Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cases clogging Indian Courts: Ideal route to reduce backlog

Ideal route to reduce backlog of cases
Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jun 02, 2010
The backlog of cases pending in India's courts is mounting uncontrollably despite frequent noises made on this issue in several quarters. Speaking on ‘E-Governance in Judiciary' in Hyderabad in March this year, Andhra Pradesh High Court judge Justice V. V. Rao gave the startling information that every judge in the country had an average load of about 2,147 cases and it would take 320 years to clear the backlog of 31.28 million cases pending in various courts, including the High courts.

Many remedies have been suggested, such as shortening the appeal process, being strict about adjournments, cutting short the vacation of High Court and Supreme Courts judges, hearings on a day-to-day basis and in shifts, more stringent supervision of the pendency by more frequent inspections by superior courts and increasing the ratio of number of judges to the population from the present 10.5 per million to 50.

Try as I might, I did not come across in this welter of studies and statements any mention of the significant role arbitration and conciliation could play in drastically bringing down the number of pending cases, if only the higher judiciary would adopt the deliberate policy of invoking the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

All categories of cases other than suits for divorce or restitution of conjugal rights, resolution of disputes over taxation, non-payment of admitted liabilities and criminal matters can be brought within the purview of the Act, provided the parties concerned have signified their willingness to submit them to arbitration.

The Act gives a considerable measure of flexibility for indicating this willingness: It can be a formal agreement, exchange of letters, document, telex or telegram.

Self-made shackles
Unfortunately, though, as pointed out by a former Supreme Court Justice Ruma Pal, the apex court itself, in a number of judgments, has taken all life out of the Act. These are her words: “One of the main objects of the Act was to free the arbitral process from the coils of the judicial system and minimise the supervisory role of courts.. (This) has been defeated by the Supreme Court by its interfering in the arbitral process at all stages, from the stage of appointing an arbitrator to the consideration of the award — often rewriting statutory provisions….”.

The result is that an Act that was meant to resolve disputes with the least delay and with minimum intervention of courts of law has become instrumental in burdening the backlog by nearly one-third of its total.

Since High Courts and the Supreme Court have practically substituted themselves in the place of the Act, even petitions for appointment of arbitrators, which was to be a simple and straightforward affair, have joined the millions of pending cases.

Thus, all the advantages that would have accrued to parties — freedom from hassles, low cost, quick disposal — have been lost.

Compounding the self-made shackles is the scarcity of facilities in the country for institutional arbitration, which scores over ad hoc arbitrations in that it places at the disposal of parties a ready infrastructure in the form of panels of arbitrators, libraries, office premises and a well laid out and transparent procedure governing scales of fees, timelines and the like.

The Palkhivala Arbitration Centre at Chennai is a pioneering institution in that respect which can be a replicable model for the entire country. The new Chief Justice will be doing a great service if he addresses the issues at his level at a special conference, if necessary, so that the full range of benefits to be secured from arbitration and conciliation are brought within the reach of the people at large.
Ideal route to reduce backlog of cases
Moily unveils new policy to cut down on government litigation
SC relief to officers over pay anomalies: Orders arrears with 6 pc interest to all affected by Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 9, 2010
Grant of Rank Pay: When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen by Maj Gen Suman
Parawise comments on Review Petition slapped by GOI on ESM

IESM: Illogical to amend AFSPA

Central Chronicle
By Our Staff Reporter
Bhopal, June 25:
Stressing that it will be ''totally illogical'' to either repeal or amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), an Indian Army veteran opines that while the military leadership by and large has been exemplary it is the political leadership supported by bureaucracy that has failed the country.
''At first stage the government deploys the military to deal with insurgences or other internal threats and then expects them to face the bullets with their hands tied at the back,'' laments Major-General (Retd) Satbir Singh, Sena Medal, who is Vice-Chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.
Despite opposition from the Army and confronted with reports of fake encounters, the Centre is planning to go ahead with certain amendments in the AFSPA that includes handing over of personnel in case of extra-judicial killings to civilian authorities.
''This is highly inhuman. Where are the proponents of human rights? Is a soldier not human? And therefore, has no rights? Why thousands of soldiers have been used as cannon fodder due to reasons of the apathy of the bureaucrat-politician nexuses for not providing them the wherewithal, equipment, weapon systems, clothing etc to appropriately deal with the internal and external threats,'' the veteran said.
Illogical to amend AFSPA: Maj-Gen
AFSPA doesn’t need change- Harsh law helps in the fight against insurgents by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

Military Secretary's ACR system breeding Black Sheep?

One would hate to be in the shoes of the Chief of Army Staff these days. Having to wake up every morning dreading what bombshell the newspapers would bring can’t be a pleasant experience. Being at the helm of an organisation consisting of over 10, 00,000 bodies in this age of scandal hungry public and an ever obliging media, this is a cross that he perhaps has to bear. The sad part is that the antics of a few black sheep with unbridled libido, greed or ambition inevitably overshadow the sterling work done by the other 99.9% comprising the organisation. The latest scandal screaming at us from the headlines and ubiquitous red ticker tapes of breaking news is yet another such incident.

There is a need to drastically cut down on all non-core activities that serve not only to detract efforts from professional pursuits but also provide opportunities for career advancement to those thriving on these.

Training events must reflect this professionalism and should be shorn of attempts at showmanship, and consequent assessments must also be on professional basis. In fact, the need for a revamp of the entire assessment system has been talked about for long but there have been only cosmetic changes limited by the stifled imagination of the MS Branch. For a comprehensive reform of the appraisal system, there is a need to throw out the old rule book and take a fresh look at the entire game. The reporting officers up the chain of command must be made to exercise their moral courage by being less non-committal about their assessments. We need to change the environment where an overwhelming majority of the reports are like a ‘dining out speech’. The reporting must be less generic, and unequivocal. For instance, how can attributes like loyalty and integrity be rated on an analog scale? Logically, these are qualities that are either present or absent in the absolute, and half measures or shades of grey are not possible. Also, the reviewing officers up the chain need to make greater efforts to familiarize themselves with their indirect reports, and must also be made accountable for their assessments. To make the appraisal system truly meaningful, a 360 degrees appraisal must be put in place.
Courtesy Swordarm Blog: Click link to read more including valuable comments
Baa Baa Black Sheep

National Security: Media Musings

American 21st century with caveats
By Dr. Subhash Kapila
Strategically, the 20th Century was decidedly an American Century. United States strategic, military, political and economic predominance was global and undisputed. In the bi-polar global power structure comprising the United States and the Former Soviet Union it was the United States which globally prevailed. Read more...
21st Century: Strategically a second American century with caveats

Indo- Pak and Indo- China Relations
21 June 2010: The confusing responses emanating from the government on the China-Pak nuclear deal reveal a deeper crisis. Which is that India but particularly the Manmohan Singh government is unable to manage the external realm in any incrementally meaningful way. Read more...
Countering China

Failing India
A softened Congress and BJP are unable to contain the terrorism of Pakistan, says N.V.Subramanian.
25 June 2010: Whereas India's political responses to Pakistan have made dramatic transformations since their common Independence, Islamabad's approach to Delhi has hardened in a peculiar way. And for all the exertions of the Manmohan Singh government, there appears absolutely no Indo-Pak meeting point, and the situation will worsen till Pakistan becomes an irretrievable failed state partly driven to that situation by the monstrous burden of the terroristic military-intelligence establishment. Read more...
The absence of a political PM is hurting India's foreign interests, says N.V.Subramanian

Flight of the Falcon
Pakistani Pilots did missions against USSR and China on behalf of US. A book by S. Sajad Haider. Read review and commentary...
Flight of the Falcon

ESM 'helping' Maoists: Lt-Gen writes to Chidambaram

Bhopal, June 24 : Reacting sharply to Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai's recent statement that naxal groups might be receiving help from ex-servicemen (ESM) for training and planning of operations, an Indian Army veteran has written to Home Minister P Chidambaram about the governance lacunae leading to such a state of affairs.

"The country is facing a serious challenge from these destructive elements (Maoists) and the fact that a segment (ESM) whose loyalty to the nation is seldom questioned, is helping a rebellious force needs to be viewed with concern," Lieutenant-General (Retd) S K Bahri, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, wrote in the letter a copy of which was provided to UNI.

"The precision and the manner in which naxals carry out their operations and the way they carry out a post-mortem of their operations gives the impression that they might be getting support from ex-servicemen," Mr Pillai had said in the national capital while adding, "the references to words like targets and positions in their literature are typical of the language used in military vocabulary." Lt-Gen Bahri recalled that in the 60s a retired junior commissioned officer Naib Subedar Pan Singh played havoc in the Chambal ravines as he had created his own gang of bandits. The reason for his going that way was that he was deprived of a piece of his land by some powerful landlord and despite his pleas to the persons responsible for governance, nobody helped. --UNI
ESM 'helping' Maoists: Lt-Gen writes to Chidambaram
ESM 'helping' Maoists: Lt-Gen writes to Chidambaram

A Veteran’s Monumental Mountaineering Milestones

PIB Friday, June 25, 2010 16:51 IST
At the age of 76 years, Col Narinder Kumar, PVSM, KC, AVSM, FRGS (Retd), who is an internationally known mountaineer and a veteran from the Indian Army made a mark yet again, on being conferred with the most coveted Mac Gregor Memorial medal. Mac Gregor memorial medal was instituted by the United Services of India in 1888, in the memory of Maj Gen Sir Charles Metcalfe Mac Gregor, KCB, CBI, CEI, the founder of the United Service Institution of India, to recognize exemplary service in the fields of Military reconnaissance, expeditions, river rafting, world cruises, polar expeditions, running/ trekking across Himalayas and adventure flights.

Col Narinder Kumar has led multiple expeditions in the Siachen area, between 1978 and 1981 and gained highly valuable terrain and enemy information, which has been instrumental in safeguarding our borders on there. The expeditions were carried out in uncharted territory, under extremely harsh weather conditions, with minimal equipment and administrative support and grave risk to life and limb. The results achieved in these expeditions were spectacular and formed the bedrock for the subsequent launch of ‘Operation Meghdoot’.

The veteran soldier’s adventure life is embedded with many stellar achievements, to include the first successful Indian expedition to Nanda Devi and Chomolhari, the highest peak in Bhutan. In his personal capacity, he has led nine out of 13 expeditions to peaks above 24000 ft. He was also the first individual to cross Siachen from “Snout to the Source”. His contributions towards adventure also include authoring six books on mountaineering, skiing and rafting. In 1977 the second ascent of Kangchenjunga, by an Indian Army team led by Colonel Narinder Kumar. They completed the northeast spur, the difficult ridge that defeated the German expeditions in 1929 and 1931.

So far 117 Mac Gregor medals have been awarded, to include seven Gold medals, 62 standard size silver medals and 48 reduced size silver medals. Amongst the well known British Indian officers, the winners have been Capt FE Younghusband (1890) and Maj Gen OC Wingate (1943). 13 Indian officers have won the medal so far. These are Maj ZC Bakshi (1949), Col IC Katoch (1951), Capt MS Jarg (1956), 2 Lt IB Goel (1956), Capt V Badhwar (1957), Capt SL Tungait (1959), Brig ML Whig (1969), Maj Prem Chand (1970), Col CS Nugyal (1971), Capt Ravindra Misra (1972), Sqn Ldr RK Makkar (1986), Flt lt Rana TS Chhina (1986) and Lt Col NJ Korgaokar (1997).

A Padma Bhusan and Arjuna awardee, Col Narinder Kumar has the honour of being the subject of a documentary by the Films Division of India and he continues to contribute his might to sports as Associate Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. The stellar contributions of this great veteran have been aptly recognized with the award of a prestigious medal, which is being given after a gap of eight and a half years.
S Om Singh/Rajendra
Another Milestone in a Veteran’s Glorious Achievements

Friday, June 25, 2010

National Highway Authority move may affect ex-servicemen

NHAI move may affect ex-servicemen
NEW DELHI, June 25, 2010 The Hindu
K. Balchand
The decision of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to hand over all the toll plazas on major highways to private contractors threatens to render about 35000 ex-servicemen, who earn a living by running them, jobless. The ex-servicemen have taken objection to the notification issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Monday deciding to invite tenders for the toll plazas which are currently being operated by retired army personnel who have been employed through Director General of Rehabilitations, Government of India.

A delegation of ex-servicemen led by Col (Retd) H.S.Yadav and Col (Retd) Chaudhary complained to Defence Minister A.K.Antony about the injustice meted out to them by the MORTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways). They pointed out that the action violates the commitment the Congress party contained in its manifesto of 2004 and 2009 to rehabilitate ex-army personnel on their retirement.

The ex-servicemen said that Mr. Antony promised to take up the matter with Minister of Roads Transport and Highways Kamal Nath.

They charged that this action would render 25000 ex-servicemen and about 10000 others who are indirectly employed in various logistics for running these toll plazas, jobless.

These retired army personnel claimed that revenue has increased at the toll plazas from 15 per cent to 85 per cent. Besides, their presence helped road users in several ways.
NHAI move may affect ex-servicemen
Can ESM fight the all powerful corrupt NHAI and MORTH Bureaucrats? Read more:
CBI arrests top NHAI officials, gets custody till May 31
Former Supreme Court Judge fails to fight the Indian Corruption Inc and resigns in disgust
Lokayukta resignation shocks Yeddyurappa government

National and Personal Security: Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

Keep off social networking sites, Army tells its men
The Army has told its officers to keep off social networking sites and refrain from posting sensitive information like their rank, unit or posting location on the Internet. The instructions follow a spate of cyber attacks targeting military personnel and fears that foreign agencies could be tracking networking sites like Orkut and Facebook to home in on Army officers. Under the strict provisions of the Army Act, personnel can be dismissed from service and even face imprisonment for sharing sensitive information that can be accessed by outside agencies.
Click links below:
Keep off social networking sites, Army tells its men
Army warning on networking sites, officials posting info to face action
National Security: Army Major's computer was accessed from Pakistan- earlier RMS Blog post

Staying Safe on Social Network Sites
The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults. The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

How can you protect yourself?
Limit the amount of personal information you post - Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing. Also be considerate when posting information, including photos, about your connections.

Remember that the internet is a public resource - Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can't retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people's machines (see Guidelines for Publishing Information Online for more information).

  • Be wary of strangers - The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives (see Using Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms Safely for more information). Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.

  • Be skeptical - Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent; it could be unintentional, an exaggeration, or a joke. Take appropriate precautions, though, and try to verify the authenticity of any information before taking any action.

  • Evaluate your settings - Take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile. You can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people. However, there is a risk that even this private information could be exposed, so don't post anything that you wouldn't want the public to see. Also, be cautious when deciding which applications to enable, and check your settings to see what information the applications will be able to access.

  • Use strong passwords - Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed (see Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information). If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.

  • Check privacy policies - Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam (see Reducing Spam for more information). Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.

  • Use and maintain anti-virus software - Anti-virus software recognizes most known viruses and protects your computer against them, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software for more information). Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.

  • Do not use pirated software or programs.

    Children are especially susceptible to the threats that social networking sites present. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, children may misrepresent their ages so that they can join. By teaching children about internet safety, being aware of their online habits, and guiding them to appropriate sites, parents can make sure that the children become safe and responsible users (see Keeping Children Safe Online for more information).
    Staying Safe on Social Network Sites
  • Indira Gandhi International Airport: Integrated Gate 3 an engineering marvel

    Terminal 3
    The state-of-the-art integrated terminal, called T3, of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi is poised to be the world’s third-largest, after Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Beijing in China, in terms of size. Once T3 starts operations in July 2010, IGIA will become the world’s sixth-largest in terms of capacity. T3 would increase the capacity of IGIA to 60 million passengers annually, from 23 million after it starts commercial operation in July 2010.

    Designed by HOK working in consultation with Mott MacDonald, the new Terminal 3 will be a two-tier building, with the bottom floor being the arrivals area, and the top being a departures area. This terminal will have 168 check-in counters, 74 aerobridges, 30 parking bays, 72 immigration counters, 15 X-ray screening areas, for less waiting times, duty-free shops, and other features. Over 90% of passengers will use this terminal when completed. This new terminal has been completed in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which are to be held in Delhi, and will be connected to Delhi by an eight-lane motorway (National Highway 8), and the Delhi Mass Rapid Transit System. Terminal 3 will cater to 34 million passengers a year.

  • 1 million trees planted in and around T3
  • aluminium cladding covering 80,000 sq m
  • will feature 74 aerobridges, 30 remote parking bays for passenger movement to and from the aircraft and 78 boarding bridges. Six of the aerobridges will be compatible with the A380.
  • five level in-line baggage handling system and 160 check-in counters as well as 70 desks for immigration. Siemens Mobility has won the contract to supply the baggage handling system, which can handle more than 11,300 pieces of baggage per hour.
  • two levels with departures on the upper floor and arrivals on the lower. Passengers that have checked-in will pass over a bridge to the airside and will be able to look down to the arrivals floor from the bridge
  • have extensive shopping areas (Alpha has the duty free contract), with many restaurants and bars and executive lounges to relax in. There will also be a business centre with state-of-the-art IT and communications equipment for the business traveller
  • covered parking for 4000 motor vehicles
  • cost Rs 9,000 cores and project completion in 37 months

    The new T3 will become operational from July 3, 2010 after which all international airlines and India's full cost carriers Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines will start their operations from the terminal in a phased manner. Members of the Oneworld alliance will also operate from this terminal as a result of Kingfisher Airline's entry into the alliance.

    Terminal 3 will form the first phase of the airport expansion in which a 'U' horseshoe shaped building will be developed in a modular manner. In 2010, all international and full service domestic carriers will operate from Terminal 3, while Terminal 1 will be dedicated to low cost operations. In subsequent stages, the low cost carriers will also move to the new terminal complex.
    Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi, India
  • Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Goans expose Political Criminals: Hall of shame!

    A small state with a long list of politicians involved in alleged crimes and controversies, Goa is currently waiting to see how the saga of Francisco Mickky Pacheco, named prime suspect in the Nadia Torrado death case, ends. Pacheco is “absconding” even as a judge hearing his bail plea has “recused” himself from the case. A rundown of the company he finds himself in:

    Francisco Mickky Pacheco: Prime suspect in the Nadia Torrado death case, Pacheco is no newcomer to having criminal charges levelled against him. The political career of former tourism minister, known for his abrasive language and brash demeanour, has been dotted with repeated trysts with the law. First charged for criminal trespass in 2002, he has been accused in cases of extortion and for the assault of government servants. His now-estranged wife Sara has accused him of bigamy, and has also filed three cases of forgery of documents in property transactions against him.

    Churchill Alemao: Oldest among the powerful Alemao brothers, former chief minister and Public Works Department Minister Churchill has a catalogue of criminal charges to his name. Allegations of battery and intimidation apart, he has also been booked under the National Securities Act and was detained along with his brother for contraventions under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (Cofeposa) Act. In 2009, Churchill was accused of battering the guards at a water reservoir that was classified as a vital installation, for having denied his nephew entry into the prohibited area.

    Joaquim Alemao: Younger sibling of Churchill and Urban Development Minister was listed as a goonda in police records until 2000.

    Atanasio Monserrate: Education minister in the Digambar Kamat government has faced numerous criminal allegations. In 2008, he led a group of unruly supporters and stormed a police station in Panaji. The armed mob assaulted policemen, molested women personnel and committed acts of arson. Subsequently charged for attempting to murder policemen, he was in police custody for a fortnight. His son, Rohit Monserrate, was accused of raping a 14-year old Russian girl.

    Dayanand Narvekar: In 2008, the then finance minister was charged along with eight others for involvement in a counterfeit ticket scam for a one-day-international match held in Goa in 2001, when he was BCCI vice-president and Law Minister.

    John Fernandes: The local politician from South Goa was accused of raping a 25-year-old Russian girl. Fernandes was placed under arrest in 2010.

    Manohar Parrikar: This former CM came into the eye of controversy due to allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the execution of his duties as a member of the core committee of the first International Film Festival of India that was held in Goa in 2004. He, along with Digambar Kamat, faced a CBI probe.

    Victoria Fernandes: She was arrested in the '90s for allegedly abetting her son Rudolf's criminality in cases of extortion and assault. This lone woman MLA of the state has been charged in two cases of murder.
    Source: The Indian Express
    Goa's hall of shame!

    Maj Gen Pramod Behl Takes over as Director General (Resettlement)

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 17:12 IST Press Information Bureau
    Major General Pramod Behl has taken over as the Director General Resettlement (DGR). He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune and was commissioned in the GRENADIERS Regiment of Infantry in 1976.

    Major General Behl has held various important Instructional, Staff and Command appointments. He is a Post-Graduate from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. Major Behl, a post graduate in Defence Studies and an M. Phil, has undergone a large number of important courses including senior and higher command courses as well as Conflict Management Course in International Law at National Defence College, Sweden.

    The General Officer has commanded a unit on the Line of Control, a Brigade in the North East and another in the UN Mission in Congo (Brig Gen Pramod Behl, Commander North Kivu Brigade). He has held instructional appointments at National Defence Academy, Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Defence Services Staff College as well as various staff appointments as Brigade Major of a Brigade, Colonel (War Games) in Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Colonel (Planning) of a Strike Corps.

    Before his appointment as Director General Resettlement, Major General Behl held the appointments of Commandant, Assam Riffles Training Centre and later as DDG(MS) of National Cadet Corps.
    MAJ GEN Pramod BEHL Takes over as Director General (Resettlement)

    Rohtang tunnel will be engineering wonder

    Deccan Herald Thursday 24 June 2010
    Rohtang tunnel will be engineering wonder
    New Delhi, June 20, (IANS):
    The foundation of the Rohtang tunnel - expected to be the world's longest tunnel at over 13,000 ft - will be laid on June 28, paving the way for round-the-year road access to India's strategic Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir which otherwise remains cut off by snow for half the year.

    The 8.8 km-long Himalayan tunnel, hailed as an engineering wonder that is coming up under the Indian Army's road building wing, will be inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, giving wing to her husband and late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's dream. Located in Himachal Pradesh, the tunnel is expected to be ready by 2015 and will serve as a nerve centre for the Indian Army to carry supplies to Ladakh.

    "It will be much longer than the present longest tunnels anywhere in the world at altitudes over 2,500 m. The nearest in comparison to the Rohtang Tunnel is the Anzob in Tajikistan which is five kilometres long at an altitude of 3,372 m," said a spokesperson of the defence ministry that is constructing the "engineering marvel".

    It was a dream of Sonia Gandhi's late husband Rajiv Gandhi, who had conceived it 26 years ago. She will fly to Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal range of mountains, 51 km from the hill town of Manali, to lay the foundation stone of the Rs.1,495 crore tunnel. Ladakh, a cold desert region, shares borders with China and Pakistan. The Kargil sector of the region was at the centre of the 1999 India-Pakistan military conflict.

    The over eight kilometer long mountainous stretch where the tunnel is being built otherwise remains snowbound, cutting off the tribal Lahaul-Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh and also the strategically vital Ladakh region from the rest of the country for over six months every year. The tunnel will take over five years to complete and the ministry of defence says digging for the tunnel remains the most challenging task.

    "The tunnel's design would be novel in many ways," said the defence ministry spokesperson. Its distance and the "rarefied atmosphere" at the heights it is located at, the official said, make the tunnel a "landmark in the making". "The tunnel would incorporate semi-transverse ventilation system," he said, boasting of large fans that would circulate air in and out throughout the tunnel length.

    With a horseshoe shaped cross-section, the tunnel will be 11.25 m wide at road level. That means there will be ample room for two-way traffic travelling at a maximum speed of 80 kmph. The Rohtang tunnel will have more to offer. It is expected to reduce the road distance to Ladakh by approximately 48 km and save travel time of about four hours. "It will open up new vistas of trade and tourism and generate jobs for the benefit of the local population (in the Lahaul-Spiti valley)," said the official.

    Defence Minister A.K. Antony, his deputy M.M. Pallam Raju, the chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir - Prem Kumar Dhumal and Omar Abdullah - and Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh will be present at the inaugural ceremony. The contract for the tunnel has been obtained by Austrian company Strabag and India's Afcons. The longest road tunnel in India at present is the 2.8 km-long Jawahar Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir with an altitude of 2,209 m.
    Rohtang tunnel will be engineering wonder

    Grant of Rank Pay: Union of India slaps Review Petition in Apex Court

    Grant of Rank Pay
    The 4th Pay Commission had granted Rank Pay in addition to basic pay for officers up to the rank of Brigadier. There was no ambiguity at all. However, while fixing pay in the integrated scale, an amount equal to the Rank Pay was deceitfully deducted by the concerned bureaucrats from the total dues, thereby causing heavy financial loss to the officers. It was an act of betrayal of the trust of the armed forces. No other country in the world is known to have conspired and connived so blatantly to deprive its own soldiers of their rightful dues. Even DA, pension, gratuity and other related entitlements of the affected officers were adversely impacted. With one clever stroke, the Government had nullified the recommendations of the Pay Commission.

    As all equivalence of appointments in the Government is based on pay scales, bureaucracy employed this stratagem to keep the comparative status of officers down. All pleas to the Government fell on deaf ears. Major Dhanapalan approached Kerala High Court for justice in 1996. The Hon’ble Court ruled in favour of the petitioner and directed the Government to refix his basic pay with effect from 01 January 1986. Instead of accepting its mistake gracefully and ordering refixation of pay of all eligible officers, the Government appealed against the award to a larger Bench of the same court. The appeal was dismissed.

    However, the Government was not done as yet and brazenly filed an SLP in the Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court found no merit in the appeal and dismissed it. MoD grudgingly refixed the pay of Major Dhanapalan and sanctioned payment of arrears. Although the issue had wider application, the Government failed to show required magnanimity to extend the same dispensation to other affected officers under the specious plea that the Court orders pertained to the applicant only. Dismayed by the apathetic attitude of the Government, many officers knocked at the doors of various courts in the country. The Hon’ble Supreme Court admitted a petition for transfer of all the writ petitions pending before the various High Courts in 2007. The matter was heard and finally disposed of by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 08 Mar 2010. The Apex Court held that the judgment of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court was correct and reasonable and as such the benefit of this judgment be extended to all eligible officers of the Armed Forces. Additionally, the Hon’ble Apex Court awarded 6% interest on the amount due to the officers.

    The level to which the Government can stoop can be gauged from the fact that it has recently moved an application in the Apex Court for directions seeking modification/directions/recall of the said order of 08 March 2010. It is obsessively resisting grant of overdue arrears to its officers despite clear-cut court directions.
    Extracted from:
    When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen

    Moily unveils new policy to cut down on government litigation

    NEW DELHI, June 24, 2010 Moily unveils new policy to cut down on government litigation by P. Sunderarajan. The Hindu

    Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily with Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati addressing a press conference on ‘National Litigation Policy’ at Shastri Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

    With the huge backlog of cases continuing to clog the wheels of justice, Union Law Minister M.Veerappa Moily on Wednesday launched a new policy initiative to ensure that government departments and agencies become more “responsible” in filing and pursuing cases.

    Recognising that the departments and agencies contribute the maximum to court cases, the new ‘National Litigation Policy' enjoins on these organisations to think twice before resorting to litigations, as well as in pursuing them.

    The policy statement makes it very clear that, “litigation will not be resorted to for the sake of litigating” and that “false pleas and technical points will not be taken.”

    It also lays down that correct facts, all relevant documents should be placed before the court and that nothing should be suppressed or an attempt made to mislead any court or tribunal.

    The policy also directs that “the Government must cease to be a compulsive litigant” and states that, “the philosophy that matters should be left to the courts for ultimate decision has to be discarded” and that “the easy approach, ‘let the court decide' must be eschewed and condemned.”

    Drafted by the office of Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, the policy provides a set of tools for its implementation, including a provision for appointment of well-trained nodal officers, with adequate legal background and expertise by each and every department and agency for a “pro-active” management of its cases and constitution of empowered committees to monitor the implementation of the policy.

    Acknowledging that frequent adjournments are resorted to by government lawyers, the policy states: “unnecessary and frequent adjournments would be frowned upon and infractions dealt with seriously.” Defaulting lawyers may even have their names removed or suspended from government panels.

    The policy also provides that in service matters, no appeal would be filed in cases where the matter pertains to an individual grievance without any major repercussion or where the matter pertains to a case of pension or retirement benefits without involving any principle and without setting any precedent or financial implications.

    Further, an appeal would not be filed in service matters merely because the order of the Administrative Tribunal affects a number of employees and appeals would not be filed to espouse the cause of one section of employees against another. Challenges to orders of Tribunals would be an exception rather than a matter of routine.

    Mr. Moily said that in keeping with the new policy, all pending cases involving the government would be reviewed and categorised in order of priority so that they could be disposed of quickly.

    Noting that the monitoring and review mechanism proposed under the policy would help prevent delay and neglect of important cases, he said, “May be, cases like the Bhopal case would not be repeated.”

    Asked about the curative petition that the Group of Ministers (GoM) have recommended on the Bhopal case, Mr. Vahanvati, who was also present at the launch function, said, the Law Minister had only made a suggestion before the GoM and that it was not a considered opinion. The GoM's recommendation had to first go to the Union Cabinet for approval before any follow up measure could be taken up.

    In response to a question, he acknowledged that the 1996 Supreme Court order judgment “wrong as a matter of law,” he said: “I am not criticising the judgment. [But,] I am entitled to tell you that it is wrong. I say it as a matter of law. I believe there are contradictions in the judgment and there are lot of material that have come up post that judgment.”

    The Attorney-General pointed to evidence that people knew that there were some flaws in the factory and that they were not rectified as matter of economy. Moily unveils new policy to cut down on government litigation

    SC relief to officers over pay anomalies: Orders arrears with 6 pc interest to all affected by Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 9, 2010

    Grant of Rank Pay: When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen by Maj Gen Suman
    Parawise comments on Review Petition slapped by GOI on ESM

    How sincere is the GOI? The Rank Pay case has been fought in the court for 25 years and the Military Personnel have won the case. The GOI has slapped a Review Petition. What and where is the Justice for the Personnel who defend the Nation with their blood, sweat and tears? Does Law Minister Moily has any answer to another injustice heaped on the ESM! Travesty of Justice can be gauged by how the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy have been fooled by Bureaucrats for 25 years without matching succour for thousands of families for 25 long years. Now a GOM has speedily announced a token of about 1000 core package to alleviate the sufferings of victims. The bureaucrats have denied Rank pay for want of Rs 1600 crores for legitimate dues to Military Personnel for period from 1986 to 2006 (twenty years).

    Former Supreme Court Judge gives up his anti corruption crusade

    Karnataka's top crusader quits
    NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 23, 2010 21:15 IST

    Bangalore: Karnataka's top anti-corruption authority has resigned, more than a year before his term ends. Former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde took on the job of Lokayukta in August 2006.

    He took on corrupt officers, conducted raids and booked even a ruling party BJP MLA Sampangi for taking bribes. But those, his team raided, were often reinstated in the same post from which they were suspended without consulting him and they were sometimes even rewarded.

    "There are many reasons for my resignation, the government has shown deliberate indifference to the functioning of this institution," said Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Lokayukta.

    Justice Santosh Hegde took on the powerful Bellary mining lobby, stating in his report last year, that crores of rupees were siphoned away from the state's exchequer through illegal mining.

    Justice Hegde is a household name in Karnataka having taken a tough stance against the corrupt with his raids and reports; but those, he and his team, caught red-handed continue to walk free. His resignation citing helplessness is however bound to damage the image of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, whose BJP government is all set to celebrate its two years in office.

    "Today is the blackest day in the history of Karnataka. Justice Santosh Hegde is one of the most honest and committed people we have," said Deve Gowda, JD-S president.

    In the battle against corruption, the high office of the Lokayukta has for now lost a crusading soldier.
    Story first published: June 23, 2010 19:58 IST
    Karnataka's top crusader quits: Former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde took on the job of Lokayukta

    Colonel killed in encounter in Kupwara

    Picture courtesy: The Telegraph Calcutta: Click here

    An Army Colonel, hailing from Delhi, was killed in an encounter with terrorists while carrying out counter- insurgency operations in Kuligam area in Kupwara district in Kashmir.

    Colonel Neeraj Sood was the commanding officer of the 18 Rashtriya Rifles battalion there.

    The unit had laid two ambushes in the area in early hours of last night and one of them made contact with militants, an Army statement said.

    "On getting information about the encounter, Col Sood, along with his Quick Reaction Team, being the closest, at the Company Operating Base, rushed to the site.

    In the ensuing firefight, the officer sustained a gun shot wound on his head and succumbed to his injuries," it said.

    Army was continuing its operations through the day in the area, they said. Additional forces have been rushed to the spot.

    Col Sood, a resident of Delhi, was commissioned into 8 Rajputana Rifles in Dec 1992, and is an alumni of the National Defence Academy.

    The officer had extensive experience in counter- insurgency operations and also served as an instructor at the Army's prestigious Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Variengte.

    The officer is survived by his wife, Priti- a house wife and an eleven year old daughter, Mishika, who is studying in class five.(ST-23/06)
    Col killed in encounter in Kupwara

    Bill likely to raise MPs' salary, allowances fivefold

    New Delhi, June 23 (PTI) The government is planning to bring a Bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament next month to raise the salaries of MPs as also some allowances in the wake of a Standing Committee report recommending five-fold increase in the salaries of the law makers to Rs 80,000.

    "The report of the Standing Committee has been received. It is under the consideration of the government. It is formulating its views and hopes to bring the Bill in the next session,"Parliamentary Affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told PTI.

    Reports have said that besides increase in salary, the other proposals include raising the daily allowance from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 when Parliament is in session. Office expense allowances are also recommended to be increased substantially so also their constituency allowance.

    Among the proposals is also 34 free flights for the members to ensure that they remain in touch with their electorate.

    Bansal, however, insisted that"no decision"has so far been taken on these recommendations and government was considering them.
    Bill likely to raise MPs' salary, allowances

    And, here are some more less-known facts about the Indian lawmaker:
    On paper, the salary of an MP in India is Rs 144,000 per year (about $3,200), which works out to just Rs 12,000 (about $266) per month. But it is meagre only if you don't consider the numerous allowances and freebies an MP is entitled to. Here is a look at the allowances and perks that every MP -- India has 790 of them -- enjoys.

    Each Indian MP in 2005 got: These have grown over the years till date...
  • Rs 14,000 (about $311) for office expenses every month, which includes Rs 3,000 for stationary items, Rs 1,000 on franking of letters and Rs 10,000 for secretariat services.
  • A monthly constituency allowance of Rs 10,000.
  • A daily allowance of Rs 500 when Parliament is in session. Parliament has three sessions every year. The Budget Session (February to May), Monsoon session (July to September), and Winter session (November and December).
  • A daily travel allowance of Rs 8 per kilometre.
  • Each MP and his spouse or companion are entitled to unlimited, free, first class railway travel anywhere in the country.
  • They can also travel anywhere in India -- with a spouse or companion -- 40 times by air free of cost every year, business class.
  • An MP gets a sprawling bungalow in the heart of New Delhi [ Images ] for which he pays a rent of just Rs 2,000 (about $44) per month.
  • Each MP gets near-free electricity of 50,000 units every year. And free water.
  • The MP's bungalow is furnished -- with air conditioners, refrigerators and television sets -- free of cost. Maintenance of the house -- including washing of sofa covers and curtains -- is done free of cost by the government.
  • MPs are entitled to three phone lines and 170,000 free local calls every year.
    When an MP travels abroad officially, he is entitled to free business class air tickets. He is also paid a daily travelling allowance, which varies depending upon the country being visited.
  • Most medical expenses of MPs are taken care of by the Contributory Health Service Scheme of the Union government.
  • Each MP also gets Rs 20 million (about $434,782) each year from the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Fund. But the MP does not get the money directly. Instead, it is transferred to respective district headquarters where projects are being implemented.
  • After an MP completes a term in office, he is entitled to pension. The basic monthly pension amount is Rs 3,000 (about $66). But it goes up according to the number of years an MP has served in Parliament.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India last year alleged that many MPs have violated norms in the usage of this money.
    How much does an MP earn? Perks as on December 13, 2005

    The real question: What is the MP's contribution towards poverty alleviation of our citizens? The answer is zilch!
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Parawise comments on Review Petition slapped by GOI on ESM

    The 4th Pay Commission RANK PAY CASE- Excellent rebuttal to Review Petition slapped by GOI on ESM by Maj Dhanapalan


    Para 1 Main reason given for review, is huge amount (Rs.1623.7 Cr) involved. The judiciary has to look into whether justice has been done to the respondents or otherwise. It was proved beyond doubt that justice has NOT been done to the petitioners by the applicants.

    Para 2 The present case is NOT related to the manner of pay fixation as prescribed in chapter 28.1 or 28.113 of the Pay commission report. The Pay Commission report is only RECOMMENDATORY in nature and has no legal standi. The Govt resolutions are statutory provisions. Resolution No.9E dt 18/3/87 clearly define that “Method of fixation of pay recommended for civilian employees in chapter 31 of the report should also be applied to the Armed Forces”. Accordingly the method of fixation notified in SRO 12E dt 23/9/86 is applicable in the case of Armed Forces.

    Para 3 No Provision exists for reduction of Rank Pay from the total emoluments before fixing the pay in the scale. Rank Pay has been granted “in-addition to basic pay” .(Para (1) (i) of the said resolution No.9E dt 18/3/87) This Rank Pay has been granted exclusive to Armed Forces.

    Para 4 The Rank Pay is not meant to differentiate between the ranks by deducting the same from the Basic Pay. The contention of the petitioner is absolutely wrong. Army Instruction is a subordinate instruction and cannot over ride the statutory rules.

    Para 5 “Carved out of emoluments” is a new terminology used in this petition only. This is nowhere used either in the pay commission report or in the Govt orders. This terminology is used only to mislead this H’ble court. Method of fixation of pay has been defined in the said SRO which also gives all required definitions/ explanations (para3).

    Para 6 Govt of India through the resolutions 9E dt 18/3/87 under Para (1) (i) granted “Basic Pay and Rank Pay -addition to Basic Pay” The rate of rank pay recommended by the pay commission was revised by the Govt twice on the intervention of the Armed Forces and from some other corner and accepted the present rate after due deliberations in the cabinet and the Indian Parliament was also taken into confidence. This was also widely publicized through the media to give an impact in the public. It cannot be now said that the grant of Rank Pay was unintentional.

    Para 7,8&9 Aggrieved by the deduction of Rank Pay from the basic pay Major AK Dhanapalan filed a petition in the High Court of Kerala. The H”ble High Court was pleased to admit the plea of Major AK Dhanapalan and directed the respondents to re-fix the pay without deducting the rank pay with re-trospect from 1/1/86. The writ appeal and the SLP filed in the Supreme Court were dismissed. Accordingly the UOI accepted the judgment and implemented the same by re- fixing the pay of Major AK Dhanapalan wef 1/1/86 and the arrears were paid. No review petition on this issue was filed by the UOI or pending before any court. As such it becomes a settled law.

    Para 10,11 The UOI has decided to NOT to extend benefit of this judgment to other similarly personnel, on the plea that benefit will be given only to the respondent of the case. Aggrieved by this decision effected officers also approached various High Courts across the country. The UOI requested this H”ble court to get all these cases transferred to this court. Accordingly some of the cases were transferred to this H”ble Court. Since all these cases are of similar nature, one case as a pilot case has been examined by the court and after hearing both side, pronounced the judgment on 8/3/2010.

    Para 12 Judgment of 5/10/98 and 4/7/2003 of the High Court of Kerala are implemented only in the case of Major AK Dhanapalan.

    Para 13 Rank Pay has been paid to only Major AK Dhanapalan and this is a clear discrimination. The respondents and other similarly placed officers have not been paid the Rank Pay. This can be very much seen from Para 3 and 6 of this review petition itself.

    Para 14 Judgment of 5/10/98 is very clear on this issue. Had it been Paid to all similarly placed officers at that point of time, the lump-sum Amount required would have been less. The petitioners not only wilfully denied justice to the similarly placed officers of the Armed Forces but also unlawfully retained a large sum with them which otherwise due to them. The respondents were fully aware of this fact when they paid arrears to Major AK Dhanapalan.

    Para 15 All these prayers are liable to be dismissed with cost as injustice to Ex Servicemen is untenable in the court of Supreme Justice.
    Maj AK Dhanapalan (Retd)

    General SK Bahri writes...
    The comments of Maj Dhanapalan are logical and bares the nefarious intentions of the bureaucracy. All ESM orgs should write to the PM, RM, FM that such injustice to servicemen will be resisted by them and may result in greater loss of face to the Govt which is attempting to go against all norms of decency and fairplay. I have already written a letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi with copies to PM, RM, Law Minister and the three Chiefs. Will be forwarding copies of it in a day or so to all of you.
    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)
    (1ST JSW Course)

    Media Reports
    SC relief to officers over pay anomalies: Orders arrears with 6 pc interest to all affected by Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 9, 2010

    Grant of Rank Pay: When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen by Maj Gen Suman

    How Indian Entrepreneurs have circumnavigated Government hurdles to IT Development

    The innovation revolution The Wall Street Journal
    Emerging India has evolved from the world’s back office into a knowledge and innovation hub. In the next decade, expect benefits for not just the nation but the global economy by Vivek Wadhwa
    The ability of Indian entrepreneurs to rise above all the hurdles the government and society throw at them. Just as India’s companies install their own power generators to deal with supply problems and purification plants to provide clean water, they have built their own surrogate education system. And herein lies India’s greatest innovation: Its companies have developed the ability to take the output of a weak education system and turn these workers into R&D specialists who can compete in the global arena.

    Faced with severe talent shortages, escalating salaries and a lagging education system, Indian industry had to rethink the way it recruited, trained, developed and retained its workforce. It started by adapting the best practices of companies that were outsourcing R&D to India. Then, leading companies in diverse industries started improving on these techniques and methods; refining and integrating them into a unified system.

    With the economic slowdown, Indian talent supply has been able to catch up with demand. And Western companies are more desperate than ever to cut costs.

    To achieve the 30-40% cost savings that Indian outsourcers can offer, they are now outsourcing their most strategic internal systems. Additionally, thanks to a combination of the recession in the US and that country’s flawed immigration policies, there is a flood of highly educated and skilled talent returning home to India.

    They see more opportunity in India than abroad, and want to be near family and friends. They are returning with the latest skills and an understanding of foreign markets.

    So the stars are lining up for Indian outsourcing, and this industry is gaining a second wind.

    Within a decade, India is likely to become the world’s second-largest R&D centre after the US. Its innovations will likely benefit not only India, but also the world.

    Vivek Wadhwa is executive in residence/adjunct professor at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University and a senior research associate with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.
    Read the full article on how Government hurdles have been bypassed:
    The innovation revolution

    National Security: Facing Pakistan's Nuclear Dragon

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Facing the dragon
    India should prepare for the worst consequences of opposing the China-Pak nuclear deal, says N.V.Subramanian.

    18 June 2010: If what a section of the press reports is true, India then has taken a very significant and consequential step in diplomatically conveying to the Chinese its reservations about China's prospective nuclear deal with Pakistan. The United States has indicated opposing the deal at the coming NSG meeting after having equivocated on it, and it is not clear if the Indian hardness follows the American decision.

    When pointedly asked about the nuclear deal, Manmohan Singh, who had obtained one previously from the United States, said he had no objection. This writer in a commentary two days ago felt the prime minister should judiciously have said "no comments" which would have expressed his disapproval. Now from a position of "no objection" to taking umbrage at the deal, if media reports are to be believed, reveals a flippancy and a lack of serious application to so serious a matter as a potentially proliferative nuclear arrangement between China and Pakistan, which is inexcusable.

    N.V.Subramanian is Editor,, and writes internationally on strategic affairs. He has authored two novels, University of Love (Writers Workshop, Calcutta) and Courtesan of Storms (Har-Anand, Delhi).
    Read the full commentary
    Facing the dragon- India should prepare for the worst consequences of opposing the China-Pak nuclear deal

    IESM: Neglect of Armed Forces at Nation’s Peril

    IESM: Press Release 22 June 2010
    “Neglect of Armed Forces at Nation’s Peril”
    Dear members of the Media,
    1. One is at loss to know why the Defence Forces, the strongest pillar of our democracy are being neglected? Why are they not been given their entitlements even after the courts have given judgments in their favour? Why there is total lack of understanding both by the political system as well as the bureaucracy of the most difficult task of keeping the country united being performed by the Defence Forces, demonstrating true patriotism, valor, bravery, facing all odds against external and internal threats. The Defence Forces belong to the country and they need to be treated fairly, justifiably and with due respect. Where the civil administration fails which happens more often, the Military is called to face the situation. It has been a record that the military under all circumstances has delivered and saved the country from serious damages. It is totally illogical and illegal to withdraw or amend AFSPA. The military is running out of patience. At first stage the Govt deploys the military to deal with insurgences/ other internal threats and then expects them to face the bullets with their hands tied at the back. This is highly inhuman. Where are the proponents of Human rights? Is a soldier not human? And therefore, has no rights? Why thousands of soldiers have been used as cannon fodder due to reasons of the apathy of the bureaucracy- politicians nexuses for not providing them the wherewithal- equipment, weapon systems, clothing etc. to appropriately deal with the internal and external threats. Military leadership by and large has been exemplary. It is the political leadership supported by bureaucracy which has failed the country. While the principal’s knock on knuckles of the errant students grab the national headlines for days, the death of a soldiers laying down his life for the Security of the nation does not get even half a line in the media. He dies unsung and unrewarded.

    2. The numerous letters written by our very senior military leaders and former chiefs high lighting the malaise setting in the Armed Forces due to gross and criminal neglect of the forces both in service and retired to the Govt functionaries ie PM, RM, Home Minister, Law Minister, UPA Chairperson have not been even acknowledged, leave alone taking any action to address the serious malaise. Even the media has not yet highlighted the serious drawbacks of military bashing.

    3. We are making open to the Press a few letters written to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mr Moily, PM and RM by Lt Gen SK Bahri. We humbly request the press, in the interest of the safety, security and integrity of the Nation, to publish these letters (click here) suitably and bring before the nation the true facts of the issues.
    With kind regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
    Recent ESM letters to Ms Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister, Home and Law Ministers

    A Soldier's Journey: Book Review

    “A Soldier’s Journey through Life with Two Wives” by Brigadier Lakshman Singh VSM (Retd) (NOIDA : BLS Publishers, 2009) pp..306, Rs. 450, ISBN 978-81-901855-1-6.
    BOOK REVIEW by Major O A Pereira (Retd)
    This is a largely factual story, mostly autobiographical, written in the author’s endearingly open, honest and frank style. He comes across as a superb – and fearless – raconteur!
    While the book could have done with some serious proof-reading and grammatical reconstruction, nothing can detract from the fact that the story itself emanates straight from the heart and is laid out without any undue camouflage or prevarication! It is a gripping account of a soldier’s life, in peacetime and in war – a very touching story indeed!
    It depicts, vividly, the searing tensions that invariably exist between soldiers and their families due the prolonged periods of separation, brought on by the operational demands of the Army. While it is set in the Indian context, it could well apply to any country with long and difficult borders to defend.
    The author has a uniquely special flair for bringing to life, as it were, the situations he describes. From the very outset, the reader is drawn into the story, experiencing all the emotions the author feels as he lays bare his soul! He does this not only with regard to his professional experiences but also with his personal feelings for the wife to whom he was so devoted – and to whom his devotion remains undimmed, a full decade after she had succumbed to cancer!
    One’s heart goes out to him as he struggles to live with and reconcile the impossibly divided loyalties with which he has to contend right through his life. This book would be a thrilling revelation to those in civilian life who have not had any contact with personnel in the Armed Forces.
    I commend this book to readers of all categories, whether in the Forces or elsewhere, in service or retired, young or old, male or female – it is indeed a very captivating story! It will move you to tears – as it did in my case!
    Major O A Pereira (Retd)
    20th June 2010

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Nation Building – Army Sponsors Thousand Children of Kargil Region

    PIB Tuesday, June 22, 2010 17:6 IST
    Sustained efforts by the Army five years ago motivated Mohammad Ali, a resident of Kaksar, a remote village in Kargil district, to send Nasreen banoo, his daughter, then a young girl of five years, to Pune to pursue her education. Nasreen was admitted in Sarhad English Medium School at Pune, as part of Army’s operation Sadbhavna. Nasreen left the village despite opposition by villagers including elderly clerics. She was one of the first girls from Kargil district to have moved out with the help of Army for quality education, five years back. Seeing her, 33 more children were motivated to study in schools outside the state, in Solan, Cannanore, Pune and Beas. There are presently 15 children in her school in Pune.

    Today Nasreen is a class six student, who visits her village once a year, during the annual 15 days vacation. She wants to become an Army pilot and is the only girl in the village, who can read, write and speak English and Hindi fluently. Nasreen is well informed and forms her own opinions. She knows that being educated means abiding by certain standards of social behavior. In addition, Nasreen plays games and has learnt that sportsmanship is a quality that must be cherished in day to day life. Her teachers say that she is well mannered, sensitive, smart and not afraid to speak the truth. In her village, she is an idol for girls of her age.

    Nasreens father, Mohammed Ali is a poor farmer who also works as a part time labourer. Kaksar is a remote village with a complete Muslim population. It is located close to LOC and has had its share of misery due to Pakistani firing as also Indo – Pak wars. The village is still to be linked to Kargil by a proper road.

    The Indian Army not only educates her but also manages her travel arrangements, day to day requirements with respect to uniforms and books. Whenever the children travel between the school and their home in Kaksar, for the sake of security, one of the parents is sent along and all their expenses are paid by the Army. Besides these 33 children, Army is also sponsoring 1036 children of Kargil area, for studies in seven Army Goodwill schools, within the region.
    S Om Singh/Rajendra
    Nation Building – Army Sponsors Thousand Children of Kargil Region

    CRPF in disruptive combat dress disregard respect for the dead!

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010
    This is no way to treat the enemy
    By blatantly copying disruptive pattern uniform, some central police organisations and even state forces have started comparing themselves with the Army. But their ethos and actions show that they have a long way to go. This picture flashed around the country would illustrate how !

    Though the public at large is totally with the Home Ministry in its resolve to tackle the Maoist epidemic, the way the enemy is treated differentiates an irregular militia from an Army, and these men in the picture prove that they are more of the former and none of the latter.
    Posted by Maj Navdeep
    This is no way to treat the enemy

    Army training 50,000 men to tackle Naxals
    Josy Joseph, TNN, Jun 17, 2010, 12.32am IST
    NEW DELHI: The government may have decided not to draft it for the anti-naxal offensive, but the Indian Army has started preparing for the possibility of being called upon to tackle what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls India's gravest internal security threat.

    Army Headquarters has drawn up a plan to keep about 50,000 soldiers - approximately 5 divisions - in readiness to help the civilian authorities deal with the growing Naxal threat. A training programme, especially designed to meet the challenge that the Left wing extremists pose, has been drawn up, with the Lucknow-based Central Command being given the task of readying the soldiers for what could potentially be the single-biggest internal mobilisation outside the insurgency-ravaged J&K and the northeast.

    The rigorous training schedule aims to re-orient troops, conditioned to fight hostile nations as well as insurgents of J&K and northeast, for a battle which is to be fought in the heartland and against an enemy adept at blending into the population.

    The Army believes that its approach will be radically different from the way paralimitary troops engaged in the anti-Naxal fight have been taken through the paces. Army officials say that paramilitary forces are engaged in random jungle bashing which is fraught with the risk of collateral damages. As against this, they plan, if and when called in, to create a security grid which would isolate the civilian population from the insurgents.

    The anti-Naxal training module focuses on acquiring intimate knowledge of the topography and the tactics used by Maoists. All this would require the sodiers to unlearn many of the lessons imparted to them for conventional warfare, and use tactics different from those in vogue in J&K and northeast.

    The Army, which has already identified four senior officers for appointment as security advisors to the worst Naxal-affected states, plans to keep the specially-trained divisions in "ready-to-deploy" condition.

    For that, it is pulling out troop components from artillery,armoured and other arms to put them through the new training module. Besides, the infantry units returning from counter-insurgency deployments in Kashmir and northeast will be put through the new training schedule once they have had enough rest and recuperation, sources said.

    As a prelude to the eventual deployment, the Army has already stepped up its intelligence gathering capabilities in the Naxal belt. It traditionally never had any intelligence networks in the tribal areas of central India. To fill the gap, Central Command soldiers who understand tribal languages, have been deploying for intelligence gathering and analysis.

    Authoritative sources said the four brigadiers, with extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in northeast and Kashmir, have been identified for deputation to the Union home ministry. These officers will be appointed as security advisors to the unified commands, comprising paramilitary and state polices, that are being set up in Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

    These officers would be based in New Delhi as the defence ministry is reluctant at present to post them in the states, given the confusion over chain of command and other concerns, sources said.
    Army training 50,000 men to tackle Naxals

    Will Indians ever enjoy democracy?

    From The Times April 10, 2009 published a year ago...
    In 60 years India has been unable to solve armed conflicts in Kashmir, its north east or with the growing communist “Naxalite” movement in its heartland. India's human rights record is poor - and not just in Kashmir or the north east. The latest figures from the National Human Rights Commission show that the largest numbers of complaints about abuses came from states outside conflict zones. Corruption is endemic. Contrary to assumptions in the West, anyone who has lived in India knows that the country doesn't really have the rule of law.

    Democracy is supposed to produce greater accountability but India's democracy does not respond to the needs of its people. One excuse used to be that time was needed for democratic habits and values to put down roots. But India has had 60 years to reach maturity. And many political scientists believe that the mere process of going through elections may not be enough to guarantee the survival of democracy. Indeed, over time, confidence in all important institutions has eroded in India. The Election Commission, which is entrusted with ensuring that elections are free and fair, was one of the last to enjoy public respect (another being the Supreme Court). But this election will be overseen by a Chief Election Commissioner, who has been appointed by the present Government, but was deemed unfit for public office by a national inquiry commission because of his role in the “emergency” declared by Indira Gandhi from 1975-77.

    The second excuse was that India's challenges were so vast that more time was needed to make democracy work. Political scientists have shown that the poorer a country, the greater the threat to the permanence of its democracy. India's per capita income remains below the risk threshold identified by these academics. But since embarking on economic reforms in 1991, “emergent” India's growth rate has risen dramatically and has been about 9 per cent a year for the past five years. This is good news for its politics. Yet despite that improvement, India's service to its people ranks below countries with neither democracy nor high growth.

    There is something wrong with the story of democracy in India. Elections have not produced government that serves the greatest needs of the greatest number of people. Could this be because what India's politics has produced over six decades is not really a democracy? The political system clearly serves somebody's interest, but its political currency is not the common good, but the distribution of patronage by the elite.

    India is a curious case of a “democracy” in which none of the important players believes in democracy. Almost all of India's political parties are personal autocracies, in which leadership is inherited, or contested among sons, daughters, widows, sons-in-law - and in two refreshingly “liberal” success stories, the female partners of male leaders. The Congress party has long been a family retainership masquerading as a political party.

    The most significant political development in the past 25 years has been the rise of parties based on identity - regional, caste or religious. The only two parties whose appeal is ideological and whose leadership is not determined by family relationships are the communists and the Hindu nationalists. But neither party is a standard-bearer of inclusive parliamentary democracy.

    Two potential future prime ministers who - unlike the nice Dr Manmohan Singh - have real political power are Narendra Modi. of the Hindu nationalist party (BJP), and Mayawati, leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which represents the lowest in the caste system. Mr Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, is formidably able, but will be forever stained by his willingness to ride to power in 2002 on the corpses of his Muslim fellow-citizens.
    Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has happily allied with both the BJP and the Congress party, misled Parliament and transferred hundreds of civil servants every time she took power in the state.

    She throws lavish birthday parties for herself, bedecked in jewellery, and has been accused of misappropriating her party's funds. Her political support rests not on welfare programmes or economic policies that help the downtrodden, but on the vicarious “dignity” that her own advancement brings them - last year she emerged among the top 20 income-tax payers in India.

    She is emblematic of an India that is not a democracy, but more a competitive autocracy, in which authoritarian forces (still) seek legitimacy and access to resources through the ritual of elections. Just as India has taken cricket and changed it for ever, it has adopted “democracy” and transformed it into its own unique political game.

    Sarmila Bose is a senior research Fellow in the Politics of South Asia at the University of Oxford
    Indians will vote but will they really have democracy?

    Decline of Democracy
    A Fax from SAINIK SANGH to Shri CHIDAMBARAM, Home Minister: click here

    The Curious Case of Indian Bureaucrats published seven years ago
    Valiant hero short circuited: Pension for Arunjit by Harwant Singh

    CVC touching the tip of the iceberg: Indian Corruption Inc
    99 officials in CVC net for alleged corruption
    21 June 2010

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    IAF officer gets boot for lewd remarks

    TNN, Jun 11, 2010, 03.32am IST
    NEW DELHI: Even as Army conducts a formal court of inquiry against its engineer-in-chief Lt-Gen A K Nanda after a colonel's wife complained against him, an IAF court martial has ordered a wing commander's dismissal after finding him guilty of "outraging the modesty" of a junior woman officer.

    Wing Commander H S Virk, posted in Agra, was tried by the GCM (general court martial) in Bareilly last month, after the woman officer alleged he had passed objectionable comments against her.

    While a confirmation of the court-martial sentence by the Allahabad-based Central Air Command chief is awaited, Virk has approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), contending he is being kept in "illegal detention" by IAF.

    Appearing before the AFT on Virk's behalf, his counsel Rajiv Manglik said the GCM had recommended the wing commander's dismissal but IAF had kept him in confinement even though there was no sentence of imprisonment.

    IAF, in turn, contended Virk could not be released as the sentence recommended by the GCM was yet to be confirmed by higher authorities. The AFT, however, directed IAF to release the officer on bail and to send him on leave for two weeks.
    IAF officer gets boot for lewd remarks
    Col, Lt Col face court martial for Rs 10-crore milk scam: Powder purchased despite adequate stock in store by Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Landmark Judgement in favour of Short Service Officers Implemented

    IAF to give permanent commission to women officers. Army still in the back foot mode
    New Delhi: NEW DELHI: After winning a three-year-long court battle, women officers of the Air Force will now be accorded permanent commission for which an exercise has been initiated by the IAF.

    "Yes, we have already started the process for according permanent commission to women officers in accordance with the Delhi High Court orders," a senior IAF officer told PTI here.

    The court orders came in March this year on a petition from 22 IAF and other 30-odd Army women officers, who accused the government of discriminating against them vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

    "All the 22 women officers, who had gone to the court, will be given permanent commission," the senior IAF officer said. IAF sources said the force had already issued offer letters to these women officers asking if they would be interested in a permanent commission.

    With this offer, women officers would get an opportunity to rise up to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at the age of 60 along with retirement and other benefits, similar to the IAF men.

    Sources said the IAF decision on the High Court order came after India's Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had advised against an appeal and asked the IAF to go by the court directive.

    However, the Army's position on the court orders is still not clear, as they "are still studying the orders" and preparing their response, according to officers in the Army headquarters here.

    In their landmark judgement favouring women serving in the defence forces, including those who had retired while the plea was being heard, the division bench of Justices S K Kaul and M P Garg had directed the government to grant permanent commission to them, saying they "deserve better from the government."

    However, the court had disallowed the women officer's plea to be allowed in combat roles in the armed forces.

    "There are also male officers performing the same task. If the male officers can be granted permanent commission while performing those tasks, there is no reason why equally capable women officers cannot be granted permanent commission. It is not a charity being sought by the women officers but enforcement of their own Constitutional rights," the court had said.

    It rejected the plea of the government that Permanent Commission be allowed only for future recruits, a decision taken by the government in 2009, as the benefit could not be accorded retrospectively for serving and retired lady officers who had approached the court.

    Women join the armed forces as Short Service Commissioned (SSC) officers and serve for a maximum of 14 years, retiring without any benefits.

    SSC men officers are offered Permanent Commission on completion of stipulated 14-year service and rise up to the rank of Lieutenant Generals with retirement at the age of 60, taking home half their last drawn salary as pension.

    In 2009, the Defence Ministry had decided to accord permanent commission to women officers in the Education, Legal and Accounts branches in Army, Navy and Air Force.

    Earlier, women officers in the medical, nursing and dental services were the ones eligible for Permanent Commission in the armed forces.

    They were eligible for SSC service in supporting arms and services such as Ordnance, Signals, and Electrical and Electronics Engineering of the Army, and helicopter and transport aircraft flying, Air Traffic Control, Administration, Meteorological and Logistics branches of the IAF.

    Even after the 2009 decision of the Defence Ministry, women officers are still not eligible for recruitment in fighting arms such as the Infantry, Armoured and Engineers in the Army and Fighter Pilot stream in the IAF.

    After the High Court orders, women officers in the IAF can now look forward to storm in to the male bastions of the service too. They will yet not be part of fighter pilot stream of the IAF's flying branch.

    At present, 2,000-odd women officers serve in the armed forces. They include 1,000-odd in the Army, 780 plus in IAF, and 250 plus in Indian Navy.

    Several militaries globally induct women, but only a few allow them to perform active combat roles. Among the nations that are liberal in this regard include Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

    Britain and Israel allow women to serve in combat arms positions like artillery, but exclude them from infantry. The US allows women in most combat roles, including flying.
    Source: PTI
    IAF to give permanent commission to women officers

    National Security: Pakistan-China N-deal upsets India

    Pakistan-China N-deal upsets India, Beijing cautioned
    New Delhi: As Pakistan Army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani steps up pressure on the Chinese leadership to formalise a nuclear deal similar to the Indo-US civil nuclear initiative, the UPA government has cautioned Beijing about the negative fall-out of such a move on Sino-Indian relations. Such a move, which could be announced this week during Gen Kayani's visit to China or held back for a later date, is bound to set back the current efforts by Delhi and Beijing to normalise bilateral relations.

    In the last few weeks, there has been a steady stream of reports that China is about to clinch a new deal to sell two nuclear power reactors to Pakistan in violation of the current rules of international nuclear commerce.

    While it deliberately chose to avoid a public spat with China on its proposed expansion of nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, Delhi has left Beijing in no doubt about its strong reservations that were conveyed through diplomatic channels in the last few days.
    Source: The Indian Express
    Read the full account: Pakistan-China N-deal upsets India, Beijing cautioned

    Army Medical Corps: Major arrested for taking bribe

    Major Dipendra Bhushan
    Mumbai Mirror Bureau Posted On Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 02:54:36 AM
    An Army major, attached to the Army recruitment office at Colaba, was arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 to clear medical tests of a fresh recruit in the Army.

    Major Dipendra Bhushan's driver Bharat Ram was also arrested after the CBI found that he too was a part of the racket.

    “We have arrested Major Dipendra Bhushan and will produce him in court on Sunday. Search of the officer's residence is on,” DIG CBI Praveen Salunkhe told Mumbai Mirror.
    Major Dipendra Bhushan
    According to sources in the CBI, Major Dipendra Bhushan was in-charge of supervising medical tests of fresh recruits. The army recruitment centre in Colaba, where the medical screening centre is located, checks hundreds of army recruits every year.

    Sources alleged that the Army major and his driver had spread a word among the fresh recruits that only those who would pay Rs 50,000 to the senior army official would be cleared in the medical tests. Several jawans therefore contacted driver Bharat Ram.

    The complainant in the case also approached driver Bharat Ram, but he lodged a complaint with the CBI as well. “On Saturday afternoon, the major called the complaint near Fashion Street to collect money. His driver Bharat Ram was also present when the amount was being paid,” sources said.

    According to Joint Director, CBI, Rishiraj Singh, it’s very unfortunate that in a premier institution like Army this kind of corruption is on. Singh has requested all prospective jawans, NGOs & GOs to inform the CBI immediately on 9820185123, 022-22884433 if they are compelled to make such payments.
    Major arrested for taking bribe
    Army major arrested for accepting bribe
    Corrupt armyman was being watched for 8 months: Medical clearance without examination
    Overall decline of Medical Standards in India
    Bhopal tragedy: Doctors duped survivors

    Comment: Looks and sounds like Desai effect of MCI corruption spreading its tentacles to the Armed Forces Medical College/ Military Medical Services. There is an urgent need for a major surgical operation to cleanse the Armed Forces Medical Services/ College and its Officers of corruption right from top to the bottom. The Medical Corps Care ethos and ethics must be instilled in its true perspective. Medical Officers who have bribed lakhs of Rupees for purpose of admission to Medical Colleges are the ones who tend to succumb to make a quick buck to make up the loss! Constant in- house monitoring and peer pressure should enable the Medical Corps to regain its lost prestige and honour. Major Bhushan, an Armed Forces Medical College alumni, had been in the service for the past 11 years and unluckily he has been caught; what about the others donning his feathers? What a disgrace for the Premier Military Educational Institute!


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