Saturday, November 1, 2008

SCPC: Arundhati Ghose sees a Ghost

The core of Arundhati Ghose’s article, “Services’ contempt for civil authority is not casual” (Oct 22), veers around a central concern— the need for the Service Chiefs to explain their stand on why they chose to ignore a government direction to submit their respective bills by the desired dateline.

The stand is really not all that complex for the respected former Ambassador and one-time contender for the top slot in the Indian Foreign Service to fathom: the Chiefs command over a million soldiers lives on trust. They owe them something in return for this extraordinary faith.

They owe them the belief that they can, with due dignity, represent their grievances to the government of the day in unfashionable, even if seemingly unfathomable, terms: unfathomable, that is, for those to whom the equation of holding lives on trust and a response thereto is something passe, something tiresome, since bureaucracy has no equivalent relationship of this kind to worry about.

Maj Gen Raj Mehta (Retd)

SCPC: ESM appeal to AK Anthony, Hon'ble Minister for Defence

Mr AK Antony
Honble Minister for Defence,
South Block, New Delhi

1. You must be aware of the deep hurt and anguish caused to the Defence Community (both serving and retired), by the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission , which have failed to meet our genuine aspirations. You are also aware of the ongoing agitation by the Veterans (Ex- Servicemen) movements against the recommendations of 6th Pay Commission and our major demand remains that of ‘One Rank one pension’ and the same has since been endorsed by the Supreme Court in the case filed by Maj Generals. We do believe that you will have this important judgment examined in the Ministry and a suitable redressal will follow. We, on our part will be seeking judicial redressal, if early justice is not meted to us.

2. We were waiting for a positive outcome of the deliberation of the various committees set up by the GOI including that of Ministers, following the 6PC recommendations, especially when on a number of occasions, you, the PM and others had stated that our concerns will be duly looked into. It is obvious that the welfare of the Veterans does not figure in Government’s priorities as it has been entirely ignored and we have been treated most unfairly. Both the political class and the self serving bureaucracy were ‘agitated’ when the Serving servicemen were not paid their dues on 30 Sep 08 but the MOD, who is responsible for our pensions, unfortunately forgot us, the Veterans whilst attending to their own entitlements. All serving and retired government servants from the Civil side have received their new emoluments/ pensions along with arrears and the serving defence community have been given an adhoc grant and now we remain the only community that has neither been paid their dues, nor any announcements made or orders issued. It is an adverse reflection on the MOD, its functioning and regard for the care and welfare of the Veterans and their families, who were also waiting, for their Deepawali ‘bonanza’ like the others.

3. On behalf of the retired community, may I request you to have the needful done so that the defence pensioners are paid their outstanding dues without further delay.

Vice Admiral Harinder Singh (Retd)
President, Navy Foundation, Delhi Chapter

Our SPECIAL THANKS go to Vice Admiral Harinder Singh (Retired), PVSM, AVSM, President Navy Foundation Delhi Chapter, for joining the Mission for Justice for Defence Services, and appealing to the RM on behalf of all ESM.
Veteran's Voice

SCPC: ESM Stung and Dishonoured by Pay Panels

ESM Stung and Dishonoured

The defence forces of the country have graduated from the 'morse to the mouse' leaving Service Chiefs with little choice but project their aspirations to the government. The greying bureaucrats and politicians and media magnets have failed to register this revolution in military affairs. Instead of blame game they should accept this reality and reorganise the MOD to facilitate effective 'command and control' by military leadership in the changed enviornment.

The view that government pays no heed to projections made by Service Chiefs and turns 'deaf and dumb' to the 'One Rank One Pay' cries of retired soldiers in the evening of their lives is widespread. Established communication channels of the soldiering classes with the civilian masters have apparently dried up. The Officer and Gentleman (including General Officers) will have to voluntarily vacate positions held in various ex- servicemen forums/ associations to be replaced by 'the Rank and File' to keep the dialogue going. This class will be able to speak the language politicians, bureaucrats and media understand best.

Military history of India and the sub- continent bears testimony that the voice of soldier, subaltern, and colonel is never a cry in the wilderness, in peace or war. ROGER or more often WILCO is the expected response of the civilian authority before the soldier fires the success signal at heavy cost to the government and nation. By denying the soldier his IZZAT-O-IQBAL the nation may end up shaking the very foundations on which its democratic credentials were built with 'Aid to Civil Authority' provided by its MEN IN UNIFORM. Dishonoured and stung by the sixth pay commission the country still expects its military to abide by 'for your tomorrow we gave our today'. The disciplined soldier awaits his response to the clarion call: "REPORT MY SIGNALS, OVER". THE CHOICES AVAILABLE: ROGER OR WILCO OR NOTHING HEARD, OUT!

Brig B S Mehta (Retd)

SCPC: IESM the Veterans' Voice in Pictures

Ex- Servicemen demanding "One Rank One Pension"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Modi dedicates flyover to Manekshaw

Modi dedicates flyover to Manekshaw
23 Oct 2008, 0253 hrs IST,

AHMEDABAD: Security personnel and members of armed forces from the state who gain martyrdom on the battlefront and while fighting terrorists would be immortalised with schools in their villages named after them.

This was announced by Chief Minister Narendra Modi while dedicating the newly-built Shivranjani flyover on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) route, to the city and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw at a ceremony hosted by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in the presence of members of the Parsi community and senior defence personnel from the three armed forces on Wednesday.

Hailing Manekshaw, as hero of India's victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan, Modi said, "Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was known globally for his daredevil acts and he was instrumental in creating a new country, Bangladesh."

Taking a dig at central government, Modi said, "Cental government leadership never checked on the war veteran when he was ailing and admitted at the hospital in Ooty."

On the recent political cries over Azamgarh emerging as a terrorist hub, Modi said, "There have been nefarious activities among political parties in supporting terrorists and these people also had termed Sardar Patel as a terrorist."

In the end, Modi took credit for bringing the Nano project to the state and criticised the Congress for raising questions over Nano shifting to Gujarat.

Field Marshal Manekshaw, MC, was born to Parsi parents who settled in Punjab after moving from Valsad. He died at the age of 94 in June this year. The newly built flyover is located on 132 feet ring road and is part of the BRTS project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
Modi dedicates flyover to Field Marshal Manekshaw

Armed forces meet today

New Delhi, Oct. 29: The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force will begin their two-day conference of commanders in the capital at three different venues on Thursday. The three services will organise their conferences separately which will be followed by a unified commanders’ conference on November 1 that is expected to be addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In addition, a conclave of former Army chiefs will also take place on November 1 and 2. The Army is expected to discuss operational and logistical issues including shortage of officers, counter-insurgency operations and the recent upgradation of posts in the senior ranks of the three armed forces. Sources said the issue of pay disparities could also be discussed.

The issue is being examined by a three member committee comprising external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, the defence minister, Mr A.K. Antony, and the finance minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, which, incidentally, met in the capital on Wednesday. Officially though, no details were made available on the outcome of the meeting.

Mr Antony recently said the government is aware of the needs of the armed forces and would take all steps for their welfare though he declined to speak on specific issues. Meanwhile, the Navy is expected to take up the matter of security of private ports in the country and is believed to be pressing for inclusion of naval personnel in the boards controlling the private ports.
Armed Forces meet
IAF Commanders’ Conference begins
Army Commanders Conference

SCPC: Give the Armed Forces its due

The Indian armed forces should not be sidelined and paid less than the babus.

Babus productive output in Government Offices

It is perhaps the closest that the Indian Armed Forces have come to disobedience, and this time, it happened at the highest level: the three chiefs of staff. The chiefs refused to accept the new wages as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission for the armed forces, by which the armed forces per­sonnel would have continued to receive old salaries, even as the salaries of government servants would have gone up. The government has set up a committee comprising three senior ministers to look into the issue.

Most people sympathise with the armed forces, and with clear justification. They guard our borders, and have ensured that, except against China in 1962, India has never lost a war. Even in 1962, our defeat is attributed to blundering and interfering politicians and ideologues, not to the gallant army.

Armed forces' officers have often complained: "Civilian supremacy does not mean bureaucratic control". Yet, today, this is what has happened. None of the service chiefs baulk at the fact that they have to take orders from the defence minister or the government in office; or that the civilian president of India is the supreme commander of the armed forces. But what has been questioned is the assumption that the service chiefs are inferior in rank to the defence secretary, though protocol does not say so. Also, the pay commission has suggested that the salary and ranks of military men be downgraded into lower bands. How come it never occurred to the bureaucrats to do likewise with itself?

The Indian armed forces today have a shortage of some 13,000 officers; one key reason is pathetic salaries. This shortage comes at a time when India's internal security is a cause for concern, with religious and ideological extremists creating havoc. India has two nuclear armed countries on its borders; China's military might is growing, and Pakistan backed terrorists continue to sneak into the country. We need the military to protect not just our borders but our economic interests and our way of life. We need bigger armed forces, made up of the best quality personnel.

Yet, few youngsters care to join the armed forces. Seats in the NDA/ IMA stay empty. Decades ago, service in the armed forces was not just an honourable profession but was among the better paid jobs. Even till a couple of decades ago, armed forces were sought after. But today, at least in the cities, joining them armed forces is often among the last options. This, in turn, means the people joining the forces are no longer the creme de la creme of society, even as the demands on the soldiers and officers have gone up.

And disparity prevails at all levels. Our jawans serve in some of the world's coldest and hottest regions; surely, they deserve to earn much more than the mere clerks who man our bureaucratic offices doing little. At such a time, the bureaucracy and politicians conniving to lower military salaries virtually amounts to betraying the country.

Yes, there is a desperate need to increase the salaries of all government servants too. In the early 1900s, India's top judges earned Rs 4,000, on a par with their counterparts elsewhere in the British empire. This today is worth tens of lakhs of rupees at least; yet only now do the Supreme Court justices start earning Rs l lakh per month. One reason for the rampant cor­ruption in government is that salaries have not kept pace with rising costs and salaries in the private sector. Surely, those in public ser­vice need salaries comparable, if not equal, to what their peers in the private space earn.

If we don't match salaries, India runs the risk of attracting the less talented to jobs in public service - be it the armed forces, civil service, para- military forces, police, judiciary, etc - precisely at a time when persons in these jobs exercise huge responsibilities and whose judgements affect day to day life.

But till the salaries of all is increased, it does not behove to treat the armed forces as someone who matter so little that we choose to pay them less than the babus. It is India's tragedy that we remember the armed forces only in times of calamities, or when they take steps to have their voices heard. With our rising security concerns, the need is for more integration and more of their view point, not less.

The armed forces too are at fault. First, refusing to accept salaries was a step too harsh; surely, there are better ways of getting heard. There has been a tradition in the West of generals speaking their minds. For too long have Indian generals not made their views known on issues ranging from salaries to defence budgets. The armed forces need to make themselves heard, to stand up and be counted.

One of the editorials in Business India dated Oct 19, 2008 titled "Give them their due".
We thank col VRK Prasad for sending us the copy of the article.

SCPC: Pay for Lt Col being mulled

Pay panel: category for Lt Colonel being mulled

THE three- member ministerial committee to look into grievances of the Armed Forces met for a round of discussions on Wednesday afternoon, but the matter remained inconclusive even as the deadline for a final report on the issue is approaching fast. Sources said several permutations and combinations are being worked out, but more meetings would be required before a final decision can be taken on the matter. The committee, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met on Wednesday even as hectic rounds of consultations are on with the Armed Forces and other services.

The committee, set up by the Prime Minister, was given a deadline to prepare a final report for the Cabinet by the end of this month. The last round of consultations with the armed forces took place on Monday when the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta met the ministers.

While the committee is leant to have agreed to the demand for restoring the pension given to Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR), discussions were on to resolve the other three issues put forward by the Armed Forces.

On the demand of moving Lt Gen and equivalent officers to the HAG plus pay band, solutions being worked out included a further categorisation of the officers to accommodate a proportion of them in the highest pay band.

The most contentious issue remains the demand to move Lieutenant Colonel level officers to Pay Band 4 in order to give them parity with their civilian counterparts. While the Armed Forces have dug in tight with the demand of moving 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), paramilitary forces and the MEA are insisting that changes will result in administrative problems. A solution under discussion is the creation of a new category in the Pay Band 4 to accommodate Lt Cols and give them parity with civilian counterparts without altering the monetary edge of non-defence services officers.
Three member review committee meets under Pranab Mukherjee

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Corps of Signals: War trophy presentation


1. Lt Gen MN Batra, PVSM (Retd) visited DG Sigs on 20 Aug 2008 alongwith him Lt Gen SL Mehrotra (Retd) and Lt Gen VC Khanna, PVSM (Retd) ex SOs-in-Cs.

2. Lt Gen MN Batra, PVSM (Retd) presented a Souvenir .38 Bore (.38 S & W CTG) Revolver, SMITH & WESSON (Made in USA) for the Corps Museum. After the presentation, the Gen Offr addressed all offrs of DG Sigs giving his memoirs of WW II and insight of his service in various parts of world including deserts of Africa. A brief overview of how the Corps had emerged and build up with details of technology at that time was highlighted. It was a lucid talk which had the audience rapt with attention.

3. In the end, the SO-in-C presented the Corps Memento and Corps Tie to all three Gen Offrs. A Central tea was org at DG Sigs for the Gen Offrs. All offrs wished the veteran information warriors the very best of luck and fondly cherished their life long contribution to the Corps.

SCPC: No defiance but prudence by armed forces chiefs

A senior retired IAS officer in Delhi told me that had Narsimha Rao been the PM he would have sacked all the three armed forces chiefs for defying the cabinet order and communication of the information to the troops. A few days later editor of a leading daily, echoed the same views, demanding dismissal of the three chiefs. What could be the link in the editor echoing the same views! But first the background.

The story goes back to the new pay code introduced for the military in the fifties. While every one's pay, allowances etc were drastically cut down, the King's Commissioned Officers, who formed the then higher command of the army, were excluded from these cuts. It was the first crude attempt by the government to create bad faith between the higher command and those in the lower rung.

The Second Pay Commission was dealt with by the MoD by stating military's pay etc, "as given." It meant lowering of their pay etc. The Third Pay Commission wanted to hear the case direct from the armed forces, but the MoD ruled against it on the ground that the same, in the interest of discipline, is not desirable. Unfortunately, the service chiefs accepted this patently absurd stance of the MoD. The Fourth Pay Commission, faced with the prospect of resignations by all the three chiefs, granted running pay band, up to the rank of brigadier in addition to rank pay. Running pay band catered to extremely limited promotions in the military. Through a sleight of hand, the rank pay of thousands of officers was deducted from the basic pay, leaving them back at square one.

The Fifth Pay Commission gave brigadiers more pension that maj gens and in addition brought in more than two dozen anomalies. Out of these, only five have since been addressed and the remaining are under consideration for the last ten years. Now the Sixth Pay Commission introduced some more anomalies and distortions.

Though armed forces are over 30 percent of central services, a member from them on the Pay Commission has never been accepted. Not only that, even amongst 150 or so staff, assembled every time, does not include even one person from the forces. In the case of review of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission report, the IAS member of the commission also forms part of the review committee. Thus, prosecutor now forms part of the jury!

In all these doings of the bureaucracy, the political class has been a mere mute spectator. The strong suspicion and the breakdown of trust that prevails in the services with the babudom, must be viewed in this background.

Given the sordid manner of treatment of services and grossly biased recommendations of the Review Committee which instead of correcting the anomalies brought about by the Sixth Pay Commission, added some of its own, the service chiefs took up the case with the RM and the PM. The RM, as member of the Cabinet Committee which took decision on the review committee report, promised to look into the case. It was therefore, well in order for the chiefs to defer the implementation of the cabinet order and apprised the troops about the delay etc. Had the RM told Admiral Mehta that the cabinet decision be first implemented while the cabinet will have a relook, the situation would have been different. When Winston Churchill said, ' Indian army is not a silent order of monks ---". He was speaking for commanders who must stand up for their officers and men.

While the objection to the security classification of the communication by Admiral Mehta to his troops can be dismissed as absurd, meriting no discussion, the other issue relates to a more pertinent point: the need to keep troops informed and to protect them from all manner of rumours.

Spread of rumours amongst the troops is a very dangerous development and that is why it is a serious offence in the military. It was the rumours and arrears of pay that led to breakdown of discipline in the Sikh army after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was again arrears of pay and rumours that led to the events of 1857. More recently in 1984 it was the blackout of information to troops that led to spread of wild rumours and consequently mutiny in some of the units. During my review of court-martial cases, it was found that the inability of commanders to keep troops informed of the actual developments in the golden temple and the country side of Punjab which proved fertile ground for wild rumours to spread. It is in the light of this experience that the Chairman Chiefs of Staff and the Army Chief's action in keeping the troops informed and to protect them from malicious rumours must be seen.

Why should a reputed journalist play the tune of the bureaucracy in a case which has no merit? It is again in Delhi that one overheard the talk of a Rajya Sabha seat.

Finally, now that the fudging, fraud and subversion of the Cabinet decision by the babus, to gain advantage for self, has come out in the open (Outlook dated 13 Oct) we expect our worthy editor of the national daily to enlighten us and say what dispensation he recommends for the perpetrators of this great fraud!

Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)
Former Deputy Chief of Staff

I read the editorial, “Uncalled for defiance” on the action of the Service Chie (Sept 30). There was absolutely nothing wrong or defiant on the part of the Service Chiefs in taking up the cause of their officers and troops. While they took up the issue with the Defence Minister, they withheld instructions for the release of new pay and allowances.

It was essential for the troops and officers to know that they would have to await the final response from the government and quash any possible adverse rumours. The point about security classification of the Naval Headquarters letter is simply laughable.

While the Press is quick to make non- issues sensational,it misses on the ramifications of larger issues. Take the Services case on the dispensation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

Ms Sushma Nath was a member of the Sixth Central Pay Commission which created the problem for the Services in the first place and then made a member of the Committee of Secretaries formed to look into the mischief of the Pay Commission. Could the Press not see the absurdity of the situation? The prosecutor turned into a judge in the same case!


It is so easy for anyone in this country to chide Service Chiefs— politicians, bureaucrats, judiciary and the Press. They all form the four pillars of Indian democracy. But they forget that India’s armed forces are the bedrock on which these pillars stand.

There is a definite need for our politicians, bureaucrats, judiciary and journalists to study and understand military ethics and what goes into serving in the military. Only then, they will realise the difference between acting in the larger interest of the service and willful defiance of orders.

After all, Hitler’s order to exterminate Jews too had the government stamp but generals and soldiers who executed that order, forgetting military ethics, were tried as criminals against humanity.

The Chief of Naval Staff has committed no offence. The Admiral has acted as per ethical-dictates of the military. If the government, in its wisdom, imposes punishment on this eminent soldier sailor, then so be it. After all, there is always a price to pay for upholding truth and duty. That is what soldiering is all about.

Maj Gen K KHORANA (Retd)
This is not defiance

Related reading:
Uncalled for defiance: Admiral Mehta’s conduct inexcusable
Anomalies in armed forces pay revision

INDESEC EXPO 2008: 6th to 8th November at EXPO XXI (Exhibition Centre), Greater Noida

Dear Brig Kamboj,

It gives me great pleasure to invite you and other Service Officers including Retired Officers, as our honoured guests to Indesec Expo 2008– the inaugural Indo- international homeland security and defence exhibition– which will be held at the India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, from 6th– 8th November 2008.

Why a Serving or Retired Service Officer would find it of value to be at the Exhibition and Conferences:

  • He or she would get to hear the perspectives of Policy Shapers.
  • Gain new insights into present and future trends in the defence and security domains.
  • See cutting edge solutions from international and Indian prime and sub- contractors, systems integrators, IT experts, maritime and land security solution providers.
  • Network and initiate dialogue with industry and think tanks.

    We shall be delighted to welcome Serving and Retired Officers to this exhibition and request you to encourage officers to attend the Indesec 2008.

    I look forward to welcoming you at Indesec Expo 2008.
    With warm regards,

    Brig Raj Manchanda(Retd)
    Group Director
    Defence & Security Division
    INFORMA Corporation

    ESM please register for free passes by any convenient mode:

    T: +91 22 4020 3300 Ext. 3316
    D: +91 22 4020 3316
    F: +91 22 4026 4000
    A: Informa India, A 202 Business Square, Solitaire Corporate Park Complex, Andheri Kurla Road, Chakala, Andheri (E), Mumbai - 400 093, India.
    Informa is the leading global provider of specialist information to the scientific & academic, professional and commercial markets through publishing, events and performance improvement
  • Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    SCPC: War of Wages

    Today, the governance in this country has gone to the abyss of incompetence where the bureaucracy is just serving its interests. The Sixth Pay Commission is just another example of the blatant exhibition of greed by the IAS lobby. But their game plan has been exposed this time. Now they are using the media to divert the attention of the government and the general public by raising the issue of the protests by the armed forces.

    The strength of any organisation is judged by the morale of its men. While bureaucracy has become one of the most corrupt services in the country and the cause of all bad governance, the armed forces have epitomised what a true nation- building organisation should be. Unable to repair itself, the bureaucracy is now trying its best to bring down the morale of the armed forces by attacking at the "perceived" foundations of the Forces. They have degraded the armed forces status over the last few decades.

    This time, their bluff has been caught and it is out in the public domain as to how the IAS lobby misguided even the Cabinet and the Defence Minister. The logic that the job profile of Lt Cols has changed over a period of time is nothing short of hilarious. Today, the IAS and IPS are even resorting to manipulating the appointment nomenclatures, deputations, and even grossly interfering in the functioning of so- called autonomous and Quasi- autonomous organisations by occupying slots and postings in them.

    The armed forces have presented their reservations in the most dignified way while carrying out their duties diligently. The fact that enough merit was found in their demands to establish a "Group of Ministers" by the Prime Minister speaks volumes of the evil designs of some groups to demoralise the armed forces.

    Veterans' Voice

    In case, the government doesn't wish to pay the armed forces' officers their legitimate dues, why doesn't it allow them to leave the service? Time and again, it has ignored the just demands of the Forces at the behest of the bureaucracy. So, let the bureaucrats defend the country. Let the nation also know that whereas the defence officers are tested for their IQ, positive bent of mind (psychology tests), leadership traits, group activities at the entry level, our bureaucrats are coached and tested only for their retention (mugging) power. Therefore, in what way are we inferior to them? The performance of ex- army officers who joined the civil services and carved a niche for themselves is there for all to see. Why should a Jawan make the supreme sacrifice when the nation, instead of giving him dignity, grudges his mere existence and takes pride in belittling him at every opportunity?

    Col Krishan Yadava (Retd)

    Armed forces are the last hope for our country in order to thwart the growing terror, and the political, religious and regional divide. Be it external threats or internal law and order problems, the armed forces have always done their task most dutifully. Is this the way the government should act through its bureaucracy to push down the services', feigning ignorance? Let the last hope not be extinguished by being pushed to the wall.

    Air Commodore Raghubir Singh (Retd)

    More comments at:
    The war of wages
    SCPC: War of Wages

    Fighting for the nation’s pride

    Prime Minister Nehru and Lt Col (later Maj Gen) Rajinder Singh Sparrow take a salute on 7th Nov 1947, during the Kashmir War.

    PUNE: Ninety-year-old war hero Lt Col TG Chandwalker (retd) spoke to TOI about how he and his team managed to grab victory for India in some extremely unfavourable conditions during the 1947 war against Pakistan.

    Infantry Day itself is celebrated to commemorate the beginning of this war, when Indian troops were hurriedly air dropped into the valley to defend its pride against Pakistani aggression. He led the Bravo Company during a very crucial point.

    Explaining the odds against which the Indian Army was fighting, Chandwalker said, “It was right after the partition and the army HQ was still busy dividing equipment between the two nations. The war broke out very suddenly. Just after the agreement of accession was signed on 26 October, 1947, troops were air dropped into the valley. The only aircrafts available were the Dakotas with a capacity to carry 22 men, but due to the looming threat an entire company, ie. about 100 men, had to be accommodated. The officers then were mainly British and had chosen not to enter the war zone. So we were running short of officers, as well as equipment and ammunitions. Most of the troops were in their October clothing and were carrying minimal arms and ammunition. There were no alpine shoes available.”

    “Our strategy was simple, but very tough to act upon. We had defined it as ‘one bullet-one kill’, because we could not afford to waste ammunition,” he said. “The Indian armed forces were busy in dealing with internal disputes in India, when the Pakistan army and Tribals in a joint attack tried to capture J&K. I was asked to go and command a very crucial point, Richmar Gali, near Baramulla in the valley.”

    Chandwalker, then a major, shouldered the responsibility of commanding the Bravo Company of the 1st Sikh Regiment. Along with his team, he had to play the dual role of attacking the enemy and supporting other companies — specially Alfa — which was placed parallel to Bravo. Managing the two tasks was very difficult for officers and soldiers in Chandwalker’s company, as they themselves had meagre resources to fall back on.

    In fact, on a single day in October, 1948, his troops had repelled seven waves of aggression. “We had only one mountain gun allocated for the entire brigade which stopped working due to oil leakage. The Pakis on the other hand had a big gun well camouflaged on the next hill, at a distance of 100-metre. Silencing this gun was very crucial to hold our heights and contain the enemy advance. The air attack by the Indian Air Force turned out to be futile, as the smokecharge fired to locate the enemy gun’s position tumbled down the hill slopes and the air attack could not be directed to the exact location.”

    In these circumstances, Chandwalker told havildar Karam Singh and three men to physically inch towards the gun and destroy it. “The brave men crawled towards the gun under heavy crossfire and managed to silence it by hurling grenades from close quarters. One of the grenades was dropped inside the gun barrel and the gun exploded along with the ammunition stored. This wrecked the Pakis’ psyche. This gave us an upper hand. We stopped the enemy’s advance and captured the hill,” he said.

    Havildar Karam Singh was recommended by him for the Param Vir Chakra. Chandwalker wrote the citation for this PVC, which, according to him, is first citation of PVC in independent India.

    One interesting fact, as narrated by him, was that during the very same battle Chandwalker was pitted against his mother regiment —Baluch Regiment — in which he had been commissioned in the pre-independence era. This news came out of the forward observation/ patrolling party.

    “The fact that more than 300 dead bodies were cleared from the scene at the end of the first day, after our troop consolidated their position, is enough to explain how ferociously the battle was fought,” said Chandwalker. The war ended with the cease fire coming into effect on 1st January 1949.
    1947 Real Combat: Fighting for the nation’s pride
    2008 Fighting the cold: Troops in Siachen issued torn clothing: CAG

    Govt dragging its feet on General No 1

    NEW DELHI: Political apathy, bureaucratic aversion and divisions within the armed forces continue to stymie the desperate need to take half-hearted
    reforms in the country's higher defence management to their logical conclusion by creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS) post.

    Defence minister A K Antony's responses in Parliament show there is simply no move to create the crucial CDS post to act as "principle military advisor" to the government as well as upgrade the defence secretary's post to ensure he, in turn, can act as the "principal defence advisor".

    In effect, meaningful reform in the country's defence architecture, with "true" integration of the Service HQs with the defence ministry, continues to remain in suspended animation despite almost a decade having elapsed since the 1999 Kargil conflict.

    It was after that conflict that first the Kargil Review panel headed by K Subrahmanyam and then L K Advani-led Group of Ministers' (GoM) report on "reforming the national security system" had both pressed for systemic changes. But while many of the GoM recommendations — like creation of an integrated defence staff, a defence intelligence agency and a strategic forces command — were implemented, the all-important one of a CDS was left in a limbo by the then NDA government on the pretext of holding "wider political consultations".

    The present UPA government merrily continues with this consultation process without even any pretence of urgency. "Four political parties have replied. Parties who have not replied have been reminded to expedite their views," says Antony. The fact, however, remains that the UPA government, much like NDA, has never really been serious about the CDS post.

    The General No 1, incidentally, was supposed to act as "a single-point military advisor" to government, administer the strategic (nuclear) forces, resolve inter-Service doctrinal, planning, procurement, policy and operational issues, and facilitate synergy among the Army, Navy and IAF.

    As for elevating the defence secretary to the level of cabinet secretary and the three Service chiefs from a rung below at present, as was recommended by the parliamentary standing committee on defence, Antony said the proposal was not being accepted "at present" since it was "premature at this stage".
    Govt dragging its feet on General No 1
    In a first, govt admits gaps in defences

    SCPC: Black Diwali for our Jawans

    Translated Version of the Article published by the popular Tamil Daily Dina Malar

    First time in the History of Free India, the Chiefs of all the three Defence Services have decided to reject the Recommendations of the Sixth CPC. The Defence Minister Sri AK Anthony has also expressed his concern about the Recommendations of the Sixth CPC. After 60 years of Independence, it is the first time the Armed Forces have exhibited such a reaction.

    As per our Constitution, the Armed Forces are to function under the Civil Govt. As some very senior retired Officers from the Services put it, this Civil Govt means the elected representatives of the people. But, over a period of time, the IAS Officers have managed to bring the Govt under their influence & started with a systematic programme of degrading the status of the personnel of the Armed Forces. For example there are about 54,770 Officers in the three Services at present. Out of which, nearly 18,950 Officers are of the rank of Lt Cols, who are considered as the back bone of the Services, since they personally lead the troops in actions. They have been pulled down to Pay Band 3 (Rs 15,600-39,100). On the other hand, the equivalent ranked officers in the civil were pushed up to Pay Band -4 (Rs 37,400-67,000). This degradation of status is not acceptable to the Armed Forces. Similarly, the DGPs of States have been elevated to a higher status & pay than the Lt Gens.

    As per the earlier orders, the PBOR were getting a pension of 70% of their pay. This has been reduced to 50%. In addition, 90% of our PBOR retire in the age group of 36-38. This is the period when their domestic liabilities are at the peak. Despite the repeated requests no action has been taken to provide them with alternative employment till they attain the age of 60 years. One Rank One Pension (OROP) has not been implemented, although it has been approved by a Parliamentary Committee in principle.

    Officers of the Armed Forces feel that certain irrational & hasty decisions taken by the Govt create embarrassments. The Civil Officer killed in Kandahar in a bomb blast by the terrorists has been awarded ‘Kirthi Chakra’, the highest bravery award of the Armed Forces. In our country hundreds of Army Personnel sacrifice their lives to such attacks by the terrorists without even a mention. Similarly, a Combined Defence Headquarters has been created, but, for the past 7 years no Chief of CDS has been appointed. They feel that it is deliberately being delayed since the Defence Secretary feels that his importance may get eroded. There are so many instances like these where it may be evident that the IAS cadre is bent upon degrading the status of the Armed Forces.

    The biggest grievance of the Armed Forces is that the Society & the Govt remembers them only in times of war & calamities. Otherwise they never even bother about them. They forget that the Integrity, Freedom, Development & Security of our Nation is mainly due to the discipline, secularism & selfless service rendered by the Armed Forces.

    In any Welfare Committees or measures taken on behalf of ESM, there is no participation of the ESM. At the State level, the Secretary ESM Welfare is an IAS Officer. The same story is repeated in the Centre also. Even in the ESM Commission announced by the Centre recently, the representation of the ESM is marginal & dominated by the IAS & individuals from the civil walk of life.

    There may be apprehension in the minds of some, as to whether this united protest by the three Chiefs is a prelude to some revolt by the Armed Forces. Our Armed Forces are beyond such thoughts, since every one of them has taken oath of allegiance to our constitution & they will fight to defend the same with their lives. The action taken by the Chiefs is only to up hold the justice due to the Armed Forces. We can be sure that our Prime Minister will definitely intervene to render justice.

    By Col TN Raman (Retd)

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Ministry of Defence censoring its own Journal

    The Ministry of defence’s obsession with secrecy is both well known and understandable. But certainly it seems to have taken the secrecy fixation to a new level by censoring one of its own journals. Certain seasoned observers say, it’s a first that Sainik Samachar, the bi-monthly century old journal of the armed forces, will be vetted before it goes to print.

    Apparently, the Army brass is objecting to the classified information— names of Army units, appointments of officers etc— being published in the journal. Interestingly, sources say only the Army seems to have raised these concerns. The other two services seem quite content with the journal. Nevertheless, the upshot is that now Lieutenant General DS Bartwal, Director General of Military Intelligence, will clear all articles submitted for publication.

    But some observers are wondering why this has become an issue, especially when the journal’s content is contributed by Army officers themselves, after getting the required clearances from their superiors. But that’s for those who wish to quibble. The defence ministry has already moved to issue the note confirming the decision and clearly babudom rules the roost once again.
    Sainik Samachar under Scrutiny

    Bureaucrats misuse RTI Act
    Nowadays the Central Information Commission (CIC) is busy playing "agony aunt" to a score of babus whining over various promotional and compensation matters. That seems to be the big new bugbear of the CIC. The trend in babudom, insiders share, is that many bureaucrats are now actually using the RTI Act for their own personal vested interest. Ranging from scrutinising file details when superseded, to petty complaints on out-of-turn allotment of houses, these applications make up an alarming 40 per cent of the ones received by the CIC.
    Babus misuse RTI Act

    SCPC: Pay hike controversy not good for the nation

    Respect and Honour the Status and Rank of Armed Forces Personnel

    The Sixth Pay Commission fiasco revealed the purposeful machinations of MoD- bureaucrats to lower armed forces’ status, yet again. When the Chiefs protested, newspapers, once renowned for fearlessly frank journalism, carried explicit threats. Thankfully, many TV channels and intrepid journals defied MoD and exposed how babus tried to degrade two crucial ranks while ignoring A.K. Antony’s explicit orders. This had immediate ramifications in security-sensitive Kashmir at police chiefs’ and Corps Commanders’ levels.

    In 1982, this writer was in Jammu and Kashmir, with a formation holding defences on the LoC. Two low-threat sectors were held by BSF battalions. The Commander had called an operational conference of all COs – then Lieutenant Colonels. However, BSF COs arrived late, sporting full-Colonel type rank-badges with attendant blue collar-tabs. Only the Commander’s tact and Army COs’ maturity prevented disharmony from affecting the LoC defence. Imagine the morale-impact on 3000 Army troops in this one brigade — replicated all across Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast. Clearly, defence of the Republic is inconsequential; only ‘putting-the-Army-down’ counts.

    Not only degraded status and unchecked violation of warrant of precedence erodes the nation’s security. Defence officers in Services’ HQs are soul-destroyed by deliberate, humiliating delays in defence procurements and other decisions. Petty functionaries are encouraged to pose frivolous questions for delaying cases. During Narasimha Rao’s prime ministership, babus invented the perfect catch-22 situation. Service HQs had submitted the 5-year modernisation plan, but supremely insolent, MoD neither accepted it, nor offered any objections.

    Then, modernisation cases were rejected, stating “the Plan was not approved”. Even cases to meet emergent operational developments were turned down, stating that “it is not included in the Plan”. Crucial capability-voids built up for 10 to 30 years. Later, most proved key deficiencies leading to 1999 Kargil LoC violations – and snuffing out 700 valiant young lives. Sadly, no bureaucrat or the Defence Minister has ever been held accountable for such lapses.
    Read the full article: Sapped from within National defence in the hands of amateurs by Maj Gen Pushpendra Singh (Retd)

    Pay hike controversy not good for nation
    NDTV Correspondent
    The armed forces have vigorously protested against the implementation of Sixth Pay Commission’s report citing gross discrimination.

    They say the civil servants are misleading the government about the armed forces’ genuine representation. The lieutenant commanders (Lt Cols and Lt Gens) are placed at lower pay band while equivalent civilians are placed in higher pay band.

    The argument put forward by them is quite strong that a force that undertakes most challenging tasks is highly underpaid due to which the officials as well as the lower staff feel cheated and humiliated.

    Also, their attempts to equate with civilians have always been given cold shoulders. To make their voices heard, the armed forces have tried out all available options. They rebelled, threatened and even pleaded.

    One wonders if the entire turn of the events bode well for the nation?
    Pay hike controversy not good for nation

    "The pay anomalies issues are currently with the Cabinet and I am sure it will take care of it. Whatever it decides, it will be for the good of the country and the armed forces," Vice-Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General M L Naidu, said on the sidelines of an Army Postal Service Awards ceremony here on 15 Oct 2008.
    Any decision on pay hike to be good for country: Army

    Voice of Veterans: We need a fast track Blue Ribbon type of Commission to bring to an end the Pay Commission injustices, controversies and anomalies introduced to degrade the honour, rank and status of Armed Forces Personnel. The ESM right to "One rank one pension" must be implemented forthwith.

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    SCPC: Blue Ribbon Commission for the Indian Armed Forces

    While the politicians and the Government have been paying lip service to the armed forces in the last sixty years since Independence there has been no concerted effort on the part of the government to look at the problems of the armed forces in a comprehensive way as is normally done in other democratic countries. In US at regular intervals Blue Ribbon commissions are appointed to look into the problems of the forces. Similarly in UK there are Royal Commissions which go into the problems of armed forces from time to time and suggest remedies.

    ...All these issues could be referred to a high powered commission headed by an eminent personality who commands high credibility, like Ratan Tata or Narayanamurty, including retired chiefs of staff from three services, retired chairman of the Joint Intelligence, retired defence and foreign secretaries, eminent management specialists and others. At the same time it should be clear to the government and Parliament that once such a commission submits its recommendations there will be no further nitpicking by the committee of secretaries but the report should be accepted and implemented as is done in US or UK.

    Military organisations traditionally rely upon its members to come together in ad hoc study groups to attempt resolution on important issues. However, there are occasions when outside assistance is helpful and a Blue Ribbon Commission can then contribute significantly. For example, the three services themselves or the military and the civil bureaucracy can become deeply divided over certain issues, and a bi-partisan view may be required to resolve the problem in a manner that will settle the immediate question and reduce (or eliminate) the level of rancour, so that the national defence setup might be united again. Another situation in which a Blue Ribbon commission might be appropriate occurs when the government seeks to establish a planning agenda to create an optimum organisation for national defence by undertaking a root-and-branch reform of the defence organisations. For full article please click on link: Blue Ribbon commission FAQs: To address the Bureaucratic bungling of the Indian Armed Forces

    SCPC: After pay shock, Army officers set to lose batmen

    NEW DELHI: Still smarting from "bureaucratic mischief" to downgrade their status in the new pay scales, here is another shocker for Army officers:
    they may have to make do without orderlies, or sahayaks as they are now called, if MPs have their way.

    The sahayak system prevalent in the 1.13-million strong Army is "a shameful practice", which "should have no place in Independent India", holds the latest report of the parliamentary standing committee on defence. In tune with what many believe is a vestige of the colonial era and an anachronism for any modern Army, especially since fresh recruits are now better educated unlike yesteryear's, the committee urged the defence ministry to abolish the sahayak system with immediate effect.

    Though the committee actually dwelt upon "stress management in the armed forces", in view of the mounting number of fragging and suicide cases in their ranks, it felt that utilising soldiers as sahayaks was also a contributory factor in raising stress levels in the lower ranks. "The committee hardly needs to stress that jawans are recruited for serving the nation and not to serve the family members of officers in household work, which is demeaning and humiliating," says the report, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

    This, of course, is bound to evoke howls of protest from the Army, which has 35,495 officers at present out of an authorized strength of 46,614. Its argument is that an officer gets a sahayak basically for upkeep of his uniform, weapons and other equipment, as also act as his radio operator and "buddy" during combat. That is certainly true. But the fact also remains that sahayaks are grossly misused by many officers, from being made to walk the dogs, taking kids to school to even washing clothes. Moreover, senior officers often have two to three sahayaks, particularly when posted outside the Army HQ in New Delhi, in blatant disregard of rules which lay down only one orderly or batman for Majors/ Lt-Colonels and above.

    "But a few black sheep should not lead to a time- tested, age old practice being scrapped. There is no rampant misuse of sahayaks, who are combatants meant to support the officers in the discharge of their official duties," said a senior Army officer.

    Added another, "Strict action is taken if any misuse comes to notice in the Army. Visit a district magistrate’s house or any other IAS officer and you will see the real misuse of lower government staff."

    That may equally be true but the parliamentary committee, during its study visits and interaction with jawans, learnt that some soldiers had even been deployed to work as sahayaks with families of officers. When the committee asked an Army officer specifically about this, he replied that the sahayak could be "attending the work at home due to reverence" even though he was not supposed to do it "technically".
    After pay shock, Army officers set to lose batmen

    This topic has regularly figured in the Parliament ever since 1983. No one has been able to do any thing about it. Now as one turns an eye towards other government services, the gross misuse manpower by way of this 'colonial' custom is widespread in all civil services. It may be worth the while for "India Today" or for that matter any magazine or newspaper to do a bit of investigative journalism to determine the magnitude of this 'malaise' in India. Here are some obvious findings:

  • The number of men in the house of an average police officer is two to ten. Some who believe that there is a threat to their lives have many more 'body guards' for security.
  • Railway officers are 'authorized' two men to work in their houses which includes a cook.
  • The Deputy Commissioners and SDMs have scores of people milling around their houses.
  • Officers of the Para Military Forces have a minimum of two orderlies. Senior officers have more.
  • The houses of Judges are provided security personnel And it is well known that the 'sentries' are misused to perform other chores such as upkeep of lawns and running errands.

    India has a feudal past. The Moghuls set these traditions, and the British merely carried them through. Removing 'Sahayaks' without replacing them with something to compensate the officers is neither possible nor, perhaps, desirable. The subject needs to be studied systematically by a social scientist in its entirety before attempting a radical change.

    One may consider doing a full story on this. You will find many readers wanting to know the cost to the exchequer of this feudal tradition. The misuse of manpower in the offices is even worse. Nearly every officer (including Desk Officers) has a 'runner' to give him tea and to move files, and most senior officers have stenos and PAs who take print outs of the officer's emails. And of course, every one who is authorized an official car is also given a driver, so that the vehicle can be used by the family or even friends when he 'sahib' is in the office. This increases the running of the vehicle by a factor of two or three.

    Quite frankly, one does not mind all this. However one regrets that most of the government officers are ineffective. They are rude and inefficient. Common observation: "When Mr X reaches his office, he first does all his personal work. He then does whatever jobs have been given to him by his friends. And, if at the end of the day, he has some time, he 'clears' his official files. The peons and the PAs are necessary because the officers dislike 'dealing' with the public directly.

    Why then, Chastise and admonish only the Armed Forces for this feudal Custom when the whole Nation of Bureaucrats are grossly and blatantly guilty of this practise?
  • Our Army needs to shed its outdated customs

    Mr Palash Krishna Mehrotra, What do you know about the Army to comment on its Customs?

    Dear Sir,

    This has reference to your editorial titled “Our Army needs to shed its outdated customs” (October 26). The author has exhibited his ignorance of the Army and its customs through his editorial. Does he have any idea of Army’s training and its methods? His perception that Army’s training is all about marching and throwing rifles is amusing to say the least. Does he understand the relevance of marching or throwing a rifle around?

    Army doesn’t need a sexy image. People need to be told what it means to join the armed forces. There is no disillusion in the army’s way of life. It is a fascinating experience, which one cannot understand until and unless he experiences it. It is a life of adventure, trust and camaraderie, which unfortunately cannot be experienced, in civil life, especially in India. If one is soft, money seeking and comfort loving, he definitely cannot fit in, in its way of life. I wish the author had examined the contribution of issues such as poor emoluments, frequent transfers, lack of promotional avenues, early retirement, lack of re- employment opportunities, poor pensionary benefits and the down gradation of the status of the armed forces resulting in loss of “izzat” rather than professing an imaginary theory.

    A class of people, who listen only to the call of the trade unions, cannot understand the welfare or the dignity aspects of the soldier. Though it is possible that some of the officers may be misusing orderlies like in the case of the drivers, peons and telephone orderlies etc by the Police, Central Police Organisations, Railways, other central services etc, it does not minimize the requirement of a sahayak in the work atmosphere of an Army Officer. In case the author wishes to know more about the role of a sahayak, I can provide him with the details to enlighten him. The very fact that the Services have managed its huge rank and file peacefully in these days of corruption, mismanaged administration and unethical politics, speaks volumes for the man management skills and the fair play in the services.

    While talking about fragging, the author is correct in stating that the jawan is poorly paid, poorly rested and poorly equipped. Why is it so? Who is responsible for this? The author seems to suggest that abusive and derogatory language is used in the Army universally, which is totally flawed. His opinion that the “culture of humiliation has been ingrained in the army” to toughen the soldier has perhaps been gathered after seeing some innovative serial or a movie and it has nothing to do with the reality on ground.

    The author’s comments regarding army’s role in the valley amounts to vilification of the role played by the soldier in a difficult situation. Has the author seen the operational situation first hand on ground? If not, he has no right to make such derogatory comments. Army has no interest in killing any innocent person in the valley or elsewhere in the country including in a war. It is aware of its role, which is to minimize the level of violence to an acceptable level so that peace can be brought about by a political process. It has played a tremendous role in aiding the populace to continue with their daily life peacefully, despite the ongoing insurgency, which the author has not been able to perceive because of his twisted vision triggered by his ignorance.

    The Indian Army is perhaps the only organization in this country, which is dependable, secular, accountable and disciplined where, mismanagement, corruption, politicization and indiscipline have become a way of life. This is one of the finest organizations in the world let no one have any doubt in this regard. If we tinker with it, its ethos, morale, motivation and training, resulting in the demoralization of the forces it will be a very sad day for the country.

    Thanking you,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retired)

    Dear Editor,

    The piece by Palash in your paper of 26 Oct 08 – ‘Our army needs ...’ reminds me of the old adage ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.

    Besides customs of the army that Palash abhors, he laments that the army is neither sexy nor cool! How profound? When you are in real combat in the midst of fire, with your comrades dying and being maimed, it is discipline and weapons training which help you, not that photo-op with the current heartthrob in some glitzy magazine!

    I used to think that military uniforms were the last word in sartorial smartness, but Palash has dismissed them as dowdy – no silks and gossamer chiffons, no sparkling beads and no skimpily dressed starlet draped on your arms! Should we also send our soldiers to fashion events for training, Sir?

    Palash also hates drill in schools and NCC, especially when it is conducted with ancient rifles, forgetting that it instills quick reactions and obedience to orders. Perhaps we should issue the latest AK’s to our school children, so that they can emulate their counterparts in USA and go on shooting sprees?

    What more can I add, for nobody wants to annoy such an enlightened writer, whose feet are so firmly ensconced in that lavender pile carpet?

    Yours Sincerely
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd)

    Extracts from the article "Our army needs to shed its outdated customs" by Palash Krishna Mehrotra:

    WE, as a people, have a sneaking respect for authority, especially military authority.

    What else could explain the compulsory army- inspired nonsense that we put our kids through in most regular schools: Red House, by the left, forward march… left right left, left right left... Red House: attention. Red House: stand- at- ease. Red House: about- turn.

    Often, it doesn’t stop there. Many schools make it mandatory for their students to enroll for the National Cadet Corps: more mindless marching, more antiquated exercises like throwing a World War II rifle from one hand to another. What good can this possibly be doing anyone? Despite our early indoctrination in the ways of the military, the army doesn’t even figure as a career choice for most young people. This, while being a cause for concern, is not very surprising. Middle class kids don’t want to become army officers because the army is not attractive enough. When seen in the context of the exciting opportunities created by the new economy, the armed forces have very little to offer young India.

    The Indian army hasn’t helped matters by resisting reform. Attempts by the media to give the army a sexy image have been scuttled by those in charge. Men’s magazines that have offered to do American- style photo shoots involving starlets and soldiers have been told to go fly a kite. This has just added to the image of the army as an uncool career destination which is not only poorly paid but is also archaic, outmoded, hierarchical and simply unpleasant. It is just not worth the effort. Glib, patriotic sloganeering is not incentive enough.
    Read the full article at: Our Army needs to shed its outdated customs

    SCPC: Demoralisation of the defence Forces

    Dear Sir,
    Unresolved pay anomalies for over 20 years, non- inclusion of Services representative in the 6th Central Pay Commission despite the services being the largest workforce of the government are inexplicable. The Committee of Secretaries inventing more anomalies when tasked to resolve some of differences arising out of the Pay Commission report and the precedence conscious bureaucracy failing to see the origin of badges of ranks of the Police and the CPOs and equating them with the Army’s ranks are strange. The present controversy regarding the manipulation of the Special Army Instructions on the Revised Pay Scales therefore need to be seen in this background. These deliberately created anomalies appear to be more sinister in design than that meets the eye. It is either that at the top, a decision has been taken to cut the Services to size and bring them at par with the Central Police Organisations or this is a deliberate attempt to demoralize the Defence services, maybe at the behest of some inimical foreign power, in which case, some of the bureaucrats are involved in this mission.

    This being a matter of national importance, the citizens of this country have a right to know the facts. The Government needs to come clean on this on the floor of the Parliament. If that doesn’t happen, the only alternative is to investigate the entire matter by a judicial enquiry headed by a sitting Supreme Court Judge.

    Thanking you,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retired)
    Fresh row over pay orders: MoD delinks rank pay from basic pay

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    SCPC: Grave Injustice to Defence Forces

    It can happen only in India “Mera Bharat Mahan”

    Dear Members of the Media,

    1. Grave injustice to Defence Forces Personnel, the Babus have done it. If there was a separate Pay Commission for the Defence Services; if there was a member from the Defence Forces on the Pay Commission, the Babus would have never succeeded in degrading and disrespecting the patriotic and devoted solider. They have mislead and misinformed the political bosses and succeeded in their resolve to downgrade the military personnel. See the Table below.

    Past Pensioners
    2. Wide disparity in pension between various groups for PBOR and Officers:

    3. Sepoy retired pre 1996 will get a pension of Rs 3,848 where as one who retired pre 2006 will get Rs 4,828 and Post 2006 will get Rs 6,540. Consequently, a Sepoy retiring post Jan 2006 will get more pension than Havildar who retired pre Jan 1996 and pre Jan 2005. Similarly a Naib Subedar will get more pension than Subedar. However, Subedar & Subedar Major will get less pension than what they were drawing pre Jan 2006. This will be severely resented in the villages from where more than 70 percent of personnel are recruited in the Defence Forces. They will start looking for other professions. Likewise, a colonel will get more pension than the Lieutenant General. Never heard of it any where else in the world. How can the Govt create a class with in a class? This is violative of section 14 of the constitution. Who will be the ultimate sufferer? The Nation; the security, of the Nation, why is the bureaucracy doing this disservice to the Nation? The Government must correct this serious anomaly and grant One Rank One Pension immediately.

    4. The above pensions are not acceptable to the more than two million Defence Pensioners throughout the country. We have knocked every door of powers that be but our genuine plea has not yet been heard. We were forced to launch Nation wide protest Movement, India Ex- Serviceman Movement (IESM) with effect from 27 Apr 08 against the Injustices done to Defence Forces. Our Movement is getting wide support and we have resolved to continue and intensify our Movement in its quality and content till all our demands are met. The Government must act now lest it may be too late for the adverse consequences, the accountability for which will squarely lie on the Government and the bureaucracy.

    5. Kindly carry this information in your paper/ TV Channel. We need the support of media to inform the people of the country about the Injustices being done to us and seek their support.

    Jai Hind
    With Kind Regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement (IESM)
    All India Federation of Military Veterans Organisation

    Check out typical quality of "out of tune" bureaucrats taking the nation for a ride. Click on link:
    IAS officer absconding for 8 years gets fresh posting

    SCPC: IESM Fast for Justice, Ambala
    THE EX-SERVICEMEN today ended their relay hunger strike against the approval of the 6th Pay Commission but resolved to observe Black Diwali this year at Amb Roundabout here today. Kharar MLA Balbir Sidhu today offered juice to the ex-soldiers, who were on strike, around 5 pm and requested them to break the fast.

    The agitation went for five days from October 20 to October 24 at the Ambala roundabout in S.A.S. Nagar under the banner of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement.

    Earlier, Cooperation Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh visited the ex-servicemen and supported their demands. Balbir Sidhu also gave assurance to get their appointment fixed with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

    The demand for grant of higher grade pay to Service officers, placement of Lt Col and equivalent in Pay Band-4, reinstatement of pensionary weightages for the Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR), providing HAG + Pay Band for Lt Generals and equivalent holding post of Principal Staff Officer, Director Generals, Controllers etc. The hunger strike on October 20- 24 was also observed all over India in 600 cities, including 14 main cities of Punjab & Tricity, claimed the press statement issued by Ex-servicemen Grievances Cell.

    THE EX-SERVICEMEN today ended their relay hunger strike against the approval of the 6th Pay Commission but resolved to observe Black Diwali this year at Amb Roundabout here to- day. Kharar MLA Balbir Sidhu today offered juice to the ex-soldiers, who were on strike, around 5 pm and re- quested them to break the fast. The agitation went for five days from October 20 to October 24 at the Amb roundabout in S.A.S. Nagar un- der the banner of the Indian Ex-ser- vicemen Movement. Earlier, Cooperation Minister Cap- tain Kanwaljit Singh visited the ex-ser- vicemen and supported their demands. Balbir Sidhu also gave assurance to get their appointment fixed with Con- gress president Sonia Gandhi. The demand for grant of higher grade pay to Service officers, place- ment of Lt Col and equivalent in Pay Band-4, reinstatement of pensionary weightages for the Personnel Below Of- ficer Rank (PBOR), providing HAG + Pay Band for Lt Generals and equiva- lent holding post of Principal Staff Of- ficer, Director Generals, Controllers etc. The hunger strike on October 20-24 was also observed all over India in 600 cities, including 14 main cities of Pun- jab & Tricity, claimed the press state- ment issued by Ex-servicemen Grievances Cell.
    epaper, Chandigarh Edition, SATURDAY,OCTOBER 25, 2008


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