Saturday, September 6, 2008

Armed Forces bypass MoD, take pay grievances to Manmohan

Sat, Sep 6 03:31 AM
In a rare departure, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has taken the Armed Forces grievance on the pay panel to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Admiral, who is also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, met the PM late on Thursday night and brought up 'core issues' in the pay commission relating to lowering of pay scales of Defence personnel in comparison to their civilian counterparts.

It is learnt that while Mehta visited the PM to brief him on his recent visits to Japan and South Korea, the issue of anomalies in the pay commission that has led to the 'lowering of status of Defence officers and men' was brought up at the end of the meeting.

The Navy chief handed over a detailed representation to the Prime Minister highlighting the perceived anomalies and once again sought the intervention of the Union Cabinet to resolve the issues.

The incident may lead to a little embarrassment for the Defence Ministry that had earlier raised objections over a letter written by the Army Chief to President Pratibha Patil over the pay panel.

"The focus was on the core issues of lowering of status of Defence personnel that will infringe on operational aspects in the field where officers will need to interact with their civil counterparts," a senior officer said.

The main problem being a lowering of parity of Lt Col and equivalent officers with their counterpart in the paramilitary forces. With the new pay panel norms, central paramilitary officers who were till now ranked lower to Armed Forces officers have been placed in a higher pay band.

On Monday, the three service chiefs had met Defence Minister A K Antony and urged him for the intervention of the Cabinet, rather than a committee to consider its demands on the pay panel report.

In a letter to the Defence Minister, Mehta had said any disruption in the existing parities of pay would lead to serious operational problems for the Armed Forces whenever they would need to work along with paramilitary and civilian officers.

The Armed Forces are angry over the 'degradation' of officers of the rank of Lt Cols who have been placed in the Pay Band 3, a grade lower than the PB 4 that their civilian counterparts have been given. They have also demanded that Lt Gen rank officers should be put in the new Pay Band of Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus, in which Director General level officers of civil services and paramilitary have been placed.
Armed Forces bypass MoD, take pay grievances to Manmohan

The forces, in fact, want the pay notification to "be kept in abeyance" till the Union Cabinet considers the "core issues" and issues corrective directions to ensure that its officers are not downgraded, in terms of pay and status, in comparison with other civil services and paramilitary forces, including the IPS. If this is not done, it will lead to "despondency" among the "badly demoralized" officers of the three Services. Moreover, it will seriously jeopardise "operational" and "functional" harmony between the armed forces and the paramilitary forces whenever they operate together, warned Admiral Mehta, in his letter.
TOI:Armed forces take pay panel grievances to PMO

Rattled by the stand of the armed forces that implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission for them be “withheld” till their parity with civilian and paramilitary counterparts is restored, the government has promised to look into the issue on “a fast-track basis”.
Govt promises to look into armed forces' pay panel grievances

Signal Officer in the Apex Telecom Appellate

Commissioned in the Corps of Signals, Indian Army, on 30th June 1963, Gen Sehgal has held various appointments in the field and peace in all types of terrains.

On his retirement from the Indian Army on 1st February 2004, he worked as Advisor to BEL and ECIL till he was appointed as Member, Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal, a quasi-judicial Body, on 15th September 2004 for a three year term.

TataSky had in November 2006 filed a case against Sun TV's decision not to provide signals to the DTH operator on a contention that it was causing losses to the company.On December 7, 2007 TDSAT had appointed tribunal's former member Lt Gen D P Sehgal to mediate in the case. Lt Gen DP Sehgal, who successfully negotiated the matter in 10 days, has submitted his report to the legal body.

Lt Gen D P Sehgal, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)
TataSky, Sun TV settles beam sharing dispute

Comments: Veterans are proud of the yeoman services being rendered by Lt Gen DP Sehgal (Retd), Corps of Signals Officer, towards the rapid telecommunications development in the Nation.

ESM Meet Bangalore on 17 Sep 2008

Military Veteran Officers Meet is being organized at Bangalore from 10AM to 4PM on Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008; to discuss, deliberate on various issues involved and to decide on the future course of action. Participation by Military Veteran Officers in large numbers from Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa, Maharashtra, Goa & Pondicherry is requested to make the Meet a Grand success.

Agenda points for discussion are as follows:
  • List of Demands of Military Veterans projected to the Government.
  • Details of Meet held at Delhi on 13 Aug, 2008.
  • Fall out of 6th CPC, the recent Govt. Award on 15 Aug and the reaction of the three Service Chiefs, in not addressing the concerns of the Armed Forces and further lowering their status.
  • Direction & Thrust of Future Course of Action by Military Veterans Movement For Justice.

    Military Veteran Officers are requested to give wide publicity to Meet at Bangalore on Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008; and appeal to the Military Veteran Officers to attend the same in large numbers. Veteran Officers attending the Meet are requested to intimate the following particulars, by Email to the undersigned:
    (a) No. Rank & Name,
    (b) Army/ Navy/ AF/ Regt
    (c) Dates of Birth, Commission & Retirement.
    (e) ETA & ETD

    Veteran Col SS Rajan,
    Convenor, Military Veterans Officers Meet Bangalore
  • Responses to Express Editorial, "It's the Unifrom"

    Mauryan Emperor
    Posted online: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 at 0105 hrs
    It’s the uniform

    Gentlemen of Indian Express,

    Yours is a very esteemed newspaper. You have often taken independent and even anti establishment line and one looks forward to reading point of view on national matters written in your daily and in particular the Editorials.

    However, your Editorial dated 3 Sep 2008 titled "It's the Uniform" is ill advised and written by some one ignorant about Defence Matters and working. Some glaring aspects are -

    1. It is apparent that the person writing the Editorial did not carry out required research, before passing judgment and using impertinent and derogatory language towards highly respected icons like Chiefs of Defence Services. He should have discussed with senior spokes persons of the Defence Services their apprehensions and then written such an immature editorial. Especially so, since he himself has conceded in the Editorial that it is not often that the three Services address joint letters to the Raksha Mantri and that also against a Government decision! He obviously failed to do this, thus causing great pain and anguish to the Defence fraternity due to wrong and biased conclusions drawn and derogatory language used.

    2. And you Mr. Editor Sir, should have used your maturity, experience and sense of judgment to examine the draft critically, before letting it be published. Just look at the language used while ending the Editorial given below-

    When the senior most of those wearing that uniform write letters of the sort that the defence minister just received, that hope receives a small jolt.

    Do you really believe that the Service Chiefs do not know when and what to write to the Raksha Mantri! You think they are frivolous functionaries!! It does not behoove Indian Express Editorial to use such words for the Service Chiefs!

    3. This just proves the point that the Services are not getting the required respect. If this is the respect shown for Service Chiefs by an esteemed Newspaper like yours, what is the Izzat and status the Jawans will get! This is a very dangerous trend and sad for the Country indeed.

    4. It would therefore be in the fitness of things for the Editor to meet senior officers dealing with this letter and fully understand the Services point of view.

    5. However, a number of letters have been written to you regarding this Editorial by senior retired officers.These can be seen in this blog "Report My Signal".

    6. These explain why the persistent effort of the bureaucracy to downgrade in-terse status of Defence Services Officers vis a vis IAS and Para Military Forces is not acceptable and needs to be reversed. The game being played by them is anti national since it is anti Defence Services.

    7. Please read this ancient Indian wisdom and ponder over it-

    Kautilya's sagely advice to Chandragupta on the Mauryan Soldier.
    "Pataliputra rests each night in peaceful comfort, O King, secure in the belief that the distant borders of Magadha are inviolate and the interiors are safe and secure, thanks only to the Mauryan Army standing vigil with naked swords and eyes peeled for action, day and night, in weather fair and foul, all eight praharas (round the clock), quite unmindful of personal discomfort and hardship, all through the year, year after year.

    To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: please, therefore, see to it, suo motu, that the soldier continuously gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants, for he is not likely to ask for them himself.

    The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha; for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King!"

    8. Defence Services are not "cannon fodder" sirs. They have hearts and souls too and are the only organization functioning effectively in the Country. It is suffering casualties day in and day out since the dawn of Independence on 15 Aug 1947 but not flinched. There is no other military in the World, which could bear such hardships and casualties for 60 years, non stop!! And there is no other organization in the Country which could be so patriotic and disciplined.

  • Who saved Kashmir in 1948. Indian troops air lifted a few hours before the Raiders could enter Srinagar !!
  • Who saved Amritsar and area West of Beas River in 1965 and carried the War to enemy's heartland !!
  • Who liberated East Pakistan, helped form Bangladesh in 1971 and bombarded Karachi !!
  • Who suffered over 500 casualties in Kargil in 1999 but evicted the intruders from our sacred land !!
  • Who were the first to arrive and help survivors after Bhuj Earth Quack in 2001!
  • Who were the ones to help effectively in Tusami in 2004 !!
  • Who are the ones now evacuating people in Bihar floods and providing them food and water as also medical aid !!
  • Who are the ones fighting terrorism in J&K and insurgency in the East for years and years !! Every day our brave officers and men are losing their lives in faithfully carrying out their duties. Situations created due to greed, lethargy, dis interest of the Politicians and the Bureaucracy, who are just not interested in resolving such issues.

    9. How short can be the memory of even enlightened people like you and how ungrateful you can be! Sirs, Defence Services are the sentinels of this Country and in case they are demoralized, the safety and security of the Nation cannot be assured.

    10. Let us keep the status and Izzat of the Defence Forces high. The Press/ media have a very crucial role to play to keep reminding the Nation in this regard

    11. Sir, you need to tender an apology to the Nation and the Defence Services for denigrating the three Service Chiefs in your Editorial dated 3 Sep 2008. It will be in the fitness of things for you to write another editorial explaining the Defence Services point of view.

    Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

    Genuine Pointer by Service Chiefs being contested by Finance Ministry.

    Dear Sir,
    1. This is with reference to the news item in your paper dated 04 Sep 2008.
    2. It is a pity that the glaring anomalies in the pay fixation of Lt Colonel and Lt General pointed out by the three Chiefs are being ceaselessly objected to by the Finance Ministry. Why are they strengthening the beliefs of serving and veteran Defence personnel and also the youth that the military is being mistreated and discriminated? Why can’t they understand the simple logic that the Govt employee who was getting more than another Govt employee cannot get Rs 14000/- less as a 6th PC award. 19000 Lt Cols and their equivalent in Navy and Air force, who are working in the most hazardous conditions and are working at the cutting edge of the Defence Forces have been ignored by the cabinet cleared proposal on pay commission and thus not given their due status and respect. If any one thinks, it will not adversely affect their morale, is definitely not thinking logical. Does the Govt know the extent of damage it will inflict on the country’s defence? Likewise please don’t lower the status of Lt Gen. The officers holding this rank have to function in a much larger area both for external and internal threats and for God sake let the equations between the Defence Services and Civilian Counter parts be not lowered any further. Instead, the equation needs to be corrected and restored to what existed in 1947. A civilian Officer who was equivalent to a Major is now equivalent to a Major General. This steep lowering of status is grievously unacceptable to the Defence Forces Personnel. What a pity? The patriot soldiers who lay down their levies to protect and strengthen Democracy and are the last resort of the Nation in natural and man made calamities are being mercilessly downgraded, degraded and mistreated. We appeal to the people of the country to support our “just and fair cause” by raising the issue at all forums and requesting the Govt to accept the genuine demands of the Defence Services both serving and Ex-servicemen.
    3. The RM and the PM are requested to kindly give serious consideration to the genuine request of the three Chiefs and correct serious anomalies in the 6th Pay Commission award..

    With Kind Regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
  • Friday, September 5, 2008

    Armed Forces want Cabinet to consider pay revision

    After lobbying for 400% pay increases, now Defence Forces are battling for Parity with Bureaucracy and Parmilitary Forces

    New Delhi, Sep 4: Contending that dilution of parity with the bureaucracy and paramilitary forces will hinder their operations, the armed forces want the cabinet, rather than the anomalies committee, to consider their demands over the pay panel report.
    Armed forces want cabinet to consider pay revision

    Responses to Express Editorial "It's the Uniform"

    Lt Gen SS Mehta (Retd), Lt Gen BKN Chhibber (Retd), Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd) Lt Gen JFR Jacob (Retd), General VP Malik (Retd), at a seminar in Chandi Mandir in 2002. — A Tribune photograph

    Dear All,
    Posted online: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 at 0105 hrs
    It’s the uniform"

    You must all be aware of the front page headlines published in the Indian Express of 02 Sep 08, relating to the three Chief's objecting to some aspects of the cabinet cleared proposal on the pay commission recommendations(Link given above). After reading it I had prepared an article and sent it to the Editor of the Indian Express. The piece is enclosed as an attachment. I had initially not planned to make it public till it was published, but I have my doubts if it will be published. Hence the change of heart. The editorial in The Indian Express of 03 September 2008 further reinforces my thinking. I have since sent a Letter to the Editor, a copy of which is appended below.

    Dear Editor,

    All the respect I had for your newspaper, with "Journalism of
    Courage" prominently featured at your masthead, vanished when I read the puerile Editorial titled "It's the Uniform….." in your edition dated September 03, 2008. The shock was greater when it followed the front page headline story on the same subject you broke only the day before. Did the bureaucrats get the editor in question in the interim or did he not consult the news editor? I cannot think of any other plausible reason as I am aware that your editors are usually well read and understand nuances of important news.

    Are you really serious when you say that the military's complaint regarding being deliberately downgraded is 'spurious'? It is obvious that the worthy editor has no idea about the military and how important status is for them. Neither it seems he is aware of what the military's stand has been all these months. Throughout the sordid episode generated by the injudicious recommendations of the pay commission over the last six months, the military has not asked for enhancementof pay, only parity at levels that have existed hitherto. Therefore, for the editor to pass scurrilous comments on the officers of the defence forces and particularly against the service chiefs, is not only downright unfair but is
    an attack on their sacred uniform.

    When the next war comes by, though no soldier wants one, the
    same editor will no doubt be singing paeans for the military, but perhaps it is fashionable to do down the military when peace prevails, not because of IAS and IPS worthies, whom he seems to worship, but because of the same military which he has attacked with his pen or is it the cursor on his lap top today?

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

    Dear Editor,
    "Fearless" is the adjective one always associated with the Indian Express. But of late this needs to be replaced by 'timid and spineless'. Nothing else explains the content of the editorial, "It's the uniform" on 3 September 2008, which seems to be edited by an IAS bureaucrat. One is shocked at the level of ignorance displayed regarding civil-military relations. It is clear that the editor has no idea of the importance of the pecking order established by the Warrant of Precedence and any effort to disturb this balance is fraught with danger for the country both in war and peace. For several years after Independence, the police service was considered junior and inferior to the Armed Forces - there was absolutely no equivalence. Regrettably, over the years successive governments permitted IPS officers to (mis)appropriate and flaunt army rank insignia without regard to years in service, which has caused heartburn and avoidable conflict whenever called to work in AID TO CIVIL POWER.

    The Armed Forces do not work in a vacuum (like the editor) but interacts constantly with other departments of the government – as in Bihar and J&K at present. They are the ones who step in to bail out the government and pull the chestnuts out of the fire when the bureaucracy and the police fail. Let us not fool ourselves that 'the uniform itself ensures they will receive a certain dignity and respect'. Thanks to the media and the IAS/IPS combine, the uniform has long ceased to be attractive or awesome– and this is borne out by the editorial - so perish the thought .

    You are right in saying, "The pay commission held sharply differing views on what constituted an equivalent rank" but then the Pay Commission was "of the IAS, by the IAS and for the IAS." But whether these views are "Rational" or not is debatable. It never was the commission's mandate anyway to tinker with the existing rank structure which is what the Service Chiefs are fighting for – earth shattering or not. In any case that is something that you may have trouble understanding considering your level of ignorance!

    Cdr CH Gomes (Retd)

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    SCPC: Armed Forces feel cheated

    Rajat Pandit The Times of India 02 Sep 2008
    NEW DELHI: Unbridled anger is brewing among the officers of the armed forces against the Centre for notifying the Sixth Pay Commission without taking into account their demands for restoring parity with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts.

    With the officers raising their voice against the ‘‘mischievous bureaucratic design to cheat us once again’’, sources said the chiefs of staff committee, comprising General Deepak Kapoor, Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Air Chief Marshal F H Major, may even take up the issue with the government once more in a last-ditch effort.

    The main grouse of the armed forces is that a "raw deal" has been given to Lt-Colonels and their equivalent ranks in IAF (Wing Commander) and Navy (Commander), the ‘‘cutting edge’’ of fighting formations, squadrons and warships.

    "The extant parity of Lt-Col rank officers has been lowered by retaining them in Pay Band-3 (Rs 15,600-39,100), while raising similarly placed civilians and paramilitary officers to PB-4 (Rs 37,400-67,000)," said an officer.
    Pay panel report: Armed Forces feel cheated

    Kudos to the Service Chiefs, Stick to Your Guns

    The chiefs of the army, navy and air force need to be commended and congratulated for their upright and bold stand for the men and women under their command, as reported on the front page of The Indian Express of September 02, 2008. The chiefs have represented strongly against the glaring disparities between military and civilian officers of equal rank and service, as listed in the notification relating to the implementation of the sixth pay commission (6 CPC) recommendations, issued after cabinet approval. This is as should be, for emoluments and status, especially the latter; affect morale, which is one of the immutable principles of war, followed not just by the Indian military, but all militaries of the world.

    Since 2006, when the 6 CPC was in the offing, the chiefs had requested the government to ensure that the commission when set up should have representation from the defence forces. Despite making polite noises, the political leadership did not accede to this legitimate and logical request. When the setting up of the commission was formally announced, the chiefs went back to the government and again asked it to ensure representation, even in the shape of an advisor, if not a member in the commission. That this was a legitimate demand is amply borne out by the numbers involved. More than one third of government employees, under the purview of the commission, comprise serving military personnel. The percentage of military veterans, who also fell under the commission's purview for deciding their pensions and related emoluments, was even more at nearly 25 lacs. Once again, the request was ignored.

    When the pay commission submitted its report in March this year, there was an understandable uproar from serving personnel and military veterans alike. The government then set up a review committee under the cabinet secretary, but again without representation from the military. Why this 'apartheid' against the only organization that delivers and does so efficiently and effectively? The obvious reason, well established amongst the serving personnel as well as the military veterans, was appeasement of the bureaucracy by the political leadership, especially those from the IAS, who were loath to have a representative from the services, lest their plans of accumulating everything for themselves were foiled. That is how the bureaucracy works in our democratic country – everything for themselves!

    What the chief's are objecting to and rightly, is the lowering of the status of defence officers' vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts. The IAS has, unfortunately, tried very hard since Independence and also succeeded to a great degree, in the lowering of the status of the service officers. They did so by making themselves indispensable to the political leadership and even being identified with politicians and political parties unashamedly. The politicians found this an ideal arrangement to further their activities for perpetuating their individual causes as also those of the party they belonged to. This is possibly the main reason for the deterioration of governance everywhere and corruption reaching stupendous proportions. In the bargain, the 'aam aadmi' remained 'aam', whereas both the politicians and the bureaucrats continued to become 'khas' in every respect! How unfortunate that democracy in our country has reached this rock bottom?

    No doubt there were and are some political leaders who are above this self-perpetuating syndrome, but alas not enough to matter. As for honest, diligent and efficient bureaucrats, they disappeared many decades back, leaving the field wide open for clever and self-serving ones, whose dharma is to exploit and loot both individuals and the nation. I am sorry I have digressed from the main theme of this piece, but unless such activities are publicly exposed in and by the media, how will the nation know the truth?

    Reverting to the reason for this piece, I would urge the service chiefs to stick to their guns and not waver in their determination to get a fair deal for their men. The essence of command of troops is well known to them; otherwise they would not be chiefs of their service today. It is once again their dharma to ensure that they lead highly motivated troops, for then alone will victory be achieved on the battlefield and for making our nation safe and secure. The serving as well as retired military personnel, but more importantly the nation, looks up to you to not let the security of the nation be frittered away because some civil officials want to have their cake and eat it too!

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)

    We have objections, put pay hike on hold: 3 service chiefs again
    It's the uniform: Express Editorial A derogatory editorial fittingly rebutted! A Soldiers Honour, Dignity, Status and Rank needs to be upheld by all citizens. Today, in the Bihar floods who is the savior of its citizens? The civil bureaucrats have fled the villages ravished by floods. The Defence Forces are the only dependable rescue agency at times of earthquakes, floods and other national tragedies. This has been proved time and again.

    Finance Minister denies injustice to armed forces in Pay Panel report

    Despite reservations of defence personnel to the govt notified 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) report over "disparities", the Finance Ministry on Wednesday virtually dashed their hopes, strongly denying any "injustice" to the armed forces in the new pay structure.
    Full News at: FM denies injustice to Armed Forces

    Comment: The ESM are concerned about the steady erosion of Rank, Status and Honour. This should be addressed by the Government. If there is no Honour and Dignity to serve in the Defence Forces we need to get the Politicians, IAS, Businessmen sons and wards to volunteer to serve the Nation for a pittance pay sans Honour and Dignity!

    It's The Uniform

    It's the uniform: Express Editorial
    Dear Sir,
    I am rather pained at the insensitivity of your editorial. Distilling our grouses against the continuous decline in our status to "obsessing over points of order and precedence" is unfair and glossing over reality. It seems you are oblivious to the manner of functioning of the armed forces with the civil services. If we were to be only responsible for the external defence of the country we would be confined to our cantonments and be least concerned with how the civil servants keep upgrading themselves. The reality is that we have to function alongwith them on a day to day basis. Be it maintenance of law and order, counter terrorism operations and aid during disasters. I will give you three instances:

  • In 1969, our regiment was deployed in Ahmedabad during the communal riots. A Superintendent Police (SP) was attached to us as a liason officer. He was wearing a major's badges of rank.. My CO who was a Lt Col had 20 yrs service while I as a major, his No 2, had over 16 years. The SP was very respectful to us both. However, a week or so later he came wearing Lt Col's badges. We congratulated him and asked him over for a drink in the evening. He however shied away saying that it was hardly worth a celebration as orders had come that all officers with more than 10 yrs service can wear a Lt Col's badges, without any effect on his salary. But he continued giving due deference to those senior in service to him.

  • In 1974, I was posted back to Ahmedabad as a Lt Col, in the Division HQ. We were called again to tackle law and order during the Nav Nirman agitation led by Mr Jaiprakash Narayan. We had a Brigadier attached to the Police Commissioner.. The latter, though he wore the badges of a Brig was drawing less pay than a Colonel. Let that pass. But Deputy Commissioners (DC) wearing the badges of Lt Col were attached to each sector, looked after by a CO of an infantry battalion. Once there was a problem in one sector and the DC promptly informed the CO about it. The CO told the DC to hold the situation with his police till he arrived with his troops. When the CO reached the spot he found that the DC had not moved from his temporary office and taken no action. CO lost his temper and ticked him of rather strongly. That evening at the Sector Commanders conference the DC raised the issue that the CO had been rude to him, even though they were of the same rank! The Brigadier, who used to preside over these meetings clarified to him that though they may be wearing the same rank, the CO was senior and had the right to tick him off for dereliction of duty. Imagine the situation at present in Ahmedabad. The Commissioner Police wears a Lt Gen's badges, a rank not worn by an army officer in the whole of Gujarat. In 1974 IG Police Gujarat wore the same badges as my Division Commander ie., a Maj Gen's. Then the IGP used to come to our HQ. Now not even the DC comes to the office, leave alone the Gujarat DGP!

  • In Aug 1972, HQ Southern Command was busy pulling out of Pak territory occupied by it during the 1971 war. We were occupying the PWD Rest House in Barmer, Rajasthan where we had set up a camp Command HQ. We suddenly got a notice from the local Deputy Commissioner that we should vacate the Rest House immediately. The AQMG of the Command HQ, a Lt Col, was sent to tell the DC that we hoped to vacate it in another fortnight. The DC agreed, but pointedly asked him that why couldn't the Army send a more senior officer to discuss the matter with him. Imagine the DC had 9 yrs service while the the Lt Col had 21 yrs to his credit. Problem was that the Rajasthan Govt had unilaterally issued a notification that a DC will henceforth be senior to a Brig. During the war not only the DC but the Chief Secy used to wait to meet the staff at the Command HQ in Barmer. As soon as the war was over they started to lord over us as though they had won the war for the nation.

    The media, politicians and civil servants must realise that when they mess up things, only the armed forces come to their help. In other countries the Services are not bothered by the Govt to pull their chestnuts out of the fire and so seniority and precedence do not matter. In India, during the time of the British, the Services (specially the Army) were integrated in the total Govt hierarchy due to close functioning between the civil and armed forces. The Police was considered a subordinate service of the Army as the latter used to send its physically unfit officers to it. Irony is that even though half the Army is totally committed in aid of civil authority, it has to fight to maintain its equivalence, superiority be damned. Till date the SP in the UK wears the badges of rank of a Capt, same as in India till the 1950s. But now capt to Lt Col badges are only for promotees from Inspectors. The IPS officers wear them only fleetingly.

    The country is heaping humiliations on the Services as a reward for their loyalty and efficiency. Beware, the last straw on the camels back may soon come. If God forbid something happens, remember you were warned.

    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)
    Vox Popli: Rebuttal on Behalf of all Concerned Veterans
  • Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    S M Acharya is new Secretary Ex- Servicemen Welfare

    Speaking at the annual conclave of Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR) on 30th July, Deepa Jain Singh, secretary, ex-servicemen welfare in the ministry of defence, said that capsule on welfare of ex-servicemen will be incorporated as subject at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, Mussourie. It will sensitise the young IAS probationers of the vital issues related to ex-servicemen before they assume important responsibilities, she added.

    The government is mooting a National Commission for welfare of ex-servicemen. The proposed body will speed up the issue relating to rehabilitation, welfare and grievances of retired soldiers, martyrs and their families..Govt moots national body for ex-servicemen welfare

    S M Acharya is new Secretary Ex-Servicemen Welfare in the Government of India. He is 1974 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre.
    Whisper in the Power corridors

    The final draft for constitution The Ex- Servicemen Commission is ready. The following officials have been taking part in the finalisation of the draft:

  • Mrs Mohini Giri, President War Widows Welfare Organisation.
  • Mrs Deepa Jain, the recently retired Secretary of The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
  • The current officials of The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
  • Brig RKS Gulia, Veteran.

    After lot of discussions and delibrations it has been finally accepted that the Commission will have the Judicial Powers. The following is the composition of the Commission:

  • Retired Judge of Supreme Court as Chairman.
  • One of the Former Chiefs, Member.
  • President War Widows Organisation, Member.
  • President IESL, Member.
  • An official from MOD, Member.

    Raksha Mantri has already announced the formation of The Ex Servicemen Commission.
    Govt to set up ESM Commission soon: Anthony
    Antony announces more benefits for Ex-Servicemen
    Brig CS Kamboj, VSM (Retd)

    Responses: We welcome SM Acharya as our new Secretary, ESM Welfare. We thank Deepa Jain for taking great pains in ensuring the ESM Judicial Commission become a reality in spite of her short stint in the appointment. ESM will be truly indebted to her dedicated services for the cause and welfare of Veterans.
  • Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Justice AK Mathur Assumes Charge as Chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal

    Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, a retired judge of the Supreme Court has assumed the charge as First Chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal. His tenure will be for a period of four years.

    Born on August 07, 1943, Justice Mathur was enrolled as an advocate of the Rajasthan High Court in 1967. He served as Assistant Government Advocate and Deputy Government Advocate and later as Government Advocate of Jodhpur from 1969 to 1978. He was appointed as Additional Advocate General of Rajasthan in 1981. Justice Mathur became Additional Judge of Rajasthan High Court in 1985 and Permanent Judge of the same court in 1986. He transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 1994 and was appointed as Chief Justice of the same court in 1996. Justice Mathur was transferred to Calcutta High Court in 1999.

    Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court of India on June 07, 2004 and retired from there on 06 August 2008.

    Justice Mathur Assumes Charge as Chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal

    SCPC: New Pay Scales for the Armed Forces

    The Ministry of Defence has notified the new paybands along with grade-pay and Military Service Pay for Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) of the Armed Forces following the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission.
    New Pay Scales for PBORs of the Armed Forces

    The Ministry of Defence has notified the new paybands along with grade-pay and Military Service Pay for Military Nursing Service (MNS) Officers following the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission.
    New Pay Scales for MNS Officers

    The Ministry of Defence has notified the new paybands along with grade-pay and Military Service Pay for Defence Forces Officers following the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission
    New Pay Scales of Defence Forces Officers

    Government have given careful consideration to the recommendations of the Commission relating to these matters in respect of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) of the Armed Forces and have decided that the recommendations of the Commission on the matters aforementioned in respect of these categories of employees shall be accepted without any material change as a package with the following modifications:-

    (i) Implementation of the revised pay structure of pay bands and grade pay, as well as pension, with effect from 01.01.2006 and revised rates of allowances (except Dearness Allowance/relief) with effect from 01.09.2008;
    (ii) Fitment in pay bands based on multiplication factor of 1.86 instead of 1.74 recommended by the Sixth Central Pay Commission.
    (iii) Payment of 40% of arrears in cash in the year 2008-09 and the remaining 60% in the year 2009-10.
    (iv) Increase in the rate of annual increment from 2.5% to 3%;
    (v) Removal of Campus restriction for grant of Transport Allowance;
    (vi) Increase in Transport Allowance at the lowest level to Rs. 600 (from Rs. 400 in A-l/A class cities) and Rs. 400 (from Rs. 300 in other cities);
    (vii) Grade pay to determine seniority of posts only within a cadre's hierarchy and not between various cadres;
    (viii) Increase in Military Service Pay (MSP) of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBORs) from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000 pm;
    (ix) Grant of 3 ACP upgradation after 8, 16 and 24 years of service to PBORs;
    (x) The rates of Special Forces Allowance for Army and Air Force to be equated with Navy's Marine Commando Allowance.

    The recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission relating to lateral shift of Defence Personnel to Central Para Military forces would be examined separately.

    The Government have not accepted the recommendations of Sixth CPC regarding following issues:-

    (a) Liberal 'severance package' for employees who want to leave service without pension with more than 15 years but less than 20 years service.
    (b) There should only be three closed holidays for Government employees.
    (c) Flexi-hours for women employees and flexi-weeks for employees with disabilities.

    General principles of fixation of initial pay in the revised pay structure as on 1.1.2006, fixation of pay of employees recruited on or after 1.1.2006, rate of increment in the revised pay structure and date of increment will be as in the Government of India Notification No. GSR 622(E) dated 29th August, 2008.
    Notification for PBOR

    The three chiefs of the Armed Forces, in an unprecedented move, have written to Defence Minister A K Antony that implementation for officer ranks be “held in abeyance” until their objections are addressed. More details at:
    We have objections, put pay hike on hold: 3 service chiefs again

    ESM Movement: Ghaziabad Report

    Dear Members of the Core Gp and Fellow Veterans,

    I have just returned after a Very Successful Program conducted by the 'RASHTRIYA SAINIK SANSTHA' at GHAZIABaD on 01 Sep 2008, under the able command of our Chairman, Col T P Tyagi, VrC. The report is as follows:

  • The Program was conducted at the Mewar Institute from 10 AM to 2 PM today, as per the overall Plan and directions as decided by the Core Gp in its meeting on 22nd Aug 2008 at DSOI.
  • There was a Very Large gathering of ESM Offrs, JCOs & OR including those from the AF and the Navy.
  • The MP of the Area Shri Surinder Goyal (CONG), as also the Local MLA Shri Sunil Sharma (BJP), willingly attended. The fact that we could get TWO Legislators of DIFFERENT & OPPOSING Political Parties on the same stage & BOTH of them ASSURED that, being convinced of our Demand of ''Extended Employment' upto 60 yrs of age, they would move matters on this account in respective houses of Parliament and support our cause. Infact, the MP Shri Goyal was to go for a meeting with the RM immediately after our Programme and he assured that he would discuss this with the RM today itself.
  • Both the MP and the MLA were given a Memorandum and the type of Questions they should raise in the respective Parliament/ State Assembly.
  • The Pgme was also attended by 15 'VIR NAARIS' (there are 63 Vir Naaris in GZB District). They were given an opportunity to come up to the stage & speak on the occasion. Thereafter, they were all felicitated by presentation of Woollen Shawls & Token money gifts.
  • The MOST IMPORTANT & PRAISEWORTHY part of our Progamme today was that Rashtriya Sainik Sanstha being an All India Organisation of 'PATRIOTS', we had a large number of Civilians present to support our Demands/ Cause. Some of them hold important high office in Government and assured that they would do whatever they possibly can to lend support to our Cause as they firmly believed in our Demands.
  • Print & Visual media was present to cover the event. A Press release/ handout was given to them for wider circulation/ publication.
  • All present/ attendees were hosted to 'High Tea' & given handouts to spread the word of the ESM Movement. In all, the Pgme/ Event was a GREAT SUCCESS. Submitted for info of all the Members of the Core Gp, that WE HAVE DONE IT HERE IN GHAZIABAD.

    Major General AJB Jaini, AVSM (Retd)
    Patron of Rashtriya Sainik Sanstha
    Member of ESM Movement Core Group
  • ESM Movement: Tricity Report

    Dear All,

    Tri city Chandigarh 'Division' (since up graded from a Brigade') had a very successful "FAST FOR JUSTICE" today (01 Sep), where in even Punjab Government Minister wanted to attend, but was told NOT to take advantage of our meeting.

    The Secretary General is requested to take 'After Action Report' from all states, compile it and forward to all concerned. It will motivate our rank and file in 'Dormant States/ Stations'.

    Brig Harwant Singh (Retd)

    SCPC: Pay Anomaly of Lieutenant Colonel

    Comparison Chart of Pay of Lt Cols With Civilian Officers

    I discussed this matter with a civilian officer colleague to get the other point of view and the following aspects emerged:

    1. The civilian officer disputed that Lt Cols were at par with S-25. They like to think that Lt Cols are par with S-23 as the Lt Col's pay scales less Rank Pay fit 'within' the S-23 pay scale. (The starting of S-23 is even lower than the Lt Cols Basic less Rank Pay!) They completely negate factoring into the rank pay for the purpose of finding equivalent pay scales and for that matter inter se seniority. Is there any authority to settle this argument? From an army officer's perspective, army pay scales were 'independent' and can only be translated now to civilian equivalent after adding the rank pay. That would make it equivalent to S-25 (In fact the outer end of army's scale is superior to even S-25). Equivalence to S-25 seems fair to army officers as Rank Pay was included wherever basic was considered for the purpose of any sort of entitlements. And of course it was part of total pay drawn.

    2. Even the VI Pay Commission has included the Rank Pay for calculating (multiplying by 1.86) the new Basic Pay for army officers who were already drawing the rank pay on 01 Jan 06. But they have fixed grade pay by negating the Rank Pay! Now officers getting promoted in future will have entry pay only on the basis of their grade pay. So the benefit of Rank Pay is there only for now and is set to vanish in future!

    3. While explaining the origins of Rank Pay there is a line in the report that the rank pay was originally carved out of the army pay scales. That was at a time of running pay bands and Rank Pay was it seems to remove the problem of junior ranking officers with more service (increments) getting more pay than senior ranking officers with less increments. So if it was originally carved out of pay scales, how can it not be merged back to pay scales while doing away with the concept of Rank Pay?

    4. As per the Air/Naval Chiefs statement Lt Cols are equivalent to S-25. They are very much including the rank pay for finding equivalent civilian scales. But I suspect that the people who really matter in this argument are civilian bureaucrats who don't seem to think so.

    5. If Rank pay is not to be counted within basic then how do you compensate for rank pay while translating to civilian equivalent scales? The civilian officers like to think that MSP compensates for that loss. But isn't the MSP supposed to be a 'New Entitlement'. Why else are there are no arrears to MSP! Why is then Rank Pay included for fitment to new Basic Pay? It should not be included if MSP replaces Rank Pay. The pay commission report at some places indicates that it is a new entitlement: no arrears of MSP, MSP is also auth to Lieutenants and Personnel Below Officer Ranks who did not have any Rank Pay earlier! But it also at another place very ambiguously says that the calculation of MSP for PBOR is somehow affected by the lack of rank pay!?! Now anyone can interpret depending on which side he is on.

    6. In any case as far as Lt Cols are concerned even MSP is not able to compensate for the loss of rank pay vis-à-vis the equivalent civilian officers. As they were earlier drawing Total Pay equal to S-25 and more than S-24. Now both S-24 and S-25 will be drawing a hell of a lot more.

    7. Actually the problem has been heavily accentuated due to the odd and arbitrary Pay Band system which replaces the Pay Scale system. At each grade pay level, an entry basic pay level has been specified. Which in effect makes it practically quite like the old pay scale system. But what makes the system very strange is that at some 'very-very arbitrary' points you get into a super pay scale now called Pay Band. Now there is huge and sudden pay gain on certain promotions whereas relatively smaller increase on most of the other promotions. The very big arbitrary pay jump happens to lie between S-23 and S-24. Somewhere around Rs 15000! I really don't know the merits of this new system? Is this as a result of some scientific study in the HR field or an accident which is going to be justified with hindsight and reverse engineered pseudo-logic?

    Lt Col Sumeet Patney (Retd)
    Navy chief raises pay panel report anomaly with Antony

    Comment: This anomaly will surely exist in spite of the Anamoly Commission trying its best to debug! After all Bureaucrats are Buzzing Mathematical Bees! Thanks also to the Army Brass for degradation of rank status! Do ESM stand a chance to fight for the injustices meted out by succeeding Pay Panels?

    ESM exploited by telemarketers

    Dear My Woes,

    My complaint is in two parts.

  • I must highlight a racket that seems to be running to dupe clients like us who hold citi bank credit cards wherein they issue mediclaim insurance policies over the phone without any verification and false assurances.

  • Not only that, after the experience of being taken for a ride (as mentioned in A above, they have the cheek to automatically renew the policy without my permission (neither verbal or written) and try to charge me for a service that I don't want of which they are aware because of my complaint.

    This very serious as they seem to be just raking in money over the telephone through false promises and concealing terms not just once but on recurring basis. Kindly read my correspondence below:

    Lt Col KJS Vohra (Retd)
    Citibank Complaint Cell

    Similar is the case with Maruti Suzuki Auto Card. Veterans are advised to be cautious while signing up for free services with any Citi bank- linked MNCs by outsourcing agencies. The victims specifically targeted are ESM. Very difficult to cancel the credit card even after payment of penalty. Interest rate and services charges work out to whopping 300% per annum. Nationalised Banks are the safest bet for your hard earned pension and banking facilities.
  • Monday, September 1, 2008

    Simulator: Computer generated images

    Dear Friend,

    Click on to the following site : Helicopter drive through Mountains: simulator

    Now, as the music comes on, move the cursor left and right. What you see is the core of the Computer Generated images, which are used for making Simulators. Twenty years ago, when we were working on developing these training methods, this kind programmes were like dreams for us. And today, this is available free, at the click of a button!

    I am reminded of the enormous work which my friend Maj (now Maj Gen) AV Subramanian had to do to produce a rudimentary scene for a vehicle simulator. It took him three years to write the program which ran into millions of instructions and the end result looked like the Rajasthan desert. And yet,we were all thrilled and excited. Perhaps in no other field has the development been as breath taking as in computer graphics. Let us wait and see what is next in store for us!

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    We thank Maj Gen Surjit Singh for the free Chopper ride in the snow clad mountains. Exhilarating Indeed! Good scope for ESM software geeks. Military Training is an area yet untapped by Veterans where immense scope exists. Think of it, warfare schools like Jungle, Mountain, Desert and High Altitude can be established and run partly by Veterans.

    ESM Commission soon

    Rewari (Haryana), August 29 : Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday said that the government would soon set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission to address the grievances of armed forces veterans and plan welfare schemes for them.

    "After opening a new department in the Defence Ministry for ex-servicemen, the government is going to set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission soon to recommend various welfare schemes for them and their families," Antony said, during the inauguration function of a Sainik School at Thappa Gothra Khori village near Rewari in Haryana.

    He also said that the government had earmarked around Rs 6,000 crore additionally for serving defence personnel and ex-servicemen after removing the anomalies in the recommendations of the sixth pay commission, which was being implemented from 1st September.

    Antony urged other States of the country to learn from Haryana, he further added that he is very impressed with Haryana government efforts in taking care of its ex-servicemen and providing them welfare schemes.

    "The Sainik Schools are today one of the major vehicles to carry forward the movement of mass discipline in our society," he said.

    Govt to set up ESM Commission soon: Anthony
    Antony announces more benefits for Ex-Servicemen


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