Saturday, January 26, 2008

Taking Stock on "Army Day"

ON Januray 15, the Army commemorated another Army Day, the fifty ninth. I have deliberately used the word ‘commemorated’’ and not ‘celebrated’, because although it is a day of rejoicing, it is also one of introspection and taking stock. I have also not stated that the nation has been celebrating or commemorating the day, for the truth is that the majority of our political leadership, our bureaucracy, the public and lately even the media, are fairly blasé about what the military does. A great pity, indeed, for when an adverse security situation develops internally or externally, everyone suddenly wakes up with the usual homilies for our ‘brave’ defence forces!

This day was selected as the Army Day, as it was on this day in 1949, that the first Indian General (later Field Marshal) K.M. Cariappa had assumed the prestigious office of the head of the Indian Army. The day is marked by an impressive parade at the army parade ground in Delhi Cantonment, where the reviewing officer is invariably the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

This day is dedicated to the officers, JCO’s and the jawans of the Indian Army, who have sacrificed their life and limbs for the defence of the nation. The Chief, in his address, indeed did thank them for their steadfastness, sacrifices, courage and loyalty. He also honoured the brave individuals, as well as units which have excelled, by presenting gallantry and distinguished service awards to individuals and unit citations for collective achievements by units.

The parade is followed by a semi- formal ‘At Home’ by the COAS, at his official residence, where political as well as civil and military dignitaries get a chance to mingle with the awardees of the morning. It is always a memorable occasion, where one meets a wide spectrum of people, from the President and the Prime Minister, to leaders of many political parties, to a selection of serving and retired military officers, and of course the decoratees of the morning, proudly displaying their well-earned medals and honours.

Army Day is a day of celebrations, for it is a joyous occasion. Besides commemorating the passage of one more successful year, all ranks of the Army look back with nostalgia on another year of hard work, pride in their achievements and re dedication, added to the long and glorious history of their units, regiments and corps, as well as the Indian Army. All officers and men are also acutely conscious of their individual and collective contributions to the safety and security of the nation.

At a different plane, however, it is a day of stock taking of every facet of the functioning of the army. The main question in everyone’s mind is whether the army is fit in all respects for carrying out its task of ensuring the security of the nation in a professionally robust and befitting manner.

This question covers practically every endeavour of the army, from its manpower to its equipment, as well as important issues like training, leadership, discipline, operational readiness and of course morale. In this technological world of today, it is also important to assess how technologically savvy our personnel are and how well they are able to use the latest technological equipment that is being fielded by the army?

There is also the important aspect of modernisation, which is a continuous process that needs dedicated and sustained infusion of the correct and relevant weaponry, equipment and materials. This is only possible when adequate funds are made available to the army.

Any slackening of the modernisation process results in losing the race vis a vis our adversaries, because once it falters, it is difficult to catch up, both because much larger funds would be needed thereafter, but also because of opportunities lost, which cannot be regained.

Introspection should reveal both strengths and weaknesses. It is a time-tested method for military commanders at varying levels to gauge the proficiency and efficiency of their commands. When General Deepak Kapoor reviewed the Army Day Parade, he would also have been thinking of these fundamental questions – on how his army has fared in the service of the nation in the preceding year, as well as the challenges ahead, for which it must be ready and prepared.

Over the years, our media has lost interest in the events of the Army Day. Although, it still gets covered as a news item, the coverage is sketchy and routine.

The Army Day again has been celebrated in the backdrop of heavy commitments of the Army. The officers and jawans are continuing their fight against the enemies of the nation, both on the borders and within the country, without any thought to their own safety and comfort. They do deserve the gratitude of the nation, but it is my view that it is not forthcoming, in the manner and to the extent that is desirable.

Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd), PVSM, AVSM, VSM
The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff

View from India Gate

A spectacular view of Rajpath from the top of the India Gate, during the 59th Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi on January 26, 2008 and The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh salutes the brave soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate.

Hi-tech golf gear for the new-age golfer

1. X3R Remote Caddie

You will no longer have to cart your golf bag across the fairway from now. You can instead focus on your game with this remote-controlled caddie. Foldable (to fit into the car's boot) and easy to operate, it offers manoeuvrability and navigation up and down hills and across fairly rugged, uneven terrain.

2. uPro Golf GPS

Golf and GPS devices have been hand-in-glove for quite some time. And now, after SkyCaddie, GolfLogix, GolfPS, StarCaddy, Suunto G9, etc. comes uPro, which debuted at the recent 2008 PGA Orlando show. It claims to provide high-resolution aerial captures, video flyovers and different views as well as GPS info to help you decide how to take a shot. An inbuilt laser rangefinder measures the distance between your location and the hole.

3. Photon Digital Scorecard

Are you still keeping track of those birdies with golf pencils? It's time to zoom into the cyber age with a compact, digital pager-style belt clip unit that keeps an 18-hole score for up to four players. The Photon Digital Scorecard comes with a long-life battery, carabiner bag attachment and a shock-resistant case. It also features an integrated clock and an LED light to help you find your car keys in the dark!

4. Bushnell Range Finders

These laser range-finding devices are perfectly legal even for pro tournaments. The Bushnell Pinseeker 1500, a top-of-the-line, 11.9 ounce (337gm), waterproof gadget, offers a range of 5-1,500 yards with a plus-minus yard accuracy and 7X magnification. Since it deploys a digital inclinometer, it can compensate for changes in elevation and determine distance based on the degree of change in the ground slope.

5. Soldius solarcharger golf bags

Many a putt can be ruined by the dying bleeps of a cellphone battery just when you are expecting some important calls out on the green. But with the comfort of a solar charging golf bag alongside, you can chip and chatter away for hours out in the open. The bags include charging tips compatible with more than 250 phones.

6. Suunto G6 Pro

You know the swing is all that matters in golf! So what if your wristwatch told you all about your swing ”right from measuring the rhythm, tempo, backswing length and the speed? Well, the G6 does just that. You can even hook it to your PC and use the accompanying software to download your swing analysis and game stats onto the computer to identify areas of your game that need some tweaking.

7. Golf Butler

Okay, there is nothing really high-tech about this one. This is a simple grip-end ball retriever. But it can save you all the bending. The handy accessory fits onto the end of your putter grip. So you just hold a club by its head and push the gripper over your ball to pick it up from even out of the bunkers and bushes.

8. Dixx Putter

This unique instructional putter deploys an onboard PDA-like computer to give you specific performance feedback on your shots (stroke patterns, path, impact points, tempo, speed). Along with an inbuilt level finder, it boasts an inertial Navigation System that tracks impact location and a Micro Electro Mechanical System to sense and monitor the motion of the putter. Also check out the Mark Digital Slope Inclinometer and Ball Marker.

9. Victorinox Swiss Army GolfTool

Swiss knives are not all about bivouacking. This golfing special is a one-handed divot repair tool, removable ball marker, and tee punch with groove cleaner. Not to mention some of its more mundane accompanying facets: Bottle opener, nail file, blade, scissors, toothpick and tweezers. Like everything else Victorinox, this one too comes with a lifetime warranty.

10. Ballfinder Scout

It is touted as one of the most expensive and accurate ball-finding gadgets on the circuit. An innovative hand-held gizmo, it locates golf balls using a 3.2 megapixel digital imager. Ballfinder can find any standard white golf ball from a distance of 35ft just as long as three dimples (or 1% of the ball) are visible.

Ashish Bhatia

Friday, January 25, 2008

Can Retired Officers Contribute

The Indian Army is short of twenty percent of its officer strength, and is considering conscription as a solution. The air force and navy are also short, but only by 12-15 percent. But it's not just officers that are hard to get and keep. Technical specialists are in short supply, which is a growing problem as the Army adds more high- tech gear. The basic problem is that the army must compete with the civilian economy for highly trained or educated personnel. The Army maintains high standards for officers, thus trying to eliminate the shortages by more aggressively recruiting young JCOs/ NCOs for officer candidature from Army Cadet College, which has not really worked because many of them cannot pass the entrance exam.

The Sainik Schools are a system of schools in India conceived in 1961 by Krishna Menon to rectify the regional and class imbalance amongst the officer cadre of the Indian armed forces. The inspiration for Sainik Schools came from the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) which have given India many service chiefs and the public school system of England. Sainik schools can be regarded as the ordinary citizen's public school where deserving students can get high quality education irrespective of their income or class background. The Sainik schools contribution towards Officer cadre is discouraging if not dismal.

The result is best demonstrated by looking at who applies to what school. The elite Indian Institutes of Management gets 200,000 people applying each year, for 1,200 slots. The Indian Military Academy gets only 86 seats filled for 250 vacancies. (The statics may vary depending on cadets who actually report to/ withdraw from the Academy)

The Indian military has long been an all-volunteer force, and had no trouble filling the ranks. But over the last two decades, as the government dismantled controls on business, and privatized many government owned companies, the economy has boomed. There are not enough qualified technical and management people to fill all the skilled jobs. India has been looking at how other nations solve these problems. They have noted American success in outsourcing a lot of support jobs. This is almost a necessity with some high tech specialties, where even civilian firms face shortages. Another American technique, cash bonuses for jobs with shortages, is more difficult as it hampers Modernisation of the country's Armed Forces.

The Nation has a vast reservoir of Retired Officers, can their services be utilised to tide over the present shortages? Can some of the Support Jobs be outsourced to Retired Ex Servicemen?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Republic Day Parade 2008

The military contingent contains representatives of all three services of the Armed Forces- Air Force, Navy and Army. There are also massive parades of Police contingents, Home guards , Civil Defense and the National Cadet Corps.

The military parade is followed by a colourful cultural parade. India’s rich cultural heritage is paraded with tableaux from various states. Each state depicts its unique festivals, historical locations and art forms. The most cheered section of the parade is the children who have won National Bravery Awards. They ride past the dais on elephants. School-children from all over the country also participate in the parade. The parade also includes displays of skillful motor-cycle riding, usually by a division from one of the Armed Forces.

The most eagerly awaited part of the parade is the fly past, put on by the Indian Air Force. The parade concludes with a Fly Past, when fighter planes of the IAF roar past the dais, symbolically saluting the President.

However, the official conclusion of Republic Day festivities is much later - on the evening of January 29, three days after Republic Day. This ceremony is called Beating the Retreat.

The procession starts by moving from the Rashtrapati Bhavan through Rajpath, past the India Gate and on to Connaught Place, the heart of the city, to enter the historic Red Fort. The crowds sit on either side of the route and the VIP enclosure is on the Southern flank of Rajpath, near India Gate.

Little Heros National Bravery Awards

Children selected for the National Bravery Awards 2007 at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday 24 Jan 2008.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday presented the National Bravery Awards to 22 children for their courageous acts which saved the lives of other people. Observing that such children form the backbone of the country and make the nation strong and developed, he said those being awarded now are sure to scale new heights in the future. Singh had a special mention for young Ankit Rai of Uttar Pradesh who saved himself from kidnappers who were trying to kill him and lost his left hand in the process. The Prime Minister also lauded 13-year old Congress Kanwar who opposed her parents desire marry her off at a young age and called the police instead. Educating girls is every parents duty, he asserted.

Enumerating some other examples which according to him were brave acts, he said, "there are lakhs of children in this country who do brave deeds like not cheating in exams and not lying." Out of the 22 awardees four girls and 18 boys and four were honoured posthumously.

The coveted Bharat Award went to Babita (17) and Amarjeet (15), who saved several people from drowning in Haryana. The prestigious Geeta Chopra award has been conferred posthumously on Lalrempuri of Mizoram, who resisted a rape attempt and fought with her assailant until she died.

The selection was made by a high-powered committee comprising representatives of various ministries, non-government organisations as well as senior members of the Indian Council of Child Welfare (ICCW). The awardees will participate in the Republic Day parade seated on ornately decorated elephants.

Credit: Children Photograph S Subramanium

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Retired Officers Serving a Noble Cause

Over the past 60 years of Independence, India has fought five major battles and survived numerous skirmishes to keep its borders intact and free of insurgents. The experiences of 1948, 1962, 1965, 1971, 1999 all have shown that the armed forces of India are our first and last line of defence against any enemy.

They have consistently proven their mettle since the First World War, when they fought with the British forces, as well as in recent wars and whenever the UN requested for assistance from the Indian government. The long list of medals, gallantry awards, VCs, PVSM, AVSM, VSM etc. underline this courage and leadership.

But the gallantry awards and victories did not come without a price. The armed forces of India have had to face human losses in battle, soldiers missing in action and wounded soldiers – those who could never go back to the forces again. These wounded were part of the fighting team, till injury separated them from the forces, leaving many of them to face their future alone.

Recently, veteran cricketer Kapil Dev agreed to be the goodwill ambassador of War Wounded Foundation. On August 15, 2004, he relaunched the book Paramveer - Our Heroes In Battle by Major General Ian Cardozo.

There are over 30,000 disabled soldiers in our country without proper rehabilitation. War Wounded Foundation is the only NGO working towards this cause. Founded by Lt. Gen (Retd) Vijay Oberoi and Maj. Gen Ian Cardozo, both of whom are war-disabled, the foundation has been able to make significant advances despite paucity of funds.

They have come up with a small website about these unsung war heroes. Donations to the War Wounded Foundation are exempt from tax under Sec. 80 G of income tax act. Corporates which are already contributors to the War Wounded Foundation include Apollo Tyres, IOC, MICO, Kinetic, Pepsi, Piaggio, Ambuja Cement and Hindustan Lever.


The people behind this organisation.

Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd), PVSM, AVSM, VSM, President of this organisation. He lost his leg in a 1965 skirmish with the Pakistani infiltrators. An officer of Maratha Light Infantry, he continued to serve in the army for 40 years, retiring from the post of Vice Chief of the Indian Army. He was selected as the International Fellow from India at the US Army War College. He continues to be active in intellectual/ Social work.

Maj Gen Ian Cardozo (Retd), AVSM, SM; Vice President of this organisation. An officer of the 5th Gorkha Rifles, he lost his leg as a Major in the war of 1971. He became the first war-disabled officer to Command a Battalion and a Brigade and retired as Chief of Staff of a Corps in the eastern sector. He is now a social activist, an author and a military historian.

Mr. Mukesh Anand, is the Executive Director of this organisation. Son of an Army officer, he devoted himself to serving the cause of retired/ disabled soldiers after the Kargil war. He has been instrumental in rehabilitating a large number of retired/ disabled soldiers.

War Wounded Foundation, 2 Balbir Saxena Marg, Hauz Khas, New Delhi

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ex Servicemen Hothouse of Talent

Highlights of Seminar on Defence Industry Partnership in Human Resource Management held in Chennai on 11 Jul 2007.

Mr Sajjan Jindal of the OP Jindal group, said, he had recently offered to take the entire 60,000 retiring people into employment.

Brig (Retd) T.M. Sridharan, CEO & Board Member, Hinduja group, noted that ex-servicemen were “excellent, trained, human resource”. He said that the Government spent close to Rs 15 lakh in training a recruit “before he fires his first bullet”.

Brig Sridharan said (and other speakers agreed) that the ex-servicemen, not being too young, tend to stick to a job and hence help check attrition. Wing Commander (Retd) T.R. Shankaran, Consultant, Training, Reliance Retail, stressed that there were a number of jobs that ex-servicemen could fit into, with a little re-orientation. For example, people trained in logistics could fit in supply chain management functions. Those who have worked in army intelligence and military police would fit in fraud detection. Above all, ex-servicemen, having dealt with people “24x365”, made excellent HR professionals, he said.

Two other speakers, Mr K. Ganesan, Global Head, Learning & Development and M&A, TCS, and Mr S. Ganguly, General Manager (Pers & HR) L&T, agreed that ex-servicemen were “excellent HR people”.

All speakers stressed on the need for re-orientation. Mr Ganguly said that ex-servicemen needed to be more cost-conscious in the industry. Mr Ganesan noted that they could face a culture-shock in flat organisations, where rank was no material. He offered that TCS could take ex-servicemen on paid internship for about six months without any obligation on the internees to continue.

Welfare of Ex Servicemen

The year 2007 was observed as the Year of Placement of Ex-servicemen and a special drive was undertaken in collaboration with the corporate sector to provide gainful reemployment to ex-servicemen. The UPA Government has in place the following measures as enumerated below.

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare has been set up. Dr. Satyanarayana Dash has taken over as the Secretary of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare very recently.

The anomaly in respect of pension of personnel below officer rank who had retired before 1996 has been rectified and personnel retiring from the lower ranks to also get close to full pension despite short lengths of service, benefiting around 11.85 lakh pensioners.

Procedures for the next-of-kin benefits given to personnel dying in harness have been improved.

A special drive was taken up to clear pension cases. Pension Adalats were held to redress grievances.

The Prime Minister's Merit Scholarship Scheme was been introduced for giving 5,000 scholarships every year to wards of armed forces personnel.

Availing of benefits under the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme has been made easier and a large number of polyclinics has been set up.

Training of serving and ex-servicemen expanded.

Ministries had been advised to engage only ex-servicemen for outsourced security jobs.

Housing projects have been initiated under Jai Jawan Awas Yojana, with completion of the first project at Jaipur in 2007.

A bill for setting up of an Armed Forces Tribunal has been moved to provide a cheaper and speedier mechanism for adjudicating on the large number of pending court cases relating to service conditions of armed forces personnel and appeal against verdict of court martial.

Defence Ministers Speech at Kendriya Sainik Board Meeting

Following is the full text of the speech delivered by Defence Minister Shri A K Antony at the 27th Meeting of the Kendriya Sainik Board held in New Delhi on 19/5/2007. This has been reproduced for benefit of all ESM, as it spells out many tangible benefits in the pipeline.

I welcome you all to the inauguration of XXVII Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) meeting. It is indeed a privilege that the Hon’ble Prime Minister is here with us on this occasion. His presence and words of advice will surely motivate and encourage us in our endeavour.

Our Armed Forces have been serving the nation with dedication and commitment, braving extreme weather conditions. They have to live away from their families, which makes their task even more difficult and challenging. During my visit to forward areas, I have had a first-hand experience of the difficult conditions. Thus, special attention by the Central and State Governments and support and care by the local administrations towards their families is really crucial. We want our troops to maintain a high morale and perform their duties without any worries.

Nearly 60, 000 Armed Forces personnel either retire, or are released each year. They are between 35-45 years of age and are a rich repository of knowledge in different fields. We cannot and must not let this potential go unutilized. Moreover, keeping in mind their service to the nation, it is our moral responsibility to give them ample opportunities for reemployment and resettlement. Keeping this in view, the Government has declared 2007 as “The Year of the Placement of Ex-servicemen.”

Our Government has taken several measures for the welfare of ex-servicemen. The Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme for wards of Ex-servicemen for their technical and professional education has been launched from the academic session this year.

Many State Governments have taken steps to promote the welfare of Ex-servicemen by employing them in police force, to man forests, as well as toll plazas. I strongly urge all State Governments to optimally utilise the services of Ex-servicemen for mutual benefit. I also request all State Governments and Union Territories to raise at least one battalion each for afforestation. This investment will pay rich dividends in the future.

Of late, the gap in the understanding between the defence services and the corporate sector has been reduced considerably. Retired Armed Forces Personnel are landing up responsible and lucrative jobs in the private sector and PBORs are getting equally dignified placements.

I am happy to note that at the Seminar On “Defence-Industry Partnership in Human Resource Management” held earlier this year, a commitment was made by ASSOCHAM for absorbing approximately 10, 000 Ex-Servicemen in various capacities. I am sure that ASSOCHAM, in consultation with the Directorate General, Resettlement would make concerted efforts to honour the commitment.

The private sector must also do its utmost to help the society and the nation in promoting the welfare and resettlement of the Ex-servicemen. Directorate General, Resettlement is exploring the possibility of providing Ex-Servicemen suitable jobs in Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Metro. Such an arrangement will provide mutual benefits to both – the Ex-Servicemen and these organisations. With the Commonwealth Games scheduled in the year 2010, I am sure there will not be any dearth of employment opportunities for Ex-Servicemen, in particular.

Kendriya Sainik Board has to play the most vital role in the resettlement of Ex-Servicemen. Though the Board has a widespread reach, we have unfortunately not been able to make full use of it in a planned and coordinated manner. This must be the primary objective of today’s meeting. The States need to fill up about 25% of the sanctioned posts lying vacant in Rajya Sainik Boards and Zilla Sainik Boards to strengthen this organisation. We look forward to your valuable views and suggestions towards achieving these objectives.

I take this opportunity to request you all to help the families of Armed Forces personnel posted in operational areas, or who are far away from their homes. I would like to set up a mechanism to monitor the redressal of grievances by attaching serving defence personnel in Sainik Boards linking them through Internet. I request the Service Headquarters to nominate the personnel in consultation with Kendriya Sainik Board. Such small steps would go a long way in raising the morale of our troops.

I am happy to announce that financial assistance to Ex-Servicemen, widows and their wards under Raksha Mantri’s Discretionary Fund has been doubled. This assistance will also be available for marriage of daughters of Ex-Servicemen, assistance to infirm Ex-Servicemen, medical treatment of non ECHS members and penury grant to all categories of Ex-Servicemen. In addition, new areas of financial assistance such as house repair grant, funeral allowance, assistance to orphan daughters, children education grant for girl child upto graduation level and emergency grant have also been introduced for the first time. This also includes a grant for marriage of widows. I am sure that these measures would benefit ex-servicemen and their dependents.

The Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) for Ex-Servicemen has been launched in all the States. It will be our endeavour to set up as many as polyclinics as possible in District Centres. I suggest that these polyclinics be set up alongside the Rajya and Zila Sainik Board Offices, so that all facilities are available within the same complex. I request all State Governments to provide necessary assistance in land acquisition and construction of polyclinics so that the scheme becomes fully operational.

I once again thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister for gracing this occasion. I also thank everyone present here for giving their valuable time to participate in this meeting. I am sure our deliberations today will help the Ex-Servicemen in getting their due.

Opportunities for Ex Servicemen

Home Stays
Ex-servicemen offer home stays, launch venture to promote tourism. In Kochi a new era has started in the field of tourist home stays in the State with ex-servicemen venturing into the field. The Kerala Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association has given shape to Ex-Servicemen Tourism Development Organisation (EXTO) to provide safe, hygienic and quality accommodation and other amenities to tourists.

Eco-Task Forces
Four Eco-Task Forces (ETFs) of ex-servicemen are being funded by the NAEB. These ETFs comprise of ex-servicemen and are commanded by serving JCOs and Commissioned Officers. Forest Departments of the State Governments, in which the ETFs are located, provide technical support to the ETFs. The activities undertaken include afforestation, pasture development, soil and water conservation and other restorative works. The 9th plan allocation for the scheme is Rs. 24.00 crores. The ETFs are presently located at Kiarkuli, Bikaner, Samba, Pithoragarh.

Manning Toll Booths
This scheme is being formulated and implemented by the National Highway Authority of India. Ex Servicemen will be inducted in a phased manner.

Computer Training Centre
To rehabilitate ex-servicemen, Department of Sainik Welfare has opened a computer centre to train ex-servicemen at Thrissur district in Kerala. It was felt that making ex-servicemen, especially those under the age of 45, computer-literate, as an important step towards rehabilitation. Of the 1.46 lakh ex-servicemen in the state, 11,842 are from Thrissur. They include world war veterans, retired short-service commissioned officers and personnel who opted for retirement after fifteen years of service. The Department of Sainik Welfare plans to associate with national agencies in this regard. Qualified teachers from these agencies would handle the classes. Basic courses such as MS Office are on offer to start with initially. The total fee for each course is Rs 100. The basic qualification of the candidates SSLC/ Army Equivalent.

Self Employment
Large scope exists in avenues like in manufacturing activities, small scale service establishments, agriculture, tiny, cottage and village industries. The DGR has launched a few self-employment schemes for the resettlement of ex-servicemen and widows. Among the self-employment schemes, SEMFEX-II, SEMFEX-III and National Equity Fund are the prominent ones.

Reliance Fresh
Reliance Industries plans to hire several thousands of ex-servicemen as it spreads wings in the retail sector. Having set up outlets in a number of cities, the Reliance Retail has offered jobs in plenty to the large pool of talented and qualified workforce emerging out of the forces. As its footprints expands across the country, the company has the capacity to employ all of around 60,000 uniformed men retiring every year, Colonel (Retired) S.P. Nanda, Vice-President, Reliance Industries, told a day-long seminar in New Delhi. A large number of jobs are also being constantly created by the group in specialized professions like drivers for cranes, bulldozers and earth movers and heavy machinery operators.

The Indian Veterans Network
A body of retired defence personnel from India and abroad, was launched by the chief guest, former Information and Broadcasting Minister Brigadier (Retd) K. P. Singh Deo. An initiative of the Chandigarh- based Institute of Tourism and Future Management (ITFT Group), the Network, to be registered as a society and consisting of retired officers of the three services, would provide a platform for reoccupation and welfare of their families. Addressing the delegates, Lt. General (Retd.) Ranjit Singh Dyal, ITFT Chairman and former Lt Governor of Pondicherry and Andaman and Nicobar islands, said a global network conference of Indian Veterans would be held on the sidelines of the 3-day Bharatiya Pravasi Diwas celebrations in January next year. General Dyal said the conference would offer an opportunity to interact with about 8,000 ex-servicemen settled abroad, part of the 26 million Indian diaspora, and explore overseas job opportunities for retiring servicemen.
Web Portal

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ex Servicemen and Self Employment

Analysts say the number of approvals required from government agencies for setting up mid- size industrial plants has increased in some sectors despite economic reforms.

To set up a mid- size factory, at least fifteen state and six central government clearances are required. And that's not all. Indian manufacturers face an average 7.4 visits each year from government officials, wryly nicknamed "inspector raj".

Drastic changes may be visible soon as the government plans to cut down the time taken for various clearances to 3 months from present 10 months. But some areas such as employment are more problematic.

It is estimated that there are 47 central government laws and 157 state regulations governing employment— often inconsistent and at times overlapping.

Reforming labour regulations is a priority for India. The current rigidities impose significant costs in terms of lost jobs, but policy makers say touching them is just too controversial. Till now there is no unified policy to regulate employing ESM as security Guards in Civil Sectors. Most of ESM working with Security Agencies are underpaid and exploited.

There is strong opposition to reforms in India from certain quarters and they embrace or include both the left and the right. Reforms have been fitful, ad hoc and they have been abandoned as soon as they have encountered political or other kinds of opposition.

Ex Servicemen need fast tract clearances for setting up mid size projects and industrial units to utilise the reservoir of latent talent available for self employment.

James Kanagaraj
Lt Col (Retd)

Brig Sukhwindar writes...
I am afraid the Post 'Ex-Servicemen and Self-Employment' is NOT well-researched. I have been running a private ltd company in IT since 1998. Only one official has visited Me. Yes, other Sectors have more Inspectors coming. There is a lot of change now. CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, and Other Trade Orgns continuously pressurise the Govt. on the Issue. Mid-sized companies by the ESM? Just kindly look at the Outlay needed. This Article would scare away would- be ESM Entrepreneurs. Suggest the "loader" must correct the facts in the article.

Sukhwindar Singh
Brig (Retd)

Kindly Visit
India’s Prime Minister warns business about the “cancer of corruption”
Riding a Elephant

James Kanagaraj
Lt Col (Retd)


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