Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vice President releases ‘India Corruption Study 2007’

Extract of Shri M Hamid Ansari, Vice President address:

Over the years Transparency International India has done commendable work to quantify corruption, described by the Xth Plan as the ‘most endemic and entrenched manifestation of poor governance’. The focus of this latest report is on analysing the misery caused by corruption to the poorest of the land, for accessing the most basic of services. What are the findings? They cover five basic services – PDS, hospital, school education, electricity, and water supply - and six need-based services – police, land records, forests, housing, banking and NREGS. In specific terms, they reveal:

  • About one-third of BPL households paid bribes to avail one or more of these eleven services.
  • The benefits of recent steps taken to improve delivery of public services have not substantially percolated down to the poor as yet.
  • Nearly two-third of BPL households could not avail of PDS, School Education and Electricity as they could not pay the bribe or use contact or influence to avail of the service.
  • The situation stands at an alarming level with regard to police and Land Record/Registration.

    I am confident that both the government and civil society would take the Study and these suggested correctives seriously. An old maxim states that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. In today’s world, it is also insurance for proper governance. In the final analysis, good governance involves meaningful response to the public’s desire for clear, effective, and transparent governance. I commend the effort of Transparency International India and Centre for Media Studies and thank Admiral Tahiliani for inviting me today.

    Read full address at India Corruption Study 2007

    Comment: A similar study needs to be undertaken by the Ministry of Defence in respect of working of Zilla Sainik Boards all over India, with a view to streamlining and eliminating corruption so that the innocent Jawans do not fall prey for whose welfare the organisational set up exists.
  • SCPC: Pay Packages for the Armed Forces

    NDTV Correspondent
    Thursday, June 26, 2008 (New Delhi)

    The Defence Minister AK Antony will preside over an important meeting to finalise an enhanced pay package for the armed forces on Thursday.

    Significantly, apart from the three service chiefs, the meeting will be attended by the Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekar, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Finance Secretary D Subba Rao.

    This meeting comes in the backdrop of large-scale resentment in the armed forces over a meagre pay hike recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission.

    Although a committee of secretaries constituted by the government to rectify the anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations has reportedly proposed an additional 15 per cent hike for the armed forces and central para-military forces, Antony wants to explore the possibility of more pay and perks for the armed forces.

    Pay Packages for the forces may be raised

    Challenges of Commanding a Signal Regiment

    I had never believed in a secret service and never had one. However, to keep a hand on the pulse of the regiment I brought in a system of interviewing the NCOs down to the level of a Naik, by name, assuring them of full access to me and to blow the whistle if they noticed any wrong thing happening in the regiment accompanied with a terse warning of severe action if they failed to blow the whistle when warranted. The record of these interviews was maintained under my signature. In so far as general discipline was concerned I was helped by some thing that had happened earlier. A few Signalman had deserted while the regiment was deployed for the Bangla Desh operations and now with the regiment back in Ranchi and with the increased Police pressure being applied back home the deserters started trickling back, to be promptly consigned to the cells in the Quarter guard on arrival.

    There were seven such cases which were dealt by me by Summary Court Martial. The minimum punishment that I could pronounce was dismissal from the service and three months RI in civil prison. With quick disposals of the cases in succession the message went round that the CO meant business and had a salutary affect all round discipline.

    There was interesting fallout from these which clearly brings the relation ship between Officer and Jawan: A couple of months later of dispensing the punishment while returning to Ranchi and waiting for the change of trains at Gaya. I was approached by an individual who looked familiar. ‘Jai Hind Saiha,.’ he said.

    It transpired that he happened to be one of the Court Marshaled Jawan, I was a bit apprehensive, not too sure of his behaviour verbal or physical: any reaction, with me being alone on the Platform, by him was being possible. However, he came and wished me and on my enquiring he stated that was on his way to his home after release from custody. My fears were unfounded; it was a jawan paying his complements to his Commanding officer. ‘Jai Hind, Kaisa Ho’ I responded. ‘Have you any money on you?’ After a frew words exchanged I enquired ‘No Sir,’ he replied with a long face.

    With no money on him, possibly he was travelling without ticket, and food. I gave him Rs 50/- to take care of his onward journey which he accepted with gratitude while thanking me profusely. With the quantum of punishment just both in the Jawan’s and the Commanding officers eyes there was no malice in either of the hearts. To my mind this is Army once again and it’s ethos. Officer-Jawan relationship: based on honesty, sincerity and justice.

    One of my major achievements as the Commanding Officer was to get the Regiment and the Officers Mess out of the clutches of the Regimental Bania (Wet Canteen Contractor) despite the fact that I, myself was passing through a major financial crunch thanks to the overdrawn of cash from the Field Cashier back at Kalimpong and with the CDA ruthlessly deducting from the, as it is the meagre, pay packet that one was entitled to those days.

    The Formation HQ and all its units worked Friday nights with Saturday off. To instill confidence in their equipment and its capabilities on these nights I would take the regiment out a few Kms away from Ranchi and practice the deployment drills and establishing of the communications which resulted in all-round increased proficiency. All these actions had resulted from my bitter experience of the fiasco of the first exercise that was held near Ranchi on arrival from Punjab. Subsequently I had taken a decision that it would never be repeated again. To ensure this I had to even call one of the brigade signal company OC from the brigade that was not part of the on going formation exercise to function as the OC I Company, as the current incumbent, I knew was incapable of delivering the goods. As a practice few days before any formation exercise I would also call on the commanding officers of the battalions and assure them all help to make up their shortage of cable and equipment from my resources to the extent possible.

    With all this achieved over a period of time I was in a happy and comfortable position to generally manage a peaceful nap during the formation exercises even at the time of the test exercise that was held in far away Rajasthan.
    To be continued....

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Field Marshal Manekshaw dies

    Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw a Living Legend Passes Away

    The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, is normally close to the heart and valuable memoirs of service officers, particularly, when it comes to fond memories. Sam Manekshaw was appointed as its Commandant from 1959 to 1962. During his tenure, he even asserted against the recommendations of Joint Training Committee on the content of the syllabus for the staff course. Sam's judgment was finally accepted when he expressed "a study of operations of war involving close cooperation and employment of any two or all the three services is essential". This continues even today. For Sam Manekshaw, the Staff College certainly had a very special place. He mentions "it was indeed, an honour and privilege for me to have commanded the DSSC for more than three years". What more after retirement from active service, he decided to settle down in Coonoor.

    His bungalow, "Stavka", is now a pilgrimage centre for the officers of his favourite Gorkha Regiment. It was here during his tenure, the then Defence Minister, Mr. Krishna Menon and Lt. Gen. B. M. Kaul had almost ruined his military career. Finally the truth prevailed and Sam Manekshaw emerged as a leading light to guide Indian Army in different important assignments to be the Chief of Army Staff and later as Field Marshal. Indo-Pak war, 1971, revolves around Sam Manekshaw. His brilliant military strategy, decision-making, co-ordinating skills and above all, his generalship were of high order. This success made him a national hero and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan. The task was not easy. There was a difference of opinion between the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Sam Manekshaw on the timing of military action. Manekshaw did not crawl or bend before the political master, rather offered to resign if his military plans were not acceptable. Finally his assertive leadership prevailed and paid dividends. The Prime Minister accepted his plans. The success of the 1971 war was remarkable from many angles.

    The grand strategic objectives were achieved within a short span of 14 days with 93,000 enemy soldiers made to surrender. This war also saw a close coordinated action by the three Armed Services. Not only history was created but also the map of South Asia was altered. What more a country can accept from this great soldier? I wish the successive service chiefs followed in his footsteps. For the author it is a rich tribute to his leader, but for an ordinary reader, it is a good insight into Sam's personality. A full biography of Sam Bahadur, it seems, is still in embryonic stage for want of some documents and real accounts. Surely, on completion, it will open the vista vision of a glorious soldier's life.

    Sam Manekshaw's contributions to the Indian Army are enormous. But a few are worth mentioning like kit maintenance allowance and participation of army contingent in regimental formation on the Republic Day parade. His hospitality and strict dress code add flavour to his personality. Leadership qualities in service officers are a concern that is deep-rooted in Sam Bahadur's mind and this is amply reflected in his speeches particularly at military institutions. Every significant event and glorified personality will certainly have different voices from the contemporary elite either in the form of mild dissenting views or a full-fledged criticism. Sam Manekshaw and his military decisions in the 1971 war were no exceptions. Whether it was his buddies in uniform or any civilian, none could point out that if Sam was wrong, then what was right? Our pride and a great son of the Mother India, a living legend and a role model for uniform fraternity, Sam Manekshaw, the nation salutes you.

    Extracts from Book Review by GOPALJI MALVIYA

    Lt Gen Depinder Singh (Retd)
    FIELD MARSHAL SAM MANEKSHAW, M C — Soldiering with Dignity: Natraj Publishers, 17, Rajpur Road, Dehradun
    Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away
    Living Legend

    Condolence Message from Raksha Mantri
    In a condolence message to the bereaved family, Defence Minister A K Antony said "his demise has left behind a void that will be really hard to fill... The nation has lost a great soldier, a true patriot and a nobel son".

    He said: "I am deeply grieved to learn of his demise. Manekshaw's nearly four-decade-long career with the army saw him hold several important positions and he was also one of the most decorated officers".

    He also lauded the general's "rare knack of motivating the jawans" and being "a man of ideas and action by leading from the front in the 1971 war".
    RM condolence Message on passing away of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

    PM condoles....
    “I Join the people of India in expressing my deepest and heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, popularly and with great affection called Sam Bahadur. Field Marshal Manekshaw was without doubt one of India’s greatest soldiers and a truly inspiring leader. He served the Indian Army with great distinction for over four decades beginning with the very first military engagement free India was dragged into in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir. Sam Bahadur was the architect and the inspiring leader of the operations and the consequent military victory in what is now Bangladesh. Military historians will forever record the strategic brilliance and the inspirational leadership of Sam Bahadur. The people and the Government of India expressed their deepest admiration and their profound gratitude for his inspiring leadership as Chief of the Army Staff by conferring on him the prestigious title of Field Marshal. Field Marshal Manekshaw has inspired several generations of Indian soldiers and officers over the past half a century. I am sure, his legacy will continue to live with us for years to come.”
    Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh condoles passing away of Sam Bahadur

    In conveying his condolences to the family members of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal FH Major said,
    “Though we saw it coming, it was with a sense of disbelief that I received the news of the sad demise of the legendary Field Marshal.. An iconic leader, Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, or ‘SAM’ as he is fondly called, will be remembered as a revered leader of the Indian Armed Forces, and indeed of the Nation, who exemplified the true spirit and ethos of a military leader and inspired generations of Indians to stand up and confront adversity in all its forms. Sharp and witty till the end and imbued with an indomitable fighting spirit, he will continue to live on in the minds of committed citizens and will inspire them to take the nation forward. The Indian Air Force mourns his demise and hopes that the family members he leaves behind be given the strength and fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. May his soul rest in peace”.
    Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw will live on in our memory: Air Chief Marshal Fali Major

    SCPC: IESM Action Plan 06 July 2008

    Dear Colleagues,
    The memorandum for 06 July 2008 was discussed and finalised during the Steering Committee meeting held on 26 June 2008. (Copy of the memorandum is posted as separate entity in the blog)

    Manner of Handing over the Memorandum:

    (a) In Delhi. In Delhi the ESM will rally at Jantar Mantar at 1400 hours on Sunday, the 6th July 2008. Thereafter, a group of 4-5 officers will proceed to the PM residence and hand over the memorandum.

    (b) Other Stations. The Memorandum will be handed over to the elected representatives (CM/MP/MLA) at the State capitals and at each District Headquarters in the country under arrangements of the IESL. In case the elected representative is not available in a particular town, the memorandum should be handed over to the highest civil govt official. The timings, RV and methodology of the action may be decided by local ESM in charge.
    Maximum available ESM should participate in the function at each station.

    The functions should be conducted with usual discipline and dignity befitting ESM. The participating ESM are advised to wear medals and Regimental head dress.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan (Retd)
    Indian Ex- Servicemen Movement

    SCPC: Memorandum from Ex- Servicemen Seeking Justice

    Memorandum from Ex-Servicemen Seeking Justice Against the Recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission

    The protest movement of the Military Veterans is to bring to the notice of the political leadership the grave injustice done to military personnel and to point out that if their legitimate demands are not met, National Security may be seriously jeopardised. The acute shortage of officers will progressively increase and quality of intake will decline. This will result in the only instrument of the Nation that has always delivered and that has the confidence of all citizens, becoming progressively weak and ineffective.

    We, the over 46 lac Ex-Servicemen of India humbly submit in your honour the following points for your kind consideration:

  • We have given the best years of our lives loyally and steadfastly keeping India secure, both against external as well as internal threats.
  • During our years in uniform, we lived an extremely hard life full of difficulties, risks and perpetual danger.
  • We always put the interests of the country above those of our own and of our families.
  • We always performed whatever task was assigned to us uncomplainingly and without ever raising any questions or doubts.
  • Unlike other Government employees, 96.8% of Defence Personnel are compulsorily retired between the ages of 36-44 years when their financial needs are the greatest. There is no guarantee of a second job.
  • On retirement a soldier gets a monthly pension of only Rs 2,713/-.
  • We are responsible citizens of the country and are fully cognisant of the national constraints. We do not have any unreasonable demands. We only want justice and adequate pension to live a life of dignity and honour.
  • The 6th Pay Commission Recommendations are highly damaging and have greatly demoralised the entire Defence Fraternity.
  • After the Pay Commission Recommendations were made public, we made all possible efforts to project our case to the highest decision makers in the country. Not getting any positive response or commitment, we have been compelled to project our case through public platforms, albeit in a dignified and disciplined manner.

    The demands listed here only pertain to the Retired Military Personnel. In addition, we also have a stake in whatever emoluments are sanctioned for the Serving Military Personnel, as that will also have a direct correlation to pension.

    We request your honour to accede to our following demands immediately:

    1. One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP). This is a long pending demand aimed at protecting the interests of older pensioners. The issue has become very emotive with the Ex-Servicemen. OROP has been the stated policy of all mainstream political parties. Even the Congress party had included this point in their election manifesto by saying, “long-pending issue of One-Rank, One-Pension will once again be re examined and a satisfactory solution arrived at expeditiously”. The issue was also included in the President’s address to the Parliament in 2004. That makes OROP the declared policy of the Government and not just of any one political party.

    2. A Guaranteed Government Employment. Every soldier and officer must be given assured employment till he attains the age of 60 years, which is the retiring age for all other Government employees. For this purpose lateral movement to Para Military and Central Police Forces etc has also been recommended by successive pay commissions. This can only be implemented through a ‘Parliamentary Act for Resettlement of Ex-Servicemen’ which needs to be enacted at the earliest. Till this comes into force, every unemployed Ex-Serviceman pensioner below the age of 60 years must be paid an enhanced pension of 75% of his salary.

    3. Ex-Servicemen Commission. Constitution of an Ex Servicemen Commission with statutory powers to safeguard the genuine interests of the Ex-Servicemen.

    4. Representation of Ex Servicemen. All committees/ commissions and other government bodies where issues affecting the interests of Ex Servicemen are being considered, must have Ex-Servicemen representation.

    Steering Committee
    Indian Ex- Servicemen Movement
  • Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Bio Fuels in the Armed Forces

    Goteborg is among dozens of municipalities in Sweden with facilities that transform sewage waste into enough bio gas to run thousands of cars and buses.
    Sweden turning sewage into a gasoline substitute

    The call by Pallam Raju to use bio- diesel and non- conventional energy in the Armed Forces is a welcome step. Certainly he is not aware that the Indian Army for the last few decades has been using bio fuel supplied by Army Supply Corps to the forward troops. This fuel mainly consists of Petrol or Diesel mixed with water. The percentage of water varies from 10% to 20%. Sadly the mobility of troops have been affected. The chamois filter is used to filter out the water but if it is not available the bio- fuel immobilises the vehicle.

    Pallam Raju advocates use of bio-diesel and non-conventional energy in armed forces
    7 ways the Military is using Eco Tech
    Solar power, weeds and algae to fuel armed forces of future

    Fewer women joining Indian Army say officials

    Not many women seem interested in joining the Indian Army. Only half the number of women candidates who qualified in the entrance exam and interview, turned up for the Officers Training Academy (OTA) course in Tamil Nadu this year.
    The course has 80 seats but only around 40 women candidates came as the course began in April. This comes even as the top army brass agreed to give permanent commission to women officers in more branches.

    Mumbai Mirror: Fewer women joining Indian Army say officials

    SCPC: Pay hike in the offing for armed forces personnel

    Under the proposals, the ordinary jawans and all personnel below officer rank may be given a hike of up to 40 per cent over and above the eight per cent hike recommended by the commission. This would come in the shape of raising the military service pay to Rs 3,000 against the recommended Rs 1,000.

    The mid-level officers could expect a raise of 30 per cent, while those in the ranks of Brigadiers and above and equivalent posts in the Navy and Air Force could get a 20 per cent hike, if the proposals submitted by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sureesh Mehta are accepted.

    "A quantum jump is sure to be there," senior defence ministry officials said, as the government wants to check any officer exodus from the armed forces and also attract new talent to the services.

    With the number of applications for premature retirement from mid-rung officers from the services touching the 1,000 mark this year, a quicker decision on implementing the two decision on pay and promotions is likely, as a measure to stem the exodus.

    Posted online: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 06:24:18
    Full article: Express India: Pay hike in the offing for armed forces personnel

    Comments: There has been no mention of "One Rank One Pension" for the Ex- Servicemen. One needs to wait for the outcome. The post haste measure of creating additional Higher Ranks for promotional avenues does not augur well. This short term measure to arrest exodus will not find favour with those who want to quit for better career prospects. Defence Forces ultimately will be left with aging and fledging Officer Cadre. The vitality required for a vibrant Armed Forces will be robbed. For Pay Scales of British Army visit: British Army Pay Scales. This really and truly gives the weightage for Rank, Status and compensation package for preserving the dignity of a Soldier. The Pay commission needs to learn from other Nations of the World.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    SCPC: Warrant of Precedence tinkered again

    Presently the Defence Forces, this is what we have achieved, status and parity wise, in the past one year:

  • DIG is now officially equivalent to a Brigadier according to the 6th CPC.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs declares that all IPS officers shall attain the rank of DIG in 14 years’ service.
  • Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) is now officially equivalent to the rank of Major General as per 6th CPC.
  • Department of Personnel and Training declares that all IAS officers shall attain the SAG in 14 years of service.
  • What would be achievable by 100% IPS officers in 14 years would now be achievable by 7% defence officers in 28 years.
  • What would be achievable by 100% IAS officers in 14 years would now be achievable by 2% defence officers in 33 years.
  • Chairperson UPSC jumps from Article 17 of Warrant of Precedence to Article 9 whereas our Chiefs remain at Article 12.

    Maj Navdeep Singh TA
    Advocate Punjab & Haryana High Court
  • Challenges of Commanding a Signal Regiment

    With a post graduate degree in science and having successfully completed the TSO Course followed by a long tenure with DRDO I was not overawed by technology the tenure of more than three years with 27 Mtn Div Sig Regt had provided me enough practical knowledge about the nuts and bolts of running a Divisional Signal Regiment as also the pitfalls of not being vigilant on a 24X 7 job. From Chhabra I had learnt how to bring the maximum concentrated effort at the time required and from Kapoor the power of delegation. I was also by now well versed in the finer points and the intricacies of dealing with the Staff both Signal and the General. I had also learnt over time that there was a play of the personal egos involved in these interactions. One of my major strength was in that I had in my a wife a person who though a total novice to regimental life was not only willing but keen to get involved in the welfare of the regimental families and the various formation activities, though unfortunately she was saddled with a willing but a weak team. The regiment was lucky in having a top class Quartermaster in Capt Chander a General Service (GS) officer, Goverdhan Rai a sincere and honest cipher officer and Barar a competent TMO. Strangely they were the GS and Special List officers who had not lost their élan and helped me to lift-up the regiment Another asset was Zorawar Singh the loyal Subedar Major. He had an imposing personality and led a team consisting of a number of competent JCOs.

    With no major commitments after the Bangla Desh operations the unit deployed for long in Punjab had fallen in to the culture of a static unit and was costing on its past glory mainly the weakness of the regiment lay in the senior officers. My Second in Command, good in planning was deficit in delivering. From of the other three Majors at regimental HQ one was downright dishonest, inefficient and incompetent as also a shirker with a trait of trying to forge links with senior officers through his wife who with little interest in the welfare activities of the regiment was a part of the senior lady’s Rummy and Mah-Jong circuit. The other major having risen from ranks though willing and honest had his professional limitations. The third fresh from the SODE course on promotion reported in shirt and trousers with his uniform yet to fetch up with the rest of his baggage; unfortunately he also suffered from lack of confidence and low self-esteem. The Boys due to long inaction in Malout to me appeared to have become rusty. I also noticed a general lack of interest in soldering. To the external environment I was an outsider not part of the clique of those who were together during the Bangla Desh Operations.

    I could discern that even with the limited assets at my command and some effort there was an opportunity to bring back the regiment operationally up to mark. There was also an excellent opportunity to groom the crop of young officers with the regiment to be good and competent Signal officer by giving them giving responsibility and providing necessary guidance. I also noticed a chink in the armour at Div HQ in the weak AQ branch lacking the confidence of the GOC which I fully exploited to the advantage of the regiment.

    The Regiment stationed at Ranchi in Bihar was no body’s baby. 9 Inf Div was placed under Central Command located at Lucknow. However. due to geographical constraints for administrative support it was dependent on Eastern Command at Calcutta. We also had a third master: for operations the formation came under 2 Corps located at Chandi Mandir in Haryana which itself was part of the Western Command then located at Shimla. It was a hopeless situation in so far as the ‘Chain of Command’ was concerned; I would at times get calls even from the Signal Directorate at Army HQ. Any one in the chain could find fault with us with none willing to extend a helping hand in a crisis situation or when a lapse had taken place. The Staff at Div HQ did not have much love lost for me personally a newcomer. Internally there were good chances of pilferages of the POL (Petrol Oil and lubricants) , rations and sale of the cheap liquor from the unit canteen to civilians as also misuse of local purchase privilege with the prevailing lowered threshold of honesty.

    The Strategy after detailed analysis of the situation and a deep deliberation that I evolved was to first convenience the officers and make them understand that our first priority as Signallers was to provide reliable communication to the formation possible only if the regiment was professionally competent. The next point that I stressed upon was the need to excel in the tasks assigned to the regiment in the training directive issued by the Formation HQ as also those offered and willingly accepted. With this achieved I assured them that every other problem could be tackled and I would then be able to act as a shield to protect the regiment from external pulls and pushes.

    Junior Commanders
    Deciding not to be too dependent on my listless senior officers I gave additional responsibilities and provided opportunities to the junior Captains and Second Lieutenants to exercise their imitative in the process I was prepared to accept a few mistakes committed by them. I did not believe in Zero error syndrome. My interest was in building their self confidence. However, this entailed a lot of guidance and supervision by me and also at times blowing hot and cold. It was with immense pleasure and satisfaction that I saw them growing fast professionally, delivering the goods every time and making my hands strong. To name a few the three stalwarts Rajeev, Choudhry and Sood as also Mehta come to my mind; same four were also together once again on the OST course at MCTE Mhow when I was their Faculty Commander. It was also important and I ensured to have efficient and honest officers posted at the Brigade Signal Companies especially those located at a distance from Ranchi to take care of any problems emanating from the three Brigade Commanders.

    Annual Inspections
    Charity begins at home and had to start at my level. Not only I had to be scrupulously honest and just in my dealings as the Commanding officer but my actions had to be visible; only then I could enforce discipline on the others. The reluctant individual who had over time got used to easy ways unfortunately had no options but to fall in line; their Black books despite valiant efforts on their part about my acts of commission and omission remained blank. I also lead the officers for the PPT (Physical Proficiency Test) as part of the GOC’s annual inspection though of 43 years by then I managed it without much difficulty.

    The pilferages stopped the regiment did not have a single malaria case that was rampant in other units the power of local purchase for mechanical transport and telecom equipment that has large loop-holes to be exploited was tightly controlled and kept under acceptable limits which resulted compliments whereas some other units had to face the GOC’s ire on both accounts. With the records at Ranchi and the unit having been away for long the publication of casualties in respect of the Jawans was in serious arrears; some case had even become time barred. This was effecting the pay and allowances of the jawans and causing latent dissatisfaction; I spoke to Records Officer at the Signal Training Centre and sent my Head Clerk to the record office at Jabalpur used some special provisions and eventually got the mess sorted out.

    Troops Welfare
    Next was the food for the jawans which I would check the preparations on daily basis. The quality of the food served in the regiment had interesting yet serious repercussions. With the GOC’s and GSO1’s personal staff getting attached to the regiment due to their administrative convenience for their meals the news about the high quality of food in the Signal Regiment soon spread to Div Camp resulting in a near revolt; with every jawan clamouring to join our Langhars this was some thing that was neither desirable in the overall interest of discipline nor acceptable to me. Hopefully, from the prodding of the OC troops the AQ and the Camp Commander by the GOC the quality of the food served to the Div Camp would have improved.
    To be continued.......

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Death blow to the morale of Indian Armed Forces

    Respected Veterans,

    Jai Hind.
    Mr V Sundaram, IAS (Retd) who is known to me personally is a very powerful writer and known for calling a spade a spade. He is frank & forthright and absolutely bold & fearless in expressing his views.

    In the light of Military Veterans movement for Justice, he has decided to write a four part article with the caption,
    UPA’s death blow to the morale of Indian Armed Forces-I

    Please click on the link above, and go through the first part of the article which appeared today. Mr V Sundaram is looking for inputs for the balance three parts of his article on the subject.

    May I request all Veterans to please write/ forward your inputs to Mr V Sundaram to help him to write hard hitting articles, giving facts & figures and clearly bringing out the disdain & callousness with which the Government and Bureaucracy works against the interests of its Soldiers and Veterans and demeaning their rank and status. Your communications to Mr V Sundaram may please be addressed to:, or

    Colonel Rajan Srinivas (Retd)

    SCPC: Defence Forces may get pay hike

    New Delhi (PTI): Alarmed by the exodus of talent from the armed forces, the government is likely to announce a bonanza that would enhance the pay and perks of the men in battle fatigues by 15 to 20 per cent.

    It is also expected to create around 4,000 more posts of colonels, brigadiers and generals in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force to address the issue of resentment due to stagnation in the forces.

    The new pay package for the armed forces is likely to be finalised at a meeting of the three service chiefs and other top officials led by Defence Minister A K Antony with the empowered group of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar on Thursday.

    The Ministry has been seeking a raise of 15 per cent to 20 per cent in salaries of the armed forces in view of the dissatisfaction expressed by them over the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

    The dissatisfaction reportedly triggered an increase in the number of Premature Retirement applications, which has touched the 1,000 mark recently.

    Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Sureesh Mehta would make a presentation to the Committee of Secretaries before it is submitted to the Cabinet.

    The empowered panel will study the proposal for increase in basic pay across all ranks by 15 to 20 per cent, over and above the hike already suggested by the pay commission.

    An enhanced Military Service Pay of Rs 3,000 for Personnel Below Officer Rank instead of the pay commission recommended Rs 1,000 is likely to get a nod, sources said.

    Reproduced from The Hindu: Visit links:
    Forces may get further pay hike of 20 percent
    Pay revision for armed forces to be announced next week

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Honour and Esteem Everywhere

    I share a couple of concluding thoughts with the more serious of the bloggers.

    In a separate context, views have been expressed here, by serving officers, which convey that there is dissatisfaction amongst the middle and junior ranks of the Armed Forces. This is a fact attributable perhaps, to the inadequate leadership provided by senior officers of my generation. In hindsight, one can also try to pinpoint the cause and say that senior rank in the Armed Forces tends to engender two illusions: One, that you are not just perfect, but also the repository of all wisdom; and second that you will remain a senior officer for eternity.

    I have no magic cures to suggest, except that every senior officer should declare to his command on taking over: "Ladies & Gentlemen, there is no point lecturing to you. I will merely show you how things are to be done here. Just watch my personal conduct closely and continuously, and ensure that you follow my example in every single thing that you do." This should hopefully bind the leader and the led in a mutual and sacred contract of honourable conduct.

    Admiral Arun Prakash
    Extracts from: Concluding thoughts by Admiral Arun Prakash on "Izzat-O-Iqbal"

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Women in the Armed Forces

    The recent debate about the entry of women officers in the armed forces has been highly ill- informed and subjective in nature. People have taken stands and expressed opinion without analysing the matter in its entirety. It is imprudent to consider it as an issue of equality of sexes or gender bias or even women’s liberation. It is also not a question of conquering the so-called ‘last male bastion’. That would amount to trifling a matter that concerns the well-being and the war-potential of a nation’s armed forces.

    Maj Gen (Retd) Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD
    Women in the Armed Forces

    Comment: The above article has missed the essential aspect that presently that there are no women soldiers (PBOR) being recruited. Only Women Officers are commissioned from the Officers Training Academy, Chennai on short service commission. The point has been missed with regard to Women officers making up the shortage of Officers in the Armed Forces. Besides troops during peace time are used by bureaucrats for anti insurgency operations, rescue and disaster relief in which women can contribute immensely. An all women Battalion or Brigade manned solely by women officers and women soldiers can prove very effective in combating internal insurgency, providing assistance and civil aid at times of war.

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Challenges of Commanding a Signal Regiment

    My long overdue promotion came through as Commanding officer of 9 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment in 1973; possibly one of the very few non Staff College qualified to command a Divisional Signal Regiment. The regiment then located in Malout in Punjab was shortly to move to Ranchi in Bihar.

    Maj Gen Dalbir then the GOC commanding the Division at Kalimpong had commanded 9 Division during the Bangladesh operations. A dominating personality both in size and demeanour blessed with a caustic tongue would spare no one even his brigade commanders if he found something not to his liking or amiss. He did find a solitary occasion to tick me off for fault of mine, later he did change his impression about me and compensated that with a remark at the time of my farewell courtesy call at his office. After the regulation cup of tea he wondered as to why I could not continue as his Commander Signals. To his kind thought I responded by asking if I could be of any help to Mrs Dalbir who was then staying at Ranchi in separated family quarters.

    My wife’s association with Mrs Dalbir unfortunately did not find favour with the new setup and did create a few problems for me and my wife with veiled advice from various quarters to desist from being too close to the lady being offered in perfusion. However Jeet was made of a different mettle and did exactly what was demanded by the occasion unmindful of the consequences and with my full support.

    On my way down to Siliguri to catch the train making connection to Ranchi I called on Brig Desai the CSO; I also had a lunch appointment with Brig Balaram at New Mal who very graciously waited for me even though I reached the Brigade offices Mess well past the lunch hour. Brig K Balaram, Commander 123 Brigade, with the Corps of Signal being his parent arm, would always stay in the Signals Mess in preference to the Alfa mess of HQ. Whenever he visited the Div HQ on duty in the afternoons he would dash to spent time in the Radio Mechanic Shop fiddling with massive valve radio sets.

    With Jeet and family still at Dehra Dun I thought it prudent to move them to Ranchi during my joining time itself which still was a separated family station. Having settled them at Ranchi and leaving Jeet to fend for herself I left for Malout near Bhatinda in Punjab to take charge of my new assignment.

    Once again I took charge of the regiment, all packed and ready to move like the earlier take over of 40 Medium Regiment Signal at Dehra Dun and that of the 81 Inf Brigade Signal Section during the Exercise ‘Doaba’. All the three command taking over were with the incumbents having already left.

    I have been away in field area while my wife looking after the children and their schooling for the last three years or so. Back in Ranchi we had a Council of War with me declaring ‘I would have not much time to look after the family, commanding a regiment is a 24X7 job’. Her reply was equally curt and explicit ‘I have looked after your children for the last three years now it’s your turn’. As always the children and money became mine when it suited her otherwise I had no control on either of them. Though the children suffered in their studies she fulfilled her duties as the CO’s wife and the first lady of the regiment to a much more extent than what could be expected of her.

    Commanding a unit in a peace station has its own perils. Domestic problems of the officers, petty jealousies of the ladies, both regimental as also of the formation resulting in disconnect among officers which soon manifest in the daily working. In addition I the new the Commander Signals perceived as an outsider; had a unsympathetic if not a downright hostile Div HQ Staff. The other Commanders were well bonded having faced the perils of the operations and shared the fruits of victory and the spoils of war together. This became even more obvious, when we all gathered for the Tea, post the GOC’s weekly conference at Div, will all of them huddled together leaving me standing aloof.

    More importantly my shifting the family to Ranchi without approval was strongly frowned upon by the GOC and in tandem by the AQ which became a real dampener to my spirits. When the GOC gave me a baleful glare on this issue while interviewing me at Malhout I offered to send the family back to Dehradun which to some extent satisfied his ego. Perhaps the other reason for his being upset with me was that I had landed in the HQ already wearing the badges of my new rank thus depriving him of the privilege of doing the honour for which I had no solution to offer.

    My own unit Majors and senior Captains were tired, dispirited and disinterested in their work unfortunately a few also not too honest; the temptations to dip in the till of rations and petrol and the cheap canteen liquor fetching good price in civil were too strong for them to resist.

    I was soon to learn about the technical calibre, efficiency and capability of these so called seasoned officers in the process I nearly burnt my fingers. Come the first exercise with the Formation HQ on return to Ranchi; it was simple a move of the formation with its various elements to a distance of a few kilometres away from the town to check the various deployment drills and procedures.

    My understanding that a unit back from Bangladesh operations and deployment on the Western front would be having all its drills well taped proved unfounded and came as a rude shock. I was happily unaware of the acronym SWOT learnt at the LDM Course at Secundrabad exactly two years later. However the analysis that I made after observing the internal and external environment of the regiment followed the same logic.
    ..... To be continued

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Creativity gag on Army Officers relaxed

    The Minister of State for Defence, Shri M.M. Pallam Raju at a Seminar on ‘Indian Way of War-fighting’ in New Delhi on June 19, 2008. The Chief of Integrated Staff Committee and the Chairman, Integrated Defence Staff, Lt Gen H S Lidder and the Director, Emeritus Centre for Joint Warfare Studies, Lt Gen (Retd) AS Kalkat is also seen.

    The armed forces have taken a step towards transparency, it is finalising new rules to allow its officers to write and publish without having to ask for permission.

    The defence ministry in an uncharacteristic move wants more transparency and wants its officers to write and discuss military and national security.

    Clearly, it is a strong comment on the other security and intelligence agencies, which wants its officers to shut out in the name of national security.

    Creativity gag on Army Officers relaxed

    India China conflict 1962: 4 Grenadiers Operational Role

    Narrated by Gen Kahlon: Continued from earlier post

    The Escape
    There was another bridge short of the bridge at Bleeting, this was guarded by the Chinese on both sides. We decided to cross Twang Chu and in to Bhutan at night. I have never seen 150 or so men, coughing and in bad shape move so silently. We crossed at about 75 yards distance from the Chinese Camp quietly in the night, we could see the lights burning in their tents. Like ghosts we slithered past, moving fast as we had a track to move on and a guide. There I see a 9 Punjab jawan with his boots removed and gangrene set in his feet, when I told him that your CO is ahead, not too far. Look at this Punjabi boy he says 'Saihab CO Saihab hain fir to mare liya bhi koi bandobast ho jai ga (CO is there then some thing will be arranged for me also)' . I don’t know how long the boy survived because as he removed his boots his soles also came with them and yet he had so much faith in his CO. That is what has made this army tick all these years.

    Ahead of Bleeting, which was totally deserted, we came to a village called Khini where the villagers looked after us well and we spent a night there, however being in bad shape we could hardly eat what was offered by the villagers. Ultimately after walking in Bhutan for ….days, we reached Tasigang Dzong . Here we were told to hand over our weapons to Bhutan Government, I tried to hide my pistol but Oscar Thomas insisted that I had to surrender it .

    The Home Coming
    Rakesh Jha of Engineers, my course mate saw some of my men walking through the town and enquired about the identity of the battalion. On learning it was 4 Grenadiers, he came running from the other side in search of me. He banged into me as we were walking up. I held him in my arms, first time I realised that I was safe and alive having come through this terrible ordeal. With the shock of realisation hitting me hard, I broke down and cried like a child. Rakesh held me tight in his arms, saying you are safe, you are with me now, remember me, I am Rakesh your batch-mate from NDA. He did not let me go with battalion, you stay here with me for a day or so. The rest of the people were put in vehicles and taken away. I stayed with Rakesh for one more day. He kept on feeding me and I kept on vomiting as my stomach had shrunk due to the long bout of starvation. It may sound strange but once again I took a helicopter flight, but this time back to Darranga . The Engineers were building a bridge there and had helicopter support Rakesh had organised a place for me on a return flight. At Darranga I ran into Brig KK Singh the BGS of 4 Corps; he asked me a few questions and I replied very curtly 'Sir, you should know better'. We were all so angry with the powers that be.

    We were finally taken to Tezpur hospital, our clothes, dirty and filthy, were taken off and burnt. We were looked after rather well at the hospital. Maj Rachhpal Singh Mann the 2 IC came to see us, by the time he reached Tawang the show at Bridge One on Namka Chu was over and he had returned from there only, and asked what did we want; Imagine what the four or five of us asked, we asked for our special cook, please send us Rehman our cook special, we are famished. Rehman would keep cooking and we would keep eating, The stomach would say no but the brain would not say no. I bloated from a 120-pound lad to a nice fat young man. Drinking and eating for a long time was the hobby. Being alive was too good to be true.

    President visit
    I recall the President of India visiting us in the hospital. How do you feel about the visit of the President?, I was asked by a press reporter and I said 'His visit will put us on our feet faster' a well quoted statement, reflecting the morale of 4 Grenadiers.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Comment: Two of the world’s fastest growing economies with different Political Concepts are starting to think of themselves as partners and as competitors. Both countries have great scope for bilateral trade. It is not that two countries should not or will not compete in the future, it is already happening. Only that the scope of cooperation, so far unexplored, is tremendous. Our Defence Forces could effect a savings of over 30% by making intelligent purchases from China starting from basic and quality products and items like tentages for the troops. The list is endless.


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