the last 5/ 7 years.
  • Share the data with regards to purchase of car by PBOR with other depots.
    PBOR will be allowed to purchase the car only after receipt of confirmation from CSD Head Office.
    Inputs received from: Veteran Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS (Retd)
    President, Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh
  • Committee Report circumnavigates main issue of Pension Parity for Defence Forces

    Date: Wednesday, 26 August, 2009, 11:26 AM
    I happened to lay my hands (courtesy Lt Cdr Balaji of Pension Cell of IESM) for the first time on the 'Report of the committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary to (specifically study OROP Demand of the Armed Forces' click me formed under the directions of the Prime Minister on a reference from the Raksha Mantri.

    The President had also announced in the Parliament the formation of this committee specifically for the Armed Forces as related to their demand of OROP. The clear inference of this is that the terms of reference for this committee were as related to the reference to issues raised by the Raksha Mantri. Therefore the committee was supposed restrict their study only to the demand of OROP of the Armed Forces. Yet, the committee advises the extension of one of the recommendations to the civilians also. This is with regard to the pay scale and consequently pension in respect of Lt.Gen. and equivalent ranks in the other two services. Para (V) of the report 'summary of recommendations' advocates a separate pay-scale(67000-79000) for Lt. Gens in the HAG. In the same breath the committee recommends the extension of this benefit to Addl Secretaries,Chief Commissioners of Income Tax, Addl Dir Gens of police/eq grade. If so many arguments are advanced by the committee against accepting OROP, how does the same committee makes such a recommendation without even one line of justification for its own ilk?

    This shows how babus extend all benefits meant for others to themselves conveniently and without any struggle. And how they ensure that their ascendancy is always maintained.

    But the main issue at consideration is whether this underhand dealing is legally or ethically sustainable? Can an official committee formed with a specific terms of reference enlarge the scope of its study on its own and whether acceptance/ implementations by the government of its recommendations on such enlarged scope legally/ ethically valid? The inference is also that the President misled the Parliament when she announced that the government is committed to the welfare of the Armed Forces resulting in the formation of the committee, while the committee was also committed to the welfare of its own tribe. Has this yet been questioned by any ESM?

    I request the legal cell of IESM to study the matter. This will also be useful for taking a decision on further course of action once the RTI information on the 5 committees sought by Cmde Batra is available.
    Shashank Bendre
    Wg Cdr (Retd)

    Sunday, August 23, 2009
    Complete recommendations: report of the Committee of Secretaries
    Readers may access and download the complete recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries by clicking here. Though most of the important issues have already been amplified in earlier posts, some other recommendations are :

    (a) Like defence personnel, linkage of full pension with 33 years’ service also to be removed for civilians who retired between 01 January 2006 and 31 August 2008.

    (b) Broad-banding of disability percentage would be extended to pre-1996 pensioners too. It may be recalled that the 5th Pay Commission, in order to curtail medical subjectivity of medical boards, had recommended that personnel with a disability percentage below 50% may be released a disability element by taking the disability @ 50%, those with 50%-75% disability may be paid @ 75% and those with a disability percentage of over 76% may be paid by taking the disability as 100%. This was accepted by the Govt in 2001 but was made applicable only to post-96 pensioners. The Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court had however held that this dispensation should be extended to pre-96 disability pensioners too but the said decision was challenged by the Govt in the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

    (c) Removal of the cap on war-injury pension (known as Disability pension of Category E in case of civilians) to be extended to personnel of civilian forces too.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh
    Recommendations of Cabinet Secretary

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    RBI Advisory: Taliban terrorists use counterfeit currency to finance terror in India

    Avoid accepting Rs.1,000/- note of series 2 AQ and 8 AC. More then 2.00 CR duplicate notes worth Rs.2,000 CR have already entered India. Copy of this circular from RBI is as above. Please read & pass it on to Family & Friends.

    IESM: Return of Military Medals to the President

    Dear Friends,
    1. This is to prepare ourselves for the event of depositing of our Gallantry Medals on 13 Sep 2009. Every segment of society gets its due only when they Unite and fight for their rights. Kautaly’s advice to King Maurya has been totally forgotten by the Govt in the case of the Indian Soldiers today. While we are totally committed to the peaceful Movement in a dignified manner remaining within the confines of discipline and democratic norms, we need to solidly unite. Government takes serious note of our legitimate demands. Depositing of medals has been one of most successful strategy of our Movement. It is with great anguish and hurt feelings, we are once again depositing our medals with the President.

    2. In our country today, the numbers matter. There is therefore, need to put in hard efforts in collection and deposit of medals on the 13th Sep 2009. All ESM Organisations and ESM are requested to go all out and collect maximum medals for deposition with the President.

    3. IESM conveners at all levels are requested to organize the collection of medals and duly packed with details, send these to IESM HQ at 543 Sector 23 Gurgaon/ bring it along when you come for 30 Aug 2009 meeting/ deposit on 13 Sep 2009 at Jantar Mantar from 9 AM to 2 PM. Maximum Publicity is Requested Please.
    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    IESM: Pension Anomalies- March for Justice

    Date: Friday, 14 August, 2009, 4:04 PM
    Dear Friends
    1. The next date for return of medals to the President is 09 Sep 2009 at 3.00 PM. This is being done due to the total apathetic attitude shown by the Govt towards our most genuine demand of One Rank One Pension. A few facts are brought to your notice.
    There is a large gap which still exists between pre 01.01.06 retirees and post 01.01.06 retirees. Pre 01-01-06 Sepoy will get Rs 5461 where as the post 01-01-06 will get Rs 7045 with 50 percent weightage. This gap which will further increase once 70% weightage is implemented. OROP to the PBORs thus has not been granted as against what is being claimed by the Government.
    A Major General pre 2006 retiree will get far less pension than his four ranks junior ie Lt Col who retired after 01-01-06. Likewise other senior rank officers ie Brig, Col, Lt Col, Maj, Capt, Lt, JCO's who are pre 2006 retirees will get less pension than their counterparts who retired after 01-01-06. This is a weird situation which is also a blatant violation of article 14 of the constitution. A senior rank officer must never get less pension than his junior rank officer irrespective of the date of retirement. The very functioning of the Army Rank structure is being adversely affected. The table below illustrates the point.

    Pre 2006/ Post 2006 (01.01.06)
    Major 14100/ 22135
    Lt Col 25700/ 28695
    Col 26050/ 30375
    Brig 26150/ 31170
    Maj Gen 26700/ 33925
    Lt Gen 36500/ 39500
    Likewise pre 2006 retiree Col will draw 26050 where as post 01-01-06 will get 30375. A large a gap of Rs 11600 exists between pensions of Major and Lt Col. Similarly large gap has been created between the pensions of Major General and Lt Gen i.e Rs 9800/-. The pension variation/ differential of Lt Col, Col, Brig and Major General have been kept in a narrow a range ie Rs 25700– Rs 26700/- gap of only Rs 1000. Between Col and Maj Gen the difference in pension is only Rs 650/-. The anomaly is too glaring. There should be adequate diffential between the pensions of successive rank and there should be no large variations within a particular rank.

    While implementing the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Maj Gens, the Govt has accepted the concept of granting the same pension to pre 96 and post 96 retirees the plea made by Maj Gens when 5th Pay Commission was implemented. In the same way the Govt should have applied the same concept in the case of pre 01 Jan 2006 and Post 01 Jan 2006 retirees. Three Assured Carrier Progressions (ACP) concept has been accepted as 6th CPC award. But the same has not been applied to the past pensioners. The past pensioners should also be given the benefit of ACP by notionally applying the concept to them and their pensions fixed accordingly.

    2. Friends, we need to prepare ourselves to be a one united whole of ESM to resolve all our issues to get due justice with an aim of establishing healthy environment of functioning of Defence Forces in a democracy. As you are aware the IESM has already been registered as a federation of all ESM organizations. Organization membership system has been put in place besides the individual membership. The IESM has had one year’s experience of its functioning. Besides pressing for our major demands, we have also started ECHS and Pension Cells to improve the satisfaction levels of ESM. This is the right time that all ESM organizations in the country should join the IESM as part of the Federation to make it an umbrella organization of the ESM of India. State convenors are requested to launch a concerted drive in this regard.
    3. Medals deposit being our next event, all out efforts be made to collect maximum medals and send these through couriers or by hand to IESM HQ Office at 543 Sector 23 Gurgaon (Haryana) 122017. Representatives attending the meeting on 30 Aug 2009 at Noida may kindly bring the collected medals from their respective area with them. The state convenors are also requested to nominate their districts, city, tehsil and block committees of IESM if not already done and forward their details to the HQ IESM at the above address at the earliest.

    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- Pension Arrears

    Date: Tuesday, 25 August, 2009, 9:10 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The government has released the second and balance instalment of 60% of the arrears. We all should be receiving the amount soon.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Down the memory lane
    15th August 1947 The Flag hosting at Muzaffarnagar
    I had already listened to the famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech by Pandit Nehru on the radio past midnight 14/15, the day dawned with some thing new in the air a never before sensation experienced by me in my limited seventeen years of life experience. I do not recall the VIP who did the honour. What is clearly etched in my mind is the vision of the three girls singing the National Anthem standing beneath the flag, the bellowing mild breeze swaying the Tricolour. As it happened I instantly fell in love with all three of them; they appeared so special so unapproachable and clad in their white cotton sarees so ethereal.
    That is what I recall of the fateful day. I do wonder what other, those lucky to have witnessed that dawn , remember the first day of independence.
    Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)

    Defence Budget: Infrastructure Development sans Corruption strengthens National Security

    Sent: Tuesday, 25 August, 2009 8:50:49 PM
    Subject: Letter to the Editor - In defence of the PM

    Hindustan Times (Chandigarh Edition, August 25, 2009. Page 8). Url: click me
    The article "In defence of the PM" by Chetan Bhagat, who is an upcoming author, but, to the best of my knowledge, has no defence connect, is a provocative and rather niave article asking for cutting back on the defence budget in favour of infrastructure development. My comments are appended below for your consideration and reproduction in RMS.
    Raj Mehta

    Dear Sir,
    Chetan Bhagat, in his article "In defence of the PM" ((August 25) throws up the enthusiastic but quixotic proposition that, for a poor country like India, some areas of Government spending, primarily its defence budget, need serious downward review. His take is that "money spent on guns gives no returns, but money spent on infrastructure does". The methodology he offers is that our foreign policy should be tweaked to give some elbow room to Pakistan and thus negotiate a quick settlement of Kashmir. We should also forge an alliance with USA and let them underwrite our security concerns, he niavely suggests. Lastly, he reminds us that there is nothing wrong with old fashioned peace. "It is a good thing" he says, because we cannot afford to "fight or stay prepared to fight for the next 20 years."
    Although Indians are notorious for not having a sense of history, it seems only like yesterday when the then PM, Jawahar Lal Nehru, became an enthusiastic advocate of peace in our times. His pacifist Panchsheel policy exemplified by the phrase "Hindi-Chini bhai bhai" - resulted in national disgrace. We, the apostles of peace, were caught grossly underprepared militarily and largely remain in the same, abject condition vis-a-vis China till date. It is only the other day that Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Naval Chief and Chairman COSC warned us that we are decades behind an increasingly resurgent and jingoistic China in terms of the capability to defend our national interests. It is therefore not surprising that the Government has wisely chosen not to castigate the Admiral for the simple reason that he is absolutely spot on. This seems to have escaped Chetan Bhagat's attention. Chetan Bhagat's infrastructure concerns are not out of place, though his identifying the defence budget as the resource provider certainly is. The Government can make the needed money available by spending its allotments under the development head wisely and reducing the collosal corruption which has paralysed Government functioning.
    Maj Gen Raj Mehta (Retd)
    In Defence of the PM

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    National Commission for ESM promised a year ago remains a remote mission

    Rewari (Haryana), August 29, 2008 (ANI): Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday said that the government would soon set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission to address the grievances of armed forces veterans and plan welfare schemes for them.

    After opening a new department in the Defence Ministry for ex-servicemen, the government is going to set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission soon to recommend various welfare schemes for them and their families, Antony said, during the inauguration function of a Sainik School at Thappa Gothra Khori village near Rewari in Haryana.

    He also said that the government had earmarked around Rs 6,000 crore additionally for serving defence personnel and ex-servicemen after removing the anomalies in the recommendations of the sixth pay commission, which was being implemented from 1st September.

    Antony urged other States of the country to learn from Haryana, he further added that he is very impressed with Haryana government efforts in taking care of its ex-servicemen and providing them welfare schemes.
    National Commission to address grieviences of ESM
    Government moots National Commission for Ex-servicemen

    Present status: Nothing Known. ESM grievances wrapped up by Secretary, ESM Welfare. In Political parlance "soon" means 10 years or more, bureaucratic interpretation of "soon" implies 5 years and above, in military terms "soon" is for action in the next couple of days.

    SCPC: Payment of Arrears- 2nd Installment

    Good News For all. Ministry of Finance today issued office memorandum no F.No.l/l/2008-IC dated 25.08.2009 wide which it has been notified that second installment of 60% arrears of sixth pay commission be paid to Govt employees immediately. Further it is notified that in case of entrants after 01.01.2004 in Govt, arrears may be released only after individual application forms for registration to the New Pension Scheme have been obtained by the DDO/PAO from the concerned Government servant.

    Payment of Second installment of arrears on account of implementation of Sixth Central Pay Commission's recommendation(Dated 25th August 2009)- Click me

    Implementation of New Pension Scheme-Pre-condition for release of 2nd installment of arrears of 6th CPC recommendations(Dated 19th August, 2009)- click me

    ESM in Mumbai exempted from paying property tax

    Dear Colleagues,
    With all your moral support we the ex- servicemen league CBD Navi Mumbai have won the first round. It is a victory which effects everybody. All the ex servicemen will feel happy.

    The standing commitee of navi mumbai has passed a bill whereby all ex- servicemen will be exempted from paying property tax. This was a combined effort. Brig dharam prakash played an important role. You may like to advise other ESM organisations also.
    Lt Col DP Singh

    A great victory for Mumbaikars. What about other States Governments who still continue to remain indifferent to the woes of ESM? IESL and IESM who have All India footprint need to take up the issue with MoD and sound the ESM Welfare Secretary on taking up the worthwhile Property Tax exemption for ESM on All India basis.

    Surmounting every mountain- Triumph of Lt Gen PS Joshi

    When Lt Gen (Retd) Pankaj Shivram Joshi PVSM, AVSM, VSM, The first Chief of Staff of the Integrated Defence Command passed away in an Indore hospital on July 1, 2009 a cloak of sadness enveloped the small cantonment town of Mhow where he had settled after almost 41 years in the Indian Army. He will continue to be a source of inspiration for for all his compatriots... writes Dev Kumar Vasudevan

    He was given command of his battalion - the 1/8 Gurkha Rifles. “When he took over command of the Paltan,” said Mrs. Prabha Joshi with tears in her eyes, “he told his men that he was returning to the battalion after fourteen years of banishment the way Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of vanvaas.”

    He also had instructional stints at the Higher Command Wing of the College of Combat (now Army War College) Mhow and the DSSC Wellington. He had also attended the Higher Command Course of the United States Army War College. His career graph kept rising after that. He commanded an Armoured brigade, an Armoured Division and 12 Corps. He was the second officer with a disability after Lt. Gen Vijay Oberoi to attain the rank of Lieutenant General. In 1998 during the Prime Ministership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Pokharan nuclear blasts were conducted under his command. He held the appointment of Additional Director General Mechanised Forces at Army HQ and the Commandant of the College of Combat, Mhow. He went on to become the GOC-in-C of the Central Command, Lucknow, and was then chosen as the first ever Chief of Staff of the Integrated Defence Command.

    When General Joshi was once interviewed by the Indian Express he had said, ‘‘There is only one thing that stops a handicapped person from doing things normally - society. It makes you feel handicapped by perpetually offering you help. In my home no one does that. If I have to change a bulb or get something from a high shelf I do it myself.’’

    Even in death he taught us all a lesson as he willed his body to be donated for medical studies and research. A wish which his brave family fulfilled. “Both of us had decided to donate our bodies,” said Mrs. Joshi. A multi-faceted personality Pankaj Joshi’s interests included Indian classical music, bird watching, environment, pottery and writing.

    Dev Kumar Vasudevan is a freelance writer based at Mhow, son of late Lt Colonel K Vasudevan Nair (retd) who expired in Indore on 21 May 2009.
    Read more:
    Lt Gen (Retd) Pankaj Shivram Joshi PVSM, AVSM, VSM- A tribute

    SCPC: PM skips OROP issue

    Date: Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 9:49 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The Prime Minister in his traditional Independence Day address from the Red Fort, made a brief complimentary reference to the country’s armed forces for guarding the borders. For the ESM he quoted from and part-repeated extracts from the budget speech of the Finance Minister. In so doing he highlighted that 12 lac PBOR including Junior Commissioned Officers would benefit from government allocation. However, any reference to the term ‘one rank one pension’ was missing. Copy of a related article sent to the papers later during the day is reproduced below:
    The Red Fort Speech
    Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh delivered the customary address from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort on the country’s Independence Day. India is 63 years old and is celebrating her birthday with the usual joy and festivities.
    What exactly is the significance of the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion? Broadly speaking the speech has three components. First it is a kind of stock taking of the government’s performance vis-à-vis the targets set for it. Second, it lays out a roadmap for future schemes and policies needed for maintaining the pace of progress. And lastly, like any other speech by a national leader it ends in exhorting people to rise above parochial and narrow considerations and work united for the country.
    On many accounts 2009 is a difficult year. The threat of terrorism continues to loom large and celebration of any major event stretches the security mechanism to the maximum. The spiralling prices of essential commodities continue to cause concern. In fact with the per kilo prices of pulses running nearly into a three digit figure, the traditional theory of daal roti being a poor man’s food has been turned on its head. The truant monsoons have further added to the woes of the country where agriculture continues to be largely rain-dependent.
    It is perhaps a compulsion of democracy for the Prime Minister to address maximum sections of the society on such occasions. This is precisely what he did, touching on myriad issues of contemporary concern, and he deserves to be complimented for an all-inclusive speech. However, the downside of such a large bill of fare is that with time constraints, there is only a cursory mention possible of each issue with the grain and the chaff getting almost equal priority.
    The main issue that needed greater emphasis is the continued threat of terrorism and Pakistan ’s role, willingly or otherwise, in letting her territory being used for planning and launching terror strikes against India . The Mumbai 26/11 is nearly nine months old. There is not an iota of doubt in anyone’s mind that these attacks were planned in Karachi and were launched by Pakistani nationals. Involvement of the ISI is almost certain. Have we done enough to ensure that Pakistan does not permit repetition of such acts? Apparently not. Even today our Hon’ble Ministers continue to allege that Pakistan ’s response has been less than adequate. What do we intend to do to ‘persuade’ Pakistan into doing that ‘enough’ and falling in line in this regard? Unfortunately, this did not figure in the Prime Minister’s address. A simple one liner to the effect that we wish to live in peace with our neighbours does not go far enough to assuage the anger of the Indians and to ameliorate the suffering of those who lost their kith and kin during the carnage. In fact this might restart the debate on the Sharm el Sheikh joint declaration, Prime Minister’s clarification to the Parliament notwithstanding. Inclusion of India ’s alleged involvement in Balochistan is considered a faux pas by many. This is likely to be used as a diversion by Pakistan in any and all future parleys. The Foreign Secretary’s admission of it being a case of bad drafting is not a credible alibi. This was one occasion where the Prime Minister could have spoken some reassuring words to an apprehensive nation, but the opportunity was not taken.
    Another subject that needed added emphasis was the role of the defence forces in keeping the country united. He did make a complimentary reference to the contribution our soldiers are making in maintaining vigil at the border. However, what needed to be also acknowledged was the immense contribution that our defence forces have been making since lndependence, in effectively countering domestic disruptiveness in various parts. Yet another omission was the subject of erecting an appropriate war memorial. Every soldier who is lucky and willing to make the supreme sacrifice for his country would like to be assured that the country and the history will recognise his contribution and honour his memory. This is a great motivational factor in facing danger. We have fought five wars since our Independence and have lost thousands of our officers and men. However, till date we only have the First World War memorial at India Gate, erected during the British rule. In a country of statue culture this is indeed a sad commentary.
    The Prime Minister’s reference to the welfare of Ex Servicemen was also cursory. Mere repetition of the statistics given out by the Finance Minister in his budget speech, while conspicuously omitting mention of the emotive ‘one rank one pension’ issue that even the President had included in her address to the Parliament, is not likely to be reassuring enough to the two million Ex Servicemen to suspend their efforts. Omitting mention of a problem is never an effective method of solving it. Considering that every serving soldier is tomorrow’s Ex Serviceman and has a great stake in the issue cannot also be ignored. Unquote
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    IESM: All India Veterans' meet 30 Aug 2009

    Date: Sunday, 23 August, 2009, 3:10 PM
    Further to my appeal dated 11 Aug 2009 to all the veterans, I once again appeal to all the veterans to come in large numbers to attend the VETERANS MEET AT 1030H AVCC NOIDA ON 30 AUG 2009.
    The meeting is scheduled to start at 1030h. It is therefore important for all veterans to reach the venue at 0945 on 30 Aug 2009 and register their names with the organisers. This will help us in keeping your data bank for any future correspondence. The registration is free of charge. All those veterans who have so for not taken the membership of IESM are also invited to attend the meet. They can take the membership of IESM on the spot if they wish.
    We understand that large number of veterans would like to give their advise about how to steer the movement for achieving the best results. We would be able to accommodate only few speakers in the limited time available with us. It is therefore requested that all the speakers who wish to address the meeting may forward their names latest by 27 Aug 2009, for us to finalise the list of speakeres.

    We are all responsible veterans and understand the value of discipline. It is planned to conduct the meeting in a peaceful and disciplined manner so that all the delegates can express their views. Some ground rules have been framed for all the delegates and all are requested to adhere to these ground rules so that the views of maximum delegates can be taken in account while deciding any action plan for IESM.
    IESM appeals to all the veterans to donate generously to fight for the cause of ESM/W. We are looking for donors who are ready to sponsor this meet. Kindly come forward and donate generously for a good cause. Please confirm by Email/telephone to the undersigned about the donation or any other query.
    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
    Gen Sec IESM

    ECHS Cell at IESM HQs

    Dear Friends,
    Further good news about ECHS. ESM involvement in running of ECHS Polyclinics and coordination is fast improving. The ECHS Cell at IESM Headquarters has been formed and fast taking control of the situation.

    In the Cell formed, Air Marshal Kuldip Rai, AVSM, Former Director General Medical Services, Air Force, is one of the three signatories on behalf of ESM, of the ECHS Plan, when it was initially launched. The other two signatories were Maj Gen SC Suri, who is settled in New Delhi and Late Cdr N Radhakrishnan.

    Rear Admiral G Kuruvilla, A Former Scientist G of DRDO and Director M/s Steel Industrials Kerala Ltd (Govt of Kerala undertaking), President Navy Foundation - Kerala Chapter, Kochi. He has been studying the functioning of ECHS for more than a year and has vast knowledge about its functioning and problems of ESM.

    Brig SC Kuthiala too has been studying the problems of ECHS functioning for more than a year and has attended the recent ECHS Seminar at Chandimandir. After attending the seminar Brig Kuthiala presented a very comprehensive report, which has been circulated on "Report My Signal". He is now in close touch with ECHS
    hierarchy and the concerned departments of The Services Headquarters.
    Be assured that under guidance of Air Marshal Rai and Admiral Kuruvilla and support of Col RP Chaturvedi, Member IESM Steering Committee, Brig Kuthiala will very speedily bring improvements required in the functioning of ECHS.
    In turn we all ESM have to give all possible help to this ECHS Cell.

    As a first step the IESM ECHS Cell needs ESM volunteers to coordinate functioning of 13 Sub Cells planned at ECHS Regional Cells. For more details please read the paper on "ECHS Cell of IESM" sent by Brig SC Kuthiala, appended below. While I am sure enough volunteers would come forward to take on this honorable job, please note that those volunteering should be:
    Firstly- Well versed with emailing, general use of computer skills and have a reliable 24x7 broadband connection at home/ their own office.
    Secondly - Able to devote enough time to interact with the ESM and the ECHS authorities in the respective areas. It would need lot of devotion and selfless service. The volunteers should take action as directed in the paper appended below.
    In Service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    The IESM has recently constituted an ECHS cell comprising the following members:
  • Air Marshal Dr Kuldip Rai AVSM
  • Admiral George Kuruvilla
  • Brig SC Kuthiala
  • Col RP Chaturvedi
    In order for the Cell to have an All India perspective and reach, it has been decided, in the first instance, to create sub cells alongside each of the 13 Regional Centres of the of the ECHS and subsequently, all the 227 polyclinics. The establishment of 15 more Regional Centres of the ECHS is at an advanced stage of consideration with the Govt and corresponding sub cells will be created accordingly. These cells and sub cells when created will permit the IESM to interact constructively at all levels of the ECHS hierarchy from Polyclinic to Central Organisation of the ECHS including the Adjutant General, DGMS Army and the three Chiefs as and when necessary. Volunteers are therefore required for the sub cells alongside the ECHS Regional/ State Centres.

    Veterans volunteering to assist the IESM in improving medicare to ESM are requested to email their bio data to the coordinator Col RP Chaturvedi at the earliest but definitely by 21 Aug 2009.
    Brig SC Kuthiala, ECHS Cell IESM
    For more details visit IESM webpage
  • SCPC: Pension anomalies are created by bureaucrats

    Date: Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 11:28 AM
    This is with reference to the injustice done to the Majors in fixing their pensions.
    Have the three service chiefs taken any action on the issue of unacceptable level of pension the officers of the rank of 'Major', which is considered a 'senior officer' in the services, have got? It is just ridiculous that an officer just one rank lower than a Lt.Col. and in some cases equal service should get over Rs. 10000/- less. Earlier, Lt Cols were unjustly put in the lower pay band by the 6th CPC just because there is no equivalent grade in the Central Civil Services. And they got their due because the govt capitulated on realising the strong reaction from the serving officers and the service chiefs and its overall repercussions.

    It is apparent that the anomalies arise because the CPCs (bureaucrats) first fix the pensions of the CCS and then attempt to find equivalent ranks of personnel in the Armed Forces personnel- both Commissioned officers and PBORs by a method which can be termed "fill in the gaps". They are unable to find precise equivalence because of the fact that the hierarchical structure of the Armed Forces is basically different from that of the CCS. It is a rank structure as distinct from the grade structure in the CCS. This structure has evolved to suit the peculiar nature of their job which is entirely different from that of any civil service job.

    So the answer to that is to have a separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces which the (Prime Minister?) govt has accepted in principle for future. But we need to take care of the present. IESM must take up the case of Majors, Squadron Leaders and Lieutenant Commanders who form the backbone of the officer cadre of the Armed Forces.

    The same treatment has been meted out to non-commissioned ranks. The proper terminology for the (Air Force) airmen of the rank of Corporal is non-commissioned officer,Sergeants-Senior Non-Commissioned officer and above are Junior warrant Officers, Warrant Officers and Master Warrant officers. Likewise in the Army and the Navy. So why and when was this term PBOR coined? This was after 1980s. When a class II person in CCS is a called a Section Officer, why are service personnel of Class II gazetted grade called Personnel Below Officer Rank? The aim is clear.

    IESM must take up these causes else there will be more 'anomalies' in store for the Armed Forces!
    Shashank Bendre
    Member PC,IESM

    Pension Parity: Ex-Armymen plan to sue Centre

    August 16th, 2009 By Our Correspondent New Delhi
    Aug 15: A group of former major-generals is planning to file a lawsuit against the government for not granting “One Rank One Pension” for ex-servicemen. A corpus fund could also be created to fund the proposed legal battle against the government.
    One of the former major-generals, speaking on condition of anonymity to this newspaper, said that the group of former major-generals are also planning to send a legal notice to the defence secretary, ministry of defence (MoD). The group of former major-generals who retired before 2006 is considering a legal battle on the grounds that they are getting less pension than Brigadiers who retired after June, 2006.
    “This issue was deliberated at length and it was decided that government is not likely to approve OROP. Veterans would have to knock at the door of courts to get a favourable decision and force the Govt to agree to give OROP... It was decided that preparation for filing the lawsuit should be completed at the earliest and lawsuit should be filed without delay,” stated a former officer.
    OROP refers to the grant of pensions (according to rank) irrespective of the date of retirement. For instance, this means that an officer retiring as major-general ought to get the same pension as another officer who retired as major-general irrespective of date of retirement. In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “We are proud of our brave soldiers. It is our duty to ensure that ex-servicemen are able to lead a life of comfort.
    We have accepted the recommendations of the committee constituted to examine the issue of pension of ex-servicemen. This will lead to increased pension for about 12 lakh retired jawans and Junior Commissioned Officers. However, ex-servicemen point out that there was no mention of “One Rank One Pension” for former (full-commission) officers in the speech and add that the government has not accepted OROP even for jawans and JCOs (who are personnel below officer rank- PBOR). The government had recently announced measures for reducing the disparities in pensions among PBORs.
    ESM plan to sue centre

    Coping with China: Can we tackle a 1962 like debacle?

    August 16, 2009 (English version), Coping with China By K Subrahmanyam
    Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee who is due to retire at the end of this month delivered an address on national security under the aegis of the National Maritime Foundation on the 10th of August. It was a fairly comprehensive overview of our national security perspective. Though delivered by the senior most Service Officer, the lecture was remarkable as it went beyond the military realm and focused on a broad strategic and political vision in the currently evolving international situation.

    In a sense this address by Admiral Mehta signified the arrival of senior service officers at the top rung of national grand strategy formulation. His eminently pragmatic, strategic vision has been misinterpreted in certain sections of the media as a cry of despair that India will not be able to catch up with China militarily. He has made it clear that India has no intention to do so. At the same time he has formulated the most viable strategy to cope with this situation. Whether India - with a population likely to exceed China’s in the next two decades; the advantage of a much younger age profile of that population; its post September 2008 integration with the rest of the world; and being a democracy along with the all other major powers as also English-speaking - will ultimately catch up with China it is too early to predict. China today has the advantage of a decade and half of head start in economic reforms and globalization and very close industrial cooperation with US and other multinational firms. Admiral Mehta has detailed the lead China has gained on this account over India. That is an inexorable reality which Indian strategists have to accept and factor in coping with China. The word Admiral Mehta has chosen to use is ‘coping with China’, not confronting or competing with it.

    Addressing those who entertain expectations that 1962 can be repeated, Admiral Mehta highlighted that the economic penalties resulting from a potential Sino-Indian military conflict would have grave consequences for both sides. Unlike in 1962, China has today multiple vulnerabilities and has to consider seriously the effect of a war on its energy supply lines. In such circumstances mutual cooperation is to the benefit of both countries. Therefore Admiral Mehta’s advocacy is for India reducing its military gap with China and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean region. He does not favor the traditional bean-counting or division for division approach in closing the gap. Instead, he wants to rely on harnessing modern technology for developing high situational awareness and creating a reliable standoff deterrent. The recent launch of the nuclear submarine, Arihant is a step in that direction. Admiral Mehta further adds, that in order to minimize the chances of conflict, India should proactively engage China diplomatically, economically, culturally and in people to people contacts. At the same time India should nurture its relations with US, Russia, Japan and other East Asian countries to leverage towards this end. In his view our growing relations with South East and East Asian countries would increase opportunities for cooperative engagement with China as well.

    Besides focusing on this core subject, the lecture also dealt with nonstate actors, shaping our immediate neighborhood, securing our maritime borders, internal security, intelligence, cyber warfare, higher defence integration and jointness among the three services, nuclear issues, reducing dependence on other countries for equipment, trends in defence expenditure and adequacy of our defense outlays, delays in our procurement procedures, governance and culture of strategic thinking. His ideas are thought- provoking and deserve to be objectively debated by the Indian strategic community.

    In a sense this address breaks new ground. A service chief has put on record his views on a whole host of national security issues just a few weeks before demitting office. Many of these issues have been under consideration for ages without solutions. In today’s security environment these need to be debated openly in the country- to generate public pressure for early decision- making in the Government. Regrettably, in our Parliament national security issues do not receive the attention they merit and therefore greater the need for informed public debate.
    Extracts only, to read full article click link below:
    Coping with China

    Good Governance: Can IAS Officers meet the National aspirations?

    The write up below is good one. The need of the hour is Administrative Reforms, if India is to make better progress in all area and realize its full potential.

    We need IAS and they have good material. However, their thinking and way of working has to change for the future of the Nation.

    Will the politicians bite this or the citizens would have to rise?
    Best wishes.
    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen (Retd)
    IAS Officers need to Introspect

    ECHS: Readers Responses

    Dear Brig Kuthiala,
    Please accept heartiest congratulations on achieving the impossible- to get the Govt/ MOD to backtrack on their own orders!

    As first MD ECHS, and the one who raised the organisation, and wrote the initial set of instructions, I was deeply disappointed when Army HQs (with Dus as Consultant ECHS) agreed to change of this most important clause of referral procedure. In a vain attempt we had even gone to an ex-Raksha Mantri to raise issues of ECHS in Parliament. It was done but with little success.

    My philosophy for the ECHS was "patient first - procedures later". Accordingly the initial ECHS instructions allowed the ECHS member to choose direct referral to a hospital of choice or to an MH. Pithy GOI officials in MOD, abetted by the Consultant, changed this to "only referral through MH", thereby causing immense bottle necks at inconvenience to old pensioners who were made to shuttle back and forth.

    I recall my first argument with the FA (DS)- Ms- (I forget her name, she was a spinster)- who said MH capacity would not be gainfully utilised. I reminded her that the very purpose of creating the ECHS was to have a parallel medical scheme, because it was the opinion then that MHs were under considerable load, and could not look after existing men in uniform. And here she was suggesting just the opposite. Second argument I gave was that ECHS is meant to give that "second Chance" to pensioners who were not spring chickens by any stretch of imagination, and every second mattered in timely aid. So I had suggested the principle of "save yourself first, and we will take care of the rules later". Despite reluctance much of this was accepted.

    Third argument by her was - what if the system is misused? I flatly told her that people don't rush to specialist or other hospitals for fun - they do so when they are extremely sick - so let's be charitable. This was not the CGHS I said, but disciplined soldiers that were exercising their right. To check misuse, the original charter had thought of an Ombudsman and a Vigilance system - I had vowed to keep the system clean, to the extent possible.

    You can do nothing when your own colleagues and men in uniform abdicate their responsibility and sing to the Govts tune for "re-employment" post retirement. Let me be very brutally frank - we are our worst enemies, and bureaucrats take advantage of that.
    So my admiration and compliments to you.
    Maj Gen (Retd) KULDIP SINDHU

    From: Bankim Sutaria
    Subject: PENSION CELL
    Date: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 4:38 PM
    I am very happy to learn about the pension cell which IESM has started. It is good to learn about the work being done by various ESM.

    Our organisation in Gujarat has been running a pension cell for last couple of years. Specially for PBORS. With our efforts the number of PBOR has been benefited. With our efforts in last couple of years they have received nothing less than 2-2.5 CRORES of rupees as arrears. The latest is a wife of a Lt.Col.Patel who received Rs.14 lacs ( Fourteen lacs) as arrears before the change of pay band. Add this than it will be 15.5 lacs.

    We can offer our service. Our observation is that in remote areas and in states where population of ESM is thin large number of PBOR are not receiving proper pension. When it comes to our notice we work out the difference for every six months. And give the details to pension paying authority. And if required take up the case with highest authority.
    Sqn Ldr Bankim Sutaria (Retd Air warrior)

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- Pension Differentials

    Date: Thursday, 13 August, 2009, 10:39 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    A senior veteran called up to check authenticity of his input hinting that the recent enhancement of pension of Lt Gens to Rs 36,500/- was under review. It needs clarifying that as of now there is no such review being undertaken. A Tri Service delegation of ESM belonging to different groupings had an interactive session with the Army Pay Cell today. Te meeting was chaired by the DG (MP & PS) Lt Gen Chaturvedi.
    There was a general convergence of views on pension related issues. Following main points emerged:
  • The Services are fully seized of the problems of the ESM and are doing the best they can do within the constraints of being in uniform.
  • It was highlighted that there was a need for commonality in pension of the PBOR of the three Services.
  • Clubbing the pension of four ranks of officers (Lt Col, Col, Brig and Maj Gen) within a narrow bracket of 1000 rupees was illogical. It failed to take into account the differential in their length of service in uniform and the level of responsibility held by them. There was thus a need to enhance these pensions (including that of the Lt Col) and introduce adequate inter rank differential.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
  • Monday, August 24, 2009

    IESM: All India Veterans' meet on 30 Aug 2009

    AT 1030h ON 30 AUG 2009
    Introduction: An all India defense veterans’ meet is called at 1030h on 30 Aug 2009 Sunday at AVCC Arun Vihar Community Centre sector 37 Noida on completion of one year of IESM (Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement). This meeting is called to take stock of the work done by the IESM towards projecting the demands of ex-servicemen to the centre stage and also spear heading the agitation for grant of OROP for ex-servicemen. The meeting will further ponder over the Government’s rejection of our just demand of OROP and will discuss the future course of action to be adopted by the ex-servicemen movement.
    Venue of the Meeting: The meeting will be conducted at 1030h on 30 Aug 2009 Sunday AVCC Sector-37 NOIDA.
    Registration: Registration of the delegates will commence from 0930 onwards. All delegates are requested to reach the venue by 0945 and register their names. There are no charges for registration of names.
    Ground Rules: It is important to keep the meeting cordial and fruitful. This can only be done by following discipline in the meeting. Following ground rules are for guidance of all the delegates. All delegates are requested to keep these ground rules in mind while deliberating or addressing the gathering.
  • All outstation speakers will be allotted only 5 min to speak.
  • Preferably one speaker from a state, max two speakers from a state can be permitted to address the gathering. This is required to accommodate speakers from all states.
  • Politics/leanings are not to be discussed.
  • Personal attacks on individuals are to be avoided.
  • Speakers should not use unparliamentary language
    Conduct Of the Meeting: The meeting will be conducted from 1030h to 1500h and will have speakers from all states. Convener of every state of India would be given chance to speak and express his views. A maximum of two speakers would be accommodated from a state. The meeting would be conducted in a democratic manner and all speakers are free to express their views about the ex-servicemen movement. However all speakers are to adhere to the time allotted to them and keep the decorum of the meeting in mind and should avoid personal attack on any individual. In case any speaker is found to be violating these ground rules he would be requested to stop address by the Gen Sec. Decision of the Chairman/Vice Chairman whether a speaker is digressing from the main theme and making personal attacks on an individual will be final.
    Tea and Lunch will be served in between the deliberations.
    List of the Members: An updated list of members with their membership numbers will be displayed at the venue. All members can see their names and membership number allotted to them.
    Speakers: We are permitting all state conveners to speak as a rule that is only one speaker from each state. Hence the number may touch about 10 to 12 speakers. However we might permit a maximum of two speakers from a state if time permits and if the request has come in advance. Gentleman, if you know the names of the speaker who have expressed desire to speak, please pass the names to me so that I can plan the slot for them. This will help me to conduct the meeting in more orderly manner.
    Names should come to me latest by 27 Aug 2009.
    Lunch and tea: A simple lunch will be served to all. Tea with biscuit will also be served in between the deliberations.
    1030 - 1035 Welcome address- Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM Gen Secy
    1036 – 1050 Operational round-up- Maj Gen Satbir Singh SM vice chairman
    1051 – 1110 Financial health- Maj Gen P Renjen AVSM Treasurer
    1115 – 1145 Regional round-up outstation Speakers
    1145 – 1200 TEA
    1205 – 1250 Regional round-up- Outstation Speakers (state conveners’ max one speakers from a state)
    1255 – 1310 Wrap-up- Gen Raj Kadyan PVSM, AVSM, VSM Chairman
    1310 – 1340 Open house (General discussion by all members of the house)
    1340 – 1345 Vote of Thanks- by Gen Secy
    1345 - LUNCH
    1430 - Option available to conduct more discussions if members want more time.
    It is planned to finish the meeting by 1500h so that all the delegates who wish to catch evening flight/train/buses can easily manage.
    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
    Gen Secretary IESM
    23 Aug 2009
  • Bravery of Indian Defence Personnel

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    A nation, if it wants to retain its freedom, must honour its martyrs and soldiers. We Indians have been guilty of grave neglect of our martyrs, ex-servicemen, soldiers and their families. We hardly remember those who have given their lives or limbs for the country. The perfunctory homage paid on Independence Day and other such occasions is not enough. A salary, a pension, the grant of a piece of land or the dealership of a petrol pump are not a sufficient reward for the loss of a dear son, brother or husband. Can we pay the price of our soldiers' and martyrs' blood by some currency notes or a pension?
    Our soldiers fight and die for the honour of our country, yet we forget them after a few months or years. For example, on July 2006, the death anniversary function of Kargil War hero, Param Vir Chakra recipient, Captain Manoj Pandey, was attended, apart from the hero's family, only by some members of an NGO. And this is the case of someone who was awarded the highest honour of India and whose statue has been installed in a public park named after him. What of those who did not win bravery awards but died fighting for us?
    I came to know of four families whose only sons have sacrificed their lives fighting for India. Their families are lonely and desolate. The public does not know about them or remember them. A soldier loves his family. While he is fighting for us, his family is left to face the innumerable difficulties of life alone. Should we not make committees to visit the soldiers' families and help them cope with the problems of life in the absence of the head of the family? Such a move will give solace and strength to our soldiers. Assured that their families are being looked after, they will give be able to give their full attention to the task of protecting the country.

    We, the citizens of India, must pay our debt of gratitude to these soldiers, ex-servicemen and martyrs' families. Should not the Nation integrate these families and shower love and respect on them? If we honour them we will be honouring Mother India through them. Because of them we and our children sleep in peace. Here is a simple scheme to accomplish this:
    "Honour Our Soldiers"

    We should get the names from the District Soldiers' Boards of each district the names of all the soldiers, ex-servicemen and martyrs of that district. Let the schools invite and honour these soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families, as well as the martyrs' families of all ranks, in their 15 August, 26 January and Annual Day functions. They may be presented with flowers or cards. They should be requested to narrate to the students and other participants the stories of their bravery and valour. Hopefully, they may be invited by Lion's Clubs, the Rotarians, the Arya Samaj Schools, the Ramakrishna Vidyalayas etc. If you like the scheme please initiate and implement it in your schools.

    Later, as the movement spreads, the more conscious amongst the public may invite them to their family functions. This scheme is immensely advantageous. Through its implementation the public will become conscious of the safety aspect of the country and of the sad reality of martyrdom. Through this simple scheme our students will imbibe bravery and patriotism and our hearts will become large and break out of the cage of narrow self-interest.

    The cost of printing extra invitation cards and the necessary postage will hardly be much. Thus we can pay our homage to those whose valiantly guard our frontiers. Let us know them, love them and cherish them.
    I hope Pondicherry will pioneer this scheme.
    In the service of Mother India,
    Ms Shyam Kumari

    Ms Shyam Kumari was born in Muzaffarnagar U.P. in 1934. There she studied in the Vedic Putri Pathshala and S. D. Degree College up to her B.A. In 1965 she passed her M.A. from Lucknow University. She has read widely in Hindi and English literature, as well as religious and spiritual books.

    Since her childhood she had a yearning to find God. In 1969 the Divine Mother accepted her in Sri Aurobindo Ashram and appointed her a teacher in the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.

    Hundreds of her poems, lyrics, stories, plays, literary and social essays, both in English and Hindi, have appeared in national and international journals. She has also written and published more than 30 books, some running into several reprints. Many of her books have been translated into Hindi, Oriya, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati. She has written path-breaking rhymes and story books for children. In 1998 she launched a Hindi quarterly magazine, Swarna Hansa which she, single-handedly, writes, edits and publishes.

    In 1998, she established Vraja Trust, a public charitable trust, and is at present its managing trustee. In 2001 started Sri Aravinda Sanskrit Vidyalaya, in Pondicherry, India, to impart free Sanskrit education to children and adults alike and she is its Chairperson. In 2005 she launched the, "Let Each School Adopt a Hero" scheme.

    Books By Ms Shyam Kumari
    Our Heroes: Param Vir Chakra Recipients Series
    1: Major Somnath Sharma
    2: Naik Jadunath Singh
    3: Company Havildar Major Piru Singh
    4: Lance Naik Karam Singh
    5: Second Lieutenant Rama Raghoba Rane
    6: Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria
    7: Subedar Joginder Singh
    8: Major Shaitan Singh
    9: Major Dhan Singh Thapa
    10: Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid
    11: Lieutenant Colonel A.B. Tarapore
    12: Lance Naik Albert Ekka
    13: Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal
    14: Major Hoshiar Singh
    15: Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon
    16: Naik Subedar Bana Singh
    17: Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran
    18: Captain Vikram Batra
    19: Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey
    20: Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav
    21: Rifleman Sanjay Kumar


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