Wednesday, December 31, 2008

IESM: New Year Tidings

Dear Friends,


With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

We wish all the "Report My Signal Blog Readers" a Very Happy New Year. May 2009 bring joy cheer and happiness to each and everyone in our extended families.
Blog Team

Higher Pay Band for Lt Cols

Well folks.

My inputs suggest that Pay Band-4 (Rs 37400 - 67000) is finally through albeit with a Grade Pay of Rs 8000. All Lt Cols at 13 years of service are to be upgraded to PB-4.

Lt Cols, Wg Cdrs (IAF) and Cdrs (IN) have been placed higher than the grade of Deputy Secy to Govt of India (erstwhile Rs 12000-16500 scale / now Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay Rs 7600) but lower than Directors to Govt of India (Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay Rs 8700).

The minimum pension of Lt Cols who retired prior to 2006 is however likely to be jacked up above Directors GoI.

The basic minimum pension of pre-6th CPC retirees of the rank of Lt Col is expected to be Rs 25700. Basic pension of pre-6th CPC Directors (GoI) is Rs 23050.

Again, I still would suggest readers to take the above with a pinch of salt till the final official announcement.
Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 3:42 PM
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Pay Band-4 confirmed for Lt Cols

The government cons the military, again

Reflections of a Fighter Pilot
Rediff News December 30, 2008
First it was the unflattering and detrimental report of the sixth pay commission. Then followed the malicious manoeuvring to downgrade the military further, on the sly, through the committee of secretaries tasked to reconcile the contentious proposals advanced by the same pay commission. Now it is the turn of an unfeeling government to drive the military and its veterans into despondency.

In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Rajya Sabha on December 11 that the government has not found acceptable the demand for 'one rank one pension' (OROP) by the ex-servicemen.

Our politicians may have no qualms about showering promises and reneging on them at will, but the military veterans today feel cheated, no less. The whole military structure rests on the bedrock of ranks. Unfortunately, the stuffed shirts inhabiting the corridors of power are uninterested in understanding military ethos. Make no mistake, OROP is an emotive issue for the men in uniform, and there is deep hurt and resentment at being taken for another ride.

Worse, the denial of OROP comes at a time when the three services are acutely enfeebled by shortage of young officers, at a time when the services are labouring to curb the exodus of middle-level officers, at a time when eligible lads are giving a career in the forces a miss. Could there be a worse illustration of governmental apathy?

MP Anil Kumar
Former Fighter Pilot
Read more:
  • A brief history of 'one rank one pension'
  • The mystery of OROP negation- it beats me
  • Cold-shoulder, procrastinate, turn down -- the time-tested trick
  • What now? Limited options, time to rally round
  • The larger issues
    Click: The government cons the military, again
  • IESL: Battling for One Rank One Pension at Jantar Mantar New Delhi

    IESM Himachal Pradesh Delegation 30 Dec 2008

    Dear Colleagues,
    Delhi is under cold spell. The IESM relay hunger strike of soldiers is on. A group of nine ESM from HP led by Col Kirpal with other JCOs and OR had joined battle today in daytime. All of them are IESL members and their expressed zest for the work that the IESM is doing has been infectious. We happily let them display the IESL banner. As per our philosophy, our focus is only ESM welfare; under what flag we sit, is of no consequence. They have carried back membership forms for others as they commenced their return journey in the evening. A photo of the occasion is attached.

    The Punjab reinforcement led by Col Sandhu will arrive at the site Dec 31 morning for their day long fast. The nucleus for the overnight relay fast
    continues from Haryana ESM. An officer from the Core Gp remains present in daytime (Gp Capt VK Gandhi on 28 Dec, Col Krit Joshipura on 29th and Wg Cdr CK Sharma on 30th). Col Kanwar Bhardwaj our Haryana Convener visits daily, as do other officers from the Core Gp including Gen Satbir. Subedar Ramsarup Yadav from Gurgaon has been the officer incarge logistics and has rendered splendid service.

    Brig JK Chadha, KUMAON, has been a regular visitor and has collected membership forms for distribution. Thank you Jiti.

    The efforts by all are having positive results in uniting the Indian ESM for a common cause.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Demands of Ex Servicemen
  • One Rank One Pension (OROP)
  • Resettlement till the age of sixty
  • Ex Servicemen Commission headed by ESM
  • Services representation on all committees pertaining to ESM welfare.

    Pension for Jawans is a right for services rendered for defending the Nation. Same Soldiers rendering equal service and reaching the same rank, having been discharged with same level of responsibility, should get equal compensation, irrespective of their dates of retirement. In simple words a Sepoy retiring after 17 years service in 1962 should get the same pension of a Sepoy retiring after 17 years in 2008. The present entitlements as per SCPC Pension tables has introduced "One Rank too Many Pensions" with anomalies difficult to set right in the near furure. The ESM will continue to battle for Justice at Jantar Mantar in a peaceful manner (Rally commenced on 17 Dec, 2008 and continuing). The Government needs to address the concerns and welfare of Ex Servicemen. The literate Bureaucrats have confused the illiterate Politicians and the learned GOM deputed to debug anomalies by interlacing the simple issue with extreanous (alien, extrinsic, immaterial, impertinent, inapplicable, adventitious, exotic, foreign, irrelevant, needless, outer, pointless) and uncompounded logic. The promised issue by successive Governments and favourable directives by High Court and Supreme Court in the last one decade, are being scuttled by a few Bureaucrats who have vested interest in their own career profile!
  • Tuesday, December 30, 2008

    Mumbai Mayhem: Who nurtures terrorists?

    Pension for Terrorists

    The enemies of this country are NOT Pakistanis or Chinese. The average Pakistani or Chinese is as good or as bad a guy like you or me. It is the people who manage their systems who are using them as pawns in their power games. And in this matter our people would beat them hollow! Can you believe that the dependants of terrorists are being paid pension in Kashmir by our central govt? A clip of the media report on the subject is shown as above! Our authorities blame the intelligence agencies for their failure whenever a Mumbai type incident occurs and we just lump it and forget it. When the resources of the state are totally misused and abused by those in power how can things improve? Whatever developments this country has made has to be considered as due to the persistence of the common man in spite of the problems created by the people in power.

    Coming to our soldiers, are you aware of the relay fast by veterans of the armed forces at Jantar Mantar from 16 Dec 2008 onwards? Our authorities have managed to even gag the media from highlighting the agitation and the causes leading to it. Can you believe that the 6th Central Pay Commission which had poofed off a few crores of the taxpayers' money had looked after the interests of only the IAS lobby? A lobby which, the RTI Act has proved, is not any better-performance wise- than an LD clerk or a postman. In fact it is this lobby which has to be blamed for the sordid state of affairs of the country because it they who manage our illiterate and semi-literate ministers and elected representatives.

    Maj PM Ravidran (Retd)
    Comment: Shame on successive governments to deny One Rank One Pension to the Ex Serviceman who have defended the Nation with their blood sweat and tears. Now a fast to death rally of ESM at Jantar Mantar battling for justice. How can Governments squander tax payers money by paying terrorists? In the IAC high jack case millions of Dollars paid to terrorists on a plate. Now we hear of pension for terrorist dependents! Is this the recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission? Vicious cycle indeed! How illiterate Politicians are hijacked by literate Bureaucrats, is truly a ground reality beyond comprehension!

    Military options are never easy

    The Mumbai attacks have served as a wake-up call and our political leaders appear to have stirred themselves out of their stupor to review the national security threats and challenges that the country faces.

    The UAPA Amendment Bill and the creation of a National Investigation Agency are good first steps. Enhancing intelligence acquisition should now be the foremost priority. The solution lies in upgrading humint (human intelligence) capabilities by an order of magnitude, creating a suitable organisation to make intelligence assessments and fine-tuning India's counter-terrorism response to react quickly and effectively.

    Simultaneously, counter-terrorism cooperation with friendly powers should be enhanced so as to benefit from a larger pool of knowledge and resources.

    The intelligence agencies are cognisant of the existence of many sleeper cells across the country. A few of these terror modules have been eliminated in encounters in recent years. It is only by stepping up the deployment of humint resources and penetrating the control HQ of the sleeper modules -- a very complex intelligence operation -- that sufficient information about them can be acquired.

    Thousands of well-qualified ex-servicemen retire at a young age (35 to 40 years) and go back to their villages every year. Many of them would be willing and eager to take up the challenge to be trained as agents of the Intelligence Bureau. The people of the country can also contribute to this national effort by maintaining vigilance and reporting all unusual activities to the authorities.

    New police personnel and intelligence agents need to be recruited, armed, equipped, trained, housed and fed before they can join the work force. Surveillance devices like CCTVs and infrared monitors also need to be purchased and installed.

    The ones that are already available need to be made serviceable. Coastal and border surveillance must be carefully coordinated. Meanwhile, the security of vulnerable areas must be ensured by calling for help from the central police and paramilitary forces, bearing in mind that some of these are also overstretched.

    One action that all state governments can take right away is to withdraw the thousands of security personnel detailed for VIP security duties and re-deploy them at key locations that are more vulnerable than VIPs so that they can act as a deterrent.

    On a larger plane, the Indian leadership must stop pretending that all of India's national security challenges are of external origin. Most of India's law and order problems like communal riots and agitations for increased reservations and quotas have been caused by vote bank politics and the extant politician-bureaucrat-police-criminal nexus.

    The time has come to re-examine the merits and demerits of India's parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster model in which both the executive branch and the legislature are manned by the same people.

    India's political leaders have failed to rise above self interest -- that is centred on elections and secret funds to win them -- and have therefore failed to provide good governance. They have failed both the Constitution and the people and it is time for change.

    India needs its own Obama moment if the present rot that lies within is to be stemmed. If the Mumbai terror attacks serve to cause some introspection and act as a catalyst for change, the sacrifice of the lives of 200 innocent people and security forces personnel will not have been in vain.

    Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd)
    Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    Read more: Military options are never easy
    Related articles:
    End of an Era
    In Your Face
    War clouds, nuclear overhang

    Indian Army's Changing Face

    India Today April 13, 1998

    Middle-class officers, more educated soldiers and women are changing the face of the army which is confronted by tough professional challenges. But a relative decline in wages and social status are hurting the army's self-esteem and could affect its performance.
    By Manoj Joshi

    Full Article: Indian Army's Changing Face
    Courtesy Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
    A GOOD WRITE UP FOR PROFESSIONAL DEBATE. Readers are invited to provide valuable inputs which will be debated and discussed in the Professional Blog at: Professional Matters

    A Call to the Nation- Stand up for the Ex-Servicemen

    Published on December 29, 2008 by admin
    It’s a matter of shame, as well as grave concern that those who gave up all the pleasures of life to stand as a wall to protect this nation, are on the road, fighting for something they should have received without asking. It’s also surprising that the media is silent about the whole affair. If this is how we treat our brave soldiers then ofcourse we should not run up to them for any calamity domestic or otherwise for help and protection.

    The news is that Ex-Servicemen, through All India Federation of Military Veterans Organization, are fighting for justice. Their demand is One Rank-One Pension (OROP). The truth is that the demands of these Veterans are falling on deaf ears. The govt has not even moved a finger to put the wrong right. Now the agitation has entered its thirteenth day. The patience of the ever-tolerant servicemen is running out. Sep Suleman Khan (68) Nayak Rekhraj (58) has been on fast unto death since 16th of Dec. On 24th Dec Colonel Lakhiram, Maj I.L.Jakhad, K. Omprakash, Subedar Major Dahiya have also joined Rekhraj for a fast unto death.

    On 24th only, Rekhraj took an oath to immolate himself on 13th of Jan, the day of Makar-Sankaranti, if the demands of the organization are not met with. He has also expressed his hatred for the corrupt leaders by stating that, no corrupt leader should put a wreath on his funeral pyre.

    The facts state that the OROP concept is already being followed in case of our Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies, Honorable Judges and a large number of IAS & IPS Officers. Ever since the sixth pay commission report was submitted on 24th Mar 2008, The EX-Servicemen have been knocking at every possible door to get their long-standing OROP demand accepted.

    Having failed to convince the authorities, they were forced to take their case to the public on 20th Oct 2008, a large number of them including a Lt Gen, many Maj Gen s and other officers & over a hundred others including service families were arrested by the police, when they were holding a totally peaceful rally in New Delhi.

    Group from Punjab consisting of Brig. Hanumant Singh, Col S S Sohi, Capt JS kumbhra and other JCO s & Jawans have come to take part in the relay FAST. The groups from other states have also volunteered to take part in the protest fast. Wives of Ex-Servicemen initially blocked the Jantar-Mantar road and marched up to police station Parliament Street and gave vent to their feelings.

    It’s a matter of greatest shame and regret that those who give up the joys of normal life to protect this country, who bear all kind of hardships so that we can sleep in peace, those who stand like rocks in the face of death should bear such injustice. The nation should stand up to support them. The posthumous awards and laying of wreaths on the dead bodies of the soldiers is not the only time we should think of them. They too deserve to lead a life of comfort and above all respect.
    A Call to the Nation- Stand up for the Ex-Servicemen

    Mumbai Terror Attacks
    India looked at military option after Mumbai carnage
    The 1.5-million-strong defence forces of the country also had their own moments of despair, when “anomalies” remained to be addressed by the Sixth Central Pay Commission report that was implemented in September.

    The pay-related issues led to a series of unsavoury developments and heart-burn among the armed forces and the bureaucracy when the three service chiefs took an unprecedented stand refusing to accept the new pay scales approved by the government.
    Read more: India looked at military option after Mumbai carnage

    IESM: Fast for Justice at Jantar Mantar

    Dear Veterans,

    This morning, when i left home at 0845 Hrs for jantar mantar, temp was 11C and visibility was so poor, i had to move with head lights on and speed 20 kmph. There were two car pileups and 15 Km distance took 80 mins to cover. I thought i did a great job, till... i find Gen Rajendra Prakash from Dehradun, among us, with a walking stick, smiling and breathing heavy. Mind you, he is just 80, but with young spirit. All 10 of us present were mesmerised. Best part was, he said he forgets due to high BP, whereas we all found him very alert and smiling throughout 30 mins he spent with us. He was alert and kept praising our efforts, wishing us success.

    Then, suddenly, he got up and told us that he had to catch a train to Dehradun and left assuring us that he would come back soon.

    What surprises me is with such comdrs, why are we in present mess? Probably, too much involvement with profressional matters ignoring manipulations by B advisors with our IZZAT and Status. OR...

    Lt Col Kirit Joshipura (Retd)

    SCPC Goof Ups: Letter to Prime Minister

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Despite several appeals, requests, complaints, and even protests from various quarters regarding grievances of the armed forces personnel on the 6th CPC, there has been no sympathetic response from the govt. I sincerely feel this matter now requires your personal intervention. Hence, this mail.

    It seems the members of the 6th CPC and those responsible for the follow up action either did not know or failed to appreciate the importance and sanctity of age old accepted precedence of the armed forces ranks not only vis a vis their counter parts in other central services but also the inter se rank precedence within the armed forces.

    Otherwise, how on earth they should they prescribe pay/ pension revision formulae as would result in fixing pay of the ranks like Lt Col and above up to Lt Gen(and their equivalent) less than that of lower precedence posts of other services? And within the Armed Forces, why should the pay of a selection grade rank not be better than that of a time scale promotee who fails to make the selection grade? Why the rank- inherent rank pay now not be paid to the illegible serving officers?

    Among the pensioners, why should the pension of higher ranks work out less than that of junior ranks? Why should a selection grade retired officer be given pension less than a time scale one? Why should old pensioners get less pension by thousands of rupees as compared to the new ones retiring in the same ranks? Why should an old Havaldar get pension less than a Sepoy? These are a few most glaring inconsistencies among other anomalies galore.

    It would also appear those (including the Group of Secys and their staff ) responsible for follow up action on the approved recommendations of the CPC did not do their home work fully and sincerely, before rushing promulgation and implementation. Most of the anomalies could have been resolved at that stage and dissatisfaction avoided. They failed to appreciate that any piecemeal and half baked tinkering with one service would have serious ramifications adversely affecting others.

    It is well known that the govt is committed to maintaining a healthy balance among all the central services. Yet, this has been totally upset now. As the time slips, the situation is becoming complex – otherwise, by now, the best brains and most learned Group of
    Ministers deputed by you to resolve matters should have come out with a solution.

    With such frustration, one is agitated to suggest scrapping of the entire proceedings of the 6th CPC and rework the whole exercise ab initio in fairness to all. If this is too much, even at this belated stage, the govt should consider appointing a Special Pay Commission exclusively for the Armed Forces to address their problems afresh fully, expeditiously, and without any prejudice so as to restore confidence and satisfaction among them. Had, initially, the advice/suggestion of the three Chiefs for accommodating a services representative on the 6th CPC been heeded, this situation could have been averted.

    With profound regards, and full of hopes,
    Yours sincerely,
    Lt Gen Manmohan Singh, PVSM(Retd)

    Copy forwarded by Brig V Thyagarajan (Retd)

    Monday, December 29, 2008

    IESM: "One Rank One Pension" Ploy of Successive Governments


    I give below, two extracts from e-mails received on the IESM e-net. The first is a Tribune article dated 25 May 1999 by RAdm Satyendra Singh and the second is a very recent Press Statement by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    The first shows how when the BJP-led NDA government was in power, they made the right noises by Defence Minister Fernandes "okaying" OROP, but did nothing to implement it even though they had enough time and more. The second shows how the BJP is making political mileage out of the present UPA government's insistence (totally idiotic and myopic, in my view, considering the integrity of the Union of India) that OROP is neither feasible nor necessary.

    The bottom line as far as our IESM policy is concerned, should be that none of the political parties can be trusted, and we can get our due of justice and equity only if we fight on simply as IESM without any leanings towards one political party or another, as we have been while in service. The common factor is, of course, the bureaucracy, which has seen to it (regardless of which party or coalition is in power) that OROP has not been sanctioned by government. May I request that this letter be circulated for info of others.

    Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year 2009 with good health and fitness, and wishes for success in gaining OROP in 2009.
    In solidarity,
    Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)
    Issue of one rank, one pension: Nine years ago
    One rank, one pension blues: Decade ago
    Sonia calls for one-rank-one-pension: Six years ago
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
    Original copy of Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri

    Mumbai Mayhem: Pakistan deflects terror conflict

    DH News Service, New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear on Tuesday that India was not for war and asked Pakistan to make "objective efforts" to dismantle the "terror machine" in its territory instead of creating a war hysteria in the sub-continent.
    Pakistan told to dismantle terror machine: PM decries war cry

    Indian border security force soldiers on duty at the western sector of India-Pakistan international border at Ranjitpura village, Rajasthan state, India. Photograph: Vinay Joshi/AP

    Pakistan moved troops away from its western border with Afghanistan, amid reports that thousands of soldiers were being redeployed along the eastern frontier with India yesterday, in what would be a major escalation of the confrontation between the two countries after the Mumbai terrorist attack last month. Most experts still believe that war between the nuclear-armed adversaries is unlikely but, if confirmed, the troop movements risk triggering a conflict, with both sides in a state of nervous high alert.
    Pakistan 'deploys soldiers to Indian border'

    Pakistan cancels army leave as India tensions rise
    27 December 2008 | 01:39 | FOCUS News Agency
    New Delhi/Islamabad. Pakistan canceled army leave and redeployed some troops Friday in a sign of rising tension with India, Reuters reported.
    The United States urged both sides to refrain from further raising tensions, already high after India blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for attacks on Mumbai last month that killed 179 people.
    The latest strains followed media reports in Pakistan and India that "several" Indian nationals had been held in the last two days after bombings in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Multan.
    The foreign ministry in New Delhi warned Indian citizens on Friday that "it would be unsafe for them to travel (to) or be in Pakistan."
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier discussed tension with Pakistan during a scheduled meeting about military pay with the chiefs of the army, navy and air force, his office said. "The prime minister met the tri-services chiefs to discuss the pay commission issues but obviously the situation in the region was also discussed," said an official from Singh's office, who requested anonymity.
    Pakistan cancels army leave as India tensions rise
    US Urges Calm as Tensions Rise Between India and Pakistan

    SCPC: Convoluting the Morale of Ex- Servicemen and Career of the Military

    Dear All,
    I have sent a letter to the PM and sent copies to the three Chiefs; copies are as under: -
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    War Wounded Foundation
    Plot No. 339, Village - Shahabad Mohammadpur, Opp. Pump House No. 3,
    Near IGI Airport, Delhi- 110061
    Web site War Wounded
    28 December 2008

    In the last seven years since my retirement as the Vice Chief of our army in 2001, I have addressed you only twice. The first was on the Siachin issue, where I had urged you not to agree to the formulations of Pakistan; the second was my suggestion relating to employing ex-servicemen in nation-building projects, if genuine implementation was desired. Fortunately, on both occasions you were gracious enough to reply and assure me that the concerns I had reflected had been noted.

    I am now approaching you for the third time to share perhaps the most important issue, which has a direct bearing on the security of the nation. The concern has added meaning in the light of the developing situation on our western borders. I do hope this is placed on your table by your staff and not hijacked enroute by those who have vested interests!

    The issue I am taking your valuable time about is the morale and welfare of an extremely important and valuable segment of the nations’ polity, viz. the officers and jawans of the defence forces, both serving and those who have hung up their boots after serving the nation with all their might. You must be already ‘au fait’ with the tragedy of the 6th Pay Commission, or at least those aspects which have been brought to your notice by both the current Chiefs’ of the defence forces, the erstwhile Chiefs’ and other senior officers of the forces, as well as the versions of others who no doubt have briefed you from time to time.

    According to media reports, you are already discussing the major issues placed before you by the Chiefs’, relative to the serving personnel. It would therefore be incorrect on my part to say anything about them. However, I do wish to draw your attention to the plight of the ex-servicemen, who unfortunately have no “mai-baap”, except the political leaders of the nation. There are of course many “spoilers” sitting in important positions of the government, who, I am sure are well known to you. When the majority of political leaders are also not amenable to listen to their genuine pleas for justice, where do the ex-servicemen go? Obviously to you, Sir, and hence this letter.

    There are far too many anomalies that are making the ex-servicemen both angry and frustrated, but I will only mention the important ones. I am afraid what is really rankling is that your government, your party, as well as the common minimum programme of the UPA have failed to honour the commitments made to them relating to the issue of “One Rank One Pension (OROP)”. Sir, I cannot obviously go into details, but the situation today is that over 30 lakh ex-servicemen are a disillusioned lot, and their demeanour affects not only their morale and that of their families (which may be inconsequential in the view of your advisers, on account of their ignorance) but more importantly the morale of those aspiring to have a career in the defence forces, as well as the serving personnel who know that they are the ex-servicemen of tomorrow and will therefore meet a similar fate.

    It is highly unfortunate that the bureaucrats, however intelligent and clever they may be, can never discern the extent of disillusionment there is amongst the soldiery of the country, which has been systematically downgraded by na├»ve and ignorant persons because of their “tunnel vision” and not thinking about the interests of the nation. Let me state unequivocally that the Indian military continues to be the most loyal segment of the polity of India and it needs to be nurtured and supported and not ignored or reduced in esteem.

    The second and related issue is that the government has given virtual OROP to the Chiefs and C’s-in-C, but has denied it to all others including our jawans. In the military we have always ensured that our subordinates get all dues and perks first and only thereafter the senior defence officers get them. I do agree that such ethos does not prevail amongst the bureaucracy for a variety of reasons, which I am sure are well known to you. However, by giving virtual OROP to the very few senior most military veterans, great injustice has been done to our subordinates. This needs to be set right immediately. You may well say that it is equally applicable to the civil officials, but the situation is markedly different between civil and military officials. As an example, nearly 90 per cent IAS, IFS and IPS officers retire in the Apex or the HAG Plus scales, but in the case of the military officers the equivalent percentage is barely 0.001! Neither is there a case for inadequacy of funds, for the total amount even in these inflationary times is less than Rs. 2200 crores, which is not even 2.08 percent of this years defence budget and a minuscule percentage of the nation’s budget.

    The third issue is that of the bungling done by the civilian government officials, wherein the amount of pension sanctioned for officers of different rank, viz. brigadiers, major generals and lieutenant generals is identical. This, besides its incongruity, is also an invitation to the serving officers to quit the service after becoming brigadiers as in any case their pension would be the same in higher ranks! Surely, in the interest of the security of the nation that could not be your intention. I could cite more such examples but I am sure a wise person like you would have understood the illogicality of such dispensations.

    May I in the end draw your attention to the fast deteriorating civil-military relationship in the country, which does not auger well for the future security of the country, especially in these unstable and turbulent times? The Indian military has scrupulously and unwaveringly followed the principle of remaining apolitical, even at the cost of its legitimate aspirations not being met. In the larger national interest, the balance between these two arms of the government must continue and be even fine-tuned, but there is need to mention that it is fast reaching a breaking point. I am afraid, Sir that your personal intervention is needed to set this balance right, so that the ship of state remains on an even keel.

    Dr. Manmohan Singh
    Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
    Prime Minister’s Office
    New Delhi-110011

    28 December 2008

    The pensionary awards for the military veterans are a great disappointment. There is great resentment amongst the rank and file, which obviously is neither good for the country nor the defence forces. I need not go into details as you must already be fully apprised of them.

    I have addressed a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard, a copy of which I am enclosing, both for your information and for your support, which would be invaluable.

    General Deepak Kapoor, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
    Chief of the Army Staff

    Admiral Sureesh Mehta, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
    Chief of the Naval Staff

    Air Chief Marshal F H Major, PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC
    Chief of the Air Staff

    Calling All Pakistanis

    Published: December 2, 2008
    On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

    After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

    So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai? India says its interrogation of the surviving terrorist indicates that all 10 men come from the Pakistani port of Karachi, and at least one, if not all 10, were Pakistani nationals.

    First of all, it seems to me that the Pakistani government, which is extremely weak to begin with, has been taking this mass murder very seriously, and, for now, no official connection between the terrorists and elements of the Pakistani security services has been uncovered.

    At the same time, any reading of the Pakistani English-language press reveals Pakistani voices expressing real anguish and horror over this incident. Take for instance the Inter Press Service news agency article of Nov. 29 from Karachi: “ ‘I feel a great fear that [the Mumbai violence] will adversely affect Pakistan and India relations,’ the prominent Karachi-based feminist poet and writer Attiya Dawood told I.P.S. ‘I can’t say whether Pakistan is involved or not, but whoever is involved, it is not the ordinary people of Pakistan, like myself, or my daughters. We are with our Indian brothers and sisters in their pain and sorrow.’ ”

    But while the Pakistani government’s sober response is important, and the sincere expressions of outrage by individual Pakistanis are critical, I am still hoping for more. I am still hoping — just once — for that mass demonstration of “ordinary people” against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India’s sake, but for Pakistan’s sake.

    Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities.

    Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.”

    Why should Pakistanis do that? Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process.

    “I often make the comparison to Catholics during the pedophile priest scandal,” a Muslim woman friend wrote me. “Those Catholics that left the church or spoke out against the church were not trying to prove to anyone that they are anti-pedophile. Nor were they apologizing for Catholics, or trying to make the point that this is not Catholicism to the non-Catholic world. They spoke out because they wanted to influence the church. They wanted to fix a terrible problem” in their own religious community.

    We know from the Danish cartoons affair that Pakistanis and other Muslims know how to mobilize quickly to express their heartfelt feelings, not just as individuals, but as a powerful collective. That is what is needed here.

    Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.
    The world suffers a lot,
    not because of VIOLENCE of BAD people but,
    because of SILENCE of GOOD people.

    Calling All Pakistanis

    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    IESM: Fast for Justice Press Release

    Press Note
    Dated: 27 December 2008
    Ex Servicemen on Relay Hunger Strike and Fast Unto death since 16 Dec 2008.
    Govt Apathy Disturbing

    Dear Members of the Press,

    “My Lord, that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to demand his dues or, worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived overnight nor in vain. It will also bode ill for Magadha. For then, on that day, you, My Lord, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King! It will also be the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire!!"” (Kautalya)

    1. Relay Hunger Strike and Fast unto death by Ex Servicemen enters the 12th Day, six of them are on Fast unto death. They are Major Ishwar Singh Jakhar, Capt Om Parkash, Subedar Major SR Dhaiya, Sep Suleman Khan, Naik Rekh Raj and Naik RK Yadav. It is most disturbing that the Govt is totally unmindful of the anguish and hurt feelings of Ex Servicemen. They feel more aggrieved with the logic given by the Govt for rejecting the One Rank One Pension (OROP), the most genuine demand of the Ex Servicemen. The Govt has said, grant of OROP is not necessary thereby indicating that the Ex servicemen are the Fired Cartridges and need not be given the OROP. Secondly, it has said that the morale of the Defence Forces will not be affected since they will look after the interest of serving personal at the time of their retirement. Thirdly, the Govt does not find it affordable. These reveal the degenerated mind of the Govt functionaries tasked to go into the grievances of Defence Personnel. Fired Cartridge status to Ex Servicemen proves the old saying,” God and Soldiers are remembered only during distress and danger and once the danger is gone, the God is forgotten and the soldier is slighted”. Who would like to join the Defence Forces since over 95% of them will be compulsorily retired between the ages of 35 – 42 and will be going through 4 – 5 Pay Commissions in their life time? Down gradation by every Pay Commission will force them to live life of penury.

    2. Secondly, the logic that the Morale of Defence Forces will not be affected is illogical. Mostly, the children and relations of Ex Servicemen are serving in the Defence Forces. The ill-treatment to their elders will definitely adversely affect their morale. Also, they will be facing the same treatment. It is pertinent to mention that there is no politician or the bureaucrat who has sent his/ her children in the Defence Forces. How will they know the pain of losing their loved ones and the extreme adverse conditions they live in? Lastly, the affordability, their logic is a crude joke. The total amount worked out by the Govt in August 03 for OROP was only Rupees 613 crores. This amount for the Govt is nothing even after escalation and 6th CPC award is added to it.

    3. Therefore the reasons given are totally illogical and flimsy, to say the least. Sh. Jaswant Singh the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha has also written to the RM Sh. AK Antony to urgently so resolve the issue of OROP as to enable the Relay Fast at Jantar Mantar to be cabled off.

    4. We implore the Govt to immediately grant OROP. Non grant of OROP will be violative of article 14 of the constitution. The Govt cannot create classes within the class. Irrespective of the date of retirement the Defence Personnel of the same rank must be given the same pension, ruled the Supreme Court in judgment delivered on 09 Sep 2008. The Govt must honour the legal advice and grant OROP immediately.

    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
    Pension - Supreme court Judgments, Central pay commissions observations & the Government

    IESM: fast-unto-death demanding Parity of Pension

    Suleiman Khan

    HT epaper A battle of a different Kind
    Five ex-servicemen go on fast-unto-death demanding parity of pension benefits
    HT Correspondent
    New Delhi, Decemeber 27, 2008

    FROM FIGHTING for his country to fighting for a day-to-day existence Sepoy Suleman Khan never fathomed life would come to this point. Living on a monthly pension of Rs 2,600 after serving in the Army for over two decades arouses a sense of indignation in him. Selling peanuts for a living adds to the humiliation. Khan and several other ex-servicemen like him are no longer willing to endure the "government's apathy" towards their financial plight. He and five other ex-servicemen, Major Ishwar Singh Jakhar, Captain O.M. Parkash, Subedar Major S.R. Dhaiya, Naik Rekh Raj and Naik R.K. Yaday, have taken to an extreme method to have their voices heard fast-unto-death. On Saturday, over 500 ex-service- men gathered at Jantar Mantar road to express solidarity with them and mount pressure on the government to implement the 'one rank one pension' (OROP) principle. With pay commissions increasing the salaries of armed forces personnel every 10 years, the gap be- tween the pensions received by those who retired before the implementation of the commissions and those after implementation has widened. The OROP principle intends to resolve the disparity of pensionary benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The government rejected this long-standing demand this month. Major General Satbir Singh, vice chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, said: "Who would like to join the defence when over 95 per cent of them will be compulsorily retired between the ages of 35 to 42 and wm be going through four to five pay commissions in their lifetime? Downgradation will force them to live a life of penury" "I have served during the 1962 and the 1971 wars. My family and I currently live in a jhuggi (slum dwelling) in Madanpur Khadar and supporting them on a measly pension of Rs 2,600 makes life difficult," said Khan, who was on his 12th day without any food on Saturday.

    Mumbai Mayhem: ISI Paradox

    Russell’s Paradox and the ISI by T. C. A. Srinivasa-Raghavan

    Pakistan’s former ISI chief, and now Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, made some loudly belligerent noises on Tuesday. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, immediately responded by saying war was not an option. A few days ago, Fareed Zakaria, the well known columnist and editor of Newsweek, told an interviewer on NDTV “that the Pakistani military can only be reined in by itself. No civilian government in Pakistan has ever had the ability to tell the military in Pakistan to rein in itself.”

    Unwittingly, perhaps, Mr Zakaria has pointed to one of the biggest paradoxes (or impossibilities) of formal logic. It was first discovered, if that is the word, by Bertrand Russell sometime in the first decade of the 20th century, perhaps even as early as 1901.

    In its simplest form the paradox is this: if the village barber shaves only those villagers who do not shave themselves, who shaves the barber? That is, if a barber shaves only those who don’t shave themselves, he can’t shave himself. So what is he to do if he doesn’t want a beard? Or, consider library catalogues. Should the catalogue of catalogues list itself? A catalogue can’t list itself because, by doing so, it would belong in another catalogue, that is, that of catalogues that do include themselves. So, whatever you do, it can never be a catalogue of catalogues that don’t list themselves.

    A problem of logic
    There are many such examples but the point, presumably, is clear. If you follow the rule that a set can be a member of itself if, and only if, it is not a member of itself, you get a paradox.

    Now, even though this may be a gross over simplification in mathematical terms of what is essentially a problem of logic, apply this to the ISI and you will see the resemblance, though not perhaps a one-to-one mapping. Pakistan’s sovereignty means that no other country can rein in its army, and the ISI’s self-made charter ensures that it will not rein itself in. This is where Russell’s Paradox becomes evident.

    If the only reason for the ISI’s existence is to create problems for everyone else in the belief that it serves Pakistan’s national interest, how will it rein itself in? Why would it, for then it would belong to the set that doesn’t want to create problems for the world and that is not logically possible.

    Solution of sorts
    Mathematicians and logicians struggled for a long time with what is known as Russell’s Paradox. Eventually, they found a solution which is really not a solution, at least not of the paradox: the only way of resolving it was if such a barber did not exist. Or, what was the same thing, if the barber was a woman. Substitute ‘ISI’ for ‘barber’ in the second sentence of the previous paragraph or ‘civilian government’ for ‘woman’ in the last sentence, and you get the answer.

    This essentially means that if the categories listed above are to live in peace, the ISI must cease to exist in its present form, or even better, entirely. There is simply no other solution. The US and India have grasped the problem and are asking the ISI to be brought under civilian control. But have they understood that this is not possible without a sex-conversion surgery on the ISI?
    Russell’s Paradox and the ISI

    Mumbai Mayhem: Nation United by Terrorists

    In 60 blood-soaked hours, you have achieved what we as a nation haven't achieved in 60 years of independence.

    Today, we want answers.
    Today, we won't lie back and wait for someone else to do the job.
    Today, we won't be lulled into inaction by glib talks and subterfuge.
    Today we won't say "Chalta Hai "
    Today we won't vote for goons.
    Today we will not accept religion or caste or creed, just nationality.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    In 60 horrifyingly sickening hours, you have awoken a giant that lay asleep for 60 years of sovereignty.
    Every Indian will now walk together.
    Every Indian will now value his vote.
    Every Indian will now demand accountability.
    Every Indian will now see through lies and deceit.
    Every Indian will now demand explanations.
    Every Indian will now stand up to be counted.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    In 60 gruesome, murderous hours you've instilled a pride in us that we couldn't instill in 60 years of liberty.
    You have left behind a reminder that we the people can make a difference.
    You have left behind a reason to unite rather than divide.
    You have left behind a nation with sheer will & intent.
    You have left behind a spirit that dances to a new beat.
    You have left behind a billion renewed patriotic hearts.
    You have left behind a voice that will be heard.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    If only you'd let the innocent live & taken the lives of 200 politicians instead…
    A humble plea to my fellow Indians

    The next time politicians tear down a place of worship; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians divide us on the grounds of religion; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians divide us on the basis of state; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians with criminal records stand for elections; lets label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians take kick-backs on arms deals; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians jump parties to grab power, let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians politicize terror; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians twiddle their thumbs while our cities burn; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians capture voting booths; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians accumulate assets disproportionate to their income; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians transfer honest policemen; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians provide substandard equipment to our forces; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians misuse our taxes; let's call them terrorists.
    The next time politicians skip meetings on national security; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians play an opportunistic blame game; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians try every trick in the book to hang on to their "kursis"; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians insult a martyr's family; let's label them terrorists–
    (Courtesy Ms Mala Sen)
    We thank Brig PT Gangadharan for sending us the spirit of "National Awakening" aptly worded by Ms Mala Sen. We need to enthuse and invoke the same spirit in respect of corrupt Bureaucrats who are taking the common citizens for a ride.

    SCPC: Eliminate Anomalies

    Copy of attachment to Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri Click Here

    Neta virodhi dal (Shri Jaswant Singh):
    Sadar shahab, Badi khushi ki baat hai ki seize-fire to ho gaya. Seize-fire hone ke bad, main yahan faujiyon ki jo kuch takleefe hai, ve apke samne rakhna chahata hoon. Peechle chand manhino se yahan musla chal raha hai and we have had, Sir, a demonstration of great discontent by the Armed Forces and jt. is unusual for the Chiefs to have gone to the extent of voicing that discontent in public. It was an unusual step, but it is unusual circumstances that have compelled them to do so, and, therefore, rather than elaborating what the entire situation is, may I recommend for the consideration of my good friend, the distinguished Minister for Defence, and, of course, the hon. Prime Minister, to please consider very sympathetically and attentively the questions that have been raised or the aspects that have got underscored by the Sixth Pay Commission's treatment of the Services? We have got focused particularly on the question of pension, on the question of pay relating to two ranks, namely, Lieutenant Colonel and Lieutenant General - Lieutenant General, when it comes to precedence; Lieutenant Colonel, when it comes to precedence and pay. Let me submit to you, Sir, that one of the most difficult questions to address and answer honestly is why does a soldier, a sailor or an airman agree to die. Please, believe me, Sir, that the principal motivation is izzat, and if you do not give izzat to the uniformed community, then you are robbing them of the central impulse of military morale. My recommendation for the Government, therefore, to consider please examine the question of Inflation Indexing of pensions and with that, is related the aspect which has now troubled us for some years. I have had the benefit and distinction of being a Member of a Committee established for the benefit and welfare of ex-servicemen long years back when late Mrs. Gandhi was the Prime Minister and my distinguished friend and colleague, Mr. K.P. Singh Deo, was the Chairman of that Committee. We spent many months deliberating and did make recommendations. Some of them got implemented, some have not. Number of steps-was then taken by the NDA Government, but there still remains the question, which is troubling us, of 'one rank - one pension'. May I recommend to the Government to re-examine it in all its aspects and let us all work towards its timely implementation?

    There are just few other recommendations. One is to constitute a commission for the welfare of ex-servicemen and it ought to be really a statutory commission so that this periodic problem does not arise. Second is the question, and it has troubled us very greatly, of resettlement of ex-servicemen. At the rank of Sawar or Jawan,-a soldier will retire and go on pension at the age of 36. Thirty-six year old person is a young man, or a young woman, and still has full life ahead of him or her. And, it is a very great pity that this trained and talented manpower is then taken away from the nation. It is very useful national asset, Sir. A lot of recommendations have come. But lateral induction, how many can be taken, as Jobs are scarce, I recognise all that. But then, ex-servicemen are also a vital category, and it is because of all these factors that today we have a shortage -- I could be corrected on the actual figures -- of almost 18,000 personnel in the officer rank. It is a very critical shortage. This is about re­settlement.

    My third recommendation is about representation of serving and retired personnel in Pay Commission. The problem arises when you constitute a Pay Commission and everyone else is represented but the Services. If you have the Services represented, there will be a representative of the services to articulate their views when the Commission is functioning.

    Sir, now the Government must attend to eliminating the anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission as far as the Services are concerned. I do not wish to take the time of the House in listing all them out. The Government is aware of what the anomalies are. Please attend to them. A Group of Ministers has got constituted. But there is so much work that the Hon. Minister of External Affairs has, he can't do it all. There is a very able Defence Minister, why not complete this under the Prime Minister's care itself?

    Sir, please take on board that the prestige and precedence aspects of the Services are vital categories of honour. It is for this reason, Sir, that I have raised this issue. (Ends)
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
    Original copy of Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri

    Promises: One rank, One Pension now a distant dream

    Fauji beat By Pritam Bhullar Sunday, January 10, 1999

    STRANGE are the ways of the government (read bureaucrats) when it comes to giving a fair deal to soldiers. The bureaucrats do not get tired of proving it time and again that no legitimate benefits can be given to soldiers unless the former pocket them first.

    On assuming office as Prime Minister in 1989, V.P. Singh said in his TV address to the nation that his government "stood committed" to "one rank, one pension" demand. The then President, R. Venkataraman, had also made a similar commitment in his TV address in December 1989. What followed thereafter was the appointment of "Jaffa Committee" which gave a bureaucratic burial to this demand.

    Now as per the government notification issued in the third week of December 1998, the bureaucrats have given themselves what they have been denying to the soldiers all these years. The notification says that all Central Government pensioners, irrespective of their date of retirement, will get 50 per cent of the minimum pay introduced from January 1, 1996 as pension for the post held by them last.

    The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said on December 22 that "the long pending one rank, one pension issue is expected to be resolved soon". He also said that a Cabinet paper on the subject was ready and some discussions on the issue were awaited.

    Are defence personal not Central Government employees? If they are, which of course they are, then why this tom-tom about "one rank, one pension" at this stage which has already been given to all Central Government employees?

    However, the fact remains that our "destiny markers" (the bureaucrats) had to get the pay advantage first before giving it to the "faujis".
    One rank, one pension blues

    Issue of one rank, one pension
    OVER a month ago — April 10, 1999 to be precise — Raksha Mantri George Fernandes made an announcement at Anandpur Sahib that the long-pending demand of the ex-sevicemen of one rank, one pension has been accepted and its implementation was now a “matter of only a few days”. Since then the implementation, I would like to believe, is progressing; how fast and intrinsic, I don’t know. Every now and then we read about the pending work that has to be cleared by the “caretaker government” but this subject is not mentioned. So let us draw our own conclusions from this. But that is why the ex-servicemen need media attention to “chevy up” things appropriately, for in the kingdom of babudom the ethos of “delay, deprive and deny” is an abiding factor.

    The Tribune has a very, very large segment of our ex-servicemen community as its readers. But before I mention a few lines about the genesis of the matter, I must mention that on April 11 itself our AIR asked me to record a talk on this subject which was broadcast on the spotlight programme after the 9 p.m. English news bulletin. This was because I was one of the three petitioners in the pensioners case on which the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court delivered its historic judgement on December 17, 1982. I did mention to AIR that very few people now listen to AIR with TV being the craze for most people!

    To quote a few lines from the Supreme Court judgement: “With a slight variation to suit the context, Wolsey’s prayer — “Had I served my God as reverently as I did my King, I would not have fallen on those days of penury” — I fall on the thorns of life, I bleed. Old age, ebbing mental and physical process, atrophy of both muscle and brain power permeating these petitions, the petitioners in the fall of life yearn for equality of treatment which is being meted out to those who are soon going to join and swell their own ranks.”

    The judgement can be termed as a sort of magna carta for pensioners, for at the very end, the judges stated: “With the expanding horizons of socio-economic justice... and largely influenced by the fact that the old men, who retired when emoluments were comparatively low and are exposed to vagaries of continuously rising prices... we are satisfied that by introducing an arbitrary eligibility, being in service and retiring subsequent to the specified date, or being eligible for the regularised pension scheme and thereby dividing a homogeneous class, these classifications being not based on any discernible rational principle ... are unconstitutional and are struck down.”

    The government thereafter filed a 75-page review petition which was rejected by a six-line order in April, 1983. The Secretary (Expenditure) was approached by the petitioners with the order. His Joint Secretary (Administration) reacted in a manner which is a manifestation of our supercilious bureaucracy at its eloquent best. He said: “We will go to Parliament and nullify this judgement.” They did not go to Parliament in a formal manner but have made sure that to this date the judgement has not been implemented — in thought, word and deed!

    During this writer’s frequent rounds of the Supreme Court as one of the three petitioners, a story from the Mahabharata was related to the situation by a decorated World War II veteran, in his late seventies. Four Pandava brothers had drunk water from a pond without answering a set of questions despite being warned against doing so by a divine force. While the four brothers lay dead, the eldest of all, Yudhishthir undertook to answer the questions in return for the lives of his brothers. “Which is the most wonderful phenomenon?” asked the voice. “No man”, replied Yudhishthir, “though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will also die.” The lives of his brothers were restored. The veteran then posed the question: “Will our babus, netas and Chiefs of Staff never retire or die?” To this one could add what Palmerstone once remarked: “Die, doctor? That’s the last thing I’ll ever do!”

    The most important point to mention is that a mere announcement means very little. It has to be ensured that this acceptance is concretised by issuing government orders immediately so that former uniformed personnel receive their due pension and arrears within two months of the announcement — one month has already gone by and in the process (two months) nearly 10,000 ex-servicemen pensioners would have died; they form two-thirds of the central government pensioners. There are also the family pensioners and disabled pensioners who encounter a callous and cruel system in a more pronounced manner.

    Ex-servicemen pensioners are entitled to be considered a little differently from civil pensioners for on the date of their entry into service they are enjoined to be ready to offer the supreme sacrifice for the nation — and which they happily do, in addition to coming to the aid of civil power so frequently when all else has failed. One would like to hope that those who have defended the basic integrity of the nation, and for many of whom life ebbs fast, are not disposed of with platitudes, for they are in no position to use coercive methods to get their demand accepted like many others do and so frequently.
    Satyindra Singh
    The author is a retired Rear Admiral, Indian Navy
    Issue of one rank, one pension

    Saturday, December 27, 2008

    Six years ago Sonia calls for one-rank-one-pension, now MoD scraps the concept

    The estimated expenditure for One Rank One pension is projected Rs 2000 crores which is really less than 2% of total defence outlay for 2008

    23 Nov 2002, 2200 hrs IST, TNN

    CHANDIGARH: During her 40-minute stay at the rally, Sonia Gandhi endorsed the demand for one-rank-one-pension, which was earlier stressed upon by Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh at the North Zone Ex-servicemen rally addressed by the Congress president at the Sector 46 sports complex. Ex-servicemen have been demanding change in criteria for pension, as laid out by the fifth Pay Commission about seven years ago.

    All India Congress Committee Ex-servicemen cell chairman Lt Gen MM Lakhera, who was Adjutant General when the pay commission proposals were being firmed up, highlighted the long pending demand for waiving the 33 years service criterion for earning full pension, since ex-servicemen below the rank of Subedar cannot fulfil this condition.

    Lakhera also protested against the 'meagre monthly allowance' of Rs 600 to attendants of handicapped exservicemen. Both Amarinder Singh and Lakhera demanded that ex-servicemen be granted entitlement of free medical services in civil hospitals in areas where military hospitals are not available. They also pointed out that the present monthly entitlement of Rs 100 was far too meagre in case of ex-servicemen opting for medical allowance in lieu of facilities.

    This amount, they said, should be enhanced to Rs 250 per month, at par with civilian employees. Gallantry award winners honoured: Sonia Gandhi honoured relatives of four Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and four Victoria Cross (VC) gallantry award winners— all from Punjab who laid down their lives during various wars, including World War-II. While the PVC is the highest Indian gallantry award, VC was the highest gallantry award awarded by the British during WW-II. The first to be honoured was Amarjeet Kaur, wife of Lt Karamjeet Singh, who laid down his life during WW-II, in 1945, for which he was posthumously awarded the VC. She was followed by Gurdial Kaur, wife of Captain Joginder Singh, who was awarded PVC for bravery during the 1962 Sino-Indian war.

    Gurdial Kaur, wife of Lance Naik (honorary captain) Karam Singh, who was awarded PVC for his valiant acts in the 1948 Indo-Pak war, was presented a shawl. Karam Singh, who was commanding a section, was severely wounded. He forced the eviction of the enemy who had made a bid to recapture Tithuwal in Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, Sukhdev Singh, brother of Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, who was killed in the line of duty while on a UN mission to Congo, was also honoured by Sonia Gandhi.

    She also honoured Sukhwinder Singh, brother of flying officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the solitary PVC awardee of Indian Air Force. Sekhon was killed while defending Srinagar airfield during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, during which he shot down two USmade Pakistan Air Force Sabre jets with his Britishmade Gnat on December 14, 1971. The remaining three VC winners, whose family members were honoured, were Jamandar (Subedar Major and Honorary Captain) Gian Singh, Naib Subedar Nand Singh and Havaldar Prakash Singh— all of whom died during WW-II.

    Let-down: A slip of tongue by Amarinder Singh left Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Hanspal somewhat red faced. The CM inadvertently called the state president 'district president' during his introductory speech.
    Curiosity value: Dressed in a grey suit and white shawl, Sonia Gandhi charmed the large number of people who had come from all parts of Punjab to listen to this 'vilaiti' woman. Waving occasionally in her typical style, Sonia presented an image of her late mother-in-law Indira Gandhi towards the end of the speech as she urged the audience to say Jai Hind thrice -- each time in a more sonorous voice than before.
    Sonia calls for one-rank-one-pension: Six years ago

    Present Status: No OROP for veterans
    Supreme Court had passed a judgement in 1982 on the One Rank One Pension scheme for military veterans and the KP Singh Deo Committee had recommended the same unequivocally in 1984. It was also one of the main planks for protests by veterans earlier this year. However the defence minister has categorically stated its unacceptability in the Rajya Sabha today.

    Government has not found acceptable the demand of Ex-Servicemen for one rank one pension. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Kalraj Mishra in Rajya Sabha today. The defence personnel have not rejected the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, he added.[PIB]

    Pension Adalat extension of Bureaucratic Red Tape
    Question-No.5: Pensioner of the same rank, group & qualifying service who was discharged from service from the same date is getting more pension than me.
    Answer: Full details of colleague pensioner is required for checking the entitlement and making comparison. However, generally there may not be any variation between the pensions of those who are of the same rank, group, qualifying service and are of the same date of discharge unless there is some wrong fixation of pension.
    Read it all: Common Questions Asked in Defence Pension Adalats By Pensioners/ Family Pensioners

    Half Boy Half Man: A Jawan's Creed

    I m enclosing a mail sent by none other than the chairman of Thapar Group, a business magnate who is among the top 10 business icons. He has sent the following message to his entire organisation for his employees to read and respond.
    Commodore HA Gokhale

    Half Boy Half Man
    The average age of the army man is 23 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer in the capital of his country, but old enough to die for his country.

    He's a recent school or college graduate; he was probably an average student from one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a rickety bicycle, and had a girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip- hop or bhangra or gazals and a 155mm howitzer.

    He is 5 or 7 kilos lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting the insurgents or standing guard on the icy Himalayas from before dawn to well after dusk or he is at Mumbai engaging the terrorists. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

    He digs trenches and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. His pride and self-respect, he does not lack. He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of combat dress: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own wounds. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

    He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands He can save your life- or take it, because he's been trained for both. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed to do so.

    He feels every note of the Jana Gana Mana vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hands from their pockets, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

    Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is your nation's Fighting Man that has kept this country free and defended your right to Freedom. He has experienced deprivation and adversity, and has seen his buddies falling to bullets and maimed and blown. And he smiles at the irony of the IAS babu and politician reducing his status year after year and the unkindest cut of all, even reducing his salary and asking why he should get 24 eggs a week free! And when he silently whispers in protest, the same politician and babu aghast, suggest he's mutinying!

    Wake up citizens of India! Let's begin discriminating between the saviours of India and the traitors.

    End the VIP status symbols, ensure security for all

    New Delhi
    One of the reasons for huge public anger erupting like a volcano almost every week is the manner in which many politicians throw their weight to gain importance and impress upon the people. Almost every day we read reports of some politician delaying flights or trains. Why? The common man wants to know how worthy the worthies are or have they become leeches on India's society.

    Having had the privilege of covering as a newsman New Delhi's political scenario from the days of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the author is a witness to the decline in values and the kind of arrogance that the so called leaders of today display.

    India''s first Prime Minister mixed freely with the common people. Every year the Holi festival in the front lawns of Teen Murti House was great fun for one and all.

    There used to be adequate security for Jawaharlal Nehru. Let's not forget that India's first Prime Minister was as much under threat, after having annoyed the world's leading powers like the US and the USSR by refusing to take sides during the Cold War era.

    There were elements hostile to Pandit Nehru at home as well. Yet, the police then were trained to be discreet and manage the situation without causing any inconvenience to the public.

    In today's India, even at the official receptions held at the President's House the dignitaries sit under a shamiana expecting the guests to come there in a queue and greet them. Gone are days when Pandit Nehru, with guests like Marshal Tito and Gamal Abdel Nasser would mix with the vast crowd of invitees at the Presidents House. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi always loved to walk around the gardens admiring flowers and meeting people.

    Gone also are the days when President Eisenhower was cheered by the surging crowds in Connaught Place in New Delhi. The convoy of Bulganin and Khruschev passed through milling crowd from Palam to President's house and was almost held up by the enthusiastic crowds in Calcutta. The police managed the security concerns well, worried like hell as they were at that moment.

    Those events seem a distant dream! However in another country -- the United Kingdom - even today the Queen travels around without a huge cavalcade, causing inconvenience to the public. So does the Prime Minister of that country. I have not seen any British politician making himself a nuisance to ordinary citizens during my stay in London for a while. And please don't forget that Britain faces as much of a jehadi threat today as it earlier faced insurgents from Northern Ireland.

    Indian police and security agencies managed VIP security in a discreet manner for many years after Independence. If they are not able to do so, it is not because of their inefficiency. The reason is the rise of the new class of politicians - the 'fixers' who want to make a show of their power, by displaying gun toting security personnel around them. Some of these worthies are never tired of shouting "Don't you know who I am?"

    The story does not end merely with the misuse of police and commandos, but the public nuisance that most of the so-called VIPs create today. To seek their special right of the way, no one can tell you for sure as to how many cars today have red light globes atop their roofs.

    They are such a nuisance that the man in the street makes derisive remarks by saying that those displaying red lights belong to the red light district!

    Rahul Gandhi has described this as ‘laal batti’ (red beacon light) culture. Time and moment has come when this must end. You can be sure that policemen who are put on such security duties with the ‘paper-tiger’ politicos hate their job.

    Imagine a constable cooling his heels outside a school waiting for the child of the so-called VIP or the poor constable who is forced to carry bags of vegetables and groceries of the VIP ‘memsahib’ as part of his duty to protect the 'who is who'.

    If India is to survive as a democracy, it is time that these new feudal lords are brought under check. No one is going to grudge security provided to those holding constitutional positions. But even that must not cause undue inconvenience to the people.

    Everyone must stand in a queue with other passengers while boarding a flight and go through normal security drills. Why have special lounges for VIPs at the airports.

    The only way to end this ‘laal batti’ culture is to order its removal altogether from all the cars including that of real VIPs.

    The leaders of earlier days were known for their simplicity and accessibility. We can revert to those days and learn from their simplicity.

    The present security cover smacks of a show of power. These agencies can have a close look at the manner at the way the problem is handled in the United Kingdom and some other countries.

    In the final analysis it is the duty of the government to ensure the security of all citizens. If each and every citizen is secure, you can be sure of the safety of politicians too.
    End the VIP status symbols, ensure security for all
    Political Ploy: Private Vehicles with Party Flags and Red Lights tout and Violate all traffic rules. Even criminals baltantly scout and use the Party flags and symbol in private vehicles to ward of any Police scrutiny or checks! A mobile Nation of Political terrorists let loose on the streets!

    High Court raps MoD over reply in pension case

    Vijay Mohan, Tribune News Service, Chandigarh, December 25

    The tone and contents of a reply submitted on behalf of the defence secretary in a contempt petition has invited wrath of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Recording its displeasure on the manner the reply had been drafted, the court observed that such actions were non-appreciable.

    Though the High Court discharged the defence secretary from contempt proceedings in the case pertaining to release of pension of an ex-serviceman, it directed him to be careful in the future while filing such replies.

    Harjinder Singh, residing at an old age home here, was discharged in 1967 after the completion of pensionable service in the army. However, the CDA authorities denied him reservist pension on the ground that he was discharged from service at own request. The army made several requests, one even through a special requisition by the then vice chief of the army staff, but to no avail.

    When approached, the High Court allowed Harjinder Singh’s petition and even ordered the release of his pension, terming the action on the part of the authorities concerned as “inexcusable”. Later, Harjinder Singh filed a contempt petition when his pension was not released despite directions from the HC.

    A reply to this thereafter, submitted on behalf of the defence secretary, invited the ire of the court when it was submitted by the Ministry that the petitioner was not eligible for pension but the HC in its judgement “had allowed the petition and the respondents had, therefore, obeyed the court orders in a positive manner”.

    In response to the factual statement of the petitioner that his petition had been allowed, the Ministry’s reply had called the petitioner’s averments as “vexatious, fictitious, calumnious and denied”. Further, the reply went on to state that the court “had only given two months for implementation of its orders”.
    HC raps MoD over reply in pension case
    Tailpiece: MoD= Monster of Deceipt. Ex Servicemen are systematically denied pension entitlements in spite of the spate of court rulings all over India. The Bureaucrats are saving the paisas by stealth and reducing the Security and Morale of its Patriotic and law abiding Citizens.

    IESM: Fast for Justice Rally Jantar Mantar enters twelveth day

    Dear Colleagues,

    The fast continues. Shortly after 0200 hours this morning Nk Rekh Raj had developed some complications. He had to be rushed to hospital by the police van where he was put on the drip. Refusing to get admitted, he is back with the team. A large number of senior officers visited the site today. There has also been a flood of telephone calls from veterans all over the country. Membership of IESM is increasing by the minute. Donations too are pouring in. The Movement has indeed brought the ESM community together.

    Last night Maj Gen Kataria and Maj IS Jakhar were both at the site. Tonight jakhar himself is hoding the fort. They were all in high spirits and good cheer at 2120 hours when I left the place.

    A huge rally is being planned at Jantar Mantar for 27 Dec commencing at 1100 hours. We request all veterans around Delhi/NCR to kindly join in.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    December 24, 2008
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh
    Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)

    The Bhartiya Janata Party views with concern the relay fast undertaken by veterans of our defence forces at Jantar Mantar as it enters its 8th day today. Sipahi Suleman Khan and Naik Lek Raj, who have been on ‘fast unto death’, have now been joined by Captain Om Prakash and Subedar Major Dahiya. The number of volunteers sitting on ‘fast unto death’ is likely to rise in the days to come.

    The basic demand of the veterans is ‘One Rank one Pension’ (OROP). The issue has already been debated in Parliament and examined by the Parliamentary Committee on Defence in detail. The unanimous recommendation is to accept this demand. The BJP has always supported this vital concern.

    Shri Jaswant Singh the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha had once again raised the issue on the floor of the house on 23 October 2008. He has also written to the Raksha Mantri drawing his attention to the matter urgently.

    Their demands are:-

  • One Rank One Pension (OROP)
  • Resettlement till the age of sixty
  • Consideration of an Ex Servicemen Commission
  • Services representation on all committees deciding issues of their concern.

    Pension is a right for services rendered. Elementary logic suggests that two individuals rendering equal service and reaching the same rank, thereby having discharged the same level of responsibility, should get equal compensation, irrespective of their dates of retirement.

    The Bhartiya Janata Party therefore demands of the Government to immediately take steps to save lives of the veterans, both being Personnel Below Officer rank through suitable and urgent action.
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
    Original copy of Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri

    Relay hunger strike enters sixth day, Chandigarh, December 21

    While the relay hunger strike by the ex-servicemen has entered the 6th day today, two retired soldiers have proceeded on a fast unto death. The ex-servicemen are protesting against the government’s attitude towards their demands.

    Sepoy Suleman Khan and Naik Rekh Raj are sitting on fast unto death since December 17 and December 20 respectively, a press note issued by the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement said today. The ex-servicemen are holding their protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

    The statement said one rank-one pension (OROP), which is their main demand, has not been accepted. A group of 11 ex-servicemen, consisting of officers, JCOs and jawans sit on 24-hour relay fast. If their demands are not met, ex-servicemen will intensify their stir and their wives will also join them in the relay fast, the statement added.

    Stating that the ex-servicemen had gone to the President, the Prime Minister, the defence minister, MPs and political leaders with their demands, but without any positive outcome. The statement said the rejection of one rank-one pension by the defence minister had left ex-servicemen across the country feeling that they had been cheated by the government.
    Relay hunger strike enters sixth day, Tribune News Service
  • Friday, December 26, 2008

    IESM: Fast for Justice Jantar Mantar

    All Members And ESM Organisations
    Dear Friends In and Around NCR,
    Jai Hind.
    We wish to show INDIA the strength of ESM support to the Veteran on Fast for Justice at Jantar Mantar on, Saturday, 27 Dec 08. Please DO VISIT Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, between 1100 hrs and 1300 hrs on Saturday, 27 Dec 08. WILL YOU PLEASE? A map of the area showing the exact location of the IESM Tent on Jantar Mantar Road is attached to help you reach the location. Maybe the road in front of the IESM site may be blocked. In that case plan parking your vehicle at any one of the following places:
    1. Under ground parking at Palika Bhavan in Connaught Place.
    2. Park Hotel, Parliament Street.
    3. Any of the Car Parks on Janpath.
    4. Patel Chowk Metro Station.
    The IESM Shamiana on Jantar Mantar Road is at easy walking distance from Patel Chowk Metro Station. It is about a Km from Palika Bazar underground parking.

    In Service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    Seasons Greetings: Citizens Charter

    Dear Friends and Family,

    On 26th November 2008, Our Financial City Mumbai was targeted by the terrorists and innocent lives were lost. Our brave men in Uniform restored the situation. Many of them made supreme sacrifices. Mumbaikars shook the Government by their dignified protest. The Nation joined them to give wake up call to the Authorities. World support is with India. The War on Terror has been declared.

    On the eve of this Winter Holiday season and on the eve of New Year, every citizen of India needs to resolve:
  • firstly, to think, speak, and act like responsible citizens of this country always and every time
  • secondly, to tell the politicians whenever and wherever they go wrong, and hold them accountable by writing to them on issues which affect the constituents
  • thirdly, tell always to the Government servants that they are public servants and not to treat the public as servants
  • fourthly, to give a smile whenever you come across a policeman/ policewoman and if possible thank them for their service. Should they ask for bribe still smile and tell them that you have already paid your taxes
  • fifthly, make it a point to meet a soldier and an ex-service person as often as possible and thank them for the sacrifices they are doing for the country

    I thank you for spending time to read this mail in full if you have done so. If not, please go back and read it.
    Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes for a Very Prosperous New Year.
    Love & Best Wishes,
    Col TN Baba (Retd)
  • SCPC: Defence Forces "Children of lesser God"?

    Dear Gen Surjit,
    Why have retired Army Cdrs/Vice Chiefs/ Chiefs been treated as a holier than other categories? In their cases OROP has been applied. Undoubtedly this is aplicable to their equivalents in all the Central Goverment Services. This shows that the IAS has ensured that their Secretary level and Cabinet Secretary level appointments are protected. Surely in their case no seperate terms of service were laid down giving them benefits in pensions also. The rules and the arguments must be the same for all. You may consider.
    Thanks for all that you are doing,
    Lt Gen V Madan (Retd)

    Dear Gen Vijay Madan,
    Your question is valid, and it is my bounden duty to answer it to the best of my ability. Here is what little I know on this subject.

    The scales devised by the Sixth Pay Commission are "Of the IAS, for the IAS and created by the IAS" Others merely happen to be there. We soldiers are the "children of a lesser God" and the government makes it a point to rub it into us, whenever they can. Geographically, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy is not very far from the IMA, but they did not have a Chetwode to give them the famous dictum. Over the years, they have evolved their own creed, and the slogan which is tattooed on their palms with invisible and yet patently legible ink runs as follows:

    Your own career progression and place in the ceremonial table of precedence come first, always and every time.
    The honour, welfare and the prosperity of the service to which you belong comes next
    The interests of the teeming millions of citizens of the country come last always and every time.

    In the Pay Commission, an exclusive scale, PB-4 was created specially for the IAS. Indeed, several others have barged in to it, but that is considered by the civil servants (who are not particularly 'civil' any longer) as a trespass. They could not do much to do them down, so they chose to take on the hapless past pensioners.

    In the pension structure, they have given to themselves a bonanza, since it is well known that nearly every direct entrant into the IAS and the IPS who is worth his salt does rise to the level of a Secretary, Special Secretary or a DGP. And all of them are on a par with the Army Commanders. In the Armed Forces (now known as the 'harmed forces') no more than six or seven officers rise to this exalted level per year. Consequently, the total number of retired Cs-in-C of all the three services of the pre-2006 vintage has been estimated to be about 90. Compare this with the number of officer pensioners, which has been estimated at over 35,000. Thus, we have given OROP to less than 0.25% of the total officer population.

    I have a suggestion. Let just a few of these fortunate Army Commanders decline the bonanza meted out to them. The guiding rule for the vast majority of pensioners is a factor of 2.26. By this formula the revised pension of the Army Commanders (and equivalents) works out to Rs 29,380. The total amount surrendered by them will be about Rs 10,620 of which about Rs 3000 will go into Income Tax. The remainder money (i.e. Rs 7000) is a very small sacrifice for this noble cause. The message which this little gesture will send to our rulers can shake them. It will be far more effective than the demonstrations and the rallies which we have been organizing at great cost and effort.

    It is also my belief that if the 'fortunate few' do not respond to this clarion call, they will become socially isolated in the evening of their lives, because the peer group has its own method of expressing discord. In the gatherings of veterans they will be seen as outcasts. And, indeed, if they do not speak up and join our movement for grant of justice, then we may be led to believe that the Chatwode's credo has been forgotten by them. They do not belong to our ilk any more.

    With best wishes for a Merry Christmas to every one. May the Gospel of Jesus guide us, always and every time. God Bless.
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)


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