Saturday, October 25, 2008

ESM: Forget Diwali? Is there light at end of the tunnel?

Courtesy: Dina Mehta

God and soldiers, men adore
In times of crisis and not before;
Crisis over, God is forgotten
And, soldier slighted...

And so goes a rhyme. Nowhere is it more true than in our own mahan Bharath. It is a fact of history that had it not been for the raiders in Kashmir immediately after independence India's first Prime Minsiter would have reduced the army to a constabulary. Still the debacle of 1962 followed. Fortunately with the change of guard at South Block, another debacle was averted in 1965. But Lal Bahadur Sastriji paid for it wth his life. Thanks to Sam Bahadur Manekshaw we had a decisive victory in 1971. But lessons were being forgotten, possibly deliberately by a useless political leadership guided by a scheming bureaucracy.

The efforts to marginalise the armed forces picked up momentum and now we have a situation that with the latest pay commission recommendations, which is touted as 'for the IAS, by the IAS, of the IAS', the serving chiefs of the armed forces were literally forced to take a stand fearing real revolt in the ranks. It had happened in the Air Force, post 5th pay commission. A former chief of army staff has admitted that of almost 57 anomalies pointed out in the 5th pay commission report, only 9 has been resolved. For that matter, even issues of 4th Central Pay Commission are pending to be resolved.

A glaring example is that of rank pay for officers which had been introduced then in a deliberate effort to split the basic pay scale so that when comparing equivalent offices, the armed forces officers were at a scale lower than their civilian counterparts. Worse, even then while finally fixing the pay, the Rank Pay was actually denied and it was left to one Major Dhanapalan to get a favourable verdict from the Kerala High Court and get his rightful dues. The rest of the officers, in fact the whole lot of them, both serving and retired, are still waiting for the government to accept the court verdict in its right spirit and do justice to them. Some retired officers have formed groups and taken up the matter with the courts again. The apex court had directed all these cases to be transferred to itself so that a single judgement could be issued. Even after a year of this consolidation nothing has happened thereafter!

And now with the 6th Pay Commission recommendations the matter has literally boiled over. While the chiefs have done their duty perfunctorily and taken up the matter with the concerned authorities, retired personnel have actually been forced to take to the streets to protest against the patent injustices. These unfortunately have met with negative reactions from vested interests and even the media has been roped in by them to malign the chiefs and the veterans. Veterans, unused as they are to the kind of protests which only get due attention from the people in government, have persisted in their own dignified way and the latest was a five day relay fast from 20 Oct to 24 Oct. Typically, the media did not even report it what with Raj Thackery ruling the roost during all those days!

With the chiefs having refused to implement the report as it is and the Defence Minister having ordered payment of adhoc arrears to serving personnel before Divali, the armed forces veterans alone have been dumped as a lot who have not yet received any benefits of the new pay commission recommendations till now. Forget Divali, is there light even at the end of the tunnel for the soldiers and veterans of this country?
Yours truly
Maj (Retd) P M Ravindran

Dear Friends,
The news item on "Fresh row over pay orders" in the Tribune of 24/10/08 (link given below) is realy shocking display of vindictiveness against service officers. So many court cases are already going on this issue and here they come with another one.

It appears that some bureaucrats in MOD are real psychic cases who are suffering from some sort of fear psychosis of the services who are the loyal and patriotic protectors of the nation both in peace & war. Otherwise, how can they manage to rake up controversy after controversy in the pay matters of the armed forces? 6th pay commission problems so vindictively created by them have not been sorted out as yet and here they come with another goofy order de- linking rank pay from basic pay of the officers which was positively linked at least with effect from 01 Jan 1996. Why are they trying to sow dissatisfaction amongst the loyal service personnel and wrecking their fighting morale? Their actions are creating disastrous situations for the national security. If the officers of such doubtful mental health were there in the armed forces they would have long been sent home. Can something be done about them?
Sincerely Yours,
Brig Charan Singh (Retd)

Additional Links
Fresh row over pay orders: MoD delinks rank pay from basic pay
Pay Panel: BJP for representation of services
SCPC: In times of Chaos

Inaccurate report about Field Marshal KM Cariappa

Leadership in the Indian Army
Biographies of Twelve Soldiers

V K Singh Retired Major General

© March 2005 417 pages

Sage Publications Pvt Ltd

Paperback ISBN: 9780761933229 £15.99

Dear Brig Kamboj,

Inder Malhotra has got his facts wrong in his piece KHAKI VS KHADI in last week's newspaper. Cariappa did not make the preposterous suggestion to Mounbatten, as suggested in the article. The remark of Ismay was in a diifferent context. The true story is given below.

In January 1947, Cariappa was sent to UK, to attend the Imperial Defence College. Realising the dangers of dividing the Army, and the lack of experience of officers, at senior levels, he made a statement that it would take at least five years before the Indian Army could stand on its feet, without the help of British officers. This was picked up by the press, and caused a furore in India. Liaquat Ali Khan, of the Muslim League, felt that Cariappa's intentions, in keeping an undivided Army, were suspect, and took up the issue with Mountbatten. Cariappa was summoned to India House, in London, where Lord Ismay, Mountbatten's Chief of Staff, was present. Cariappa clarified that he had made the suggestion only because he felt that an undivided Army could help the two newly independent nations in getting over their teething problems. He was admonished, told to knock the idea out of his mind, and not to mention it again. In a telegram to Mountbatten, on 4 May 1947, Ismay wrote: "It is hard to know whether Cariappa in putting forward his idea was ingenious and ignorant or disingenious and dangerous, or both."

I would recommend Shri Malhotra should read Cariappa's biography, which is part of my book LEADERSHIP IN THE INDIAN ARMY (Sage, 2005).
I had sent this correction in a letter to the Editor but it was not published. Apparently, senior journalists in India can literally get away with murder, especially when it comes to denigrating the Armed Forces.

VK Singh
(Maj Gen VK Singh,Veteran, OIC Corps of Signals History Cell)

Extract from Inder Malhotra article in IE:
There was no occasion or need to propound the doctrine of civilian control publicly until 1959 when the Thimayya-Krishna Menon clash erupted. Yet, strangely enough, the first example of woolly and unacceptable military thinking had come to light even before the dawn of independence. Nobody knew whether there would be one successor to the departing British or two. In the midst of intense negotiations over this issue, on May 9, 1947, Brigadier (later the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army) K.M. Cariappa called on Mountbatten’s chief of staff, Lord Ismay, to suggest that the power be transferred to the “Indian Army with either Nehru or Jinnah as the commander-in-Chief”. Taken aback by this “amazing” and, “highly dangerous” proposal, Ismay, himself a distinguished General, remonstrated with Cariappa and reported the conversation to the Viceroy, saying: “It is hard to know whether Cariappa ... was ingenuous and ignorant or ingenuous and dangerous”.
Inder Malhotra
Indian Express 17 Oct 2008
Khaki vs Khadi by Inder Malhotra

Additional reading links
Unending stranglehold of seniority
Merit versus seniority in civil services

Friday, October 24, 2008

SCPC: Police, paramilitary forces seek pay parity

Illustration: Farzana Cooper

October 15, 2008 11:19 IST
After the three armed forces, it is now the turn of the central police organisations (CPOs) and paramilitary forces (CPMFs) to raise a pitch for 'parity' in pay scales with their military counterparts.

With the government setting up a three- member ministerial committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to consider the armed forces' plea, the CPOs too have decided to seek a political intervention to resolve issues concerning their pay scales.
Read the full article: Police, paramilitary forces seek pay parity

harjeet sidhu on Oct 15, 2008 02:39 PM writes:

1. Lt Col's scale as per 5th CPC was 15100-400-18700 and it takes 13 years of commissioned service, one and half years of IMA training and two promotion exams to reach this rank.

2. CPO/ CPMF Second-in-Command's pay scale as per 5th CPC was 12000-375-16500 and it requires 11 years service to reach this rank (including training period.)

3. Even CPO/ CPMF Commandant's 5th CPC scale was only 14300-400-18300 (below Lt Cols).

4. As per Warrants of Precedence only DIG is above Lt Col, let alone Second-in-Command and Commandant.

5. So can anybody please explain with some rationale and logic as to how can CPO/ CPMF Second-in-Command can seek parity with Lt Cols?

Comment: There is urgent need for the Indian Military to make selection grade Lt Col as Battalion Commanders and restore the former time tested glory of Command (Major is the Second in Command). The Army brass have unduly diluted the command structure creating loopholes for Bureaucrats to erode and dilute the Military Command and Control structure further. The morale of troops have sunk to the lowest ebb and level. The anomaly Committee has added more insult to the already injured and hurt. It is no wonder that our own disciplined Jawans are taking the extreme step of killing their leaders rather than the enemies! MOD in its wisdom have recruited 600 Psychiatrist's to brainwash and cure the growing discontent in the armed forces! What a waste of scarce resources, time and effort! This is the result of breaking the link in the chain of command by Bureaucrats. The rank upgradation plank is only a ploy to hoodwink and superficially seal the leadership fractured within.
The Indian Army: crisis within

Getting connected to Maj SK Dhawan

Dear Sir,
This is regarding a school friend of mine Brinda Dhawan, who was with me in year 1989- 1990 at Patiala. Her father was in Signals, named Major SK Dhawan.

Around the same year, they moved to Pune & even though we tried, we lost touch after the first few months of her moving there.

I often think of her & would love to meet her & get reconnected. I came across this blog & thought you might be able to give me a lead to this. Would really appreciate if you can help in this, in anyway possible.

Thanks & Regards
Manmeet Kaur
SCM Analyst,
Cargill India Pvt Ltd

We kindly request our Readers to help Manmeet Kaur to locate her friend Brinda Dhawan. Kindly send the contact details by email to

BJP demands representation of services on pay panel

BJP demands representation of services on pay panel
New Delhi (PTI): Concerned over pay anomalies for the armed forces, the Opposition BJP on Thursday demanded representation of services on the Pay Commission and setting up of a statutory body for welfare of ex-servicemen.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Jaswant Singh said it was "unusual" for service chiefs to voice discontent in public, but added that it was done because of unusual circumstances.

Expressing concern over shortage of 18,000 officers in the armed forces, Singh demanded one-rank-one-pension and resettlement scheme for the ex-servicemen.

The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister should consider these demands sympathetically and address the issues raised by them, Singh said.

Singh, himself an ex-serviceman, said if this was not done, military personnel would lose their morale. "If you do not give them self- respect, you will be robbing the central impulse of military morale," he said.

He said the government should also consider the demand for inflation- indexed pension to neutralise the impact of price rise and must attempt to eliminate the anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission.

Singh said a statutory commission should look into welfare of the ex-servicemen. Personnel from the services retire at the age of 36 years when "they have full life ahead", he said adding, though jobs are scarce, ex-servicemen are vital for the country.
BJP demands representation of services on pay panel

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SCPC: Responses and Rejoinders to " Services Contempt of Civil authority"

Cc: editor in chief
Sent: Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 5:02:58 PM

Dear Editor,
When respected experts fall prey to pressures, without applying their minds, one more notch is added to the insidious build up of disinformation relating to the legitimate aspirations of the Indian Military. Arundhati Ghose has done it this time, with her piece “Services contempt….” published in The Tribune of October 22, 2008 . It is sad that a discerning person like Arundhati has called the actions of the service chiefs as “insidious and underestimated danger which has raised its venomous head”! Whoa – is this how mountains are made out of mole hills? The chiefs had correctly informed their commands that there would be a delay in their receiving new scales of pay, as important anomalies are still to be resolved. This perfectly legitimate duty and innocuous communication has become a sinister ‘challenge and defiance’! What deviousness!

I am amused by Arundhati’s phrase, so eloquently stated – “contempt of the forces for their civilian masters and counterparts”, implying that bureaucrats are also masters. How cheeky? She has even brought in the Constitution, albeit wrongly, to imply that the bureaucrats and the political leaders are synonymous when one talks of ‘civil control’! My right foot (which of course is non-existent, having been left on an obscure battlefield many decades back)!

This piece is so blatantly mischievous that one is dismayed at the levels to which our worthy bureaucrats have chosen to fall. They need to note that military discipline does not imply accepting rubbish, even when it is presented with the insidious machinations of the bureaucracy, wrapped in red tape.

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

Dear Editor
You are well aware how Shekhar Gupta of Indian express got it all wrong when he accused the chiefs of defying civilian authority. While Shekhar Gupta has been prudent enough in not defending his article or continuing to justify it, now a responsible and eminent diplomat like Arundhati Ghose has picked up the wrong end of the stick by accusing the chiefs of asking "their ranks not to implement the decision of the Cabinet." Well, Arundhati, this just hasn't happened. The chiefs only informed the ranks that the Government was considering the issue and there may be a delay in payment. I would have admired her, had she, as a citizen, demanded disciplinary action against the chiefs if she really believed that the Chiefs had defied or disobeyed the cabinet by doing so. Instead of taking a principled stand, she chose to follow the strange logic that the writings of uninformed editors like Shekhar Gupta automatically turn into truth just because services did not publicly contradict them.

Incidentally, is the cabinet decision final and absolute even when it is impregnated with fraud committed by bureaucrats who were charged with removing the anomalies created by 6th CPC? Should the chiefs blindly accept a decision without exercising their duty of requesting a review? Apparently not, because that very decision is now under review by a ministerial group on orders from the Prime Minister. The stand taken by chiefs can be called by whatever name one likes but the PM has considered it legitimate and has, so to say, enjoined himself with it by appointing the Pranab Committee. This committee will surely accept the legitimate demands of servicemen and then history will know whether the culprits are the bureaucrats or the services. Our country is fortunate that it is led by sagacious people like Mr Manmohan Singh and not by those to take press reports as true and jump to conclusions.

Col Sharad Paranjape (Retd)

Dear Chander,
This is with reference to Ms Arundhati Ghose's article in Tribune 22 October and Vijai Oberoi's rejoinder to it.

I do not think the lady needs to be taken seriously. She is a one- book wonder and that does not make her an authority on matters military particularly on the customs and traditions of the armed forces and the value of 'Izzat' for a soldier, sailor and airman.

I am afraid neither she nor Kuldip Nayar has understood this point. Both of them are harping on the 'trade union tactics' by the three Service Chiefs. So airing genuine grievances of the armed force is 'trade unionism'?

As we see it, the Chiefs have shown moral courage of the highest order by living up to the Chedwodian credo enshrined on the portals of IMA. They have earned the admiration of all the servicemen, in and out of uniform. And if it is trade unionism, so be it.

I wish all the future Chiefs perfect this art. I am afraid, both Ms Arundhati Ghose and Mr Nayar are way off the mark and both need to be ignored.

HB Kala
Lt Gen HB Kala, is Former Army Commander, Western Command

The article, “Services contempt of civil authority is not casual” (Oct 22) has caused much consternation amongst the services. Arundhati Ghose has tried to see ghosts where there are none. The article itself is highly biased.

We have the ambition to be a world economic power, but the vision and will of a third world country when it comes to creating strategic capabilities. Given the geo-strategic environments of the region and India’s unwillingness to rise to meet the emerging challenges, the picture is getting fairly grim by the day. To complete that picture, one may add the factor of de-motivation of country’s armed forces.

Now that the fudging of the Cabinet decision by the Babus to advantage the IAS and the IFS has come to light (Outlook, Oct 13), would some one file a PIL against this forgery?

It also explains Ms Ghose joining the fracas. Had the Defence Minister told the Service Chiefs that the Cabinet decision was final, it would have left the chiefs two options to either resign in protest or accept half a century’s piled up degradations of their commands.
Grim picture

Dear Editor,

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose has written about the armed forces and their contempt of civil authority. She has written in true diplomatic style for it was Isaac Goldberg who defined diplomacy as the ability to do and say the nastiest things in the nicest way.

She paints a grim picture of what terrible things are happening in our country but omits to say that it is IAS who are to be squarely blamed for lack of proper administration that is responsible for this sorry state of affairs. She goes on to imply that amid all this din, the action taken by armed forces amounts to back stabbing the civilian government and an explanation is owed to the nation. The problem is that everybody except IAS/IFS civil servants have limited powers and full responsibilities. These jacks of no trade lord and master over all the professionals. In the bargain they call themselves the government; they have all the powers and no responsibilities. They specialise in awarding to themselves all the undeserved pay, power and pelf at the expense of everyone else. A time had to come when this kind of lopsided arrangement and its one sided results had to be challenged. The IAS committee of secretaries deliberately and mischieviously added a few more anamolies instead of solving the ones they were supposed to do. Madam Ambassador must be very naive to think there would be no backlash and outcry against it. Diplomacy has also been described as the patriotic art of lying for one's country; here we see that it is being done for her own tribe, country can look after itself. There is not even a talk about taking them to task, let alone doing it. Are they all in cahoots with their political masters? Looks like they all share between them the 145 billions odd US dollars stashed away by Indians in the swiss banks. Details of this money will be given by the banks to Govt of India if they ask for it. Any guesses why the Govt has not yet asked for the details?

Thousands of armed forces officers and men have made the supreme sacrifice while defending the borders or while helping the civil administration who are unable or unwilling or untrained to tackle civil unrest and insurgency and disasters, both natural as well as man made. Wars are a result of diplomatic failure and civil unrest a result of adminstrative ineptness. Have IAS/IFS people ever taken or been given any blame for it? Have they ever laid down even a single life as the servicemen do? The only time when an IFS man lost his life in Kabul they all bacame unhinged. A totally undeserved Kirti Chakra and lifetime pay and house was announced for his widow. Did the family of the Brigadier who died in the same attack get anything near what this IFS man's wife got? Why not?

She goes on to say that envious eyes are being cast across the border to the privileges and power of their counterparts. This is plain fear mongering and a ruse to manipulate our generally clueless politicians. Surely she understands that it does not take much of an effort and about one day for Indian army to round up a few thousand odd politicians and civil servants. They'll then quietly toe the line as they all did during the infamous emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. That it has not been done so far is a testimony to the patriotic character of our armed forces. We all know that a country taken over by military is a country gone to dogs.

Time has come for these civil servants to wake up to the realities and mend their ways, before someone ends their ways and the country goes to dogs.

I'll end my letter by just touching upon the action taken by the Services Chiefs. It was very correct action because as Lord Harold Caccia once said 'If you are to stand up for your Government you must be able to stand up to your Government'. Surely the learned Ambassador has heard it before because I believe Caccia too was a diplomat.

Yours sincerely,
Krishan K Punchhi
Commander, Indian Navy, Retired
Services’ contempt of civil authority is not casual by Arundhati Ghose, The writer is a former Ambassador of India to the UN at Geneva

Tailpiece: Arundhati Ghose clapping hands with Bureaucrats is a natural reaction indeed. Birds of the same feather flock together!

SCPC: Status of MNS

1. The Outlook appears to have played into the hands of an organised lobby which has been persuading the Service HQs and MoD as well as GoI for last 10 yrs to treat the members of Military Nursing Services at par with Regular Commissioned Officers of Indian Armed Forces.

2. There have been shocking examples of ignorance and inability to interpret the Army Act and Terms and Conditions under which Females have been appointed into MNS cadre. Ignorance with complicity to misinterpret has done the damage even after The Supreme Court was made to see the reason and convinced that MNS cadre is NOT "REGULAR ARMY" hence the members of it's service, although permitted to put on similar ranks, were NOT same as Regular Commissioned Officers.

3. When I put forward this argument 10 yrs back and supported this with MIML, AA- 1950 and Nursing service Ordinance, even service Headquarters were not supporting us in Medical Dte. The AHQ learned the lesson when after getting the permission to wear same dress, the MNS cadre asked for applicability of entire Army Act rather than only 2 sections as at present!

4. The position is as under:

(a) The Military Nursing Service is an " AUXILIARY CORPS" raised in support of Regular Armed Forces by a Special Ordinance of Govt of India.

(b) The members of this corps are NOT Commissioned Officers. They are appointed by the president of India into this Service and have been granted badges of ranks as per a convention.

(c) The badges of rank do not confer on them the right to demand salute or for that matter they are NOT SUPERIOR OFFICERS and DO NOT get the Punishment Power(In Terms Of AA) by virtue of the rank they wear.

(d) The Canteen, Travel and Accn Parity given to them on the scale of regular offr is a privilege extended and NOT a Ground to demand Equal status or Pay of REGULAR commissioned offr. They are saluted due to the rank on their shoulder but not because they are Senior to a regular commissioned officer.

5. The Army Act is very clear on this. The Babus in Defence Ministry be damned if they can not understand or read and write simple English. They have already done irreparable damage to the Armed Forces.

Brig (Dr) C P Joshi (Retd)

IESM: Memorandum for Hon'ble Members of Parliament

Dear Hon’ble Members of Parliament,

There are nearly two million Ex- Servicemen (ESM) pensioners in the country, with 60,000 being added annually. They gave their best years in safeguarding India’s integrity and security. Military service has many unique features. The vicissitudes of life in the defence services can only be experienced; these cannot be explained. Apart from difficulties, hardships, dislocation and dangers, the steep pyramidal promotion structure in the defence forces makes promotions very few, and much delayed. Majority of defence personnel are left out at the lowest rung and these are then compulsorily retired from service when they are in their age group of 35-40 years. At this stage their salaries are low and consequently their pensions are meagre. What is more their financial needs at this stage of life are at their peak. There is no institutionalised provision for a second career for them, which could keep them usefully occupied till the age of Sixty years when their counterparts in other government jobs retire. Despite these hardships even after shedding the uniform these hapless citizens continue to live by the ethos and ethics of the military service and remain physically and mentally ready to serve the country in any capacity, whenever and wherever needed. In return it is reasonable for them to expect that the government would ensure for them a retired life of dignity, honour and reasonable material comfort. It is also expected that the government would ensure equity and justice and treat all ESM – the old and the young – with a common yard stick and not create different categories and classes among them.

The ESM face several problems on shedding their uniform and in readjusting to the civilian life after living long years in isolation. Having got used to a hard life they tend to take most of these difficulties in their stride. However, they have some minimum inescapable demands that are more in the nature of seeking justice rather than any pecuniary gains. These demands are listed in subsequent paragraphs.

1. One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP)
Pension is a reward for services rendered. Logically two individuals rendering equal service – both in terms of quality and measure – should get equal pension. Translating it in military parlance, two individuals who have served for the same number of years (equal service) and have handled similar responsibility (same rank) should be given equal pension, irrespective of the date on which they retired. Therefore, OROP in actual terms implies ‘equal service-same rank-equal pension’.
This demand is over two decades old and makes sad history. Smt. Indira Gandhi was committed to giving it, but destiny snatched her away. So was Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. The Congress-supported government of Mr. Gujral had agreed, but his government fell before it could be notified. In November 2000 Mrs Sonia Gandhi herself endorsed the demand of OROP in a public meeting in Chandigarh. Even in the last Lok Sabha elections the Congress Party election manifesto included a resolution stating ‘Long pending issue of One Rank One Pension will once again be re-examined and a satisfactory solution arrived at expeditiously’.
The Standing Committee of Defence in their twentieth report dated 19.08.2003 presented to the Parliament had stated in Para 99:
“The Committee have been recommending for grant of ‘One Rank One Pension’ to the armed forces personnel time and again. The Committee observe that successive Governments and Pay Commissions have made improvements in the pension structure keeping in view the cost of living index. This has accentuated the disparity of pensionary benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The older pensioners who have become infirm in ability and capability and burdened with a larger social obligation receive pension calculated at the rate of pay at the time of their retirement in 1950s or 1960s or 1970s, which is quite paltry and the Dearness Relief quite inconsequential in today’s context of inflation and shrinking purchasing purchasing value of money. The nation must repay its debt to those defendants of the motherland with gratitude and humility. We should, instead of, looking for precedents in this regard, create precedents for the others to emulate. Any amount paid in this regard would be small token of our gratitude to them. The Committee, therefore, once again reiterate their earlier recommendation for providing ‘One Rank One Pension’ to the armed forces personnel.”
The issue was also included in the President’s Opening Address to the Parliament in 2004, which makes OROP a stated government policy.
In 2005 the UPA Government through their Group of Ministers headed by Shri Pranab Mukherjee had given personnel below officer rank (PBOR) full parity with Fifth Pay Commission scales. Though this did not meet the ends of justice as far as OROP as a concept is concerned, at least the PBOR were brought close to OROP in financial terms. Ironically the Sixth Pay Commission has undone all that. By creating different categories of pre-1996, of 1996 to 2005, of 1.1.2006 to 30.9.2008 and of 1.10.2008 onwards, they have actually adopted a ‘one-rank-several-pensions’ concept. Nothing could be more disheartening and frustrating for the ESM.
The total annual expenditure for OROP, as worked out by the Standing Committee for Defence in 2003 was Rs 613.78 Crores. With inflation it might have gone up to approximately 1,000 Crores. The OROP is to be given only from the date of applicability of Sixth Pay Commission and there is no backlog of expenditure involved.
It needs to be reiterated that the demand for OROP is a demand for justice. The ESM are demanding fairness. They are demanding equal pension for equal service and not more pension per se. Their demand is based on equity and non-discrimination between the older and the younger pensioners.

2. Resettlement
Defence forces are unique in that keeping in mind the need for a youthful military, the majority are retired at a relatively young age when their financial needs are at a peak. The worst hit in this are the PBOR. The law of equity demands that all government employees be kept employed till the age of superannuation. Despite recommendations by successive Pay Commissions for a second career through lateral induction into Para Military and Central Police Forces, nothing has so far been done. In fact the Sixth Pay Commission has devoted one full chapter to the subject of lateral induction in their report but the government has done nothing thus far in this direction after the report was tabled on 24 March 2008. From experience it is seen that the Central Police Organisations are reluctant to offer jobs for retiring military personnel. It is recommended that the resettlement till the age of sixty years be guaranteed through a Parliamentary Act. Till such time the resettlement is actually effected, the ESM be compensated financially by paying them the last salary drawn as pension till the age of sixty years. Incidentally, the concept of enhanced pension as compensation for early retirement of military pensioners is already in vogue in many countries.

3. National Commission for ESM
There are several national commissions in existence to look after the interests of various categories or groups. On similar lines a National Commission for ESM with necessary statutory powers needs to be constituted to safeguard the genuine interests of the large population of ESM across the country. As per media reports this demand is already under consideration of the government. However, its reported composition would defeat the very purpose of the commission. Reportedly, it is headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court, and among others has Mrs Mohini Giri and a retired bureaucrat as its members. It needs to be highlighted that only those who are familiar with and understand the problems of the ESM be included in the proposed commission Just as the National Commission for Women is headed by a woman, the Minority Commission by a member of the minority community and the SC/ST Commission by a member of SC/ST, the ESM commission must also be headed by an ESM. It must also have members only rom the ESM community who have the knowledge and the feel of the problems of the ESM. On similar grounds a Service widow is recommended to be included as a member. The proposed Commission should have a serving military officer as its secretary. Legal, financial and other experts can be co-opted whenever needed.

4. Representation of ESM
There are a very large number of ESMs in the country. It has been the experience that whenever decisions affecting their interests are taken, they are denied any say in the formulation of those decisions. This gives them a sense of discrimination. To avoid any such misgivings it is recommended that an ESM representative must be included in all committees/ commissions/ bodies where decisions impacting on the interests of the ESM community are being made. This should also include the central pay commissions.

Out of the above four demands the two demands at Serials 3 and 4 will admittedly take some time to fructify. However, the first two demands i.e. the OROP and enhanced pension to compensate for early retirement can be and need to be met immediately. The OROP evokes strong emotions and has become almost a signature tune in every ESM household. Its favourable resolution by the government is likely to earn the gratitude, sympathy and support of all ESM, their families and friends. Seeing the high emotive content of OROP, the converse could also be true.

Yours sincerely,

Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Indian Ex- Servicemen Movement
(A Federation of Ex-Servicemen Organisation)
22 Oct 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

India's moon Mission blasts off

The Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off from the Sriharikota space center in southern India at dawn, kicking off a two-year mission aimed at laying the groundwork for further Indian space expeditions. Chandrayaan means "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit.

"What we have started is a remarkable journey," said G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

India's national television channels broadcast the event live. Some scientists thumped their chests, hugged each other and clapped as the rocket shot up into space.

India is hoping the mission will boost its space programme into the same league as regional powerhouses Japan and China.

Chief among the mission's goals is mapping not only the surface of the moon, but also what lies beneath.

A principal objective is to look for Helium 3, an isotope which is very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future, some scientists believe.

If the space probe does achieve a safe landing, India will be only the sixth country to reach the Moon.

During its mission, Chandrayaan 1 will also measure radioactivity on the Moon's surface and beam back elevation maps of Planet Earth's nearest neighbour.

India will also drive home its status as a rising power with more than one billion people by leaving its national flag on the Moon.

"The moon belongs to the global community and nobody can make special claim on its surface," said G Madhavan Nair, head of the ISRO. "But our presence will be established through this mission."

India launched its space programme in 1963 by developing satellites and launch vehicles. The country has commercially developed this capability and now launches the satellites of other nations at highly competitive rates. The Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off from the Sriharikota space center in southern India at dawn, kicking off a two-year mission aimed at laying the groundwork for further Indian space expeditions. Chandrayaan means "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit.

"What we have started is a remarkable journey," said G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

India's national television channels broadcast the event live. Some scientists thumped their chests, hugged each other and clapped as the rocket shot up into space.

India is hoping the mission will boost its space programme into the same league as regional powerhouses Japan and China.

Chief among the mission's goals is mapping not only the surface of the moon, but also what lies beneath.

A principal objective is to look for Helium 3, an isotope which is very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future, some scientists believe.

If the space probe does achieve a safe landing, India will be only the sixth country to reach the Moon.

During its mission, Candrayaan 1 will also measure radioactivity on the Moon's surface and beam back elevation maps of Planet Earth's nearest neighbour.

India will also drive home its status as a rising power with more than one billion people by leaving its national flag on the Moon.

"The moon belongs to the global community and nobody can make special claim on its surface," said G Madhavan Nair, head of the ISRO. "But our presence will be established through this mission."

India launched its space programme in 1963 by developing satellites and launch vehicles. The country has commercially developed this capability and now launches the satellites of other nations at highly competitive rates.
India's moon Mission blasts off

Antony blames socio-economic milieu for officer shortage

Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, Oct. 20: The three wings of the defence forces face a shortage of 13,830 officers largely due to the socio- economic environment, the resultant change in career preferences, better employment opportunities in other sectors and tough selection procedures, the Lok Sabha was told today.

Indian Army faces a dire shortage of Officers

The defence minister, Mr AK Antony, said the officer shortage in the army is 11,119, in the navy 1359 and in the air force 1352. He said a number of steps have been taken to motivate the service personnel with all officers including those in Short Service Commission (SSC) being made eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel and equivalents after 2, 6 and 13 years of reckonable service respectively.

Joint exercises: The Indian defence forces have in the last three years conducted joint military exercises with China, Maldives, Mongolia, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, Thailand, Oman, Sri Lanka, Brazil, South Africa, UK, USA and France, Mr Antony said.

On pre-mature retirement over the pay commission report, he said no officer in any of the three defence forces have done so though in the Army since March 2008, a total of 584 officers (less Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service) have applied for pre- mature retirement or resignation but it cannot be ascertained that it was due to resentment against Sixth Pay Commission Report.

Ceasefire violations: Since January this year, 34 incidents of firing on Indian positions have taken place on the LOC, Mr Antony said. The minister said 58 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan have taken place since the ceasefire came into effect in November 2003. Indian troops suffered four fatal and 13 non-fatal casualties due to such firings.

Defence equipment: During 2007-08, the expenditure incurred on import of defence equipment was Rs 15,026.68 crore with the imports being from Russia, USA, UK, France, Germany and Israel. On an average, the expenditure on capital acquisition from indigenous sources has been above 71 per cent during last three years, Mr Antony said.
Antony blames socio-economic milieu for officer shortage

Defence ministry pulled up for ‘insensitivity’

NEW DELHI, Oct. 21: The defence ministry has been pulled up by a parliamentary committee for having “made an attempt to downplay the problem” of stress on the plea that “the overall psychiatric morbidity in the Armed Forces has been less than the national figures”. In a report tabled in Parliament, the committee said: “This attitude of the ministry not only displays insensitivity towards the problem but also highlights their inaction to improve conditions in the Armed Forces where soldiers are trained enough to fight under adverse situations.”
The standing committee chaired by Mr Balasaheb Vikhe Patil said there were as many as 635 cases of suicide, including attempted suicides, and 67 cases of fratricidal killings in the three services of the Armed Forces between 2003 and 2007. The committee in its 40-page report said the issue had not been perceived by the defence ministry in “its entirety with a view to devising appropriate and timely strategies to minimize the stress level of serving personnel of Armed Forces”. It also sought abolition of the practice of using the services of jawans as Sahayaks at the residence of some senior officers making them do domestic work and to serve the family members of officers. n SNS
Defence ministry pulled up for ‘insensitivity’

Comment: There should be no restraint whatsoever on officers or PBORs who seek pre- mature release after completion of the minimum number of stipulated years of service. On the pretext of Officer's shortages pre- mature release is not generally granted to officers in the normal course unless the officer is superceded for further promotion. 65 army officers quit after pay panel report

Thanks to the Parliament Committee who have rightly pictured the "insensitivity" of MOD Bureaucrats who are proficient in munching out statistical data of lies! Similarly the Anomalies Committee of SCPC too have churned out number crunching degradation of the Armed Forces by way of Rank, Honour and Pay Parity. All need to expose the lies of the Bureaucrats who are literally taking the Politicians and the Nation for a eternal ride.

SCPC: IESM Fast for Justice, Dehra Dun and Mumbai

Lt Gen Anand Swarup,PVSM,MVC, (Retd), Patron DESL. Maj Gen R S Taragi (Retd), President UESL, Brig M K Shukla (Retd), Sr Vice- President UESL & others

More than 300 veterans including Lt Gens, Maj Gens, Brigs & PBORs attended the function at Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha Dehradun in which RESOLUTION WAS PASSED BY VETERANS OF DEHRADUN EX-SERVICES LEAGUE ON 6TH PAY COMMISSION ON 19 OCT 08 TO SUPPORT PROTESTS LAUNCHED IN ALL OVER INDIA FOR SPEEDY HONORABLE SOLUTION FOR GRIEVANCES OF DEFENCE SERVICES by the constituted committee members formed by Hon'ble PM.

Dehradun Ex-Services league activities covered by Door Darshan TV on 19 & 20 Oct 08 at National level showing Brig(Retd) K G Behl President DESL addressing the audience and also our activities were shown in TV by E TV, SAHARA & TV 100. Hindi Hindustan news paper covered the event today.

Few salient pionts are given below of resolutions passed here:
1. Non- approval OROP(One rank one pension) SCPC
2. Many anomalies in Pay scales & lowering of status of vis a vis civil services
3. Non grant of MSP to those who retired after 01 Jan 2006.
4. Non implementation of 4th & 5th CPC awards issued under Govt of India notifications.
5. Sanctioning lowest pay for jawans as compared to other services.
6. sanctioning less pay to defence personnel than other placed officers in other services.
7. Group X jawan authorised grade pay but group Y & Z merged & dispensed with which needs to be restored.
8. Ignoring service conditions recognised by CPC in the past.
9. Either enhance pension to PBOR till 60 yrs of age or absorption in other services for reemployment & rehabilitation.
10. Formation of ESM Commission with special powers to sort out ESM's problems which should be headed by ESM community.
11. Representatives of Defence & ESM in CPC & also in review committees.

Lt Col B M Thapa,Retd
Gen Secy,DESL

At ARMY COLONY, DARA ENCLAVE, NERUL NAVI MUMBAI, today,20 oct 2008 at 11 AM, a gathering of VETERANS was organised. MEDIA was invited at PRESS release was made under CHAIRMANSHIP of Veteran Brig SC SHARMA, Signals. Electronic media covered the event. Interview's were recorded and is likely be aired soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SCPC: IESM Fast for Justice, Tricity

Mohali, October 20 The ex-servicemen from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula launched a protest against the ‘step-motherly’ treatment meted out to them by the successive governments at the Centre towards their long pending demands, in Mohali on Monday.
Under the banner of the Punjab chapter of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), around 150 ex-servicemen and four widows from the tricity gathered at YPS Chowk in Phase VIII, where a group of 11 ex-servicemen, headed by Brig (Retd) Harwant Singh, sat on a chain hunger strike from 9 am to 5 pm, said Lt Col (retd) Sadhu Singh Sohi, coordinator of the IESM.

The protesters raised slogans in favour of the three service chiefs and against the ‘indifferent’ policies of the government. The protest, which was the first step under the countrywide mass protest, remained peaceful.

Sohi said that from Tuesday, a group of five ex- servicemen will continue the hunger strike at Gurdwara Amb Sahib Chowk in Phase VIII. The strike will continue till Friday.

“If the Centre fails to fulfill our genuine demands by then, we will join the national protest at New Delhi,” he said. As part of the protest, the ex- servicemen will also observe Diwali on October 28 as ‘black day’, said Sohi. “Similar protests were held in 600 cities across the country, for the first time in the country’s history,” he added.

The IESM coordinator said: “The last three pay commissions have been extremely unfair to us and neglected our interests. With every war victory, we have been harmed and downgraded because none of our representatives were included in the Central Commissions.”

He added that soldiers were still deemed as unskilled workers and a Naib Subedar, who is a Class II officer, gets pension less than a civil peon.
Ex-servicemen protest against ‘govt apathy’

SCPC: IESM Fast for justice, retired generals, soldiers detained by Delhi Police

The ongoing protests against the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) took an ugly turn on Monday when close to 400 ex-servicemen including their families were detained for a few hours by Delhi Police this morning while they were peacefully protesting near India Gate.

The ex-servicemen included former deputy army chief Lt General Raj Kadyan and Major General Satbir Singh (retired) who were detained under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

"The government has done an unethical and immoral act by arresting disciplined soldiers," said Major General Singh who is the vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM). Veterans are horrified and cannot remember the last time when two and three star generals were similarly detained.

"It is a sad day in our country's history when generals have to take to the streets going on hunger strikes and demanding higher pensions," said Major General Surjit Singh (retired).

The ex-servicemen had arrived at the memorial to India's war dead, on Monday morning, and were to perform a havan before sitting down on a hunger strike to press for their demands. They were bundled into waiting police vans and taken away because they had not got permission to protest there.

"We wrote to the prime minister and home minister informing them of the decision to hold a relay hunger strike. In the absence of any communication from them, we went ahead with our plan of action."

The IESM were to meet Sonia Gandhi on last Saturday but did not get an appointment with the UPA chairperson. They met Minister of State for Tourism Ambika Soni and presented their demands. Since they were not given an assurance that the government would take up these demands, they continued with their plan to go on a relay hunger strike beginning from October 20 in hundreds of locations across the country.

The IESM has been agitating for four key demands since last year. These include the implementation of OROP or the same pension for all ex-servicemen who have retired at the same rank irrespective of the joining or retirement dates, enhanced pension to compensate for early retirement and a national level commission for ex-servicemen and including ex-servicemen representatives and widows in welfare boards.

Each year over 55,000 personnel retire from the three armed forces, a majority of them soldiers who begin retiring from the age of 35 onwards.
Retired generals, soldiers detained by Delhi Police

SCPC: Pay Parity IESM stage hunger strike

NEW DELHI: Haemorrhaging under the onslaught of an ever- mounting number of officers seeking premature retirement, coupled with the sheer inability to attract bright youngsters to their fold, the armed forces continue to simmer with anger over their new revised pay scales.

While serving armed forces personnel certainly cannot take to the streets in protest, veterans are not bound by any such restriction. Even as defence minister A K Antony told Parliament that there was a shortage of 13,830 officers in Forces, scores of ex-servicemen and their wives were detained by the police on Monday for trying to stage a hunger strike at India Gate against the 6th Pay Commission just a kilometre away.

"The pay commission has done grave injustice to the Forces. It is not the question of money but that of our status, izzat and self-esteem,’’ said Lt Gen (Retd) Raj Kadyan and Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who were among the scores detained by the police. The veterans, incidentally, are also demanding the implementation of the 'one-rank, one-pension' principle.

All this comes even as the three- member ministerial committee, headed by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, is yet to finalize its recommendations about the "core concerns" raised by the armed forces about their revised pay scales.

The forces hold their extant parity with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts had been "destroyed" by the new pay scales, with the committee of secretaries actually introducing ‘‘far more serious anomalies’’ rather than resolving the ones present in the 6th Pay Commission report.
Pay parity row: Ex- servicemen stage hunger strike

SCPC: IESM Fast for Justice, Varanasi

Relay hunger strike was organised at Varanasi Divisional HQ today. Around 250 ESM participated. It was encouraging to see the strength of ex Officers & PBOR. Print and Electronic media covered it and was broadcast on local TV channels.

Memorandum was presented to local district administration too. Local intelligence personnel also covered the event for their despatches to their line ups. Entire event went off in very dignified manner.

Maj SR Singh (Retd)

Monday, October 20, 2008

SCPC: Military Veterans go on hunger strike for justice, Bangalore

Ex-servicemen affiliated to Military Veterans Movement today resorted to relay hunger strike as per the countrywide call given by All India Military Veterans Association (AIMVA).

Association Karnataka Convenor Wing Cdr (Retd) G B Athri told mediapersons that the agitation, which would continue till October 25, was to exert pressure on the Union Government to concede the demands including, among other things, One Rank One Pension, employment of retired Defence personnel in State and Central Government services. Other demands include setting up of a National Ex- Servicemen Commission with necessary statutory powers to look after all the welfare measures of the Ex- Servicemen community. Alleging that the bureaucrats were coming in the way of implementing One Rank One Pension Scheme, he said it was recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its report submitted in 2003 itself.

Wing Cdr (Retd) Athri said a legislation should be introduced in Parliament to enable employment of Service Officers/JCOs and Jawans and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Forces into Central and State services and Public Sector Units at appropriate levels. This should be done so that military veterans too have just fair and equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years at higher levels and appointments.

The Act is necessary for making it mandatory for all Corporates and industries related to supply of equipment, materials and stores to the Armed Forces for employment of military veterans to the extent of ten per cent of their work force, he added.

Ex-servicemen affiliated to Military Veterans Movement today resorted to relay hunger strike as per the countrywide call given by All India Military Veterans Association (AIMVA).

Association Karnataka Convenor Wing Cdr (Retd) G B Athri told mediapersons that the agitation, which would continue till October 25, was to exert pressure on the Union Government to concede the demands including, among other things, One Rank One Pension, employment of retired Defence personnel in State and Central Government services. Other demands include setting up of a National Ex-servicemen Commission with necessary statutory powers to look after all the welfare measures of the Ex-servicemen community. Alleging that the bureaucrats were coming in the way of implementing One Rank One Pension Scheme, he said it was recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its report submitted in 2003 itself.

Wing Cdr (Retd) Athri said a legislation should be introduced in Parliament to enable employment of Service Officers/JCOs and Jawans and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Forces into Central and State services and Public Sector Units at appropriate levels. This should be done so that military veterans too have just fair and equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years at higher levels and appointments.

The Act is necessary for making it mandatory for all Corporates and industries related to supply of equipment, materials and stores to the Armed Forces for employment of military veterans to the extent of ten per cent of their work force, he added.
Military Veterans go on hunger strike for justice
ESM want more pension

SCPC: IESM Fast for Justice, New Delhi

"Any Country that does not care for its soldiers loses moral rights to expect them to die for its Security."

It is an unfortunate day for India wherein the Government let loose their muscle power and ordered its police not to allow peaceful Relay Hunger Strike by Defence Veteran on the India Gate Lawns today morning from 10 AM to protest against the grave injustice done to the Defence Forces. It is not the question of demand of money but that of our status, respect, izzat & self esteem. It is a question of Principle and Justice. Why the Defence Forces are being ill treated? Demotivated & Demoralized Defence Forces are very harmful for the Nation & its Security.

Lt Gen Raj Kadyan Chairman of IESM Movement had written to the Home Minister five weeks back informing him about our proposed Relay Hunger Strike with copies to the PM & RM. In the absence of any denial of permission from the Home Minister, the veterans this morning comprising officer, JCOs, men & ladies in large numbers went to India Gate Lawns for the Relay Hunger Strike. It is a grave insult to the Defence Forces Personnel not being allowed to hold Relay Hunger Strike at their only memorial Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. This place is special to us. We appeal to the Home Minister to immediately grant permission to hold our Relay Hunger Strike at the India Gate Lawns.

One Rank One Pension is one of our main demands which has been pending since 1984. All major political parties (including Congress, BJP) included in their election manifestoes to grant One Rank One Pension. But the Govt subsequently failed to honour its promise given to the Defence Services.

Retired defence personnel set for nationwide strike

SCPC: Grievances of the Armed Forces and ESM

The problems facing ex- servicemen are also important, with Lt Gen Oberoi particularly perturbed that they were not given the same respect as they used to be at home. “Boys now wanting to join are deterred by the fact that these old and retired soldiers are living lives on the margin, with no one listening to them anymore. This was not so earlier, and ex- servicemen were a major source of motivation for new recruits,” he said. As a general said, “The problem is ab sunvai nahin hai. No one listens at any level to the Army.”

It is no one’s case that the defence services are exemplary and above criticism, as the officers were quick to point out. But such is the crisis that the entire military is now speaking in one voice, and the grievances accumulated over the years— and now assuming serious dimensions— are pouring out. Corruption has become a factor, particularly as most of the defence budget is being pumped into acquisitions. Vice Admiral Puri said that in the absence of a policy to make the armed forces self reliant in weaponry, “currently 30% of the defence budget is being spent abroad, soon 60% will be, and we can only be employed as agents”.

There is a quiet determination now at all levels in the defence services to ensure that the Government must meet the demands listed by the three chiefs. The decision by the top brass not to implement the Sixth Pay Commission sent a chill down the civilian spine. The bureaucrats scrambled for cover, planting stories in sections of the media to save their skin and cover the obvious manipulation of pay scales. Defence Minister Antony had one of two choices: sack the chiefs and further exacerbate the situation, or give cognizance to their demands and restore some confidence in the military. He has fortunately chosen the latter. It is now for the Government to ensure that the four basic demands are met, and the defence forces given respect not in rhetoric, but through action on the ground.

Covert Cover Story by Seema Mustafa
The Greap Sepoy Mutiny 2008

SCPC: Armed Forces Pay

Let not someone say that the IAS and IPS exams are tougher and hence the quality of the officers better. An exam at the age of 24 has to be tougher than one at the age of 16. The taxpaying citizen is not interested in your essay/ note writing capabilities or whether you know Cleopatra's grandfather. As a citizen I always see the army being called to hold the pants of the civil services and the police and never the other way round. That's enough proof as to who is really more capable. Also recall the insensitive statements made by the IG Meerut in the Aarushi case and the Home Secretary after the blasts. Further, when the IAS and IPS hopefuls are sleeping, eating and studying, their school mates, who have joined the army, stand vigil on the borders to make it possible for them to do so.

Remember that the armed forces can only fight for above the table pay. They can never compete with the civil services and definitely not with the police for the under the table variety.

Finally, there is one supreme national necessity. The political class– not the bureaucracy - which represents the real civil supremacy better become more savvy on matters relating to the armed forces. Till then they are at the mercy of the civil service, who frequently play their own little war games. At ministerial level there are some very specialized departments – Finance, Railways, Security (Home), Foreign and Defence, where split second decisions are necessary. It is always possible to find netas savvy in finance, foreign relations and railways. Security has been addressed in getting a former IPS officer as NSA at the level of a MoS. Is it time that a professional is also brought into the Defence Ministry as MoS? The sooner the better. In fact this will be better than a CoDS because the armed forces will have someone not constrained by the Army Act or Article 33 of the Constitution. Of course the loudest howls will come from the babus. The netas must realize that a divide and rule policy cannot work where the country's security is concerned. Recall 1962?

Our army, already is engaged in activities not core to their functions, including rescuing babies from borewells (!), should not have to engage in civil wars over their pay scales.

The writer is a former banker who was with the SBI Group and DSP Merrill Lynch Ltd.
Kindly click on the link for the full article: SCPC: Armed Forces Pay

Himachal government taking up one-rank-one-pension with Centre

Kangra: The Central Government has finally approved in principle to grant one-rank-one-pension to the ex-servicemen revealed Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister, as he addressed the members of the HP State Ex-Servicemen League Meeting held at Kangra today.

He said that the state government had been raising various demands of the ex-servicemen at the highest level and he had been personally pursuing and following the matter with the higher authorities. He announced that the state government had recently created a separate department to cater to the welfare, relief, rehabilitation and the resettlement needs of the serving and retired soldiers and the same department would also be assisting the wards of the soldiers in getting their various grievances redressed. Also, there is a separate cell in the Chief Minister’s Office to cater to the needs of the ex- servicemen, monitored by him personally.

He said that the holy land of Himachal Pradesh had produced great sons like First Paran Vir Chakra Awardee late Major Som Nath Sharma, late Lt. Col. Dhan Singh Thapa, late Major Vikram Batra and Shri Sanjay Kumar. He said that out of four PVCs awarded during the Operation Vijay in Kargil, the state soldiers were awarded two, which brought laurel to the state. He assured them that the interests of the ex- servicemen were safe in the hands of the state government.
Himachal government taking up one-rank-one-pension with Centre- Dhumal

SCPC: Anomalies in armed forces pay revision

Members of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement at a hunger strike to protest against the inadequate hike in pension proposed by the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

The recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have created a controversy in civil-military relations. This warrants redress without recrimination, and the delicate politico-military harmony has to be restored.

The United Progressive Alliance government’s veteran fire-fighter, Pranab Mukherjee, will now pull yet another chestnut out of the fire — this time as the head of a three-member ministerial panel — to resolve the simmering discontent over the glaring anomalies in the pay structure for the armed forces based on the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (SCPC). This unfortunate saga of purported bureaucratic perfidy and political indifference reached a tipping point when the armed forces chose to defer the implementation of the SCPC award, pending resolution of their plea for redress.

Unfortunately, this rather Gandhian approach was reportedly perceived as an instance of breach of discipline and it was alleged that the Defence Minister indicted the Chief of the Naval Staff for “uncharacteristic plain-speaking.” It was added that the three Service chiefs were told that “the armed forces cannot unilaterally decide not to implement a Union Cabinet decision and that there was no way the UPA government would let them get away with it.” The veracity of these reports has been questioned, but in the absence of a clear rebuttal by the government, doubts persist about the nature of the Minister-chiefs relationship.

Against this backdrop and the history of the delicate political-military relationship in India over the last 60 years, which includes the Krishna Menon-Thimmayya ignominy and the Rodrigues fracas, the Service chiefs have to maintain a fine balance in their public articulations. The military top brass in India has to ensure that even by default they are not perceived to question or defy a political directive — however justified and legitimate the case may be. Perception, alas, is critical in such times when aggressive and shrill television coverage raises the most innocuous issue into “breaking news.” The general sense is that the military is resorting to trade union tactics to obtain redress. Thus, on the face of it, the manner in which the chiefs issued signals could be deemed ‘inadvisable’ — since it appeared that the armed forces had refused to implement a Cabinet decision.

This is a serious turn of events and points to an undesirable politico-military stand-off with grave implications for national security and cohesion. However, this is an exigency that need not have arisen in the first place had the affable Defence Minister received the kind of objective advice that he ought to have from his senior bureaucracy.

Soon after the SCPC recommendations were announced in March, various anomalies were pointed out by different departments including the allied services, academia, the police and the military, amongst others. And the bureaucracy was given the complex and challenging job of fine-tuning the report.

Regrettably, the recommendations of the bureaucracy, as represented by the Committee of Secretaries that was constituted to harmonise the SCPC, selectively distorted the final pay scales to the detriment of the armed forces in relation to the paramilitary forces. These distortions at the Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent level have immediate operational implications and these were brought to the notice of the Ministry of Defence in late-August. But from the pattern of events it is evident that the Defence Minister was not apprised of the enormity of the bureaucratic insensitivity. Why the Committee of Secretaries came to this decision is intriguing and merits scrutiny at the highest political level.

In 1979, India faced a mini-revolt by the paramilitary forces. The Indian Army — the ultimate symbol of the state — was called out to quell the incident. At that time, the Government of India drew up norms wherein it was accepted that the police, the paramilitary forces and the army would form an inter-cadre but non-linearly linked hierarchy with the military as the lead service. This was necessary due to the multiple and complex requirements of internal security where the army, and on occasion the navy, have to work with their paramilitary and police counterparts. For some inexplicable reason, this norm appears to have been jettisoned by the bureaucracy.

At the core of the current stand-off is a sense of disquiet and anguish within the military that the civilian bureaucracy has perfected the ‘Yes Minister’ syndrome and deliberately misled the political apex about the nature of the military’s plea for redress. More than actual pay, the Indian military is alarmed over the manner in which it has been progressively down-graded institutionally.

The inter-cadre implication of this revision of pay bands is that a Commandant of the Border Security Force and the Coast Guard who till now was deemed to be junior to a Lt. Colonel and a Naval Commander — they wear similar rank badges — will not only receive a much higher pay but will have legitimate reason to consider himself to be senior to his military counterparts. The current operational directives to the Indian military envisage that the three armed forces of the nation are the lead services and that in times of war, the paramilitary and the Coast Guard will function under the unified command of the military.

The SCPC anomalies will distort this carefully arrived-at inter-cadre hierarchy. And, given the ongoing low-intensity conflict and the operational tasking of the Indian Army, the BSF and the Central Reserve Police Force in internal security, serious operational imbalances will invariably occur. Furthermore, personnel below officer rank (PBOR) who were given a certain index towards pension benefits to retire at a relatively early age of 35 to 45 years, now have this modest advantage withdrawn. The SCPC recommended that they be inducted laterally into government service and that hence the weightage of early retirement be reduced. But the final recommendations reduced the pension benefits even without there being any policy decision to induct laterally ex-military personnel into government jobs.

Recently, while delivering the Field Marshal Cariappa Memorial Lecture, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram paid a rare but handsome tribute to the departed soldier and noted that India owed a debt of gratitude to the military for its professionalism and apolitical orientation which had enabled the nurturing of India’s robust democracy. The Indian military has always upheld the principle of civilian supremacy in a democracy — the civilian being the elected representative. And this is as it should be. However, the denigration of the military, as was noted during the V.K. Krishna Menon years, is fraught with grave dangers for national well-being, as recent Indian military history testifies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the Combined Commanders on November 1. There he must assuage the bruised sensitivities of the Indian military while upholding the principle of civilian political supremacy. More than pay and allowances, it is the ‘izzat’ of the ‘fauj’ that is being sullied. This warrants redress without recrimination. The delicate politico-military harmony should be restored.

India is on the cusp of emerging as a major power. Weakening the sinews of its military by denigrating the chiefs is ill-advised when the nature of the security challenges is becoming more complex. The current ministerial panel brings together the most sagacious members of the UPA, and they could use this ostensible breach of discipline as an opportunity to initiate a holistic review of the Indian military and its future orientation. Setting up an Armed Forces Commission would be a highly desirable political initiative in this context.

C. Uday Bhaskar is a Delhi- based defence analyst
Anomalies in armed forces pay revision

Heed the cry of the armed forces

When I was commissioned into the IAF in 1984, the air force pilot had the highest starting pay among the central government Class I officers. (That is history; the Book has been overwritten several times.)

Smitten by aircraft, bewitched by flying, fascinated by the frisson of foiling gravity, I joined theIAF. The smell of adventure in the,air, the prestige associated with the uniform and the decent quality of life it offered were simply inciting appetisers.. Oddly, till I was handed my first pay packet, after prevailing three rigorous years at the National Defence Academy and another exacting year at the Air Force Academy, I did not know what my startingpay would be!

Will I embrace the IAF again? I doubt. Gone are those days of chasing quixotic idealism to quench an inner itch. Now lads want to know how much their sweat will swell the bank account. Unless military service is made attractive, few will want to join it.

A decade back, an IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre, a friend, told me he had brought out a paper on the need for officers both military and civilian to bury the hatchet, complement each other, and work together for the larger cause of nation-building insteadof cutting the other down to size. Although his supremacist brethren laughed his treatise out of court, I ditto his standpoint.

Though carved out of the same governmental womb, the professions of arms and file-pushing are as different, alas as cold to each other, as the Ambani brothers. So, in the long run, the answer lies in delinking both the pay and stature of the armed forces from their civilian counterparts.

As the nature of jobs, career prospects, hierarchy, attributes, hardships and workplaces are poles apart, the very precept of interse parity sounds disjointed. Actually it is preposterous to liken amajor general with 33 years of service to a joint secretary having 17 years under his belt.

The pyramidal promotion-prospects of the forces and everyone-makes-it framework of the civil services are beyond comparison. Therefore, prudence suggests that instead of indulging instructural tinkering through pay commissions, it makes sense to have a separate pay commission for the defence forces. That is the only durable solution.

As for now, the recently convened ministerial panel must heed the cry of the armed forces and reinstate its stolen status and benefits. It is their due. High morale is the best known force multiplier. A nation neglects its soldiers at its peril.

MP Anil Kumar a former fighter pilot of Indian Air Force
Read more: Heed the cry of the armed forces

M P Anil Kumar is a former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force. He is a quadriplegic inmate of paraplegic Home at Kirkee, Pune. He Operates the vertically placed key board by holding a pen in the mouth.

Anthony calls for Prompt Pension Dispersal to Two Million ESM

Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has urged the Defence Accounts Department to render prompt and efficient pensionary services to over 2 million ex-servicemen and their dependents. Addressing the Annual Day Celebrations of Defence Accounts Department in New Delhi today, Shri Antony said that during the last couple of years the Government has introduced several measures towards the welfare of Defence Pensioners.

He said the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) has to ensure that the benefits introduced for the Defence Pensioners from time to time by the Government are delivered to the intended beneficiaries promptly, efficiently and in the right measure. The Defence Minister said the Department must continue to exhibit high degree of responsiveness to redress the grievances of its valued customers and ensure that a complaint redressal apparatus is fully functional for providing optimal satisfaction to them.
Antony calls for Prompt Pension Dispersal to Two Million Ex-Servicemen

Comment: I sent an email through the CDA website: CDA Pension to confirm my latest Pension as on record. I got a snail mail after 10 days giving me the extract of PPO of 1996 the year of my retirement with following details:
1. total pension emoluments as on date: Rs 7386
2. commutation: Rs 3175
3. residual pension: Rs 4211
4. DP wef 01 Apr 2004= Rs 3693
5. DA @ 47% wef 01 Jan 2008= 47% x (7386+3693)= Rs 5207
6. Total Pension= 4211+3693+5207=Rs 13111 (as received in banks). This tallied with the bank statement. ESM in doubt about about pension emoluments should similarly verify if full entitlements are being credited in the bank account.
The CDA Pensions Complaint and Redressal system is fully operational. Has the CDA Pensions the power to implement the court rulings? The MOD needs to implement the court rulings of ESM promptly with minimal gestation period, as the pensioners are at great pains combating the vicious cycle of bureaucratic hurdles single- handedly, then winning court battles but finally face defeat at the hands of bureaucracy! What an irony for the guardians of the nation!

Retired defence personnel set for nationwide strike

A release on Sunday stated that the relay hunger strike will be carried out by representatives of the Indian Ex Service Men (IESM) movement.

The hunger strike would be carried out in over 500 districts of the country with massive participation from the states of Punjab, Haryana and the four southern states. In Delhi region it will be conducted at the India Gate lawns.

Earlier in a press conference here, defence service veterans had announced that if their demands are not accepted by the government they will proceed on a countrywide relay hunger strike from October 20.

"We are beginning the hunger strike to press for our genuine demands and this will intensify to a hunger strike till death. Barring the J&K and North eastern states we are conducting the movement everywhere," Vice Chairman of the IESM movement, Major General Satbir Singh told PTI.

Military veterans had demanded for sanctioning of 'one rank, one pension' for protecting the interest of older pensioners.

The Parliamentary standing committee on defence too had been recommending a similar structure for defence pensioners. Currently defence pensioners are receiving pensions based on cost calculation of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Retired defence personnel set for nationwide strike

Sunday, October 19, 2008

IESM: Fast for Justice 20 Oct 2008, Tricity

Indian Ex-Servicemen Move (IESM Pb)
To: Press Media: You may Kindly cover the this event.


1. The Ex- Servicemen Community of the Tricity will be sitting on Hunger strike series wef 20/10/08 at YPS Chowk (Phase-8) Mohali from 9am to 5pm daily. We will have Black Diwali also as mark of protest, peacefully. Because, none of our genuine demand have been considered so far.

2. This Hunger Strike on 20 Oct will also be observed all over India in 600 cities, including 14 main cities of Punjab & Tricity. Same way BLACK DIWALI will also be observed through out the Country by ESM Community, first time in history of India. We cannot tolerate any more humiliation.

3. Govt has delinked ESM Pensions increase in 6th Pay Commission & to keep us at old scale of 5th Pay Commission. Last 3 Central Pay Commissions (CPCs) have been unfair & neglected our interests, dishonestly. With every war victory, we have been harmed & down graded wrongfully. Because, there have never been Defence Forces member in CPCs.

4. Soldiers are still unskilled workers; hence, our N/ Subedar (class II officer) get Pension less than a civil peon. NO Job/ resettlement, so Jawans are forced/ exploited to stand as gate sentries with lowest wages.

5. We deserve to have separate Pay Commission for Defence Forces & ESM/ Widows, democratically & demographically, like other countries. We have been deprived off illegally.

6. Soldiers are deprived off Voting right at place of duty, unconstitutionally & wrongfully all over India, even after the Govt orders. Why cannot Soldiers vote in J&K when they can die for country there?

7. Defence Casualties/ disabilities & Widows (family pension) get too less compensation in lieu of sacrifices/ sufferings. Even our One Rank One Pension accepted in Parliament in not yet implemented since very long.

8. No CBI inquiry has been initiated against defaulters/ manipulators of grade pay/ increments in 4th, 5th & 6th CPCs.

9. Soldier's enrolment should be on merit & not as per region/ population. This will improve quality intake for stronger Forces. Same way Officer's shortage should not be made up/ forced by women induction. This is increasing more problems & weakening fighting potentials of Forces. Officer's intake standards should not be lowered/ compromised against the National security interests.

10. Kendrya Sainik Boards (KSB & RSB) Rajya Sainik Boards etc must be quashed & reconstructed for effective welfare of ESM Community. They are toothless & on the mercy of Babus. Same way ESM commission was approved but with 2 women/ IAS. Our all problems/ Grievances are due to these Babu's discriminatory attitudes. Therefore, No IAS civilian be posted for our welfare & in MOD depts, when our own 98% ESM are wandering unemployed. This will improve professionalism, reliability & better understanding.

Released on behalf of all ESM Orgs by
Lt Col SS Sohi, Retd
Coordinator, IESM (Pb)
President, ESM Grievances Cell, Mohali


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