Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fake Degrees on sale in Punjab

PhDs, Bachelor's degrees on sale in Punjab
Vikram Chowdhary, Updated: August 06, 2011 18:26 IST

Chandigarh: If you want a Bachelor's degree in Science or the Arts, you don't have to be a student. A PhD? No problem. As long as you have some cash, you can get the degree of your choice. Exams, attending classes - that's old school.
The Artex Informatic Study Centre in Chandigarh doesn't sound very inspiring. It's a small set up, which offers Under Graduation and Post Graduation programs in the fields of Information Technology and Management Courses. Study centres are extensions of private universities offering courses and degrees. They represent one or more private universities in different parts of the country, but aren't regulated directly by the government.
Study centres like this one can be found all over Punjab...
Read more at: PhDs, Bachelor's degrees on sale in Punjab

Apathy towards Defence Veterans

Dear Veterans,
Letter addressed to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and copy endorsed to RM and three into Chiefs is circulated herewith.
With Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman, IESM

Dated: 06 Aug 2011
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
10 Parliament House
New Delhi -11
Dear Sh. Manmohan Singh Jee,
1. We the Defence Veterans once again wish to approach you for the resolution of serious anomalies in the pay and pensions of Defence Veterans and request you to kindly address our genuine demands... Read more- click here to read the full contents

Reserve Service for Pension: AFT Ruling

Dear Friends,
Please read the email received from AVM RP Mishra appended below. Please also read the attachment. Kindly do your utmost to give wide publicity to the contents of the attachment, as it affects very large number of sepoys, ratings and airmen from all Three Services. The ESM organisations should make copies of the attached ORDER 12.01.2011 of Armed Forces Tribunal, Principal Bench at New Delhi, display it at prominent places under their jurisdiction and distribute copies to reach every possible city and village.
On behalf of YOU ALL, ‘i’ thank AVM RP Mishra for thanking this attachment to us.
Vande Matram
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

From: RP Mishra
Sent: 05 August 2011 17:42
Subject: Counting of Reserve Service for pension
Dear Brig Kamboj, you had earlier published a letter on the subject of counting reserve service for pension. I am now attaching AFT judgement based on which this letter was here for the ruling
AVM RP Mishra (Retd)

Friday, August 5, 2011

MPs panel slams army practice of soldiers as assistants

The Indian Army is facing the ire of a parliamentary panel over its continuing practice of employing trained soldiers as sahayaks (personal assistants) of officers.
New Delhi |Wednesday, 2011 6:35:06 PM IST

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence strongly condemned the system of employing sahayaks to carry out menial domestic chores of officers in one of its reports about three years ago. It has for the third time now slammed the defence ministry for defending the practice and for not heeding its recommendation of abolishing it.

The report on 'stress management in the armed forces', 31st by the committee during the 14th Lok Sabha, has said the sahayak system was "inhuman". It has also stated that the trained soldiers were for fighting wars for the country and they should be used only for such purposes and not stationed at the residences of officers.

But the committee's current report on the budgetary demands for grants, presented to the Lok Sabha Wednesday, said it "places on record the anguish over the disrespect of one of their important recommendation" to abolish the system.

The committee, headed by Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, has also declared that the defence ministry owed it an explanation for not implementing the recommendation.

Dismissing the repeated justification of the defence ministry that the sahayak system was a necessity, the committee said it was "not convinced" with the reasoning given by the defence ministry that the army personnel functioned in pairs and the soldier was the buddy of the officer.
--Indo-Asian News Service ncb/rn/vt
MPs panel slams army practice of soldiers as assistants
Comment: The Buddy system draws a flak. There is no justification for having Sahayaks in Peace Stations and Training Institutions. Senior Officers (Red Tabs) should set the trend and shed this Buddy system in Peace Stations and Cantonments.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shortage of Officers: Lack of Space in NDA

NDA doesn't have space to lodge cadets
MAYANK SINGH | Pune, July 29, 2011 13:14

While the Indian defence forces have been crying about the shortage of officers, they have been unable to house the extra cadets who joined National Defence Academy for their first spring term. The Spring Term, 2011 at premier National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune had caught the officials unaware. The number of cadets joining the academy was so high that they had to convert rooms assigned for entertainment and Gymnasium to accommodate the cadets by putting the beds and the cupboards.

An officer who looks after training of the Indian Army informed TSI on the condition of not publishing his name that while the total training capacity of NDA is 1800 cadets there were more than 2000 cadets who reported during the spring term of the academy. This lead to make extra arrangements as the sanctioned strength and arrangements is for only 1800 cadets. The academy has two terms of training, spring and autumn. Spring is the session which is from January to May while autumn runs from July to November; rest of the time is for vacations.

Although, this has come as a positive development for the forces as there is an acute shortage of the officers at the level of Lieutenants, Captains and Majors who lead the operations on ground, but it could have been avoided. Another officer informed that the difficulty of accommodating the extra cadets lingers because of a decade old proposal pending with the Ministry of Defence to sanction the 16th Squadron of the Academy. The academy is organised into four Battalions, each with 4 squadrons except for the fourth battalion which has only three squadrons. Sources also informed that the long term plan is to raise another battalion in the academy.

In a recent reply defence minister A K Antony had said "The extent of shortage of officers is around 12,349 in the Army, 1,818 in the Navy and 837 in the Air Force. The shortage of pilots in the Air Force is about 426."
NDA doesn't have space to lodge cadets
Comments: The Indian Armed Forces no longer fascinate the people as career. The Indian Army is currently facing a crisis and it is short of over 11,000 officers from the rank of captain to major. Despite campaigns like “Be an army man: Be a winner of life” the armed forces continue to face a shortage of officers. Officer’s shortage in Indian Armed Forces is acute now and seriously affecting the army, in quantity as well as quality. Dispensation of Justice to Veterans and many are seen battling in courts thereby reducing the Rank and Honour, which in turn diminishing the charm of Serving the Nation by the younger generation.

UOI continues to cheat the Veterans of Rank Pay even after the court directives

Rank Pay case update: 01 Aug 2011
Dear Sir,
The case was heard in the court of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice RM Lodha in court no 10 today ie 01 Aug 2011. The UOI was represented by the new Solicitor General Mr Nariman. He put forth his views for 40 -45 mins on the gambit of IV CPC recommendations and the rank pay deduction and its cascading effect on V & VI CPC with the bogey of 1600cr.
There were queries from the court on the 'deduction of rank pay and pay fixation' which did not sound convincing. Senior Advocate for RDOA Shri Mahavir Singh drew the attention of the court to the Govt resolution issued after acceptance of the IV CPC report wherin it has been stated that rank pay would be paid in addition to the pay in the integrated scale.The court seemed to be to get to the bottom of the matter that if rank pay was to be given in addition to the pay in the integrated scale, then why the deduction. The court wanted to hear more on the matter. The case has been scheduled in the week beginning 22 Nov 2011.
It is requested that the update be put on RMS for info of all.
Thanking you
Secy RDOA-

Are gallant veterans respected in India?

Monday, August 1, 2011- Sir, may I have the privilege of shaking hand with the Victoria Cross
The excerpt below is a passage from the pages 110 & 111 of the book `Toward Resurgent India' written by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) M. M. Lakhera, PVSM,AVSM,VSM, one time Lt.Gov. of Pondicherry and now the Governor of Mizoram.
"I had gone to UK in 1995 as Deputy Leader of the Indian Delegatio n to take part in the 50th Anniversa ry celebrati ons of the victory in Europe during the Second World War. I along with four other Army officers, had just stepped out after attending the inaugural session and were waiting on the roadside for the traffic to ease so as to walk across the road to the vehicle park. Among those with me was Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, a Victorian Cross winner (unfortuna tely, I have received the sad news of his expiry just two days back). All of a sudden a car moving on the road came to a halt in front of us and a well dressed gentleman stepped out. He approache d Umrao Singh and said, "Sir, may I have the privilege of shaking hand with the Victoria Cross (winner)?" He shook hands with him. Evidently he had spotted Umrao Singh's medal from his car and had stopped his car to pay his respect to a winner of the highest gallantry medal of his country. Then he looked at me and said, "General, you are from Indian Army." When I replied in affirmati ve, he gave out his name, saying that he was Maichile Hailstine . I was absolutel y astounded as the recogniti on dawned on me that he was the Deputy Prime Minister of UK I was totally overawed by such courtesy shown by a dignitary of the second highest status in the British Governmen t and humbly thanked him for having invited our delegatio n for the VE Day function. Again his reply was typical of his sagacity, "General, it is we the British, who should be grateful to your country and your Armed Forces, who had helped us win both the first and the second World wars. How can we be ever so ungratefu l to forget your country's great contribut ion?" Suddenly I became conscious that all the traffic behind his car had come to stand still. I hurried to thank him and politely requested him to move along to relieve the traffic hold-up. He stated, "Sir, how dare I drive off when Victoria Cross has to cross the road." Realizing his genuine feeling I and my colleague s quickly crossed the road. Reaching the other side I looked back and saw that Mr. Hailstine was still standing waiting for the Victoria Cross to be safely across.” That is the type of regard they have for their decorated soldiers. I wish that similar respect could be shown to the bravehearts & gallantry award winners by the leaders and prominent figures in our country.
Sir, may I have the privilege of shaking hand with the Victoria Cross (winner)
Related Reading: India Demystified
Dangers of al-Faeda by Gopalkrishna Gandhi
July 29, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

OROP: Veterans demand Justice from elected representatives

The medals don’t count. Justice is what soldiers seek
Finally, a committee of the Rajya Sabha will look into the three-decade-old demand of ex-servicemen for One Rank One Pension. Will parity still be elusive? Brijesh Pandey reports

Getting a raw deal War veterans take part in a march in Delhi for One Rank One Pension Photos: Tarun Sehrawat

FOR MILLIONS of Indians raised on stories of valour of their armed forces, it was indeed a shame to see thousands of war veterans marching to Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, returning medals won through great personal sacrifice.

Their demand was simple: pension parity or One Rank One Pension (OROP). This means servicemen of the same rank and same years of service must get equal pension irrespective of the date of superannuation. Though in principle the government agrees the demand is just, there seems no political will to back it.

After the Fifth and Sixth Pay Commissions, a big difference in pensions has been created, depending on when a serviceman retired. An officer with 35 years experience who retired before 1996 will get less pension than one with less years in service who retires after 2006. As Major General (retd) Satbir Singh points out, “A Lt Col superwho retires today would have looked after 100-120 personnel whereas at my level, one would look after 20,000 people and a much larger land area.” Though some correction has been made for commissioned officers and other ranks, the anomaly remains.

That’s not all. Armed forces veterans (AFV) have a major grouse about the administrative stranglehold on issues dear to them and the brushing aside of their problems by an apathetic bureaucracy.

Till the Third Pay Commission, pensions for armed forces personnel were based on rank and length of service in that rank. AFV got 75 percent of their last pay drawn as pension, while the administrative side got 33 percent. The Third Pay Commission, which covered the defence services for the first time, much against the will of the forces, decreased the pension of the force to 50 percent while increasing the pension of its civilian counterpart from 33 percent to 50 percent, with riders on getting full pension after 33 years of service. The advantage they had earlier was taken away in this manner.

Dignified protest A widow and a veteran display the medals given for the supreme sacrifice

“Rather than compensating for the harsh conditions of service and forced early retirement of around 85 percent of our forces, the sole beneficiary of this pension equalisation was the civil service,” points out Air Vice Marshal (retd) RP Mishra. “In the 1960s, pension of civil employees was limited to a maximum of Rs 416 per month whereas pension of a Major was Rs 475 per month and that of Chiefs was Rs 1,000 per month. In the Sixth Pay Commission, maximum pension of civil employees is Rs 45,000 per month which is the same as pension of Chiefs. Pension of Majors is just Rs 14,464 per month. Is it justified?“ asks Mishra.

This change had millions of AFV protesting. They pointed out that from 1960 to 2006, the pension of the highest ranking officers has increased 45 times, while that of the highest civilian ranking officers has increased 108 times.

“In today’s context, pension is no longer dependent on rank. Instead, it depends on years of service and emoluments,” adds Mishra. “This means that even a low-ranking individual can draw higher pension than a high-ranking one.” Satbir adds, “If one compares a soldier to a police constable, there is a difference of over Rs 45 lakh in their lifetime earnings due to early retirement and restricted promotions.”

Brigadier RKS Gulia says a question the government always raises in discussions about OROP is: what if government officers raise a similar demand? “I pointed out that 85 percent of armed forces personnel retire at 37-42 years. Another 5-12 percent retire at 44-52. Only 0.35 percent retire at the age of 60. In the civil services, they all serve up to the age of 60, get all three assured career progressions and consequently not only draw increasing pay but end up with much higher pension.”

Other than these pension anomalies, what AFV finds disturbing is the fact that there is no effort on the part of the government to improve the lot of widows of armed forces personnel, numbering close to 3.5-4 lakh. “Everybody has got something except these widows,” says Gulia. “This is the biggest worry for us because they need it more than us.”

SATBIR SINGH too is livid at the neglect of these widows, pointing out that pensions for Junior Commissioned Officers and below were raised but not for widows. This is in spite of the fact that a letter was sent to the prime minister about this discrepancy. “A bureaucratic reply stated that pension of widows was not enhanced as it had not been mentioned in the report of Committee of Secretaries. What should they do? With a meagre Rs 3,500 per month to look after herself, who knows what all she must be undergoing? Is the country being governed by our elected representatives or bureaucrats?”

From 1960 to 2006, the pension of the senior-most officers increased 45 times, while that of top civilian officers went up 108 times

What riles AFV most is political indifference, be it the defence ministry or the President of India. “We sought time from President Pratibha Patil’s office on three occasions but she has refused to meet us,” says a visibly agitated Satbir Singh, “She has time for everybody except us. And she is our Supreme Commander.”

Even the prime minister has been misled by the bureaucracy about OROP, claims AFV. “On 10 March 2008, in reply to a question in Parliament, the PM said we have accepted all the demands,” says Satbir Singh. “I immediately rang up the Opposition that the PM is misleading the country — he had accepted all the demands but the Rs 2,200 crore allocated in the budget of 2009 was never released. Within three days, the PM ordered it to be released.”

So are they hopeful that this meeting with the Rajya Sabha Appointments Committee will have a positive outcome?

“It may just be a formality,” says Gulia, “When we said so many committees have been formed and made their recommendations, nothing has happened so far, their response was that their mandate is limited. That’s why it seems to me to be more of a formality.”

While the armed forces continue to defend the borders, sometimes with the supreme sacrifice, they find they have to fight new battles when they retire. As Satbir Singh put it, “The bureaucracy and the government are treating us like chala hua kartoos (spent cartridges). The worst thing is, they are not even ashamed of it. They forget what Calvin Coleridge said: The nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”
Brijesh Pandey is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
The medals don’t count. Justice is what soldiers seek


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