Saturday, May 24, 2008

SCPC: Precedence games played with pay scales

On popular demand, I am enclosing comments on the Central Warrant of Precedence that is presently applicable. This WoP is only till the rank of Major General and below this the old warrant of 1937 is valid till date as confirmed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. (Link given below)

Taking into account the 6th CPC, things to ponder in view of the WoP:

  • The 6th CPC has equated the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) of the Civil Services with a Major General. This is incorrect. Only those officers of the SAG can be equated with Major Generals who are empanelled and holding the appointment of a Joint Secretary to Govt of India, and that too only for ceremonial purposes. (Please see Article 26 and Note-1 below it). It is a Joint Secretary GOI who is equated with a Maj Gen for ceremonial purposes and not all SAG officers. There are many SAG officers but not all are Joint Secretaries in Govt of India.

  • The 6th CPC has taken the WoP as a basis for determination of pay scales and status and that is the reason for equating a GOI Joint Secretary’s pay with a Maj Gen (Both on Article 26). The same was done by earlier CPCs too. Keeping that in view, now how do they justify a fixed pay of Rs 80,000 for DG of CPOs and a lesser pay of Rs 39200-67000 (with Grade Pay of Rs 11000) to Lt Generals ? A Lt Gen is on Article 24 while a DG of a CPO is on Article 25!. In fact, a Maj Gen posted as a PSO (as was the case in the past) is equated with a CPO DG on Article 25.

  • How has the same pay of Rs 80,000 been recommended for an Army Commander (GOC-in-C) and DsG of CPOs ? An Army Commander is on Article 23 while the latter is two steps below on Article 25.

  • The pay of a Lt Gen (Article 24 of WoP) has been kept at Rs 39200-67000 (with a Grade Pay of Rs 11000) which is lesser than even the pay of a DG of State Police who has the same pay-scale with a Grade Pay of Rs 13000. A DGP of State Police does not even feature on the Central Warrant of Precedence. In fact, the pay of a Lt Gen has now been linked to the pay of an Addl DGP of States who has also been placed in the same pay band with a Grade Pay of 11000. Needless to say, an Addl DG also is nowhere near the Central WoP.

    Maj Navdeep Singh
    Advocate, Punjab & Haryana High Court

    Central Warrant of Precedence
    Indian Military Service Benefits and Issues
  • SCPC: Fast for Justice

    Dear Brothers,
    As you already know that as part of ‘Pan India’ movement against great injustice and humiliation being heaped up on the Defence Services, by the 6th Pay Commission, a “FAST FOR JUSTICE” is being observed on 27 MAY 2008 between 10AM and 6PM at MAJOR S SHANKLA MEMORIAL, SECTOR- 2, PANCHKULA, by all our organisations.

    Kindly be present to show our solidarity and observe the fast to press home the demands and inform all others to do the same.

    Yours' Sincerely,
    Brig Harwant Singh (Retd)
    Organising Secretary

    Demands and Core Issues of Two Million Ex- Servicemen

    1. One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP)
    The Sixth Pay Commission has summarily discarded what we had achieved after decades of struggle. We wish to re-iterate the point that the soldiers retire at a very early age and their case must be de-linked with their civilian counterparts who serve upto the age of sixty. This issue merits consideration by the Union Cabinet.

    2. Resettlement of Ex- Servicemen
    An overwhelming number of our veterans are jobless. Pension is their sole means of livelihood. With the passage of time their nutrition levels fall and that lowers their life expectancy. Without work, their lives lose meaning, and they are considered a burden by their kinsfolk. There is a crying need to introduce a “Transition Assistance Program” (TAP) on the lines of the practice followed in the USA.

    3. Representation of Soldiers on Premier Committees
    We are pained to learn that the government rejected the appeal of the Service Chiefs to appoint a soldier as a member of the Sixth Pay Commission. It gave us an impression that the country does not trust the soldiers. The committee appointed to ‘resolve’ the issues is also composed of officers from a single cadre of civil servants. We wish to state unequivocally that we have lost faith in the bureaucracy to do justice to our cause. The Defence Secretary has never worn uniform. How will he know where the shoe pinches?

    4. Inequities in the Report of Sixth Pay Commission
    The report is heavily biased against the soldier. It shows complete lack of knowledge of the working environment and the ethos of the Military. The Military Service pay (MSP) recommended for all ranks from Sepoy to the Subedar Major is Rs 1000 as against Rs 6000 granted to a greenhorn Lieutenant. How will the Commanding Officer be able to justify this? A similar aberration has been created in the salaries of the middle level officers, merely to keep them below the civil services.

    5. Formation of A Commission for Defence Service.

    What Military Personnel do for a Living?

    Men who are trained to fight for the Nation
    Also know how to fight for their own rights.
    -Maj Gen Surjit Singh

    Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.
    -Theodore N. Vail

    Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living. This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.

    Senator Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when you've never held a "real job?"

    Senator Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the Space Program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine to five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me... as I went the other day... to a Veterans Hospital and look those men- with their mangled bodies- in the eye, and tell THEM they didn't hold a job!

    You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee... and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn't hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this Nation, and you tell ME that those people didn't have a job? I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men- SOME MEN- who held a REAL job. And they required a dedication to a purpose- and a love of country and a dedication to duty- that was more important than life itself. And their self- sacrifice is what made this country possible.

    I HAVE held a job, Howard! --- What about you?"

    Inspirational Quotes

    1962 Indo- China War

    The scene now shifts to the October 20th morning when the Chinese launched a massive attack on the 7 Inf Brigade.

    A soldiers version, Bhairon Singh narrates:

    Chinese firing
    I was part of a three men patrol which had gone out on the night of 19th and we had returned to our company location say at about 3 AM, we had made tea and were resting, it was still dark when the Chinese firing started.

    The company was deployed with the number one platoon well forward, right on the river line, number two on the left. The number three platoon alongwith the Company HQ was right at the back. Lt Ravi Sahib, who had taken over the command from Mangat Sahib at the time of the company taking defensive position and Subedar Phool Singh the Company JCO were located in the company HQ.

    Do not fire at random
    Heavy firing continued, after about one hour Ravi Sahib came down to the number one platoon location. We were deployed right on the river line with the Chinese on the other side, so near to us that a strong man like me could easily lob a grenade at them. We were still in bunkers. ‘Fire the moment you see the enemy, don’t fire at random’. Ravi Sahib told the jawans.

    Loss of communications
    At about 8 AM, I was called by Ravi Sahib. He ordered me to go to Bn HQ and bring verbal orders from the CO. The company was now cut- off from the Bn HQ and none of the communication links were working. The telephone line to the Battalion HQ had been cut earlier by the Chinese, the Radio was also not through. (The Signals bunker at the Bn HQ had already been destroyed due to Chinese fire) He also sent a young boy, Govind Singh to accompany me. Even before we could get out of the company defended locality, a mortar bomb landed directly on Govind Singh killing him on the spot. Now I was left alone and was on my own.

    Protection Force
    On reaching the Bn HQ I found all the men of his protection platoon had been killed Rikh Sahib had carried three LMG’s in side his bunker along with all the ammunition. Keeping his pistol aside he would, fill, load and fire the LMG’s himself. He should have been awarded the PVC; there is no justice in this world. If some one will ask me I will tell him all about Rikh Sahib. To this I (Author) responded by the question to him that the book written by Maj Gen Verma does not mention this. ‘Sir No one ever asked me. No JCO or Officer knows as much about Rikh Sahib as I do because I was on the ground and no one else had reached there till then those who wish can say anything they want’.

    Commanding Officer
    He continued, behind the CO’s Command Post there was a cutting and the Chinese were attacking from there from the rear. The attack did not come from the front, the riverside, but from the rear. He had turned the LMG around and was firing at the Chinese. There was fog and it had also started to snow the low visibility making it difficult for the Chinese to pinpoint from where the fire was coming. I was also finding it difficult to locate Rikh Sahib and reach near him. I had taken position. Now only one LMG was firing. Ultimately the Chinese fired a burst aiming at the muzzle flash of the LMG, smashing his right arm. Undaunted he continued to still fill the magazine with his left hand and also fire by the same hand. He had not fallen down and was still standing.

    Chinese Capture
    By that time a Chinese soldier had crawled up to the bunker and he lobed a grenade in the bunker. I had also reached near by this time. There was a hissing sound from the grenade, Rikh Sahib caught hold of the grenade and threw it out side. It needs courage to do what he did. As you know, you are a senior officer (author) one is scared of even touching a grenade. The grenade burst before hitting the ground and one splinter hit Rikh Sahib breaking his Jaw and he fell down. The Chinese now approached the bunker, angry that this particular man had inflicted the maximum damage to them they dragged him, he was not wearing the badges of rank, out of the bunker pulling him by his legs.

    Chinese casualties
    What I am telling is the reality, the facts no one knows as much about the incident as I do. Because of the casualties they had suffered at the hands of Rikh Sahib the Chinese were furious and tried to bayonet him. Luckily he escaped, as he was about to be bayoneted, I fired and the bullet went through the hand of the Chinese who fell ahead of Rikh Sahib with the bayonet missing him. By this time some of our men and Maj Gurdial Singh Sahib, the 2 IC, were also being escorted to the same place as prisoners.

    Seeing him, I started shouting loudly ‘Commanding Officer ko mar rahain hain.’(They are killing the Commanding officer) Gurdial Singh Sahib came running others had not yet reached there, even though his hands were tied. He stood with his two feet astride Rick Sahib lying injured on the ground. ‘If you want to shoot, shoot me, he is already injured what is the purpose of shooting him’ said Gurdial Singh Sahib in an emotionally charged voice. By that time a senior Chinese officer had also arrived there. There was some discussion between him and Gurdial Singh in English, some heated words were also exchanged but ultimately the Chinese cooled down and asked "What do you want". Gurdial Singh "We want to carry him, he is our CO"

    No order to withdraw
    The Chinese officer acceded to the request. Gurdial Singh Sahib shouted towards me in a loud voice ‘You go back and tell your Company Commander to move to the location of the company (1/9 GR) deployed near the Bde HQ on the mountain side join them and fight along them’. I ran back to the company and conveyed the order from Gurdial Singh Sahib to Lt Ravi. I also told him that the CO was injured. Subedar Vasudev Sahib also joined in. At this Ravi Sahib reacted ‘One does not withdraw from battlefield, I cannot order withdrawal. ‘But, Sir where is the question of withdrawal, the order is to go to Brigade HQ, it is only a change of position’
    ‘No, I can’t give this order’ He did not give the order.

    Heavy fighting
    Anyway by now the company was also under attack by the Chinese. There was hand to hand and bayonet fighting in our company locality and one after another the Chinese fell. I forgot to mention that after the 9 Punjab action the 9th of October the Chinese kept on carrying away their dead, the casualties, resulting from the firing by ‘C’ Company, for three days and we kept on watching from the bridge. Heavy casualties had taken place in our company, ultimately at about 8 AM Ravi Sahib gave the order that surviving Jawans should move to the Brigade HQ. Ravi Sahib, few other Jawans and I rushed to the Brigade HQ.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Not a single man from B, C or D Companies was awarded any gallantry medal as there was no one left to write the citations because there was no officer or JCO who was not killed or seriously wounded and taken POW. When the CO, Lt Col MS Rikh was released from the POW camp, he wrote up the citations but GoI and MoD made lame excuses and did not pay any attention to them. There is a memorial erected to those who fought at Namka Chu, which is a ricktey tin shed with names still missing from it and names of persons who were not there have been put up. Major BK Pant's company of 112 men had 82 killed and wounded. What more does a country want from its brave sons and not honour them properly?

    7th Infantry Brigade at the Battle of the Namkachu 1962
    Commander Brigadier John Dalvi
    1/9th Gorkhas Lt Col BS Alhuwalia
    2nd Rajputs Lt Col Maha Singh Rikh
    4th Grenadiers Lt Col KS Harihar Singh
    9th Punjab Lt Col RN Mishra

    Commanding Officers: Due to up gradation the Battalions which were previously commanded by Lt Colonels are now commanded by full Colonels. Only future full scale wars will tell if the up gradation was a wise decision or a trap by bureaucracy to dilute the command and control structure of a Battalion. One wishes that in future the Battalions are not commanded by Brigadiers as ongoing process of up gradation!

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    ESM: Strategies for Effective Communication

    Unfortunately our government machinery is not used to hearing soft implosions unless it explodes; nor does it see light unless it becomes a ravaging fire! Sad fact, but we surely would not like our mass demonstrations to become violent and destructive. How can we then make our voice heard? Perhaps there are ways whereby we can make the nation, authorities, politicians and bureaucracy sit up and pay heed to our call. Let’s first logically enumerate the state of affairs as witnessed today.

  • Failure of Civil Administration
    Rampant corruption and inefficiency of the bureaucratic machinery has reached a point where public tolerance is bursting at its seams. Increasing incidents of people taking law into their own hands and spot-punishing petty criminals are brute manifestations of their raw anger at the incompetent civil administration. One of the leading national weeklies (India Today, April 7, 2008) recently carried it as their cover story titled: 'Making us pay more for Sloth.' decrying the 6th CPC bonanza to the bureaucracy without fixing accountability. Some conscientious IAS officers have unhesitatingly exposed their own brethren by hosting lists of 'most corrupt officers' on the Internet. Some, fired by their conscience, have written books exposing their sinning service colleagues. When Vinod Dua of NDTV recently called for a poll, 85 percent voted for 'Salary of military officers should be higher than IAS' (Other options were 'Equal to IAS' (3 percent) and 'Less than IAS' (12 percent). Our people love us; let's walk up to them!

  • Spread of Terrorism
    Due to Inept handling at administrative levels has only aided the menace of terror to spread and breed in all parts of our country today. The vicious network is so intricately woven that the notion of 'depth areas' and hinterland has been rendered redundant today as every home and hearth is within enemy's kargar range! With criminals like Afzal Guru living a protected life despite a death sentence by the Supreme Court and the not-too-secret havens for the budding terrorists thriving within the country, where is the need to import terrorism? Ours is a very much homegrown terrorism with avowed champions (vote seekers) jumping into the fray to defend and perpetuate the evil. People in general are fed up even as they haplessly look towards the Armed Forces for deliverance.

  • Need for Sustained Economical Growth
    Industrialists including our NRIs and foreign giants willing to invest in India, are often deterred by the worsening security scenario in India. Our economical growth too presupposes 'safe and secure environment'. Their reticence notwithstanding, almost all of our industry barons and entrepreneurs have great respect for the Armed Forces. They also despise the rising corruption and worsening security surroundings.

  • Restive Intelligentsia
    There is a class of very learned people who are leading a quiet retired life but vehemently denounce the worsening state of our security environments. They are scientists, academicians, social activists, journalists, media personalities, and even bureaucrats and politicians of the yore. I have come across some retired Secretaries, Ambassadors and DGPs who have the capacity to speak up for the country's future dispassionately rising above the narrow bondage of their erstwhile Service. This phenomenon, if carefully harnessed, can reinforce our credibility and justification of our demands.

    Three pronged strategy
    In view of these ground realities of the day, I recommend a three pronged approach to be integrated in our Movement's long term strategies. (Over and above our ongoing plans of protest mechanism through periodical Rallies, Public Meetings and so forth.)

    1. Creation of Expert Veterans Forum
    It could be given any other name or form but the Forum should consist of known faces of eminent citizens, e.g., former Service Chiefs, scientists, academicians, social activists, journalists, judges, lawyers, media personalities, and why not even bureaucrats and politicians of the yore. A number of sets of Panels can be drawn up at IESL level after carefully ascertaining and analysing individual expertise, ideology and leanings of such expert veterans. Of course, we need to nurture patronage with the top management of the Broadcasters (TV Channels) and the Press Lords (Publishing Houses) so that our Cause becomes integrated in the broadcasting/publishing policy. Merely inviting and reporters and camera teams may throw up a photo or a video clip here and there but would fall short of building up a favourable public opinion.

    2. Communication with Legislators
    A comprehensive letter thoughtfully drafted should be sent from the President, IESL to all Members of Parliament (including Rajya Sabha MPs) individually by name. This letter must illustrate the anomalies of the 6th Pay Commission, the present state of the Armed Forces vis-à-vis National Security Environments, and the demands/ aspirations of the Forces and ESM. The letter must be sent in English as well as Hindi. Also, IESL nominated veterans must invite and address groups of MPs without showing political leanings and sensitise them to raise our voice in their parties as well as on the floor of the House concerned.

    3. Village level Action Committees
    IESL is well entrenched down to district level throughout the country. We must reorganise and invigorate our grass root level infrastructure so as to play a constructive role in nation building and actively participate in the forthcoming general elections next year in well coordinated manner through district/ constituency level IESL apparatus. Nothing moves a politician as much as his 'vote'. We must publicise and make it very clear to one and all that while we remain a patriotic and apolitical entity above caste and religion, we along with our families and relations shall vote for those parties and candidates who declare their acceptance of IESL demands in the larger interests of the country. Our State/ district level Establishments should be given freedom to mobilise their constituencies in favour of those candidates/parties who include our main issues in their Manifestos and declare their unequivocal resolve to meet our demands once elected to power.

    Col Karan Kharb (Retd)
  • SCPC Empowered Committee

    Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday 05 May 2008 that there was no ''large scale'' departures from the services despite the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations not coming up to their expectations.

    "Army personnel are allowed to leave service on account of various reasons like suppression, extreme compassionate grounds, low medical category and failure to acquire minimum educational qualification," the minister said in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha.

    He put the number of officers who were permitted to leave services due to various reasons during the last five years at 3474.

    Revised pay package for armed forces to be finalised

    One Rank one Pension
    The ESM simmering discontent is growing if one reads the widespread media coverage. The SCPC has buried the long pending "One Rank One Pension" forever. The empowered group of Cabinet Secretaries now going into the SCPC anomalies are not the enlightened set up to do Justice for Defence Services as can be perceived from the delay envisaged. The IAS lobbyists will negate any useful outcome. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Officer Shortages
    From statistics given by RM it is fair to deduce that approx 700 officers are released prematurely every year. The total officer retirees is approx 3 percent of total officer strength in the Armed Forces which works out to approx 1000 per year. These statistics give a fair idea of the intake required if National Security is to be preserved. The present overall deficiency adds up to approx 12000. Will SCPC report if implemented address vital question of Officer Shortages in the Defence Services?

    Ratio of Salaries
    SCPC has evolved a ratio of 1:10 between highest salaried officer to lowest paid PBOR. This ratio is a sure formula to spell disaster. To maintain morale of troops the value of life of an Officer and PBOR is to be equated honourably. The prudent ratio of salaries ought to be 1:5 otherwise command of troops and maintaining morale will become a more vexing problem. The command and control structure need to be augmented rather than systematically destroyed.

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    SCPC: ESM Fast for Justice

    To be released at the Press Conference At 10:30 AM on 22 May 2008

    The Sixth Central Pay Commission Report (6thCPC) has treated the Defence Services Personnel, both serving and the veterans highly unfairly. Gross injustice has been done to them. In spite of repeated requests, no member from the Defence Services was included as a member of the Pay Commission. The Special Review Committee now ordered to review the 6 CPC report, again has no member from the Defence Services. Why is the government denying representation? The answer is it is not the government but the bureaucracy that is doing so. Resultantly, people who have little or no knowledge of the conditions of service of the Defence Forces will be making decisions as to how much compensation should be paid to both serving and retired military personnel. Even the “One Rank One Pension”, which was granted to the Defence Services by the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and was debated in favour of the military veterans, after decades of protests and agitations, has been taken away by the 6th CPC; can it be called a fair report?

    The military veterans have therefore decided to continue their protest till their demands are met. There are four categories of personnel, who have suffered the maximum. These are firstly, our jawans and JCO’s; secondly, all middle level officers from the rank of Lt Col to Brigadier; thirdly, officers of the rank of Lt Gen; and fourthly all veterans. Some details of anomalies and the main demands of the military veterans are as under:

  • One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP). The long standing demand of “one-rank-one-pension” must be accepted immediately. Almost every political party has accepted this demand and it part of their election manifestos. This demand must be implemented by the government without any further delay.
  • Resettlement of Veterans. An overwhelming number of veterans are jobless. Pension is their sole means of livelihood. With the passage of time their nutrition levels fall, reducing life expectancy. They are also considered a burden by their kinsfolk. It is the duty of the government to provide guaranteed jobs for them.
  • Representation of Soldiers on Premier Committees. Why does the government not trust soldiers? All committees to resolve problems of soldier’s consist of bureaucrats, who have no knowledge of the military. Strange indeed!
  • Inequities in the Report of Sixth Pay Commission. The report is heavily biased against the soldier. It shows complete lack of knowledge of the working environment and the ethos of the Military. Has it been done to keep soldiers below the civil services? Why?
  • Formation of a Commission for Defence Services. The problem is systemic and essentially relates to civil- military relations. These issues can only be resolved by appointing an independent Commission, which must be predominantly composed of Military personnel.
  • Address All Anomalies. The Services headquarters have already addressed a detailed note to the government, pointing out the discrepancies and anomalies in the recommendations of the 6thCPC. These relate to status, pay, allowances, military service pay and pensionary benefits. These must be rectified at the earliest.
  • Compensation for the War Disabled. They must be treated at par with martyrs, in terms of ex- gratia grants. War Injury Pay needs to be substantially enhanced.
  • Compensation for Early Retirement. Military personnel who retire earlier than their civilian counterparts must be compensated as their life time earnings are much less than others. This should be done by giving them enhanced pension.

    The widespread and strong resentment against the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission is a fact for all to see. The Defence Forces, as well as the Veterans have no confidence in the so- called Empowered/ Review Committee, even if an odd person from the military is added to it now. The government must constitute either a standing Armed Forces Pay Review Board (AFPRB), with a serving member each from the three Services and one retired person among others, or form a separate Pay Commission for the military and the veterans, to study all aspects de novo. Anything short will not satisfy the serving guardians of our nation, or the Veterans.

    With a view to express our strong resentment to the recommendations of the 6th CPC and the callous attitude adopted by the government, all veterans will observe a token “FAST FOR JUSTICE” throughout the country. In the Tri- city, the event will be held at the War Memorial, Sector-2, Panchkula from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM on Tuesday 27 May 2008. We request the media to give wide publicity to the event and invite the citizens of the Tri- city and surrounding areas to join us and show their solidarity to our cause.

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd)
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)
    Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff
  • NASA Everest Trek

    Back in the Base Camp we first went to the Indian Army tent as one of our trekking guides, Baldev, is good friends of the Indian Army Colonel who is leading an expedition of the Savehs, a wing of the Army. They were very accommodating and happy to talk to us. We sat in their tent for coffee and popcorn. Shortly afterwards we went to Scott Parazynski's location, the IMG (International Mountain Guides) camp. They have 20 climbers and around 40 Sherpas in their expedition, and their camp was very large with many tents. Scott showed us his personal tent as well as the gear he is using during this expedition. Scott mentioned that he has already been up and down through the Ice Fall four times and has reached as high as just above Camp 2 for his acclimatization climbs. He is looking forward to continuing his routines and eventual bid for the summit. We wish him luck.

    After vising the IMG Camp, we went to a bakery tent. It was hard to believe, but this tent creates comfort foods such as apple pies, cookies, and cinnamon buns right in the heart of Base Camp. We sat in the tent talking with with Scott some more and enjoyed a few baked goods before we headed back out. The day was getting late and we had a long hike back to Lobuche ahead of us, so unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Scott. I think all of us could have stayed much longer enjoying the impressive views of the Ice Fall and Mt Everest right in front of us.
    Read more at:
    NASA Everest Trek Blog

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Turmoil in the Defence Services

    Two issues were raised by a delegation of War decorated officers with the PM at the Punjab Raj Bhawan. One pertained to ‘one rank- one pension’ where some relief had been given to Other Ranks, while JCOs and officers had been left out. Since then this relief was extended to JCOs but apparently the PMO sent the point concerning officers to the 6th CPC, where it has been given a final burial.

    The second pertained to brigadiers being given higher pension than major generals consequent to the 5th CPC recommendations. It was pointed out that we had spent three long years doing the rounds of Punjab High Court and succeeded in obtaining a favourable verdict and instead of accepting this order in good grace the MoD had gone in appeal to the Supreme Court. We had requested that the MoD be instructed to withdraw the case from the Apex Court. This did not happen.

    When none of those on the CPCs have any knowledge of the travails and tribulations of military life in India, which has seen no peace since 1947, and none of their sons, daughters, sons-in-law etc join this profession, then how can they know the issues which plague those in the services. When amongst hundreds of officers, and office staff assembled to assist the 5th and 6th CPCs, in working out the nitty-gritty of pay, perks and allowances etc no one from the armed forces was acceptable, then prejudice, bias and discrimination becomes palpably apparent.

    In the last two decades 540 officers have fallen ( 169 during the last five years ) and 1258 wounded in various counter-insurgency operations ( CI Ops ). The number of JCOs and ORs killed/ wounded are 571/ 7923 and 769/ 11102 respectively. These figures do not include the 5000 odd servicemen, including officers, who annually suffer ailments including psychological disorders, due to postings to uncongenial and high altitude areas, and normal stress and strain of CI Ops. They are either medically boarded out or down graded.

    The ratio of officer to ORs killed is 1 to 14.6. These casualties and ratios relate to counter-insurgency and related tasks. That is perhaps the highest anywhere in the world and does reflect on the dedication and quality of leadership. The CPOs and the state police is operating alongside the military in CI Ops and by itself in those 160 Maoist controlled districts where large number of policemen have been killed.

    How many IPS officers have died and what is their ratio to policemen killed in the last five years. The civilian officers (IAS) too operate in areas plagued by insurgency and in all of those 160 districts where Maoists are in control. How is it that the IAS officers in these areas suffer no casualties; do not even run into an ambush, their vehicle go over a land mine or into an IED. Do these officers have some supernatural survival skills! The fact is that they live under heavy security, have offices at home and work from there and don’t even stir out. That is all those grandiose poverty alleviation and a host of other such lofty schemes, do not work but get soaked halfway down the line. Yet they eat the cake and keep it too.

    The emerging security scene is rather disturbing and FM’s allocation of 1.8 percent of GDP for defence confirms his views that economic development and national security are mutually exclusive. Lack of strategic capabilities coupled with the de-motivation of defence forces would be a recipe for disaster.

    The 6th CPC, in line with earlier Commissions, has delivered a body blow to the defence services. The anomalies and disadvantages are far too many to list, but suffice to mention just one, which is representative of the attitude of the 6th CPC, and its lack of sensitivity and understanding.

    The Commission has introduced Assured Career Progression (ACP) for employees at 12 and 24 years service. 90 percent of army personnel retire on completion of 17/ 19 years service. So for them the second ACP does not work. It should be 8 and 12 years or 8 and 16 years, as suggested. The pay commission made an exception for defence services and accepted ACPs at 10 and 20 years of service, once again leaving the second ACP out of reach of the same 90 percent of servicemen. One wonders if this was out of cussedness or simply to taunt the defence forces.

    There are a whole range of dispensations which places the services at great disadvantage, lowers their status and there is not even a semblance of equity in life time earning between a military man and a civilian employee in each category. Equally serious is the ‘divide and rule policy’ devised by the government between juniors and seniors in the defence services.

    The ground situation is that few want to join the defence service and those already in want to quit. Only the brightest Cols are given the chance to attend the Higher Command Course and is essential stepping stone to rise in service. However one has to sign an undertaking not to quit service for 5 years after the course. 15 officers detailed on this course have declined to attend it.

    Military is a service apart and there is no parallel to it in the civil there is no common yard stick. Armed forces are still an effective instrument of the state, whereas some others are busy merely picking up the spoils. So why destroy them when they are still functional.

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)

    Karpola Pass October 1962

    PLA troops overrun Indian Troops

    ....the approach to the base of Karpola Pass could best be described as progress made slowly and deliberately on sharply undulating terrain with short and measured steps. Karpola was a steep and narrow pass at a height of 16000 feet frightening even to look up.

    In the words of Brig Dalvi 'Karpola is an awesome sight…It is practically vertical and strewn with loose boulders there was danger to the person below- the pass was very narrow being barely 15 feet wide at the summit'. I could not have described it any better. I must have been apprehensive and uncertain about my ability of negotiating it in my present condition since I was dead tired. It was soon going to be dark night comes early in mountains and we could not stay where we were. Both of us started up towards the summit taking one or two steps at a time stopping from time to time and looking up to check on our Progress....

    Brig lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)
    Karpola Aerial Photograph

    Pay Structure for the Armed Forces

    Neither in the Constitution of India, nor in any other statute have I seen any linkage between ‘The table of precedence’ and the Structure of salaries. And, yet the pay commissions which are dominated by the civil servants are fixated by these relativities. However, if such a law, guideline or ruling does exist, then it has already been violated, because the pay (including the rank pay) of the Brigadiers has been higher than that of the Joint Secretaries ever since 1986. It may be noted that Rank Pay was defined as Basic Pay, for all purposes.

    Functional equations in the Ministry of Defense are created for administrative convenience. The civil servants seem to have made a fetish of them. They go well out of their way to ensure that an officer of an appropriate rank attends a meeting, even if he is not the best informed person on the given subject. Compensation packages, the world over are devised on the basis of three guiding principles: attraction, retention and motivation. Our remuneration to the officer class is inadequate on all the three counts.

    A clear distinction must be made between ‘basic pay’ and ‘allowances’. We have had a lot of trouble with “Rank pays”. Now I see similar problem brewing over the Military Service Pay (MSP) If it is basic pay, it must count for all purposes. If not, then it must be treated like all other risk or qualification related elements such as Flying Allowance, the NPA and the Technical Allowances.

    Within the “Group A”, the length of service has to be rewarded. There is no way by which a Col or Brig with 25 or 30 years under his belt can be given lower pay than a JS with 14 years service. It is ethically incorrect, and morally wrong.
    In sum, the ‘table of precedence’ ‘the functional equations’ and the ‘pay scales’ are mutually exclusive and must be treated as such.

    Any Answer?
    At a social event, a Colonel, who was commanding the unit asked me, “Sir, if I have not done my job properly, hit me on my head. Why are you punishing my children, by reducing my salary? And, Sir has the administration of the country so much that the nation has chosen to give a bonanza to the civil servants?”

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    ESM Organizations Unite to Intensify the Movement Against 6th Pay Commission

    In the absence of any positive response from the Govt to their demands for justice, the leaders of different veterans organizations held a meeting at Indian Ex-Services League (IESL) HQ at 9 Nyaya Marg Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, on Monday, 19 May 08 under the aegis of IESL.

    Leaders of all Veteran Organisations were unanimous that they need to put up united front. It was decided to constitute a Steering Committee to plan and coordinate the strategy at the National level and intensify the "Movement for Justice to Defence Services", throughout India.

    All leaders felt that the Sixth Central Pay Commission Report has treated the Defence Services Personnel, both serving and the veterans unfairly. Gross injustice has been done to them. In spite of repeated request no member from the Defence Services was included as a member of the Pay Commission. The special committee now ordered to review the 6 CPC report, again has no member from the Defence Services. People who have negligible knowledge of the working environment of the Defence Services will be making decisions as to how much compensation should be paid to the Defence Personnel, serving and retired. Even the "One Rank One Pension", which was granted to the Defence Services by the Parliament Committee after decades of agitation, has been undone by the 6 CPC; can it be called a fair report?

    All Leaders of various Veterans Organisations were unanimous and in one voice spoke that the agitation must continue till such time that the Government of India grants justice to its Defence Personnel, serving and retired. Genuine demand of the Defence Services must be met.

    It was decided that in order to send one more signal to the decision makers of the Government of India, a country wide Hunger Strike/ Sit in Dharna would be organized on 27 May 08 from 10 AM to 6 PM. At Delhi, this will be held at Boat Club Lawns. At other cities it will be held at the War Memorials/ Other suitable locations.

    With regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours' Sincerely
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
    IESL Steering Committee Meeting Photographs
    Photographs take about 120 seconds to load for viewing as slideshow. Photographs courtesy Brig CS Kamboj, VSM (Retd).

    Achievements of Capt Navdeep Singh

    Captain Navdeep Singh is a record holder for the highest number of decorations in the history of the Indian Territorial Army, a volunteer force in which gainfully employed and self employed professionals receive military training for a few days in a year so that in the event of a war or a national emergency they can bear arms for the defence of the nation. Singh is also the youngest person connected with the Territorial Army to have been the recipient of five commendations. Singh has recently been awarded with his sixth decoration.

    Capt Navdeep Singh is a lawyer by profession and is based at the High Court of the States of Punjab & Haryana in Chandigarh, India.

    He is credited with the execution of implementation of the Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901 all over India. This Act which was passed in 1901 provides for toll tax exemption to private vehicles of defence personnel irrespective of whether they are on duty or not. There was a controversy over implementation of the Act on private toll operators and private toll roads and bridges but the controversy was settled in 2003 when on a case taken up by him, the Indian Ministry of Road Transport & Highways clarified that the Act was valid even for the present times and toll exemption was to be granted to both ‘on duty’ and ‘off duty’ defence personnel.

    Toll tax exemption to defence personnel was later challenged in the Punjab & Haryana High Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) but the petition was dismissed by the Court which upheld the exemption. The Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901 was then Challenged in the Supreme Court of India but the petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court too, thus upholding the provisions of the Act which provides a very special privilege to the military community.

    He is also credited with effective implementation of entertainment tax exemption to serving defence personnel in cinemas and theatres. Most of the Indian states offer entertainment tax exemption to men in uniform but the rule was seldom followed or recognized by cinema halls.

    He has also worked for the benefit of WWII veterans and authored a book, "Soldiers Know Your Rights", which was released by General J J Singh, India’s former Chief of the Army Staff. Another lesser known book called "Fauj Hai Mauj", (Military is fun) is written by him. Click on links below:

    Captain Navdeep Singh
    Indian Army Benefits Blog

    Comment: Are ESM exempted from Toll Tax? If so what is the authority? What states do not give entertainment tax exemption to serving soldiers? I wonder if it is applicable in Southern States?

    Capt Navdeep Singh clarifies:
    "No, toll exemption is not available to veterans since the Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901, only caters to serving defence personnel. The idea behind the Act was to take care of the frequent movement of military personnel and their families throughout the country. There was an NHAI letter in circulation which stated that the exemption was available to ESM too, but the said letter has been confirmed to be a fake one. Even the Hon'ble Supreme Court had only upheld exemption to serving personnel. However, veterans would be happy to learn that the Govt of India, as a goodwill gesture, has exempted all gallantry award winners including veterans from payment of toll on NHs. The said exemption to gallantry awardees is only available on National Highways unlike the exemption under the above mentioned Act of 1901 which is applicable on all roads and bridges in India.

    Entertainment Tax is a state subject. Most of the States offer such exemption to defence personnel in cinemas and multiplexes. However, to check whether a particular State offers such exemption or not, you may have to contact the Excise and Taxation Deptt of that particular State or have a look at that State's Entertainment Duty/ Tax Rules."

    Rally held at Mohali, Punjab

    A big 'Rally cum Protest March' was held at MOHALI (Punjab) on 18 May 2008 by the Military Veterans of the town, wearing black arm bands and some even medals. Though the area was under Section 144IPC but a prior permission was obtained. In the Rally the speakers strongly condemned the 6thCPC and its recommendations. The 'March' was led by Veterans wearing totally Black garments.

    On reaching DC's office, a 'Duty Officer' (a Tehsildar) was to receive the Memorandum (as was tied up with the DC it being a Sunday), for the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. Lot many slogans were raised against 6thCPC before handing over the memorandum .

    When the duty officer showed reluctance to come down and receive the memorandum some PBOR wanted to burn DC's Office who with great persuasion were dissuaded from doing so. Finally an ultimatum was given that if he did not come down in ten minutes the disciplined Veterans would turn in to a 'Crowd' and he would be responsible for the consequences. Finally he came down and received the Memorandum amidst great slogan shouting.

    Next Rally is on 25 May 2008 at Fateh Garh Sahib, near Sirhind

    Request info all. Regards
    Brig Harwant Singh (Retd)

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Tsangdhar: Indo- China Ops 1962

    I used to notice the Shepard loitering in the brigade complex and the DZ at Tsangdhar and then suddenly one day he vanished. Was he a Chinese spy? Who can say!

    Speaking of spies some were definitely operating in that area Hony
    Capt Ram Chander Singh the then 2IC of C Coy of 2 Rajput deployed
    against the Chinese in the valley of Namka Chu then Subedar had told me in December 1999 at Jaipur that the two porters given to him during the move of 2 Rajput from Tawang to Tsangdhar were in actual fact Captains in the Chinese Army a realisation which dawned on him when he once again encountered them in the POW camp. However as recorded earlier it is also said that in the Tea Shop at Chako short of Bomdila on the Misamari- Tawang route where all the up going and down coming military traffic stopped to take a break had two Chinese Girl spies serving tea to those who had not seen a decent looking women for sometime. I do have a faded recollection of the shop as if seen from some distance.

    The local employed in the Brigade Officers Mess as a helper was privy to all the mess talk through the backroom gossip of the mess staff was also latter suspected by some to be a Chinese spy. However I can not vouch for the authenticity of these stamens.

    It seems that Indian intelligence was also active in that area and
    one operative had managed to contact the Indian prisoners in the
    Chinese POW camp post 20th October 1962 and managed to obtain the
    details of the prisoners according to Ram Chander Singh who was
    instrumental in preparing the list.

    Tsangdhar Rememering 9 Punjab 1962 Op Leghorn
    My parachute shelter had become the reporting centre for all the
    officers fetching up at Tsangdhar. I had a long look at the serpentine columns of Chinese troops moving down the slopes of Thagla across the valley through the telescope of the range finder set- up by the mortar battery as a tourist attraction. Tsangdhar DZ at 14500 feet a forbidding landscape surrounded by high
    features and with the massive Thagla Ridge not far across the narrow valley of River Namka Chu at first sight did not look very friendwaly to me. It was early in the month of October and it had not started to snow as yet. However it was bitterly cold. With no suspended dust particles or haze in the rarefied air every thing appeared unnaturally clear and sharp.

    The exceptionally bright sunlight had painted the rugged landscape
    with innumerable light and dark patches with razor sharp edges. The light and dark brown of the rocky landscape with just a sprinkling of the green of the stilted by cold rhododendron bushes contrasting sharply against the deep blue of the clear sky all this combined to make the wilderness of Tsangdhar even more harsh. It presented a sight which was totally alien to any of my previous visual and physical experiences.

    What a Dussehra! I walked into Tsangdhar at about 9am on the morning of 9th the unfamiliar view combined with the effect of the forced march over the difficult terrain without food or rest and the lack of oxygen did make me feel a bit woolly in the head. It appears that I had no time to worry about these things. Some sketchy entries in my diary indicate worries and problems and very little about personal thoughts except that Nar Bhadur is looking after me and that I slept under a shelter made of parachute. My worries at this point of time according to the entry were as usual of fuel and oil (73 NL HD 10) for the charging sets and batteries without electrolyte essential to provide and maintain communications. I spoke on Radio with Maj Ram Singh about the problem. I shifted the Section location to a better site. It had started snowing by evening. There was some small arm's firing at Bridge IV also what sounded like mortar fire could also be heard.

    It was the next day that the famous skirmish between the Chinese and Major Choudhry and his boys of 9 Punjab took place at Senge Jong all happening in view of the Indian Top Brass. Corps Commander downwards had gathered at a vantage point from where they had a grandstand view of the action. The Chinese got a bloody nose due to the grit and surprise sprung by the Punjabis. (For details of the action one could refer to Chapter XV of Brig Dalvi's Book 'Himalayan Blunder')

    T K (TK GUPTA the G3 of the Brigade)I, '… Kaul had reached Dhola
    Post on 8th October and ordered a company of 9 Punjab to move on to the Western (Sengjung) spur of Thagla Ridge as a firm base for further operations. By now it was obvious the Chinese were building up their strength of infantry and artillery at a furious pace as they had an advantage of a motorable road up to their side of Thagla Ridge. Their strength could have been about a Division with artillery pieces which we could see with naked eyes. As to the 9 Punjab company at Sengjong the inevitable happened. The company was attacked by a much larger force that practically annihilated the Punjabis. The wounded remnants trickled back– it was a sorry sight indeed. At this point Gen Kaul decided to leave Dhola post for his Headquarters at Tezpur…'.

    I had a long look at the serpentine columns of Chinese troops moving down the slopes of Thagla across the valley through the twin eyepieces of the periscope setup by the mortar battery as a tourist attraction. Firing was going on since morning yet we had not woken up to the reality it was still a make believe war at best happening to some one else. I soon lost interest in the goings- on I had my own problems and got busy and how to overcome the same.

    Suddenly I was called urgently to the telephone; the BM Maj Kharbanda was on the remote of the commander's Rover speaking from 1/9 GR location. down below. There was this urgent requirement of line communication from Tsangdhar to I/9 GR where the Commander had stationed himself and from there to 2 Rajput and 9 Punjab the other two battalions spread along the river Namka Chu.

    Brig lakshman Singh VSM (Retd)

    Etched onto to the wall of a Sentry Box in Gibraltar

    God and the soldier all men adore
    In times of danger and not before,
    When the danger is passed and all things righted,
    God is forgotten, and the soldier slighted.

    Unsigned, an unknown soldier.

    They protect the country when they are handed a rifle and told "Go
    fight the enemy"
    The country betrays them when it hands them a pencil and says "Now go and fight the bureaucracy"

    Extracts from the TIME Magazine, May 26, 2008
    Essay by Nancy Gibbs

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    One Man Political Force

    My grandchildren love watching this program 'Bob the Builder' where he tackles all sorts of difficult jobs. Before he sets out, he poses a question in a sing song fashion and gets a reply from his associates. It is
    Can we do it. Yes we can.

    An inspiring example of 'yes we can' is the Gurjar colonel from Rajasthan. He is a one man political force to reckon with. When lakhs of veterans and our families and friends join hands, we'll be an unstoppable political hurricane.

    Please read what The Tribune of today 18 May says about Col Bhainsala......

    Cdr Krishan Punchhi (Retd)

    Gurjar body threatens to relaunch stir Kota, May 17, 2008
    The Gurjar Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti (GASS) has threatened to relaunch its agitation if cases filed against those who participated in a stir a year ago are not withdrawn in 10 days. “We have no option but to relaunch the agitation if the cases are not withdrawn in 10 days according to our agreement with the state government”, Samiti convener Col Kirori Singh Bhainsala (Retd) said. He said the Gurjar movement for the community’s inclusion among Scheduled Tribes was far from dead. — PTI

    Indian Army Down the Memory Lane

    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

    Photographs of Life in Indian Army
    Assam Rifles Sentinels of the East
    Security in India

    Lt Col AK Sharma (Retd)

    Warrant of Precedence

  • This Warrant of Precedence is compiled from a joint consideration of the existing Central Warrant of Precedence (which is till the rank of Major General) and Warrant of Precedence– 1937, as per Ministry of Home Affairs' directions contained in Letter No 12/11/99-Pub II dated 26 Dec 1966, the validity of which has been confirmed by Letter No 12/1/2007-Public dated 14 Aug 2007. The MHA has confirmed in 2007 that the Old Warrant of Precedence shall be taken as a guide to determine ranks below the ones mentioned in the current WoP.
  • Only the posts which are existing and relevant in the present scenario have been mentioned in this Warrant of Precedence. Military ranks have been highlighted.

    1. HE The President of India
    2. HE The Vice President of India
    3. Prime Minister
    4. Governors of States within their respective States
    5. Former Presidents
    5A. Deputy Prime Minister
    6. Chief Justice of India/ Speaker of Lok Sabha
    7. Cabinet Ministers of the Union/ CMs within their States / Former PMs
    7A. Holders of Bharat Ratna Decoration
    8. Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries/ CMs outside their States / Governors outside their States
    9. Judges of the Supreme Court
    9A. Chief Election Commissioner/ Comptroller & Auditor General of India
    10. Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha/ Deputy CMs of States/ Deputy Speaker Lok Sabha/ Members Planning Commission/ Ministers of State of the Union
    11. Attorney General of India/ Cabinet Secretary/ Lieutenant Governors within their UTs
    12. Chiefs of Army, Air and Naval Staff
    13. Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary accredited to India
    14. Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures within their States / Chief Justices of High Courts within their jurisdictions
    15. Cabinet Ministers of States within their States/ CMs of UTs within their UTs/ Deputy Union Ministers
    16. Officiating Chiefs of Army, Air and Naval Staff of the rank of Lt Gen or equivalent
    17. Chairman CAT/ Chairman Minorities Commission/ Chairman SC & ST Commission/ Chairman UPSC/ Chief Justices outside their jurisdiction/ Puisne Judges of High Court within their jurisdictions
    18. Cabinet Ministers of States outside their States/ Ministers of State in States within their States/ Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures outside their States
    19. Chief Commissioners of UTs not having a Council of Ministers within their UTs/ Deputy Ministers in States within their States
    20. Deputy Chairmen and Deputy Speakers of State Legislatures outside their States/ Minister of State in States outside their States/ Puisne Judges of High Courts outside their jurisdictions.
    21. Members of Parliament
    22. Deputy Ministers in State outside their States
    23. Army Commanders (GsOC-in-C)/ VCOAS and equivalent in other services/ Chief Secretaries to States within their States/ Members of Minority Commission / Secretaries to Govt of India/ Secretary to President/ Secretary to PM/ Secretary Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha/ Solicitor General
    24. Officers of the rank of Lieutenant General or equivalent
    25. Additional Secretaries to Govt of India/ Addl Solicitor General / Advocate Generals of States/ Chairman Tariff Commission/ Chief Secretaries outside their States/ Director CBI/ DG BSF/ DG CRPF/ Director IB/ Lt Governors outside their UTs/ Members UPSC/ PSOs of Armed Forces of the rank of Major General and equivalent
    26. Officers of the rank of Major General and equivalent / Joint Secretary to Govt of India
    27. Vice Chancellors of Universities
    28. Commissioners of Divisions within their respective charges
    29. Brigade Commanders within their respective Charges
    30. Brigadiers/ Inspector General of Forests/ Inspectors General of Police
    31. Commissioners of Divisions outside their charges
    32. Secretaries to State Governments
    33. Colonels/ Accountants General/ Chief Conservator of Forests/ Chief Engineers/ Inspectors General of Prisons/ Members of ICS (now known as IAS) and Indian Political Service (now Indian Foreign Service) with 23 years standing
    34. Controller Military Accounts and Pensions (now CDA)
    35. Commissioners of Income Tax/ Deputy Commissioners within their districts
    36. District and Session Judges within their charges
    37. DIG of Police
    38. Lieutenant Colonels/ Conservators of Forests/ IAS and Foreign Service officers with 18 years standing/ Superintending Engineers
    39. Excise Commissioners/ Registrar of Co-operative Societies
    40. Deputy Commissioners of Districts / District and Sessions Judges / Superintendents of Police of Districts within their charges (also now known with variable nomenclature as DCP/ SSP in certain States)
    41. DIG of Prisons/ Officers of other Class I Services and Provincial Services with 20 years standing
    42. Majors/ IAS and Foreign Service officers with 12 years service/ SPs and DCPs with 15 to 20 years service
    43. Asst Commissioners of Income Tax/ Officers of ClassI and Provincial Services with 10 years standing
    44. Divisional Engineers/ Divisional Forest Officers/ Executive Engineers/ Superintendents of Central Jails

    Maj Navdeep Singh (TA)
  • Myth and Reality of SCPC

    Fan of the 6th CPC I am definitely not, and am particularly appalled at some of the recommendations which also reflect a shallowness of understanding on the part of the commission. However many funny queries have been received on the recommendations of the 6th CPC by me. Though, in certain areas, defence personnel have not been dealt with fairly, some apprehensions stem from misinformation and a misconceived negative propaganda against the commission. Answers to some such common queries are:

  • Myth: The starting pay of a Lieutenant has been kept lower than the starting pay of a Civil Services Group 'A' Officer.
  • Reality: The starting pay of Lieutenant is absolutely the same as his civilian counterpart. In addition, a Lieut gets a Military Service Pay (MSP) of Rs 6000/- which gets added in his pay.

  • Myth: No DA is admissible on MSP.
  • Reality:MSP is to be added into basic pay for all intents and purposes except for increments. It would also be added for calculation of allowances such as HRA. It would also be added for calculation of pension.

  • Myth: Officers upto the rank of Brigadier would stagnate in their pay-scales at the higher end of Rs 39100/-
  • Reality: On reaching the higher end, they would automatically be upgraded to Pay Band4 with a starting pay of Rs 39200/-.

  • Myth: Not much benefit in pension and retrial benefits
  • Reality: Pension, especially for post 1-1-2006 (and hopefully for earlier retirees in case a better modified parity is provided as is being hinted) would be definitely better than at present since besides the higher pay, MSP would also be added. Death-cum-Retirement Gratuity has been raised to Rs 10 Lacs. Anomalies in leave encashment have been removed and enhanced pension has been recommended for pensioners attaining the ages of 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100 years. Bar on disability pension on voluntary retirement has been removed. Disability pension now to be calculated as percentage of pay unlike the slab system in the past.

    Problem Areas

  • Major difference between the pension of pre and post 1-1-2006 retirees in case a good system of modified parity is not put into motion.

  • Degradation of status of military officers– Grade Pay would now determine status. And according to recommendations of this pay commission, grade pays of military officers of higher status have been linked with junior civil officers especially till the rank of Brigadier. To take an example, the starting pay of a DIG was in between a Lt Col and a Col but this time a DIG has been recommended the pay of a Brigadier. The pay of a Lt General (Article 24 on the current warrant of precedence) has been kept two steps lower than a DG of Central Police Organizations who is junior to a Lt General in status and features on Article 25 of the current warrant of precedence.

  • NO arrears recommended on MSP.

  • Re- configuration of Assured Career Progression scheme according to military norms not accepted. Currently the second ACP applies after 20 years of service, a time when most of the PBOR of the lowest ranks in the fighting arms have already retired.

    Visit: Indian Military benefits

    Brigadier PT Gangadharan (Retd)
  • Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Silent Rally an Act of Defence by ESM

    A candlelit silent protest in Nerul marked the dejection of the former defence personnel at the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

    Around 60 former defence personnel and their families gathered at the Shankaracharya garden, at sector 21 in Nerul at 9:15 am and held a candlelit silent protest at the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

    The personnel are demanding increased pay for the jawans and uniform pension for the same length of service for one rank. They are also demanding government jobs for retired defence personnel and an Armed Forces Pay Review Board. A two-minute silence was observed.

    Brigadier (Retd) S P Sharma expressed his distress, “The report of the Sixth Pay Commission has caused shock and dismay among the defence fraternity. For a soldier, who has given his entire life safeguarding the country’s security and who has placed the nation above everything else, it is painful to air his grievances in the open. However, having knocked on all doors and having exhausted all channels to seek redress, we have been forced to launch a public campaign to project four principle concerns.”

    Speaking of the demands for which the protest was organised, Sharma said, “All servicemen retiring in the same rank after the same length of service should be given equal pension, regardless of their date of retirement. Military service is unique, as it tends to retire its soldiers at a very early age. Their case must be seriously taken into account, as their counterpart civilians are allowed to retire at the age of 60.”

    Lamented Sharma, “Though this very reasonable demand has been supported by almost every political party during the run-up to the elections, the Sixth Pay Commission has again rejected it without citing any reasons.” He went on to add, “The soldiers retiring early should be laterally inducted into other central or state government jobs. This recommendation had been made by even the Fourth and Fifth Pay Commissions, but the issue was not pursued. This provision needs to be legislated through an act of the Parliament.”

    The personnel are also unhappy with the revised pay scales for the jawans. According to Sharma, “The Pay Commission has recommended a uniform monthly Military Service Pay (MSP) of Rs 1,000 for all jawans, right from a sepoy to a subedar major. This is too meagre compared to the MSP of Rs 6,000 given to officers. The gap is too wide and runs against the military ethos. The MSP for the jawans should be raised to Rs 3,000. The MSP must be implemented from January 1, 2006

    The personnel are also upset that the request for the service chiefs to have a separate pay commission for the defence forces was rejected. Said Sharma, “The government also did not agree to have defence representatives on the recent pay commission. For civilian members, who have never worn a military uniform, it is impossible to understand the unique conditions of military service.”

    He suggested, “At this stage, the government must constitute an Armed Forces Pay Review Board (AFPRB) with a serving member, each from the three services and one retired person, among others. The AFPRB should be given a six months’ mandate to complete its task.”
    Sharma concluded, “The youth today are wary of joining the defence forces, unlike in the past, when there was a huge demand. The government should act fast by providing incentives to ensure that the interest does not reduce further and those ready to sacrifice their life for the country are treated with respect and the future of their families is secured.”

    G Mohiuddin Jeddy
    Nerul, Posted On Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Received from Gp Captain Jaspal Bhinder (Retd)

    Brave IAS on Horses

    Just saw NDTV Hindi news at 2000 hrs our time [9.30 behind IST]. They showed a DGP [of UP?] going to office on horseback rather than in a car. Idea was to save precious petrol.

    Police still rides horses. ICS used to ride horse and so did IAS but only till early fifties. That is the time when this brave ruling class gave up riding [they will not publicly admit but they are scared of the 'four legged friends'].

    Maybe it is time for them to restart horse riding!

    Cdr KK Punchhi (Retd) Indian Navy is 7 JSW Course, settled in Canada.
    Sunday, May 18, 2008 6:06 AM

    Silent Rally by ESM against SCPC held at Hamirpur (HP)

    On 16 May 2008 a big rally attended by about 500 retired soldiers was held at district HQ Hamirpur (H.P.) to protest against the unfair recommendations of the 6 PC about the demands of the Ex servicemen. The rally was organized under the umbrella of district branch of Indian Ex Servicemen League presided over by Brig Dalip Singh (Retd). A large number of the participants were septuagenarians . The prominent participants were Maj Gen Bkram Sngh, Brig Charan Singh , Brig Dalip Singh (President of District Branch of IESL), CoL SKS Chambial,( Senior Vice President) , Col Punjab Singh Vrc, Col RC Sharma , Col Parmar, Hony Capt Amin Chand & a host of other retired officers & PBORS . The protesters gathered at the district ECHS Polyclinic premises at about 1100 hrs & were briefed about the conduct of the rally by Col SKS Chambial. They observed two minutes’ silence in the memory of those who laid down their lives in the service of the motherland.
    Then they marched silently in rows of threes through the main bazar lead by two drummers rhythmically beating their colorfully decorated drums..

    They protesters were carrying a numbers of banners like “we want justice”, One rank one pension” .etc They reached district Bachat Bhavan (main conference room of district administration) at about 1230 hrs. Here in the spacious conference hall chairs etc had been organized. The protesters were addressed by Maj Gen Bikram Singh, Brig Charan Singh, Brig Dalip Singh, Col Punjab Singh Vrc & Capt Amin Chand . The speakers briefed the gathering about the wrongs done by the 6 PC.

    They emphasized the main demand of one rank one pension. As a interim measure they demanded that the retired soldiers be given pension wef 1.1.2006 on the same formula as was done after 5 PC wef from 1.1.1996 and 33 years rule be abolished with retrospective effect for all ex servicemen. This will remove injustice done by this rule to a large numbers of juniors officers & PBORS retirees. The speakers also exhorted the audience to get ready for a long drawn struggle if the government does not accept their just demands & the Committee of secretaries now in progress does not undo the injustice done to retired soldiers by 6 PC. Towards the end the protesters were served tea & snacks & then they dispersed peacefully. A memorandum was also handed over to the DC Hamirpur for further dispatch to the President of India.

    Brig Charan Singh (Retd)


    The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
    Neither the "Report my Signal -Blogs" nor the individual authors of any material on these Blogs accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused (including through negligence), which anyone may directly or indirectly suffer arising out of use of or reliance on information contained in or accessed through these Blogs.
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    Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)