Saturday, February 9, 2008

Raksha Mantralya (MOD) Broad Functions

Raksha Vibhag (Deparment of Defence)

01. Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in time of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation.
02. The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, Army, Navy and Air Force.
03. Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising of Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
04. The Reserves of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
05. The Territorial Army.
06. The National Cadet Corps.
07. Works relating to Army, Navy and Air Force.
08. Remounts, Veterinary and Farms Organisation.
09. Canteen Stores Department (India).
10. Civilian Services paid from Defence Estimates.
11. Hydrographic surveys and preparation of navigational charts.
12. Formation of Cantonments, delimitation/excision of Cantonment areas, local self-government in such areas, the constitution and powers within such areas of Contonment Boards and authorities and the regulation of house accommodation (including the control of rents) in such areas.
13. Acquisition, requisitioning, custody and relinquishment of land and property for defence purposes. Eviction of unauthorised occupants from defence land and property.
14. **
15. Defence Accounts Department.
16. Purchase of food stuffs for military requirements and their disposal excluding those entrusted to Department of Food and Public Distribution.
17. All matters relating to Coast Guard Organisation, including- surveillance of maritime zones against oil spills; combating oil spills in various maritime zones, except in the waters of ports and within 500 metres of off-shore exploration and production platforms, coastal refineries and associated facilities such as Single Buoy Mooring (SBM), Crude Oil Terminal (COT) and pipelines; Central Coordinating Agency for Combating of Oil Pollution in the coastal and marine environment of various maritime zones; implementation of National Contingency Plan for oil spill disaster; and undertaking oil spill prevention and control, inspection of ships and offshore platforms in the country, except within the limits of ports as empowered by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958).
18. Matters relating to diving and related activities in the country.
19. Procurement exclusive to the Defence services.

Poorva Sennani Kalyan Vibhag (Department of Ex- Servicemen)

01. Matters relating to Armed Forces Veterans (Ex-Servicemen) including pensioners.
02. Armed Forces Veterans (Ex-Servicemen) Contributory Health Scheme.
03. Matters relating to Directorate General of Resettlement and Kendriya Sainik Board.
04. Administration of- the Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961 (Parts I and II); the Pension Regulations for the Air Force, 1961 (Parts I and II);the Navy (Pension) Regulations, 1964; and The Entitlement Rules to Casualty Pensionary Awards to the Armed Forces Personnel, 1982.

Friday, February 8, 2008

CSD Service to the Services

Introduction system eliminates any outside influence on acceptance/ rejection of application. Please deal directly with the Department and not through self appointed agents and touts otherwise your application is likely to be rejected.

Terms & Conditions mentioned in this Information Brochure are subject to amendments from time to time. Prospective Suppliers are advised to ascertain the same during the course of their business with CSD in their own interest.
(Note: Last updated 2005)

COST OF THIS BROCHURE IS Rs.1000/- per item offered
(FOR EX-SERVICEMEN Rs.200/- per item offered)

The CSD India is the largest Supply Chain in the Nation. The turn over crossed Rs 4500- 4800 Crores bracket for year 2006- 2007.

"ADELPHI", 119 Maharshi Karve Road,
P. O. BOX - 11060, MUMBAI - 400 020.

Credit: CSD Brochure
Website: CSD India

Comments: Introduction of items manufactured by ESM Enterpreuners is favourably processed by CSD India. The cost of brochure is only 20% compared to MNC's and other Industrial Giants. The least CSD India can do for the ESM is to hand out the printed brochure free, and certainly it will not drain their profits even marginally. The employment of ESM, in the largely civilian dominated organisation, is minimal. The customer service at Depot levels needs to be modernised as still the remnants of Babu Bureaucracy reigns supreme in the vital commercial organisation catering to the welfare of the Defence Forces.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Information. Latest and updated information is available ECHS News Letter at (Links are given in the "Bulletin Board" and in "useful webpages" in Report My Signal Blog)

Periodic News Letter. The next issue of News Letter and also in future, will be put on the website.

Delayed Clearance of Bills. Delayed clearance of bills is a problem mainly at a few high pressure stations due to large number of bills received from empanelled hospitals. At times hospitals delay submission of bills by upto six months. A hospital in Noida and Vellore submitted 500 and 600 bills respectively in a single day, after six months, and expected the bills to be cleared in next seven days. Many of them were inflated, thus necessitating greater effort in scrutinising. However, following measures have been initiated :-

Appointment of Consultants and Clerks from AG’s Welfare Fund at 31 high pressure stations at annual cost of Rs. 55,08,000/-.

A case has also been taken up with MOD for authorisation of consultants and clerks at these high pressure stations.

A comprehensive SOP has been prepared for timely bill processing of empanelled hospitals.

An advisory committee at each Station HQ has been constituted to regularly interact with the empanelled hospitals to resolve such issues like non-clearance of bills.

Hospitals have been advised to submit bills regularly and not to accumulate them.


Report My Signal Team thanks MD ECHS for the latest inputs. Suggestion/ Queries in the webpage is yet to be activated.

ESM and FAQ's

Q1 Are Retired Defence services personnel not in receipt of pension/ released before completion of 5 years of service eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. The ESM status of retired defence services personnel is governed by the definition in vogue at the time of his release. As per the definition laid down by DOPT the individuals released before Jul 87 without pension and with less than 5 years of service are also eligible to the status of ex- servicemen. However, each case has to be decided on its merit as per the definition in vogue at the time of his discharge

Q2 Grant of ESM status to pre- 1966 retirees.

Ans. No specific definition of ESM existed prior to 1966. The grant of ESM status to pre 1966 retirees will be governed by 1966 definition. In terms of the said definition ESM means a person released honourably irrespective of the length of service in defence services. The individuals discharged on account of inefficiency or misconduct are, however, not to be treated honourably discharged.

Q3 Are Short Service/ Emergency commissioned Officers eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Yes, if released on completion of the specific period of engagement and were given gratuity at the time of release.

Q4 Whether the personnel of Defence Forces who joined SSC and subsequently released on extended period at their own request entitled to ex-servicemen status.

Ans. Yes, if such personnel were given a gratuity and discharged on reasons other than misconduct or inefficiency (honourably discharged).

Q5 Grant of ESM status to the personnel of Army Postal Service (APS).

Ans. The personnel of APS who are a part of the regular army and retired from such service (ie, directly from the APS itself without reversion to P&T Deptt) with a pension or who had been released from such service on medical grounds attributable to military service or circumstances beyond their control and awarded medical or other disability pension come within the definition of ex-servicemen. The personnel of APS discharged on or after 19 Jul 89 satisfying the above conditions only are eligible to the status of ESM.

Q6 Whether the Widow of ESM who have got re- married are entitled to the status of ESM.

Ans. No.

Q7 Whether the person discharged on plural marriage are entitled for ESM status ?

Ans. No.

Q8 Whether the retired defence services personnel discharged on grounds of services no longer required, compassionate grounds, marriage and medical grounds are eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. As per the clarifications obtained from AG's Branch, discharges are not blameworthy; only dismissals are. Such cases will, therefore, qualify to the status of ESM if they fulfil other eligibility conditions as laid down in the definition in vogue at the time of discharge. The individuals discharged on account of misconduct or inefficient will, however, not be eligible to ESM status.

Q9 Are recruits eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Since a recruit is not a rank, they are Not entitled to the status of ESM. However, recruits who were/ are boarded out/ released on medical grounds and granted medical/ disability pension have been given the status of an ESM vide Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex- Servicemen Welfare, Office Memorandum No 12/I/2005/D (Res) dated 01 Feb 2006.

Q10 Are the personnel recruited in the Indian Army before independence but subsequently opting for Pak Army after independence and discharged therefrom, eligible to the status of ex-servicemen?

Ans. As per the definition laid down by the Govt of India, to be eligible to the status of ESM the individual may have inter-alia served in the Armed Forces of the Indian Union and released therefrom. Such cases are, therefore, not eligible to the status of ESM.

Q11 Whether the services rendered by the retired defence services personnel as boy before grant the rank may be counted for total qualifying services for determining the status of individual as ESM?

Ans. No. To be eligible to ESM Status, the individual may have inter-alia served in the Armed Forces of the Indian Union in any rank. Since boy is not a rank, such cases are not eligible to ESM status even if medically boarded out and in receipt of pension.

Q12 Are the persons re-employed in Para Military Forces, Defence Security Corps(DSC) and so on eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Services in the Para Military Forces, DSC so on does not entitle individual to ESM Status and as such is not to be counted for grant of status of ESM, even if such services may have earned a pension. However, if before joining Para Military Forces, the person was eligible for the status of ESM, he would be given the status of ESM. Para Military Forces cover Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo Tibetan Border Force, Assam Rifles and Railway Protection Force.

Q13 Are the personnel dismissed from the army for having taken part in freedom struggle, mutiny etc eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Yes, such cases are to be given the status of ESM as a special case if subsequently granted the status of Freedom Fighter.

Q14 Are more than one wife of deceased ESM in receipt of family pension eligible to the Status of ex-servicemen ?

Ans. Yes.

Q15 What does the discharges under Army Rule 13(3) (i) to 13(3) (v) mean? Are the individuals discharged under these clauses eligible to the ESM Status?

Ans. The discharges under Army Rule 13(3) (i) to 13(3) (V) relate to:-
13(3) (i): On fulfilling the conditions of his enrolment or having reached The stage at which discharge may be enforced.
13(3)(ii): On completion of a period of army service only, there being no vacancy in the Reserve.
13(3)(iii): Having been found medically unfit for further service.
13(3)(iv) : At his own request before fulfilling the conditions of his enrolment.
13(3)(v): All other clauses of discharge. The individuals discharged under clauses 13(3) (I) to 13(3) (iv) are eligible to ESM status, if they fulfill other eligibility conditions as laid down in the definition in vogue at the time of their discharge. The status of discharges under Army Rule 13(3) (v), will, however, be governed by the actual cause of discharge.

Q16 Are the persons released under AA Section 18 (AHQ part II Order No 67 dt 27-7-80) eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Every person subject to this Act shall hold office during the pleasure of the President. The individual is not entitled to the ESM status.

Q17 Are the person in receipt of disability pension at the time of their discharge but not presently in receipt of the same eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Yes. Such cases are eligible to ESM status.

Q18 Are the persons released from the following units eligible to the status of ESM?
Indian Army Nursing Service
Indian Canteen Corps
AF(I) (The Niligiri Malabar Battalion East West Bn)
Bharat Scouts.
Non ISF personnel.
Bn Railway (D of I Corps)
VH Units-DOFI Corps
Border Scouts.
Ladakh Scouts.
Auxillary Force of India
32 UP Defence Bn.

Ans. As per the clarification received from Ministry of Defence (Historical Division), Woman Auxiliary Corps (India) and Auxiliary Forces of India figures in the list of Indian Army Units pertaining to the period of World War II/1941-1943. The personnel of the Woman Auxiliary Corps (India) and Auxiliary Force of India will, therefore, qualify to the status of ESM if they fulfill the other eligibility conditions as laid in the definition in vogue at the time of their discharge. The personnel of Nursing Service are also eligible to the status of ESM. Regarding other units, the matter is under reference to AG's Branch and further clarification will follow on receipt of details from them.

Q19 Are the persons discharged at their own request/ compulsorily retired and in receipt of pension eligible to the status of ESM?

Ans. Yes, such cases are eligible to ESM status.

Q20 Are the persons discharged with character assessed 'BAD' eligible to ESM status?

Ans. As per the definition laid down by the Government of India, the eligibility of retired Defence Services Personnel to the status of ESM is governed inter-alia by length of service, reasons for discharge, pensioner status etc as per the definition in vogue at the time of their discharge. The character of the person has no bearing on his eligibility to ESM tatus. Such cases will, therefore, qualify to ESM status if they fulfill the eligibility conditions as per the definition in vogue at the time of their discharge.

Q21 Are the persons released on reduction of Indian Army on Demobilisation eligible to ESM status?

Ans. Yes, if they fulfill the other eligibility conditions as laid down in the definition in vogue at the time of their discharge.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Giving Soldiers their Due

One more Vijay Diwas! One more Army Day or yet another Republic Day! For the politicians and the bureaucrats, it is time to dig out the names of some martyrs and their families, dish out a few goodies and show empathy. Oh yes, it is time to impress the public and hog the limelight and then quickly turn your face away till the Independence Day at least. My contention is well substantiated by a series of stories being carried in this News Paper on the plight of war torn martyrs’ families.

At a recently held state sponsored Vijay Diwas function, the district stadium was filled with a motley crowd of special invitees, school children and many tamaash beens. The sound of trumpets ushered in the chief guest. An army band played the national anthem that was followed by a wreath laying ceremony and a march past. From the dais, a local politician babbled incoherently for a while and then solemnly distributed a couple of wheel chairs and sewing machines to a few selected disabled soldiers and to some veiled widows. A cultural programme and some more speeches later, the show ended. Next day, the media would splash pictures of the VIPs.

Standing next to me in the crowd, a frail looking war widow with two young children, fixed her gaze vacantly at the march past. Her husband was killed in an ambush in J&K. Five years ago, when his body bag was brought home; a local politician assured her a liberal financial aid, a government job and free education for her children. Nothing materialized. Sadly, back home in her own village, she became an outcast and recluse over a period. She now works as a maidservant. No, a ‘domestic help’ should sound more dignified.

Sadly, she is not the only one fighting a losing battle to redeem her status and dignity. In wars, it is the women, besides parents, who suffer the most, remain as widows and shoulder the burden of bringing up the orphans in endless struggle. Today, a very large community of ex- servicemen including widows, veterans and war heroes, mostly spread in rural India, are faced with a similar predicament. Shunned and rebuffed at every doorstep of bureaucracy, this helpless lot is made to run from pillar to post in search of a respectable rehabilitation and lost esteem. Ironically, soldiers who are sent away to defend our nation are made to fend for themselves in their own society when they return. Is this the way to show our gratitude to our brave soldiers? Why can’t the government, the bureaucracy and the common man be more sensitive to their aspirations?

Statistically, the government has introduced many welfare schemes for the Ex-servicemen. The problem actually lies in implementation. Due to lack of political will, most of these schemes remain buried in files and folders gathering dust. Local leaders who come and make tall promises soon get busy elsewhere protecting their vote banks. The bureaucracy just follows suit.

The prevailing malady needs to be tackled on two fronts. At grass root level, the ESM community, lying fragmented across the country, must some how form itself into a formidable and cohesive political force to be able to participate in the process of governance and policy making.

Secondly, the government should set up an autonomous apex body, say like NHRC, headed by a retired army chief and equipped with sufficient powers, with a clear cut and sole objective of fulfilling the aspirations of ex- servicemen. All other existing establishments with similar objectives should be dovetailed in to this apex body. A responsive chain of command with effective feedback mechanism should identify major problem areas of ex-servicemen and recommend new welfare measures if required. One can then hope that pending related issues like ‘one rank one pay’ and many more can be resolved expeditiously.

In the growing economy, the government must strengthen the financial backbone of the defence community by offering a comprehensive rehabilitation package and liberal concessions post retirement to assure a hassle free retired life.

Our Armed forces are the best- trained outfits in the world. Not many armies can boast of concluding a campaign as swiftly and as successfully as we did in the 1971 war. We as nation must feel indebted to our soldiers.

Today, the ex-guardians of the nation, mostly in their twilight years, are struggling to lead their residual lifespan in peace and dignity. A disabled soldier is not interested in how many candles are lit at a war memorial when the one in his own heart has got blown away. A widow is not interested in how many praises are sung on martyrs’ day when her own hero is not alive to sing in praise of her. Some one has rightly said,

“Our God and soldier we alike adore
Just at the brink of ruin not before
The danger past, both are alike requited
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted”
Let us not be branded as a nation of hypocrites.
Let us resolve to return the debt of a soldier in a befitting manner?

NS Ahuja
Col (Retd)

Extract of letter received by Brig CS Kamboj, VSM, from Col NS Ahuja

"Visited your blog site. It is interesting, very informative, very well planned and even a better lay out. My sincere thanks and compliments to you and your team. You people are doing a great job indeed. Besides, it provides a suitable platform for airing and sharing views. I keep getting your Report My Signal email too and, in fact, look fwd to it.
I am tempted to send one of my articles, ‘Giving soldiers their due’, carried recently in the weekly column ‘Defence Talk” in HT Chandigarh edition. The article focuses on the plight of ESM in our civil society and suggests some possible steps. Thought of sharing with other brother officers."

Blog Team thanks Col NS Ahuja for the thought provoking article and bringing to focus the plight of ESM and widows of Martyrs'.

Indian Officers to get salary hike

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- India's army chief said he is hopeful of securing a salary hike for his officers, whose meager wages are blamed for a massive shortage of midlevel commanders in the world's fourth largest army.

"We are hopeful that we will get a fairly decent package for the military personnel to make the armed forces an attractive career for the youth of the country," Gen. Deepak Kapoor told The Associated Press Monday during an official visit to Malaysia.
Army chiefs and Defense Minister A.K. Antony have asked the government to increase officers' salaries and the government is expected to soon announce its new wages for state employees, including defense personnel.
"We have made some recommendations that should make the services fairly attractive. I am quite hopeful," he said.
The 1.23 million-member Indian army needs about 47,000 officers, but currently has only about 36,000, according to official figures.
The shortfall is critical with the army on constant alert along the borders with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh, while also fighting a host of domestic insurgencies in Kashmir and northeastern states.
India has fought three wars with Pakistan and one with China.
While soldiers' wages are on par with low-paid blue collar jobs in civilian life, officers' salaries have remained stagnant as India's economic boom has created well-paying jobs elsewhere.
A lieutenant colonel, a rank attained after 10 years of service, earns a basic monthly salary of 12,000 rupees (US$300; €200), according to government figures. A fresh graduate working in a call center typically earns 25,000 rupees (US$400).
Officers are increasingly being drawn to better-paid jobs in the private sector and high school graduates are reluctant to join the National Defense Academy, India's prestigious military training school, Kapoor said.
"When he (a high school graduate) finds that the armed forces is the least attractive, he is obviously not going to join," Kapoor said.
"Of course there is that aspect of nationalism and motivation. But aside from that, as a youngster, he is looking at what kind of package he is going to get," he said.
During his talks with Malaysia's army chief, Kapoor discussed cooperation between the two armies in counterterrorism efforts, peacekeeping operations and disaster management, he said.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Army Day 2008

It started on the eve of the Army Day 2008… The “MyNews” programme on NDTV’s 24X7 news channel got me all in a bind. The presenter of the clip on the IA website trashed in roundly in so many words! Said this was shocking in these times of modernization of the IA, when the Brass is talking of nothing but this, that all the new items, that, the official website has is, is the photo of the new Chief Deepak Kapoor, and nothing else! The operations of the Army are covered only upto 1961! One would imagine that after this the IA was just sitting pretty! WW II exploits get a good showing but then the IA was a tool of the Imperialist Brits!

There is not even a passing mention of the fallen unknown soldier! NO mention of the fallen dead post 1961, though Kargil OP Vijay does indeed get to have a notable mention. No wonder then that the COAS laments in one of the major front page stories of the TOI that day that, ‘We may have to, go in for compulsory military service in the IA.” They are a 12000 short out of 40K sanctioned for the officer cadre. 3000 want to quit service for better pasture in the corporate world with large pay packets, perks and what have you & not a whisper of any risk what so ever, or hard life, in fact it is quite the opposite and all cushy and comfy. NDA has managed to snare only 190 cadets for the 400 vacancies, & the IMA only 90 Gentle-men Cadets to report for 250 that can be accomodated! Time was when the cream of the Indian male youth stepped over each other to try one more time for the NDA/IMA, to just to make it on the merit list and get a call up notice from the UPSC.

Now, all the vacancies go a-begging! Blame it on service conditions , the prolonged ‘no-war, no-peace’ situation in J&K, the rash of insurgencies in the NE, the deathly grip of the IAS mandarins to run down the defence Services in the order of protocol ( though the Pay Commissions do throw a morsel or two, and the ranks of red-tab-walas keep swelling by the day, but not the prestige of their ranks) with the Chiefs and the Brass that matters, looking on as mute spectators ( & keeping quiet in the hope of landing gubernatorial posts post retirement.) The one time exalted badges of rank of Lt Col’s are pooh-poohed and there indeed is also talk of having to do away with this rank altogether!! Any surprise there fore if the Indian male avoids the Army like the plague, but opts for the creature-comforts of the civvie-street? The Nation treats the soldiers like the Christmas tree; first it decorates them, then when the danger is past, it throws them away! This does not augur well for one with a runaway economic growth on the GDP, but one where 98% of the populace lives below the poverty-line of less than a dollar a day, and the Maoists and the Naxals are looking askance, everywhere! They will need the Army to quell more dissatisfaction very soon, so the mandarins would be advised to not to rest on their laurels, no, not just yet.

The morning papers carried no announcements of Army buses being arranged to pick up old soldiers for witnessing the Army DAY parade in Delhi Cantt, like times of yore hither-to-fore. The cable wala had a bad connection on the DD network, so no live coverage was possible to be watched; switched on the AIR but was able to hear it broadcast only briefs of the PM’s confabulations with the Red Chinese top honchos within confines the Chinese Great Walls of the People’s Hall of Fame, in the Forbidden City of the Middle Kingdom! Just Looked around, rifled a few drawers and located a cassette of martial military music & played it over & over again and over again all day. Then went over to the MCD offices in Rajouri Garden to collect my dead mother’s Death Certificate. It took me all of three hours standing in a snaking queue to get the supervisor to sign it. In the Raj-days, it would be delivered to a soldier’s abode or hutment, in person by the chaprasi of the patwari!

The papers carried a full page ad (Rs 5L at least) on the ARMY DAY..”harbingers of peace and stability”. The Honourable RM spoke of Sabhavna & ‘Samaritan’. No one mentioned the 1962 Sino-Indian War or of recovery lost territory from China, lest it give offence to Jin Biao! Chou en Lai & Mao Tse Tung are happily turning in their graves smirking and sniggering at Panditji, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh & Co.

Mind wanders to the by-gone Army Days… the one in 1980 had two of my regimental officers , one Capt Jayant Thapa, SC, belonging to the 5th of an unbroken six generation line of distinguished soldiers in the IA ( & 3 Gurkhas) and one Capt Chhap Narayan Gurung, my St Joseph’s school-mate from Dehra Dun, and the son of a Direct Regular Commission (DRC) Maj MB Gurung ( who could, till the very last, lift with his left hand only, a 303 rifle from the muzzle-end & not show any sweat for it!) doing the duties of Officer Stick Orderlies duties on the Saluting Dais.

One had one of my youngsters Maj (Later retired as a Maj Gen, with a chestful of very high decorations) Randhir Sinh, get his investiture of a well earned Sena Medal (1990s or so for conducting successful Counter Insurgency Operations whilst serving with 4/3GR deployed in the 8 Mountain Division; being commanded by none other than the intrepid ex-4/3rd CO, Mike Lahiri; Area of Responsiblity in the Imphal Valley, Manipur. In the 1971Bangla Desh Ops, Randhir was Mentioned in Depatches. He was the ADC to the”best Field Commander on the sub-continent — declared by Sam Bahadur, FM “) Lt Gen Sagat Singh 3 GR, the then GOC 33 Corps that crossed the swollen Meghna, in a dash to Dhaka, that totally unnerved the Paki garrison under Gen Niazi. He surrendered along with 90,000 Pakistani troops soon afterwards. Much later, Randhir got to get the AUYSM for successfully commanding the Indian 202 Mountain Brigade in Siachen.

Then there was that Army Day where Col P Sangam, CO 2 Sikh, along with his Subedar Major collected the Best Battalion Trophy from the then COAS. He was my Adjutant in 19 Assam Rifles, and a man for all occasions, …picked him up as my adjutant despite five of my regimental officers serving with 19 AR then, and immediately went into their bad books! But Sangam proved himself and passed all my tests, & surpassed all my expectations, in the wildest my dreams! Why, he ran 19 AR for me!! He was commissioned into the ASC; went on for his cross attachment to the 2nd SIKHs, won over the towering khalsas with his deft stick work on the hockey field , & by his officer like qualities, ( sadly most of which are absent, as per a report in the TOI in many of IA top of the rung serving officers of the day…the two- way facing Leh GOCs, both asked to hand in their papers, one for eyeing the foreign female tourists, the most recent one who got very fresh with a lady Indian Army Officer, his very subordinate; the rum seller of the Barielly , the daal & egg selling DGs’, petrol sellers of Ladakh, even a corps commander who got nailed by the IB itself…) & applied for permanent transfer to the SIKHS, was gladly granted by AHQ and he was more than happy. Served there with distinction, respect and with the dint of hard labour sweat of his brow, toil , and the love of it. The Colonel of the SIKHs gave him then & there, his command! His happiness knew no bounds. In between he volunteered for The Indian Antartica Expedition to Dakshin Gangotri, was accepted, and thus had a ball there as well. Later, he commanded a brigade with aplomb and retired as a deputy GOC! People asked me as to why I had taken him as my adjutant to which I say why not, he is Charlie Squadron NDA, a product of which I am too!

In another one, Mota Yogi was seen hogging all of the TV screens as he hovered helpfully near the saluting base. No one can miss Yogi, as he is a rather healthy JAT from Bulandshahar. He is Six foot six in his stockings on bare feet & tips the scales only at 200 pounds or there about. Only the 4/3rd johnnies missed him in Karu; Ladakh; that night when they broke out in open mutiny in 1979. Yogi escaped a fate worse than death by hiding behind a very ,large boulder of a glacial moraine. Lucky him. Satish Bahl & Dasgupta got the worst side of khukris from their own troops, instead, and were left for dead!!! Satish Bahl was transferred to the JAK LI, where he rose to his potential & retired as a Brigadier with a high decorations. Dasgupta went over to the MECHINF. He commanded one of its Battalions as a Full Colonel. One of his sons has since been commissioned into this unit.poem is reproduced..’ …”..on http://”

Maj Gen Vinod Bhanot, 3 GR, AVSM, VrC,my NDA course-mate, commanded the Army Day Parade in the 1990s when I was into my 4th year of my retirement. He also commanded two Battalions of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles: the 3rd and 5th ; one soon after he recovered from a heart-condition, also a platoon in the 5th whilst attacking in a pitch black night up the high altitude heights of the Hathi Matha feature, extremely cold and wintery climes in the 1971 war in the West, in Ladakh. He fought valiantly and was decorated with a VIR CHAKRA for his efforts. This Battalion got the REGIMENT its second post Independence Battle Honour: Shingo River! The first one was won by 2/3rd in the 1947 Battle of PIRKANTHI They got URI as the Battle Honour for attacking and capturing this feature in a silent night attack, banking only on the sheer audacity of their drawn eleven inch khukris, therefore.

Another GOC I have time for is Maj Gen C S Nugyal of the Sikhs. He was the pioneer in the holding of the Saltoro Ridge in Siachen and for bringing the hi-altitude warfare into the public domain via his advised longish article in the India Today. He also earned a Magregor Medal from the USI for outstanding recce of the year. He liked a poem I had written and wanted his son to read it too, so impressed was he with it. This is reproduced below. Randhir who sought the command of the Siachen Brigade and got it too, liked it as well.

The ceremonial parades are all but a thing of the past in the IA. But for those during the National Days in the Capital, the ceremonials for the State VIPs, only the Training Centers & Cadet Academies have it otherwise. Time was when, even as late as 1969, we turned out in Sam Brownes and Gorkha Hats to parade with the men every Saturday, in Babina, when with the 2nd Independent Armoured Brigade ;Fluer de lis, then being commanded by Brig A N Jatar, Maha Vir Chakra.

AK Sam Sharma
Lt Col (Retd)
January 15, 2008

The Writer Lt Col AK ‘Sam’ Sharma is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla. Col Sharma was commissioned into the 3rd Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in Februray 1964, He retired in 1997 after serving for 33 years. A graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he holds a MSc Degree in Defence Studies from the Madras University. This officer has been on the instructional staff of two of Indian Army’s premiere training institutes: the College of Combat; now known as the War College; (Directing Staff Junior Command Wing-1972-1975) and the Infantry School ( Senior Instructor, Platoon Commander’s Wing 1984-87) both located in Mhow (MP); where he taught tactics at the unit and sub-unit levels to students, some of who were from friendly foreign armies. He has also served at the world- renowned Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.


Matyrs Kin who received Ashok Chakra

Three Army personnel who were awarded the coveted Ashok Chakra, all posthumously, by the President of India on the Republic Day on 26 Jan 2008. These are Col Vasanth V, Captain Harshan R, and Naib Subedar Chuni. These awards were announced last year and received by their next of kin.

Col Vasanth V of 9 Maratha Light Infantry laid down his life in a fire fight when he was personally leading an operation to flush out militants near Uri town in Jammu and Kashmir. He succumbed to his injuries before he reached the hospital. He is survived by his wife Subhashini, two daughters Rukmini and Yeshodha and parents Mr and Mrs Venugopal.

Col Vasanth went to school at many places in Karnataka as his father was working with the LIC. His schooling took him to Mangalore, Ooty, Udupi, Shimoga, Bangalore etc. He graduated from MES College, Bangalore. He was an ardent NCC Cadet and had also participated in a Republic Day parade at Delhi. He also visited Canada on exchange programme through the NCC.

Even as a youngster, he had expressed a desire to be in the army. Being a bright student, he had got selected to do an MBA in the prestigious IIM, but he chose to go to IMA, Dehradun as a Gentleman Cadet.

Col Vasanth – a true idealist and a man of peace – was proud to be an officer of the Indian Army till the very end. He was no armchair idealist. He read widely about military histories and strategy and would take great care to analyse the inscrutable choices that armies have made in history. He attended many seminars and talks, and listened with care to the many different voices of our nation. He was genuinely motivated by sacrifice. He was excited about commanding the 9 Maratha LI and thrilled that he would be joining them on the frontline. For Vasanth, his lifetime commitment was simple – his word and his honour. His personal life always came second.

In 1997, during a discussion with his wife, Subhashini, a Bharatnatyam dancer, Vasanth expressed that there are a lot of people speaking about the soldiers but not many who try to depict the life of the women in their lives. He felt that she should use her talent and her experiences to tell the story of the army wife. This gave the birth to The Silent Front, an organization dedicated to the widows of martyrs. Mrs Suhasini will receive the award bestowed on the gallant officer from the President. The award received by his wife, Mrs Subhashini.

Captain Harshan R was born on 15 Apr 1980 at Manacaud, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. An alumnus of Sainik School, Kazhakootam, National Defence Academy (Khadakwasla) and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Capt Harshan R volunteered for the Special Forces and was commissioned into 2 PARA (SF) in Dec 2002.

As is known from his Academy days, Harshan was both mentally and physically an outstanding officer. The officer excelled in all his courses, with a special mention to his excellent mountaineering skills which helped him to do exceedingly well in High Altitude Warfare Course. Amongst his other skills, the officer was an under water diver and an excellent cross country runner.

Capt Harshan was a tough officer blessed with uncommon tenacity which reflected in the operations conducted by him and his relentless pursuit of terrorists in the harsh confines of Lolab valley of J & K. The officer established his reputation when in the beginning of Mar 07 he single handedly eliminated two terrorists in an operation that included two top leaders of Hizbul Mujahidin of North Kashmir.

On 20 Mar 2007 the officer received specific input regarding presence of a group of hard core terrorists in Chhoti Margi area of Lolab. Without waiting a moment and despite continuous snowfall the officer rushed to the area with his troops and laid cordon of the house in the early hours of the morning. Taking advantage of a pitch dark night and poor visibility, the terrorists attempted to break cordon. Four terrorists rushed out firing and virtually came face to face with Capt Harshan. Despite being outnumbered Capt Harshan killed one terrorist on the spot, and at the process the officer received a gun shot wound on his neck and fell down. Despite his grievous injuries, the officer continued to engage the remaining terrorists before succumbing and in the process wounded a third terrorist. His valour and supreme courage inspired his colleagues to eliminate the remaining two terrorists in the same operation, one of whom was wounded by the officer. His award received by Mr K Radhakrishnan Nair, the father of this brave officer.

Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, who received Vir Chakra and Sena Medal for gallantry in earlier operations was born on Bhaderwah in 1968. During training he excelled in military subjects, displayed courage and camaraderie and showed potentials of a true soldier and joined 8 JAK LI (SIACHEN). In 1985, when he was a Sepoy, Chuni Lal volunteered for and played a crucial role in capturing the now famous Bana Top (21,153 ft) on Siachen Glacier. For this act of gallantry he was awarded Sena Medal. He became an example to emulate when in Poonch during OPERATION RAKSHAK he fought an attempted intrusion and was instrumental in beating back the attack killing 12 of the intruders. He was awarded Vir Chakra for this act of gallantry.

An asset to the organization, he represented Indian Army twice as United Nations Peacekeepers in SOMALIA in 1992 and SUDAN in 2006. He again displayed his utility and unflinching devotion to duty while serving in the difficult operational situation of Sudan as a peacekeeper. He was at the forefront in the Malakal crisis for which the battalion was awarded United Nations Unit Citation for valour. He excelled professionally and also did instructor tenure at NCC Officers Training Academy, Kamptee.

On 24 June 2007 on information about likely infiltration in Kupwara Sector he re-sited ambushes to block all escape routes. Leading from the front Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, out-maneuvered the terrorists. By killing three terrorists himself, he inspired and facilitated his small team to kill all other terrorists. The twice-decorated hero displayed exemplary gallantry courage of exceptional order and made supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Army. The award bestowed on him received by his wife Chintha Devi.

Credit: Press Information Bureau of India

Capt Sunil Kumar Chaudhary, was killed on 27 Jan 2008 fighting insurgents in Assam a day after being awarded the Sena Medal, was cremated at his home town in J and K with full military honours.

Chaudhary was killed Sunday afternoon in a counter-insurgency operation in Barapathar village in Assam's Tinsukia district. He had killed two militants of the 28 battalion of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) even after being shot in his neck. He later succumbed to his injuries. Chaudhary was named a recipient of the Sena Medal for gallantry in the awards announced Friday on the eve of the country's Republic Day.

"The award was for an operation in Nabjothi (also in Tinsukia) in July last year in which two militants, including self styled Sgt. Palash Moni, an action group commander of ULFA, were killed," the statement said.

Son of a serving Indian Army officer, Lt. Col. P.L. Chaudhary, Sunil Kumar's brother Ankur is an officer in the Indian Air Force. Chaudhary completed his early education at the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bangalore, graduated from Pune University and was a post-graduate of Garhwal University in Uttarakhand. Commissioned from the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun into the 7/11 Gorkha Rifles on Dec 10, 2004, Chaudhary had excelled in platoon weapons and machine gun courses at the Infantry School, Mhow. Before moving to counter-terrorism operations, he was posted at Kolkata.

Submitted by Mudassir Rizwan on Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:38. India News By IANS

Monday, February 4, 2008

Citizens Rights

Government of India has an online Grievance forum at
The Government wants its citizens to use this tool to highlight the problems they have faced while dealing with Government officials or departments like Passport Office, Electricity board, BSNL/ MTNL, Railways, Rashriya and Zilla Sainik Boards, or any other state or central government departments.

I know many people will say that these things don't work in India, but this actually works as one of our colleagues has discovered. The guy I'm talking about lives in Faridabad. Couple of months back, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation laid new roads in his area and the residents were very happy about it. But 2 weeks later, BSNL dug up the newly laid stretch of roads to install new cables which annoyed all the residents including this guy. But it was only this guy Who used the above listed grievance forum to highlight his concern. And to his surprise, BSNL and Municipal Corporation of faridabad was served a show cause notice and the guy received a copy of the notice in one week. Government has asked the MC and BSNL about the goof up as it's clear that both the government departments were not in sync at all.

So use this grievance forum and educate others who don't know about this facility. This way we can at least raise our concerns instead of just talking about the negative 'System' in India. Invite your friends and veterans to make use of this Grievance Forum to redress their problems online.

We should never be afraid of TEARS. They soften our HEARTS, Wash our EYES & Clear our VISION.
We must become the change we want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi.

Hubert Chandran

The blog Team thanks Hubert Chandran, who is a casual visitor, for the valuable information. Go to website. Grievance Forum

Adopt a humane approach towards the requirements of ESM

The Defence Minister, Shri A. K. Antony lighting the lamp to inaugurate the Controllers' Conference-2008 of the Controller General of Defence Accounts, in New Delhi on February 04, 2008. The Minister of State for Defence, Shri M.M. Pallam Raju is also seen.

New Delhi, Feb. 4: Defence Minister A K Antony today ruled out the deployment of the Army for containing Naxal violence across the country.

"I am totally opposed to the Army being moved against Naxal elements. The Army cannot be used against everything and should be called in only as a last resort", the Minister said while replying to questions on a sidelines of a Defence Financial Controllers' conference here on Monday.

"Taking on the Naxalites is the role of the police forces, and whenever the need arises, para-military forces can be deployed," he added.

On recurring mishaps involving naval warships and submarines, Antony said: " The naval authorities had been asked to take necessary precautions to ensure that accidents do not happen as weapon platform comes at a premium price tag".

He described the death of sailors on INS Jalashwa as "tragic and sad".

"Though preliminary reports suggest that the deaths occurred due to gas leaks", the Minister said investigations were on to unravel the cause of the mishap.

Asked about the reasons behind the recent spate of accidents involving naval warships sinking of INS Prahar off the Goa coast and recent collision between the kilo class submarine and a merchant ship off Mumbai coast, the Defence Minister said these were all being probed.

Turning to cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, he said there was not much variation in the situation on the borders.

"The situation by and large is peaceful and well under control," he said.

On suicides and fratricides in the armed forces, the minister said: "There have been some visible improvements, though one should not expect miracles to happen in a short time. Our counselling efforts and other moves seems to be having an effect."

Earlier while addressing the conference, the Defence Minister called upon officials of his ministry to adopt a humane approach towards the requirements of ex-servicemen and acknowledge the sacrifices made by soldiers while in active service.

Antony said the mechanics of financial management and prudence should not be allowed to overshadow the human side of the ministry's and armed forces work.

"Government attaches great importance to the welfare of ex-servicemen. The creation of an Ex-servicemen’s Welfare Department in the Ministry of Defence headed by its own Secretary is an indication of the significance being attached to this area. I would like to call upon the Defence Accounts Department, which plays an important role in the management of pay and allowances and pensionary benefits, to approach the requirements of our ex-servicemen with all sensitivity and seriousness," he said.

He also asked financial managers to upgrade their procedures and techniques by drawing upon the best practises followed the world over in the fields of audit, project management, logistics and budgeting.

The latest delegation and enhancement of financial powers is expected to result in 46 percent of the overall revenue procurement and 35 percent of capital procurement budget being spent under the delegated powers by the Services Headquarters.

In this context, Anthony asked the financial managers and the Services ‘to sit together and work out practical solutions’ so that budgetary allocations are fully utilised conforming to established procedures and the principles of financial prudence.

Antony said defence expenditure has grown considerably over the years, and today, it constitutes the largest single head of expenditure in the budget after interest payments.

The share of capital allocations in the defence budget has increased significantly from around 25 percent in 2000-01 to over 40 percent today.

The three-day conference will be deliberating upon a number of critical issues relating to defence expenditure.

Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Neil Kamal Narang and Controller General of Defence Accounts H K Pannu were the others who addressed participants on the first day of the three-day conference. (ANI)

Credit: Do not forget the Soldiers after retirement

Welfare schemes for ESM launched

Dharamsala, February 2
Local Station Commander of the 33 Mountain Brigade of the Army Brig R.K. Singh distributed tables, chairs and mats to the deserving ex-servicemen at a simple function held here today.

This was in continuation of the efforts initiated by the local station of the Army for the welfare of ex-servicemen and widows of defence personnel and martyrs living in Kangra district.

Col N.S. Katoch said 110 chairs besides many tables and mats were distributed among the ex-servicemen of Nurpur, Sansarpur, Shahpur, Chari, Harchakkian and Lunj areas of the district.

The station commander also listened to the problems being faced by ex-servicemen and assured them that he would take appropriate steps to redress their grievances.

He said the local unit of the Army would soon organise a training camp for the children of ex-servicemen and widows to prepare them for recruitment in the Army. The Army would pay half of the cost incurred on the training, he said.

Credit: ESM Welfare Schemes

Indian defense minister urges networking

NEW DELHI, Jan. 30 (UPI) Indian Defense Minister Shri AK Antony is calling on India's private and public sectors to pool resources for defense research and development.

Antony addressed a crowd of defense industry professionals Tuesday at the National Seminar on Defense R&D and Technology Management. Antony urged audience members to increase collaboration to ensure that India's research establishments produce state-of-the-art products.

"The variables which impact our defense preparedness and threat assessments, including regional and global political dynamics, are in a state of continuous flux, forcing us to constantly reassess threats to our security," Antony said in a statement.

Antony cited the recent Society of Defense Technologists' contributions towards pooling of technological resources by organizing seminars and workshops among other events. He called on the audience to network in order to address India's greater defense goals.

"As we increasingly globalize and cooperate across international borders for the development and production of defense products, as the number of entities involved in defense material production and management grow rapidly, and as the number of players, particularly from the private sector, increase with the introduction of the off-set policy, it becomes all the more important that all players are enabled to network effectively," Antony said.

Credit: Anthony urges networking

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Embracing Frugality

With inflation and sticky stock markets, we as pensioners have reason to be overwhelmed. We may feel at times there is nothing we can do to prevent our own house from crumbling financially. Can we do something to start shoring up our financial house, which is equally true whether one is reaping the benefits of plenty or facing economic downslide?
Now, maybe is the time to embrace frugality. We have truly sought to live out and embrace the 5 star culture of yesteryears especially while in service, but need of the hour is to control our rash rationality.
We are dreamers and surely all are looking out for the Sixth Pay Commission handouts, which will enhance our spending capability but till then, we must condition ourselves to spending less and be contented. This must be everyone's personal mantra to advocate and practise. Embrace fiscal fast an as alternate therapy.


Are ESM Welfare Organisations under any Scanner

All the non-profit and State welfare organisations must utilize 85% of its income in any financial year (1st April to 31st March) on the objects of the organisation. In case the organisation is unable to spend 85% of its income in the previous financial year due to late receipt of income or any other reason, the trustees/ governing body may exercise the option to spend the surplus immediately within subsequent 12 months. Surplus income can also be accumulated for a specific project, for a specific maxium number of years, as prescribed. The funds of the organisation are deposited according to the forms and modes specified u/s 11(5) of the Income Tax Act. Many organisations resort to spinning/ parking money in the Banks and circumvent the intended purpose.

We see so many ESM Welfare Organisations in the Public domain, but sadly none of them spell out their welfare activities in monetary terms and indicate precisely who benefits from these organisations in real terms. The audited accounts are not displayed in the respective websites violating the basic principle of transparency.


ECHS inputs

We have received a large number of feedback/ problems being faced by ex serviceman on ECHS. The Secretary RDOA had a meeting/ discussion with the MD ECHS on 25 Jan 08 on the issues involved. Clarifications are given as follows. Members are requested to disseminate the info for the benefit of ex serviceman/ fellow members.

The ECHS is under the MOD and not under the Ministry of Health.

Empanelment of Hospitals. The proposed revised rates were given by the DG Health Services for CGHS which have to be made applicable to ECHS also. These rates are unrealistic. A presentation has already been given by the MD ECHS to the Raksha Mantri on the rates position. A decision is expected soon. In the meantime hospitals have been requested to treat terminally ill patients at the previous rates till such time the new rates are given a fresh look for implementation. Case is on priority resolution. RDOA will also be requesting the Hon’ble Raksha Mantriji to resolve the issue at the earliest.

Issue of Death Certificate. Instructions are under issue to the polyclinics to issue death certificate in the event a patient dies in the polyclinic and avoid unnecessary harassment to families of ex serviceman as has happened in a few reported cases.

Decentralization of financial powers for treatment. Regional ECHS have been empowered to undertake expenditure upto 5 lakhs on a patient and there is no need to seek permission from Delhi. Patients should prevail upon the regional ECHS to accord permission. Feedback be given in case regional ECHS do not exercise their financial powers.

Acquisition of land for polyclinics is under the jurisdiction of the dependent Stn HQ/ Sub Area/Area HQ. ECHS only makes final payment for the land acquired as per the policy guidelines.

Gen Roy Chowdhury Committee. No such committee has been appointed to go into the rates revision for empanelled hospitals and it is only Langar Gup. Issues relating to change of policies will be exclusively dealt by the MD ECHS. Implementation of policies has been delegated to regional ECHS and downwards to the polyclinics.

All pre 1996 retirees have to become members of ECHS before 01 Apr 2008 to avail medical facilities/ treatment. No contributory charges will be taken from them as per decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. All are requested to keep giving more feedback in the larger interest and functioning of the ECHS. We should make it a model scheme for others to follow. Cases of malpractices/ corruption in according referrals be brought to our notice and the MD ECHS. Should not be on ‘hearsay’.

Proposal for ‘Unified Approach’ to resolve issues affecting all ‘Veterans’.
We are planning a seminar in the month of April/ May to give shape to a ‘Unified Approach’ with a representation from all the associations/ leagues/ clubs existing throughout the length/ breadth of the country to bring them under one umbrella to represent the ‘Veterans’ with a longer perspective. Presently we are working in splinter groups which is to our disadvantage. Members are requested to fwd the names of such organizations functioning within their States/ areas along with the names of the President & Secretary and their tele nos. Alternately they may be requested to contact RDOA directly through email/ mobile. The RDOA will function as the backbone of such an org with a membership of over 1200 officers.

PT Gangadharan
Brig (Retd)
Note: Letter received from RDOA


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