Saturday, September 27, 2008

Google Invests in Energy From Hot Rocks Deep Underground, the philanthropic wing of Google, has announced a $10 million investment in a renewable energy technology that’s powered by hot rocks several miles beneath the earth’s surface. The technology, called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), differs from traditional geothermal energy that relies on finding natural pockets of hot water and steam. Instead, EGS fractures the hot rock, circulates water in its system, and uses the steam created from the process to create electricity in a turbine [Cleantechnica].

The system could augment less reliable renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, which don’t generate steady amounts of energy. Google executive Dan Reicher says EGS would be very dependable, and could be revolutionary. “It’s 24-7, it’s potentially developable all over the country, all over the world, and for all that we really do think it could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world” [New Scientist].
Google Invests in Energy From Hot Rocks Deep Underground

Military pay hike: Govt sets up panel

The government has finally responded to Army's continued displeasure over the pay hike. It has decided to form 3- member committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The committee will also have Defence Minister AK Anthony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as its members.

The proposed committee will look into the grievances of the Armed Forces related to the remuneration being offered to them in the Sixth Pay Commission. The decision was taken after PM was consulted in the US on the issue.

All pending issues of Army on pay hikes will be addressed and resolved latest by October end. All service headquarters - Army, Navy and Air Force - will issue notification on Monday to hand out the revised payscale according to the Sixth Pay Commission.
Military Pay Hike: Govt sets up Panel
Ministerial panel to consider forces' concerns over pay
Govt sets up panel to review Defence forces pay hike

Sounding optimistic, the Defence Minister said that the armed forces will get their pay in new scales by Diwali. He also added that the government is aware of anomalies in the pay and assured that the issue will be addressed.
Armed forces pay hike: Committee formed

Women to get permanent commission in four non-combat wings of Armed Forces

New Delhi, September 26 Finally, the Government has decided to grant permanent commission to women officers in the three Armed Forces but with a rider — women will only be considered for permanent commission in four non- combat arms, including the Army Education Corps, Judge Advocate General and Accounts streams.

Also, 2015 is expected to be the earliest date by which women would be technically sworn in as permanent commission officers of the Armed Forces. A formal order to the effect was signed by Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday, and the three services will now work out modalities for training and induction of women officers in select branches.

Until now, the Armed Forces have been largely male dominated with women being inducted only as short service commission officers with a service life of less than 15 years and not rising above the rank of Lt Colonel. With the permanent commission, women can now rise to the highest rank of Lt Gen.

While the ministry has given the go-ahead for permanent commission, it has left for the Armed Forces to sort out the more contentious issues like opening of the ‘males-only’ academies like the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Military Academy (IMA) for women cadets.
Women to get permanent commission in four non-combat wings of Armed Forces

The IAF will now allow women pilots to fly the advanced heavy-lift IL-76 transport aircraft, in addition to the AN-32, Avro and Dornier aircraft as well as the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters they are already flying. There are currently 63 women pilots in IAF.
Forces open doors to women, but just a little

Armed Forces reject 6th pay commission report

Protesting against the "anomalies" in their new pay scales, the Defence Forces on Friday did not submit their revised salary bills to the ministry's accounts office.

By doing so, the Armed Forces have refused to implement the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) report as existing "disparities" affected personnel across all ranks.

"The Armed Forces have not raised their pay vouchers in the revised scales in accordance with the CPC notification and have submitted bills in the old pay scales," a Defence Ministry source told PTI in New Delhi.

Yesterday, the government agreed in principle the Services' demand for restoring 70 per cent "extant pensionary weightage" to jawans on the basis of their last drawn pay.

But the Armed Forces are cut up with the Finance Ministry over the rejection of their three other demands concerning officers.

The CPC had recommended that the jawans be given 50 per cent "pensionary weightage" and provided an option of lateral entry into paramilitary and central police forces.

The Armed Forces wanted the lateral entry scheme to be first approved and implemented by the government before the CPC recommendation on the 50 per cent "pensionary weightage" came into effect.

"We have accepted salaries this month under the old pay scales, as we expect the government to take a quick decision on all our demands soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his US visit on October 1," a defence officer said.

In effect, over 50 lakh civilian government employees will take home higher pay packets along with the arrears announced in the CPC this month, but the 13-lakh-strong Armed Forces personnel would reconcile with the old salaries, to send a strong message to the government.

Defence Minister AK Antony and the three Services chiefs have already represented to the prime minister on the four "core issues" they have with the CPC notification.

Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Army chief General Deepak Kapoor met Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and PMO officials yesterday to apprise him of the "anger" among the 70,000 officers over their demands not finding favour with the bureaucracy.

They have also requested the country's top political leadership to decide on their CPC demands and to implement the pay commission notification in abeyance till the issues were resolved.

"It is just a matter of less than Rs 450 crore annually if the government accepts the four demands of the Armed Forces, which is not a huge burden on the exchequer," an officer said.

Among the other demands were placing Lt Colonels and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force under Pay Band-4 instead of Pay Band-3, Grade Pay to officers from Captain to Brigadiers on par with their civilian counterparts, and placing Lt Generals in the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus pay scales as the Director Generals of paramilitary and police forces.
Armed Forces reject 6th pay commission report

“It is quite a serious matter. We can’t just accept something half-hearted like this. In fact, there were too some anomalies in the 5th Pay Commission recommendation for the Armed forces which are yet to be resolved,” said former Army Chief General VP Mallik.
Armed forces reject pay recommendations
Defence Forces reject revised salaries
NDTV: Pay Hike: Black Diwali for Military?

In a major embarrassment for the government, the 13 lakh strong armed forces personnel have refused to accept the pay hike. Defence minister AK Antony, who has stepped in to defuse trouble, has sought immediate intervention by the prime minister to sort out the issue, reports Our Political Bureau in New Delhi.
Angry defence personnel refuse to accept pay hike

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remembering the Mahatma

In today's world filled with acts of violence and intolerance under the guise of faith and community, Gandhi's principles of restraint and understanding stand out as the only voice of reason. Gandhiji had an unwavering belief in peace over war and a tolerance towards all men. Many of his quirks, like using a pencil down to a small stub to prevent wastage, reusing envelopes, and walking whenever possible are perfectly understandable today when we are all trying to be 'Green'.

He believed that we all have a choice. You can choose to help the needy, choose to be tolerant of others' beliefs and a choice of peace. Live a good, healthy life, free from chains of slavery, prejudice and hate.
Visit webpage for Quiz: Remembering the Mahatma

SCPC: Antony knocks at PM’s door

New Delhi, September 24
The issue of restoration of pay parity for the armed forces after the implementation of the sixth pay commission has taken a new turn. Union defence minister A.K. Antony has now made a strong case for the forces and written a formal letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking restoration of parity for the forces saying all four demands of the forces were genuine. The finance ministry was in concurrence on the matter and the same has also been conveyed.

Antony, in his letter sent yesterday, had demanded restoration of parity as there was resentment among the forces. The forces see this as a “wrong” that their status has been lowered vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts. The armed forces have also informed the minister that the matter should not be referred to the anomalies committee.

To bolster their claims, the forces have pointed out how the anomalies committee of the fifth pay commission was given 42 anomalies of the armed forces and in 12 years only 11 were sorted out.

Separately, a suggestion within the ministry of defence to implement the pay commission for the forces, even as the pending four issues are being sorted, had been cold-shouldered by the forces. The three chiefs have made it clear that the pay hike will be implemented only when the anomalies are sorted out. The chiefs have also made it clear that a reference of the issue to the anomalies committee is not acceptable.

Meanwhile, the finance ministry is convinced that the demand of the forces was genuine. It has also reportedly given a go ahead saying the financial burden, about Rs 110 crore, can be absorbed. Sources said everything is likely to be okayed. The finance ministry has also not taken it kindly as to how such a matter was left out by the group of secretaries.
Pay Disparity: Anthony knocks at PM's door

Comment: How the Pay Parity gets skewed wilfully and by whom and to whose advantage? One needs to get to the bottom of wilful tampering of the recommended formulation for implementation. The Fifth Central Pay Commission anomalies with respect to the Armed Forces still haunt us to this day with no remedy in sight. It has been heavily screwed up by chain of bureaucrats linked to reams of rules yet to be deciphered! The court rulings in favour of ESM in most cases are thwarted by bureaucrats. The bureaucrats need to be identified and heavily penalised for contempt of court.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kapil Dev joins Territorial Army as Brand Ambassador

Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor decorated former cricketer Kapil Dev with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after the latter voluntarily joined the Territorial Army during a ceremony in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The former cricketer has been roped in to join the Armed Forces by the Territorial Army (TA), which is celebrating its 59th anniversary this year. The 1983 World Cup winning captain joined as an honorary officer. He donned the Army uniform at the glittering ceremony.

While Kapil will not take part in the rigorous training, he will palpably act as a brand ambassador for the Armed Forces. Kapil's wife Romi Dev and daughter Amiya Dev were also present on the occasion.
Kapil Dev joins Territorial Army
Territorial Army

“I am proud I have been given this rank. It took six months for the things to materialise, with the file moving from the home ministry to the defence ministry,” said Kapil, as his wife and daughter looked on.
Cricketer Kapil Dev now an honorary army officer

"I am today proud to wear an Army uniform and at this age to serve the country in this uniform is a proud moment for me," Kapil Dev said soon after he was formally commissioned into the Punjab Regiment of the citizen's army here.
Lieutenant Colonel Kapil Dev

The Territorial Army is part of the regular Army and has various roles, including relieving the regular personnel from static duties and assistance to the civil administration in times of calamities. TA personnel can also voluntarily serve in active duty for short durations and several officers and men have won gallantry awards for exceptional bravery.
Interestingly, the Territorial Army, which has a sanctioned strength of just over 40,000 personnel, was keen on roping in young MPs and MLAs to join its ranks to set an example for youngsters. A presentation was also held at the Parliament house last year but the force did not receive any applications from the elected representatives.
Kapil joins TA

SCPC: Decision Distorted in Pay Scales Formulation

Grant of four additional increments to IAS and IFS violates existing relativity's. Fix responsibility for wilfully manipulating Cabinet decision.
NEW DELHI: Resentment is brewing among officers belonging to the Central services, including those from the Indian Police Service, over “distortion” of last month’s Cabinet decision on the Pay Commission report by the government in formulating certain pay scales.
The officers have demanded that the revision of pay rules of All India Services be done strictly in conformity with the Cabinet decisions. Responsibility should be fixed against erring officials for “wilfully manipulating and attempting to misinterpret Cabinet decisions.”
Full story highlighted by The Hindu: Cabinet decision “distorted” in pay scales formulation
Comments: The Defence Officers Honour, Status and Grade reduced and degraded. The Ex Servicemen are battling in the courts glaring injustices in pension of earlier Pay Commissions. The SCPC has silently buried the "One Rank One Pension" demand forever!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SCPC: A Soldiers Lament to the President

While we awaited the pay commission bounty
The IAS got there first
and now, President Aunty
We have no choice but to be blunt
We are third class citizens,
though manning the front
The bureaucrats who decide things for us
Have truly shown their animus
And we who defend our dear nation
Have again been shown our lower station.

When the seventh pay commission comes around
We will no doubt lose more ground
Then Colonels would equal civilian clerks
In salary, status and other perks
Generals will wait on worn out chairs
Outside IAS Officers' lairs.

A once proud service is now so degraded
That though their uniforms still be braided
They are demoralised and wait to retire
And then take up their pens to fire
At those they served all their life
In times of peace and in times of strife.

The lesson from this, our children we tell
Is that, if in life you want to do well
And this, I am sure, every soldier endorses
Do not ever join the forces.

Just become a doctor or a pleader
Perhaps, even better, a political leader
Or an IAS officer, with his red light
Why face the enemy, why risk a fight
When the nation you guard
does not value you much
And treats you merely like a handy crutch
To support the government in civil disorder
Or when the enemy threatens the border
But when the time comes to share the pie
They get all antsy and ask - why???

So Madam President, hear us out
A change is going to come about
And we, the most courageous of all
Will soon be replaced by the petty and small
Alas, your government would be squarely to blame
For this avoidable national shame.

Kishore Asthana

SCPC: Disillusioned Military

Military Marching Ahead
Political apathy is breaking down the great Indian tradition of soldiering, writes Lieutenant General Vijay Oberoi.

23 September 2008: While civilian employees of the Central government would be counting their fatter pay packets by the end of the month, the Indian military would have no such luck. Their revised emoluments are still awaiting resolution. The reason is not monetary but something more dear to the defence forces: honour and izzat. What do they mean?

Essentially, the defence forces are trying to impress on the political leadership the urgent need to restore to the military its previous exalted status, failing which national security may be jeopardized. The huge shortage of officers, which continues to increase, will get progressively worse, resulting in sub-standard military leadership. And the only national instrument that has always delivered and that has the confidence of polity will gradually weaken and become ineffective.

The early military leaders of independent India like Cariappa and Thimayya, to name only two, had left behind a legacy of nationalism, personal and professional values, and an apolitical approach. "Soldiering" was their sole message. This was nurtured by subsequent military leaders and it became a way of life in the armed forces. Military veterans, too, carried this ethos to their retired lives. This is now on the verge of breaking down, unless urgent action is taken.

This "soldiering" culture was cultivated in an environment where the political leadership was highly suspicious of the military. It is regrettable that this perception has not changed even after six decades of the military always acting in national interest. This perception is in large measure exacerbated by the bureaucracy to meet its selfish ends.

The civilian bureaucracy's self-promoting activities have included framing rules of business of government in a manner that without its advice, nay consent, even elected representatives cannot pursue policies of good governance. Eventually, the political leadership joined the self-aggrandizing bureaucracy. One consequence of this was the infamous Licence-Permit-Quota Raj which institutionalized political corruption. The so-called "Hindu rate of growth" followed, till visionary leaders and economists forced the bureaucracy to open up a decade ago.

During India's economic rise, it is the Indian military that secured peace in the country. But while occasional leaders, entrepreneurs and farmers are commended for national contribution, the military has every time been studiously ignored and marginalized. Let me illustrate this with but four unrelated examples.

First, the military has been steadily downgraded both in status and in being kept out of the policy-formulating loop. Second, deliberately no CDS has been appointed for the last seven years because it would undermine the position of the defence secretary. Third, the celebration of India's biggest victory of 1971 has become a political football, depending on the regime in power. Early this year, angst in the military peaked on account of the callous treatment of the departed 1971 war hero, the formidable Sam Bahadur. Finally, an extremely high bravery award was conferred on a bureaucrat because he happened to be at the site of a bomb blast, thus belittling the award, and degrading exceptional courage.

But the military bore the many provocations, true to its ethos "that the country always came first", until recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission exploded anger across the board, in all ranks and amongst both serving personnel and veterans. Military veterans have been unprecedentedly provoked to take their protests to the streets. More about it in my next piece, if there is still interest in your soldiers who continue to give their today for your tomorrow.

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

India Household Corruption Study 2007

Below Poverty Line (BPL) households in India pay about Rs 9,000 million (€136 million, US $212 million) in bribes to get access to basic and need based public services, according to a study released by TI India (TII) and the Centre for Media Study (CMS) on 28 June. The TII-CMS India Corruption Study 2007 focuses this year on the poor who are more dependant on public services and therefore disproportionately affected by corruption in the public sector. “This kind of corruption denies people their entitlement to basic and need based services, many of which may be ‘free’ by law, resulting in the poor finding themselves at the losing end of the corruption chain”, said Admiral (Retd) R H Tahiliani, Chair of Transparency International India.

By surveying 22,728 BPL households and examining 11 selected public services where corruption is seen as a barrier to access in households across the states, the study shows that many BPL families, pay bribes to gain access to basic public services. Of all the public services examined, the police were perceived as the most corrupt, with an estimated 2.5 million out of a total of 5.6 million people reportedly having paid some kind of bribe on coming into contact with the police. According to the study, land records and registration services were also noted for their “alarming levels” of corruption.

The study is the third of its kind conducted by TII and the most detailed yet, including BPL households in both rural and urban areas in all 31 states and Union Territories, as well as offering more extensive solutions to the problems. The studies were developed as a tool to sensitise the general public and concerned stakeholders to the effects of corruption and to prompt the government and civil society groups to take up locally relevant action.

TII aims to improve the lives of the poorest by acting as a catalyst and providing the knowledge and leadership necessary to fighting corruption. This will be done by conducting consultation workshops, training and capacity building with various stakeholders. TII will also use the study as a basis for advocacy programmes to raise awareness among people, to empower the poor to stand their ground and demand their right to receive access to the basic services that they are entitled to without paying bribes.
Anti-Corruption Work

Comments: We need a similar independent organisation to reduce the negative impact of the rampant corruption in the Defence Forces Household. The basic Annual Immovable Property Statement submission should be made mandatory for all the officers who acquire vast properties beyond sources of normal income from salaries. This is applicable mostly to senior officers holding appointments with vast financial powers where misuse of powers is so evident. The aim being to ensure that the best rated services and goods are delivered to serving Jawans, thereby maintaining the troops morale at its peak!

President Audience for war hero’s wife

-Photos: Subir Roy, AP/ Presidential Palace
The President meets Rasoolan Bibi, wife of Abdul Hameed, a soldier who was killed during the 1965 Indo-Pak War

LUCKNOW: Rasoolan Bibi, wife of Hawaldar Abdul Hameed who was conferred the nation’s highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra posthumously during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, on Tuesday urged President Pratibha Patil that an army recruitment board be set up in Ghazipur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Rasoolan Bibi was granted audience by the President during her Lucknow visit on Tuesday. Among the charter of demands Rasoolan Bi presented to the President was one to name the Dullupur railway station in Ghazipur district Veer Abdul Hameed station and another to issue a stamp in the name of her husband.

She expressed a desire to meet the President during Ms. Patil’s visit to Lucknow University earlier in the day. A letter seeking permission was given to the university authorities by her grandson, Shahabuddin Ahmed, who is enrolled there as a BA second year student. But permission was denied.

The news was picked up by the media, following which the Rashtrapati Bhavan took note of it. The 90-year-old Rasoolan Bi was granted an audience with the President.

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati sanctioned Rs.5 lakh for repairs to Rasoolan Bi’s house at Dhanupur village in Ghazipur district. Another Rs.10 lakh was sanctioned for building a park in Ghazipur named after Abdul Hameed.
Audience for War hero's wife

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SCPC: Injustice to Defence Forces: ESM Invites Press

Dear Members of the Press,
Indian ESM Movement against injustice to Defence Forces: SCPC

1. The Govt is Dilly- Dallying on the legitimate demands put forward by the three Chiefs and the Veteran Defence Oganizations. It is not understood as to why the Defence Personnel have been given a raw deal not only in their pay and allowances but also in their status, respect and selfesteem which progressively have been downgraded. There appears to be an intentional ill-treatment of our Military; otherwise, how would one explain that Lt Cols who were drawing Rs 800/- more than their counter parts in civil and para military forces till today will get Rs 14,000/ less after the award of 6th Pay Commission is implemented? Also how DGP rank officers have been placed higher then the Lt Gen? Why One rank One Pension demand has not been accepted? Why the Govt has made an IAS Officer member of the proposed Ex Servicemen commission? The Ex Servicemen commission must have all members from the Ex Servicemen? Why assured second career till the age of 60 years is not given to the Defence Personnel who retire between the ages 35 years to 42 years? Why PBORs are getting far less terminal benefits than their civilian counter parts? There is endless list of legitimate grievances of the Defence Forces. Now, when the three Chiefs have done their duty to project the legitimate demands, the Govt ill advised by bureaucracy is delaying the decision to give the due justice to the Defence Forces.

2. There is need to bring to the notice of the people of India about the injustices done to the Defence Forces and the glaring inadequacies in security both against internal and external threats. Some of the aspects are as under:-

  • All previous successive Govts have ignored the soldier and hurt his self pride by downgrading his status, respect and self esteem by various means. The present Govt, through the members of 6th Pay Commission has done the damage which has far reaching consequences.

  • All patriotic Indian should beseech their conscience and put their hands on their hearts and ask themselves. “Is the security of the country getting the attention in term of resources in men and material it deserves? Or are we only paying lip service to our security needs??? All the indicators points towards lowering standards in quality and content.

  • Are the Defence forces being used as canon fodder as is evidenced from the fact that after the Kabul Blast in the case of IFS officer the PM announced full pay and allowance to the NOK of deceased officer till he would have attained the age of 60 years while no such announcements were made in respect of Brig Mehta. Also no print and electronic media coverage is given to the 2- 3 Defence Personnel sacrificing their lives daily in terrorist/ militant actions in insurgencies while non stop coverage for many hours given to police officers. A sacrifice is a sacrifice and should get similar recognition irrespective of the service.

  • The strongest pillar of Democracy, the Defence Forces if they crack down there is nothing which can save the nation. It is impossible for a soldier to fight without a national pride instilled in him. The Government of the day on the ill- advice of bureaucracy are doing all that they can to destroy that pride. Second rate incentives attract second rate people, but, the Defence of a country can not be entrusted to second rate persons.

  • Civil supremacy, all the world over means, “supremacy of elected civilian representatives of the people" and NOT that of the "Civil Servants", who do not represent the ‘people’ but are their "servants". While most of the politicians are well meaning, it is the IAS Babus who thwart their good intentions as they did in 1990 when the then the Prime Minister, Mr VP Singh wanted to sanction "One Rank One Pension.

  • "Nation which does not ensure Security is doomed to fail". No amount of economic prosperity will bring security for the nation if the nation cannot address its security first. "The solider protects what? Guards whom? A piece of terrain! Barren, inhospitable, worthless? No! for the love of his country and countrymen, his motherland he protects, her citizens he guards, his KARMA he performs, with honour and pride, for your tomorrow he sacrifices his today."

  • If the matters National Security and functioning of Defence Forces are not resolved on priority, the Nation will creep into pre- 1962 disastrous situation. Anybody saying "We don’t need Defence Forces", is berefit of all knowledge of the Defence Forces. In order to ensure integrity and sovereignty of the country, there is need to strengthen the Defence Forces.

    3. In order to intensify our Movement through various action plans in the near future, a Press Conference will be held at Press Club of India New Delhi on 03 Oct 2008 at 12 ‘O’ clock noon. All members of the Press both electronic and print are requested to attend and carry the story in TV Channels/ News papers/ Magazines. Your cooperation to project the right cause of the Defence Forces will go a long way in addressing their legitimate demands.

    With Kind Regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
  • High Court clears petitions related to pension benefits of ESM

    A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed five petitions filed by the All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association holding any personnel below the officer rank (PBOR) entitled to the improved pension from January 1, 1996, the day of implementation of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, instead of Jan 1, 2006.

    The judgment will benefit a large number of pre-1996 ex-servicemen. Five writ petitions were filed by Bhim Sen Sehgal, Chairman of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, representing the PBORs challenging the arbitrary fixation of date as January 1, 2006, instead of Jan 1, 1996. The soldiers were deprived of arrears, which were due since January 1, 1996.

    The petitioners claimed that the Ministry of Defence in a letter, dated June 7, 1999, had notified the implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission relating to the pension benefits of the officers and the PBORs, with effect from January 1996.

    It was revealed that the PBORs are not at all benefited, whereas the commissioned officers were benefited to a large extent and were given huge arrears from January 1, 1996, whereas the PBORs were left high and dry as formula adopted for fixation of pension resulted in downward trend.
    Source: Indian Express
    High Court clears petitions related to pension benefits of ex-servicemen

    ESM News
    Space for ex-servicemen association building sought: Bangalore DH News Service, Kushalnagar: Government should give more importance to the welfare of the ex-servicemen, said Colonel (Retd) R V Narayanmurthy. He was speaking at the 10th annual day celebration of the Ex-servicemen Association at APCMS auditorium. Ex-servicemen are rendering service to the society in their own way. Government should provide sufficient space for constructing a building for the ex-servicemen association, he said. Donour K S Sannappa inaugurated the programme. Capt (Retd) M A Bhaskar, Subedar (Retd) P B Ravi, Bhojappa, K K Nanjappa, K M Poovaiah, B T Honnappa, J N Padmanabha, N R Nareshkumar among others were present. Children performed variety entertainment. Sports competitions were conducted.
    Space for ex-servicemen association building sought

    CHANDIGARH: Col Partap Inder Singh Phoolka (Retd.) has been appointed as President of Ex-Servicemen wing of Shiromani Akali Dal. An announcement regarding this was done by Sukhbir Singh Badal President Shiromani Akali Dal and Member Parliament in a press release issued from Party Head Office in Chandigarh Saturday. A resident of Patiala, Col Phulka served for 32 years in the army. He retired in 2002. Earlier, Col Phulka was Secretary General of the ex-servicemen wing of the party. He had worked tirelessly for the cause of ex-servicemen.
    Col Phulka appointed President of SAD's Ex-Servicemen Wing

    Exemption to ESM: ECHS Contribution
    Following a Supreme Court judgment, the Centre has exempted ex-servicemen who retired before 1996 from payment of contribution to join the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme. This is a boon to ex-servicemen who are not able to meet rising medical expenses. But no wide publicity is given to this concession. It is suggested that this important information be publicised.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    ESM Welfare News

    Pallam Raju promises defence canteen, hospital at Giddalur. EME organises ESM rally. House sites, scholarships for children promised.

    Photo: Sreenivas Kommuri
    Union Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju interacting with women at the ex-servicemen rally

    ONGOLE: Union Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju has promised to sanction a canteen and hospital for the benefit of ex-servicemen at Giddalur where there is large number of them are living. About 4,000 people attended the rally organised by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) department for ex-servicemen of Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala at Giddalur on Sunday. Steps are being taken to strengthen sainik welfare boards.
    Pallam Raju promises defence canteen, hospital at Giddalur

    Jobs for ex-servicemen of Assam Regiment
    COIMBATORE: Vacancies are available for ex-servicemen who had served in the C and D Groups of the Assam Regiment. According to a press release from the Assistant Director (in-charge), Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Coimbatore, there are seven vacancies allotted to Tamil Nadu, out of the total 187. The positions of plumber, electrician and driver are available for the C Group men, while that of carpenter and tailor are available for the D Group men. Those who are eligible and are interested can contact the Assistant Director of the Coimbatore Welfare office, the release added.
    Jobs for ex-servicemen of Assam Regiment

    250 ex-servicemen get jobs at fair
    Of the 450 applications received on the first day of the job fair, 250 ex-servicemen have been selected for various positions offering decent salary. “Since Saturday being a holiday, we expect good number of applications also on day two of the job fair,” said chairman of CAPSI, Capt Shibu Isaac. Assistant Director of Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association Jayakumar addressed in the job fair in which 15 agencies participated.
    250 ex-servicemen get jobs at fair

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    SCPC: MoD blinks on Lt Col pay demand

    New Delhi, September 20 : Responding to complaints by the three service chiefs, Defence Minister A K Antony has agreed to recommend raising the pay band for officers of Lieutenant Colonel rank and their equivalents.
    At the same time, the UPA has sent a polite memo to all three services to issue the “government draft notification letter” without any further delay as new salaries and arrears have to be paid to the armed forces on October 1, 2008.

    Although the Defence Ministry issued the “draft notification letter” for civilians, the armed forces tactically delayed issuing the letter as part of pressure on the government to address their complaints.

    The three chiefs have knocked on the doors of the Defence Ministry, Finance Ministry and even the Prime Minister’s Office seeking what they call “parity with honour” with civilian and paramilitary counterparts.

    Finance Ministry sources said the Defence Ministry, in a letter dated September 16, recommended that Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalents be placed in Pay Band 4 (Rs 37,400-67,000) instead of the present Pay Band 3 (Rs 15,600-39,100). This means the Government will shell out an extra Rs 109 crore annually.

    This was one of the demands of the services who claimed that even the Lt Colonel equivalent in the Coast Guard would draw a higher salary if the ones in the military were kept in Pay Band 3.

    Sources said the Defence Ministry has also recommended status quo ante in the case of pension for PBORs (personnel below officer rank).

    The Sixth Pay Commission report said that PBORs should get an opportunity for lateral entry into paramilitary forces and Central Police Organisations but they would forego 50 per cent of the pension calculated on the basis of the last pay drawn on retirement.

    Until lateral entry for retired PBORs is approved and implemented, the MoD wants to go back to the Fifth Pay Commission report that allowed personnel to get full pension without serving the requisite number of years for entitlement.

    The MoD has also informed the Finance Ministry that it is deferring any decision on the armed forces’ demand that Lt Generals, who are heads of organisations — like the Director General Infantry — be included in the new category of HAG-plus (Higher Administrative Grade).

    As of now, Army Commanders draw pay equivalent to the Secretary to Government of India with other Lt Generals equivalent to the rank and pay of Additional Secretaries. The armed forces now want a separate bracket between Additional Secretaries and Secretaries to adjust Lt Generals who are heading organisations like mechanized forces or artillery.
    MoD blinks on Lt-Col pay demand but tells services to promptly implement hike

    Pakistan: Now or Never?

    A suicide truck bomber hit the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday, killing at least 40 people, wounding nearly 250 and starting a huge fire.

    It was the biggest attack in Islamabad since Pakistan signed up to help the Americans in their campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001. But was it the size of the blast, the death toll and the live television footage of the Marriott in flames that prompted one analyst to call it the “9/11 of Pakistan”? Or was there an even darker meaning to it; that this attack might mark a turning point that will send Pakistan in unpredictable directions that no one can yet foresee?
    Huge Bomb hits heart of Islamabad


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