Saturday, November 22, 2008

SCPC: How the MSP of veterans' vanished into thin air?

Magic: MSP represented by red balls vanishes into thin air

Some Pertinent Questions Regarding Pensions of Veterans

My friends and comrades have, by now, read and re- read the Govt of India letter dated 11 Nov 08. They still turn to me for answers to a few very valid questions, which are not explicitly stated in the captioned letter.

  • Are the past pensioners entitled to the benefit accruing from the award of MSP?
  • Is Grade Pay to be considered while arriving at their revised pensions?
  • How is it that the revised pension of several senior ranks is the same?

    The Answers
    Having granted the increased MSP to serving soldiers, and after having accepted it as a part of Basic Pay, the government realized that they could not (or would not like to) bear the burden of admitting this largess to past pensioners. A very ingenious process was then invented to admit it to the past pensioners, and yet contain the financial burden to a negligible amount. Here is how they have achieved it. The formula for revising pensions is as under:

    Step One
    The revised pension for all past pensioners is arrived at by multiplying the current Basic Pension by a factor of 2.26. This Basic Pension does not include the 50% DA merged as DP on 1.4.2004 (For those who retired after 1.04.2004, the Basic Pension must first be worked out by dividing the Pension given in their PPO by a factor of 1.5, since in their case the pension is inclusive of 50% DP)
    Step Two
    The pension thus calculated is subjected to ‘the protection clause’ That is, if the pension worked out as above is less than 50% of the minimum of the Pay of the relevant Pay Band plus Grade Pay plus MSP, then the revised pension must be stepped up to the amount thus calculated. By coincidence (or design) the ‘protection clause’ results in a benefit to a small fraction of officers only. Officers of the rank of Lt Col and below as well as the entire gamut of PBOR gain nothing from this clause.
    Step Three
    If, as a result of this stepping up, the revised pension of a given rank is found to be lower that that of his lower ranks, then the pension of the senior must be stepped up to become equal to the pension of the lower rank.
    An Exception to the Above Rule. Army Commanders, Chiefs and their equivalents in the civil as also the ex-DGs of Police are an exception to the rule. They are on apex scale and have, therefore, been granted Rs 40,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively.

    The Resultant Picture of this absolutely brilliant piece of villainy is as under:
  • All PBOR and officers up to the rank of Lt Col will get no benefit of MSP or the grade pay. Their revised pension has no relation to the pension granted to the post-2006 retirees.
  • Cols and Brigs pensions shall be stepped up to the level of 26,050 and 26150 respectively. In this the pre-1996 Cols gain a significant amount; the Brigs, a bit less
  • Maj Gen and Lt Gen are not entitled to MSP (though MSP has been taken into consideration of the fitment of their Pay in the new scale) Now since their revised pay works out to be lower than the Pension of Brig, their pension has been stepped up to 26,150 (the pension of Brig)
  • Lt Gens who retired after 1996 with a basic pay of more than 23,450 will get no benefit out of this ‘protection’ clause since their revised pension is higher than 26,150
  • A huge gap has become apparent between Lt Col and Col; as also Lt Gen and Army Commanders.

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)
    The above is only an exract. Please click on any link below for the complete magic of MSP vanishing into thin air. Bureaucrats are astounding magicians!
    Scribd Doc: How the MSP of veterans' vanished into thin air?
    Google Doc: How the MSP of veterans' vanished into thin air?
  • Neglect of military morale

    First Published: 20 Nov 2008
    It is a fascinating paradox. The greater the military’s involvement in national security and contribution in the management of national crises, the greater its alienation with the nation’s governing apparatus and those who exercise influence over it. The point is best illustrated by the fallout of the reports of successive pay commissions. The defence services expectations from the Sixth Pay Commission for a change in trend set by the previous pay commissions are again belied. For them one more nail into their coffin of hope.

    Despite angry protests and representations the final dispensation promulgated has widened the chasm and brought disaffection within the services to the point of despair. Fervent appeals from the top brass of the three services and considerable lobbying by the retired fraternity of the armed forces evoked little or no sympathy in the quarters that matter. Public support is evidently there but it is of no solace to the armed forces if such adulation does not impact favourably on the outlook of those who decide.

    Strangely the media support has also been quite muted and hardly discernible. To some observers it appears as if a ‘gag order’ had been sent out by the powers that be. Whatever the reasons the media support that the armed forces were hoping for has not been forthcoming; no-prime time features — other than the recent burst by one TV channel – or front page headlines espousing the case of the armed forces. To the contrary we have had some esteemed columnists regrettably castigating the service chiefs on the position taken by them — to withhold the new pay implementation orders.
    Lt Gen Vinay Shankar
    Former Director General of the Artillery
    Read the full article at: Neglect of army morale

    No Communalising Armed Forces

    No serving military personnel can have truck with a political party, leave alone a radical group. Therefore, the alleged involvement of a serving military officer of the rank of a Lt Col in the Malegaon bomb blasts and possibly association with a radical organisation, have not only sent shock waves within the military, but in the entire country, as well. Both as a rule and tradition the Indian military has always operated above and beyond the political and communal boundaries. Therefore, this incident is too serious to be overlooked. Military will have to carry out detailed investigations to determine if the concerned radical group or any other communal element has made any inroads into the rank and file. Commanders must remain alert and be on the lookout for signs of disaffection against any community amongst their officers and troops. They must act with the greatest promptitude and vigour to firmly put down any such tendency or inclination.

    Yet the military cannot remain completely isolated and unaffected by the goings on in the country. Though terrorists have no religion, for they kill people of all faiths, including women and children, yet the media has been painting only a particular community in black colours. Often the investigating agencies to cover their own failures and to show quick results pin the blame on the community whom the public already perceives as the culprit. This creates heightened feeling of distrust and hatred against that community. In such conditions military personnel cannot remain completely isolated and not get influenced by prevailing feelings of animosity against the targeted community.

    To protect military officers and troops from the virus of communal contagion and the dangerous fallout from this disease, good leadership and firm handling is necessary. Any signs of communal, regional or community bias surfacing amongst the troops and officers must be put down with a heavy hand. Loyalty, commitment and involvement of officers and troops with the national cause and country’s well being must transcend caste, regional and religious barriers. During periods of civil disorder officers and troops operate without any regard to the religion of the miscreants.

    It would be relevant to recall just three incidents in the military, which relate to the manner of handling of such cases After Operation Blue Star, mutiny by few Sikh soldiers, incidents in Punjab and the killing of the PM coupled with the manner of coverage of these events by the media had led to a feeling of animosity towards the Sikhs. In this some of the military officers and troops too developed communal bias against Sikh troops.

    At Kota two Sikh jawans and their wives were severely beaten by troops of another unit for no valid reason, what-so-ever One of the men had to be placed on dangerously ill list (D I list) while the other on the seriously ill list (S I list). This led to the court martial of the concerned officer (OC advance party) , dismissal of the Subedar Major (an Arjuna award winner) two other JCOs and three ORs. When some Principal Staff Officers at Army HQ recommended disbandment of ‘ class units’ (with the Sikh units in mind), general Sunderji would not hear of it and firmly put an end to this move...

    The third incident relates to a senior officer (a Maj Gen) inflicted with communal virus On noticing that the guard at the army commander’s residence was from a Sikh unit, he ordered that it be replaced immediately. So a new guard was posted. The abrupt removal of guard escaped the army commander’s notice.

    A few days later the Subedar Major of the battalion whose guard had been prematurely replaced arrived at the flag staff house to meet the army commander. He told the army commander that he had come to meet him without the knowledge of his commanding officer. He sought the reason for the removal of guard from his unit so abruptly: within few days of its duty at the flag staff house! He wanted to know if the army commander had lost faith in the troops of his battalion.

    The army commander expressed concern at this abrupt change of guard It was without his knowledge and that he had failed to notice the change. He told the Subedar Major, that he did not want to prematurely replace the guard presently on duty, but once it’s tenure of duty of one month was over it would be replaced by the guard from his battalion. He thanked the Subedar Major for bringing this occurrence to his notice.

    Then the army commander (a Coorgi officer) enquired as to who had ordered the removal of the previous guard and the reasons for the same. The concerned Maj Gen, presumably gave his reasons for the change. Those reasons made the army commander put an end to this officer’s otherwise promising career. There is no room for complacency in dealing firmly with such matters in the military.

    The Indian military is the very epitome of national integration It’s strength lies in its cohesiveness, the quality of its officers and their ability to build on this unity and pan India character. Military is the country’s ultimate instrument to defend its survival. If it fails then there is nothing but Nadir Shah.

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)

    Acknowledgement: We thank Gen Harwant for sending us the transcript. Good lessons of military traditions to be inculcated in our young officers.

    SCPC Debate: The holy warrant of precedence
    Why is the State unconscionably shoving its boots on the face of the military? What explains its downhill journey in the warrant of precedence?

    Lately, in an article, retired Lt Gen Harwant Singh cited why the defence officers were being hard-bone-by. The bureaucracy, taking advantage of political corruption, kept the pot stirred by raising the odds of a military coup, and worked up this fear to emasculate the status of the top echelon, at the cost of the nation's overall strategic disadvantage.

    A committee of secretaries revises the warrant of precedence periodically. Gen Harwant Singh writes that as the chief of defence staff in 1981, Gen O P Malhotra raised the issue of downgrading of service officers in the warrant of precedence (this has direct bearing on the pay).

    In response, the committee of secretaries recorded, "Military officers were placed unduly high in the old warrant of precedence, presumably as it was considered essential for officers of an army of occupation to be given special status and authority. Mind you, it is not Mirwaiz Umar Farooq but the bureaucrats that called the Indian Army as an army of occupation!

    Of course, Gen Malhotra riposted that the pliant colonial bureaucracy (civil servants and police) was the tool of oppression wielded by the Raj to quell the freedom movement, not the army. In fact, the strike of naval ratings in Bombay on February 18, 1946, that spread to major cities was what signalled to the British that it was time to pack their bags and decamp.

    Gen Harwant Singh rightly concluded that it was highly malicious for anyone to decry the Indian Army as an army of occupation.

    Once the political class colluded with the bureaucracy, there was no stopping the descent down the warrant of precedence. Perhaps the mandarins still see the military as an army of occupation, which should explain why they are pulling out all the stops to belittle it. Hence their effort to further throttle the services through the SCPC.
    Heed the cry of the armed forces
    Tailpiece: Henderson- Brooks report will spill the beans and belie if there is any truth to brand Indian Armed Forces an as "Occupation Force". The report after 40 years is still classified SECRET. The bureaucrats do (not) want the citizens to know the truth about the onslaught inflicted on the Indian Armed Forces?

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Veterans Day New York

    Dear All,
    Attached above are some pictures from the Veteran's Day Parade held in New York City on Nov 11th 2008. About 20,000 Serving and Veterans took part. The Parade ended up at the Intrepid (War Ship) where it was addressed by the President, George Bush and Hilary Clinton.

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)
    Slideshow of 22 Photographs: Veteran's Day New York
    We thank Gen Harwant Singh for the excellent Photographs. Veterans truly held in esteem.

    Fast Track Cabinet decision on judges’ pay hike

    Breaking News concerning telecom minister Raja's issue, the screen was flashing with "PM AND FM IN THE LOOP". Within half an hour, Government's decision regarding the judges salary hike started flashing "1 lac per month for the CJI and 5 lac per annum pension". Judges are lucky for such a real 'FAST TRACK' decision unlike the SCPC for the Armed Forces Pay Anomalies which is still looped and locked up with the GoM!
    FinMin objects to judges' pay hike plan
    Cabinet to decide on judges’ pay hike

    Army deserts Army Wives' Welfare Association

    CHANDIGARH: Caught in an RTI poser that sought information on the funding of Army Wives' Welfare Association (AWWA), the Army in a shocking reply to the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instead disowned it.

    Offices of AWWA are scattered across Army cantonments in India and its headquarters is in South Block, Delhi like the Army headquarters. It is, on the face of it, a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

    Giving a new twist to the ongoing debate over functioning and funding of AWWA, the Army has in a five- page reply, filed on behalf of the chief of staff, Western Command, said it has nothing to do with funds for the association either.

    The reply, a copy of which is with TOI, is to be submitted before the CIC next Monday (November 24). It comes over a year after the Army declined to provide information on where money for AWWA came from, taking recourse in the plea that as the body was not funded by the government it did not fall under the RTI purview.

    In fact, the Army has gone on to plead with Major (Retd) Guneet Chaudhary to withdraw the petition since "he too has donned the Olive Green and he is well aware of the yeoman's service done by AWWA for jawans. We leave it to his wisdom and discretion whether he should continue to insist on or persist with the issue which was closer to his heart at one point of time and in any case is a non-issue when it comes to questioning it. He may seek to withdraw his appeal and put a full stop on the issue".

    In the RTI application, Chaudhary had sought information from Western Command about the legal status of AWWA, source of funding, organizational structure, number of officers and other ranks attached with it, reason for giving office space in the high security zones of western command headquarters, grants given to widows and orphaned children of Army in the last five years and the AWWA president using Army aircraft and Army vehicles.

    "As regards funding, we reiterate with all emphasis that Western Command (or Army) does not fund AWWA in any manner," states the reply even as documents procured by TOI on Wednesday revealed that AWWA was funded by a total of 18 HQ brigades in 2004 and by 16 HQ brigades and divisions in 2007.

    Record reveals that all AWWA offices are run with the financial assistance from various units. Even the officer-in-charge of the schools run by AWWA are serving Army officers of the rank of Lt Col. An interestingly point: If the Army doesn't pump in money for AWWA, it's a miracle who runs the sprawling network as there is no subscription fee for membership.

    Moreover, all vehicles used by AWWA in their day-to-day functioning belong to the Army and the wives' association even finds a mention in the Army's official website. The matter will be finally heard by the commission on November 24.
    Army deserts its wives' welfare club
    Official AWWA website
    AWWA Awards Presented
    Welfare in AWWA & AWHO

    Comment: The Army should come clean and if AWWA is an illegal association then it should be prudently closed down. Similarly all illegal welfare organisations need to be vetted and made legal as per society act of 1860. One cannot steal and use resources for a noble welfare cause. All welfare association's accounts must be able to stand public scrutiny in the public domain. Armed Forces need to be scrupulously honest befitting of a soldier. Prudent action alone can regain our lost honour and dignity.

    Are we worthy of a soldier’s supreme sacrifice

    This particular anecdote comes from the archives of The Sunday Indian: a ’straight from the heart’ account of a journalist, Prasoon S. Majumdar, Editor, Economic Affairs, The Sunday Indian.

    Around six years ago I traveled to Kerala on some official assignment. I boarded the Kerala Express at New Delhi and knowing that the journey is going to take 54 hours, I was keen to know about my co-passengers. As I boarded the train, I realized that the other six passengers are all men! Out of all them, the eldest and the wittiest, who could effortlessly initiate conversations was an ex-IFS, who had taken a voluntary retirement and was on his own. The next was a LIC agent from Kerala (whose eyes always preyed for potential policy buyers), had come to receive the award for being one of the outstanding performers from the South zone, and now was returning. The third was a serious looking hotelier, a General Manager in a five star property in Delhi, was going to Kerala to meet his parents, who also had seen a girl for him. The fourth was a journalist from Cochin, who commanded profound knowledge of the thriving pornography industry, had come to Delhi to cover some news beats. The fifth one, a soldier from Palaghat, and the most intriguing of all, in fact the protagonist for our long 54 hour journey. And the sixth was – me, the story teller.

    The first day of our journey went by discussing politics to pornography, most of it was initiated by the ex – bureaucrat. The only person who stood completely disinterested was our soldier friend. Sitting by the side lower berth he kept on looking outside, got down at every station, and kept asking everyone whether the train is moving at a right time or not. His gestures suggested that if he could, he would run faster than the train to reach his destination. It was only in the later part of the second day that he got a little comfortable with us. He hardly spoke, but whatever he shared left us completely dumbstruck. He started by saying that was on his way back, after almost nine months serving at Siachen. He had not taken a shower in the past six months and had been on a diet of dry fruits and chocolates. We could gather his urgency to reach Palghat, when he told us that he was blessed with a son four months back, and he didn’t even know how he looked! What awed us was this man’s humility, innocence and his genuine ‘going home soon smile’. It never appeared to fade even when he kept on narrating inhuman experiences that hundreds of soldiers like him undergo, while guarding our borders.

    By night all of us hit our respective berths. I couldn't sleep as the soldier’s narration kept on reverberating in my mind. From my berth I kept on looking at him and found that he couldn't sleep either. He got up, opened his trunk, and looked at the gifts that he got for his son, took out a small mirror and combed his hair. He repeated the same in a similar sequence innumerable times.

    While I read today that on an average one soldier of our Indian Army is giving away their life, once in every three days, on account of mental and physical strain, I am reminded of him. It is him and every soldier like him, who are giving away every bit of their precious life to make us feel secured. Frankly – ‘Are we any worthy of their supreme sacrifice?’
    Prasoon S. Majumdar
    Editor, Economic Affairs, The Sunday Indian.
    Worthy of a Soldier's Supreme Sacrifice?

    Comment: The Jawan guarding the nation requires the best weapons, palatable food, quality clothing (winter) and unadulterated Petroleum Products. The MOD task is to monitor these aspects. However due to apathy of bureaucracy and corruption what we see is that the soldier hardly gets his entitlements, rather he is burdened and saddled with poor quality and sub standard personal/ fighting gear. He literally has two fronts to battle first the enemy and second his embittered morale due to poor quality gear and food. The scene is akin to all poverty alleviation programmes, where the beneficiary hardly gets 10% of his entitlement. For every charitable dollar received from abroad by NGO's only 20% reaches the poor. The rest is eaten up by overheads and needless expenses to keep the bureaucrats happy. In our case the defence contractors call the shots!

    IESM delegation meets AK Anthony

    Dear Colleagues,

    Earlier this evening an IESM delegation from Punjab, accompanied by Gen Satibir and self met Ambika Soni. The meeting was facilitated by Mr Balbir Sidhu, MLA from Mohali, who has been very helpful in our cause and deserves our full gratitude and support.

    Thereafter, accompanied by Ms Ambika Soni and Mr Sidhu, we met Mr AK Antony. It was a good meeting and our perception of Mr Antony being supportive of the defence services got further reinforced. As decided in advance our focus remained only on OROP, while the memorandum we submitted had all the four demands.

    Apart from our own presentation of the case, Ms Ambika very convincingly and commendably put across the case of OROP in particular and of the defence forces in general. Veterans remain very grateful for her support. We are scheduled to meet the PM shortly (tentatively Monday, 25 November)- again thanks to Ms Ambika soni for scheduling it.

    Best regards,

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

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    ECHS and its present pitfalls

    ECHS Noida

    Our Babus have again taken the gullible Services hierarchy for a ride. Our serving soldiers who are ever so keen to do good for their respected Veterans have accepted in true military style to continue to look after us from within their own resources including their welfare funds. A recent report on Peripatetic Check and Review of the ECHS May-Aug 2008 has this amazing Finding:

    “Xxxxxxxxx the clientele is very satisfied with the Scheme and considers it to be a boon from the Govt, which was long awaited. IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE SCHEME WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL UNTIL THE THREE SERVICES HAD NOT SUPPORTED WITH THE FOLLOWING”: - (SIC)

  • Additional Medical Officers and Specialists from welfare funds.
  • Huge clinical manpower which includes both the serving doctors and hired manpower from Regimental funds.
  • Patient comfort by providing amenities from its regimental funds and creation of additional space at the Polyclinics.

    Does all this sound even remotely like a sincere effort to reduce the load on the Services medical facilities? Just one small example of how expecting the Armed Forces to provide ECHS cover from within existing resources man power and funds affects the system will be enough. Currently, after a reimbursement bill has been passed the cheque has to be collected by the ESM personally from Station HQs Delhi Cantt. Reason: The Station HQs are not authorised funds and therefore service labels to stick on the envelopes forwarding the cheques to the individuals, which have to be sent through the mail.

    Whereas we have generally got used to being taken for a ride by our worthy politicians and babus the question that needs an answer is- how was the existing structure of the ECHS conceived? It does not take a genius to comprehend that such multiple channels of command will be a non-starter. Is it any surprise that no matter how hard the MD ECHS tries he will not be able to push Station HQs Area HQS etc who neither report to him nor have dedicated staff for ECHS purposes. The MD ECHS and the Regional Centres lack authority for exercise of functional controls over the Polyclinics and also the Station HQS controlling the polyclinics. No wonder good hospitals refuse to waste their time chasing their claims and we are left with poor quality health care.

    The Army has adequate experience in such Schemes in the shape of AGIF, AWES and AWHO. Though these schemes are pure Army schemes without Government resources did we need to make a hash of the Command and Control structure of the ECHS. Unified Command is a well-known and recognised tenet of management within the Armed forces. MD AGIF manages all AGIF functions, MD AWHO manages all AWHO functions, then why the mess in the ECHS. Is it any surprise that things are not settling down even five years after inception of the Scheme?

    As I said at the beginning the purpose of the ECHS was to reduce the Ex Servicemen load on Services hospitals and resources. Somewhere along the line this main thought has been lost sight of and the ECHS has fallen prey to the standard “building of its own empire” syndrome. We therefore have a recommendation from the Review Committee, which states: -

    Reduce referrals to civil empanelled facilities by augmenting Polyclinic/Service Hospital facilities by providing specialist cover within the authorised medical establishment
    Improve the system of drugs procurement and management by improving the policy for drug procurements by DGAFMS and Polyclinics and by authorising contractual manpower for better drug management.

    The ECHS in the absence of clarity of a strategic vision, which envisaged outsourcing of ESM patients to existing civil facilities, has embarked on a course of creating more polyclinics, more dependence on Armed Forces infrastructure and funds without insisting that the Govt ensure the desired standards. The report on Peripatetic Check and Review of The ECHS says it all in just one sentence “IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE SCHEME WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL UNTIL THE THREE SERVICES HAD NOT SUPPORTED WITH THE FOLLOWING.”

    This is the philosophy that has prompted the ECHS to propose a shift of the Noida Polyclinic from its present location to Sector 52 in land owned by the Coast Guard (Defence Land) so as to raise a more spacious Polyclinic. The comfort and convenience of ESM “Comes Last Always and Every Time”. I am strongly of the opinion that in Noida where there is such a large concentration of ESM the Arun Vihar RWA must get actively involved in all ECHS matters not as an authority but in a supportive role.

    Improvement in the functioning of the ECHS is a continuing subject. This article is intended to make ESM aware so that they can demand what is justifiably theirs by right; and to make the ECHS more responsive to ESM requirements. To summarise what is required is as follows: -

  • Refer patients to empanelled hospitals of the patient’s choice anywhere in the NCR.
  • Permit empanelled hospitals to undertake “out patient” treatment in emergencies to be determined by the Dr at the empanelled hospital.
  • Appointments in RR to be arranged by the OIC Polyclinic. A methodology can quite easily be worked out.
  • After investigation reports to be collected by OIC Polyclinic from the RR.
  • All paperwork required after emergency “in patient” and “outpatient treatment” at empanelled hospitals to be handled between OIC Polyclinic and the empanelled hospital.
  • OIC Polyclinic should keep a track of all individual reimbursement claims generated after emergency treatment at non-empanelled facilities, which should be cleared at various levels in a set time frame. Presently the ESM has to do the chasing of the claim after it leaves the Polyclinic.
  • Reimbursement claims of individuals be sent to the Noida polyclinic from where they can be collected.
  • The Polyclinic must continue in Arun Vihar with the RWA getting more actively involved in its day-to-day problems without becoming a hindrance.
  • The Polyclinic should be the one point contact for ESM. There should be no need for him to contact anybody else in the ECHS chain.
  • Make arrangements despite staffing problems to ensure early clearance of pending bills of empanelled hospitals. This is the reason why all the good hospitals have delinked from the Scheme. An all out effort needs to be made to get the best hospitals on the ECHS panel.
  • Reference to empanelled hospitals should be the norm. More and more dependence on Army Hospitals is violative of the very basis on which the ECHS was created.

    Brig SC Kuthiala (Retd)

    Full article click:ECHS by Brig SC Kuthiala (RETD)

    We thank Brig SC Kuthiala for his indepth analysis of the functioning of ECHS. He has amply described the mindset of bureaucrats who have taken the veterans for a royal ride. He has also given us valuable suggestions for improving the functional efficiency of the system. Kindly click the above link to read his full article as only extract has been posted here.
  • IESM: Our Ethos and our Refrain

    Ex- Servicemen Movement in essence beholds a singular aim with many routes. The ethos of veterans is embodied in this refrain "I believe".

    A Birth Certificate shows that we were born...
    A Death Certificate shows that we died...
    Pictures show that we lived!

    I Believe...
    That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other.
    And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do love each other.
    I Believe...
    That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
    I Believe...
    That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
    I Believe...
    That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
    I Believe...
    That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
    I Believe...
    That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
    I Believe...
    That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
    I Believe...
    That you can keep going long after you think you can't.
    I Believe...
    That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
    I Believe...
    That either you control your attitude or it controls you.
    I Believe...
    That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
    I Believe...
    That money is a lousy way of keeping score.
    I Believe...
    That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down,
    will be the ones to help you get back up.
    I Believe...
    That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
    I Believe...
    That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.
    I Believe...
    That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others. sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.
    I Believe...
    That no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.
    I Believe...
    That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but, we are responsible for who we become.
    I Believe...
    That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.
    I Believe...
    Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. (So true of all the veteran organisations)
    I Believe...
    That your life can be changed in a matter of seconds by people who don't even know you.
    I Believe...
    That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you- you will find the strength to help.
    I Believe...
    That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
    I Believe...
    That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.
    I Believe...
    The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
    they just make the most of everything.
    (reproduced from the Internet)

    SCPC: New Pension Tables for Pre 1996 Retirees

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    In brief, before giving detailed information about pension let me give you summary pertaining to pre-1996 officer pensioners (it assumes full pension was earned and not pre-matured)-

    In the above table since the pension of Maj Gen and Lt Gen works out to be less than that of Brig, it has been equated to that of Brig. Table pertains mostly to the pension revision of pre- 1996 pensioners. Those who have retired between 1.1.1996 and 31.12.2005, will get higher pension than those who retired before 1.1.1996. This amount will vary depending on rank and also it would depend on your pension when you retired, which may differ in the same rank also. You have to follow the guide lines that have been followed in calculating the pension of pre- 1996 veterans. Those who retired after 01 Jan 2006 should refer to the letter at webpage, which is very simple to follow. Click the link: Pension Post- 2006

    I had requested the following General Officers to help us out regarding the correct interpretation of the final pension letter issued by Ministry of Defence on 11 Nov 08, regarding pre- 1996 pensioners:
    Lt Gen GL Bakshi
    Maj Gen SC Suri
    Maj Gen HK Bajaj
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh

    All the four above General Officers have very kindly responded. In addition I have also received very useful inputs from Cdr KK Punchhi and Maj Navdeep Singh. On behalf of YOU ALL, “i” thank all the above mentioned officers for helping us in understanding the implications and “ghundis” of all the instructions pertaining the pension orders for pre-1996 pensioners.

    I will not be able to clarify any further individual queries on this subject. Doubts if any may kindly be discussed among your respective groups. KINDLY DO NOT ENDORSE COPIES OF YOUR GROUP DISCUSSIONS TO ME. Those of you drawing the disability pension or NPA or other allowances should carry out further calculations yourselves. For calculating your arrears you may kindly make use of the following table of old and new DAs can be used by you:

    I still do not have tables pertaining to PBOR pension. As soon as I can obtain these I will forward those for the benefit of our PBOR members. As regards the officers pension, the highlights are given in subsequent paragraphs (for pre-1996 officers):

  • You have to calculate your pension in two ways and the one more beneficial to you will be apply.
  • The first calculation you should do is to multiply your pension as on 1.1.96 by 2.26.
  • The second calculation you should do is using the pay bands given in 6CPC, take the min pay of applicable band and add Grade Pay and MSP of Rs 6,000.00 (MSP applicable upto Brigadiers only); divide the total by 2.
  • Compare the calculations of of above and select the higher pension.
  • The 11.11.08 letter of MoD leaves a major doubt whether MSP is applicable from 1.1.06 or 1.9.08. As per the initial clarification given in 6CPC, the MSP is applicable only from the date of application of 6CPC– that is 1.9.08.

    The pay band table is as under:

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

    We the Veteran fraternity thank Brig Kamboj for taking great pains in untangling the Pension Tables which in its true Bureaucratic Style has mystified even the die hard mathematicians. Can the government not have a simpler system where even the most uneducated can understand the nuances of entitled pension? Can a widow or a PBOR for that matter really predict, leave alone calculate his/ her full entitlements? The creation of a welfare department in the MOD is a farce with the only aim of perpetuating employment opportunities of babus and reducing the ESM to a non entity!
  • Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    ESM: Facilities and Schemes

    Introduction: The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP), as adopted by the Government, envisaged setting up of a new Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare in the Ministry of Defence. A new Department called “Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare” was created on 22nd September, 2004. The main objective of creating a new Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare is to give focused attention to the welfare programmes for ex-servicemen and their dependants including pensionary benefits, re-employment and rehabilitation.

    Resettlement: The primary thrust of the Directorate General of Resettlement, Kendriya Sainik Board, Rajya Sainik Boards and Zila sainik Boards is on dignified resettlement and efforts are made to explore various avenues for employment of ex-servicemen. To resettle/ re-employ ex-servicemen, the Central Government arranges the following:
  • Training programmes to reorient retiring Defence personnel towards civil employment.
  • Reservation of posts for providing employment opportunities in government/ semi government/ public sector organizations and assistance in employment with corporate sector.
  • Schemes for self-employment
  • Assistance in entrepreneurship and setting up small scale industries

    Ex-Servicemen (ESM) Training: Under this scheme, funds are allotted to RSBs for conducting vocational training for ESM in their States. The scheme is primarily meant for those ESM who could not avail the facility of resettlement training while in service. The scheme has also been extended to the widow/ one dependent of an ESM, irrespective of whether his death is attributable to military service or not. The fields/ trades in which training is being conducted and the course fees is approved by MOD. The course is free of cost for the ESM and a stipend of Rs 700/- per month is paid to each trainee.

    Placement of JCOs/ORs: The details of ex-servicemen, who have been provided employment through Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) and Zila Sainik Welfare Offices in the States during the last five years is as follows:

    Resettlement & Welfare Schemes
    Comment: The website contains three year old statistical data. What one can deduce is that welfare measures assume a low priority. Past data highlights that training and placements are relatively low compared to the retirees, except for making the trained Jawans a miserable security agent and demeaning his stature as a seasoned soldier. There is urgent requirement to audit what worth while output is produced by the civilian staff manning the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare? In case there has been no fruitful output it maybe prudent to assign them productive alternatives.
  • The triumphant Herald Car

    We would be scooting along, the four of us, Jeet,on the pillion with Chotta in her lap and Chotoo standing on the foot rest, clutching the handle of the Vespa, on the streets of Poona on the week-ends. Both of us would be covertly looking at the Heralds of many colours zipping past, not that a Herald could zip.

    We took a major decision I had an offer of a plot in Dehradun, the two of us had a long discussion to buy a plot of land or to buy a car as affording the two together was just out of question. The need of a house was still in distant future while a car was some thing immediate.

    One day we decided to take the calculated risk and exchanged the Vespa for a ‘Conifer Green’ Herald, thanks for a 16,000 Rupee Government loan, returnable by monthly instalments of Rupees 200 for next six or seven years. This reduced the already meagre take-home pay of a senior Major of the Army to Rupees 800 per month, for Jeet to run the house and spare me 100 for the hundred litres of petrol consumed by the car every month.

    Every one was excited and waiting for me to bring the car home. Jeet warning Chotoo and Chotta, again and again, all sitting on the front steps of the house, to act normal and not show any excitement on my arrival. However, all the effort was in vain; as I drove in through the gate, on to the short drive-way, both the children rushed towards the car with Jeet following slowly and with dignity. How could they resist we had over the time graduated from cycle to scooter and now to our own car.

    Soon we were all in the car for a long spin towards NDA. Luckily with this in mind I had tanked-up filling petrol en route for a princely sum of Rs 20. Incidentally even after the acquisition of the car and the monthly deductions from the salary every month we still had enough to manage a decent life style.

    How it became the fifth member of the family for the next 22 years needs narration. It an integral part of the family, a home away from home, a home on wheels; a dependable and loyal new member of the family, also some one to hold Jeet’s hand especially during my extended absences from the family due to my numerous postings to non- family stations.

    The Herald was there always at the beck and call when needed, to ferry the children to school, emergency visits to hospital and shopping and also to carry the family for joyous reunions at the Railway station when I came home on annual or casual leave, with picnics and long overdue family outings. It served us faithfully with trouble free trips both long and short.

    From Poona to Dehradun and back, the trip taken just a couple of days after bringing it home that we piled in with the luggage packed-up in the trunk, Chotta and Chotoo on the back seat, Jeet in the co- driver’s expertly acting as the navigator, with the AAWI (Automobile Association of Western India) handout for the road.

    All of us were in a state of excitement but for different reasons the children for the prospects of the long car ride, the two of us of showing our new acquisition to our respective families; albeit I all the time keeping the many of my worries of possible road- hazards, the reliability of the untested car and possibility of a breakdown en route some where in the wilderness far away from any help of the risks involved while traversing the dacoit infested section of the road between Bhind/ Moreina and Gwalior and a few more to myself.

    Much later from Ranchi in Bihar where I was posted to Secundarabad in Andhra Pradesh on being detailed for the Long Defence Management Course, this time with less worries, better prepared and organized. We made frequent trips to our native village on bad roads as also on no roads and innumerable drives to Dehradun when posted at Delhi. The Herald also travelled the length and breadth of India by train on my postings along with our baggage safely lashed in the EVK the special railway wagon. For the next 22 Years it served us well but for occasional flooding of the carburettor, mainly due to my flooring the accelerator pedal; direct fuel injectors for petrol cars were still in the distant future, it never let us down or met a road accident. However, with age catching up it started needing frequent visits to the mechanics and started eating into the off days to the chagrin and irritation of Jeet, naturally as she had lined- up some other plans for the day.

    One day it had competitor. On the insistence of the family we brought a Maruti Omni home. Now the Herald would remain parked outside waiting for some one to brush the accumulated dust from the body, give it a wash, crank the engine and take it out for a spin but in vain. Sadly one day with a heavy heart and deep- felt sorrow I sold it. Parting from the loyal companion with heavy heart; however, I was glad to see it leaving under its own power. Seeing it disappear round the corner I had the same feeling of loss that possibly Rosy’s parents would have felt seeing the green Chevrolet sedan carrying their daughter, with me till recently a stranger, when it disappeared from their vision as it turned round the corner and sped away on that day of 22nd November 1958 from 18 Old Survey Road at Dehradun.

    Brig Lakshman Singh VSM (Retd)

    SCPC: Pension Order a new dispensation in reverse gear

    One-Rank-One-Pension put in the Reverse Gear! WAR VETERANS BETRAYED

    A good wage structure does not necessarily entail high salaries. It aims at equity and justice. Be it affluence or poverty, it must be distributed with prudence and sagacity.

    A Trust Belied
    It is appropriately said that the ‘politicians are a law unto themselves’. Promises made during the election rallies are like writings on shifting sand dunes; they are gone with the wind, the moment the votes have been cast. The ex-servicemen have just discovered this home truth with chagrin and dismay. The Chairperson of the current ruling alliance had personally endorsed one-rank-one-pension (OROP) format as a reasonable demand. Seen in that light, the letter issued by the Department of ESM Welfare on 11th Nov 2008 has come as a rude shock. The dispensation granted through this letter is eminently inferior to the pension structure granted by the Fourth as well as the Fifth Pay Commission. The OROP model has received a body blow. The very manner in which the above official communication was delivered to the Service Headquarters smacks of villainy. The captioned document, which affects more than two million veterans was unceremoniously handed over to the Pay Cells on the afternoon of Friday the 14th November a few minutes before the staff was packing up for the week end, three days after it had been signed. It was not considered prudent to communicate its contents to the press, because it was very well known that there is little in it to cheer the old soldiers or bring a smile on their wrinkled faces. We are told that the aforesaid Department was created to protect the veterans’ interests. The irony is that it is manned almost entirely by civilians and has “welfare” in its title. All that it has so far achieved is to create a few additional posts for civil servants, and issue obnoxious letters of the type mentioned above!

    Let the Figures Tell the Tale
    Government orders regulating the pensions of soldiers retiring after 1.1.2006 were issued a day later, and therefore, it is now possible to compare the quantum of pension sanctioned to pensioners of different vintages. A table which shows the comparative figures at a few representative ranks is given below. It is evident that the past pensioners have been given a raw deal in all cases except a handful of apex grade officers. Please note that this table assumes that the soldier retired after rendering the service prescribed by his terms of engagement and had reached the top of his scale. In case of the PBOR, combat category in the Y group has been chosen since it represents the largest population of soldiers. All the figures are the revised basic pension as on 1.1.2006.

    Pre-1996/ 1996 to 2005/ Post 1.1.2006
    Sepoy (19 yrs service): 3764/ 4667/ 6500
    Hav (24 yrs service): 5008/ 5239/ 7845
    Sub (28 yrs service): 9323/ 10532/ 10795
    Lt Col (top of scale): 17,063/ 21,131/ 25,310
    Col (top of scale): 26,050/ 26,050/ 30,375
    Lt Gen (top of scale): 26,150/ 27,685/ 38190
    Army Commander: 40,000/ 40,000/ 40,000

    The Transition into the Revised Pension Paradigm
    For the benefit of those who have not been able to comprehend the jargon in the paper and the maze of figures in the tables, the process of determining the revised pension is given below in a simplified form. With the exception of officers of the rank of Col, Brig and Maj Gen, the revised pension admissible to the pre-2006 retirees is derived simply by multiplying the Basic Pension (ie, without adding the 50% Dearness Pay merged on 1.4.2004) admissible before 1.4.2004 by a factor of 2.26. For those who retired after 1.4.2004, the multiplicand is 1.5067. This rule also applies to Lt Gens who retired after 1997 with a Basic Pay greater than Rs 23,450. All Cols have been granted Rs 26050 and all Brigs, Maj Gens and Lt Gens other than those whose Basic Pay was in excess of Rs 23,450 have been granted a uniform revised pension of Rs 26,150. It can be seen that this government order is a great leveler. It makes no distinction between the high and the low! Commuted portion of the pension (if any) will be deducted from the revised pension until the end of fifteen years from the date of retirement. In addition to the Basic Pension determined in the above manner, Dearness Relief (DR) will be admitted at the following rates. The rates of the existing DR already admitted on the Pensions will be adjusted while calculating the arrears. And these figures are given alongside for ready reference

    New DR/ Old DR
    1.1.2006: 0%/ 24%
    1.7.2006: 2%/ 29%
    1.1.2007: 6%/ 35%
    1.7.2007: 9%/ 41%
    1.1.2008: 12%/ 47%
    1.7.2008: 16%/ 47%

    Observations and Comments
    The executive orders for the civilian pre-2006 pensioners were issued about a month ago. As such the orders for the military were long overdue. Consequently, it was widely believed that the major aspirations of the veterans would be met. But this dispensation falls well short of our minimum expectations. A preliminary review reveals the following defects:
  • OROP is a 25 year old demand. The Congress party has supported it all along. It was also a part of their election manifesto. We find that there is a very wide gap between the past pensions and the present ones. This is likely to arouse strong passions. It may also be mentioned that at the apex ranks (Chief and Army Cdrs) it is virtual OROP, and that may raise hackles amongst those who have been given a raw deal.
  • MSP Military Service Pay counts for pension. It will, therefore, raise the pensions of he post 2006 retirees. However in respect of the past pensioners, it has been engineered in such a manner that it is effective in a very selective and restricted manner. Neither for the PBOR nor for the junior officers does it make a substantial difference in the pension package. This is another issue which can cause bitterness.
  • Inter-se Relativities. Soldiers view their emoluments in relation with their peers and immediate seniors or juniors. In the instant case, the relativities have been disturbed so badly that the picture emerging at the end of the exercise is grotesque. There is a wide gap between the pensions of Lt Col and Col and the pension granted to four ranks from unit commanders to corps commanders is the same. Again there is a wide gap between the pension of Lt Gen and Army Commander. The structure fouls with the ethos of the military.
  • Aggregate benefit. The present perception is that there is a wide difference in the aggregate gain accruing to soldiers at different levels. Whereas at some levels, the ratio improvement is as high as three, in the case of the PBOR it is as low as 2.26. Further, since the revised DA formula is less liberal, the inflation neutralization is relatively lesser in magnitude. Those who have a head for figures would have observed that the index as per the old rates moved up from 124 in Jan 2006 to 147 on 1.1.2008 signifying an increase of 18.5%. During the same period, DA at the new rates moved up by 12% only. As a cumulative result of all these factors, the older veterans will have to tighten their belts and compromise on their nutrition standards and education of their children. And of course, consumer frills and thrills will have to be cut out completely.

    Concluding Remarks
    As one looks at the work done by the various Pay Commissions, it is observed that each of the previous three Pay Panels moved us closer to the OROP regime. The Fifth Pay Commission brought us down to just two categories, pre-1996 and post-96 pensioner. They introduced the concept of modified parity, through which the past pensioners were granted pensions equal to the minimum given to the future retirees. The current order puts this process in the reverse gear, and takes us farther from the OROP paradigm.

    We are, indeed, very well aware of the very large population of military pensioners and conscious of the strain caused to the national exchequer by our increasing longevity. A viable long term solution was mooted by the Army as early as 1985; to reduce the number of pensioners through lateral shift of soldiers to the para-military forces. The Sixth Pay Commission has devoted a whole chapter, number 2.4, to this subject but as far as we can see, this very cogent suggestion has been put on the back burner by our dim-witted civil servants, mainly because of their lack of ability to comprehend the benefits and the mechanics of this administrative reform. It smacks of their lack of commitment to the armed forces.

    I am tempted to offer a piece of unsolicited advice to the powers that be. To assuage the wide spread anguish created by the revised pensions granted by the government, I think there is a crying need to examine all aspects related with the problems of ex-servicemen. The imperatives for rejecting the OROP demand must be explained to the ex-servicemen and the genuine grievances of the veterans must be addressed with evident sincerity. The problem of re-settlement is far more acute and heartrending than inadequacy of pensions. The Sixth Pay Commission devoted a whole chapter, number 2.4, to this issue. If there are cogent reasons to put this issue on the back burner, we the people of India need to be educated on the subject. Many of us attribute the inaction on the part of the government to plain inefficiency and callous indifference to the plight of soldiers.

    I am grateful to HE Lt Gen MM Lakhera, PVSM AVSM VSM the Hon’ble Governor of MIZORAM for motivating me to undertake this research and my lifelong friends, Lt Gen Raj Kadyan and Wg Cdr J Thomas, for some valuable inputs.

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    Maj Gen (Retd) Surjit Singh, AVSM VSM FNAE has been associated with three Pay Commissions and has published a book “Wages Down the Ages". We once again thank General Surjit Singh for patiently deciphering the ESM pension pay orders. He has given our fraternity a lucid and crystal clear analysis of "One Rank one Pension" which has been effectively put in reverse gear by the SCPC. SCPC has betrayed the War Veterans and certainly as the nation grapples with the economic down slide, veterans need to tighten the buckle to greater degree than the rest of its citizens. The cheer, smiles and anticipation of veterans and widows reduced to despair and gloom!
  • ESM enter State Elections


    Dear Members of the Press,
    Responding to a widely and long felt need for efficient and clean governance, retired Defence Personnel of India have decided to enter the legislative arena. Not only will such an effort inject dedicated, honest and experienced leaders into the polity, but also give a voice to the hitherto unrepresented but one of the largest communities- that of the retired defence services personnel (with a voting strength, which can be built up to eighty million).
    Defence Personnel while in service, have so far been denied the rights to vote at the place of posting, the provision of which existed in the Election rules but was never put into practice in any of the Elections so far.
    Rashtriya Raksha Dal, a party formed by Ex-Servicemen, is a Registered National Party.
    Defence personnel are specially endowed with qualities of high integrity, loyalty, honesty and administrative acumen and ability to withstand long durations of sustained stress and strain. If Ex Servicemen, who have decades of experience, are elected as MPs and MLAs, they can contribute a lot to the nation building process. It is tragic that such talent as theirs has not so far been fully utilized, in spite of their retirement from active service at a relatively young age. This effort is aimed to correct this HRD shortcoming.
    Major IS Jakhar, nominated by RRD, to stand for the Delhi Cantt constituency, besides being a voice for Defence personnel, will work with scrupulous honesty, total commitment and unparalleled efficiency to develop and maintain Delhi Cantt to a high standard as a livable constituency.
    It is reliably learnt that Serving Defence personnel at Delhi Cantt have, once again not been registered as voters despite instructions by the Election Commissioner. Maj IS Jakhar has petitioned to the Chief Election, Officer Delhi State to order revision of voters to ensure 100 percent serving Defence personnel and their dependents are given the option to exercise their franchise at the place of posting before the Elections. This HQ is pursuing the correction of this injustice with the electoral authorities at different stages.
    His Election symbol is "Pair of Candles". You are requested to kindly cover this item in your news paper/ TV Channel.

    Yours faithfully,
    Col MS Krishnamoorthy (Retd)
    General Secretary
    For Rashtriya Raksha Dal

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Ex JSW/ NDA 60th Jubilee Gathering at DSOI, Dhaulakuan

    Hi Ex NDA's,
    It gives me great pleasure in informing you about the 3rd get together at DSOI on 21 Dec 1130 hrs for Lunch with ladies. If you recollect that the 2nd such get together was held on 02 dec 2007at DSOI where the organisers could gather approx 400 odd ex NDA's from 1st JSW/ NDA course to 117 NDA.

    It was decided last year on 02 Dec 2007 to hold this reunion on the 1st sunday of every Dec and hence it was to be held on 07 Dec 2008. Since NDA is celebrating its 60 years jubliee from 06 to 08 Dec 2008 at Pune it is now proposed to have the celebrations on 21 Dec 2008.

    The main aim of this get together is to meet our old squadron mates and course mates.......we generally do have course get together but we seldom meet our seniors and juniors with whom we had shared those beautiful years at the Academy.......last time it was fun meeting old friends after 30-40 yrs.....why not again relive those old moments spent together now in old age.........only for 2 to 3 hrs in the afternoon sharing a drink. The details are as under:

    Date: 21 Dec 2008 (Sunday)
    Time: 1130 hrs.
    Venue: DSOI LAWN lawn II
    Cost: Rs 500 for couple and single Rs 350. To be paid by cheque "DSOI , Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi" at the time of registration on 21 Dec 08 at the DSOI itself OR Pay Cash. Please get in touch with me for further details if required.

    Regards and best wishes.
    Cdr Sharan Ahuja Retd IN

    SCPC: Pension Order of Armed Forces hype and illusion

    True or not true?
    It is believed that the defence pension bill has the potential to reach an unsustainable level, and perhaps even exceed the wage bill. This is borne out by the recent MOD and Media projections of liabilities in the future years. The government has decided against introducing pension reforms in the defence services and maintain status quo. How has it stage managed the show? Here is the logic:

    Well as per Pre 2006 pension order issued it proves that above statement is true. What the Government has done is to include 16% DA to the existing Pension that one is already drawing through the banks. All the 95- paged pension order tables are a hype. What a waste of effort deciphering the multitude of tables when in reality what a pre 2006 pensioner will get in addition is only the 16% DA to existing monthly pension. What is the hype about arrears? It is only the arrears of 16% DA as applicable. 40 percent arrears with 30% tax deduction at source. Ultimately it is boils down to one month additional pension as arrears. The remainder 60 percent arrears next year with 30% tax deduction works out to one half months of existing pension!

    I wish I am totally wrong!

    The post 2006 pension order is little more attractive for the reason that the inflationary trends is relatively neutralised. Maybe this is a sop to keep the premature retirement applications at bay for now.

    The OROP has been given the final burial and dreams of many ESM shattered. The government has saved the pennies but lost the cheer of the Jawans who have ensured the safety and security of the nation.

    Pension Orders Pre 2006
    Pension Orders Post 2006

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Fiscal stimulus is in place: Manmohan

    N Ram of The Hindu
    “Balance of power shifting in favour of emerging economies”

    Photo: Debatosh Sengupta/Photo Division
    BACK FROM THE SUMMIT: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohon Singh addresses journalists on his way back to Delhi on Sunday after attending the G-20 Summit in Washington.

    On board Air India One: The Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy offered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh an unusual opportunity to differentiate himself from virtually all the other heads of government of the Group of Twenty who came to Washington at the invitation of lame-duck President George W. Bush.

    The nature and context of the meeting enabled Dr. Singh the economist to reach for his professional toolkit, hone his analysis of the origins and nature of the global economic crisis that is deepening by the day, and reveal his thinking on what needed to be done to tackle it. As if reliving his student days at Oxbridge, he even approvingly quoted John Maynard Keynes on speculators being harmless “as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise” but what happens when “enterprise becomes a bubble on the whirlpool of speculation” and the capital development of a country becomes “the by-product of the activities of a casino.”

    Perhaps with the exception of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, no G-20 leader could speak with the kind of technical expertise that India’s Prime Minister brought to the summit. Certainly Mr. Bush, whom Dr. Singh greatly admires and feels personally close to, did not reveal, in his summing up of the outcome, any expertise either in his diagnosis of the financial crisis or in his review of summit prescriptions.

    India’s foreign policy over the past decade as well its rise as an economic power might have distanced it from the so-called third world, and especially from the least developed countries. Nevertheless, the composition of the summit group — in which the developing world is inadequately represented and the least developed countries are completely absent — made Dr. Singh, along with Chinese President Hu Jintao, take on the role of spokesperson for developing countries as a distinct and aggrieved (‘we did not cause the crisis but we are the worst affected’) category.

    These aspects became clear from the Prime Minister’s onboard press conference during the Washington-Frankfurt sector of AI-1’s flight back to Delhi, and also from a short text summing up the Prime Minister’s intervention in the summit.

    “There is one important significance of the summit,” Dr. Singh told Indian journalists with uncharacteristic forthcomingness. “It is a clear indication that the balance of power is increasingly shifting in favour of the emerging economies. We were, for the last couple of years, being invited to the G8 meetings but consultations were merely for the sake of form. Our views were not really taken into account while they were formulating their viewpoints. For the first time, there was a genuine dialogue between major developed countries and major emerging countries.”

    But this was not all. In his onboard press conference, Dr. Singh let on that he had actually anticipated the current economic difficulties. “I don’t take credit but I think Finance Minister Chidambaram and I had anticipated that there was likely to be a global slowdown this year. Therefore, in preparing for the budget for the current year — it appeared that we had taken excessive risk with regard to the budget deficit — we budgeted for a very substantial amount of deficit precisely to take care of the slack that might emerge … So far as India is concerned, the fiscal stimulus is, by and large, already in place.”

    In his intervention, Dr. Singh, after providing his analysis of the origins and nature of what is now being described as the greatest financial and economic crisis after the Great Depression of the 1930s, identified “seven big messages emerging from our summit.”
    We anticipated global slowdown, our fiscal stimulus is in place: Manmohan

    Dr Manmohan Singh the world's leading economist has truly paved India's path towards a developed nation during his tenure as Prime Minister. All are proud of his achievements. One must remember he is not a politician but a technocrat and a true patriot.

    India red faced as China gets tough

    NEW DELHI/ BEIJING: India appears to be a glutton for diplomatic punishment at the hands of China, particularly at a time when Beijing has clearly decided to adopt a tough posture on its claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

    In what is clearly a major goof-up, India opened itself to a resounding rebuff from the Chinese, when despite knowing full well Beijing would not give a visa to anyone from Arunachal Pradesh, the government included an officer from the state in a delegation of 107 IAS officers due to travel to China on Saturday.

    The result was predictable. The entire trip had to be called off and the IAS officers were asked to disperse, leaving MEA and PMO ducking for cover. The embarrassment is all the more acute as the officers were travelling to China as part of a mid-career programme that has been strongly advocated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    The government will soon face a similar test— sports and youth affairs minister Mani Shankar Aiyar will be leading a 100- strong youth delegation to China, an exchange decided during Chinese leader Hu Jintao's visit here last year. It's not yet clear if there are any members from Arunachal Pradesh in this delegation.

    According TOI reports from Beijing, the refusal to grant a visa to an Arunachal IAS officer was taken at a senior level of the Communist leadership and signifies China's "seriousness" about its claim to the state.

    Unlike the Indian reading that the Chinese focus was essentially on Tawang, the issue, as far as China is concerned, is the entire state.
    India red-faced as China gets tough
    Additional Reading:
    Beijing reloads Arunachal gun

    Comment: The IAS officer's mid term career programme should include a stint of at least 6 months with the Armed Forces frontline troops to get the feel of defending the nation and imbibing the Patriotic feeling towards the Nation. Bureaucrats need to know where and what are the national boundaries on ground (not maps) which we need to defend as they will be the advisors to our Politicians!

    SCPC: Update on the Rank Pay showdown

    Friday, November 14, 2008
    At the beginning of this month, the three Chiefs met with Expenditure Secretary Sushama Nath to discuss the four core demands of the armed forces. Nath later briefed Pranab Mukherjee on this meeting.

    Anyway, during the meeting between Nath and the three chiefs, the definition of Rank Pay came up. She indicated that there had been a Cabinet decision in 2000 which stated that Rank Pay did not form part of Basic Pay. In response, the Chiefs told her that if such a decision had indeed been taken, then the affected party, i.e. the services, were neither consulted nor made a party to the decision. And that even if such a decision had been taken, the Services Instructions issued by the MoD were not amended, adding that amendment of Service Instructions was a mandatory requirement, since it involved restructuring of the pay of service officers.

    The contents of the GoI letter of 2000 (which Nath was referring to) with regard to Rank Pay were scrutinised during the meeting. It emerged that the contents of the letter were "entirely in consonance" with what the Chiefs were saying. The 2000 letter says "Rank Pay will be taken into account for determining their entitlements to such of those financial benefits, concessions, etc, including retirement benefits as are directly related to the basic pay or their pay scales."

    Will be reporting more about this meeting on my channel shortly. Timings will be posted ahead.
    Posted by Shiv Aroor at 9:14 AM
    6thPC: Update on the Rank Pay showdown

    GoI letter 2000 or cabinet decision about rank pay never heard of. Since, it is now clarified in the meeting that rank pay forms part of basic or in other words all allowances and benefits applicable with basic pay are also applicable to rank pay. Hope, Expenditure Secretary Sushma Nath brings correct input before the GoM.

    Isn't it an intentional conspiracy by a responsible Government functionary to let down Armed Forces who is supposedly to be neutral and unbiased while dealing with such an important assignment? May God give her wisdom to bring correct facts and figure before GoM.

    Its questionable as why GoM is not taking inputs from horses mouth so that they can decide the matter without wasting time. All inputs needed are readily available in printed rule books published by previous Governments after each CPC. Hope wisdom prevails now and justice done to affected party which I am hopeful. Good luck to all.
    Lt Col R S Dasila(Retd)

    It is evident that this lady (?) has been leading everyone, especially the 6 CPC up the garden- path with her lies and subterfuges. But will she be sacked for her mischief? Not a chance.
    Cdr Carl Gomes (Retd)

    LiveFist Column: Preamble, Gamble, Scramble
    Temporarily blinded by their "brilliance" and bereft of that invincibility in the glare of TV cameras, the bureaucracy now scrambles to save itself in the way it knows how. It spreads rumours or inspired leaks that the Chiefs had disobeyed the Govt.

    How and what did the Chiefs disobey? MoD had not released orders for implementing the recommendations of the CoS and not even the recommendations of the 6th CPC. So what were the Chiefs disobeying? Have they not read that there are sections in the Armed Forces Acts that one can represent against illegal orders? Did the IAS expect the Armed Forces to believe that the CoS recommendations are those of the 6th CPC?

    Are the Central Police Organizations (CPOs) really casting their lines and fishing in troubled waters? Or is that another Nathism? The Armed Forces don't say that the IAS got this, so give us the same.

    The Armed Forces say loudly, clearly "DON'T OVERTURN THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 6th CPC AND SUPPLANT IT WITH Nathism".
    Air Marshal Sharad Y Savur (Retd)

    Extract from: LiveFist Column: Preamble, Gamble, Scramble

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Wreath Laying Ceremony to mark the Cavalry week

    Photo courtesy Samachar

    Teen Murti Memorial was the site for the Wreath Laying Ceremony today which was organised by the Cavalry Officers Association, in memory of the departed cavaliers of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Cavalry has a long and illustrious history of valour and panache. The total Number of Armoured Corps units of the Indian Army at the time of Independence was only 12. Armoured Corps now mounted on the latest T-72 and T-90 tanks is the proud inheritor of the horse mounted Indian Cavalry of yore. For long known as the decisive arm, the Cavaliers are known to change the course of battle by their extraordinary speed and firepower. Teen Murti memorial was raised in 1922 to commemorate the Indian cavalry and armoured regiments representing Britain in battles in Sinai, Palestine and Syria in the First World War. These stone and bronze sculptures were created by Leonard Jennings to commemorate those killed from the cavalry and armored regiments of the then Indian Cavalry Division during World War I in battles in Sinai, Palestine and Syria. The three statues represent cavalry soldiers of three Indian princely states - Hyderabad, Mysore and Jodhpur, together with detachments from Bhavnagar, Kashmir and Kathiawar. The statutes were collectively named Teen Murti and the base carries the names of deceased personnel. The statues stand in front of what became Teen Murti Bhavan, India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's residence and now the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Till Independence, it used to be Flagstaff House, the British Commander-in-Chief's residence, connected with a direct vista to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    The memorial service, wherein wreaths were placed by serving and retired officers of the Cavalry fraternity including two of MVC recipients, Lt Gen RM Vohra (Retd) and Brig AS Bal (Retd), was a simple and solemn ceremony, marked by poise and grace.

    Ceremonial Lancemen of all regiments of the Indian Armoured Corps lined the Teen Murti Circle. Speaking on the occasion Lt Gen D Bhardwaj, Director General Mechanised Forces pointed out the great contribution of the Indian Cavalry in protecting the Nation's sovereignity. This is aptly reflected by the gallantry awards earned by the Corps which include 2 PVCs, 15 MVCs and 60 VrCs. The Armoured Corps has a glorious past, made possible by our gallant forefathers, for whom this service was held. "It exhorts todays generation to live up to the high standards laid by our predecessors", General Bhardwaj said.
    Wreath Laying Ceremony to mark the Cavalry week

    May the Forces be with us

    One India One People

    Cover by H V Shiv Shankar

    V Gangadhar eavesdrops at a conversation where three defence personnel are celebrating their ultimate victory where they defeated their own government over the sixth pay commission.
    {Great satire: Question is have we really won?}
    A long deserved celebration

    Today, there is no clear separation of peace and war, as both seem to have merged and warfare is also changing. In this scenario, the need is for reconfigured military forces, with a broad range of skills for employment across the entire spectrum of conflict, says Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM.
    Changing role of armed forces Rising to new challenges; The power of the people

    The job and the working conditions in the armed forces may be tough, but women officers have proved that they are in no way inferior to men when it comes to hard work and efficiency. Major General (Retd.) E D’Souza, PVSM, welcomes the decision to open up regular commissions to women in the army.
    Women Officers In Armed Forces A major step forward

    Paramilitary forces have proved their mettle in tackling internal security. Prakash Singh highlights some of the constraints facing the forces and suggests measures which can boost their efficiency.
    The sentinels within

    Major General (Retd) Surjit Singh, AVSM, VSM, analyses the issue of One Rank One Pension in the armed forces and highlights the futility of relating the issue of civilian pensioners to that of the soldiers.

    Life in the armed forces is not simple but then it was never meant to be. The perseverance and enthusiasm of the soldiers spill on to their families as well. Nithya Subramanian gives a first hand account of life in the army.
    A life less ordinary

    While the men are away guarding the country, the gritty wives of our military personnel are engaged in many welfare work for the families of the forces, war widows and retired warriors. An insight into the activities of the three welfare associations.
    {Very laudable objectives. Can the welfare organisations come clean on who the beneficiaries are with full accounts of income and expenses posted on web portal?}
    Women of substance

    For those seeking challenges in life, a privileged lifestyle and pride in work with a training that would inculcate virtues and values for a life time, a career in the army is the best, says Brigadier Suresh Chandra Sharma (Retd.).
    From a man to a gentleman

    SCPC: Update on placing of Lt Col in PB-4

    In the early November meeting between Expenditure Secretary Sushama Nath and the three service chiefs, a presentation was made by the services side stressing on the "historical equations" between a Lt Col and NFSG pay scales back from the 3rdPC. It was also indicated during the presentation that fitment for Lt Cols given by the 6thPC was equal to S-25 and higher than S-24 scales, based on existing scales.

    The chiefs pointed to the iniquity thereby introduced between Lt Col and Superintendent Engineers and Commandants in the Paramilitary Forces since the latter had a pre-revised scale of Rs 14,300-18,300 as against a Lt Col who had a pre-revised scale of Rs 15,100-18,700. The chiefs made it a point to emphasise that Lt Cols, though superior in scales, are "functionally on par with Supt Engrs". Therefore, they said, there was no reason why a Lt Col must not be accommodated in Pay band-4, especially when civil counterparts with inferior scales had been moved into that pay band.

    Army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta then spoke about the "functional problems" in the Army apropos Assam Rifles and Central Paramiliary Forces, and between the Navy and the Coast Guard respectively with regard to command and control issues. They pointed out that as civil officers who were inferior in pay scales to Lt Col, they had been granted higher pay band and grades pay than a Lt Col and, in fact, equal to a Colonel.

    Once the presentation was finished, Expenditure Secretary Sushama Nath said that the arugments about Rank Pay discussed earlier "equally apply in this case". She also said that the services viewpoint on Rank Pay would be conveyed to Pranab Mukherjee.

    Next, she mentioned that were standing objections from the Paramilitary Forces against placing Lt Cols in PB-4. According to sources, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor almost lost his cool at this stage. With visible irritation, he is understood to have said that such an attitude was negative and the Paramiltiary forces had no business commenting on the legitimate requirements of the armed forces. Mentioning the "incorrect and misleading" equation of Lt Col with Second-in-Command of the CPMFs, Gen Kapoor further stressed that replacement scales had to be determined on pre-revised scales as had been done by successive pay commissions and not based on appointments/ranks/posts/badges of rank etc. This part of the meeting was rounded off with Admiral Mehta saying that there was no option before the government but to place Lt Cols in PB-4.

    Posted by Shiv Aroor at 4:09 PM
    6thPC: Update on placing of Lt Col in PB-4

    Comment: How have Para Military Forces usurped the Military Status? Military Rank and Status is obtained from President's Commission. How can Para military forces call the shots. Looks like MOD is working for the interest of Para Military Forces. The think tank of MOD is skewed from the beginning, bent on denting the command and control of the Armed Forces.


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