Saturday, January 22, 2011

Platinum Grant at 75 yrs age for Veterans

Army Officer's Benevolent Fund: Platinum Grant at 75 yrs age.
May be useful, if U can remember it. Please pass it on.
Retired army officers, who have completed 75 years of age, are entitled to a grant of Rs 50,000.00 from the Army Officers Benevolent Fund.
Kindly share this information among the retired Army Officers in your city. (In case of demise of an officer, during service or later before completing 75 years, this amount is payable to the next of kin immediately after the demise of the officer. It is also applicable to officers settled abroad.)
No formal application is required for claiming the platinum grant. However the retired officers are required to intimate their postal addresses and Bank Account Numbers as and when they enter their 75th year at following address for updating the records:
Director Accounts
Ceremonial & Welfare Directorate
Adjutant General's Branch
Army Headquarters
South Block, Room No 279
DHQ PO New Delhi - 110011
Tele No - 2337 5138

Friday, January 21, 2011

IAS officer couple loot Bhopal Gas Victims

Tainted IAS officer couple worth Rs 360 crore
Bhopal, Jan 19, (PTI):
The Income Tax department has claimed to have detected wealth valued at a whopping Rs 360 crore from suspended Madhya Pradesh IAS officer couple Arvind and Tinu Joshi and disproportionate to their known source of income.
Department sources said here today that the biggest amount of ill-gotten money probably detected from any IAS officer in the country was unearthed following several Income Tax raids on the premises of the duo. The first raid on February 4 last had yielded Rs three crore and a number of documents about their alleged unaccounted investments, the department claimed.
Jewellery worth Rs 67 lakh and foreign currency worth Rs seven lakh and seven suitcases were also recovered during the raids, the department claimed. The raids were carried out following complaints that the officers had allegedly made huge investments in an insurance company.
In a 7,000-page appraisal report submitted recently to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary, Avni Vaish and Lokayukta P V Naolekar, the department has given details of investments made by the Joshis.
Both Arvind and Tinu, who are 1979-batch IAS Officers of the Madhya Pradesh Cadre, have held important positions in the Centre since the late 80s.
Tinu served as Deputy Secretary in the PMO from July 1, 1988 to January 1, 1990 while Arvind was Joint Secretary in the Defence Ministry during the 1999 Kargil hostilities.
As per the report, the two have made investments in a number of areas ranging from agriculture to real estate and stock market.
The couple purchased agricultural or non-agricultural land at a number of places including Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks, Raisen, Balaghat, Sehore and Bhopal, the report said.
The report also alleged that the couple purchased 25 flats of which 18 are in Guwahati, six in Bhopal and one in New Delhi.
Papers about seven plots at Patel Nagar have also been recovered from their possession, it said.
The report also claimed that Arvind Joshi had allegedly indulged in speculative trading in shares, futures and options to the tune of Rs 270 crore in the last three years.
Tainted IAS officer couple worth Rs 360 crore

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SC calls black money plunder of nation: Babus protecting the money launderers and potential terrorists

DD India Thursday 20 January, 2011.
SC calls black money plunder of nation
The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the government's reluctance in coming forward with full information on the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks, saying keeping national wealth abroad amounted to "plunder" of the country.
"It is a pure and simple theft of the national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime. We are not on the niceties of various treaties," remarked a bench comprising justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar.
The remark by the bench came when Solicitor general Gopal Subramanium was explaining various steps taken by the government under the Double Taxation Avoidance Act.
The court was unhappy that the government filed an affidavit restricting information relating to the money deposited by 26 persons in Liechtenstein Bank in Germany.
"This is all the information you have or you have something more?," the bench asked.
"We are talking about the huge money. That is the plunder of nation," the bench remarked.
The bench also expressed anguish over the fact that the affidavit filed in a sealed cover and referring to 26 names, had been signed by a mere director-level officer and said it should have been signed by the finance secretary himself.
It reflects the "seriousness" of the government, the bench remarked sarcastically.
"We thought one person who must have been authorised to file the affidavit should have been the finance secretary," said the bench.
The solicitor general, however, tried to pacify the bench saying that it is an established procedure that whenever an affidavit is filed, it is filed with the concurrence at the highest level.
Subramium also accepted that the figure about the black money stashed in foreign banks is mind-boggling, but expressed limitation in sharing all informations about it saying that the authorities have to go on the basis of mutual agreement with various countries where the money is stashed in banks.
The bench also questioned the government for limiting the information provided by it only to the Liechtenstein Bank.
"Why are you limiting the matter to the Liechtenstein Bank only," the bench asked, when the solicitor general said he was making submissions on the averment made in the writ petition. (SP-19/01)
SC calls black money plunder of nation

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Twin tragedy this week

Dear Colleagues,
16 January has been a particularly sad day for the ESM community. On this fateful Sunday, two senior and highly respected veterans passed away in Delhi. Lt Gen Tripat Singh, 81, who breathed his last in the morning, was a renowned officer of the Corps of EME and had been the first officer from the Services to be appointed as a Principal Staff Officer (MGO). Very warm of heart he had a large following of admirers.
Lt Gen RIS Kahlon, 71, passed away in the R&R hospital in the evening. A hard core Infantry officer (GRENADIERS), he was MGO for nearly four years before superannuating. A professional giant he possessed endearing qualities of heart and was ever helpful.
We deeply mourn the twin tragedy and share the grief of the families. We all pray for peace for their souls.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Remembering Lt Gen RIS Kahlon, Grenadiers

An extract from my book about late, Lt Gen Kahlon who left us on 16th Jan this year. We were planning a lunch meeting in Noida Golf club and he had also promised to visit my flat in Greater Noida where I have recently shifted. But God had other plans.
Brig lakshman Singh VSM,(Retd)
Indo China War 1962
The first time I met young Kahlon was on the 18th of October 1962, two days before the Chinese attack, in Brigade HQ. The IO/Signal officers of the four battalions had been asked for a co-ordinating conference. They had all come with a vision of a grand and sumptuous lunch after the meeting in the mess, but were sorely disappointed when they were served the same Dal Roti which was the standard fare in the Battalion messes. I did have occasion to know Kahlon more intimately at Ambala where the Brigade had finally moved; Kahlon was attached to the HQ as a LO and later took over as G3(I) from the permanent incumbent Capt Murty proceeding on JC (Junior Commanders course) at Mhow. I being the only Brigade HQ officer with family, my wife a more than a willing hostess, an excellent cook and with a collection of latest English LP records, our house became open to all the young officers, especially Kahlon, He was full of life and energy with elan and self- confidence in abundance. I recall, he was the only officer who would address the US military team officers, who had come to Ambala to equip the 4 Division as General, Colonel or Major, as the case may be rather than 'Sir' like others. Though a junior officer myself at that time, I could discern something special in him, that is how he rose to a Lt Gen, Colonel of Grenadiers and a recipient of PVSM, UYSM, AVSM. I did loose touch with him on posting from the Brigade, for quite some time.
We did come across each other much later in Syndicate Bank South Block New Delhi, now both of us Brigadiers he on way in or out of IPKF in Sri Lanka, where as I was on staff in Signals Directorate Army HQ. A short meeting, but it did bring the old memories rushing back. Once again, about two years back, we happened to meet in USI (United Services Institute). I happen to have the out-line draft of my book 'Letters from the Border' then, tentatively, titled 'Escape from the Valley of No Return' with me and I gave the same to him to read and comment. 'A story from the heart', his comment on reading the same, encouraged me to increase the scope of my project.
By the time I came to the stage of 'Stories Less Told', I had already gone through the book 'Men and Mountain' a heart rendering account of the horrid experiences faced by the men and officers during the withdrawal of the battalion. A book by Maj Oscar Thomas, the then adjutant of 4 Grenadiers.
Since Lt Gen Kahlon was in the same group with Oscar Thomas, that had suffered the withdrawal, I approached him for his, a junior officer's, version of the withdrawal (which ultimately became a question of survival and escape from the three enemies; the Chinese, the cold and the hunger in ascending order as the days progressed) from Namkachu the Valley of no Return. It took me more than two years to persuade and convince him about the purpose of my writing the story of the debacle of 7 Brigade and the needless privation suffered by the troops from the view point of junior officers and men and once convinced he willingly give me some of his precious time.

Kahlon I will miss you always and ever.
Lt Gen RIS Kahlon, Grenadiers, Former MGO, from 16 NDA/ 25 IMA Course, a strong supporter of IESM.He left for his heavenly abode on 16 Jan 11, evening, at RR Hospital, New Delhi.

Brig Lakshman Singh

Monday, January 17, 2011

Army needs a changed perspective

While no major modernisation has been effected since the 1980s, the army continues to be structured to fight wars of earlier eras. As the world’s third largest army observes Army Day, which marks the 62nd anniversary of General (later Field Marshal) K.M. Cariappa taking over as the first Indian army chief, the force faces multiple challenges. The army is in dire need of a major transformation into a lean, technology intensive and networked potent force to fight 21st century wars, says former army vice chief, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi.

Another Army Day was flagged on Saturday. The Army Day has always been a day of reflection on the achievements and shortcomings of the past year and the plans for the ensuing year. However, this year it is not just the start of one more year for the army but the commencement of a new decade. The army therefore must look at two decades, the previous and the one ahead.

The army always has achievements to cite every year. These are well known and are always a source of inspiration and satisfaction. But it is also important to mull over the areas of weaknesses so that these are removed and the army remains both a potent and relevant force.

The major areas of concern are both internal and external. The first category includes a comprehensive transformation plan; a makeover in manpower policies; greater interaction and empathy with veterans who need to be valued as adding to the strength of the army; and finally the need to get away from the status quo and defensive mentality, which hinders progress.

The external areas are modernisation, joint endeavours, reductions in internal security commitments, an assertive stand in core areas where no dilution should be acceptable, and halting and then reversing the trend of diluting the status of the army.

Transformation needs to be speeded up, as without it the army would continue to wallow in old and inefficient structures that are out of sync with the present and future battlefield environment and the rapidly changing methodologies of waging war. The army has not seen any major structural changes since the mid-80s and essentially it is still structured to fight wars of earlier eras. We need to change or upgrade our doctrines and concepts, restructure the field force, efficiently manage internal conflicts, upgrade human resources, streamline logistics, and modernise the training methodology. Our aim must be to transform the army into a lean, technology intensive, networked and joint entity.

Manpower policies are not merely promotion policies, but include recruitment and in-service management, especially grooming for higher ranks. For officers, recruitment and training policies are fairly comprehensive. However, we continue to be a generalist army, with no specialisation. There is no sectoral or geographical specialisation, no continuity in specific appointments like those in information technology that require long tenures, and little language proficiency.

Command appointments for officers are a must, resulting in shorter and shorter command tenures to accommodate everyone. The compulsion on commanders to "show" themselves in these truncated tenures, results in their riding roughshod on their commands! As regards promotion of officers, the seniority of passing out of training academies remains throughout one's service. This has resulted in many bright officers losing out. The need is for a reassessment of each officer's caliber at least at 10 years intervals and re-fixing seniority in accordance with the officers' changed abilities and performance.

In the case of jawans, there is a mismatch between imbibing technology and educational qualifications. In non-technical arms, which also handle the latest weapons and equipment, intake qualification continues to be class-X. In a transformation study carried out over 10 years ago, I had suggested upgrading the criteria to class-XII by 2002 and to graduation by 2005, but we continue to remain in a time warp! Secondly, though JCO'S are an essential link in the organisational structure, they all are promoted from the ranks. They are of higher ages, are comparatively less fit and have the same educational qualifications as the troops. Despite discussing the issue a number of times for recruiting at least a percentage directly as graduates, we have always baulked at doing so.

Today's active soldier is tomorrow's veteran. However, there seems to be a firewall between the two categories, with different norms of treatment, emoluments, medical arrangements and other related issues. This has resulted in the veterans getting disillusioned and the bureaucrats widening the gulf even more. It is the veterans who are role models for our youth as they interact with them more than the serving personnel; they ensure that the best and motivated manpower joins the army. This has not only eroded but a very large number of veterans now speak ill of the army. The army needs to re-focus on this important issue and do away with the artificial division that is increasingly disillusioning the veterans. The veterans must again start feeling that the army chief is their chief too! Although a Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare is in existence for the last six years, it has done virtually nothing for the veterans. How can it, when it is exclusively manned by the bureaucracy?

Coming to the last two areas of internal concern, status quo is no doubt a safe option, but no organisation can prosper if it loses its ability to change as the environment demands. As regards the defensive syndrome, no country has won by being on the defensive, which even in military teachings is a temporary phase.

The external areas of concern are much better known and need not be amplified. Modernisation has been a crying need for the last at least two decades. It is a great pity that neither does the army receive a sufficiently large budget, nor does the procurement wing of the Ministry of Defence and other ministries concerned, especially that of finance, see any urgency in modernising the army. Lack of modernisation has substantially reduced the fighting capability of the army and if this continues, the army is unlikely to be the deterrent force it ought to be.

War is a joint endeavour. The complexity of modern war is likely to increase in the future on account of increased and sophisticated technology; the nature of modern war; new threats and challenges; and the reality of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood. Consequently, a joint force, which acts in an integrated manner, is not just desirable but imperative. Most professional militaries have adopted jointmanship but the Indian military is unfortunately an exception. While everyone endorses the need for jointmanship, it eventually turns out to be merely lip service. This must change. Appointing a CDS and an integrated ministry of defence would be the first steps. We would then be able to generate the necessary synergy, so essential for winning conflicts, battles and wars.

The involvement of the Army against insurgents has been extensive. Despite the ever-increasing central police forces that should be conducting such operations, there is no reduction in the commitments of the army. We have unfortunately reached a stage where the army, instead of being the last option, is often the first recourse! The heavy commitments of the army have undoubtedly been at the expense of its war-readiness, as well as the desired quality of life. Even In situations where the employment of troops becomes essential, they should be withdrawn at the earliest opportunity.

The apolitical stance of the army is correct, but should not translate into meekly accepting whatever orders the bureaucracy relays. Unfortunately, our political leaders are shy of dealing with the army directly, preferring to do so through the bureaucracy. This has resulted in a skewed arrangement whereby gradually the services chiefs appear to have lost their power of dissent even when they find any dispensation that reduces the status, power, emoluments or morale of their command. This needs to stop. It is nobody's case that the chiefs should be confrontationists, but when it comes to their authority being usurped by the bureaucracy, they must hold their ground and get the best for their men.

The military has been and will continue to be the most potent instrument that is used for the most difficult tasks, when every other instrument has failed or given up. This cannot be done by a meek military. We need to educate our political leaders the correct meaning of civil control and supremacy in a democracy.


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