Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Republic of Scams

Dipankar Paul, India Syndicate, 26/04/2011
The Republic of Scams
2010 was The Year of Scams: The 2G spectrum scam, the CWG scandal, the Adarsh Housing Society debacle, all contributed to shatter India's image on the global stage. Yet, scams are not new to this part of the world. In fact, since Independence, India has seen so many cases of high-profile fraud, it's a wonder why we haven't already been renamed the Republic of Scams.
click here to read major scams from 1946 till date
Comment: Banana republic is a pejorative term that refers to a politically unstable country dependent upon limited agriculture (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, corrupt politico-economic plutocracy or oligarchy. Ours seems to be truly a fake Democracy!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Book on Army's achievements

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, along with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshall P.V. Naik and other officers, at the Air Force Commanders Conference in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: S. Subramanium of The Hindu
Friday, Apr 29, 2011 Special Correspondent The Hindu
NEW DELHI: Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh has released a book “Footprints — On the Sands of Time; Indian Army's Unique Achievements,” at a ceremony during the ongoing Army Commanders Conference here.

The book, compiled by a team of officers at the office of Additional Directorate General of Public Information, comprises more than 200 entries, most of which are historic or unique in their own way and pertain to the military environment and ethos.

The Army Chief also presented medals for essay competition. Colonel Manish Bhave and Lieutenant Colonel B.S. Rai won gold medals in their respective categories — on subjects, “Future Shape, Size and Structure of the Indian Army” and “Man Management and Stress Management in LIC [Low Intensity Conflict] Situation.” respectively. Havildar Anand Prakash was awarded the top medal for his essay “Army as a Profession” in the Junior Commission Officers and Other Ranks group, a Defence Ministry release said.

Captain Rochak Tyagi, Major A.K. Mishra and Subedar Anant Ram bagged silver medals, followed by Lieutenant Colonel K. Ravichandran, Lieutenant Amit Semwal and Naib Subedar Puran Chandra who won bronze medals.
Book on Army's achievemnts
Related reading
Guard against corrupt practices, Antony tells Army, Air Force

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Protest March from Jantar Mantar- Fight against Corruption

Protest March on 01 May 11 from Jantar Mantar to India Gate, FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
Dear All,
Crusader Anna Hazare sat on fast unto death from 5 April to 10 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar and the Government had to accept all his demands to draft a strong and effective Jan Lok Pal Bill. IESM had strongly supported the movement and veterans under the banner of IESM were present in large numbers on all days at Jatar Mantar to show solidarity and support to the movement against corruption. But as is the wont of politicians they started putting road blocks even before first meeting of the drafting committee to ensure that the proposed bill does not see the day light. Some vested interest have started a maligning contest and are spreading canard of lies to discredit the drafting team picked by veteran Anna Hazare. India against corruption has decided to undertake a solidarity march from Jantar Mantar to India Gate on Sunday 1 May at 1700h to show solidarity and confidence in the drafting committee of the Jan Lok Pal Bill. More than 10000 citizens of Delhi have confirmed their participation in the proposed march. IESM has decided to lend its support to the march and will participate in the march with full force. All veterans will participate with their caps.

All veterans are requested to reach Jantar Mantar sharp at 5PM on 1 May 11 Sunday with their caps to patricipate peacefully in the march under the banner of IESM to show solidarity with the India Against Corruption team and support the Crusader Veteran Anna Hazare.
Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
Gen Sec IESM

Colonel Commandants an archaic and parochial institution

I am attaching an article on the institution of Col Comdts. It is bound to generate a great deal of debate. The article can be accessed at Click here
You may consider its circulation please.
Warm regards,

Colonel Commandants: An Archaic and Parochial Institution
by Major General Mrinal Sumana, AVSM, VSM, PhD
The concept of Colonel Commandants (Col Comdts) dates back to the 17th century when Colonels (both in rank and appointment) were the original owners and field commanders of their units (regiments). With the evolution of the concept of field formations in the early 18th century, these units lost their independent entity and were grouped into various tactical formations. Gradually, the Colonel lost his executive powers and the units came to be commanded by the duly selected commanding officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Subsequently, the Colonel became a mere figurehead with advisory functions only.

All regiments, which originated as a single tactical unit (infantry/cavalry), still have a ‘Colonel’ as head of the family, whatever be the size of that family now. Other corps/regiments, which originated as groups of tactical units, have Col Comdts. The number of Col Comdts is determined by the overall strength of the corps/regiment. Their selection is carried out by the respective regiments through secret ballot.

A Colonel Commandant is not involved in the operational affairs of his units. He is considered a ‘conscience keeper’ of the regiment and a guardian of regimental traditions. He is like a father figure whose basic duty is to foster esprit-de-corps and render mature advice when required. As he is expected to look after all aspects of welfare of his regimental troops, he must be of sufficient seniority to deliver. In case a regiment does not have any of its regimental officers in higher ranks, it can request a non-regimental officer to hold the mantle.

The aim of this article is to take a look at the relevance of this institution in the present day environment. With mushrooming of senior appointments, every regiment is well represented at higher ranks. Therefore, are the crutches of a Col Comdt necessary for a regiment to get its due? As the issue is of vital importance to the health and well-being of the army, an open and honest debate is warranted.
Read more- Click here

Monday, April 25, 2011

ESM Rally at Jhunjhunu

Dear Colleagues,
An ESM rally was held at Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) on 23 April 2011. An excellent gathering of over 1500 Veterans, 96 Service families including many officers attended. Brig Kartar Singh, President IESL Rajasthan, Brigadier Bhagwan Singh, Ex Secy ZSB Rajasthan, Col Raghunath, President IESL Jhunjhunu and many others addressed the gathering. Rally was well covered by the print as well as visual media. Hony Capt Mohan Lal anchored the meet. Aditya Jaini, Kameshwar Pande and self represented the IESM Governing Body. Veteran Sub Ridh Karan, RAJ RIF (my Battalion) who is running a tent house business, provided excellent logistic arrangements and underwrote the entire expenses amounting to Rs 26,000/-.
After the formal function was over, there was a throng of ESM and families wanting to convey their varied problems for resolution. Jhunjhunu area seems neglected in many respects of ESM welfare.
A newspaper clipping from Dainik Bhaskar is as above.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

General who fought a silent battle

Paying tribute to a decade-old decision we need to value more
Goanet Reader
Fri, 22 Apr 2011 15:38:23 -0700 By A Correspondent

The post-independence history of Goa has had some good periods. One brief but golden period was Lt. General J.F.R. Jacob's term as Goa's Governor from April 1998 to November 1999, during which time he oversaw a number of short-lived governments.
The highlight of this period was the imposition of President's rule in the state during the first half of 1999. During this period, the Governor ruled with a team of only three people; the Governor himself and his two advisors Alban Couto and M.N. Buch.
During Lt. General Jacob's rule, the secretariat was made accessible to ordinary citizens and surprise visits were made to bus stands, local hospitals and the Collector offices. Corruption was completely eliminated. Significant improvements were made to infrastructural facilities related to power, water, transport and medical health. Night landing facilities at Dabolim airport were established.
Lt. General Jacob had inherited a state which was on the brink of financial crises after previous governments borrowed huge sums of money from financial institutions. By the time Lt. General Jacob's rule had ended, he raised enough money to pay back all these loans. He went a step further by securing a grant of Rs 50 crores from the center to improve state administration.
Several press reports which were issued during the end of President's rule focused on calls by the public to extend this rule in the state. At the same time, Lt. General Jacob was always non-partisan in his approach so he stepped aside, thus paving way for a democratically elected government in June 1999.
Related reading
Army general's battle for hearts in Kashmir
by Ajai Shukla / Srinagar April 19, 2011, 0:47 IST

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Boots Belts Berets- Book review

Boots Belts Berets; Tanushree Podder; IndiaInk; Rs.295.
BOOTS BELTS BERETS. Book titled ‘ Boots Belts Berets ‘is all about the NDA which would interest all officers. It is authored by a Tanushree Podder, the wife of a cadet of the 70’s. It describes the life and times of cadets at the NDA in such graphic details (even if somewhat exaggerated in parts !) that it is hard to imagine that she and not her husband actually scripted it. Full marks to her because she has not only written in the most glorious prose but made it so funny and nostalgic for any NDA cadet of the past while giving a truthful glimpse of it to those of the present and future. Its style is good and the anecdotes familiar to us all, which makes interesting reading!
Best wishes.
1st Course JSW

We have to thank Chetan Bhagat for popularising a genre of writing that most Indian book editors would dump into without skipping a beat. After chick lit and college sagas comes Tanushree Podder’s Boots Belts Berets delves in to the lives of the freshers at India’s premier defence academy, NDA.
The book starts off with a batch of freshers undergoing training at the NDA. Most are greenhorns but soon fall into line when they realise that there’s hell to pay if they don’t. There are unforgiving seniors whose only joy in life is to bug the freshers, bark orders and make their lives even more miserable. The teachers are as varied and while most spell doom for the poor freshers, the man behind the breakfast counter is the most loved. Even those with fastidious tastes develop a respect for food of any kind.
A motley crowd of freshers is thrown together here, most sticking with each other due to the proximity of their rooms. But that’s another thing about hostels — they teach you to be more tolerant and to live with most people. While there are pranks galore there is also an element of seriousness. But mostly it confirms that life at the academy can be a riot if taken in the right spirit. The NDA is not a place for the faint-hearted. Read it if you’re planning on joining the forces and otherwise too. It helps pass a few hours...
Read more Reviews

Anna Hazare: Corruption versus Patriotism

Here is a first person account from someone who met him in his own village years back, and came back impressed.
I met Anna Hazare in 1998, during a visit as an Air Cmde from DSSC, alongwith my friends, Ravi Burli and Kalaichelvan. We were then in Ahmednagar at the Armd Corps Centre and school. Having arranged a vehicle to take us to Ralegaon Siddhi, we drove along the Nagar-Pune road, till a friendly ex-army sub directed us. As we entered RS,the road was lined with trees on either side!
The road then took a dip and we entered a verdant village,full of greenery .We met Anna rebuilding the temple with other villagers. My idea was to find out how a Naik ASC driver, could have transformed a village, steeped in the making of hooch, to this green village and had been awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.
When Anna arrived in his village, everything was in his words- imported. The villagers were busy collecting wood to burn and heat the still, and when they started removing th temple wooden beams, it was the last straw! He had Rs20,000/ as his commuted pension, and he used this to buy bricks to replace the beams and make the walls stronger. The villagers were ashamed at this, and joined hands. He identified water availability as the crux, and with the advice of the Irrigation dept, he made a series of check dams, using chain-link pieces and stones, to hold the small runoffs, till the base, where he built a concrete dam to hold the water during the rains.
His efforts were so successful, that in one year the water table rose by 12 ft and water from then on was available to the village on a perennial basis. He then convinced the villagers to adopt-Nasha Bandhi, Nas Bandhi, Chara Bandhi(they were to cut the grass and feed it to the cattle, instead of letting them roam at will and denude the hillsides of precious grass), 100% literacy, no caste discrimination and care for the girl child! Water made Ralegaon Siddhi self sufficient in grain, fruits(they started selling Mangoes, Chikoos, Bananas, Papayas etc), and in his words, the GDP of each villager to Rs 3000/.
They built a double storey building for their residential school, were no student would be failed- a revolutionary idea!
When an SC person was facing financial difficulties, he mustered funds, got the person out of trouble, and even collected funds to arrange for his daughter's marriage!
When I asked why I did not see a domino effect, he put it to leadership. He told me that he did not marry, as it would have diverted his attention from bringing up the village- it took 20 years of hard toiling effort. He did not accept any financial help from my side, as he said that it would lower him in his eyes- he had refused to accept $1000 from a German TV unit for that same reason.
When we left, I saluted him, as I felt deeply humbled in the presence of a man who had achieved so much, in his life. That is Anna Hazare
Air Marshal Raghu Rajan

Airforce Corruption in Aero Shows
Dassault executive accused of bribery. The news item went on to explain that the ‘Indian Air Force has put on hold its dealings with the country manager of French defence firm Dassault Aviation for his role in the bribery scandal during the Aero India show in Bangalore’.

Exactly what was the role this manager played in the bribery scandal? It turns out that a Wing Commander of Indian Air Force, in charge of allotting parking spots for the aircrafts going on show demanded Rs 20,000 for allotting a preferred spot. An official premium for a preferred slot would have been understandable; but a personal consideration? Apparently this gentleman paid the sum, but took his complaint to the higher ups in Air Force, where upon the gentleman was accused of being involved in bribery and black listed, while the officer concerned wasn’t; or if he was, the news paper did not say so! Insiders tell us stories of how even preferred timings of demonstration flights have their ‘rates’!

Now is this your plain vanilla corruption of the usual business man variety or it something else? Air shows are meant for civilian and military aircrafts manufacturers alike to show case their wares. A wrong choice of the aircraft because it was not given a due slot could compromise the lives of passengers if the aircraft is civilian, and compromise national security if the aircraft in question was a military one. See what I mean about corruption and un-patriotism being inter-linked?
Read the full story: Anna Hazare by V Raghunathan


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