Saturday, November 15, 2008

India's Space Quest Moon Impactor a grand success

In a historic event, the Indian space programme achieved a unique feat today (November 14, 2008) with the placing of Indian tricolour on the Moon’s surface on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday. The Indian flag was painted on the sides of Moon Impact Probe (MIP), one of the 11 payloads of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, that successfully hit the lunar surface today at 20:31 hrs (8:31 pm) IST. This is the first Indian built object to reach the surface of the moon. The point of MIP’s impact was near the Moon’s South Polar Region. It may be recalled that the modern Indian space programme was initiated in 1962 when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of India.

Weighing 34 kg at the time of its launch onboard Chandrayaan-1, the box shaped MIP carried three instruments – a video imaging system, a radar altimeter and a mass spectrometer. The video imaging system was intended to take the pictures of the moon’s surface as MIP approached it. The radar altimeter was included to measure the rate of descent of the probe to the lunar surface. Such instruments are necessary for future lunar soft landing missions. And, the mass spectrometer was for studying the extremely thin lunar atmosphere.

MIP’s 25 minute journey to the lunar surface began with its separation from Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft at 20:06 hrs (8:06 pm) IST. This was followed by a series of automatic operations that began with the firing of its spin up rockets after achieving a safe distance of separation from Chandrayaan-1. Later, the probe slowed down with the firing of its retro rocket and started its rapid descent towards the moon’s surface. Information from the its instruments was radioed to Chandrayaan-1 by MIP. The spacecraft recorded this in its onboard memory for later readout. Finally, the probe had a hard landing on the lunar surface that terminated its functioning.

Thus, India’s very first attempt to send a probe to the moon’s surface from its spacecraft orbiting the moon has been successfully concluded.

With the switching ON of two of Chandrayaan-1’s payloads– Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) and Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM)– on its journey to moon and with MIP’s successful impact on the lunar surface today, it is planned to switch ON and test the remaining eight payloads of the spacecraft in the coming few days.

It may be recalled that Chandrayaan-1 was successfully launched by PSLV-C11 on October 22, 2008 from India’s spaceport at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota into its intended initial elliptical orbit around the Earth. Following this, the spacecraft’s orbit was raised in steps and it was made to pass near the moon by repeatedly firing its 440 Newton liquid engine. After Chandrayaan-1’s entry into its planned lunar orbit on November 8, 2008, the orbital height was reduced in steps to its intended operational altitude of 100 km from the lunar surface.

Since its launch, the health and orbit of Chandrayaan-1 is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre of ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore with critical support from antennas of Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu. IDSN antennas have also received the images and scientific information gathered by TMC, RADOM, and more recently, by MIP.
Indian Tricolour Placed on the Moon on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s Birthday

Ex- Servicemen fratenity and the Armed Forces personnel congratulate the team of Scientists, Engineers and Staff who have taken the first giant step in the conquest of SPACE. Kudos and keep up the fantastic team work.

SCPC: Revised Pension for the Armed Forces

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
Vide Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, New Delhi- 110011, letter No No 17(4)/2008(1)/D(Pen/Policy), dated 11-11-2008 addressed to the three Services Chiefs, the Government decision on the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission– Revision of Pension of Pre 2006 Armed Forces Pensioners/ Family Pensioners has been issued.

Kind courtesy Cdr KK Punchhi, I have received a copy of the letter. The letter is a PDF file of 95 pages (484 KB) is given as link below. I also reproduce below an email received from Lt Gen Kadyan, which will help you calculate your pension as on date.

Dear colleagues,
The pension notification for all of us has been issued a short while ago. The known details for pre 2006 pensioners as of now are:
New pension= Your old pension x 2.26 + Rs 3,000.00 + 16% DA on the total.
The only concession given to defence personnel is that they have been given notional advantage of the MSP for all ranks, including Maj Gen & Lt Gen. That is how Rs 3000 gets added because that is half of MSP. For PBOR it would be an addition of Rs 1,000. More details would follow as these emerge.

Best regards,
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)
Chairman IESM

Based on the email from Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, I have also prepared a table for pension of the officers, which is reproduced below for your perusal. I will also work out the year wise table of arrears and forward the same to you as soon as possible.
TABLE OF PENSION OFFICERS
Those of you receiving different amount of pension than mentioned in the table above, should use the formula given by Gen Kadyan in his email above.

For PBORs: I am sorry I do not have the data for the pension as on 1-1-1996. I will try and get the data if possible and work out the table of pension for PBOR as on date.

On behalf of YOU ALL, "i" thank Lt Gen Raj Kadyan and Cdr KK Punchhi for sending the information to us.

In Service of Indian Military Veterans,
Brig CS Kamboj VSM (Retd)

The government has decided to grant the benefit of MSP to past retirees also which is a welcome step. But my advisory of ‘take it with a pinch of salt’ has also come into play. The addition of an MSP fitment into pension does not translate into direct benefit to all retirees since the benefit of 50% of MSP (Rs 3000 for Officers and Rs 1000 for PBOR) has not been granted for calculation of new pension as per the new 6th CPC system but only for the purposes of prescribed minima for each rank. Meaning thereby that the new pension for old retirees shall not be below 50% of the minimum of new pay band plus grade pay plus MSP (plus x group pay if admissible). Hence the new pension shall be either:
  • As per the new fitment scheme of the 6th CPC (that is, old basic pension x 2.26 + 16% DA as on date) or
  • @ 50% of minimum of new scale + x Group Pay if admissible + Grade Pay + MSP
    whichever of the two is higher.

    Example:
    Pension of a Full Colonel who retired on any date prior to 1-1-2006 would be granted @ 50% of minimum of new scale (Rs 37400) plus Grade Pay (Rs 8700) plus MSP (Rs 6000) which would come to 50% of Rs 52100, that is Rs 26050 (plus the applicable DA of course). The said pension would also be admissible to Lt Colonels who retired prior to 1-1-2006 in case Pay Band-4 is accepted for Lt Colonels.

    An across the board fitment @50% of MSP for all retirees has not yet been granted.

    This paragraph from Govt of India Letter No 17(4)/2008(1)/D(Pen/Policy) dated 11 Nov 2008 may throw more light on the issue:
    “The consolidation of pension will further be subject to the provision that the consolidated pension, in no case shall be lower than fifty percent of the minimum of the pay in the pay band plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre revised scale from which the pensioner had retired/discharged including Military Service Pay and ‘X’ Group pay where applicable. For example, if a pensioner had retired in the pre-revised scale of pay of 6600 – 170 – 9320, the corresponding pay band being 9300 - 34800 and the corresponding grade pay and Military Service Pay being Rs. 4,600/- and Rs. 2,000/- respectively, his minimum guaranteed pension would be 50% of Rs 9300 + Rs 4600 + Rs 2000 i.e. Rs 7,950....”

    Maj Navdeep Singh TA
    Better news for pre 1-1-2006 (and pre 1-9-2008) pensioners in the offing : MSP fitment may be granted to all retirees

    Dear Friends,
    The official communication regarding pension has been received. While I am still trying to analyze the maze of figures, I have just one word to describe this dispensation: it is grotesque.
    Our 'movement' has been given a short shrift, and the sensibilities of the past pensioners have received a severe blow. However, as a die hard optimist, I am sanguine that something will be done to remedy the situation.

    With best wishes.
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)
    PS: Those who are in a hurry may just turn to Annexure II and Table 2 on page 92-93.

    Please click link for the 95 pages of pension tables. Give it an extra few seconds for the 450kb pdf file to load. Bingo you have the pension literally scratched on the moon surface for grabs!
    Implementation of government decision on the recommendations of SCPC- Revision of Pension Pre 2006 Armed Forces Pensioners/ Family Pensioners.
    Alternate CGDA link:
    Pension Orders Pre 2006
    SCPC: Post 2006 Pension Scales
  • Friday, November 14, 2008

    ESM: Pension Tables a critical evaluation

    Comparison of Pensions
    I am attaching the pension table shown above. It has been prepared by some one who knows all the nuances of the subject and is based on the assumption that the recommendations of the Pay Commission are ipso facto applied to the military pensioners. The figures for the period 1996- 2005 are approximate, since they vary with each passing year and the post 2006 amounts are the pensions admissible for those who retire in early 2006. For the subsequent retirees, these will increase due to the 3% increments (the first one due in July 2006) and promotions.

    Please note:
  • At the two apex levels, viz, the Cabinet Secretary/ Service Chiefs and the Secretary/ Army Commanders it is "OROP", per se.
  • For HAG Plus, which has no equivalent in the military so far, it is almost OROP. It is more than a coincidence that an overwhelming majority of the best paid government employees who have been granted this liberal dispensation are civil servants. A fairly large proportion of the IAS and the IPS officers rise to the HAG plus and higher levels while the number of Army Commanders (and equivalents) can be counted on finger tips.
  • Very few of our veteran analysts have studied the effect of the recommendations of this pay commission on the pension of PBOR. It would be noticed that for the Sepoys and the NCOs the difference is fairly large. It is my belief that if the government is so unwise as to extend the civilian pay rule to the pre- 2006 military pensioners then our Jawans stand to loose on every count. It is cold logic that a soldier retiring in Dec 2005 should not be given two thirds the pension of his comrade-in-arms who hangs up his uniform just a month later.

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    We thank Maj Gen Surjit Singh for the critical evaluation of Pension anomalies for the ESM. The grant of OROP is the only logical solution to remedy the lopsided and confusing Pension Tables in vogue. The PBORs and widows are the ones who are victims of the injustice so created by Bureaucrats which ultimately do not benefit the most deserving Jawans in their twilight years.
  • Now firms begin hunt for Ex-servicemen

    siliconindia news bureau
    Thursday, November 13, 2008 Mumbai
    Retired defense personnel are well in demand by Indian firms who are struck in a dilemma of tackling the financial crunch without compromising on their project deadlines. Companies are forced to hire people who can deliver service without charging as much as experienced people would do. Ex-servicemen have become their suitable option as these people are well known for their discipline at work, says a cross section of HR firms.

    "You need discipline, integrity, leadership skills to make big projects a reality. Ex-servicemen are the right mix for such times as they can meet deadlines, are better in critical assessment and organizational tasks," D'Oneil Vaz, CE O of Mumbai based Blue Sky HR, was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.

    The Directorate of Resettlement, under the ministry of defense (MoD), has started a short duration training program for ex-servicemen to make them compatible with the needs of the corporate world.

    "They have a unique advantage that many employees lack," says Dr MC Agrawal, chairman of executive education program at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, which has tied up with the MoD. "They are more honest towards their team, more disciplined, open to ideas and also have a better style of communicating with their team members," he adds.

    A number of blue-chip companies such as L&T, Citigroup, ICICI Bank, Satyam Technologies, Bajaj Auto and RIL have hired defense personnel, Agrawal says, adding that the placements for the current batch of the program are scheduled for November 14.

    As all corporates seek credible, experienced leaders with the vision to excel skills to design winning strategies, motivate retention, and optimum efficiency to grow, these defense officers stand to have a big opportunity.
    Now firms begin hunt for Ex-servicemen
    Ex-Servicemen Ideally Suited for the Corporate World

    Bonanza for University and College teachers?

    The Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, adapted for university and college teachers, have been released by the UGC Pay Revision Committee (PRC) headed by JNU Vice Chancellor Prof. G.K. Chadha. this press release has an extended summary. If everything goes well, university and college teachers will start enjoying their new, enhanced salaries from November.

    Another such committee, headed by IISc's ex-Director Prof. Goverdhan Mehta is looking into pay revision for faculty members at IITs, IIMs, IISc, and other such institutions; it has been asked to submit its report within three months.

    The newspaper headlines point to a (minimum of) 70 percent increase in faculty salaries at all levels. Let me check if this is correct, using university professors as an example.

    As some of you may be aware, university professors start at a basic salary of 16,400 (which is what associate professors in IISc, IITs and IIMs start at). In January of 2006, including the dearness allowance (which accounts for inflation), the bare salary (without other allowances, such as house rent subsidy, city dwellers' subsidy, etc) was about Rs. 30,000.

    According to the Chadha commirtee recommendations, university professors would start at a salary of 37,400. In addition, they are eligible for a grade pay of Rs. 11,000, and an academic allowance (a new feature) of Rs. 1,200. Thus, the new salary works out to Rs. 49,600/-, which is about 65 percent more than the original salary of Rs. 30,000.

    [What about someone with an ME or MTech degree, joining a college as an assistant professor? He/she would start with a salary of Rs. 25,100 per month -- 15,600 at the start of the pay band + three increments of 3 percent each + 6,600 of grade pay + 1,500 of academic allowance (see below) -- in January 2006. Adjusting for inflation, the pay+increments will go up by about 22 percent, yielding a starting salary of salary of about Rs. 29,000 now. In addition, he'she will also be eligible for other allowances -- see below.]

    The Chadha committee recommendations pack quite a few other attractive features. Let me highlight the following:

    If you live in any of the big (Class A1 or A) cities -- apparently, there are 13 of them ;-) -- your transport allowance will go up from the current Rs. 800 (approx) to Rs. 3,200 (plus inflation adjustment).

    For each child (upto a maximum of two children), an allowance of Rs. 1000 has been recommended; if the child is in a hostel, this goes up to Rs. 3000. I believe this is a new feature.

    Under leave travel concession (LTC) benefits, while the number of visits in a four-year block remains at one for anywhere in India, it will go up to three (from the current one) for your home town.

    There are recommendations about how the faculty member and the university will share funds coming through industrial consultancy projects. Since I don't have any idea about what the current norms are, I'm not able to comment on them. On the face of it, they appear liberal: faculty members can get 100 %, 70 % and 50 % of the consultancy fees depending on whether they add up to 30 percent, 100 percent or more than 100 percent of their salary.

    There's a very curious recommendation is about the number of years of service for becoming eligible for full pension: Chadha committee has asked that it be reduced to 20 years (from the current X years; at IISc, I believe X = 28).

    Frankly, this recommendation puzzles me: I can see at least one way in which it could boomerang on universities: faculty members-- particularly capable ones-- may choose to leave after 20 years to take up positions in private colleges and universities, enjoying the benefits of a government sector pension and a private sector salary.

    Thus, the Chadha committee has used both salary and perks to make university and college faculty positions more attractive. Let's see how many of these recommendations will be accepted and implemented. While the UPA government is in a hurry to spread happiness among key constituents, it cannot afford to alienate other key constituencies!

    Bonanza for university and college teachers?

    Comment: Committee's set up for University Pay Panels are headed by academic professionals. Whereas all committee's including anomaly committee to set right pay for defence forces are headed by seasoned bureaucrats whose knowledge of Military is swapped from the Bollywood world of make- believe. Can the Military expect a just pay for its soldiers when men in uniform have been cheated in the earlier pay panels and yet remain unresolved? SCPC is yet again in the cheating spree! While the GOM are busy trying to unlock the four major anomalies another set of seven have been introduced in the Special Army Instruction published on 20th October 2008, by the MOD, to the utter dismay of the Military! The snowball game looks like is in the infancy and more Committee's are yet in the offing to delay and hoodwink the Armed Forces and tire them out in defeat!

    ESM: A positive progressive poser?

    Gentlemen,

    -At the drop of a hat, services are called out to assist- be it a natural calamity, man made or war on terrorism!
    -Had the babus been doing their 'job' by virtue of their powerful, influential positioning within the government, would we have been in in this state- no infrastructure, water, power, core industries or base, psus under closure, law and order problems virtually in all states.
    what kind of governance is this?
    -Have we as a government ever tried to get into the root of terror, but rather only fumble with the after effects, carrying out post mortem!
    -Can we execute the commonwealth games with precision like China's recent Olympic Games?
    Babus, instead of 'dividing, ruling and fooling', tinkering with pay and perks of defence personnel and so forth, should get down to the 'civil servant' job of influencing the ruling party, the ministers to set course of the country towards progress devoid of corruption. Is the Nation asking for too much?

    Regards,
    Cdr Tushar (Retd)

    Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar's negative stance
    On corruption, Mr Chandrasekhar admitted that it did take place.
    “I think corruption does take place. Not only in India, but in many parts of the world. It is an unfortunate thing. Corruption takes place mainly because of shortage in certain areas,” he said. – PTI
    Centre not to raise retirement age

    Positive response? We need to eliminate bureaucratic corruption and CBI should be given a free hand to prosecute at least 50 percent of corrupt officials instead of a measely 2 percent. India being one of the most corrupt nations should not seek refuge in other Nation's which are competing to be the most corrupt!

    Militarism in India: The Army and Civil Society

    History written a decade ago

    A "very important study that attempts to explain why India, unlike many Third World countries, has never experienced a military coup... This book will be of great interest to students of comparative politics, military affairs, and Third World politics, and to South Asianists."

    --See full review by S.A. Kochanek in Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, Vol. 36, No. 6, February 1999

    Militarism in India: The Army and Civil Society in Consensus by Apuba Kundu

    ABSTRACT, CONTENTS & INTRODUCTION
    In many leading third world states, tensions between the armed forces and a civilian government have led to the extreme sanction of coup d'etat and military rule. India remains one of the exceptions: despite great ethnic, religious, regional and economic challenges to the existing order, her military officers have never displayed anything but the utmost loyalty to the legitimate government of the day. This work examines the remarkable consensus of purpose between Indian officers and their civil counterparts in the construction and maintenance of civil supremacy and rule of law. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the personal experiences and reactions of over 100 senior Indian army, navy and air force officers to a variety of professional challenges, from their admission to Sandhurst in 1918 through to the post-Operation Blue Star mutinies of the 1980s. These challenges included the role of officers in the independence movement, the rise of the Indian national armies in World War II, the effect of partition and the transfer of power, the establishment of military rule in Pakistan, the rise of the Menon-Kaul nexus, the effect of defeat in the 1962 Sino-Indian War and Indira Gandhi's period of Emergency Rule. India's 'top brass' have never before spoken in such numbers or on such sensitive civil-military issues.

    This work will appeal to all those interested in the history and politics of South Asia in general, and in theories of civil-military relations and military professionalism in particular.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Dr Apurba Kundu is a lecturer in the Department of Cybernetics at the University of Bradford, UK. He has published numerous articles on Indian civil-military relations, British South Asians, and information technology in various journals including Asian Affairs, Defence Today, Electronic Journal of Communication, Immigrants and Minorities, Indian Defence Review, and Pacific Affairs. He currently is the editor of Contemporary South Asia, chair of the South Asian Social Researchers' Forum and serves on the steering committee of the British Association for South Asian Studies.

    Born in Jamaica, raised in the USA, and educated at the University of Leeds, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Dr Kundu now lives in Bradford with his partner and their two children.

    Sample Review
    Apurba Kundu examines the absence of a military coup (“the non-event”) in Indian politics since 1947 by undertaking an in-depth interview and questionnaire survey of existing and former commissioned officers... the journey is enlivened with interesting recollections as well as a careful reassessment of existing controversies. Kundu writes crisply and clearly. The volume will certainly be of great interest to students of civil military relations... this is an impressive effort that brings together interesting insights from those who have held important positions in India’s armed forces. The volume provides an invaluable point of departure for undertaking more systematic research into the contemporary nature of civil-military relations in India. The main thesis that the author develops has profound implications for the study of civil-military relations, especially in an age of democratisation where there has been an apparent retreat to the barracks. The book is a timely reminder – if one was needed – that we cannot be complacent about the role of the military in developing societies.

    Militarism in India: The Army and Civil Society

    Comments: Politicians and Bureaucrats who adorn the mantle of Governance of the Nation should not take undue advantage of the patriotism and loyalty of our Defence Forces and pay them peanuts for defending the nation with their sweat blood and tears! The SCPC has done it in repetition, replete with anomalies in consonance with the earlier Pay Panels. The Ex- Servicemen have been dumped, slighted and cheated with empty promises!

    ESM: A Picture and a Nation

    Photo Courtesy: Phillyburbs.com, Thank You

    Photo Courtesy: Stripes.com, Thank You

    By now, we all must have seen the above picture flashed in every major media outlet all over the world. President designate Obama here is seen hugging Tammy Duckworth at Bronze Soldiers Memorial at Soldier Field, Chicago. She is seen with her husband in the second picture.

    So who is Major Tammy Duckworth ?

    Maj Duckworth, a brave daughter of an American father and Thai mother, is a National Guard Volunteer who opted for a tour of duty in Iraq where she got hit by a rocket propelled grenade and lost both her legs and also suffered other permanent injuries. For the uninitiated, the National Guard is a part-time national service voluntary force like our Territorial Army (TA). Maj Duckworth, despite her disability is still a National Guard volunteer and has also been appointed as the Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for the State of Illinois. She stands decorated with the Air Medal, Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal.

    The State Departments of Veterans’ Affairs have been in the forefront for veterans’ rights and policies in the US. What is strikingly refreshing is the fact that the State Governments in the US are not rank conscious while appointing heads of veterans’ affairs who are directly answerable to the State Governors and who play a major role in the lives of veterans and also their families.

    We, on the other hand also have a proactive set up dealing with ex-servicemen (high time we shed this term– it should be gender neutral : either ex- service members or veterans) welfare but the system is so much embroiled in red- tapism, hierarchism and rank consciousness that the ultimate benefits do not efficiently percolate down to beneficiaries. The system is also lopsided at places and undermines military dignity. To take an example, all over India, DCs/ DMs /Collectors of Districts, mostly young IAS officers are appointed Presidents of Zila Sainik Boards ex- officio. Kendriya Sainik Board guidelines however provide that in each district the Vice- President of the Sainik Board should be a retired General Officer. So we ourselves from within the Kendriya Sainik Board (whose Secretary is a serving defence officer) have initiated a hierarchy wherein young bureaucrats are placed as Presidents and retired Generals are placed as Vice- Presidents.

    Secretaries of Zila Sainik Boards in each district (also variably known as Distt Sainik Welfare Officers) mostly used to be retired Honorary officers or released Commissioned officers of junior ranks earlier. However with our own policy in 1999, the Kendriya Sainik Board directed that such appointments must only be made from amongst retired officers of the rank of Major, Lt Col or Col. As a policy it may seem good but the modality not realized by the powers that be was (/is) that the post of Secy Zila Sainik Board in most states is an appointment under the Junior Time Scale (JTS) equal to a pay and status of a Lieutenant and in this light was it prudent for us in the Kendriya Sainik Board to have initiated an upward revision of ranks without first asking the States to upwardly revise the pay and thereby the status? Isn’t it self deprecating asking Majors, Lt Cols and Cols to join lower rungs of civil hierarchy?. Most young IAS officers usually extend due respect to retired military officers but it is not normally the case with officers from other state and provincial cadres. And here I also agree with civilian officers of mixed organizations who say that Army officers are often ready to take up lower level ‘below status’ appointments in MES etc to enjoy cushy stints– this definitely leads to status erosion in the longer run, but that’s my personal opinion of course.

    Coming back to the Sainik welfare hierarchy. Secretaries of Rajya Sainik Boards (also known as State Directors of Sainik Welfare) are also to be appointed from amongst retired Brigadiers according to Kendriya Sainik Board Policy. It’s another story that most of such appointments were placed in the approx pay scale of a Major of the Army. If indeed an enhanced pay package cannot be provided then a contractual honorarium shall be better than a regular pay scale since it would at least bypass any comparison with serving civil officers. If retired Brigadiers were to be recommended for such appointments, then firstly the nomenclature of the appointment should have been upgraded to ‘Director General’ and pay scale should have been enhanced. Even the Zila (District) level officers should have been made directly answerable to such State level heads and not civil district heads as is the present practice. Vice Presidents of Zila Sainik Boards should have been designated as Advisors and not Vice Presidents who are placed below young civil officers designated as Presidents. The above are small changes in nomenclature which can go a long way in enhancing the dignity of retired officers. But is anyone listening and is someone ready to challenge the status quo ante?

    The ideal set up would be to have an accomplished veteran at the head of the State organization not based on rank but based on his or her achievements, Maj Tammy Duckworth anyone...?

    By the way, this is what President- elect Obama had to say on the occasion yesterday:

    "On this Veterans Day, let us rededicate ourselves to keep a sacred trust with all who have worn the uniform of the United States of America: that America will serve you as well as you have served your country. As your next Commander-in-Chief, I promise to work every single day to keep that sacred trust with all who have served. May God bless our veterans, and may God bless the United States of America."

    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 11:41 AM
    A Picture and a Nation

    Comments: The National and State level Bureaucrats have skewed the functioning of Zila, Kendriya and Rajya Sainik Boards. There is glimmer of hope to anticipate any tangible changes in the near future as the whole network is steeped in corruption, nefarious and self- preserving activities.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    SCPC: Bloating the Armed Forces?

    Retention and Motivation a Joke?

    Ajai Vikram Singh's recommendaion "Bloat the the TOP BRASS"

    Rover communications half a century ago

    Lt Gen J N Choudhry arrives to witness the Hockey Match

    Brig Iyappa the Director Signals on a visit to regiment with CO and other Officers

    The ‘Rover’ is the commander’s wireless link to the world when he is moving away from his headquarters. It was a few days earlier than the Corps exercise that I was ordered to check the performance of the GOC’s Rover around Jalandhar. Possibly due to the rigors of atmospherics or the ionosphere not playing up; the results of the trial were deemed to be unsatisfactory. The trial now was extented to Ambala.

    We had tied up and the three of us, me, the radio operator and the driver of the Jeep left for Ambala it was already dusk. Under the circumstances, the rapidly shifting of the ionosphere layers, predictably was the worst time for HF communication. The question of remaining in touch and maintaining communication from the speeding Jeep, the Signal to Noise ratio degrading fast just did not arise. The Second World War 19 HP trans- receiver pumping out a couple watts of energy and a not so sensitive receiver even with the 14 feet rod antenna trailing at an angle was totally unsuitable for the task and we were soon out of touch with the Control Station at Jalandhar.

    Ambala, 172 Km away, I was told to go and I was determined to accomplish the trials. Communication or no communication; Hello Alfa Bravo Charlie report my signal calling and calling again and again ,repeated ad nauseam, hoping against hope to make a contact till we reached Ambala.

    I knew a senior officer, a not too distant relative, then posted at Ambala. Though it was late in the night, hoping for a cup of tea, something to eat and not the least to have a look at his young daughter and if possible exchange a few words with her, I got dropped at his place while sending the detachment to the Four Divisional Signal Regiment, then located at Ambala, for some hot- food and if possible try to contact Control at Jalandhar using a wire aerial.
    I did get the tea, the Black label whisky was politely declined, as also something to eat but the main attraction of landing there was conspicuous by her absence, she preferring to stay inside even though it was a fairly hot summer night.

    Having done our duty both in letter and spirit we turned back towards Jalandhar, alternately calling and listening, now more hopeful of making a contact as the distance to Control Station at Jalandhar was decreasing by the minute. All this time we were oblivious of the flap going on back at Jalandhar, with no news of the Rover detachment every one was hoping for the best and fearing the worst possibly even rueing the decision to send us on a wild goose chase.

    Low on fuel as we turned in a wayside petrol pump, the day was already breaking and with the physics of radio wave propagation becoming more favourable, the welcome call of the control, manna to our ears and soothing to our sore throats, came booming into the head phones.

    Bleary eyed, deprived of sleep having been on the move throughout the night we drove in to the unit lines. Dismissing the detachment I presented myself to the Second -in -Command Maj Harchand Singh. With the failure of the mission at the back of my mind I was mentally braced for an imperial rocket. Possibly the relief of seeing me in one piece and not lying mangled somewhere on the road between Jalandhar and Ambala with the wrecked Jeep, the worst case scenario, was enough to cover my acts of omission and commission. I was summarily dismissed and ordered to go and rest in my room. I have no doubt that the next call by him must have been to the worried CO informing that every thing was in order.

    Brig Lakshman Singh VSM (Retd)

    Comments: Fifty years ago the Director(s) Signals, Ordnance, EME and Army Supply Corps were all Brigadiers. Upgradation to Lt Gens in the last four decades have actually degraded the Armed Forces Rank Structure, Honour and Status. The SCPC has crowned them all with further upgradation, and subtly devastated the Warrant of Precedence; giving the Armed forces a eternal blow to prestige of Commissioned Ranks. Bureaucratic goals: "Appease the top few and throttle the rest"!

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Voting rights: Status of Negative Vote


    The Truth about 49-O:

    If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark. This Infers that in no case will there be a re polling in the said constituency, however the negative/neutral vote is registered and counted so as to cross check on the total number of votes polled. VoteIndia.in encourages Voters to cast a protest vote incase they feel there is no right candidate to vote for.

    Here is what the Election Commission has to say on NEGATIVE/ NEUTRAL VOTING:

    The Commission has received proposals from a very large number of individuals and organizations that there should be a provision enabling a voter to reject all the candidates in the constituency if he does not find them suitable. In the voting using the conventional ballot paper and ballot boxes, an elector can drop the ballot paper without marking his vote against any of the candidates, if he chooses so. However, in the voting using the Electronic Voting Machines, such a facility is not available to the voter. Although, Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 provides that an elector may refuse to vote after he has been identified and necessary entries made in the Register of Electors and the marked copy of the electoral roll, the secrecy of voting is not protected here inasmuch as the polling officials and the polling agents in the polling station get to know about the decision of such a voter.

    The Commission recommends that the law should be amended to specifically provide for negative/ neutral voting. For this purpose, Rules 22 and 49B of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 may be suitably amended adding a provision that in the ballot paper and the particulars on the ballot unit, in the column relating to names of candidates, after the entry relating to the last candidate, there shall be a column "None of the above", to enable a voter to reject all the candidates, if he chooses so. Such a proposal was earlier made by the Commission in 2001 (vide letter dated 10.12.2001).

    (A petition by the People as Union for Civil Liberties seeking such a provision filed at the time of the recent general elections is pending before the HonĂ­ble Supreme Court) the way; of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public.
    Correct information about Section 49-O of the Constitution

    SCPC: Pay being offered to the armed forces is meagre

    Express News Service
    Posted: Jul 26, 2008 at 0109 hrs IST

    Chandigarh, July 25 “The soldiers in the army have limitations and can't fight the government on the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. Therefore, there is a need for someone to stand by them, or the politicians will do injustice to them," said Lieutenant General Prem Nath Hoon (Retd), former army commander, Western Commander.

    He was addressing a press conference here today. He said that the politicians were responsible for demoralising not only the serving soldiers but also the youth aspiring for the armed forces. "The pay being offered to the armed personnel is meagre as compared to the salaries offered by the private sector."

    He urged the people to visit the war memorial in Sector 3 to pay homage to the martyrs on the Kargil Diwas. He said: "The government does nothing for the armed personnel. It is up to people to remember those who laid down their lives for the nation."
    Pay being offered to the armed forces is meagre

    Armistice Day observed in Puducherry

    Photo: T. Singaravelou

    PAYING HOAMGE: Consul-General of France in Puducherry Joelle Rayet and Secretary to Government T M Balakrishnan at the war memorial in Puducherry on Tuesday.

    PUDUCHERRY: The 90th anniversary of Armistice Day was observed on Tuesday. Consul General of France in Puducherry Joelle Rayet and Secretary to Government TM Balakrishnan placed wreaths at the War Memorial on Goubert Avenue on the day.

    A number of persons including the officer bearers of association of retired French military and civil service persons placed wreaths at the war memorial.
    Armistice Day observed

    Beijing reloads Arunachal gun

    OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

    New Delhi, Nov. 11: Beijing today rejected Delhi’s position that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India, saying China had never recognised the “illegal” McMahon Line that functions as the eastern border between the two countries.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang accused Delhi of ignoring “historical facts” as he “deeply regretted” external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee’s comment on Sunday that Arunachal was an integral part of India and that China was “aware” of it.

    “China and India have never officially settled demarcation of borders,” PTI quoted Qin as saying at a regular bi-weekly news briefing in Beijing. “The current Chinese government, as well as previous ones, has never recognised the illegal McMahon Line…. India knows this.”

    India refrained from issuing a formal statement but a foreign ministry official said: “What the foreign minister had said is our stated position; there is no need to add anything to it. The Chinese are entitled to have their view on any issue.”

    This is the second time in about a week that the Chinese have taken exception to comments by Mukherjee. Beijing last week rejected an alleged remark about a “China threat” by Mukherjee — as attributed to him in a section of the media — during a speech he made to the National Defence College on November 3.

    However, the Indian foreign ministry spokesperson denied Mukherjee had made such a comment. “At no point in his speech did the minister use the word ‘threat’ to describe China.”

    Mukherjee had said on November 3: “What are the immediate challenges that we face? To my mind, the foremost among these would be to cope with the rise of China.”

    China reacted by saying the two countries had agreed not to consider each other a threat and that Beijing posed no threat or security risk to any Asian nation.

    The foreign ministry spokesperson, however, said Mukherjee had “recognised that there is enhanced engagement with China and we have today a completely different situation. Economic development has given both countries new capabilities and it is our belief that there is sufficient space for both India and China to grow together and build a cooperative relationship”.

    In his speech on Sunday — at Tawang in Arunachal — too Mukherjee had “underlined” that India and China “have different perceptions on the question of boundary”, a ministry source said.

    The McMahon Line is a line on the map that harks back to the Simla Convention between Britain and Tibet in 1914.

    Beijing reloads Arunachal gun

    Comment: Can the hon'ble Minister for External Affairs enlighten the Chinese abroad when he at home is at loss to resolve the armed forces pay anomalies created and complicated by the Bureaucrats and still dangling in the misty Himalayan air?

    ESM: Do we have a Day to Honour Our War Dead?


    This is with reference to Gen Vijay Oberoi's letter titled 'We need to change Tack' in which there was mention of the wearing of a red poppy in Europe on Remembrance Day to honour the war dead and veterans of those who fell, those who were wounded and those who survived the wars.

    The wearing of small red paper poppys by men and women on their clothes made the day more significant as the red poppy signified the war dead of World War I.

    The link of the red poppy with the war dead commenced after a very moving poem titled 'On Flander's Fields' in remembrance of those who died in World War I. This short poem caught the imagination of the military and the civilian alike.

    The red poppy today is synonymous with Remembrance Day and with the war veteran.

    I feel it would be good if we could also link our Remembrance Day proposed to be held every 16 Dec with some symbol. A paper flower to my mind is the answer. It should be a simple flower and not one that could get mixed up with other orgs eg. The Lotus is the symbol of the BJP. Possible options are the marigold (genda), the daisy, the sun-flower etc.

    If I had a choice, I would go for the marigold because it is an Indian flower that is in use to celebrate both life and death. Since time is short this year, we could use a fresh flower to symbolise our movement. In subsequent years we could use a paper marigold.

    Since we contemplate the celebration of Remembrance Day and its association with the War dead, the war wounded and the war veterans, you may like to consider including the above proposal and my poem on the 'Unknown Soldier' in your eminently popular 'Report my Signal'. The theme of the poem is in keeping with the way the soldier is treated when the war is over. The poem is from my book 'Param Vir' and is given below.

    The Unknown Soldier

    I am the unknown soldier, forgotten and ignored
    When once the war is over and peace and quiet assured

    We fought for you and country and now that we are dead
    We rest in quiet exclusion, 'cause nothing more is said
    Of how we did our duty, that you may rest in peace
    When once the foe was vanquished and the strife of war had ceased

    The country called upon us to do what needs be done
    To oust the vicious enemy and ensure the war was won
    Our near and dear ones blessed us and sent us full of pride
    To defend our country's honour and some were new wed brides

    We went and fought your battles, most of which we won
    Some never came back, all were mother's sons
    Our bodies they do lie there, on hill and vale and plain
    Exposed to all the elements of snow and ice and rain

    So many were so anxious, some still do wait in vain
    What can you do to lessen our loved ones grief and pain?
    Our last rites were not given, we died a soldier's death
    Our eldest sons kept waiting, their hopes could not be met

    We went and did our duty, we do not ask for much
    Only a piece of honour, our loved ones' hearts to touch
    A place where they can think of happy days gone by
    To pray on the lonesome morrow and if need be stand and cry

    Although we've left earths orbit and need to rest in peace
    Our souls are not past caring, our pain will never cease
    Till you and the country's leaders create a haloed space
    For a fitting War Memorial, on valour and honour based









    Maj Gen Ian Cardozo AVSM, SM (Retd)

    Wars may come and go. But our debt to those who sacrificed their lives remains for ever


    COMMENT: Wars may come and go. But our debt to those who sacrificed their lives remains for ever. The 90th anniversary of the Armistice was one of many anniversaries being marked this year and observed all throughout the world. A far cry from own Establishment's 'reluctance' to observe 'VIJAY DIWAS'! Explains, at least partly, the step- motherly treatment meted out to the Forces by the 'Pay Commissions'.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    IESM: Hunger Strike at Lucknow

    The Lucknow chapter of IESM duly supported by all ESM organizations held relay hunger strike on 20th and 21st October 2008. While efforts of all officers and PBOR were equally praiseworthy and in perfect harmony; the contribution and zeal of veteran Havaldar P N Srivastava merit special mention.

    Despite initial inability to muster adequate strength for the proposed relay hunger strike, Hav Srivastava took it as a personal challenge for garnering large support by visiting his home town, Ghazipur and adjoining areas for the Veteran's Meet.

    Hav Srivastava not only quickly established very cordial links with all veterans who had helped organize several meetings here, he also took active part in ensuring wide media coverage.

    The last minute patronage, provided to the movement, by veteran Lt Col Kuldip Singh, also gave an equal– if not a greater fillup to the media interest.

    Lt Col AK Saxena (Retd)

    IESM: Injustices to Defence Services

    PRESS NOTE
    IESM Movement Against Injustices to Defence Services: Hunger Strike throughout India with effect from 16 Dec 2008.

    Dear Members of the Press,

    1. In spite of our best efforts the Govt has not shown any concern towards the genuine and legitimate demands of Defence Services personnel– both serving and retired. The pensionary benefits accruing to the Ex Servicemen due to 6th CPC have not yet been notified/ granted while all other central Government pensioners have received their arrears. This is causing undue and unwarranted hardship to Ex Servicemen in these times of galloping inflation. None of the demands of ESM including One Rank One Pension has been accepted so far.

    2. Not only the Government has not addressed the four core demands which the Chiefs had put forward, but seven more serious anomalies have been added. The whole case of 6th CPC in respect of Defence Services appears to have been handled with prejudice against the Defence Personnel. If the 6th CPC award in respect of Defence Personnel is implemented in the existing form, it will create serious crisis in the Defence Forces including ESM with serious repercussions. Why the Govt is not serious in accepting the genuine demands of the Defence Forces, is not understood?

    3. The concern and apprehensions about the involvement of the Defence Personnel in such a dastardly act of bomb blast is understandable. The news is not only sensational but a cause for deep concern, as the image of Armed Forces as a whole as the last bastion of our Secular Democracy is being questioned. However, we wish to inform the people of our country that this incident if proved, may at best be an aberration than a deep rooted conspiracy as alleged by the Union Minister of State. Let it be known that Defence Forces have foolproof system of checks and balances to ensure such incidents do not take place. Enforcement of a very strict regime of discipline is the cardinal principle of ensuring effectiveness of our functioning. To illustrate this, an example of North East is quoted here. During 1997-1998, 2800 cases of rape, crime against women by civilian population including Civil Govt personnel were reported as against 14 cases by the Military Personnel. These 14 cases were promptly investigated and dealt with as per the Military law, 6 cases were found to be false and in the remaining cases, all the 8 accused personnel were dismissed from service and awarded rigorous imprisonment ranging from 2 years to 7 years within three months of the cases being reported. However, in the case of civilian accused persons not even one case progressed in the court during the above two years. Similarly all such cases are dealt with utmost urgency by the Military. We wish to appeal to the politicians not to politicize this incident to score some brownie points against their political opponents. We can assure the people of India that Army would never shelter the culprits if they are guilty as is already evident from the fact that they are fully cooperating with the Investigating Agency. We request the Govt and politicians not to mix up this incident with the demands of Defence Personnel. The Govt must not delay in sanctioning the demands of both serving and ESM. One Rank One Pension must be sanctioned at the earliest. The Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) has decided to launch Hunger Strike throughout India with effect from 16 Dec 2008 if OROP is not granted by that day. In the intervening period protests will be planned to be executed by each State, District and city conveners of IESM Movement and veteran organisations across country. The protests will be carried out in a dignified manner within the Democratic norms and discipline.

    5. At present there is a deep sense of resentment in the Defence Forces due to adverse service conditions and loss of prestige, compounded by indifferent attitude of the Govt and perverse recommendations of the 6th CPC. We implore upon the Government not to ignore the grievances of the Armed Forces and request them to take immediate remedial measures.

    Jai Hind
    With Kind Regards,

    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement (IESM)

    DEMANDS OF MILITARY VETERANS

    To lead their retired life in peace with Honour, Dignity & Izzat- the hall marks of a Soldier; the MILITARY VETERANS request:

    1. "One Rank, One Pension" (OROP) be sanctioned IMMEDIATELY. This is a long pending demand aimed at protecting the interests of older pensioners; and the issue has become very emotive with the Ex- Servicemen. OROP has been the stated policy of all mainstream political parties. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has been asking the Govt. time & again to implement 'One Rank, One Pension'. Para 99 of the Report of Standing Committee on Defence (2003) clearly states: "The Committee has been recommending grant of `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel time and again. The Committee observes 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 pension 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 value of money. The nation must repay its debt to those defenders 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 reiterates their earlier recommendation for providing `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel". *[For purposes of 'Pension' the term MILITARY VETERANS includes widows/ parents /next of kin of soldiers who were killed in battle and also those who died in peace time, and in receipt of pension from Defence Dept].

    2. Resettlement of Military Veterans by way of:
    (a) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, for lateral induction of Service Officers, JCOs & Jawans and their equivalents in the Navy & Air Force, into Central & State Services and PSUs, at appropriate levels, so that MILITARY VETERANS too have just, fair & equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years, at higher levels & appointments.
    (b) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, making it mandatory for all Corporates and Industries related to supply of equipment, materials & stores to the Armed Forces, for employment of MILITARY VETERANS to the extent of 10 % of their work force.

    3. Constituting an Ex- Servicemen Commission with necessary statutory powers at the national level to look after all the welfare measures of the Ex- Servicemen community. As is the practice in the case of other similar commissions, the Ex- Servicemen Commission be headed by a retired Chief of the Army/ Navy/ Air Force and should have Military Veterans from the three Defence services, as its members; and also suitable members from Military Veterans fraternity representing War Widows and the War wounded.

    4. Representation of the Ex- Servicemen on all committees and other such bodies constituted for the purpose of looking into matters affecting the interests of the Ex- Servicemen.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    The Indian Armed Forces Secular Fabric is Steadfast

    Indian Armed Forces Secular Fabric Intact

    November 8, 2008 by Deepak

    Vikas had traced the history of the Malegaon blasts accused in an earlier story. That blogpost ended with a very pertinent question about the public image of the Indian Army. While the answer to that question lies in the realm of the future, the events related to involvement of certain Army Officers in terrorism have grabbed the headlines in the mainstream media.

    Most of these stories are asking one big question— whether the secular fabric of the Indian Army has been eroded. For many service officers and veterans, this event unfolds at an inopportune time, when the three service chiefs are battling hard to restore the status of their officers.

    An article appearing in Rediff.com attempts to get into the DNA of this undesirable happening.

    The arrest of Lieutenant Colonel Purohit in connection with the Malegaon blasts has come as a shock because it involves a man from the defence forces.

    Major O A M Tims, who was secretary to Field Marshal K M Cariappa, says that there is a perception that everyone in the army lives together in harmony. “While on the surface it appears so, below the surface there is this hatred among communities which is growing. This trend has been around since the 1980s and here I want to quote what my commanding officer had to say on this trend. He had said that if such a trend continues in the army where communal hatred is growing, I am sure that there will not be an India very soon.”

    Major Tims said that the arrest of Purohit was shocking but deep down he realised that this was something that was waiting to happen. “There is a general perception that the continuous battle with both Pakistan and Bangladesh has made several persons within the army communal, which is not at all true. We have been in war with Pakistan since 1948, but when we fight them there is no such thing as Hindus and Muslims. It is just another enemy country,” Tims said.

    “However the secular fabric of the army has started to erode thanks largely to the political equations in the country. Politics is being mixed with the army. There have also been instances of close contacts between some army personnel and politicians, which has contributed to the change in mindset, which in turn has turned them communal,” Tims said.

    “In my opinion there are two factors that may have pushed them to take such a step. One is the feeling of communal hatred and also I am sure that these chaps would not have done it without there being a monetary consideration.” Tims said.

    “What I foresee is that this will not end here. The arrested man is bound to come up with more names and I predict only harder times ahead for the Indian Army. If found guilty I demand that these men are hanged because the very secular fabric of this great institution is being eroded by the madness of a few,” the major said.

    Indiaid.com chips in with views of some renowned defence analysts.

    “Having somebody in uniform involved in terror charges is a very serious issue. On the face of it, it seems to be a one- off case but there may be many others who would be ideologically inclined,” says, Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, former director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). Bhaskar said even if it was an isolated case, it would set a bad precedent. “It may be in isolation but I will not be complacent about it. The entire system needs to be alert,” Bhaskar said.

    Major General (retd) Ashok Mehta said, “The kind of people who have been joining the army is a reflection of society. There are many people in the army who feel the same way. People have to be educated on secular values, especially in the army.”

    “The Indian Army never had such a case when a man has become a terrorist accused. It is a question of the infiltration of radical groups in the Indian Army. The groups have been trying it for long,” Major General (retd) Afsar Karim said.

    Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. S.S. Dhillon, however, termed it a ‘freak case’. “We are alert but it is one-off case. Even though it is a setback for the Indian Army’s image, it should not be thought that the whole army is such,” Dhillon said.

    Has the secular fabric of the Indian military been eroded? One hopes that the answer to this question is a big NO!
    Has the secular fabric of the Indian Military eroded?

    ESM: Voice of Veterans Dehradun

    Press Release: Facts of the case which need be rectified to solve 6th CPC problems.

    As you know there was no representation of Defence Forces in the 6th CPC and all the data fed to 6th Pay Commission was through the MOD(Ministry of Defence). The three Service Chiefs had made presentation on the subject to the Hon’ble Defence Minister in April 2006. After the 6th CPC. awards the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff committee and other chiefs, again made representation of the core issues as genuine grievances emanating from the anomalies of the 6th CPC awards. The matter though referred to the group of Secretaries and later to the Group of Ministers, continues to be lying in cold storage. You can well imagine the priorities being given to the problems of Defence Forces.

    Fourth Pay Commission had authorized from 1.1.1986, Rank Pay as Special Pay due to peculiar service conditions, to be paid in addition to the substantive Pay(Integrated Pay Scale). It was deemed to be ‘Military Service Pay’. It was proportional to the Rank held varying from Rs 200 to 1200 from Capt to Brigadier. This was doubled by the 5th CPC. It was ironically deducted from the Integrated Pay and this was held as incorrect deduction by the Hon’ble Kerala High Court order 5.10.1998 and 4.7.2003 and SLP filed by the Union of India was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court order 12.7.2005.

    The incorrect deduction of Rank Pay was again resorted in fixation of pay under the running pay band introduced under 5th CPC award 1.1.1996. Factually the Rank Pay of Rs200 to Rs1200 for respective ranks was NOT paid and the affected officers Capt to Brig were deprived of the rank pay, though authorized. Consequently the basic pay and status stood scaled down under the 6th CPC award. The aforesaid Court orders have not been implemented to date. Neither this fact has been brought on record of 6th CPC nor was deliberated. As such the CPC was misled with incorrect data placed on record resulting in scaling down the status and pay scales of the commissioned officers viz a viz their counterparts in civil services Gp A officers and CPMFs. This has been the core issue as the genuine grievance.

    It may be added here that our financial Pundits instead of giving Rank Pay in addition to normal pay, showed it as paid in the Pay Slips of the officers but actually had deducted it from their ‘Basic Pay’ so that Defence officers neither come to know of it nor get any amount extra than their civilian counter parts as authorized by the 4th CPC. This is a calculated mischief played and those who committed it should be brought to book. These are the guys who are preventing even Court Orders from being implemented.

    As you know, the status, the Scale and allowances of all employees, are worked out on the basis of their Basic Pay alone and the 6th CPC has put all Defence officers accordingly in lower scales and Grades in comparison with their civilian counter parts on the basis of their reduced Basic Pay. This aspect was not brought to the notice of 6TH CPC by the MOD, in spite of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court judgment Orders dated 05.10.1998 &04.7.2003 and their SLP having got dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, Order dated 12.7.2005. The implementation of the Court’s judgment were explicit in their direction and there was no justification to skip the issue at sixth CPC stage. Further, the Hon’ble Supreme court have held that wherever a discrepancy has been detected and orders passed, in similar cases, the matter need not be referred to courts again and the Departments concerned should settle the cases. When veterans filed writ petitions in different Courts to make their claims on non- compliance of orders, they have tried to call it Sub-Judice, though there is nothing of the sort as no one has challenged the said judgment.

    It created all the anomalies being faced by the Defence Personnel now for which all this hue and cry is taking place. If they simply restore the deductions made in the Basic Pay as stated above, the officers will automatically come in higher scales and they will get the same Pay, grade and status what their civilian counter parts are getting and all the anomalies raised would get solved. Even the Ex Factor of 1.86 which is applied on Extent Pay, would bring parity. Since all officers were getting ‘Rank Pay’ before 6th CPC, all should automatically become entitled to Military Pay authorized by the 6th CPC now, whether they retired before or after 1.1.2006. Wherever the scales are the same in Defence as in other civilian Departments, the grade pay sanctioned for those, should also be equal to maintain parity in scale and status.

    Admissibility of MSP is being contended as a new disposition with effect from 1.1.2006 and shall reckon for pension of retirees from 1.1.2006. The said contention is misplaced and erroneous where as it is extension of the Rank Pay granted from 1.1.86 for peculiar service conditions and deemed as MSP. Thus, logically the MSP now introduced at the scale of Rs.6000/- for officers rank up to Brigadier and Rs. 2000/- for PBOR is extension of Rank Pay and admissibility of pension at maximum of pay scale of post/rank held. The MSP should thus be admissible to all pre and post 1.1.2006 retirees and shall be in conformity with the concept of modified parity enunciated by the 5th CPC award.

    In case of PBORs the ‘Group Pay’ has been retained for group X but the same has been withdrawn for groups Y&Z in the process of merging both, which needs to be restored. On the contrary the scales of civil Para- Military forces, Constables right up to circle Inspectors in some categories, have been raised but in case of Jawans, who are much more skilled than those and live much more tougher lives, have not been brought even to their level. The extent scales of PBOR should be immediately up graded keeping the role and hazardous service conditions and lower retirement age of 40- 50 years as compared to 55 years for CPMF.

    The PBOR used to get pension on maximum of the scale which has now been reduced to 50% of their last pay they draw at the time of retirement. Why scaling down their maximum of the scale as they use to be entitled? This way they were coming closer to one rank one pension formula. Little more weightage in service, as done some time back, would have solved this problem. It can still be solved by giving weightage which brings to full service and solves this problem once for all. For officers too, if they put them to the maximum of the new scale at the time of retirement, the problem gets automatically resolved. All committees formed to discuss Defence Welfare matters should have Defence representatives in those as members to project Defence point of view.

    If these points are taken care of by the authorities all the problems get automatically solved. Data, if any, required to support the above case can be produced and is available with our expert Col KL Dewan, who has studied, worked out the details and compiled it. It will boost the morale of the troops and also of those who wish to join Armed Forces.

    We are thankful to our Service chiefs for presenting facts boldly for the welfare of the troops.

    Brig KG Behl (Retd)
    President Dehradun Ex- Services League

    Pay Commission: In defence of its own goof up by the Ministry of Defence

    No:1(5)/2006/D(Pay/Services)
    Government iof India
    Ministry of Defence
    New Delhi, the 29th August, 2006

    Subject: Extension of Benefits of the judgement of the High Court of Kerala in Writ Petition filed by Maj AK Dhanapalan (Retd) to similarly affected persons.

    Sir,

    I am directed to refer to your letter dated 19th July, 2006 addressed to Director(Fin/Est/MO) in this Ministry on the above subject and to state that in pursuance of the order of the High Court of Kerala in the above said case, sanction for re-fixation of the pay and pension of the petitioner was issued in August, 2005 and arrears of Rs 28,031/- were paid to him.

    1. Consequent to the said judgement, the Ministry has been receiving a number of representations from retired/ serving Defence officers for grant of similar benefits. Some of the retired officers have filed Writ petitions in various High Courts. In this connection, it is stated that all these officers did not take up this issue with the concerned authority in their Service Headquarters and with this Ministry through statutory complaint and other channels and have now raised the issue almost 20 years later. The principles of latches is, attracted in the instant case.

    2. Moreover, records of so many officers belonging to eighties and early nineties will not be available.

    3. The matter has been carefully considered and it has been decided to contest the writ petitions filed in various High Courts. At the same time, the Ministry of Defence has decided to file Special Leave petitions/ Review Petition in the Supreme Court against the judgement of the High Court of Kerala in Maj AK Dhanapalan's case.

    Your faithfully
    sd/-
    (R K Grover)
    Under Secretary to the Govt of India

    Posted by Lt Col CPC Nath (Retd)
    RTI Request for the pay refixation information

    Comment: A typical bureaucratic reply to scuttle court rulings! A bureaucrat expects each and every officer to indivdually file statutory complaints through proper channel. God bless the nation and the Military whose job is to defend the nation. Do Military Personnel have time to file millions of Statutory Complaints against the Pay commissions through the cobwebs of Bureaucratic morass?
    What is "Principle of Latches"? This, one thought is a colonial law to which there are many keys to unlock. The Bureaucrats seem to have lost the keys in the piles of files created by babudoom!

    Resolution of pay commission anomalies
    The veterans of Dehradun held a press conference on 5th Nov 2008 at Press Club and placed before the Media facts of the case explaining how the matter can be solved. The Press conference was addressed by Brig KG Behl president Dehradun Ex- Services League on behalf of all. We requested the media which is very powerful to project and take up the case to settle the case which is not very difficult to solve if the Govt. decides to implement the Court judgments which are already there. Instead of further waiting and unnecessarily delaying its implementation they should gracefully accept the mistake made in deducting the Rank Pay from Basic Pay from 1.1.1986 when they showed the Rank Pay having being paid in individual Pay Slips of officers but actually deducted from their basic Pay. This deduction resulted in lowering of Basic Pay on which everything is worked and based on viz. Scale, Status, Grade, Allowances etc, and this deduction has brought Defence Forces lower than their civilian counter parts in every respect.

    Once the Hon'ble Courts have held the orders wrong and those have been implemented in one of the cases by the Govt. they should honorably implement that order in other cases and restore the deductions of Rank Pay made from other similar cases.

    If they restore this deduction made all the anomalies automatically get solved as explained in our Press release (posted in the blog). I would request you to to circulate it to all concerned, including the officials and members of different committees concerned and the hon'ble Prime Minister so that without further delay the matter gets solved. Government can always implement cases by declaring to honour the Court judgment even when those are so called sub- judice. The problem gets gracefully resolved.

    Regards,
    Brig KG BEHL (Retd)
    President Dehradun Ex- Services League

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Indo Pak War 1971: The final Victory

    16th December 1971 was a day to remember in more ways than one. The daybreak came not with bright sun-shine but with a severe storm raging in its full fury, it was more like a tornado with the corrugated tin-sheets from various structures around getting uprooted from their moorings by the force of the wind and flying around like unguided missiles.

    Coming out of my hut I was buffeted by the strong gusts of the wind, crouching low and struggling against the wind force I slowly made my way to the mess for breakfast. However, the mess was in a mess with soot every where. No breakfast could be served that morning as the strong gusts of wind flowing in and out of the kitchen made it impossible to light the stove.

    POW camp Gaya

    Down below in the planes of the then East Pakistan birth of Bangla Desh had taken place and the post-delivery calm prevailing. It was all quiet once again after days, months and years of killings of the locals prolonged fighting by the Mukti Bahini and a short fight with Indian forces when 90,000 odd of the Pakistani Army had surrendered to India Armed forces.

    (Later while commanding the regiment at Ranchi, I had gone to Gaya, to visit the Brigade Signal Company located there and happened to visit the POW camp commanded by Lt Col Mahender Singh Tiawthia of Signals. I felt extremely sad to see the Pakistani young officers corralled behind the barbed wire fence.)

    The War of liberation over, the instrument of surrender having been signed at Dhaka and things returning to somewhat normal state, with my mother’s demise at the back of my mind all the time I then requested and was granted a few days of leave.

    Changing trains at Delhi Junction for Dehradun, I possibly one of the very few soldiers returning from the Eastern front was besieged by a welcoming party and escorted to a stall serving free Idli-Dosa and other South Indian delicacies.

    Excitement of meeting Jeet and the children staying in separated family accommodation with many other families as neighbours was over- shadowed by once again the ‘Survivors Feeling of Guilt’ returning from the battle front, I was dreading of any bad news fortunately, all were safe.

    The short leave over once again back at the Delhi Railway station I was looking for the stall dispensing free Dosas. However not only the welcome party was missing but the stall had also been wound up. The fervour for the sacrifice by the Army made only a short time back was now History. Public memory is so short.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

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