Saturday, January 19, 2008

How to Be a Veteran Leader

Want to know how to be an awesome Ex Servicemen leader that people can look up to? Here's your chance to find out. Our Retiring Jawans need more attention in civilian life. Who better qualifies to lead them?

1. Be very dedicated to what you are doing. Being a leader is a lot of responsibility and hard work, and you have to be up to it. Truly understand the field in which you are leading and be willing to spend a lot of time with whoever you're working with.
2. Help out others as much as you can. Spend quality time with those that need you.
3. Know right from wrong. Be cooperative as much as you can but also realize when you need to be assertive. Let people know when they are doing something that is not right.
4. Lead from the front. Put yourself on the front lines with your people, instead of trying to lead by just barking orders.
5. Be a good role model. Support those you are working with and do all you can to show everyone the strength of your team/ group.
6. Have confidence and be positive. A good leader never lets their team down. The meaning of the word team is "Together Everyone Achieves More". Work with everyone you can and have a good attitude.

Give everything all you've got. Just remember that people are relying on you.
Encourage those who follow you and build alliances.
Your example will set the tone. If you are patient and optimistic, ESM will learn to follow your example.

Don't get too carried away. Being a leader doesn't mean you need to be cracking a whip over others constantly.
Don't be overly critical, but constructive.

Army's Web Portal

Indian Army website is a sight on eve of the Army Day on Tuesday. The only thing right about it is the name of the current Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, otherwise the official portal is full of half-baked and inaccurate information.

Under the heading major operations, the website stops at 1961. Anyone who visits the army website might think that after 1961, there have been no operations undertaken by the force.

There is no mention of the three major wars of 1962, 1965 and 1971, or the Kargil operations in 1999.

Ironically, it does list Indian Army's participation in the Ist and the IInd World wars when it was really the British Indian Army.

The website gives out information about India's participation in UN operations but again details are available only up to the year 2000. Similarly there is no information about hundreds of martyrs who lay down their lives in the line of duty every year.

There are several other shortcomings on the portal. The photo gallery displays former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and former defence minister George Fernandes' photographs but the current prime minister and the defence minister are missing.

''This is certainly a disgrace as it sends out a wrong signal about the Indian Army, it should be updated,'' said Lt General (retd) JBS Yadav.

In an era when modernisation is the buzzword in south block, not to get something as basic as the official website right does not reflect very well on the Indian Army of the 21st century.

Credit: Sudhi Ranjan Sen of NDTV
Monday, January 14, 2008 (New Delhi)

Friday, January 18, 2008

e- Gurukul for Ex Servicemen

The Corps of Signals of the Indian Army has embraced technology using a facility called e-gurukul. By using commercially available equipment, an interactive video and web based virtual classroom has been created for the first time in the Army.

Instructors based in a central location can run classes on the backbone communication network of the Indian Army with students that are in remote far- flung areas. To add an element of "human touch", video images of the instructor will be streamed live to all students.

The students can interact with the instructor either via a chat facility or through an embedded voice application. Students can choose their own time and place to fine tune skills. An online test feature added will allow the assessment to be carried out individually.

Training institutes of the armed forces are spread across the country. Soldiers have to physically reach training institutes for training. This may not be possible due to various commitments. There is a constant need to fine-tune skills given rapid technological advances. The movement of manpower from peace- time locations to training institutes would reduce, increase manpower availability and reduce costs. The updated information would then be available round the clock to the user.

Can similar system suitably modified be replicated by Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) which will greatly assist all our retiring Jawans seeking resettlement?

Message from Chief of Army Staff

On the occasion of Army Day, I convey my greetings and best wishes to all ranks of the Army, ex-servicemen, civilians and families.

The Indian Army has passed through yet another significant year that has added glory to its magnificent past. This has been possible due to your high standard of professionalism, sense of selfless service, bravery and commitment towards the organisation. The year gone by abounds with your bravery and unwavering sense of duty. You epitomize secularism, national integration and harmony.

I compliment all those deployed along our vast borders for their colossal contribution in improving the proxy war and internal security situation. I would also like to compliment our Officers, JCOs and men who are keeping peace in several countries of the world as part of United Nations Peace Keeping Force. In performance of our duty we have earned the gratitude, respect and appreciation of our countrymen.

There will be many challenges ahead in the year to come. I am sure we shall surmount these too with the same zeal, gusto and confidence, that has been the hallmark of our great Army. Our efforts to upgrade the Army and make it technologically uptodate are beginning to bear fruit. Once completed these will go a long way towards making our Army stronger, vibrant and dynamic.

On this occasion, I call upon all ranks to rededicate themselves to the service of our motherland.

May God be with you in all your endeavours.



New Delhi, 15 Jan 2008

Army Contigent picks up 18 Golds at 51st National Championships

Anuja Jung who won the 50m rifle three-position gold at the National Shooting Championships

Russian coaches add firepower to Indian Army shooters. The introduction of Russian coaches and construction of new shooting ranges have added much-need firepower in the arsenal of the shooters from the Indian Army, who put an impressive display to emerge on top at the 51st National Championships held here.

Members of the Army contingent which collected 18 golds, 11 silver and eight bronze medals attribute their victory to the new Russian coaches Pavel Smirenov and Alexander Sidvorov. The Army has roped in Pavel as a pistol coach, while Alexander is the rifle coach. "Both these coaches are former Olympians and they bring a lot of match experience with them," says Subedar Pemba Tamang of the Gorkha Regiment who won gold in the Rapid-fire pistol event. "Though these coaches have been with us for the last two months or so, they have contributed in improving our technique and temparament," added Tamang.

"They have passed on some small, but vital information regarding our technique like standing posture or positioning of the shooting arm," said the shooter from Military Headquarters of War (MHOW). "They also teach us how to mentally approach a closely-fought game," said Tamang, who also put up impressive performances in the team category at the Nationals.

Nayab Subedar Vijay Kumar from the Dongra regiment who won a silver at the Nationals says "These coaches also advise us about the dietary patterns that we must undertake before going for a crucial match". "These coaches are on a one-year contract with the Indian Army. They had joined us about two months back," said Major R S Rai, the OIC (Officer-in-charge) of the pistol team.

One of the Russian coaches, Pavel Smirenow, said "I have earlier coached Syrian, Iranian and Soviet teams. Shooting is a sport where problems differ from shooter to shooter," said Pavel, adding he was working on certain individual technical problems faced by Indian shooters. Pavel did not wish to elaborate on the problems and said he has advised the shooters regarding concentration and the need to add more calories in their diet.

"While the Russian coaches are doing their bit, the Army is also planning to hire a sports psychologist to train our shooters," said Lieutenant Colonel A N Tivary, the OIC of the Army's rifle team. "The impressive showing of the Army in this Nationals has also to do with the improvement in the standards of shooting ranges of the Army," Colonel Tivary said. "Such ranges built as per international standards have improved the quality of shooters," Tivary added.

Credit: Hindustan Times Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ESM and DRDO as Partners in Joint Ventures

The DRDO produces in its Tezpur laboratory orchids and mushrooms, identifies the hottest chili in the world with pride, while its lab in Pithoragarh develops hybrid varieties of cucumber, tomato and capsicum. It spends from the defence budget on developing new strains of Angora rabbits and 'Namkeen Herbal Tea'.
DRDO will be rendering a yeoman service by passing on the know- how and assisting ESM who are involved in agriculture and similar green technology activities.
DRDO has also invested a major part of its budget on world-class auditoriums, convention centres, conference halls, and hostels. ESM are ideally suited for facility management of these assets in terms of maintenance, house keeping and event management.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission Economics

The limits of what Politicians can do, can the IAS deliver?

You have no doubt heard the well known dictum of Karl Clausewitz, the great Prussian strategist, that war is an extension of Politics by other means. As often as not, it is Politics by other means and the looming debate whether the Sixth Pay Commission will derail the economy! The debate seems to be more about Politics and Public Relations rather than economics.

National Economic stimulus, as one perceives is more about tax cuts or increased Government spending designed to accelerate and spur economic growth in agriculture, industry, infrastructure and job creation.

Will the bureaucratic pulls for increased salaries set back our economic growth? The pragmatic approach is to offset inflation and give real wages to all government employees and weigh/ reign in performance based pay. We must have in place a Performance Evaluation for the top echelon of our bureaucracy and pay salaries truly related to performance not on seniority basis. Downsizing and efficiency must be the vanguard principles of prudent economics.

Defence Statistics roughly
defence budget of Rs. 96,000 crores
salaries 25,000 crores
pension 14,000 crores (not included in the defence budget)
cost of a soldier (salary, training costs) Rs 20,000 a month
jawans on combat role 20 percent
two ESM (drawing pension) for every serving soldier

The Sixth Pay Commission can certainly do a lot for the Armed Forces. A decent hike in salary and pension (one rank one pension) with a lot of perks for Field Tenures. For Ex- Servicemen the need of the hour is professionally managed, fully functional pro- active Zilla, Rajya and Kendriya Sainik Boards which are truly dedicated to address the problems of ESM.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

India Marks 60th Army Day

India's Army Day commemorates the late Field Marshal B. C. Cariappa's taking over as the first Indian commander-in-chief of the armed forces in 1949, two years after India's independence from British rule.

Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor
"There have been some instances which have brought down the image of the army in the eyes of the public," the Army Chief said on the occasion of Army Day. "We are concerned. We will try to maintain the image of the army, which is held in high regard," Gen Kapoor said.

Earlier, addressing officers and jawans of his force, he asked them to ensure that the army's image is kept intact. The Army Chief also highlighted the achievements of the force in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and North East but asked the troops to take all measures to avoid collateral damage during such actions. Gen Kapoor said the force had successfully faced challenges and there was need to ‘be ready’ to take on any future challenges.

In the afternoon, the Army Chief held a reception at his residence, which was attended by President Pratibha Patil, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister AK Antony, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the Leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, the Chief of the Navy, Admiral Sureesh Mehta and the chief of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, besides many serving and retired Service Officers.

Photograph Credits:
Cavalry AP Photo by Gurinder Osan
Artillery Reuters
NCC Reuters
Gorkha and Sikh Tps AFP

ECHS Do not Press the Panic Button

I submit the following to all my Armed Forces Veteran Brothers.
Why are we in a panic situation?
Why are we disheartened?
Why are we crying for help?
For any medical problem correct diagnosis is most important. Gentlemen, in ECHS we have made a wrong diagnosis of its illness and therefore a wrong treatment is being administered. I strongly believe that the entire fiasco and confusion we have seen last week in Tamil Nadu and many other problems for which we crib are also due to the clinical reaction of the same wrong treatment. It is pathetic a situation that we have to run from every pillar to post for help! Continue to do it!!

There is no doubt that concept of ECHS is wonderful, but it should be our endeavor to make it wonderful not only to the lucky few, but to every Armed Forces Veteran in this country irrespective of whether he is a retd Officer/ Jawan or whether he is staying in a metro/ town/ village. Facilitating equal opportunities to all veterans and thereby ensuring social justice amongst our brother veterans shall be our meditating "Mantra". It is very unfortunate that we still have to struggle (perhaps we have to continue to struggle for ever) to overcome our genuine grievances. We appear to be happy and contented with LOCAL AD HOC solutions. Please decide whether we would still like to depend on others mercy for getting our rightful dues.

ECHS has improved a lot during the last 2 years, thanks to the Local Administrators of the Scheme. But still long way to go. How do we find a permanent solution to this? Please think and act. If we can't act, let us enjoy the honor of passing on the batten to the next generation of Veterans who are presently the controllers and hopefully they will pass it on to successive generations. It is a food for thought for all office bearers of our Organizations and member Veterans too. We all know that prevention is better than cure not only for any medical problem but for all problems. The Scheme has to be reorganized in such a way that the recent break down that happened in Tamil Nadu shouldn't repeat anywhere else in the country. Have we learned any lessons from this incident? What does this indicate? Please think– had we lacked the foresight and vision, had we lacked the capacity for co ordination and financial auditing, had we lacked the management expertise, I am confused, what about you? Sequence of events to avoid duplication of efforts by individuals and Organizations and wastage of time for re- inventing the wheel. Please note the following sequence of events that has already happened this side regarding ECHS.

Few practical suggestions for improvement were submitted to local authorities in Jun 05. (Some time I am also like most of you - interested only in solving personal problems and some times –yap- local problems). Based on the input received from various Veterans Organizations all over the country, a year long study was under taken during 2005-06. Formal representations were forwarded to IHQ in Jul 05 and it was further formally discussed in Aug 05 in a National Forum. Preliminary study report was forwarded on 12 Jun 06 to IHQ and all others concerned. Subsequently about a dozen meetings were held with the Heads of various concerned Formations at Command and IHQ level during the period 2005 Sep to 2006 Dec. On completion of the study, the "Government Policy in the present form" was identified as the main reason for most of the ongoing problems of the Scheme. The same reason is equally applicable for its survivability in the long run when the Scheme have its full clientele strength.

In consideration of this, a new proposal called "Liberalized ECHS" was prepared and circulated to few key Veterans and Veterans Organizations across the Country. Few interactive sessions and explanatory meetings were also held with few ESM organizations. This proposal was formally submitted to the top decision making authority in the country on 12 Jan 07 for consideration. Since then direct protracted correspondence has been in progress for the last one year. Unfortunately the top decision making authority was misguided by our authorities concerned on the key recommendations in the proposal. This is a mater of serious concern and this issue has also been taken up. Let us see the result. (Liberalized ECHS is a dream scheme for all Veterans in this country! It is a highly advantageous scheme for the Government also since it can make a saving of thousands of crores of rupees to the exchequer). Considering the delay for implementation of Liberalized ECHS/ any other better Scheme, another proposal on appointment of an "ECHS Commission" was submitted in Jun 07 to IHQ and subsequently to the highest authority. The Commission can study the present scheme, consider all proposals received so far by Govt for improvement of the ongoing scheme and make it patient friendly and access/ user friendly. We should also appreciate that the Scheme must be practical, pragmatic and financially viable to the Government also for its survival in the long run. The Commission's recommendations would now be required on a war-footing in the best interest of the VETERANS since the stabilization time given to the ongoing scheme is up to 31 Mar 2008. To my knowledge this proposal is also hanging in the air. Hope to discuss this issue further at Chennai next week at a National Forum.

It appears that many had been intervening these days on individual basis to inject more life and vigor into the Scheme and also to stream line it. THINK, why all these proposals and suggestions are viewed by every authority in a step motherly fashion! May be that these are submitted by individuals/ Organizations which represent only a minuscule of the Veterans population. Though we all belong to different Armed Forces Veterans Organizations, there is one common factor in us, ie the low percentage of Veterans in any individual Organisation. This is an open secret known to every one in the echelon of power. It appears that until and unless we jointly show and prove that we are "a force to reckon with", this sort of discrimination will be forced upon us from every quarter irrespective of how sound and logical we are. I am mentally preparing to enjoy this situation, what about YOU? The first priority in ECHS is the formation of an ECHS Commission by the Government. This can pave the way for the acceptance of a better ECHS . How do we proceed now ? Do we have any Organization to champion the cause of ECHS ? Even if one individual or Organization volunteer to take the lead, will it be acceptable to other esteemed Organizations and its members!!! OR are we destined to remain separately like this and swallow our sufferings forever on all issues that are common to all of us? AS AN AD HOC solution, can all Veterans Organizations in Delhi jointly take up this issue with the Government, if needed show their solidarity and strength by organizing a protest rally in Gandhian way. Think seriously whether we have to get a "Political decision" in our favor to overcome the hurdles put in by those with "vested interest". THE NEED OF THE HOUR IS THE FORMATION OF A NATIONAL FEDERATION OF ALL VETERANS ORGANISATIONS. Do we still have any doubt? Will too many cooks spoil the broth? I am confused, what about you? Pardon my ignorance!

G Kuruvilla, VSM
R Adm (Retd)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Prime Minister visit to Olympic Site Beijing

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh with the Chinese Premier, Mr. Wen Jiabao at a joint press statement, in Great Hall of People, Beijing in China on January 14, 2008.

2008 Summer Olympics National Stadium Beijing, China

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh visited the Beijing Olympic site at 16:39 IST, 14 Jan 2008 and following is the text of the Prime Minister’s Inscription in the Visitors book.

“On Behalf of the Government and the people of India, I extend my best wishes for the success of the Olympic games in Beijing. I hope that the Olympic spirit and the traditional hospitality and warmth of the great city of Beijing will promote friendship, peace and understanding among all the Participants, and the countries they represent”

The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad will be celebrated from August 8, 2008 to August 24, 2008, with the opening ceremony commencing at 08:08:08 pm at the Beijing National Stadium in Beijing, People's Republic of China. Some events, including football (soccer), sailing, and new 10 km marathon swimming events will be held in other cities of China. With the equestrian events being held in Hong Kong, this marks the second time the same edition of the Olympic Games has been hosted by two National Olympic Committees.

The centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics will be the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the "Bird Nest" because of its nest-like skeletal structure. Construction of the venue began on December 24, 2003. The Guangdong Olympic Stadium was originally planned, constructed, and completed in 2001 for the Games, but a decision was made to construct a new stadium in Beijing. Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. A Swiss firm, Herzog de Meuron Architekten AG, collaborated with China Architecture Design and Research Group to win the competition. The National Stadium will feature a lattice-like concrete skeleton forming the stadium bowl and will have a seating capacity of 80,000 people.

All Ex- Servicemen to be eligible for petrol outlet allotment

Major General S.G. Chatterji greeting participants at a programme for officers of the armed forces at IIM, Bangalore, on Tuesday.

BANGALORE: The Petroleum Ministry has agreed to the Defence Ministry’s suggestion for allotment of petroleum outlets even to the able bodied ex-servicemen, which is likely to benefit a large number of ex-servicemen, said Director-General (Resettlement), Ministry of Defence, Major General S.G. Chatterji.

Maj. Gen. Chatterji said the Petroleum Ministry was not able to fill up the eight per cent quota allotted for Defence personnel who at present only include disabled ex-servicemen and war widows. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of six-month certificate course on management for armed forces officers at the Indian Institute of Management here on Tuesday.

Unable to fill up the defence quota, he said, “Petroleum Ministry was allotting the license to run fuel stations to others (civilians).” In the light of this, he said, the Directorate-General Resettlement suggested to the Petroleum Ministry to dilute the norm and consider able-bodied ex-servicemen for the quota.

“This is likely to come through. All the ex-servicemen would be eligible to bid for petroleum licences,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Chatterji said the Directorate proposed to prepare an online data bank of all the ex-servicemen in the country, which would help business and industry. The Directorate had been successful in providing employment to 70,000 personnel during last year alone, he added. Stating that the services of ex-servicemen were much in demand in the field of management, security and other tasks, he said: “This data bank will have all the details including achievements during service that would be explained in the way the industry can understand. We will be able to send the right kind of personnel for the work on offer.” The proposal was awaiting approval from Defence Ministry, he added.

Earlier, inaugurating the training programme for the second batch of Defence personnel, Maj. Gen. Chatterji said: “On an average about 60,000 personnel retire from service every year. This includes officers aged between 35 and 45 years selected under Short Service Commission.”


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nano Car for Ex Servicemen

I observed families riding on two-wheelers—the father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby. It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family. Tata Motors’ engineers and designers gave their all for about four years to realize this goal. Today, we indeed have a People’s Car, which is affordable and yet built to meet safety requirements and emission norms, to be fuel efficient and low on emissions. We are happy to present the People’s Car to India and we hope it brings the joy, pride and utility of owning a car to many families who need personal mobility.

Ratan Tata, Chairman Tata Motors

Dr S Dash is New Secretary Ex- Servicemen Welfare

Dr. Satyanarayana Dash has taken over as the Secretary of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare. This is the first time the department created in the Defence Ministry for the rehabilitation of a large ex-servicemen workforce is being headed by separate Secretary-level officer. The move will give a boost to ex-Servicemen’s Welfare, thus fulfilling an agenda in the United Progressive Front (UPA) government’s National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP).
Dr. Dash will be responsible for issues related to ex-servicemen welfare, Directorate General of Resettlement & Kendriya & Rajya Sainik Boards. The 1973 Kerala Cadre IAS officer served as Principal Adviser in the Planning Commission till last month. In his chequered career spanning over three decades, Dr. Dash, 57, has a rich and varied administrative experience, serving in capacities such as MD, Travancore Titanium Products Ltd, Director of Scheduled Castes Development Board and Member (Finance), NHAI.

Dr. Satyanarayana Dash
Id No. 010000
Appointment Date: 07/07/1973
State: Orissa
Date of Birth: 14/03/1950
Allotment Year/ Seniority: 1973
Cadre: Kerala
Age: 58 Years

Report My Signal- Blog Team congratulates Dr S Dash on his new challenging appointment.


ECHS is indeed a very welcome facility for us. A much needed requirement for all especially retired ex- servicemen. Hopefully the authorities are seriously considering the following 'human' failings which are negatively affecting the quality of the service.
ECHS polyclinics are getting more and more crowded with the patients. A sick person in pain can hardly wait endlessly and go around collecting queue coupons.
The Specialists, overcrowded with patients, do not give enough time to examine the patient properly. Medicines are prescribed without checking the root causes for them.
The prescribed medicines are sometimes not available. The person at the distribution counter summarily issues a substitute without clearly marking it as a substitute. Medicines issued have different brand names furthur confusing the patient
Majority of the patients are 60 years or older. Specialists trained in treating old persons ailments are required.

V K Ahuja
Brig (Retd)

ECHS- A Failed Concept- A Point of View
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn". Alvin Toffler

Ex-Serviceman Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) was a noble concept to formulate a comprehensive health care scheme to cater to the needs of pensioners of the Armed Forces, and reduce the load on the service hospitals. However from the very inception I held a different view - While curtailing the teeth to tail ratio of the services we should not have curtailed in case of the AMC but in a phased manner increased the Doctors, staff and support services keeping in line with the increasing strength of our Ex-Servicemen (ESM). Few years back, before the ECHS was born I had gone to call on some officer. There I met a serving Maj Gen who was involved in the Study to introduce the concept of ECHS for the ESM. Having had few drinks the General officer started talking about his involvement in this yeoman project. I bluntly and frankly told the General "You will be doing greatest dis service to the ESM of the rural far-flung areas", I also told him about the problems and corruption likely to set in due course. The General did not appreciate my views. He said the concept must be tried out before such comments are made. I told him "this is the problem". We start certain projects because some one wants to implement a new idea without taking the views of a cross section of the environment. Truly playing to HMV (His Masters Voice). As I did not further want to be a spoilt sport for the evening as he was also to have dinner there. Some of the problems I had visualized prior to the ECHS having been established:

The ECHS would only help the creamy layer of the towns, especially the officers and not the ESM of remote areas. How do you replace the trust and faith our serving soldiers and the ESM have in the armed forces doctors. ESM will prefer to visit MHs rather than ECHS Polyclinics.

The salary offered to the doctors may not attract the best of the talent for the ECHS to be established in remote, rural areas especially when the aim of ECHS would be to extend Health Care arm to distant remote areas and not focus in metros, big cities and military stations.

I had also forecast certain malpractices, likely to set in based on experience with reimbursement of medical bills of serving/ retired personnel of other departments. Post ECHS concept having put in place, Over the period I have had extensive opportunity of interacting with a large number of ESM while serving in CI/ CT environment and also while I was on leave in my village. The feedback on ECHS is not encouraging. In the words of the DGAFMS Vice Admiral VK Singh "ECHS is a big failure". ECHS I believe was conceived to be run, somewhat on the lines of the CGHS. However ECHS in the present form is no where near the CGHS. Now without going into history I would like to bring to the notice of those who refuse to see the problems of ECHS:

The concept of ECHS as I view it, was primarily to extend the medicare arm to remote distant areas and secondly to decongest the existing service hospitals. I feel the focus has been reversed . The ESM of military station and metros are drawing maximum benefits and the ESM of remote areas are undergoing added harassment.

Station HQs with re- employed officers are not geared to meet the additional load of work involved in processing the ECHS membership. Becoming a member of the ECHS by an ESM from a remote area involves a minimum of 10 trips to become a member due to babugiri and related hassles at the station HQs. Problems are well known to all. Problems of conveyance of senior retired ESMs for repeated visits for getting the ECHS card. Who bears the burden? It may cost an ESM of remote areas upto Rs 2000/- just to get the card made not counting days wasted! OPD accommodation problems at empanelled hospitals if not admitted and the related financial burden on the ESM. ESM get themselves enrolled only on contacting serious diseases. ESM go to empanelled hospitals for a specific disease whereas these hospitals carry out investigations not only related to the disease, leading to highly inflated bills. This is sometimes done by ESM in connivance with these hospitals. ESM visit empanelled hospitals posing an emergency case and put up inflated bills thereafter.

The investigations be it laboratory or radiological investigations are ordered to suit the need of the hospital (monetary) rather than to suit the case. The normal investigation which we can get for Rs 50 will normally be available at Rs 100 or so just because it is not paid by the consumer but by the Government. The treatment given is also very expensive and do not corroborate with the disease per se, for e.g. the antibiotics prescribed are the costliest ones available in the market. Colossal amount of money has been spent in a great hurry on buying modern tech medical equipment without the support staff to handle. At certain ECHS co-located with MH and minimal load of ESM such equipment was not essential are presently lying idle! Why the government should pay to the private hospitals for the investigation and treatment which is available in service hospitals. Our armed forces are continuously modernizing its hospitals by continuously acquiring the latest medical and diagnostic equipments.

"ECHS is a big failure", Surg Vice Admiral VK Singh, DGAFMS & Sr Col Comdt AMC in his inaugural address for Continuing Rehabilitation Education (CRE) at ALC, Pune mentioned on 23rd Nov 2006.

To arrest the malpractices existing in the present ECHS concept and revert back to the old system a few suggestions :

ECHS in remote areas should be made responsible to look after the serving soldiers dependents and also the soldiers when on leave for optimum utility. ECHS doctors should also be empowered to refer such patients to specialists of the nearest service Hospitals. Stop further expansion of ECHS infrastructure and have a re- look.

Merge the existing ECHS infrastructure resources with the nearest service Hospitals and existing ECHS there by becomes an OPD outlets for the nearest Service Hospitals. Specialists visits these ECHS say once a month.

Enhance the existing facilities of Service Hospitals with Doctors and support staff.
Fd Ambulance concept needs to be revisited in view of the road infrastructure available upto the forward most posts. Future wars are likely to be intense and of short durations. The surplus Fd Ambulance staff need not be curtailed but merged into the nearest MH or of an ECHS of a military station. Fd Ambulance on need basis be only authorized to a offensive formation duly modified.

Compulsory membership by paying instalments of the membership fee through the PPOs/DSSAB/Banks. Details of parents be recorded in the service record book and in the discharge book to avoid the malpractices to get treatment for elderly relatives in the name of parents. The family dependents need to be clearly indicated with photographs in original documents from AHQ/ Record Offices, which should be tallied with documents made for ECHS. The dependents number should be curtailed. You cannot have a dozen dependents for a ESM.

The article needs to be read with an open positive mind by the authorities who matter and the issue be seriously deliberated and discussed in house before any remedial steps are considered to be taken to improve the existing system. Views of the cross section of the senior retired ESM especially from remote and rural areas be obtained to confirm to the feed back views of the writer to launch a Damage Control Mission if considered appropriate.

Col RC Patial, SM
12 Jan 2008

Fragging and Dissatisfaction

Zila Sainik Boards (associations of ex-servicemen) have been asked to liaise closely with the district administration to ensure soldiers serving as well as ex- servicemen problems are addressed timely. However,the Soldiers application generally are delayed in the bureaucratic wrangle. The District Collectors show an indifferent attitude in timely resolution of Soldiers woes.
There is a urgent requirement for the civil administration to address problems faced by the serving soldiers/ ex- servicemen and their kin on priority. With the fragmentation of land holdings, a large number of soldiers serving as well ex- servicemen get bogged down by property disputes with close relatives and care- takers. The increasing lawlessness in rural areas is affecting their families and adding to their worries. The concerned civil administration departments need to understand that the serving soldiers cannot get leave beyond a prescribed limit and must therefore resolve to provide a helping hand. Similarly ex- servicemen in their twilight years do not have the strength to fight for their rights to get back rightfully the landed property as care- takers/ lessee's usurp the land holdings.
In the past, recommendations of commanding officers to the district administration about problems being faced by personnel under their command carried weight, but now they are largely overlooked. Similarly earlier ex- servicemen could approach the State Governments to have their lands released from lessee's/ care takers. At present the applications move up the ladder at snails pace if at all it moves! This must be corrected and an institutional arrangement set in place to give due consideration to the problems faced by serving soldiers as well ex-servicemen.


The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
Neither the "Report my Signal -Blogs" nor the individual authors of any material on these Blogs accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused (including through negligence), which anyone may directly or indirectly suffer arising out of use of or reliance on information contained in or accessed through these Blogs.
This is not an official Blog site. This forum is run by team of ex- Corps of Signals, Indian Army, Veterans for social networking of Indian Defence Veterans. It is not affiliated to or officially recognized by the MoD or the AHQ, Director General of Signals or Government/ State.
The Report My Signal Forum will endeavor to edit/ delete any material which is considered offensive, undesirable and or impinging on national security. The Blog Team is very conscious of potentially questionable content. However, where a content is posted and between posting and removal from the blog in such cases, the act does not reflect either the condoning or endorsing of said material by the Team.
Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)