Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rally at Jantar Mantar on November 28, 2010 New Delhi

Dated : 20 Nov 2010
Dear Veterans
1. The Govt continues to deny us our legitimate demands. The manner in which the Govt is contesting the Judgements given by Supreme Court and other courts in the country in favour of Defence Personnel, defies all logic. Even, in the last hearing in the Supreme Court on 14 Nov 2010, the Govt Attorney suggested to the court that the Govt would refer the case of recall of earlier order of the court about the rank pay to the proposed commission. The Hon’ble Judge Sh.Markandey Katju had to strongly tell the Govt Attorney that the final judgement on the rank pay case has already been given. The petition of the Govt to recall the decision of the court would be referred to the Chief Justice to be referred to another bench.
2. The Supreme Court has taken a positive step to constitute Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission; where, besides two retired judges of the Supreme Court, two senior retired Defence Officers (Gen Ved Malik, Former COAS and Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Former VCOAS) have been included. As you are aware that the commission is only recommendatory body and not Adjucatory body. Hence, it is open to the Govt to accept or not to accept its recommendations. However the Court has directed that since such recommendations will be coming from a high powered body, the Govt must give due weightage to the same. It is here the doubts arise in our minds that since the recommendations of the commission will be reviewed by the bureaucrats in the Govt whose track record for the post six decades has been negative towards the Defence Forces, it is yet to be seen if any positive outcome will be achieved.
3. The recommendations of very high powered committees ie All Party Parliamentary Standing Committees on Defence which had strongly recommended the grant of OROP have not been accepted. Even the Defence Minister recently ,in the Parliament quoted committee of secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary to reject the demand of OROP and paid no heed to the higher Committee of Parliament. If this is the attitude of the Govt towards the Defence Force, the recommendations of the commission may also be treated in the same manner as the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence. In real sense, it is not the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission but only a Recommendatory Commission for Redressal of Armed Forces Grievances.
4. So, friends where do we go from here? Under the circumstances while we will prepare and project our cases to the commission strongly, we need to continue our struggle to get all our demand accepted by the Govt. The need of the hour is to further step up our events and activities across the country to get our due Justice.
5. Our next event a Big Rally is being held at Jantar Mantar New Delhi on 28 Nov 2010 from 10 AM to 3 PM. During the Rally, the ESM from across the country would voluntarily deposit their medals and sign memorandum in Blood which will be submitted to the Supreme Commander, the President at 3 PM the same day by a delegation of ESM. The President has been requested by Gen Raj Kadyan Chairman IESM to accept the medals and the Memorandum herself in person otherwise as per the decisions of ESM, we will bring back the medals. The IESM already has in its possession 6000 medals voluntarily deposited by the ESM which were brought back on 22 Aug 2010 since the President did not herself receive these medals.
6. Maximum attendance is requested please. Representatives from various states are requested to collect maximum medals and signatures in blood on the Memorandum and bring these along on 28 Nov 2010 or send to IESM HQ at 543 Sector 23 Gurgaon (Hr) 122017. Please circulate this mail to the maximum ESM organizations and ESM. Conveners at all levels are requested to translate this mail in local languages and circulate to the maximum ESM. The information may please be given through local news paper, TVs Channels, leaflets Cable TV, by word of mouth etc.
7. Logistic arrangements as hitherto are being made for the event on 28 Nov 2010 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
8. Pass the word to all “DILLI CHALO ON 28 NOV 2010”
9. ESM in and around NCR have onerous Duty to attend the event at Jantar Mantar on 28 Nov 2010. Please keep the day free and take part a large numbers in the combined efforts to get Justice to the Defence Forces. Please give your self no execuse to miss the event. Your presence is a MUST. The Govt will have to pay heed to our genuine demand and grant us the OROP without any further delay.
10. We will continue to execute the Movement with dignity and respect and with in the norms of discipline.
Let us all join to get our due Justice.
With Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

PM echoes Veteran sentiments
PM said it is on the foundation of a better educated, more healthy and more skilled people that India must build its edifice of a more entrepreneurial society and leverage capacity for innovation.
"The greatest battles of our times are not ones in which humans will win over humans, or a nation over a nation. The greatest tests of our times are ones in which humanity as a whole will have to fight and win together -- these will be our collective fight against hunger, poverty, terrorism, disease, tyranny, corruption, bigotry and extremism," he said

Will the ghost of 1962 dragon continue to haunt the South Block?

Ref: The amateurs in charge
In 1962, Intelligence Chief B.N. Mullick ruled the roost. These days it is the mandarins of External Affairs Ministry and Babus in the MOD. There is no single point military advice.
Things are not good at all.
Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

indian express oped
Posted: Sat Nov 20 2010, 03:34 hrs
Blaming Pandit Nehru for everything wrong with India has grown from a fashion to a rage, so the letters he addressed to American President John F. Kennedy on November 19, 1962, will be used as another stick with which to beat him. Destructive denigration serves him as ill as the idolatry in which he could do no wrong. Of course he made mistakes, who doesn’t, and to pretend they really were not mistakes worse, to conceal facts only feeds his detractors. What our country owes him becomes ever more apparent, time and our travails keep confirming its value. Viewing so great a man whole, faults and all, cannot diminish his stature, or our debt. What we need is to learn from the mistakes, his and ours which we stubbornly refuse to do.

November 1962 was a national disaster, all the more painful for being so self-inflicted: blinding ourselves to it is to invite repeats. Panditji must bear his share of responsibility, but the totality of our failure extends far beyond individuals. India failed to function as an organised state, alive to its challenges and opportunities, appropriately prepared to deal with them. Have we used our experience to become such a state now?
People today cannot realise the horrific pressures of those weeks. Despite our foolishness in imagining that suppressing facts can change them, plentiful evidence has been published by important actors of the time, inter alia recording the frightening situation Delhi saw itself facing that November 19 morning. Key positions had been left to the enemy, Sela and Bomdila augured horrendous dangers, civil officers had started being withdrawn and a complete evacuation from Assam was being considered, the DIB even starting to plan a resistance movement. An outstanding soldier, Major-General Monty Palit wrote 20 years ago that he was shown the draft letter seeking 12 fighter and two bomber squadrons; as DMO, at a desperate stage of a war that seemed to be moving along a course of escalating disasters, [he] could only welcome the proposal of obtaining military help, whatever its source, though confessing he had not for a moment imagined that... the architect of India's non-alignment policy, would ask for actual intervention by US forces. (War in the High Himalayas pp 342-343)
Read more click here

Life Certificate

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
It is just to remind you and your ESM friends, that it is time to prove to your pension bank, that you are alive.
You must do so before 25 Nov – or no pension this month.
Do carry a passport size photograph with you. Some of the banks are demanding it this time.
Also note down your bank account number – or else you will be searching for it after reaching the bank.
If you have not made your pension account a joint account with your spouse – you must do so now.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

2G Spectrum Scam: Can we believe the Babus?

Babus deny involvement in 2G spectrum scam
19 Nov, 2010, 0557 hrs IST, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Two of the four retired bureaucrats reportedly being probed by the Cabinet Secretariat for their links with lobbyist Nira Radia have strongly denied having anything to do with the telecom sector and 2G spectrum allocation, while in service and since retirement.

The Times of India on Thursday reported that four ex-bureaucrats—former Trai chairman and disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal; fomer economic affairs secretary CM Vasudev; former industrial policy and promotion secretary Ajay Dua; and former Trai member DPS Seth were being investigated for their connections with Noesis Strategic Consulting Services owned by Nira Radia .

Former secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion Ajay Dua told ET that he was associated with Radia’s Vaishnavi Corporate Communications as a non-executive director for a few months in 2008-09 . But the firm’s board never met during his tenure and Mr Dua said he had resigned suo moto from the directorship in January 2009.

He also clarified that he neither had any background on telecom while in government nor was he involved with the sector at Vaishnavi. “Directly or indirectly , I had nothing to do with telecom, while in government or thereafter and had no knowledge of any telecom deals of Vaishnavi or any of its affiliate firms,” Mr Dua said. “I was told that I will have an advisory role in macro-economic matters at Vaishnavi,” he stressed.

Former economics affairs secretary CM Vasudev was also categorical in asserting that he had neither worked on telecom-related issues nor met any players in the telecom business. Mr Vasudev , who joined Noesis in early 2007, made an exit from the firm about a year and a half ago.

Mr Vasudev, who chairs the HDFC Bank board, expressed surprise at the reported linkages with the 2G spectrum scam. “I had nothing to do with this. Radia’s other firms like Vaishnavi Corporate Communications may have had this mandate but I had no inclination to do such work,” he said.

Mr Baijal and Mr Seth could not be reached by ET for comments. Mr Baijal was quoted on the website of a TV channel as saying that he had nothing to hide in the spectrum scam case
Babus deny involvement in 2G spectrum scam

Friday, November 19, 2010

Media going overboard- Army bashing is unwarranted

The Tribune November 18, 2010 Media going overboard- Army bashing is unwarranted by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

There is a famous saying that “the law is an ass”. There may be some truth in it as technicalities, strict interpretation of the law and the police preparing incomplete cases, intentionally or unintentionally, have resulted in even hardened criminals getting away. So far the media has not earned this dubious distinction of being an ass, but if it continues the way it has been acting, it may still earn it. I am not taking up cudgels on behalf of those in the limelight for allegedly behaving in a non-soldierly manner.

My aim is to bring the much-needed balance in this one-sided army bashing concerning the Adarsh Housing Society scam for this constant diatribe against the army has little meaning and has now become counter-productive, to say the least. Various inquiries have already been instituted and those who have transgressed the law, irrespective of their status, would undoubtedly be brought to book. This has been explicitly stated by many functionaries of the government as well as by the Army Chief himself.

In recent years the media, especially the electronic variety, has been showing the defence forces in poor light, while reporting on the misdemeanours of a selected few. They do so with impunity. The government and the Press Council watch helplessly from the sidelines as young reporters, some still wet behind the ears, as well as a few anchors go hammer and tongs, repeating the same news over and over again, without any new genuine inputs.

It would seem that for our electronic media, the TRP god is “Breaking News”, while the print media at least reports events somewhat calmly without sensationalising or lampooning. Perhaps they do not realise that when a character assassination of the defence leadership takes place in public, it does incalculable harm to the only instrument of the nation that works and works efficiently and with alacrity. Both serving personnel and veterans do want factual news, but are really sickened by sensationalism, innuendos and imaginary news. Unfortunately, all three have been used with impunity and what emerges is a wilful and mischievous maligning of the defence forces. Is the media trying to convey that the entire military of the nation consists of criminals who are scheming to line their pockets? It would seem so, the way a few channels are handling this issue. They seem to forget that, notwithstanding a few black sheep, they are talking about an institution that is known for its honesty, probity and discipline, and which has secured the nation externally and internally and even has been called for tasks which directly fall in the ambit of other instruments of the state.

Let me again state that such sensational reporting does more harm than good to the polity of the nation and people’s confidence in the defence forces as well as to the morale of the forces. The number of defence personnel in this so-called scam is minuscule when we consider the vast number of officers in the defence forces. If they think this is part of that much-abused phrase, “freedom of the press”, than I suggest they go back to school and re-learn about “responsible reporting”. I sometimes wonder whether some in the media work overtime at the behest of a powerful group of individuals who want the defence forces to be wilfully and mischievously maligned for their own agenda like deflecting the heat from bureaucrats of Maharashtra, or others who wish to divert attention from bigger scams like the CWG scam, which seems to have gone off the radar screens of the media.

I have no intention of adding more facts to this sordid affair. However, I must say that the media has “missed the woods for the trees”. This happens when the aim is to sensationalise by picking up bits and pieces and then filling the blanks with half-truths and a fertile imagination. In their zeal in showing the defence forces in bad light by concentrating on selected officers of the army and the navy, they have ignored the kingpin
and the fountainhead of this entire conspiracy, viz the promoter of the society, R C Thakur, an erstwhile official of the Directorate General of Defence Estates, with a history of underhand dealings in defence lands. It is not Thakur alone but the whole organisation that has done much harm to defence lands throughout the country. The Directorate General of Defence Estates, which is the apex body of the Defence Estates Organisation, has its subordinate offices in all parts of the country. As per its website,
“It is entrusted with the task of management of defence lands inside and outside cantonments; and acquisition/ hiring of immovable properties for defence purposes”. What is not well known and something missed out by the media is that defence land is divided in to many types, like A1, A2, B1 and so on. The army is directly responsible only for A1 land.

There has been speculation whether the building under discussion stands on defence land or not. No one has thought it fit to enquire the true status and type of this piece of land. The Maharashtra Government says the land belongs to them. The promoter says the same. In this distressing episode unless one is clear about the ownership and type of land, there is no point in publicly castigating individuals for their acts of omission and commission.

Lastly, I come to the question of propriety, made much of by at least one channel, especially of senior officers and certainly of those who in the past had steered the forces as chiefs of their service. The point made by the media repeatedly is that they should have known whether the Adarsh Housing Society was an approved society (according to all commentators, it was) and whether it was meant for allotment to Kargil heroes (according to the Maharashtra Government as well as the local defence formations, it was
not, except that defence personnel would be eligible to become members). In addition, they should not have used their position to force an allotment for themselves. This of course is treading on thin ice, as the answer could be either way. However, the more important point is that the Maharashtra government officials were the final arbiters of who should be given a flat. It is little wonder that out of the 103 flats in the dubious building the
majority have been allotted to political leaders and civil officials of the Maharashtra government or their kin. A perusal of the list of allottees indicates that 33 allottees are from the defence forces (12 flag level and 21 junior officers) and a whopping 70 from the civil society, all of whom are or have been political leaders and officials of the Maharashtra government!
The writer is a former Vice Chief of the Army
Media going overboard- Army bashing is unwarranted

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DACP: The final frontier

Dear Chander,
Ref: PPOC: click here
I am not one bit surprised by the attitude of the PPOC. It needs to be recalled that when the Flying Allowance was increased for the IAF pilots, no worth while corresponding increase in technical pay for the technical staff was carried out. That had led to much trouble in the IAF: at some of the stations.
At that time I wrote an article giving details of periodic increase in flying allowance (wrongly called bounty) with no corresponding increase in technical pay of technical officers/ staff. Later I had an informal discussion with the concerned former Air Chief on this issue.
I was horrified to learn that it was the army chief who had opposed higher technical pay, as the same would take the pay of these technical officers in the army more than those in the general cadre!
How one can rise to the highest rank and still remain petty minded and retain limited vision!
(Lt Gen Harwant Singh, Former DCOAS)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Veterans need to be pragmatic

Dear Colleagues,
No doubt everyone by now is aware of the landmark SC judgment of 15 Nov 2010 ordering the setting up of an Armed Forces Grievances Rdressal Commission. Our deep gratitude to Col BK Sharma and the RDOA for fighting the legal battle to get this done. Our ‘well done’ also to the thousands of Ex Servicemen who joined or supported the struggle and succeeded in sensitizing the society and bringing the OROP issue centre-screen, that forced even the apex court to sympathetically remark, “…They are compelled to resort to public protests and even return their war medals …”
Euphoria aside, one needs to look at the development analytically. Inevitably, there are pros and cons. On the plus side, this amounts to acceptance of the long overlooked reality that the defence forces have a problem that needs resolution. Secondly, inclusion of two of our most renowned veterans in the panel is a great positive. Having been through the grill and grind of soldiering they not only fully understand the life of a soldier and the plight of an ESM, their empathy should almost be a given.
But there is also a downside. In the early days of our struggle in 2008, the govt had conceded our demand of instituting an ESM Commission. Our visualization was of a commission with statutory powers, akin to the Women’s or the Minorities’ Commission. What has come about is only a “recommendatory body not a adjudicatory entity.” It will be “…open to the Central Government to accept or not to accept its recommendations…” This puts our fate back into the hands of the bureaucracy. The SC does add a palliative, “…though of course since such recommendations will be coming from a high-powered body the central Government must give due weightage to the same.” Experience shows otherwise. There have been other high-powered entities like the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Defence, which could be considered even weightier, that have had their recommendations summarily rejected by the government. They stood reduced to a mere sheep in wolf’s clothing.
Without being overly sceptic, one has to be pragmatic. Prima facie, it seems logical not to relax our guard and continue with the struggle. Concurrently, we will be preparing a comprehensive case for submission to the commission.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Commission for the Armed Forces: Readers Responses

Ref: SC wants commission for armed forces personnel
16 Nov 2010,
Dear Col Sharma ,
I am thrilled at the success that your efforts have resulted in , in bringing into being the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission with even the first members having been nominated .
As a very senior veteran , Born 18 Sep 1919 ,commissioned on 5 Oct 1942 , retired on 17 oct 1968, I take the liberty of sending you and the members of your team , my blessings for continued success in all your laudable endeavours . I congratulate you and the members of your team as well my friend Brig Kamboj , for having given your success story the publicity it deserves
Yours sincerely ,
Col M S Krishnamoorthy (Retd) (Member IESM, One of the Founder Members of IESL)
Dear Chander,
Constitution of a commission is a good development, but it is just the first step.
The more important is the projection of services case before the Commission. A lot of facts and figures will have to be worked out, considering issues of early retirement, extremely limited promotions ( as a service imperative ) and the X factor.
All these will have to be translated into monetary terms and compensated. I presume a committee will be formed by the IESM, which must take help from all those who have been dealing with this issue.
I am presently in the U.S. and will return only in Feb, 2011 and as such can be of little assistance.
Anyway there is enough talent and skill available for the task.
With regards and best wishes.
Harwant. (Lt Gen Harwant Singh, Former DCOAS)

Dear Colonel Sharma,
As I see it, what you, RDOA and the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India have achieved by legal means is something revolutionary. By ordering a Commission to be formed (with threat of 'suo moto' formation, if the Executive remains unheeding), the Supreme Court has not only indicted the present Government for mis-governance and incompetence in Veteran affairs, but in a way, taken over governance .
Heartiest congratulations and our admiration for your achievement. This is what our various ESM organizations have long been trying so hard for. It should be interesting as a citizen, to see how "The Empire Strikes Back", as try they will ! Regrettably, our polity has a surplus of expediency, but a deficit of a sense of justice and a complete lack of grace.
With best wishes and regards to you and RDOA and good luck in your further endeavours.
Rajendra Prakash,
Maj Gen (Retd).

Dear General Kadyan,
I think that ordering the formation of the Armed Forces Grievance Commission almost 'suo moto', could not have occurred, if particular segments of our polity had not been sensitised to OROP and other Veterans' issues. Mr Justice Katju even quotes Chanakya (favourite of General Satbir Singh) and the NDTV show, apart from medals-return and burning artificial limbs. This should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that it is the 'doings' of IESM alone, which have brought about this landmark (almost revolutionary) occurrence, with the judiciary virtually divesting (albeit for a good cause) the executive of its basic function of governance - all these years past, no one else has been able to move the Establishment one wee bit !
The credit for this must go to you and the IESM team - formulation of a practical strategy, its dogged implementation and the results achieved speak for themselves. (Some of us ' fossils' have not favoured your pro-active measures, but then times change and proof of the pudding is in eating !). Congratulations on what has been achieved in a short time of two years by IESM - everyone who should, now knows of OROP, of course with the invaluable and devoted contributions of Brigadier Kamboj and his "Report my Signal".
We have to see how "The Empire Strikes Back", which they surely will try to do. So does IESM continue the present form of OROP struggle, or divert all effort to achieve this through the Supreme Court mandated Commission ? The Commission, at least initially, should be effective, with Generals Malik and Oberoi there for first two years. By itself, the Establishment would never concede OROP; with their well-honed 'evasion & escape' tactics, they will still have a try-on. So some weighty considerations for IESM to ponder over soon!
With good wishes and best of luck,
Rajendra Prakash,

This is a land mark judgement in favour of ESM. My congratulations to
Col Sharma and other ESM of RDOA who spared no efforts in successfully marshaling this case in Supreme Court.

Services Commission Setup By The SC
A great achievement by you all. You have done wonders by putting across your case so convincingly that the SC had no option but to order the setting up of this Commission to look into the long outstanding problems faced by ESM. It is more like a Blue Ribbon Commission usually setup in the US I feel that we should not squander this opportunity by overloading the Commission with divergent view points.
Now is the time for all ESM orgs to close ranks and put up a paper to it. Views which are peculiar to a service may be put up separately. Lets forge a common sword to cut thru decades of neglect of our problems by the Govt .
Congratulations once again.
Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd) (1st JSW Course)

Dear Brig Kamboj,
Please refer to the mail below regarding the Honourable Supreme Court Directions for forming Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission.
The mere fact that Commission can only make recommendations, I am sceptical. Even in drafting this order a whole lot of inspiring sentences have been framed, giving a feeling to the reader that some thing good will finally happen, but when one reaches the stage of Charter, scepticism is bound to creep in the way the Government of India has treated the Defence Forces till now.
My apologies for blunt comments. It is called Grievances Redressal Commission but its mandate is only to make recommendations!!!!!!. What authority do they have to redress the grievances? How will the redressal be actually given fast and in good time?
With warmest regards,
Major General Balbir K Kataria (Veteran), VSM

Supreme Court Directive
Dear Colonel Sharma,
I wish to express my profound gratitude to you and your colleagues for having fought the issue for redressing of the grievances of serving and retired community of Armed Forces Officers before to highest judicial forum and for having precipitated a landmark judgement.
Really there are no words to thank you and your colleagues. you really have done a great service to our Services community.
Very warm regards,
Brig J L Kaul ( Veteran

Dear Colonel sahib,
Congratulations on your success in forcing the govt. to form a separate commission to look into the grievances of veterans, in a matter where the Babus have been shown their place by not making the body predominantly Babucentric, for the first time. By this you have made history and shown that Babus can be fought and floored too. We all appreciate your selfless efforts on behalf of the entire veteran community.
It is good to know that the SC refused to reconsider the Rank Pay case, yet the Babus have succeeded in playing dirty again by making the SC refer the Rank Pay case to another bench, which will delay the decision further and make your task more difficult.
May God give you and your organisation more and more strength for performing such selfless work.
Shashank Bendre
Wg.Cdr. (Retd)

Dear Sirs:
This is one of the best news pertaining to the Defence fraternity heard in years. Our profound thanks and gratitude to Lt Col BK Sharma, President Retired Defence Officers Association and his team of dedicated colleagues for this crowning victory worthy of soldiers. They all deserve a standing ovation. A wonderful performance, Lt Col Sharma--you have done more than your bit!
There is a lesson here... let's remain united and focused. Also that no one is too small--or too big--for undertaking a noble cause in the service of the nation. What indeed is needed is the spirit/craze/obsession/even mania, call it what you will---" ... that man is freed from servile bands/Of hope to rise or fear to fall ... "
Warm regards--and thank you all.
Wg Cdr SC Kapoor, Veteran

Spate of Readers Responses: Will the Babus Scuttle the Judicial Orders?

Reference Set up Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission: Court
Dear Chander,
My heartiest congratulations to you, IESM and to all who put their shoulder to achieve this.
I have been through all the mails, some laudatory and some skeptical. All that I want to bring out that though the Babus would try to stall the recommendations; they will be more careful now after what has come out in the Telecom & Adarsh scandals.
I feel the recommendations of this commission should stipulate a time limit for the Govt to act; failing which the petitioner should be able to come back to the commission. The Commission should then have the Powers of Direction much like the Supreme Court. After all this commission has been set up to take load off the Supreme Court.
If the above not be so, the petitioner will have to approach the Supreme Court, thus making this Commission a farce.
Maj Gen Tahiliani, Veteran

Dear General VP Malik,
It is indeed quite redeeming that Hon'ble Supreme Court has constituted Commission for the defenceless ESM's who have been at the receiving end of injustice so far. Inclusion of general of your pre-eminence along with Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi will be much reassuring for the entire defence community.

This is the time even Ex Service -Welfare Deptt should have Retd defence people at decision making level to ensure that in future Capt CS Sidhu do not have wage one arm battle for so long & widows Majors who fought so many wars would not have to subsit on Rs 80/- per month pension. Hopefully the Commission would be able to bring back the glory to the services -of which I only saw fading shades when I joined in 1964. Your task is onerous with obstacles at each stage which like mine clearing has to be done carefully.
Wishing you all the best
Air Cmde Raghubir Singh(Retd)

Setting up of commission
Dear Sirs,
My heartiest congratulations to Lt Col B K Sharma for the splendid job.
Without waiting for the commission to be set up we must form a committee to consolidate grievances of all ranks.
The committee should include rep from all ranks or take into account the written views of all ranks. It is only the strong and filtered points that should be put forth to the commission. Any individual wishing to go beyond committee view should be free to do so.
Finally the commission is an excellent platform for airing our grievances and we must make optimum use of it
Avtar Singh
Lt Cdr

Dear Col Sharma
While thanking Brig Kamboj and Col Rao, I take this opportunity to greet and congratulate you and your team for successfully winning the case of Rank Pay in the Supreme Court. This might have put the Babus of Ministry of Defence and the political bosses running the Government to big shame for deliberate injustice to Defence Services.but the chances are less as they have become hard nuts to crack with blind support from the political system.
Brig J S Ahuja

Dear Veterans
The efforts of IESM are now beginning to tell upon the bureaucracy and the judiciary. Thanks to the untiring efforts of Col BK Sharma and his team, the apex court has ordered formation of the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission.
Without sounding pessimist, I wish to caution that since the orders of this commission are only recommendary in nature, there is still leeway with babus to shred commission orders and find lacuna through interpretations. Babus will continue to do what they are good at: delay, defer, postpone, appoint more committees to examine details, paint illusory pictures of repercussions and so on. If babus can defy recommendations of parliamentary committees and Apex Court orders, the orders of this commission are not going to be any different.
However, the difference will be that orders of Apex Court appointed Commission will carry more weight than piecemeal petitions sent to Government earlier. It is also hoped that since the grievances of serving soldiers too are channelled through this forum, the serving Chiefs will be able to muster courage to exercise more pressure on the authorities for quick redressal.
At the same time, we the Veterans, should not slacken our efforts in continuing to build pressure on powers that have betrayed us so long. We should also be prepared to hear new explanation from politicians and babus: that the matter is under consideration of Grievances Commission. Babus will also use this forum to duck-back any pressure building on them. We have to keep all options tuned up to achieve our aim: OROP.
Veteran Ram Gulrajani Chennai
Since the term 'Armed Forces' include all uniformed personnel trained and authorised to carry and operate arms, it therefore includes all para military forces including police. It is hoped this Commission is exclusively for 'Defence Forces' which comprise Army, Navy and Air Force.

Dear Brig Kamboj Sir,
I felt elated to learn the news on 15 Nov when I recd. a mail from RDOA's courtesy.
Many veterans have expressed deep pessimism. To them, let us convey that inspite all adversities and tangential difference in opinions, our dedicated teams have succeeded in obtaining this long impacting SC order.
One feeling that comes to my mind, is - Hon. Raksha Mantri should retrospect and identify the elements which has been dilly dallying with all the issues now slated by SC order for being dealt by the Commission. These elements should be immediately shunted out of MoD and new hands inducted..
Also point to note, although the Commission's charter is recommendary in nature, the SC will continue to monitor impletntation of its recommendations. So we are not to fear.
My heartiest congratulations to IESM Core Gp, RDOA , RMS thru your magnanimity and other ESM orgs for achieving this marvellous fete.
I tend to agree with suggestions of Capt D ' Silva Christopher IN from USA that we may approach SC for induction of one member each from Navy and Airforce in the Commission.
Best Regards.
Col JL Chatterji

My Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
Formation of Armed Forces Grievance Commission is a memorable achievement.
But, journey hereafter should be well planned.
All of us have ideas, some workable, some not.
There are overlaps and contradictions too.
I order to get the maximum benefit, there should be intense debate and analysis of various ideas and alternatives.
I suggest that a core panel be formed to shoulder this responsibility.
Also, one person be nominated to receive inputs from all those who wish to put forward ideas and suggestions.
He may be designated as co-coordinator or any other appropriate title.
This person may collate and group the inputs, and these may then be debated by the core panel.
IESM must have done considerable work in this direction.
But, since the Armed Forces Grievance Commission has been formed, there should be virtually no topic that cannot be placed before them - be it JCOS & OR's pension entitlement having been reduced from 75% to 50%, functioning of Sainik Boards & response of civil administration, reduction of facilities of veterans in a cascading manner, and so on.
This co-ordinator can receive ideas, group them, and feed them to the core group, which may generate debate and input of ideas, and make out self-contained separate cases for taking up.
General Satish Bahri and General Yogi Sharma can be valuable advisers and soothers of ego clashes.
You may consider my suggestion, and place it before the appropriate persons for consideration.
Major General A. K. Gupta

Services Commission Setup By The SC
Thoughts of an average ESM
It does make one feel vindicated but certain doubts remain...And they are basically the time frame and implementation obligation of the G O I Since the decisions by the commission are going to be Recommendations only..and they will land up in the lap of babus (the advisers to the politicians) again ..there must be included some safe guards so that recommendations by such a high powered commission are implemented without undue delay and not kept waiting in files with some observations or the other.
There can be a penalty clause for unwanted red-herrings and awards made applicable from retrospective effect.
This will be best commission so far to locate,analyse and solve the genuine and long pending grievances of the services and should be empowered to ensure its decisions are implemented expeditiously.Ideal would have been to locate analyse and shoot the problem
The setting up and functioning of the commission will certainly help improve the image of the services as a wanted and respected segment of society and should help attract aspirants. Amen
Major Mehandru

16th Asian Games 2010 Medal Tally: India on eighth spot

November 16, 2010
In Asian Games 2010 Medal Tally, India is on eighth spot, with one gold medal, 4 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. China is still on top with 58 gold medals, 22 silver medals and 21 bronze medals. India's Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta enters in the pre- quarter finals of the women's double badminton event in the Asian Games 2010. Ashwini and Gutta defeated China's Tian Qin and Zhao Yunlei. Ashwini and Jwala won the first game by 21-13.

Asian Games 2010 Medal Tally
  • China: Gold 58, Silver 22, Bronze 21
  • S Korea: Gold 19, Silver 14, Bronze 19
  • Japan: Gold 13, Silver 25, Bronze 25
  • Hong Kong: Gold 3, Silver 5, Bronze 3
  • C Taipei: Gold 2, Silver 4, Bronze 9
  • North Korea: Gold 1, Silver 4, Bronze 9
  • Kazakhistan: Gold 1, Silver 4, Bronze 7
  • India: Gold 1, Silver 4, Bronze 3
  • Malaysia: Gold 1, Silver 1, Bronze 3
  • Phillipines: Gold 1, Silver 0, Bronze 3

    Are our Sports Federations functional? The above results speaks for itself!
    November 16, 2010
    The Government has been insisting on adoption of good governance practices by all National Sports Federations (NSFs) including Indian Olympic Association (IOA). These include fair, transparent and democratic elections of office bearers, representation of sportspersons on the elected body, financial accountability, etc. This matter was also discussed at a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials in June, 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland, in which IOA had committed to revise its own Constitution, in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the basic principle of good governance, for the organization of Olympic movement. IOC has informed that this process is being done in close coordination with them. The final draft of new constitution of IOA, is in its final stages of adoption. This was stated by Dr. M.S. Gill, Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, in the Lok Sabha today, in a written reply to a question by Shri Nishikant Dubey.

    The Minister further stated that the Government has re-iterated the guidelines on tenure limits, with a slight modification to align them with the norms followed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Some National Sports Federations contested the guidelines, but the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has refused to stay the government guidelines.

    With regard to financial accountability, all NSFs, including IOA are required to submit their annual statement of accounts, including utilization certificate for grants released by the Government. As per the General Financial Rules, fresh grants are released only on receipt of utilization certificates of previous grants as soon as they become due. In addition to above, the Government has introduced a system, of grant of annual recognition to NSFs. Under this system all aspects of the functioning of a NSF are duly scrutinized before according recognition, the Minister added. RM/JL- PQ– USQ1250 - LS
    Functioning of IOA
  • Can family based Political Parties safeguard National Integrity?

    Edit: Dial DMK for power-mongering
    As Kapil Sibal was given additional charge of the telecom ministry, the DMK was quick to underscore the fact that this was a temporary appointment. In doing so, the party was staking a claim to what it considers its turf, despite A. Raja’s disgrace. The prime minister must rebuff that assumption.

    Over the years, the DMK, once a bracing force of revolution, has become the ultimate party of power. Barring a break of a year (1998-99), the party has been part of the ruling coalition at the Centre since 1996 -- or through five Lok Sabhas. It has fought for and won ministries that are most obviously lucrative, from highways to communications, and proceeded to use these in a purely instrumental way.

    Once a party of rationalist, progressive ideals, it's now hard to find any consistent principle in its choices apart from power-mongering. Once a party of movement, run by committed cadres, it has become a family huddle, an organisation that turns to the dear leader at every step. And while there might be persuasive reasons for the DMK's tumult, and Karunanidhi is certainly under pressure to manage the different power centres in his party, their private familial transactions cannot hold up the rest of the country.

    The Congress, of course, has had an odd relationship with the DMK. The last great rupture was when the Jain Commission implicated the DMK in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination; the Congress, led by Sitaram Kesri, withdrew support and broke up the United Front government. After the 2009 elections, the prime minister might have left out some of the DMK's worst offenders, but retaining the already suspect Raja has clearly blown up in the government's face.

    The last UPA government was also turbulent, but at least the issues that rocked them were matters of policy, whether it was NREGA or the Indo-US nuclear agreement, not allegations of brazen corruption. The Congress cannot afford this conveniently amoral calculus when it comes to distancing itself from ministers in the government it leads.

    The PM cannot pretend that what happened with Raja happened in a faraway corner -- it happened on his watch, and it taints the entire government. This is a crucial time for the UPA, and we cannot afford to have enormously important matters of governance held up because the ruling coalition's energies are focused on dousing the fires of impropriety and scandal. For starters, the prime minister could tell the DMK where it gets off.
    Source: The Indian Express
    Edit: Dial DMK for power-mongering
    CAG indicts Raja, says he ignored PM, Law, FM advice

    ECHS Smart Card Failure Story

    India's First National Level SCOSTA Based Health Project : A Smart Card Failure Story

    Various Schemes have been operational in India and the Government has been spending millions of Rupees on these schemes, but the benefits of these schemes do not reach the entitled beneficiaries to the desired extent. Various leakages of revenue, improper management of resources and overall mismanagement results into increased expenditure. Many of these problems can be resolved through appropriate use of Information Technology. Smart Card technologies and Biometrics can play a key role through proper system integration.

    The ECHS Smart Card would be India's largest Nationwide Smart Card project covering the entire country. As quoted by the DG (ECHS), Lt. Gen. Vijay Dua, during the inauguration of the Smart Card project, 'the scheme would be larger and better than the French Health Scheme which also uses the

    Smart Card'. Volume issuance from all the 13 regions has started, hardware and software for Central location, Regional centers and polyclinics has already been deployed. Remote polyclinics have already started providing services to Ex-servicemen. Smart cards play a pivotal role in the scheme.

    Another first to the credit of this project is the use of national Smart Card Operating System Standard (SCOSTA) specified by NIC, Government of India. Although the standard has been defined for quite some time now, it could not be adopted for implementation of any project. ECHS smart card project adopted the SCOSTA standard from the pre tendering state itself. The use of this open standard would ensure interoperability, compliance of International Security and Quality standards, and more importantly vendor independence.

    Ex Servicemen Central Health Scheme (ECHS) was authorized by the Government of India on 30 Dec 2002, and has been introduced from 01 April 2003. It is a publicly funded Medicare scheme for ex-servicemen and pensioners & their eligible dependants, and will provide comprehensive, quality treatment through out-patient treatment at 227 Polyclinics all over India, and in-patient hospitalization & treatment through Military Hospitals and out-sourced Civil Hospitals & Diagnostic Centers at all these 227 locations, which will be empanelled for the purpose. Treatment/hospitalization in Service Hospitals will be available to ECHS members, subject to availability of specialty, medical staff and bed space. The ECHS Scheme has brought in tremendous flexibility and empowerment for pensioners. In order to meet the vast requirements to manage and effectively operate the scheme, Ministry of Defence, Government of India felt the need of a 'smart', secure low cost media which could store/ update critical information. In fact the Scheme became operational as the 'smart card' could provide solutions to most of the concerns of the Government. The major needs which have been successfully addressed by the smart card solution includes the following;

    Secure Identity card for the ex-servicemen and all the dependants who are entitled to avail the benefits of the scheme. The security of various processes is ensured through a combination of:
  • Key Management System
  • Biometric
  • Data communication Security
    India's First National Level SCOSTA Based Health Project
    Why The French Health Care System Should Be Replicated Everywhere
    Earlier Blog Post
    ECHS Smart Card reduced to a dummy

    Comment: Due to lack of networking the smart card is just used as identity proof of an Veteran or his dependants. No database of medical records are created or updated. Stock Inventory and medical provisioning is not automated for exploiting the SMART Card.
  • Armed forces grievances redressal panel set up

    The Tribune R. Sedhuraman Legal Correspondent New Delhi, November 15, 2010
    In a far-reaching order, the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to set up within two months an Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission with retired SC Judge Kuldip Singh as Chairman and former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice SS Sodhi as Vice-Chairman.

    The members of the first Commission, which would have a two-year term, would be former Army Chief Gen VP Malik, Ex-Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and a civil servant, serving or retired nominated by the government, a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra ruled.

    “Since most of the members of the first Commission were based in Chandigarh, we direct that the headquarters of the Commission shall be at Chandigarh. For this purpose a suitable building will be allotted at the earliest at Chandigarh by the Union Territory of Chandigarh in consultation with the Central Government which will be used as the office-cum-secretariat of the Commission.”

    The Commission would be different from the Armed Forces Tribunal, the Bench specifically clarified. The Commission would be only a recommendatory body and not an adjudicatory body. “Hence it is open to the Central Government to accept or not to accept its recommendations, though of course since such recommendations will be coming from a high-powered body the Central Government must give due weight to the same.”

    While the Armed Forces Tribunal could only decide cases in accordance with the rules, the Commission would be in a position to recommend even change of the rules where it “feels that the same are defective or inadequate. In other words, the Commission is not confined to following the relevant rules relating to service conditions, pension etc. But it can recommend change of the same where it feels that the same are defective or inadequate.”

    “We further direct all authorities in India, Civil or Military (including the Secretary, Defence, Union of India, and the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Staff) to extend all cooperation to the Commission to enable it to discharge its functions effectively.”

    The Commission would look into any grievances, sent to it in writing or by e-mail, by serving or former members of the armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) or their widows or family members and make suitable recommendations expeditiously to the Central Government in this connection.

    Explaining the reasons for virtually setting up the Commission without giving the Centre the choice of choosing the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and members, the Bench said the armed forces personnel had a feeling that their grievances were not being properly addressed.

    The personnel should have a feeling that their grievances “are heard by an independent body. Even if some of their demands are not accepted, they would have a feeling that they were given a proper hearing.”

    The Commission would also frame and recommend to the Central Government a scheme for proper rehabilitation of discharged soldiers. If a soldier was discharged between the age of 35-45 how would he support his family? At that age he normally would have a wife and children. “Hence he should be given alternative employment so that he can support his family.”

    The Commission would go into this matter also “in detail and suggest appropriate schemes for rehabilitation of ex-armed forces personnel who are retired at a relatively young age.”

    The Bench passed the order on a petition by one Pushpa Vanti whose husband was an Army Major who had fought three wars (1948, 1962 and 1965) and was decorated with 14 medals. “However, she is getting only Rs 80 per month as pension in these days when a kilogram of arhar dal costs that amount,” the judges pointed out.

    The claim of Pushpa Vanti stood referred to the Commission, the Bench said brushing aside Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium’s contention that the government had since raised her pension and credited her dues to her bank account. The SG, however, did not specify the pension amount granted to her.

    The apex court did not dispose of her petition with the order. It would come up for hearing on February 7 next year, the Bench said. Obviously, the court wants to ensure that the Commission was in place in compliance with its order.

    During arguments, the Bench described as “contemptuous” the affidavit filed by the Centre through the SG. In the affidavit, the Centre had suggested that the “rank pay” issue raised in another petition filed by one Arun Kumar and other personnel seeking removal of anomalies in the implementation of the 4th Pay Commission would be looked into by the proposed redressal Commission.

    The Bench said the Commission could not go into the rank pay issue as the apex court had already given its verdict earlier this year. The petition by the personnel, represented by senior counsel Mahabir Singh, would be referred to another Bench.

    The Commission’s headquarter at Chandigarh must have sufficient rooms to provide an office for each member. The Central Government would allot adequate secretarial and other staff and infrastructure and equipment, including computers and telephones, for the office and members of the Commission “as desired by the Chairman.”

    In addition to the headquarters, the Commission would have its offices at Delhi and “such other places as the Chairman of the Commission may direct.” The Central Government and concerned state governments/Union Territories would provide the necessary staff and infrastructure as the “Chairman may direct for this purpose.”

    The subsequent commission members could be appointed by the government, at the end of the term of the first commission, the Bench said.

    All the members of the Commission “shall sit together whenever issues of general importance are to be considered. However, in any matter relating to individuals or a few persons only the Chairman can appoint a smaller Committee consisting of one or more members as he decides.”

    The first four members of the Commissiou would be given the same salaries, benefits and allowances they were getting on the last day when they were in service. They would also be given travel and such other allowances decided by the Chairman “if they have to travel to other places away from Chandgarh. The fifth member, if a retired person, will also get the same.”

    When senior counsel Mahabir Singh, appearing for the aggrieved personnel, pointed out that the government wanted the Commission to go into only the anomalies in the Fourth Pay Commission, the Bench said the SC was not bound by the views of the government. It was only for the sake of courtesy, the apex court had sought the views of the Centre on various issues under consideration time and again, the Bench said.

    Quoting Magadha Prime Minister Chanakya’s advice to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, the court said the day soldier “has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha; for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King!”

    In the order, the Bench pointed out that ex-soldiers were not only demanding but were agitating to get their legitimate dues. “They were compelled to resort to public protests and even return their war medals and burn their artificial limbs.”
    Armed forces grievances redressal panel set up

    Is General Deepak Kapoor a proxy Real Estate Agent?

    Trinamool MP Alleges Scam in Another Defence Land
    New Delhi Nov 15, 2010
    After blowing the lid off the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, Trinamool Congress MP Ambica Banerjee has now alleged that another defence land in the metropolis was given away to a private pharma company through a NOC from the army.

    In letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony, Banerjee has also named former army chief General Deepak Kapoor and former army's Mumbai area chief Maj Gen R K Hooda, as being the beneficiaries of the land transfer in Malad and Kandivili areas of Mumbai.

    This time, the MP said, the land was under the control of the Central Ordnance Depot (COD) of the Defence Ministry within the army's Mumbai, Goa and Gujarat (MG and G) Area, but the local officers colluded with the Mumbai Municipal officials to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the pharma company to construct a commercial building.

    "Approximately one year back, few officers of the MG and G Area and COD, with concurrence of senior officers posted to MG and G Area and Delhi along with BMC officials facilitated occupation of the defence land by a business group," he said in the letter dated November 10.

    The NOC, the MP claimed, was issued to the BMC stating that the the piece of land was not army land and after the NOC was issued, the BMC allowed the pharma company to carry out construction there.

    "The modus operandi to grab defence land was to seek NOC from army on particular piece of land and then with the help of BMC, officials start construction on that land. As I am told that (sic) for this assistance, people involved got flats in Mumbai from the company. As of now my reliable sources has confirmed that the then GOC Maj Gen R K Hooda and former Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor where (sic) the main beneficiary (sic) of the deal," Banerjee's letter said.

    He also demanded an investigation into the Malad and Kandivili land issues too from the Defence Ministry.

    In the Adarsh Housing Society issue, Banerjee had written similar letters to Singh and Antony, following which investigations followed.

    Later, the Defence Ministry recommended a CBI probe in the Adarsh Housing Society episode.

    It had also come to light that Gen Kapoor along with another former army chief Gen N C Vij and former navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh had obtained flats in Adarsh Society in upscale Colaba area.

    They promptly returned the allocation after it was known that the society promised flats to Kargil widows and martyrs' families for obtaining permission to construct the 31-storey, 104-apartment building.
    Trinamool MP Alleges Scam in Another Defence Land
    Related Reading
    MoD reverses Pune Cantt CEO's transfer
    Defence Estates dept needs clean up: Antony

    A Grievence Redressal Commission for Veterans and Serving Soldiers

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    Today was date of hearing for the Rank Pay Case in the Supreme Court.
    The detailed report received from Lt Col BK Sharma, President Retired Defence Officers Association, the association which was mainly formed to fight for the Rank Pay Case, is reproduced below. The main points of the detailed report are as under:
    1. A Commission has been set up by the Government of India to look into the grievances of the Serving and Retired Defence personnel.
    The constitution of the Commission is as under –
    A. Headed by Hon’ble Justice Kuldeep Singh, Retired Judge of the Supreme Court,
    B. Hon’ble Justice S.S. Sodhi, Retired Judge of Allahabad High Court,
    C. General V.P. Malik, Former Chief of Army Staff and
    D. Lt. General Vijay Oberoi (Retd.), Former VCOAS, and
    E. One member i.e. Civil Servant either serving or retired, to be nominated by the Union of India.
    2. The Commission will look into and make recommendations with regard to the grievances of serving and retired Defence personnel like one rank one pension and other disparities and anomalies, without limiting the scope of reference. The matter will continue to be monitored by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
    3. The Hon’ble Court also refused to refer the issue of rank pay fixation to the Commission since it has already been settled in favour of the officers by the order of the Hon’ble Supreme court itself dated 08.03.2010 in T.P. (Civil) No. 56/2007. The Application for modification and recalling the order dated 08.03.2010 has been referred to the Chief Justice of India for placing the same before another Bench.

    On behalf of YOU ALL, ‘i’ congratulate Col BK Sharma, President RDOA and his entire dedicated team, who have very successfully won this case of Rank Pay in the Supreme Court, and put the Ministry of Defence and the Government of India to big shame for deliberate injustice to Defence Services.
    You may also like to send your appreciation to Col Sharma and his team.
    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    Dear All.
    You are all aware that today was date with Supreme court for 4Th Pay- rank pay arears and Govt had offered to place a commission to resolve all pending anomalies of 6Th pay Commission.
    We can all pat ourselves and thank RDOA; Justice Katzu has given following ruling.
    A. A separate Commission consisting of Chief Justice Kuldip Singh with Veteran Members as Gen Malik and Gen Oberoi. They will resolve all anomalies of 6Th Pay Commssion.
    B. Justice refused include rank pay case of 4Th pay Commission and has ruled that the same will stand as ruled earlier by the Supreme Court.
    Three cheers.
    More details will come soon.
    Brig Nawab Singh

    Dear Sir,
    Good news that separate Pay Commission to resolve all anomalies of 6Th Pay Commission.
    Our struggle for Rank Pay of 4Th Pay Commission must continue since base for 5Th Pay Commission was wrong so was base for 6Th Pay Commission which affects both Serving & Veterans alike.
    Brig. (Retd.) HS Ghuman, Shaurya Chakra
    President All India Veterans Core Group, Regd.
    Founder Member Georgian (north) Association

    Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission

    Dear Chander,
    E-mail received by me on the subject is enclosed, so that different interpretations are avoided and everyone understands what the Commission is all about.
    Would you like to place it on your Blog? Thanks.
    Warm regards.
    Vijay Oberoi

    Writ Petition(Civil)) No. 291 of 2010
    Pushpa Vanti... Petitioner -versus- Union of India & others ...Respondents
    1. In this case we had issued notice to the respondents on 17.9.2010 but no counter affidavit has been filed.
    2. The petitioner before us in the present case is a widow Pushpa Vanti, whose husband was an army major who had fought in three wars (in 1948, 1962 and 1965) and was decorated with fourteen medals. However, the petitioner is getting only Rs.80/- per month as pension, in these days when a kilogram of arhar dal costs that amount. She has prayed for fixation of her correct pension and arrears.
    3. The Indian armed forces are bravely defending the borders of the country, often standing on guard at a height of 20,000 feet and in minus 30oC temperature, day and night so that the people of India can live, work and sleep in peace.
    4. However, there is widespread discontent among the serving and former members of the armed forces (by which we mean the Army, Navy and Air Force) and their widows and family members regarding their service conditions e.g. pay scales, allowances, anomalies regarding pensions, inadequate pension (particularly to those disabled while in service), widows benefits, promotion matters (including promotion policy and process) etc.. They have a feeling that the bureaucrats do not care for them and do not properly address their grievances. As a result, thousands of ex- armed forces personnel have returned their medals, and some have even burnt their artificial limbs.
    5. These grievances include the grievances relating to pay, allowances, one rank one pension, other pension matters, suitable benefits to be granted to war veterans, war widows, promotion matters, rehabilitation of soldiers who are discharged at a young age, etc.
    6. In a recent panel discussion `We The People’ on NDTV channel some of these grievances were highlighted.
    7. Our courts of law are flooded with cases relating to members, both serving and retired, of the armed forces e.g. cases relating to pension, promotion, etc and the obvious reason is that the armed forces personnel have a feeling that their grievances are not being properly addressed.
    8. The great Prime Minister of Magadha, Chanakya, told Emperor Chandragupta Maurya :
    “Pataliputra rests each night in peaceful comfort, O King, secure in the belief that the distant borders of Magadha are inviolate and the interiors are safe and secure, thanks only to the Mauryan Army standing vigil with naked swords and eyes peeled for action, day and night, in weather fair and foul, all eight praharas (i.e. round the clock), quite unmindful of personal discomfort and hardship, all through the year, year after year. To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: please, therefore, see to it, suo motu, that the soldier continuously gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants, for he is not likely to ask for them himself. The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha; for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be king!”
    9. Today our ex-soldiers have not only been demanding but are agitating to get their legitimate dues. They were compelled to resort to public protests and even return their War-medals and burn their artificial limbs, as was done by Capt. C.S. Sidhu whose right arm was amputated while serving at the front but was getting a pittance as pension (see judgment of this Court in Union of India & Anr. vs. C.S. Sidhu in Civil Appeal No.4474 of 2005 dated 31st March, 2010). This, in our opinion, is not good for the nation. The armed forces personnel should have a feeling that their grievances are heard by an independent body. Even if some of their demands are not accepted, they will have a feeling that they were given a proper hearing.
    10. We, therefore, direct the Central Government to set up within two months from today a Commission which shall be called the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission.
    11. This Commission will look into any grievances (sent to them in writing or by e-mail) by serving or former members of the armed forces (i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force) or their widows or family members and make suitable recommendations expeditiously to the Central Government in this connection. 12. The Commission will also frame and recommend to the Central Government a scheme for proper rehabilitation of discharged soldiers. At present the position is that a soldier is ordinarily recruited at the age of about 18 years, and if he does not rise above the rank of Jawan he is discharged after 15 years of service. If he is promoted, his tenure is extended on each promotion. Thus, if he reaches the rank of Havildar but no further he will retire after 22 years of service, i.e. at the age of 40. Thus a soldier is retired when he is in the prime of life. During his service he spends only about 2 months per year with his family. There is no doubt a Resettlement Directorate in the Army Headquarters, but we are informed that it is not a very effective body. If a soldier is discharged between the age of 35-45 how will he support his family ? At that age he is likely to have a wife and children. Hence he should be given alternative employment so that he can support his family. The Commission will go into this matter also in detail and suggest appropriate schemes for rehabilitation of ex-armed forces personnel who are retired at a relatively young age.
    13. The aforesaid Commission shall consist of the following members:
  • A retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India as the Chairman of the Commission. The first Chairman shall be Hon’ble Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh, former Judge, Supreme Court.
  • A former Chief Justice of the High Court as the Vice Chairman of the Commission. The Vice Chairman will officiate as the Chairman in absence of the Chairman. The first Vice Chairman shall be Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.S. Sodhi, retired Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
  • A retired Chief of Army staff as a Member of the Commission. We appoint General V.P. Malik, retired Chief of Army staff, to be a Member of the Commission.
  • Any retired Chief or Vice Chief or Deputy Chief of the Army, Navy or Air Force as a Member of the Commission. In the first Commission we appoint Lt. General Vijay Oberoi, retired Vice Chief of Army Staff, to be a Member of the Commission(General Oberoi is the Douglas Bader of the Indian Armed Forces, his one foot having been shot and later amputated due to a burst of machine gun fire in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, when he was a young Captain. Despite this he rose to become a Lt. General and Vice Chief of the Army).
  • A civil servant, whether serving or retired, as a Member of the Commission, to be appointed by the Central Government, at its discretion.

    14. The term of the first Commission will be for two years from the date of its constitution but it will be renewable at the option of the Central Government. The subsequent Commission members (after the two year term of the first Commission has expired) shall be appointed by the Central Government.
    15. Since most of the aforesaid members in the first Commission are based in Chandigarh hence we direct that the headquarters of the Commission shall be at Chandigarh. For this purpose a suitable building will be allotted at the earliest at Chandigarh by the Union Territory of Chandigarh in consultation with the Central Government which will be used as the office-cum-secretariat of the Commission. This building must have sufficient rooms to provide an office for each member of the Commission. The Central Government will allot adequate secretarial and other staff and infrastructure and equipment (including computers, telephones etc.) for the office and members of the Commission as desired by the Chairman.
    16. In addition to the headquarters of the Commission at Chandigarh there will also be set-up offices of the Commission at Delhi and such other places as the Chairman of the Commission may direct. The Central Government and concerned State Governments/Union Territories will provide the necessary staff and infrastructure as the Chairman may direct for this purpose.
    17. All the members of the Commission shall sit together whenever issues of general importance are to be considered. However, in any matter relating to individuals or a few persons only the Chairman can appoint a smaller Committee consisting of one or more members as he decides.
    18. The first four members of the Commission will be given the same salaries, benefits and allowances which they were getting on the last day when they were in service. They will also be given traveling and such other allowances as the Chairman decides if they have to travel to other places away from Chandigarh. The fifth member, if a retired person, will also get the same.
    19. We make it clear that this Commission is different from the Armed Forces Tribunal in the following ways:

    1. The Commission is only a recommendatory body and not an adjudicatory body. Hence it is open to the Central Government to accept or not to accept its recommendations, though of course since such recommendations will be coming from a high powered body the Central Government must give due weight to the same.
    2. Whereas the Armed Forces Tribunal can only decide cases in accordance with the rules, the Commission can recommend even change of the rules where it feels that the same are defective or inadequate. In other words, the Commission is not confined to following the relevant rules relating to service conditions, pension, etc. but it can recommend change of the same where it feels that the same are defective or inadequate.
    20. We further direct all authorities in India, Civil or Military (including the Secretary, Defence, Union of India, and the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Staffs) to extend all cooperation to the Commission to enable it to discharge its functions effectively.
    21. The notification constituting the Commission as provided above will be issued by the Central government forthwith.
    22. The claim of the petitioner in this case shall stand referred to the Commission. The Registry of this Court shall send copies of the papers of this case forthwith to the members of the Commission nominated by us, and the petitioner’s claim shall be considered expeditiously. Claims of other armed forces personnel (serving or retired) should also be considered expeditiously.
    23. List this case again on 7.2.2011.

    J.(Markandey Katju)

    J.(Gyan Sudha Misra)
    New Delhi; 15 Nov, 2010
  • Monday, November 15, 2010

    Redressal commission for the Armed Forces: Historical Order by Supreme Court

    Monday, November 15, 2010
    Immediate Separate Redressal Commission for Armed Forces : Supreme Court (Updated)
    The Hon'ble Supreme Court today ordered the immediate constitution of a separate commission to examine the pay / pension anomalies and other grievances of the defence services.

    The functioning of the commission would be directly monitored by the Supreme Court. The Commission would comprise of Justice Kuldip Singh, Retired SC Judge as the Chairperson and would have as its members Justice SS Sodhi, General VP Malik, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and one person to be nominated by the Government of India.

    The Commission would independently look into the grievances of members of the defence services and the Government would have no say in the same.

    The Government of India, in its affidavit, had only consented to refer the rank pay issue to the proposed Commission and did not agree to any other term of reference. The Court disregarded the affidavit alongwith the stand of the Government and also ruled that the rank pay issue would NOT be referred to the Commission since the orders had already been passed by the Supreme Court. The Court also refused to recall or modify its earlier orders on the rank pay issue and instead referred the review application preferred by the UoI to the Chief Justice for directions that it be placed before some other Bench.

    A historic step indeed for the Armed Forces of India.
    The salient features for the said Commission, as laid down by the Supreme Court in its order, are as follows :
  • The Commission shall be called ‘Armed Forces Greivances Redressal Commission’
  • The Commission shall look into all grievances forwarded to them in writing or email by serving and retired personnel.
  • Commission shall frame schemes for rehabilitation of soldiers who are discharged at young ages.
  • The term of the first Commission shall be two years, renewable at the option of the central govt.
  • The Commission shall be based at CHANDIGARH. Central Govt to provide adequate infrastructure for the same.
  • Last drawn pay and allowances of the members to be protected.
  • The Commission shall also recommend change of rules if in its opinion the same are defective or inadequate.
  • All civil and military authorities to extend full co-operation to the Commission.
    The complete order of the SC can be accessed by clicking here.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 6:10 PM
  • NDMA- Vision sans Mission Authors Adarsh Apartment Disaster

    General Nirmal Chander Vij was the 21st Indian Chief of Army Staff during 31 Dec 2002 - 31 Jan 2005. He was born in January 1943 at Jammu. He completed his studies at the SRML Higher Secondary School, Jammu and joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1959. He was commissioned into the Dogra Regiment on 11 December 1962. Within weeks of his commissioning, he saw action in the Walong sector in the 1962 Indo-China War. Since then he has served in the eastern sector six times, the last time being as the General Officer Commanding of the IV Corps. Vij has served as the General Staff Officer of an Infantry Division, a Director in the Military Operations Directorate as a Colonel and Deputy Director General of Perspective Planning (Strategic Planning) as a Brigadier at Army HQ in New Delhi.

    Vij served as the Major General, General Staff at the Western Command in Chandimandir, Chandigarh (Punjab) and during the 1999 Kargil War, he served as the Director General Military Operations (DGMO). During this time he was criticized for appearing, in his professional capacity before a group of senior BJP leaders, and briefing them. In 1999, he broke the military tradition to brief members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on operations in Kargil, when he was Director General of Military Operations. For his services as the DGMO, he was awarded the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal. He was involved in the planning and execution of Operation Khukri - to extricate trapped Indian peacekeeping troops in Sierra Leone. The formations he has commanded include a mountain brigade involved in active counter- insurgency operations in the north east, an elite RAPID (Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Division) unit, the Strike Corps based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and the IV Corps based at Tezpur, Assam. He is also a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM). On 1 October 2000, Vij was appointed as the GOC of Southern Command at Pune and led the Army's rescue efforts during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. In October 2001, he was appointed as the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) at New Delhi and in January 2002, he was appointed as the 10th Colonel of the Dogra Regiment and the Dogra Scouts. He was appointed as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) on 31 December 2004. He is married to Rita Vij and they have a son, Nalin, who is a software engineer in the United States.

    General Vij retired on 31 January 2005, after completing more than 42 years service. As of 2010, he is the Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, with an equivalent rank of a Union Minister of State.
    Biodata of Gen NC Vij

    Recent Controversy- Adarsh Scam
    Builders by name Adarsh Housing Cooperative Society have been constructing buildings in the prime government land in Mumbai. The permission for construction on this government land has been taken in name of providing the affordable accommodation to war widows and the land had been reserved for this purpose. However, many politicians, top military officials, other bureaucrats and their relatives have taken the ownership of the flats. Ashok Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra has resigned for his role in this scam. CBI is probing the scam. Gen N C Vij along with two other former military chiefs - Gen Deepak Kapoor, and Admiral Madhvendra Singh have offered to give up their apartments.

    Experience gained managing National Disasters will enable Gen NC Vij to tide over his present disaster!

    Gen. N.C.Vij PVSM, UYSM, AVSM (Retd) Vice Chairman Appointment 28 September 2005 as Vice Chairman NDMA.
    Gen Vij, who rose to be the Army Chief, was commissioned in the Indian Army in Dec 1962 and participated in all the Wars fought by India. The many noteworthy command and staff assignments handled by him, include those of Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and Vice Chief of the Army Staff.

    A highly acclaimed military strategist; as the DGMO during the Kargil War, he was responsible for organizing a coordinated withdrawal of Pakistan troops from the War Zone. Another feather in his cap as DGMO was to conceptualize and thereafter oversee the execution of the operations (OP KHUKRI), in Sierra Leone, wherein over 455 Indian Soldiers, serving as part of UN Peace Keeping contingent who had been taken hostage, were rescued in a dare devil operation. This action won worldwide acclaim and appreciation. His tenure as the Army Chief was acclaimed widely for a bold and imaginative strategy of laying a 670 km long fence all along the line of control in J&K, in a record time of nine months, thus reducing the infiltration to a trickle. He was also responsible for conceptualizing the raising of a new Command and Corps HQ each for providing a strategically balanced posture. For his distinguished service, he has been awarded Param Vishist Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal and Ati Vishist Seva Medal.

    He has vast experience in disaster management. Among the most notable of his contributions in this field are in case of Orissa Super Cyclone, wherein he coordinated the assistance rendered by the Army. He personally handled the rescue and relief operations in Gujarat as Southern Army Commander and Tsunami as the Army Chief. On 28 Sep 2005, he was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, which is headed by the Prime Minister.
    NDMA- Vision sans Mission
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