Saturday, March 22, 2008

Adventure Activities

Fascinating and exhilarating adventure activities such as Trekking, Kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling and paragliding.
The above pictures tell the story of the activities at the camps.
Report My Signal Readers looking for family adventure are sure to find it a well deserved dream vacation destination, with off season discounts. Plan ahead and book for group tours and adventure.
Colonel's Resorts

Contact Details

Col JP Singh (Retd)
Colonel's Resorts
V.P.O. Bir, Tehsil Baijnath, District Kangra (H.P.) 176077 Tel: 01894-268453 Mobile: 9417207541

2271-B, Sector 47-C, Chandigarh(U.T.) 160047 India Tel: 0172-2633541, Mobile : 9417207541
375/2, Sector 44-A, Chandigarh(U.T.) 160044 India Tel: 0172- 2602272, Mobile 9417036795


Supreme Court ruling on disability pension

An army personnel is not entitled to any "disability pension" benefit if the said disability is not attributable to the military service rendered, the Supreme Court has said.

Such a benefit can be claimed by an Army personnel only if the disability was aggravated while rendering the military service or was attributable to the service rendered, a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and J M Panchal has ruled.

The apex court passed the ruling while upholding the appeal filed by the Union Government challenging the orders passed by the Rajasthan High Court for granting "disability pension" to Surinder Singh Rathore, who was working as a Signal Man in the Army and discharged from service due to failing vision.

Earlier, a single judge bench and a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court had ordered the Government to pay "disability pension" to Rathore despite the fact that the medical board constituted by the Defence Ministry had rejected his plea.

In May 1993, Rathore was released from service by the Army authorities after it was detected that he was suffering from "Maculapathy (RT) Eye"-a condition in which a person's vision starts diminishing. His disability was assessed at 30.

He was released from service on the basis of the report submitted by the "Release Medical Board" which however opined that the disability was "neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service."
SC's ruling on disability pension for Army personnel

Comment: Signalman Surinder Singh Rathore had to wrestle and battle for 15 years through cobweb of laws and red- tapism to get a final verdict/ ruling. I am sure the recently constituted Army Tribunal will be able to dispose off cases at a faster pace.

Governance and Transparency

  • One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
  • It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting. Tom Stoppard
  • For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. Jonathan Swift
  • I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. Alexander Woollcott
  • Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good government at home. William Ewart Gladstone
  • Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. Benjamin Franklin
  • Work and creativity are what built this country- not money. Karl Hess
  • The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. Georges Bernanos
  • Bureaucracy is the epoxy that greases the wheels of progress. Dr Jim Boren
  • Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. Justice Louis D Brandeis
  • Corruption and hypocrisy out not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtadly are today. Mahatma Gandhi
  • The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference. Bess Myerson
  • The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Corruption never has been compulsory. Anthony Eden
  • The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich, grew corrupt; and in their corruption sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another. Thomas Blackwell
  • There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. Johnson
  • No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous. Johnson
  • Good government is no substitute for self- government. Mahatma Gandhi
  • There are two kinds of people- those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group, there is less competition there. Indira Gandhi
  • Praise and money, the two powerful corrupters of mankind. Samuel Johnson
  • An evil- disposed citizen cannot affect any changes for the worse in a republic, unless it be already corrupt. Machiavelli
  • Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. George Washington
  • A minister who moves about in society is in a position to read the signs of the times even in a festive gathering, but one who remains shut up in his office learns nothing. Duc de Choiseul
  • Politics is more difficult than physics. Albert Einstein
  • All political power is a trust. Charles James Fox
  • He serves his party best who serves the country best. Rutherford Birchard Hayes
  • Politics can only be a small part of what we are. It's a way of seeing, it's not all- seeing in itself. Brian Keenan
  • Those who would tread politics and morality apart will never understand the one or the other. John Morley
  • Better a hundred times an honest and capable administration of an erroneous policy than a corrupt and incapable administration of a good one. Edward J Phelps
  • Political necessities sometimes turn out to be political mistakes. George Bernard Shaw
  • At a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
  • All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self- evident. Schopenhauer
  • We have no constitution which functions in the absence of a moral people. John Adams
  • Bureaucracies are designed to perform public business. But as soon as a bureaucracy is established, it develops an autonomous spiritual life and comes to regard the public as the enemy. Brooks Atkinson
  • What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections upon human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. James Madison
  • Whatever is morally wrong can never be politically right. Abraham Lincoln
  • Those who talk about the peoples of our day being given up to robbery and similar vices will find that they are all due to the fact that those who ruled them behaved in like manner. Niccolo Machiavelli
  • There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice. Mark Twain
  • Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. Woodrow Wilson
  • Far more has been accomplished for the welfare and progress of mankind by preventing bad actions than by doing good ones. William Lyon
  • Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes. Panchantantra
  • The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. Publius Cornelius Tacitus
  • All bad precedents began as justifiable measures. Gaius Julius Caesar
  • It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. David Brin
  • The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. C L De Montesquieu
  • You can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook. Harry S Truman
  • Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. Ambrose Bierce
  • We can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein
  • When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first thing to be bought and sold are legislators. P J O'Rourke
  • Friday, March 21, 2008

    Rover Communications

    Corps Commander
    The ‘Rover’ is the commander’s wireless link to the world when he is moving away from his headquarters. It was a few days earlier than the exercise (Doaba) that I was ordered to check the performance of the GOC’s Rover around Jalandhar. Possibly due to the rigors of atmospherics or the ionosphere not playing up the results of the trial were deemed to be unsatisfactory.

    I was called by the Adjutant and in the presence of the 2I/C another non- technical wizard, there was plethora of such officers in the Corps those days not their fault with most having grown up commanding line companies constructing PL or laying cable on the ground with little exposure to wireless and other technical equipment; the only problem was that they were not prepared to accept the fact of life, and ordered take the rover out on the road and prove it right up to Ambala. I, too junior to have a voice or allowed to profess a technical opinion, like a dutiful officer, saluted and marched out of the office to organise for the move.

    WS HP19 Work Horse of WWII

    By the time we had tied up and the three of us me, the radio operator and the driver of the jeep left for Ambala it was already dusk. Under the circumstances with the day and night meeting each other with shifting of the layers of the ionosphere the worst time for HF communication the question of remaining in touch and maintaining communication from the speeding Jeep, the S/N ratio degrading fast just did not arise. The puny Second World War WS 19HP transreceiver pumping out a couple watts of energy and a not so sensitive receiver even with the 14 feet rod antenna trailing at an angle was totally unsuitable for the task and we were soon out of touch with the Control Station at Jalandhar.

    Report My Signal
    Ambala was 172 Km away. I was told to go and Ambala I was determined to reach. Communication or no communication; Hello Alfa Bravo Charlie report my signal calling and calling again and again repeated ad nauseam hoping against hope to make a contact till we reached Ambala but reamined still out of touch.

    Main attraction
    I knew a senior officer, a not so distant relative then posted at Ambala. Though it was late in the night hoping for a cup of tea some thing to eat and not the least to have a look at his young daughter and if possible exchange a few words with her, I got dropped myself at his place while sending the detachment to the 4 Div Sig Regt then at Ambala for some hot food and if possible try to contact Control at Jalandhar using a wire aerial. I did get the tea, the Black label whiskey was politely declined, as also some thing to eat but the main attraction of landing there was made more conspicuous by her absence preferring to stay inside even though it was a fairly hot summer night.

    Communication Established
    Having done our duty both in letter and spirit we turned back towards Jalandhar alternately calling and listening now more hopeful of making a contact as the distance now to control was decreasing by the minute. All this time we were oblivious of the flap going on back at Jalandhar with no news of the Rover detachment every one was hoping for the best and fearing the worst possibly even ruing the decision to send us on a wild goose chase. Low on fuel as we turned in a wayside petrol pump the day was already breaking and with the physics of radio wave propagation becoming more favourable the welcome call of the control manna to our ears and soothing to our sore throats came booming into the head phones.

    Return to Unit
    Bleary eyes deprived of sleep with being on the move throughout the night we drove in to the unit lines. Dismissing the detachment I presented myself in front of the office of the Second in Command Maj Harchand Singh. With the failure of the mission at the back of my mind I was mentally braced for an imperial rocket. Possibly the relief of seeing me in one piece and not lying mangled somewhere on the road between Jalandhar and Ambala with the wrecked Jeep the worst case scenario was enough to cover my acts of omission and commission. I was summarily dismissed and ordered to go and rest in my room I have no doubt that the next call by him must have been to the worried CO informing him that every thing was in order.

    Sincerity Pays
    I have a feeling that this act of mine got noticed as a sincere youngster and was reflected in my next annual report by the CO. The unfortunate fallout of the exercise was the Driver who had nearly met with a head on collision, when fears of those back in the regiment would have come true, with an on coming vehicle on the journey back was found to have had defective vision and hence boarded out.

    Dinner Night 11 Corps Sig Regt
    Verma, Self, Nigam, Mallik, Anand, Dhyani

    Dress changing routine: PT rig, Games rig, Uniform, Mess dress (summer, winter both ceremonial and daily), Lounge suit and Dinner Jacket.

    Recollections of 11 Corps Sig Regt 1956- 58

    Brig Lakhsman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Commissioned to Pay

    Can we expect more than 25% increase in real wages for the Armed Forces other than hiked allowances? Sheer Statistics in economics is mind blowing!

    Earlier Recommendations
    Fifth Pay Commission in 1997 had a devastating effect on India's fiscal finances. The fault lay not with the recommendations but with tardy implementation. The commission had recommended large pay hikes, but also advised that the hikes should be linked to downsizing of pay scales and the workforce, abolishing vacant posts and adopting a performance linked pay structure. The government in power at the time accepted the recommendation related to pay hikes, but ignored the implementation of the other politically sensitive recommendations.

    Net Result
    This had twin effects. First, it resulted in a massive 30 percent increase in salary for all the central government employees. Second, it impelled state governments to implement similar hikes. The net result was a sharp rise in the share of general government wages and salaries from 5 per cent of GDP in 1996 to 6.4 per cent in Financial Year 2000, a doubling of pension payments from 1 per cent to 2 per cent of GDP and a sharp surge in the fiscal deficit from 6.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent of GDP during the same period. Some states were unable to meet these commitments and had to borrow to pay salaries.

    Present Pay Commission
    The Sixth Pay Commission poses a more medium term, but serious, risk to the fiscal outlook. If the Sixth Pay Commission recommends 200% hikes, and if they are implemented, the total wage and pension bill of the combined central and state governments could increase from 5.8 per cent of GDP in Financial Year 2008 to 7.6 per cent by Financial Year 2012. The impact is likely to be spread over 2 to 3 years as the hikes will be effective Financial Year 2009 for central government employees and 2010 for state government employees and a number of salary arrears will be cleared only in a phased manner. In this scenario, it can be estimated that the total fiscal deficit could surge to about 7.5 per cent of GDP by 2012.

    We expect election spending to widen the consolidated fiscal deficit in 2009 to 6 per cent of GDP, but luckily this deterioration will be temporary and that robust GDP growth and further fiscal reforms will narrow the deficit to 5.2 per cent of GDP by 2012 hopefully as predicted by financial pundits. With this background can we predict the real increase in salaries for the Armed Forces and Ex- Servicemen?
    Sixth Pay Commission

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Secretary Department of Ex- Servicemen Welfare

    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the posting of Smt Deepa Jain, IAS (HY:71), presently Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs as Secretary, Department of Ex- Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence. Smt Deepa Jain Singh took over the charge of Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child development (MWCD) on 01 August 2006. She is 1971 batch IAS Officer of Haryana cadre and has wealth of experience in the social sector. Before joining MWCD, she was Secretary in National Commission for Minorities. Soon after resuming the charge, she reviewed various programmes and schemes of the Ministry and brought about immense change and unified concept implementation in the various states. She was born on 10 July 1948, having 36 years of administrative experience with sound knowledge of social empowerment which will certainly impact and generate welfare activities for ESM.

    Report My Signal Team, all Readers representing ESM, wish her good innings in the new appointment as Secretary, Department of Ex- Servicemen (ESM) Welfare, Ministry of Defence.

    Address: 5 A, HUDCO Place, Andrews Ganj Extn., New Delhi- 110049
    Phone (Res) 011-26263471

    Prudent Economics and Human Relationships

    Cycles in Mhow: Picnic with Nangia

    My major contribution to the economy of Mhow Cantonment on posting to MCTE was in a spurt in the sale of cycles in the town. I used to cycle in the college campus. Once General Sundarje also decided to cycle to his office; it started as a fad with most of the staff of the two colleges rushing to the cycle shops acquiring or hiring cycles.

    Short course in human relationship
    Six most important words "I admit I made a mistake".
    The five most important words "You did a good job".
    The four most important words "What is your opinion".
    The three most important words "If you please".
    The two most important words "Thank you".
    The least Important word is "I". My suggestion Change "I" to "We".

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Encounter with General KS Thimayya

    The Gang: Sikand, Self, Dhyani, Khurana, Pental

    Mess Meetings
    During one of the monthly mess meetings I a teetotaller was nominated as the wine member and yet on another occasion a strict vegetarian as the food member both appointments lasting for rather short terms. The food member is responsible for the daily menu quality of food served and the accounting to see that the daily messing expenses are well within the current norms operating through the Mess Havaldar.

    I avoided the kitchen as much as possible averse to the sight of the mutton dressed chicken and the looks of the dead and smelly fish being readied for cooking. However I had now chance to do some thing for the long suffering clan of vegetarians neglected by a series of non-vegetarians food members. My orders to the mess Havaldar were simple unambiguous and explicit; what ever the cost of the Chicken fish or meat, same amount of dry fruits and special condiments be added to the vegetarian dishes. Soon every dining member turned a vegetarian till one day when the CO decided to join us for lunch noticing the en masse conversion and change in the food habits of his offices he took a spot decision and I to my utter relief and delight of the forced convertees was promptly sacked as the food member.

    Gen KS Thimayya
    The high point of my tenure with XI Corps Signal Regiment and my service life as a Lieutenant with just two years of service was when I had the rare opportunity and privilege of providing the communication link while on the move from Jalandhar to Manali and from Manali to Jalandhar on reaching there for the Chief of the Army Staff Gen Thimayya holidaying there in October 1957. Although I was independent administratively I was fortunate to be invited rather ordered to sit on the table with the General his gracious wife and vivacious daughter along with his Military Assistant Lt Col Munshi and the ADC.

    Family Member
    I had the unique privilege to see and admire his much faceted personality at close quarters, his compassion for a junior officer the role-playing hen-pecked husband, the obviously doting father enjoying being the butt of jokes from the two of them. The same person changing to the steel of a Chief of the Army Staff the moment we arrived back at Pathankot where he was to address the Garrison troops. The aura of his personality now with change of venue and audience appeared so strong and visible that I felt the impact even from afar. Seeing him now a distance and unapproachable figure I felt lost having been so to say part of the family for a fortnight.

    Communicating with Sputnik on 04 Oct 1957
    How I got inducted in the family deserves telling. On way to Manali the General’s caravan stopped for tea. Each one of us selects a boulder on the banks of the fast flowing Beas to seat ourselves. Naturally I had selected the one farthest from the General’s group. Possibly that was the reason he noticed me the only officer present who was not part of his group. Beckoned, as I approached him he shot a question at me ‘Are you in contact with Sputnik’ He was referring to the Russian satellite launched on 4th October the same year beeping as it orbited round the earth and the talk of the town. I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind; "Sir you provide me with the frequency and I will make contact".

    Ham consumed as vegetable
    Mrs Thimayya kindly offered me a couple of sandwiches with what I thought had Tomato fillings. It was Ham and not Tomato a few bites later I felt that the sandwich tasted a bit different; being a vegetarian I had no idea of the taste of Ham. Totally confused with the turn of events I just did not know what to do and the best course appeared to somehow gulp them down. The Generals wife being a perceptive lady had sensed my predicament and throughout our stay at Manali she ensured that there was a vegetarian dish on the table. On the return journey we once again stopped on the banks of River Beas this time for lunch. Now it was Mrs. Thimayya’s turn to feel embarrassed; the packed lunch consisted of Roast Chicken and Potatoes. However, by now I had been fully domesticated and was quite happy to pick the Roast Potatoes gingerly from the Chicken and somehow push them down one at a time at the same time managing not to show my dilemma. This was the least I could do for all the consideration shown to me all these days. This was my last and only willing encounter with non vegetarian food. Some how I have managed to remain a vegetarian during 30 years in the Army even at times when I was without food for days together especially during the Sino Indian conflict in 1962. Possibly there was no General’s wife to offer me the Khichri prepared by my Jawans to which they had added a bird from a nearby bush.

    (Recollections XI Corps Signal Regiment 1956 to 1958)

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    India on the move

    "India is on the move. The challenge before us is to make the growth process more socially inclusive and regionally balanced."
    Manmohan Singh

    "India jumped on to the world stage from its colonial cage sixty year ago with the vision not only for itself, but also for the world- for a democratic, peaceful world which would respect the freedoms of others and help each other in that pursuit."
    Amartya Sen

    With its unprecedented GDP growth rates, India grapples with rapidly rising relative and absolute inequalities, thereby leading to two grossly different faces of India. One is the “Shining India” which is prospering and the other is the “Suffering India” which battles with stark poverty and is excluded from the growth process. The two faces of India are both a ray of hope and a symbol of despair. Reconciling these two faces is the biggest challenge faced by India today.

    How do you address this perplexing challenges of Inclusive Growth with Current Business Ethics? What are the human development indicators in health, education and opportunity? Are we headed in the right direction? Rural India comprise 70% of the population. Are our rural farmers rightly paid for their produce?

    The Loyola Institute of Business Administration of Chennai held a two day seminar 14- 15 Mar 2008 to address the perplexing challenge of Inclusive Growth with LIBA BEACON’08, a National level Business Ethics Conference. LIBA BEACON 2008.
    Highlights Inclusive Growth, Challenge of the New Era

    Comments: Most of our ESM are from Rural India but tend to migrate to cities after retirement. The reasons are mainly due to lack of ECHS, CSD and other facilities enjoyed by an ESM settled in a city. The Armed Forces need to home deliver its Welfare Services to ESM in Rural India to make it regionally balanced.


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