Saturday, August 21, 2010

ECHS: Enabling Polyclinics

Meeting at ECHS HQ on 20 Aug 10
Dear Members,
1. An interaction meeting between users and ECHS mgt was held at ECHS HQ and attended by medical reps of the 3 HQ and others.
2. Following important decisions were taken:
  • Local Purchase for "A" and "B" type polyclinic is incresed from Rs50,000/ to Rs 2.00 Lacs per month.
  • For "C" and "D" type it is increased to Rs1 lac.
  • If a medicine is NA in a polyclinic then the ESM can buy the same from market and he will be reimbursed. There is no financial limit cap for this. This is over and indicated above.
  • Outsourcing the hospitals payments to an External Agency. The agency will pay all bills etc to the empanelled hospitials and would sort out it's own payement with the ECHS. Basically ensuring that the hospitials gets their money in time.
  • If the number of patients in a Polyclinic increase by 30 per day then an additional MO is automatically authorised for hiring.
  • Nominate chemists as distributors who will supply directly to the polyclinics and ECHS would pay these chemists. This will increase the medicines availability. No dependecy on our existing Armed Forces Medical Stores.
    Pls see IESM latest NEWS on . News Update every hour
    These interaction meetings would be held every 2 months...
    Cdr Sharan Ahuja (Retd)
    Member Core Group IESM (Offg Secy Gen IESM)
  • Veterans under IESM banner to return medals to Prez

    The following report -- released by the United News of India news agency on August 21, 2010 -- is for your kind perusal.
    With regards

    Bhopal, Aug 21 (UNI) Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement Chairman Lieutenant- General (Retd) Raj Kadyan, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, will lead a delegation to Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow to deposit medals and submit a memorandum signed in blood to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in protest against the Centre not looking after its defence forces who have been "pillars of strength" for Indian democracy.
    In a letter to the President, the veteran said, "it is earnestly hoped that the Supreme Commander would relent and receive the delegation in person. However, should that unfortunately not happen... the delegation would return without depositing the medals and the memorandum."
    The recent judgements of the Supreme Court, high courts and Armed Forces tribunals clearly reveal the "grave injustice, apathetic attitude and arrogance of the Government and the bureaucracy," IESM Vice-Chairman Major-General (Retd) Satbir Singh, Sena Medal, said in a release.
    The fact that the all- party Standing Committee on Defence – after taking into consideration the reasons given by the Centre for not accepting veterans’ main demand of One Rank One Pension– has strongly recommended grant of OROP to defence personnel holistically in its report tabled in Parliament on May 7, proves the genuineness of their demand, he added.
    "Junior commissioned officers (naib subedars, subedars and subedar majors) who are gazetted officers are equated with non-gazetted civilians, their widows left out from the recent small enhancement of pensions of JCOs and Other Ranks, no enhancement in pension to the old reservists, superannuated disabled soldiers not being included in the policy of broad- banding for Disability and War injury, non-grant of third Assured Career Progression to the sepoy, ACP award of the 6th Central Pay Commission not being notionally applied while fixing pensions of pre-January 1, 2006 retirees, the Centre not implementing judgements, the list of grievances and injustice is never ending," Maj-Gen Singh lamented.
    The collection of medals and signing of the memorandum will take place at Jantar Mantar from 1100 to 1400 hrs.
    "We are also trying to muster ESM from other states for this rally that will be entirely peaceful and in keeping with the military ethos," said Brigadier (Retd) Chander S Kamboj, Vishisht Seva Medal.
    "If each ESM was to say that his not joining the struggle will not affect the cause, there will be no struggle, and worse our children will be struggling for the same in 2025," said IESM Governing Body Member Maj-Gen (Retd) Pravesh Renjen.

    Quantum jump for MsP: No accountability to the citizens they serve?

    The government on Saturday assured agitating MPs that their concerns on salary hike would be addressed, NDA convenor Sharad Yadav said in the Lok Sabha, a day after several opposition parties conducted a 'mock' Parliament.

    Yadav made the statement during Zero Hour, shortly after he along with RJD chief Lalu Prasad and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, BJP deputy leader Gopinath Munde and BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan met Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee.

    "The matter regarding the hike of salary of MPs has been resolved," Yadav said, apprising the House of the meeting. "The House will now function as per rules," he said.
    Matter over salary hike resolved: Sharad Yadav tells LS

    Dear Veterans,
    ... edited ...
    To night's 'Times Now' debate anchored by Arnab Goswami, covered the hot topic of MPs salary hike. For a change, all the participants were given adequate time to express themselves. It was heartening to see that both Gen Shankar Prasad & Capt Siddhu put across their points forcefully.

    The crux of the problem, as Arnab put it, is not the Salary hike to the MsP, but the deprivation of the soldiers who are guarding the Nation day in and day out. They are the first one to be called in any calamity, the latest one being the Common Wealth Games. He, and the other two Veterans explained, as to how the Parliamentarians or the Law Makers, got together, cutting across the party lines, to forge an unity amongst themselves, to force the Cabinet to hike their salaries to a whopping 300 per cent, in just four days. Whereas, it has taken 10 years for the Armed Forces personnel to get a hike of just 38 percent.

    When the OROP issue was considered, the Govt said that was not viable. This theory of viability is going to be further tested by the Law Makers with their demand of 500% hike. One wonders as to what Sekhar Gutpta has to say now, since he was the one to dub our Chiefs as Trade Unionists, when they refused to implement the Sixth Pay Commission Recmmendations.

    Shankar Prasad pointed out that the Govt is planning to induct the Army to salvage the Games, free of cost. The Urban Minister, Jaipal Reddy, has indicated that even an allownce of 20,000/ - per month for the Officers & Rs 10,000/- per month for the other ranks may not be possible. Arnab pointed out that this amount is just a fraction of the 15 additional free air flights, now sanctioned to the MsP.

    Capt Siddhu, was blunt in stating to Manu Singhvi, that it was his Govt which went for a review of the disability case which was settled by the Supreme court (Veterans will remember the 'Beggars' comment by the Court). Even after the Govt failed in its last atttempt to block the case, it never paid him, till he filed a Contempt of the Court pettition. In all it had taken him 30 years. But Manu Singhvi & other MsP could get all within four days.

    Manu Singhvi conceded that he was not aware of all these cases & the OROP. But, Shankar Prasad pointed out that the entire Nation is aware of the OROP & the depositing of medals by the Veterans to the President, in protest. How a big wig from the Ruling Party can feign ignorence. Manu Singhvi, at least on the screen, assured that he is prepared to take up the cases of the Veterans in the Supreme Court against the Review Pettitions filed by the Govt.

    "Sir, will you stick to your Words?" I request the Leaders of IESM to send a procession to his house or office to sanctify his promise.

    I am deliberately omitting the presence of Rahul Bajaj in the show, since he did not have much to say but to support the cause of the MsP salary hike. But, he mentioned that the present salary of the MP, which is 16,000, is what he is paying his chauffer. So, in our country the lives of Soldiers are cheaper than the Chauffers. The minimum that the old Industrialist & ex MP could have done is to draw the attention of the Govt to this great disparity. But if he does that, he will be deprived of the use of his Private air craft, by the DGCA.

    Arnab's pro Armed Forces stand was supported by facts & figures. He rightly pointed out to Singhvi & Bajaj, that the comparisson of the MsP to the salaries of the Army personnel is inescapble, since the IAS, IPS & the rest do the same. The MsP are demanding 500% hike only to overtake the Cabinet Secretary in the Salary structure.

    I did not know Siddhu has sense of humour. He emphatically supported Singhvi & Bajaj & demanded that the salary of the MsP should be hiked to 700%, because of the unruly behaviour & shouting they indulge in the House, which may add to their expenditures.
    ... edited ...
    Veteran Raman
    Col (Retd) TN Raman

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Higher Rate of Interest under Senior Citizens Saving Scheme

    Friday, August 20, 2010 18:51 IST
    The Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, 2004 (SCSS), was designed to meet the need of a regular flow of income for the senior citizens and retired persons with security of investment, liquidity of funds and operation convenience. Keeping in view of the above, higher rate of interest at 9 percent per annum is offered to all senior citizens under this scheme. Persons who are 60 years of age and above can make a deposit under the scheme. Those retired persons who are 55 years of age and above but below 65 years are also eligible to invest their retirement benefits subject to maximum deposit limit of Rs.15 lakh under the scheme.

    Facility of loan or overdraft against the deposit would necessitate pledging of the deposit under this scheme. As a consequence, the subscriber of a pledged account will not be able to withdraw the interest amount periodically defeating the very purpose of the scheme.

    This information was provided by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri Namo Narain Meena in reply to an Unstarred Question in Lok Sabha today. **** DSM/SKK
    Higher Rate of Interest under Senior Citizens Saving Scheme

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Justice for Defence Services: Rally on 22 Aug 2010 at Jantar Mantar

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    FIRSTLY Please read the email received from Maj Gen PK Renjen, Member IESM Governing Body, appended below. If you have been a sincere soldier it will definitely inspire you to fight for- JUSTICE FOR DEFENCE SERVICES.

    SECONDLY Regarding the ESM rally being held at Jantar Mantar Road, Near Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on Sunday, 22 Aug 10. Help from you all is essential to make this rally a grand success. How Can You all Help.
    1. Please get in touch with all the media persons you know and ensure that maximum possible coverage is provided to the rally planned at Jantar Mantar.
    We need the TV coverage and the print media coverage. Please leave no stone unturned to muster media support. Kindly do not expect to be approached individually by HQ IESM to seek your help for media. You all are part of this mass movement for Justice for Defence Services so kindly act without personal request being made to you.
    2. Those of you living in NCR and around, should join the ESM rally at Jantar Mantar Road, on Sunday, 22 Aug 10, from 11.00 AM to 3.00 PM. We are also trying to muster ESM from other states for this rally, but we expect you all living in NCR to turn up in big numbers. Not only you and your family members should join, but motivate others also to join in. Drinking Water and simple tea arrangements are being made at the site. Police has been informed to maintain law and order. The rally will be entirely peaceful and in keeping with the military ethos. We all are soldiers. So don’t be cowed down by bad weather, if the weather happens to be bad.
    3. How To Reach The Rally Site.
    A. Best way would be to come by Metro to the Patel Chowk Metro Station. The rally site is just 5 to 7 minutes walk from the Metro Station.
    Clean toilet facilities are also available at Patel Chowk Metro Station.
    B. If you are coming by own transport, park the vehicle at the underground parking of Palika Bazar at Connaught Place. From there cross over to Parliament Street through the subway. On Parliament Street, go pass the Jantar Mantar. When you reach the Parliament Street and Tolstoy Marg Crossing, (Tolstoy Marg connects Parliament Street to Janpath and goes beyond), turn left along the Jantar Mantar boundary wall. After you walk for another two minutes – you will find Jantar Mantar Road on your Right and you will see prominent shamianas of the Rally. Jantar Mantar Road is almost parallel to Janpath, in between Janpath and Parliament Street. You may also approach the Rally site from Janpath or Ashok Road, if you know the place well. Other good parking places are the Patel Chowk Metro Station or Park Hotel on Parliament Street. Patel Chowk Metro car parking is easiest to approach from the Ashok Road. I may remind you that on the Rally Day the traffic on the Jantar Mantar Road is not permitted, unless you come very early in the morning – so plan parking as suggested above.
    C. If you come by Metro to Patel Chowk, come out from the exit towards Jantar Mantar Road, come on two the Jantar Mantar Road and look to your left – you will see the ESM Rally Shamianas 50 metre away. Friends kindly appreciate that just a few members of IESM, no matter how hard they work, cannot get justice for all the ESM. We all have to heave along with them and give them full support and boost up their morale. Please do join in the rally at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, 22 Aug 10.
    There is sufficient time for you to plan and ensure that you spare time for this rally. YOU MUST.
    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    From: pravesh renjen
    Sent: 18 August 2010 08:03
    To: INDIAN VETERANS; Gunners; 25th Course Mates; Core Group
    Subject: while Chaks goes to sleep .............
    Remember -
    If each ESM was to say:
    His not joining the struggle will affect not the cause,
    There would be no struggle, and worse
    Our children would be struggling for the same in 2025.
    If each grain of sand were to say :
    One grain does not make a mountain,
    There would be no land.
    If each drop of water were to say :
    One drop does not make an ocean,
    There would be no sea.
    If each note of music were to say :
    Each note does not make a symphony,
    There would be no melody.
    If each word were to say :
    One word does not make a library,
    There would be no book.
    If each brick were to say :
    One brick does not make a wall,
    There would be no house.
    If each seed were to say :
    One seed does not make a field,
    There would be no harvest.
    If each of us were to say :
    One person does not make the difference,
    There would never be love and peace on earth.
    You and I do make the difference.
    Begin today and make the difference.
    God Bless,
    Pravesh Renjen (Maj Gen Pravesh Renjen, Member IESM Governing Body)

    Use of Special Forces to neutralise Naxal Leaders

    Bhopal, Aug 18 (UNI) Special Forces can be used in conjunction with police intelligence to eliminate known naxal leaders and decimate the top rung, opines an Indian Army veteran who served in the Defence Ministry's Counter-Terrorism Division.
    "The naxal problem is primarily a politico-economic-criminal problem and not really an insurgency. The Army has a duty to come to the aid of civil power when required but this has to be quick and short and only when an inescapable necessity," Lieutenant-Colonel Behram A Sahukar -- who retired in November 2003 as Additional Officer, Headquarters (HQ) Defence Intelligence Agency -- told UNI.

    If really necessary, "we can have military advisors" with the police or paramilitary during operations as well as in the training schools, the expert -- who commanded a Special Forces Parachute Battalion -- said while emphasising that in such cases the Army officer must be given seniority over the police officer. Slowly but surely the police will come up to scratch after a few initial ''reverses'' that must be accepted.

    "Police have adequate current resources to deal with the situation within own states. Take the case of Punjab and now Jammu and Kashmir. The Border Security Force and other paramilitary also have air resources, which can be augmented," said Lt-Col Sahukar who has been actively involved in the planning and execution of counter-terrorism operations at Divisional HQ in the insurgency-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

    It is about time the paramilitary and the reserve or armed police are used for the tasks they were raised for, he felt while adding that the local political agencies should pull their weight and do the work for which they have been elected.

    "The Centre has been very very stingy with the Armed Forces and now there is a lot of discussion on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Many troops come from the affected areas and the Army has to use deadly force to achieve its objective," explained the combat veteran who first saw action during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, in the Western Theatre.

    "No point in turning to the Army at the slightest pretext. Think of the Veerappan case during which the Army was not used," Lt-Col Sahukar reminisced.

    Meeting with his excellency, the Governor of Punjab Mr Shivraj Patil regarding ESM issues

    Wed, 18 August, 2010 6:58:23 PM
    Dear All,
    1. Brig Hardip Ghuman and self held a meeting with HH Governor of Punjab in his office in his capacity as President of State Sainik Board and Sainik Welfare.
    2. The meeting was organised through office of Director Sainik welfare Punjab.
    3. Following Points were Discussed:
  • Instructions for facilitating Registration and Casting of Votes by the Serving Soldiers at the place of their Posting.
  • HH was briefed that how serving soldiers were denied their constitutional right to vote for 60 years. Now that they have been permitted to vote at the place of their posting, there are many hurdles being created by vested interests so that they do not vote. Even agencies like MOD, EC and state machinery is involved in not placing a good system in place whereby these soldiers get registered on being posted and they are facilitated to vote. HH was informed that during last assembly elections out of 12 lakhs probable voters only 13000 voters were registered and only those could vote. The documents obtained under RTI from the MoD didn’t convince the President RSB Punjab as he stated he was on the committee that looked into this issue.
  • HH asked for the brief and assured us that he will ensure that all systems are created to ensure that all soldiers are registered as voters at the place of their posting. Brig HS Ghuman has carried out great job on this issue and he deserves our praises and we all must educate our firends and children serving in Defence Forces. Only Power of Vote of Serving and retired will bring Govt on to negotiating table one day for OROP.
  • Denial of Payments of dues of Rank Pay pensioner Benefits Given by 4th pay Commission. HH was briefed as how by design MOD denied us benefits of Rank pay which was authorised to us by Min Fin and duly approved by GOM. How MOD told lie about it even to GOM and PM. How one major fought for it and won the case. Later large number of officers went to various courts and Supreme court finally ruled in favour of us, dues to be paid with 6% interest. How against all ethics disgracefully MOD has gone to supreme Court for review of their decision. HH assured us that he will definitely speak to RM on the issue and he was sure that even supreme court is not going to change its decision for such an genuine case.
  • The DO letter of Rajya Raksha Mantry (as RM) Shri Arun Singh of 20 Jan 1987 addressed to the PM was placed before the President RSB Punjab which stated quote ‘This subject was not discussed in the Group of Ministers (desired by the Union Cabinet), because we were of the view that the Running Pay Band, if accepted, would automatically mean point-to-point fixation. However, Finance Ministry expressed their dissent with point-to-point fixation when we approached them to finalize issuance of orders on the presumption that Group of Ministers’ view on Running Pay Band would find acceptance with the Cabinet.
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The real problem is Political differences promoting Separatism possibly on behalf of External Enemy of our Nation & poor Civil Administration for which amending this Act would be the biggest mistake. The President RSB Punjab assured that the Govt. of India has no intention whatsoever to dilute this Law since it has serious repercussions.
  • Complimentary Rail Pass to CHAKRA Series of Awards by the President of India. The President RSB agreed to take up the matter with the Railway Minister to remove the discrimination for travel by Shatabdi Express Trains to Shaurya Chakra Awardees by the President of India

    We also discussed large number of other issues with the Governor. HH was of the view that Veterans deserve the same respect as our Serving soldiers. We also discussed with him ways and means of tackling J and K problem by registering serving soldiers and PMF men when they are posted there.He was appreciative of all our suggestions and looked forward to more discussions.
    Please circulate to others also INCLUDING SERVING COLLEGUES.
    Brig Nawab Singh (Retd)
  • Advisory: Rank Pay of Officers court case in progress

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    Some unscrupulous lawyers in Chandigarh and other cities are trying to mislead retired Defence Officers regarding the Rank Pay Case, the 4th Pay Commission anomaly case. The sad part is that some of these lawyers are ESM or they are being helped by ESM to rope in innocent retired officers to file individual cases for their Rank Pay dues. Inspite detailed information on the subject being disseminated by "REPORT MY SIGNAL" and latest updates being given by ESM websites and ESM Groups, retired officers are falling prey to dirty tricks of such lawyers. The aim of this email is to save innocent retired Defence officers from such traps.

    In 2007, a few dedicated retired officers, created a new organisation “Retired Defence Officers Association”. It is a registered organisation.
    Please visit the website click here for more details.

    The organisation RDOA was created with the sole aim of fighting against the deliberate injustice done by MoD regarding the Rank Pay after the 4th CPC report was submitted. The RDOA has also been attending to many other ESM welfare related jobs, and has been doing a commendable job. 4th CPC Report introduced Rank Pay for officers for the first time in pay structure of Defence Services.

    As per the 4th CPC Report, the Rank Pay was over and above the salary fixed for officers. Some clever Babus deliberately manipulated the figures, deducted the Rank Pay from the salary fixed, thus reducing the salary fixed and then adding the amount granted as Rank Pay. Net result was that the legitimate additional Rank Pay amount was denied to the officers. It was probably done to ensure that Defence Services officers remain lower in status to their ‘equivalents’ in IAS and other Central Services. The story did not end there.

    Since the total pay of officers was cleverly lowered at the time of 4th CPC, it also affected the basic salary fixation of 5th CPC and 6th CPC. You are requested to read the email received from RDOA, appended below. Kindly have the gist of this post circulated among all the officers, who do not use computers to keep themselves updated.
    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    From: RDOA India
    Sent: 18 August 2010 07:55
    Dear Veterans,
    Following for your info- Short Brief of Case (Rank Pay Anomaly of 4th CPC, due to deliberate incorrect implementation by MoD) so far.

    Vide order dated 8.3.2010, the Hon’ble Supreme Court was pleased to pass final orders in the T.P. (Civil) No. 56 of 2007 and after transferring, the Writ Petitions pending before the High Courts of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Allahabad were allowed and W.P. (Civil) Nos. 96 of 2009 and 34 of 2009 pending before the Hon’ble Court were also allowed. The Hon’ble Court also allowed the application for intervention in T.P. (Civil) No. 56 of 2007.

    After hearing detailed arguments, the Hon’ble Court agreed with the judgment dated 5.10.1998 passed by the learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court in O.P. No. 2448 of 1996 and the order dated 4.7.2003 passed by the Hon’ble Division Bench of the Kerala High Court in W.A. No. 518 of 1999 and while upholding the aforesaid judgments and reasoning, directed to pay the rank pay to officers of the Armed Forces retrospectively with effect from 1.1.1986 and also directed to pay 6% interest p.a. accordingly.

    Against the aforesaid order dated 8.3.2010, Union of India, the Applicant, has filed an interlocutory application (I.A.) for directions seeking modifications/ directions/recall of order dated 8.3.2010. As advised by our counsel no such provision exists in the Supreme Court to file an IA. In response to this, the RDOA has filed a detailed and comprehensive counter affidavit in the apex court. As per directions of the court UOI will be given four weeks time to file
    rejoinder before the case gets listed for disposal.

    Off late there have been instances wherein officers who are ill informed about the case have been floating papers/ writing to corridors of power/ seeking to go to the Supreme Court to vacate the appeal filed by the UOI. Such hasty and half cooked actions will only complicate matters and lead to further delays. RDOA wants to assure all veterans that thorough research has been done on the case before resorting to litigation. Chances of the case floundering are remote, but if people file litigations in their exuberance on the subject matters the case may go on a tangent and result in loss of benefits.

    It is therefore requested that all veterans should refrain from writing/ going in for litigation on any issue/ point related to the IV Pay Commission rank pay anomaly case. Your cooperation is highly solicited. There are no brownie points to be scored. This mail is being circulated to protect the interests of officers so that they do not fall prey to vested interests out to make a quick buck.
    Thanking you
    Secy RDOA
    Visit Us At: RDA India and RDA Blogspot

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    MPs want 300 percent hike in salary

    Ruckus in Parliament
    Members of Parliament want a 300% hike in their salary. Though they get just Rs 16,000 a month, they are entitled to huge perks that include Rs 20,000 office expense, Rs 1000 per day when the Parliament is in session for just shouting and disrupting the Houses. Some MPs like Vijayasanti of the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti and BJP's Jaswant Singh have an abysmal record of 10% and 45% attendence respectively.

    The MPs are also entitled to free air and rail travel. Forget about corruption like the one in Commonwealth Games or money that MPs allegedly get for raising questions.

    New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Monday deferred a decision on hiking the salary and allowances of MPs though the issue was discussed in detail.

    The proposed increase is unlikely to be effected in the current session of Parliament.

    Members of the Cabinet felt that raising MPs' emoluments at this stage in the wake of allegations of corruption in Commonwealth Games, the drought situation in some parts of the country and the inflation yet to be tamed would be seen in bad light, sources in Government said.

    MPs currently get Rs 16,000 per month as salary while a secretary to the government gets Rs 80,000 a month. The proposal is to hike the salary to Rs 50,000.

    Besides the base salary, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs 1000 for each day when Parliament is in session or a sitting of a House committee is scheduled. A member is also entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 per month and office expense allowance of another Rs 20,000 each month. Apart from these, he is also entitled to a certain number of air journeys, AC first class train travel and rent free flat or hostel accommodation through out his term.

    The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Salaries, Allowances and Pensions, headed by Congress MP Charan Das Mahant, had proposed salary of Rs 80,001, arguing that an MP's salary should be at least a rupee more than that of an officer of the rank of Secretary (Rs 80,000), whom an MP outranks in the list of protocol.

    Every MP can avail 34 single air journeys during a year with spouse or any number of companions or relatives.
    Source: Agencies
    MPs want 300 percent hike in salary

    Comment: What the Government has denied the Military veterans for over two decades (Rank Pay- 4th Pay commission omission) of its legitimate pension is now ready to grant 300% salary hike for MPs who are blackmailing the Government except for the CPI who remain averse to the quantum jump!

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    National Security: Can Nuclear waste be a potential threat?

    Wake-up call from Mayapuri
    The leakage of the highly radioactive cobalt-60 in Delhi raises questions about the trade in such materials and how their movement escapes detection.

    Deadly Scrap
    by Dr Bhaskar Balakrishnan

    The recent incident in the Mayapuri industrial area of Delhi, where five persons suffered high radiation doses due to accidental exposure to highly radioactive cobalt-60, should be seen as a wake-up call for tightening security and accountability in respect of radioactive materials.

    Cobalt-60 is a highly active man-made isotope of Cobalt, a metal which is known for the attractive pink colour of many of its compounds. This material has many applications — radiation therapy, industrial radiography, sterilisation of food, measuring instruments, and laboratory uses. Because Co-60 is so highly radioactive, it must be shielded in lead containers, handled very carefully, and accounted for from “cradle to grave”. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) monitors compliance with safety requirements.

    In the latest incident, Co-60 in the form of wires was part of a scrap consignment. Efforts are on to trace the origin of this material, as the disposal of Co-60 containing material as scrap is strictly prohibited. No doubt those responsible will do all they can to cover up the traces.

    If the scrap was imported, it raises serious questions on safety in the trade of scrap, where several incidents of toxic materials have also been reported.

    The persons who unknowingly cut open the container of Co-60 received strong radiation doses, causing symptoms of radiation sickness which at that time were not recognised. The material was then stored in the office of the scrap dealer for nearly a month, during which all persons who visited or worked in the office received radiation doses.

    Gamma radiation is a silent, insidious killer which does not announce itself, unlike other dangerous chemicals. The radiation gets continuously absorbed by the body, causing mutations which could lead to cancer, and death of cells. It is intensely penetrating (unlike the alpha and beta radiation which is stopped easily) and requires thick lead to stop it. By the time symptoms of radiation sickness become manifest, the dose absorbed is already far above the safe level.

    Many questions need to be resolved in this case. Had any radioactive material included in the scrap already been disposed of since early March? If so to whom and for what purpose?

    What was the origin of the scrap — domestic or imported? All scrap acquired over the past month needs to be traced back and investigated to find out who was responsible for the disposal of Co-60 containing scrap. Was any contaminated scrap sold and processed into steel products? Has any quantity of Co-60 spilled out of its container and got dispersed?

    It is important to ensure that there has been no leakage of radioactive material into other products of scrap recycling by accounting for the Co-60 up to the highest possible accuracy. As mentioned before, smaller amounts of Co-60 could have leaked out and handled without giving rise to any visible symptoms. Is this an isolated first case, or has this been happening earlier and only detected now? Were any previous consignments of scrap acquired from institutions using radioisotopes, and if so are all such material duly accounted for? If the material came in as imported scrap, from where did it come and how was it processed through export and import channels without detection of radiation? The authorities in the country of export would need to be involved in such a case.

    The authorities would be well advised to revisit the case of Co-60 leakage from a junked radiotherapy machine, which occurred in 1983 in Mexico, resulting in spread of this material into 600 tonnes of steel products which ended up in 23 US states, Mexico, and Canada. In one of the worst radiological disasters in US history, contaminated steel products and reinforcing bars had to be tracked down. Some 100 homes in Mexico had to be destroyed as they used contaminated steel bars. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported that it is notified of about 200 lost or stolen radioactive sources each year and that since 1983, 20 sources had been accidentally melted at steel works and other foundries. According to other sources, 65 meltings have occurred worldwide. IAEA says it is aware of 49 meltings worldwide in 1998. Also worth studying are the European Commission's technical guidelines on the future management of scrap metals arising from the decommissioning of nuclear sites.

    Despite availability of instrumentation, it is quite possible for radioactive material to pass through undetected if it in thin wires or powder form and is encased in lead containers — this is a technical problem container security experts have been trying to deal with. The scenario of terrorists shipping in radioactive materials for subsequent dispersal in populated areas is one we have to deal with.

    For example, Co-60 could be easily converted into soluble chemicals, diluted and introduced into drinking water supplies.

    The case is complicated and needs a combination of determined police work and technical expertise to resolve the host of issues involved. The AERB must be strengthened to handle this task.

    No equipment should be disposed of as scrap without approval of the AERB or its delegated authority. Scrap dealers should be sensitised to be cautious and report any suspicious containers, especially of lead, that might contain radioactive material.
    (The author, a Ph.D in partcle physics, is a former Ambassador to Cuba and Greece.
    Nuclear waste- Wake-up call from Mayapuri

    Poor governance and Corrupt bureaucrats gives birth to Naxals, Maoists, and Insurgency

    The following report released by the United News of India news agency on August 16, 2010 is for your kind perusal and the first in a series.
    With regards
    Naxalism: Maj-Gen highlights MNC factor By Abhijit C Chandra
    Bhopal, Aug 16 (UNI) Highlighting economic and social discrimination as a cause of naxalism, an Indian Army veteran who combated insurgencies for more than half of his 40 years’ service points out that while a multinational corporation (MNC) earns an average Rs 24,000 per tonne of ore, the local receives only a measly Rs 14 per tonne.
    "Now memoranda of understanding are inked with MNCs for minerals found. A nexus exists between politicians, police, bureaucrats, MNCs, local goons and businessmen," Major-General (Retd) Aditya J B Jaini, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), told UNI.
    The Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, granting rights to tribal folk over their forests/land, has not witnessed proper enforcement even 14 years after its passage and similar is the fate of the Land Ceiling Act, alleged the veteran who is a member of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, United Service Institution of India, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and Centre for Land Warfare Studies.
    "Naxalism bears a strong resemblance to the Hukbalahap guerilla insurgency in The Philippines where the issue was land. Political scientist Theda Skocpol’s Model of Revolution, described in her 1994 work ‘Social Revolutions in the Modern World, very much applies to this situation," felt the Maj-General who was Senior Directing Staff (Army) at the National Defence College, New Delhi, before he hung up his boots in 2003.
    The dimensions of the Skocpol Model are bureaucratisation (corruption, caste, red-tape, fragmented social control), penetration (lack of penetration by the state) and inclusion (large numbers feel left out of the state’s largesse, education, health and socio-economic development).
    "My study of insurgency movements in India reveals that whenever there is deprivation, discrimination, oppression, injustice, inadequacy or inequality of any kind be they political, economic or social, they lead to disappointment, disillusionment, discontent and frustration of all kinds. When such a situation is applied the religious, communal, ideological or even the proverbial foreign hand card, the whole thing becomes highly explosive from the national security point of view," the veteran explained.
    Maj-Gen Jaini fought rebels in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir. His ''crowning glory'' was being decorated with the AVSM by the President for his distinguished services in anti-militancy operations in Punjab (1992-93).

    Open letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister

    Brig K.G.Behl (Retd)
    President Dehradun Ex- Services League.
    8A, Nemi Road, Dalanwala,
    Dehradun- 248001.
    No.KGB/DESL/A/9 dated 05 August 2010

    Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir,
    As India grows in the comity of Nations, there is a pride in every Indian in the achievements that our countrymen have attained in various fields. However, despite the fact that we are amongst the fastest growing economies in the World, we continue to have the highest incidence of poverty and corruption. Corruption is not only a reflection of misuse of funds but it is a misuse of power, position and arrogant personal self aggrandizement. These people in positions of power are not only eroding the institutions that make a nation but are creating Marxists/ Maoists/ terrorists etc who are getting themselves organized into big disintegrating forces who are not even scared of Defence Forces due to lot of discontentment generated there also, by these power hungry Politicians/ Bureaucrats.

    Govt. Orders are not being faithfully implemented by MOD and anomalies pointed out by competent people are either being ignored or swept under the carpet. MOD needs to be reoriented and told to act as per rules and not as per their whims and fancies. Surprisingly, no one is hauled up by Ministers for not taking actions or distorting orders, though the cases are self explanatory and need no other assistance, legal or otherwise.

    I am taking liberty to write this open letter to you so that you may wake up and open the eyes of those, who after committing mistakes sit down and close their eyes like pigeons and refuse to open those thinking that the impending dangers will automatically ward of, without realizing that there is no escape. Secondly, they will not allow this letter to reach you, unless it is made open, through Media and Press.

    It is surprising that they have been allowed to mishandle even the Institution of Defence Forces Personnel, who today comprise the largest body of Nationalists. The MOD is consistently maltreating the Armed Forces personnel and their genuine issues relating to Pay, Pension and welfare matters have either been swept under the carpet or called sub-judice, when actually they are not so, creating a large discontentment. The issues of the status and anomalies of the various Pay Commissions, especially since the 4th Pay Commission(1986) have been dealt with in such a cavalier fashion that today there is utter despair and discontentment amongst the Armed Forces personnel. These are the guys who are prompting Defence Forces to become corrupt by adopting ways and means shown by them, to amass money in making purchases and delaying matters – as are being used by them in Defence purchases. Innocent Defence Personnel fall prey in their laid down traps and suffer. It needs to be stopped forthwith by transferring coterie of staff positioned there for years together. Surprisingly, such controversial letters they do not sign such letters themselves but fire from others shoulders.

    It is happening because of absence of Armed Forces personnel at the decision making level, be it at the Pay Commissions, Govt. Defence committees or within the MOD, to pursue agenda and represent correct facts. This needs to be implemented forthwith like USA and other countries where Defence Officers are inducted in MOD and other committees/ commissions, so that their problems could be projected correctly and justice could be done to them.

    As a disciplined body, Defence Personnel have represented their just grievances through petitions, Parliamentary questions, letters to the Hon’ble President of India, your esteemed office and other dignified avenues but each one of those have been snowballed by the MOD bureaucracy. There is a perception that the MOD is unwilling to accept mistakes or errors of judgment and continue to ride on the premise that an acceptance of their mistake would be a sacrilegious act of succumbing to the Armed Forces. As a result they have come up with half baked solutions that have only aggravated the trust deficit amongst the MOD and the Armed Forces personnel. It is humane to make mistakes or err but Divine to accept and remove those errors. But it appears that the MOD does not believe in this dictum and never amend their orders, even when found wrong even by the Supreme Court of India. They are prepared to spend money in forming committees, fighting cases in Courts or giving more costly half baked solutions, rather than accepting their mistake gracefully and setting the matters right.

    Sir, they do not know the importance of Rank in Defence Forces, and are treating it like any other commodity which can be compensated by money. Sitting in offices and scaling everything in terms of money alone, is spoiling the whole structure of Defence Forces where the tradition is to obey orders of seniors in rank and go out and fight the enemy at the cost of their lives. This aspect they can never realize unless there is ‘conscription’ i.e. compulsorily spending some time serving in Defence Forces. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, you can seriously think of introducing it in view of growing indiscipline, lawlessness, regionalism and Naxalite/ Maoist/ terrorist activities in some parts of the country. For youth NCC be made compulsory in all schools and colleges.

    The issue of the Rank Pay granted by the 4th Pay Commission in 1986, that has been upheld by the Supreme Court on 8 March 2010, a clear case of injustice, is back in the wilderness with the MOD appeal against it, just to waste time, needs to be withdrawn from court and immediately implemented. The anomalies raised in 5th and 6th CPC which are very practical, be immediately implemented. There are a number of cases where they have allowed payments to some individuals who raised those but though as per rules they are denying others the same benefits. Once a mistake has been detected it should automatically be rectified in all similar cases without asking by other affected persons. It is pity that no such action is being taken to benefit other affected persons.

    The issue of a separate Pay Commission approved by your office has yet to see the light of the day. It is need of the hour today and not when the damage is done after a decade, when new Pay is set up as per routine.

    Hon’ble PM Sir, the list can go on but some of the glaring omissions have been explained in the enclosed Annexure Click me. I would like to beseech you to please consider the following suggestions to set our house in order as the first small step:
  • Set up a Commission comprising of 30% serving defence personnel, 30% retired defence personnel and 30% MOD bureaucracy and the remaining 10% from other experts on Pay/ pension matters, all under the Chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge to examine and resolve all matters relating to defence personnel in a time bound manner, including One Rank One Pension issue which is not as big a financial or administrative issue as projected by the MOD. This is a classic case of bureaucratic myopia which the MOD suffers from. The details of a simple attainment and implementation of the One Rank One Pension issue is explained in the enclosed Annexure.
  • Well established rulings, viz. the 4th Pay Commission order by the Supreme Court to be implemented immediately and MOD personnel attempting delaying tactics to be either disciplined or transferred.
  • Order conscription as a compulsory need for all bureaucracy as well as personnel aspiring for political offices to bring about a semblance of nation building and pride in the nation. NCC be made compulsory for all youths.

    May I request you, the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, to take immediate remedial steps to address the above for the good of the Nation.
    With best wishes and highest regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    (K.G.Behl ) Bsc. Engr(Svy),AMIS,FRGS,MCA,MCSI
    Brig (Retd)
    President Dehradun Ex –Services League

    Dr Manmohan Singh
    Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
    7 Race Course Road
    New Delhi 110 011

    Copy to:
    Smt. Sonia Gandhi
    President, All Indian National Congress
    and Chairperson UPA
    No.1, Safdarjung Road,
    New Delhi 110001

    Shri AK Antony
    Hon’ble Minister of Defence
    Ministry of Defence
    Room No 104, South Block
    New Delhi 110 011

    Shri Pranab Mukherji
    Hon’ble Minister of Finance
    Room No 134, North Block
    New Delhi 110 011

    Shri P.Chidambaram
    Hon’ble Minister of Home
    19, Safdarjung Road.
    New Delhi 110026

    Smt. Sushma Swaraj
    Hon’ble Leader of the Opposition
    Lok Sabha Chamber
    New Delhi 110001
  • IESM: Defence Watch episode aired on the DD News

    Dear and Respected Sirs and Colleagues,
    A very happy Independence Day to all of you. And I think today is an appropriate day for this email.

    I write to you in connection with the recent outstanding Defence Watch episode that was aired on DD News, the issues that it raised and some emails from respected members questioning any or all of achievements of IESM in the last 18 months or so. Also, the email also intends to answer the unwelcome allegations made on one of the most dedicated Fighters in this struggle for justice for defence forces -- Maj Gen Satbir Singh.

    A lot has already been said about the Defence Watch program on DD News. How effective it was. How IESM and IESL were speaking on the same platform and were non-conflicting for the most part. How awesome the host was and how awesome everything went.

    Hold on just a bit. Back up. Stop.

    I want all of us to take a step back and analyze something very important and something that can so easily be overlooked. And the question is this:


    Why, I ask!

    And you do not have to answer me. Or anyone else. Be honest and answer this question in your own heart and the answer is fairly simple and obvious.

    If IESM, under the able leadership of Vice Chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh and Chairman Lt Gen Raj Kadyan and other IESM founders, had not started this Mission Justice for Defence Forces, no one and make no mistake, no one would have been talking about OROP or military veterans or their challenges. Frankly once a service personnel puts down his cap and belt, the ordinary civilian (which includes the government and the bureaucracy) does not give a rat's a$$ (excuse my French, please) to what happens to that retired soldier. The ordinary civilian does not care if we live or die or simply rot away. They got what they wanted from us and we are useless for them now.

    And this is what has changed. IESM has changed things. It has brought to surface and very effectively, the issues a military veteran faces after retirement. It has achieved what no other organization never achieved or even probably aimed to achieve -- putting military veterans back on the radar, in the limelight, right in the ordinary civilian's face.

    Now OROP is a term most people have an idea about. It is discussed in the parliament by the president and the prime minister and others. It is discussed by politicians in their party meetings. It is discussed by the Toms and Janes and Rahuls and Sohans on their breakfast table. Some civilians say yes to it. some say no to it. But nearly all of them know about it. That, my friends, is the first step to our victory. IESM has made sure that we will not take invisibility for an answer. That we wont be left at the mercy of the nation we served and protected with everything we had. We will stand up and be counted. And we will get what is fair and what is right.

    And how did all this occur? How did we accomplish this? We accomplished this because IESM happened. And IESM happened because some visionary people could identify this problem. That the military veterans deserve more. That change is needed.

    So that's why the program happened. That's why newspapers carry these news items. That's why these rallies all across the country are thumping successes and that's why IESM will win this war for all military veterans all across the country. That's why the high offices and civilians with 'lal batti' on their cars look so shaken. That's why they want us divided. That's why they want us to fight. But that is ALSO why we must stick together. That is also why we need to be stronger than ever. That is why we can safely say that we are closer to winning this war than we ever were.

    Now some people have a problem with this movement. Oh no I'm not talking about the civilians. I am talking about people from the military veteran community. They want us to stop. They want to protect the status quo. I thought of this as ridiculous and funny in the beginning and thought that these respected veterans would stop. But they are not. And its not funny anymore. Although all throughout this time I have been analyzing these certain 'elements'. And it is not difficult to crack their 'code'. There are two types of people who criticize IESM, its leadership, its operations and its mission.

    1. Those who have vested interest in the status quo. Who are benefiting from the grief of millions of ESM. Those who have sold their souls for little pieces of gold, so to speak.

    2. The second category are those addicted with inaction. They want to do nothing and that is reason enough for them to want no one to do anything. And in the words of a wise 'other's aliveness makes their deadness seem more real to them'. That's why they want everyone dead. They want no one to do anything so that they can lie to themselves and say 'oh hell, nothing can be done anyway so its not my fault you know!".

    But both of these type of people cannot do it directly. Because anyone with brain even the size of a peanut will understand the logic in what IESM does and what its mandate is. So they do it by means of taking personal jibes at those who are working tirelessly for the cause of ESM under the IESM umbrella. They say we are cheating people. That we are schemers eating people's money away. And other things to the same effect.

    To think that people can say such things about Gen Satbir and Brig Kamboj. Such humble, honest people who practically have no personal life because they have dedicated themselves to the ESM community and to IESM. Its just unacceptable.

    Those who know Gen Kadyan, Gen Satbir, Brig Kamboj and the rest of the leadership of IESM as also dedicated senior veterans like Gen Jaini, Col Rajan, those who have spent time with them, those who have attended rallies with them, have worked with them closely, have been a part of the brainstorming sessions (and proudly I am one such person) who be able to understand, appreciate and thus respect the dedication, the passion that they have for this mission. They will understand how humble they are and how welcoming they are to constructive positive suggestions.

    The recent email against Gen Satbir and his intentions for Leh relief was disappointing.

    I understand that nothing I write today can be more vocal than the actions of Gen Satbir. But my fellow veterans and respected seniors, it is my duty to say it one more time that Gen Satbir is one of the strongest pillars of this movement.

    In an organization there will always be certain differences of opinion pertaining to policies, functions, decisions and vision. But as leaders and as comrades in a mission the onus is on us to iron these out and to amicably work together and towards the mission. I firmly believe that there is a right way to put your point and there are other ways. I urge us to choose the right way. It is no secret that fragmentation will weaken us and unification will strengthen us. The choice is with us. Its that one last mile that remains gentlemen and we need to walk this mile together. As one.

    On this Independence Day, let us all once again resolve to not stop, not quit and not give up until we win this war. And win we will.

    I thank you all for taking the time to go through this rather lengthy email. I must apologize. But this was a subject very close to my heart. because it was about the organization that I am fully devoted to. It was about the people I have accepted as leaders and have come to respect them for their dedication and passion. It was about people whose humility and kindness is exemplary. And thus curbing the flow of emotions was rather difficult.
    Thank you and Jai Hind.
    Kameshwar Pandey
    Sub/Maj Hony Lt (Veteran)

    Dear Satbir & Gulia,
    I saw the the Programme on DD News on Wednesday AN and was a very happy man. The questions posed by Ashok Mehta were dealt with in a comprehensive manner and without any false rhetoric. Both of you speaking in the same voice was fantastic.Kudos to you both.

    I was very pleased indeed Gulia, that you were backing the just demands of ESM strongly and not mincing any words.Your wanting the ESM dept in the MOD to be manned by ESM pers only, was a welcome change from your earlier stance of treating netas & babus with kid gloves. Bravo! Keep it up!

    Satbir was once again precise and lucid in his poins and tried to cover all the issues in the limited time. Ashok was trying to keep his job by saying every now and then, that the ESM should be happy that the Govt has given the ESM a very good deal. I guess he had to play his cards right.
    Bahri (Lt Gen SK Bahri, Former MGO, 1st JSW Course)


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