Saturday, November 29, 2008

Men in uniform: A salute from the nation

28 Nov 2008
Commando operations to free hostages and capture or kill the remaining terrorists are still going on in Mumbai at the time of writing this piece, hence it would be difficult to comment upon the terror attack with accuracy.

What we do know is that 14 police officers, including ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Mumbai's Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Ashok Kamte, and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, sacrificed their lives unhesitatingly at the first hint of trouble in the coastal city.

This was in the finest tradition of Indian men in uniform. The police is the citizen’s first line of defence when things go wrong, and Mumbai’s force acquitted itself with honour.

All the unhappy events of the immediate past are forgiven, but sadly cannot be forgotten as they continue to cast a shadow over the present. Mumbai’s police might have caught the terrorists moving into high-profile hotels with gruesome equipment, doing a recce of the city’s hot spots before the midnight terrorism of 26-27 November burst upon a sleeping city, had they been allowed to do their job professionally.

Instead, in a cynical exercise to garner minority votes which have taken to shopping for political bargains in other markets, the ruling NCP-Congress, backed by the UPA at the Centre, cooked up a story of Hindu terror and tried to equate it with the monstrous international jihad that is tearing the nation to bits. Had there been even a whit of truth in the allegations, the truly effective method of unveiling the Hindu (sic) conspiracy would have been to alert the Army and ask it to undertake a thorough investigation, instead of going around arresting, and trying to arrest, all officers known to have links with leading Hindu families like the Savarkars.

A real conspiracy involving the Army should have been investigated quietly and handled discretely by court-martial, instead of scandalizing the reputation of the one institution that citizens respect. Only a cynical alignment of sleazy politicians and ingratiating bureaucrats could have cooked up this puerile story, which fell apart with every narco-analysis, brain mapping, lie detector test, computer data, and endless list of bizarre suspects!

This is the time to speak loudly for the men in uniform. To his credit, one television anchor late Thursday evening did recall the Batla House encounter in Delhi, in which a gallant police officer sacrificed his life and another battled for his in hospital for several weeks. Yet, without a minute’s thought for the grieving family – whose son had to come from hospital to light the funeral pyre and return the same day – two ugly human rights viragos sat on a dharna and called it a fake encounter! They received instant support from all secular quarters, and this leads to the suspicion that the “fake encounter story” was envisaged elsewhere and peddled as part of a larger conspiracy to destabilize India.

As funds for these shrill jholawallahs invariably come from the West or Saudi Arabia, it is time to have a national law stringently monitoring the ingress of foreign funds, their end-use, and relationship with anti-national activities.

An urgent imperative is to give the men in uniform their due. The Sixth Pay Commission has hurt citizens across the country – with its needless gratification of the IAS lobby which is widely perceived as the root of all corruption in the country, especially political corruption, which is not possible without a sleazy bureaucrat’s brainy inputs. It is time to give a higher ranking to the Defence Forces, the Police, the Para-military forces, fire fighters, coast guards etc – in short, the men who defend and rescue us in every unfortunate crisis, and who we are encouraged to forget in time of peace. File pushers don’t deserve the status they have wrested in independent India; they got it because Jawaharlal Nehru needed a civilian force to suppress all political and intellectual dissent in the country. As the nation struggles to remember its erased history, a beginning should be made by putting these parasites in place.

As Mumbai comes to terms with its current grief, some things need to be done fast. The ATS case against Sadhvi Pragya, Lt. Col. Purohit and others, has neither credibility nor credible evidence – indeed, there is no case at all. Citizens should demand the government and the courts immediately drop all charges against the accused and close this sordid chapter for once and for all.

On our part, we who have always believed that the ATS was misused by political masters to shatter the inter-State police cooperation that was giving the jihadis a run for their money – a sinister plot doubtless conceived in a foreign capital – will do our best to ensure that the accused accept closure and do not file defamation cases against the ATS and the State Government. In fact, we favour a “Pardon Clause” in the law, whereby police officers who detain and interrogate persons for terror crimes in good faith, are not made culpable if those arrested turn out to be innocent. The war against terror cannot be won by shooting at our own side, and politicians who indulge in such antics should be immediately denied the luxury of Category Z security.

Meanwhile, police suggest that one of the captured gunmen was from Pakistan’s Faridkot district, and that the phones recovered from a boat containing the dead body of the leader of the terrorists had foreign SIM cards. The murder of the commander just prior to the attack is one of the great mysteries of the case.

The high quality coordination that went into planning and executing the attack that has already killed 101 persons and wounded over 300, in some of the toniest quarters of the metropolis, suggests commando training. Foreign governments are the natural suspects, and India is a notoriously soft state. For sheer inanity and mediocrity, I do not know whether to rate Dr. Manmohan Singh higher than Mr. Rahul Gandhi, or vice versa.

The simultaneous attacks on the railway station and domestic airport and other places frequented by foreigners (nine places in all), strengthens conviction regarding the military precision behind the selection of targets, and possible victims, mostly Americans or British. A man in the Harbour Bar of the Taj Mahal hotel said the attackers were not interested in French or German guests; this suggests they were after citizens whose countries have armies in Iraq. The Jews at Nariman House were another target, and this is interesting.

The attack may give America, Israel, and Britain an excuse to go after another oil-rich nation in the Gulf (no prizes for guessing which). It may also prevent amity between New Delhi and Islamabad, mooted by President Asif Ali Zardari with his surprise declaration of no-first-use of nuclear weapons against India. The remark is not as off-the-cuff as projected, and follows a signal from President-elect Barack Obama that the US will be shifting its attention from the failures in Baghdad to new vistas (and failures) in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Observers believe there is an American objective to occupy parts of Pakistan in order to face China in Tibet. Yesterday, Ms. Radha Rajan, editor, www.vigilonline, suggested she would not be surprised if Washington moves to create an East Timor-like situation in Tibet once the Dalai Lama passes away. She pointed to the Westernisation, de-racination, and covert conversion among the Tibetan youth.

To this I would add only that in Dharamsala, many key persons in the so-called freedom movement have Western Christian wives (and no doubt foreign passports), which suggests a heavy degree of penetration of this exile community. And, as the Government of India slept, Israeli Jews moved in and created the entire communication system of the township, and connected it by satellite to the outside (read Western) world. We both believe that Beijing’s awareness of this reality (the CIA has been hand-in-glove with the Dalai Lama for decades) is behind the methodical transfer of population in Tibet – time will tell.

Of course, Islamabad can hardly view an American ingress with equanimity; hence President Zardari’s swift move to cover his flanks with India. But diplomacy alone will not work unless Pakistan in turn cracks down on the mercenary jihadi gangs that are funded either by the ISI or other foreign governments, to keep the international jihad largely confined to India. If he means business, he will have to wipe out the bases on his territory to demonstrate good faith, as the Myanmar Generals did with Prime Minister Vajpayee.

It may be pertinent to mention that in recent weeks there has been a whispering campaign to the effect that fearful of losing power, the ruling conglomerate at the Centre will use some pretext to impose Emergency and perpetuate itself (and its imbecile offspring). This may not be pie-in-the-sky because this evening one of the more idiotic television studio regulars – with close emotional ties to the ruling combine – actually said that elections should be cancelled and restoration of law and order be made a national priority! How convenient.

To return to Mumbai, five terrorists and 14 police personnel, including officers, have died in the operations so far. Army and Navy commandoes are in the city, along with NSG commandoes from Delhi.

Politicians and secularists who saw the action on their television screens in the safety of their homes, should now tell us where is the matching Hindu Artillery – the heavy machine guns, AK-47s, grenades, et al? Where are the professional gunmen? If Army men were involved in the Malegaon bomb blast, why were they not direct killers; why only peddlers of RDX (an allegation withdrawn soon after it was made)?

Many questions remain with us. The fact that the terrorist-commandos came in two unmarked motor boats, probably via Porbander, with explosives and other weapons, smacks of a military operation. If it did not have a foreign policy objective of an external power, what was its purpose?

Someone has declared war on the Indian State. Else, a proxy war is being fought in the Indian State. Either way, we need to protect our sovereignty with a fitting response. Those who do not have the stomach for the fight should get out of the way.

The author is Editor,
Men in uniform: A salute from the nation by Sandhya Jain

Poser: Are the Politicians, Bureaucrats and Police competent to handle Internal and External Security of the Nation? The nation comprises of one billion citizens. Do citizens live free of fear of terrorists, bandits, conmen, corrupt bureaucrats, scheming politicians, poor governance, lawlessness and delayed justice? Is democracy cheating the citizens and seeking power through dubious route of inept election process?

Pall of gloom at dead NSG commando's home

STORMING OPERATION: Commandos of the National Security Guards rappel down on to the roof of Nariman House in Mumbai on Friday.
Endgame in Mumbai, death toll could be 200

Saturday, November 29, 2008
Pall of gloom at dead NSG commando's home
Mumbai: It was black Friday for the Unnikrishnan family as news of their 31-year-old son, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, on deputation with the National Security Guards, being killed in anti-terror operation in Mumbai filtered in on Friday.

Sandeep, who passed out from Frank Anthony School in Bengaluru and was later commissioned in the Bihar Regiment in 1999, was among the brave armed forced personnel who laid down their lives in the strike against terrorists in Mumbai.

"The family has been inconsolable. Both his mother and sister continue to be shell-shocked", said S K Krishnan, a close family friend and a former colleague of Sandeep's father at ISRO. Sandeep's father Unnikrishnan had retired from the department of space at ISRO.

"The family had no idea that Sandeep was part of the operation in Mumbai. He had not informed his family about the operation owing to security reasons," he said.

"However, we did feel he could have been part of the operation as a large number of NSG contingent had been called in to flush out the terrorists and free the hostages," he said.

"The news was received when a personnel contacted us and television news confirmed our worst fears," he said.

Paying glowing tributes to Sandeep, he said Sandeep had always been brave right from his early days.

He always dreamt of being part of the armed forces. His patriotism was one that breathed inspiration. His entire philosophy in life revolved around service to the nation first and foremost.

"And he has just done just that," said an emotional Krishnan. "He was a son that any parent would love to have," he said, before breaking down into tears.

Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved.
Pall of gloom at dead NSG commando's home

Mumbai, Nov 28 (PTI) Two NSG personnel, including an officer, were today killed and six other commandos injured during operations against terrorists in Mumbai, the first casualties suffered by the elite force during the siege.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, 31, was killed while engaging terrorists this morning at the Taj hotel, an NSG spokesperson told PTI.

Commando Chander received fatal bullet injuries during gunbattle at Nariman House, the official said.

Six other commandos were also injured during the encounters with terrorists at Taj hotel, Oberoi-Trident and Nariman House.

Major Unnikrishnan was with the 51 Special Action Group of the force and was with the NSG on deputation.

He has been with the Black Cat commando force for the last two years.

An officer of the Bihar Regiment, he was commissioned in the Indian Army in June 1999.

The officer had joined the NSG on deputation in January 2007 after having served two tenures with his battalion in counter insurgency and counter terrorism roles.

The officer hails from Bangalore where his father works for the Indian Space Research Organisation.PTI
2 NSG men killed, six others injured in Mumbai gunbattles

Tribute: Our hearts go out to the families of Commando Chander and Maj Sandeep who laid down their lives for our today. Truly the bravest of the brave and their spirit will live in our midst forever. The nation is indebted to their sacrifice.
Veterans' Voice

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai was a sitting duck

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh, who retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, had sounded an eerily prescient warning in an article in this newspaper over six months ago. On May 19, 2008, he wrote that the next major terror attack might come from the sea.

On the evening of November 26 I was on a TV panel, explaining how the Indian Navy had taken the correct action on November 18, 2008 by sinking a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden. This act marked a refreshing departure from our timid national response to the war on terror. A few hours later I watched the TV in horror and disbelief as news unfolded about the terror strike in Mumbai. It was being reported that the two dozen odd terrorists had come by a mother ship from Karachi, disembarked on Mumbai harbour and arrived at the Sassoon Docks, in high-speed rubber inflatables, with their automatic weapons and heavy bags of ammunition and grenades.

The terrorists obviously had fifth columnists’ help since they went to their 11 targets with pinpoint accuracy and caused mayhem, which flashed across TV screens around the globe. My horror changed to anger and then disgust at the sheer inaptitude of our national leadership to protect our citizens from terrorist attacks. I remember writing an article in The Asian Age of May 19, 2008, where I said: "The next terror attack could be from the sea". I also remember writing another half-a-dozen articles about the urgent need for institutional and legislative reforms, along with accountability, given the experience of how ruthlessly other nations have dealt with terrorists and protected their citizens.

Of course, our politicians and bureaucrats, in their ignorance and arrogance, would have the people believe that "India is unique and we have nothing to learn from others... Besides, our people have resilience".

The customary noises about "bringing the culprits to book" are already being made, while young Army, Navy and police commandoes are again shedding blood to ferret out these terrorists. A few TV debates will take place with a few ignorant participants and the politicians will soon get back to their "election mode," unmindful of the terrible beating India’s reputation has taken by this act. Hopefully, the sacrifices of our young soldiers and sailors during this attack will not be communalised in the way the Batla House shootout in Delhi was, despite police inspector Sharma sacrificing his life at the altar of national security.

At the time of writing this article the Navy had launched a search by ships and aircraft and captured the terrorist mother ship the MV ALFA. which had brought these killers from Karachi to Mumbai. I sincerely hope and pray that the Indian Navy again replicates its ruthless action of sinking a pirate mother ship. This will be the best tribute to the numerous innocent lives lost and will send a signal to our politicians, bureaucrats and citizens that India’s military will act ruthlessly against terrorists.

What needs to be done to prevent a repeat of such attacks? The answers are simple:
  • Single-window approach to deal with terrorism, modelled on the US’ department of homeland security
  • Anti-terror legislation with dedicated fast-track "anti-terror courts"
  • Legislation permitting the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard to stop and search suspected merchant ships before they enter the Indian harbour
  • Double the strength of the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Police and intelligence agencies

    The ridiculous policy of making an unequipped Port Authorities responsible for port security must be discontinued. Security of all the 13 major ports must be handed over to the Navy and security of the 36 minor ports be handed over to the Coast Guard.

    A single-window National Maritime Advisor be created, headed by a professional Naval or Coast Guard officer, and not a bureaucrat. Set up a national electronic anti-terrorist data link and data bank, based on the American system. Co-operation with other maritime nations who face the same threats of terrorism and piracy. This is a war on terror against a faceless and fanatic enemy. This war is not for the faint hearted, and can only be won by ruthless action.
    Mumbai was a sitting duck: Asian Age
    Mumbai was a sitting duck: Deccan Chronicle
  • Thursday, November 27, 2008

    SCPC ESM Sore: Higher the Rank, lower the Pension


    20years/ Rs21,314/ Rs19,811/ Rs18,626/ Rs18,226
    24years/ Rs24,472/ Rs22,981/ Rs21,396/ Rs21,396
    26years/ Rs26,050/ Rs24,566/ Rs22,981/ Rs22,981

    15years/ Rs4,016/ Rs3,834/ Rs3,628
    16years/ Rs4,176/ Rs4,000/ Rs3,800
    20years/ Rs4,819/ Rs4,667/ Rs4,491

    Association of Ex Servicemen, wants order withdrawn reported by Bhartesh Singh Thakur Chandigarh, November 25.

    THE PENSION scales 'notified by the Ministry of Defence for pre-2006 pensioners have raised the hackles of ex-servicemen over a glaring incongruity- the higher the rank the loweris the pension; among both officers and other ranks. The All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA) rejected the notification, describing it as a cruel joke at a meeting here today. Annexure II of the notification- for commissioned officers in the Army and equivalent ranks in the Navy and Airforce- issued on November 11, sets the pension of a captain after 20 years of service at Rs 12,172, while that of a major, a higher rank, as Rs 11,964. Only after 24.5 years of qualifying service would a major get more pension than a captain. Similarly, the pension of a colonel with 20 years of service is more than that of a brigadier, major general and even a lieutenant general. The story is the same in Annexure 111, for personnel below officer rank (PBOR). A sepoy will get more pension than a naik and havildar after 15 years of qualifying service. However, there are no anomalies in the pensions for naib subedar, subedar, subedar major, honourary lieutenant and honorary captain,all of, who have gained significantly from the new scales.

    Following the AIEWA meeting, chairman Bhirn Sen Sehgal said earlier pension increased with service, but this time the higher the rank, the lower was the pension. He said it was probably due to the pay band system introduced this time, which had included three or more ranks in one band. AIEWA general secretary Channan Singh said that despite repeated assurances from Defence Minister AK Antony ex-servicemen had got a raw deal. The association unanimously demanded withdrawal of the notification, which they said had resulted in multifarious loss to all ranks of the armed forces from wrong application of the graded pay band system of the Sixth Pay Commission.
    Hindustan Times Chandigarh Wednesday, November 26.

    Army storms Mumbai's besieged five-star hotels

    Indian army arrives outside the trident hotel for rescue operations , in Mumbai , India, early 27 November 2008. At least 80 people were feared killed in a series of shootings and explosions by suspected terrorists late Wednesday in Mumbai, India's financial hub, police and news reports said. Police confirmed there had been several attacks by heavily armed gunmen. The Oberoi Trident and Taj hotels were among areas affected, as were cinema halls, a hospital, and Mumbai's main railway terminus. EPA/STR
    More Photos: "Attacks in India"

    The site of an explosion near the airport in Mumbai. By SOMINI SENGUPTA

    Thursday, November 27, 2008
    Mumbai: Indian Army personnel early Thursday stormed the two besieged five-star hotels in Mumbai to nab terrorists who had left at least 78 dead hours earlier and to free a number of people including foreign tourists held captive there, officials said.

    Mumbai's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team was already at the Hotel Taj Intercontinental where the holed-up terrorists hurled a grenade towards advancing army troopers, the police officials said. They said nine suspected terrorists were caught and two killed in shootouts following the yet another series of planned and synchronised attacks in the heart of India's financial capital around midnight Wednesday.

    Exchange of fire “is on between police and terrorists at Taj and Trident. Our people have surrounded them and the ATS team has arrived at the Taj hotel," said A.N. Roy, Maharashtra director general of police.
    Source: Indo-Asian News Service
    Army storms Mumbai's besieged five-star hotels
    At least 82 dead in India Terror Attacks

    AT least 101 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, police said.
    "At least six foreigners have been killed and the death figure has gone up to 101 now," Ramesh Tayde, a senior police officer told Reuters from Mumbai's control room.
    "We have a figure of 287 people injured."

    Scores of tourists remained trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel, a 105-year-old city landmark, and the five-star Trident Oberoi in Mumbai's downtown peninsula, its financial and tourist heart.

    Small groups of militants armed with automatic weapons and grenades burst into luxury hotels, a hospital and a railway station late yesterday, as well as an iconic cafe popular with foreign tourists, firing indiscriminately and tossing grenades. They appeared to target British and Americans as they sought hostages before settling in for a prolonged siege.
    Six foreigners among 101 dead in Mumbai- police

    Four top officers among 10 policemen killed in Mumbai
    Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was among the dead. Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, additional police commissioners Ashok Kamte and Sadanand Date, were killed in separate gun battles with terrorists, the authorities said.

    Mumbai Police "encounter specialist" Vijay Salaskar were also shot dead in another gun battle.Karkare was heading investigations into several recent cases of terrorist attacks here. There were six other police officials among the at least 80 killed in the coordinated terror attacks late Wednesday night
    Four top officers among 10 policemen killed in Mumbai- Xinhua

    Thursday, November 27, 2008
    Mumbai under siege: Complete Sequence

    13.26: Militants holed up in top three floors of Trident
    13.10: Trident under siege: Loud explosion heard now
    12.50: Trident under siege, over 30 trapped inside
    12.40 pm: One terrorist holed up in Nariman house killed
    12.30 pm: 7 Britons injured in Mumbai terror attack
    12.30 pm: Defence Minister AK Antony calls for Armed forces meet
    11.59: Navy, Army take control at Oberoi Hotel
    11.52: England Tour called off, team to return. T20 Cup doubtful
    11.50: No ransom demands made so far says Govt
    11.48: Mumbai places scanning city for RDX
    11.35: Satellite link to Taj Hotel snapped
    11.30: 15 hostages held inside Taj Hotel
    11.25: French physicist among those held hostage
    US Intelligence officials among those killed at Taj
    Terror attack planned by Lashkar
    Israel concerned, scans hospitals for missing nationals
    Flights from Mumbai running on schedule
    Terrorists took sea route to enter Mumbai
    Mumbai under seige

    Ex Army personnel alleges corruption in purchase of goods, High Court asks him to give names

    Express News Service Posted: Nov 26, 2008 at 0055 hrs IST

    Alleging largescale corruption in the purchase of goods and ration in the Army, a former Army personnel has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding an independent inquiry into the matter. The Court has asked him to file an affidavit naming the officers involved, within two weeks.
    Ajit Singh Dahiya, who has not mentioned his rank in the petition, claimed that he was president of Haryana wing of Mahavir Kranti Dal, Ambala. He appeared in person today before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh.

    Dahiya has made seven Brigadiers, 10 officers of Colonel rank and a Major, party to the case. Dahiya has alleged that senior Army officers charge a commission of 35 per cent on the contracts given to various contractors to make purchases. Dahiya claims that in order to expose 'corruption' in the Army, he made a firm under the name of R K Traders and supplied various types of equipment to the Army.

    He has said that he has done a ‘sting operation’ of various Army officers and has collected evidence against them. He served in Ordinance Corps, where most of the Army purchases take place.

    However, the Court asked the petitioner if he is aware of the consequences if the petition turns out to be false. “Your own hands are soiled”, the Court remarked. In response, Dahiya said he is ready to face any consequences but wants the 'corruption' to be exposed.
    He has stated he has written to various senior Army officers demanding action. “A letter was written to the Chief Justice of India who asked the CBI to look into the matter on May 31, 2007 but CBI did not take any action,” reads the petition.

    Chouhan Satvinder Singh Sisodia, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the CBI did not take any action on the representation made by him, stating that Dahiya has not been able to provide any material evidence to prove the accusations. Several items which are cheaper and easily available through CSD service, are also being procured from the local market with ulterior motives, he has alleged.

    Ex Army personnel alleges corruption in purchase of goods, High Court asks him to give names

    Comment: This is an all India phenomena and not solely confined to Punjab and Haryana. Even low level army officers demand anywhere from 10% to 20% on local purchases as cut/ bribe. The disease is endemic. The defence forces need to find a antidote hurriedly before the command and control structure completely collapses. The need of the hour is to preserve the honour and dignity of a soldier. Corrupt soldiers can never win a battle!

    Retired Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill is no more

    Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (Retd) and Dr Rana Nayyar (right), on the occasion of the release of “The Eye of a Doe”, a collection of short stories by Punjabi litterateur Mohan Bhandari (left), at State Library, Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

    Express News Service Posted: Nov 26, 2008 at 0136 hrs IST Chandigarh:

    Eminent defence analyst, a prolific writer and a former diplomat, Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (Retd), passed away in Chandigarh on Tuesday morning. He was 71. According to his family, Gill had suffered a brain haemorrhage and a massive cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife and two children. His brother and Union Minister of State for Sports, M S Gill, arrived in Chandigarh on hearing the news of his death.

    A former chairman of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, Gill had authored two books, Ashes and Petals, and was a frequent contributor to various newspapers, including The Indian Express. After retiring from the Army in 1993, he had remained vocal about defence matters. He was also deputed to Afghanistan to study the situation there.

    A large number of his friends and admirers flocked to his residence to meet the bereaved family. The funeral will take place on November 27 at the Sector 25 cremation ground at 2.30 pm.
    Retired Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill is no more

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    SCPC: Undertaking

    Officers are requested to exercise an option for revision of pay fixation as per VI CPC within three months from the date of notification i.e. 30 Aug 08 and also furnish an undertaking in writing in the prescribed format (as given below) to adjust any discrepancies noticed at a later date. For details, click on the link given below the undertaking

    Annex III: Undertaking
    I hereby undertake that any excess payment that may be found to have been made as a result of incorrect fixation of pay or any excess payment detected in the light of discrepancies noticed subsequently will be refunded by me to the Government either by adjustment against future payments due to me or otherwise.

    Name :.....................................

    My Dear Veterans,
    Over payments made by authorities, inadvertently, either by Govt or even in Private Sector, are recoverable. In some particular case, it might have been proved that there was in fact no over payment but only the legitimate dues were paid, and a favourable judgement would have been obtained. It does not condone the genuine cases of over payments. Such a blanket ruling, if at all given, would lead to unbridled corruption of the system. Such under takings are regularly taken from the employees when opting for migration to a revised system of Pay & Allowances.

    With Regards,
    Veteran Raman

    Comment: What is obvious is that the SCPC Pay/ Pension tables are skewed and flawed and the Government is still not sure of the Tables formulated by the Bureaucrats (in our case MOD in conjunction with Ministries of Finance and Home). Our expenditure secretary who is the self- appointed apex body has taken the Armed Forces for a ride under the umbrella of multitude- ridden riders in the Pay/ Pension tables. Interpretations are galore and ultimately the the clerk in the CDA will be the one to decode the tables. The "undertaking" just proves the point "Bureaucrats, Red Tape and Inefficiency" are the cardinal pivots of our governance!

    62 years for justice! Battling Pre- Independence Court Cases!

    Time to restore people’s faith in the judiciary

    THE TRIBUNE recently carried a report about the 62-year-old journey of a civil case. This is a sad commentary on Indian judiciary. Having originated in a sub-court at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in 1946, it travelled through several courts. This long journey for a suit that dealt with a minor issue is totally inexplicable. Surely, the delay could have been avoided if the courts — and the advocates — viewed the case from a human angle. It would be unfair to blame one particular court or judge for the malaise. But clearly, it was not handled properly right from the day it was filed in the Coimbatore court. It is always the poor litigants who face the brunt of slow dispensation of justice. For the rich, it matters less whether the case is disposed of expeditiously or not. What is the purpose of the judicial process if one does not have the guarantee of getting justice even in one’s lifetime?

    Perhaps, in no other country do the wheels of justice move as slowly as in India. To be fair, though the first decree in this case came in October 1947, innumerable appeals in the Madras High Court challenging the decree contributed to the delay. The Supreme Court, too, cannot be absolved of the blame, because it remitted the matter back to the Coimbatore court in November 1986, i.e., 42 years after the suit was filed!

    It is time effective measures were taken to speed up justice. Otherwise, people will lose faith in the judiciary. The plurality of appeals, the frequency and dilatory revisions and reviews can be avoided if the system is trimmed and there is an attitudinal change among all the stakeholders — judges, advocates and litigants. The Centre and the states should take a serious view of the entire legal system and implement the recommendations made by the Law Commission and the Malimath Committee for tackling the problem of mounting arrears. There is no use if these reports remain on paper. Sadly, a lot of time has been wasted to resolve a problem that undermines the legitimate rights of the litigants.

    62 years for justice! Time to restore people’s faith in the judiciary

    Comment: Tamilnadu holds the record for oldest court cases. The backlog is compounded by lawyers taking the litigants for a eternal ride and making them paupers enroute. Truly a sad state of affairs. Citizens indeed are silent torch bearers of Democracy.

    Red tape halts roads along China

    New Delhi, November 12
    An ambitious project to build 73 more roads for strategic purposes all along the border with China has got entwined in red tape. This despite the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had announced a major ramp up of infrastructure.

    All these roads were planned in the past two years as part of India’s strategic needs projected by the security agencies. These were to connect remote lying areas in India along the Chinese border and aid faster movement of men and material in case of any emergency. The move had come after the Chinese surprised India by building a vast road and rail network in Tibet and in areas very close to the border between the two countries.

    For the 73 roads, the mandatory clearance from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is awaited. The ministry of defence was startled after it came to know that the construction of roads had been held up as the mandatory clearances were still awaited.

    The MoD has now “reminded” the MoEF to speed up the matter in view of the national interest involved in these projects. The target was to progressively complete all the roads by 2012 but the progress was slow, sources said.

    The matter had come up for discussion in the last conference of the commanders of the armed forces in Delhi a few days ago.

    On its part the MoEF may be concerned about the geological stability of the mountains or the threat to fragile eco-systems and a depleting forest cover. The Himalayas on the Indian side are also prone to landslides. However, the sources said in most cases kutcha traditional routes exist and it was just a matter of widening them, building bridges over culverts and paving the road to make it motorable.

    These pending road projects are in all states that border China like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. In other case new alignments are also being carved out.

    In India, except the roads, the work on other projects like upgrading airfields in the northeast or opening old disused airstrips in Ladakh are going on as per plan.

    Out of the 70 roads being built by the government, 20 are in the Arunachal Pradesh area. The road density in Sikkim is only 28.45 km per 100 sq km against the national average of 84 km. Arunachal Pradesh is even worse off, with a road density of just 18.65 km per 100 sq km.

    On the other hand, almost no rail link exists even as India is now conducting a survey to link areas like Leh with trains. On the Chinese side, the project for new rail lines will bring Chinese trains up to border with Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, two Indian states that figure prominently on the radar of the Sino-Indian disputes.

    The Indian security agencies opine that road and rail projects in China are completed quickly and often ahead of time while in India these face one hurdle after the other.

    Sources said the speed of Chinese construction was startling. Citing a few cases, they said infrastructure was right next to the Line of Actual Control.
    Ajay Banerjee
    Tribune News Service
    Red tape halts roads along China

    IAF chief ‘pleased’ with pay panel proposals

    Bangalore, November 12
    Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major’s comment here today on the “attractiveness” of the sixth pay commission’s recommendations will be a paean to the ears of the central government, which has been rattled by the dissatisfaction expressed by the armed forces over the discriminatory nature of the recommendations.

    The Air Chief Marshal today said the panel’s recommendations on pay packets of the IAF personnel were “attractive” and would help in bringing youngsters to the IAF.

    The IAF chief, who was here today in connection with a function at the Air Force Technical College, said: “The IAF is an attractive option after the sixth pay commission”. Major was asked by a reporter whether the slump in the aviation industry would be a blessing in disguise for the IAF as it would stop the exodus of IAF pilots to commercial airliners.

    “I do not wish ill to any industry”, Major said on the slump in the aviation sector. He added that losing pilots to commercial air operators had never been a problem with the IAF. “The IAF had never been really bothered by this”, he said.

    The IAF is at present having a shortfall of 1,352 officers. Against a sanctioned strength of 12,120 officers, it is having a positioned strength 10,768 officers.

    Major told reporters that IAF was now going through a stage of massive modernisation. He said during 11th, 12th and 13th plans, a huge amount of technology was going to be brought into the IAF and this would totally change the IAF’s complexion within a few years. With regard to modernisation, Major mentioned introducing new weapons and use of sensors by IAF. The IAF would soon emerge as a major aerospace power, he said.

    The IAF chief said he was “very pleased” with the three dimensional Rohini radar developed jointly by DRDO and BEL. The IAF had placed orders for 30 such radars, he said.

    Major also revealed that the IAF would shortly acquire 128 new fighter jets. Evaluation of the jets is at an advanced stage, he said.

    He replied in the negative when asked whether the police action against an Army officer in the Malegaon blast case would affect the morale of the Army. “The Indian Army is 1.1 million strong. How can one incident affect the morale of the force”, he said.
    Shubhadeep Choudhury
    Tribune News Service
    IAF chief ‘pleased’ with pay panel proposals

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    ESM and Jawans Right to Vote

    Surprisingly, even after a lapse of 61 years from our independence, the Indian soldiers serving at different parts of the country and abroad, are not empowered or enabled to exercise their franchise. Out of approximately 14 lakhs serving soldiers, majority of them do not get an opportunity to cast their votes, either because their names do not appear in the voters' list or do not get the postal ballots in time, for which the District administration is entirely responsible. This anomaly needs to be corrected well before the forthcoming general election. This can be done only through concerted , combined and coordinated efforts by the district administration as well as by the military commanders at the unit and formation level.

    The Commanding Officers should be made responsible to ensure that all men under their command and their family members are included in the voters list. There are orders and procedures existing on this important aspect. Similarly, the unit administration should monitor the receipt of the ballot papers in time and the soldiers should be made aware of their responsibility towards the election process of the country. The data on such exercise should be collected, collated and processed at the concerned level by the military authorities, to ensure that the soldiers as responsible citizens, do fulfill their duties in the sacred process of franchise. Then only a soldier will feel that he is not only a mere defender of the country's democratic form of government, but also a participant in the process of making the government.

    Major Mathew Oommen (Retd)

    Comment: All ESM organisations like the apex IESM, IESL and the like should educate all its members in actively participating in the election process by casting their votes. It is the duty of every citizen to cast a vote. Australia is the only nation in the world that penalises its citizens if they do not vote by fining them. Resulting in 96 percent of the population casting their votes.

    Corruption in the Armed Forces is reflection of the Nation's standard of governance

    Agony of today's society is that no one is ready to believe that there can be an honest human being in present materialistic world of Glitter, Glamour and Gleam (3G).

    I have tried to debate about a few cases of Army which have been hitting portal stands every now and than, but what about those which are internally being probed? There is a need for the Armed Forces to form a Tri Service Anti Corruption Committee to unearth internal wrong doings. This committee should:

  • Prepare dossiers of such people and keep them always under scanner
  • Make inter force more amalgamated and knit woven
  • Allow exchange of each others good and bad way of financial dealing
  • Allow a unique and sound financial management of all the three services where a large part is dealt by Army
  • Develop a healthy competition amongst services to improve records
  • Develop for short durations an unhealthy rivalry with presumption of spying each other ways of functioning
  • Measures leading to overall improvement in the Armed Forces financial credibility.

    Readers would agree that until unless Indians have fears of external agencies, they become unafraid. Another agency which is more or less equally responsible for corruption is the functions of the Comptroller General of Defence Account (CGDA) in India. There is a need to make the provision in the system to carry out Surprise Checks of Accounts (SCA) and Audit of Works (AOW) of CGDA on quarterly basis at all levels; to bring this organization under one or the other part of investigating agency scanner. I also feel that the present provision of CGDA audit is not strong enough to tame the corrupt people. I would suggest that one part of the Armed Forces only should be allowed to scrutinize and carry out audit of CDA. As the CDA activities remain unchecked, and the organization staff is viewed as demi-god, until unless such a provision is made in the law, the corruption remains our main stream of Business.

    I again repeat that Corruption is in our blood; statement of Shri Jagan Nath BA, nearly a decade later after India became a sovereign in 1947; and Indians have traveled nearly fifty years after that till date with a large part of society becoming corrupt and lesser struggling to remain honest. World over, I have accounted over one hundred and fifty five different movies made based on corruption as theme, where honest people are trapped by dishonest, and honest man's next generation takes nearly 25 years to prove his ancestor innocent. Same stories are most of the times are seen in real life itself where corrupt people with the help of police get away and honest who files a complaint, keeps running from one police station to other and one court to another exhausting both financially and physically.

    However, as I know, the Indian Army is still out of such option but whenever a soldier or lower rank officer, junior commissioned officer, non commissioned officer or a soldier is tried for different offence of financial irregularity, he always tries to link his dismissal or severe punishment with one or the other senior offices in hierarchy. A very famous case of Indian Army Siachin Glacier Fake encounter to get awards, which had rocked the Nation, is still alive in the mind of people.

    I would also like to debate a few issues of lucrative services and arms of Armed Forces world over which tempt future officers from as Gentlemen Cadets (GC) during training itself. Barring United Kingdom and United States of America where larger number of GC opt for glamorous and action thrilled service, but most of the Asians, South Africans and Middle East countries have shown new generation trends opting first for Services and logistics, ordnances and other supplies service, mechanical engineering of transport , thereafter as second choice the fighting arms and Infantry being last in the Preferred Order of Choice (POC). Even now Indian Military Academy has given various incentives to candidates to join infantry. As per the media reports, in June 2007 out of over four hundred GC passing out Parade, where President APJ Abdul Kalam took the salute, out of five best GCs, only one GC had applied for the services and none for Infantry.

    The falling POC indicates about the change of mind set of new generation from changed theme of National Patriotism (NP) to Comforts of Life (COL). It is the COL which takes precedence over sacrifices and survival. It indicates the tilt towards individual officer's future course of action and line he is going to follow. The POC of new generation is so materialistic oriented that sometimes it becomes difficult for judges also to differentiate between arms to be allotted. Now a days PCO is governed by:
  • Comfortable life after commissioning;
  • Availabilities of opportunities to be exploited;
  • Less harsher and physically tough life demanding less body and mind exercises;
  • Most important family life after marriage;
  • Now days most of the youths join forces to fill the tummy
  • Youths become Patriotic by Default (PBD), thus, their POC is guided by Comforts of Post Commission Life (CPCL)

    I would be sharing some of the findings of corruption in Army during my survey from previous three months:

    1. A very common and famous saying especially by corrupt people is prevalent in the Army that is Quote "one, who does not get an opportunity is honest; otherwise ....". The same quote is also being circulated in every Government Office in the entire India as well.

    2. As most of the corruption cases which are being investigated within Army involves various department dealing with Supplies, equipment procurement, building construction and accommodations. In addition, of late a new scandal has rocked Army Medical Corps also. In nut shell the places where procurement and supply for forces is involved, the corruption is prevalent.

    Readers would agree with me that corruption in Army is mainly attributed to outside environment prevailing in the country. Various factors which affect corruption in Army would be debated in the next episiode. Request my readers to share their views at

    I, S Kalpna Sharma, am a freelance journalist who frequently writes on various issues relating to human values. My impetus of debate has been always focused on current issues which affect human life and social behavior. Whenever I debate on human values, my readers support base has widened.
    Article Source:
    Corruption in Army

    Related articles:
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    S K Sahni becomes first Lt-Gen to face court martial
    Delhi High Court stays Lt Gen Sahnis court martial
    Senior Army officer to face court martial
  • Monday, November 24, 2008

    Response to Cabinet Secretary's difficulty to ensure Pay Parity for the Armed Forces

    Dear Members of the Press,

    1. This has reference to News Item in you Paper at Pay parity for armed forces a difficult task, says Govt by Achinta Borah dated 24 Nov 2008. The Cabinet Secretary has stated that it is difficult to give pay parity to the Defence Forces.

    2. We are rather shocked to read the above statement of Cabinet Secretary KM Chandersekhar. Instead of appreciating the genuine demands put up by the three Chiefs and Ex Servicemen, he has chosen to throw a red herring in the case. A Committee of Group of three Ministers ordered by the PM to go into the complete gamut of the anomalies for which the Defence Forces have been agitated since the submission of the 6th CPC has not adhered to the schedule of submitting the report by 31 Oct 08; the selective leak to the press by the Cabinet Secretary is unjustified. The reasons for non compliance of the PMs instructions are not understood. Have we reached such low levels of Governance? What is difficult, in giving pay parity to the forces has not been substantiated by Cabinet Secretary. What can be so glaring anomalous than the one projected by the three Chiefs and Ex servicemen? How can an officer who was drawing Rs 800 per month more than the civil servants has been placed to get Rs 14000/-less per month in the 6th CPC award? Similarly, how can a Lt Gen who was ahead of DG Police till now could draw less pay and have a lower status? What is difficult in this? The Govt has to just correct these anomalies. In fact what the Defence Forces must get is the restoration of Status and Emoluments that existed in 1947 brought to update. This is the clear cut genuine demand of Defence Forces.

    3. The pension orders issued on 14 Nov 2008 are no where near their demands. Instead of granting One Rank One Pension (OROP), the Govt has ordered One Rank Many Pensions. It has created many classes in One Class which is violating the provisions of Article 14 of the constitution as observed by Supreme Court in a ruling given on 09 Sep 2008 in the case of Major Generals. The Govt left to its ineptness has created for itself a very difficult situation, a Havildar will get less pension than a Sepoy and Lt Gen will get less pension than a Colonel. What a joke?

    4. Will the Govt act fast and correct all these serious anomalies immediately, lest it be too late, as the time is running out.

    With Kind Regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM

    The author is a Former Senior Fellow and Security Analyst of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), has been examiner PhD thesis in Defence & Security Studies, Ex Commandant Services Selection Centre & President SSB, besides being Instructor at four premier institutions of the Army. Presently he is a Vice Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement.

    SCPC: Defence Pensioners Betrayed

    Dear Veterans,

    1. The pension orders issued by MOD are nowhere near our expectations. Instead of bringing cheer to the Defence pensioners these orders have brought in a sense of despondency and frustration which is bound to have serious implications. Keeping in mind the prevalent conditions in the country, we can ill afford to have approximately fifteen million ex servicemen and their immediate family members who are feeling aggrieved, anguished and dissatisfied. If, the present recommendations are accepted, Pre 1996 & Pre 2006 pensioners will get 70% & 37% less pension respectively than the post 2006 pensioners. A Havildar will get less pension than a Sepoy & Lt Gen will get less pension than a Colonel. This alarming situation needs immediate rectification. The quixotic approach of the Govt as far as the Defence Personnel are concerned is beyond comprehension. There appears to be a deliberate attempt by some elements in the government who are hell bent on downsizing the Defence Forces at all costs. While the govt has not hesitated in allowing the heads of PSUs to decide on their pay rise, it is nitpicking and throwing crumbs as far as the Defence Forces are concerned. Most of the present day pensioners are living in penury and facing tremendous hardships, keeping in mind the present economic crises and galloping inflation. The effect of this does not remain confined to the pensioners only; its has a terrible impact on the psyche of the serving soldier who can visualize his own status when he reaches that stage. Realization of such a clumsy treatment meted out to his predecessors is bound to have a devastating effect on his morale and his fighting spirit. Any right thinking person in the Govt associated with the Defence of the country should realise the gravity of the situation and take appropriate remedial measures to obviate the plight of the pensioners and provide them succour by removing all the anomalies as have been brought to the Notice of the Govt. An aggrieved serving soldier is at best a liability as he still is bound by the discipline of the Army, but retired soldiers who are aggrieved can be dangerous as they can become susceptible to being lured by dubious elements. Many anomalies have been added to the already existing anomalies of 4th & 5th pay commissions. Instead of granting our most genuine demands of One Rank One Pension (OROP), the Govt has further confounded the confusion by introducing "One Rank Many Pensions". The past pensioners are living in today's environment; then how does the Govt expect them to lead the life in a particular status today? Why the Govt is doing this Injustice, is not understood. Three million pensioners are getting restless, anguished and let down. How long can such a large mass of people hold their patience, is not known. Certainly what is visible & indicated, their patience is running out?

    2. We are also aware, that it is not as much due to the politicians as the scheming bureaucracy who had been hell bent to do the Defence Forces down. The magnanimity of the senior Defence officers accepting the lower emoluments in 1947 (form Rs 1300 to Rs 770 for a Major as brought out by Lt Gen S K Sinha) has been misused by the bureaucracy. By putting fears in the minds of the political bosses of the misplaced thought of a possible coup by the Defence Forces, they have continuously brought down their status & emoluments. The Defence Forces of India are totally patriotic, well disciplined with high integrity, loyalty & commitment to the Nation, which is unmatched in the whole world. On the contrary, it has been proved many times over that when all other pillars of democracy have failed, Defence Services have been the saving grace. When IAS, IFS & IPS fail to cope with the situation, they hand it over to the Military who come to the rescue of the Nation and bring the situation under control. The question here needs to be asked from those who do the military bashing; "Is it not then the Military Commanders and their enlightened soldiers who possess higher faculties and higher calibre than their counter parts in the bureaucracy. Then why have the bureaucracy given themselves Higher Status and Higher emoluments. Defence Services deserve to be acknowledged as the superior most service of the country. The best men and women must be attracted to join this profession. If our country has to progress at the desired pace to become a major world power, all central services personnel must do at least three years attachment with the Armed Forces before joining their respective professions. The nation will be greatly benefited.

    3. Another issue which needs to be brought to the notice of the people of India is regarding hiding the information from/ misleading/ misrepresenting the facts to the political bosses by the bureaucracy. We were rather surprised to know that senior politicians and ministers did not know the arrest of Ex Servicemen including senior Generals and ladies on 20 Oct 08 by the police when they were sitting on Fast For Justice in the Lawns of India Gate to protest against the Injustice to Defence Personnel. Likewise, it has come to our notice from the information received through RTI regarding the 4th Pay Commission that the MOD & Finance Ministry in Jan 1987 did not represent the case of Defence Personnel properly. The Pay scale of IPS officers were raised for the second time on 20 Jan 1987, during the Union Cabinet meeting. It also empowered the Group of Ministers to consider the alternative formula fitment in the new scales in the context of running scales of the Armed Forces and decide the matter in a week and submit its recommendation to the PM for final approval. The MOD never referred any case to the Group of Ministers within 7 days of the said Union Cabinet Meeting. Thus the IPS DIG got a clear edge over the pay in 18th year of service ie Rs 5100-150-5400-150-6150 (Rs 5400 in 18th year service as against Armed Forces officers getting Rs 4850/-).

    4. The recent controversy of similar nature came to light where MOD & Finance Military misrepresented the facts resulting in further adding to the anomalies in 6th CPC award to Defence Personnel. The Govt needs to act fast and correct all the anomalies in the 6th CPC award in respect of Defence Forces. The delay is causing anguish to the Defence Personnel both serving and retired.

    With kind regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM

    Maj Gen Satbir Singh is the Former Senior Fellow and Security Analyst of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA). Examiner of PhD thesis in Defence & Security Studies. Ex Commandant Services Selection Centre & President SSB, besides being Instructor at four premier institutions of the Army. Presently he is a Vice Chairman Indian Ex- Servicemen Movement (IESM).

    “Fall” is different this year

    IT is during “Fall” that we have been visiting America and are able to savour the “fall colours” for which this country is famous. Manhattan offers beautiful walks, not only in the Central Park but along Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Lexington Avenue etc.

    Central Park is a riot of colour and along various Avenues it is the spectre of well-appointed stores with latest in clothes, jewellery and assortment of items for the rich and the famous. From Gucci to Cartier to Brioni, to Louis Vuitton or you name it, they are all there, though at a huge price, whereas Lexington Avenue offers more modest shopping.

    But this year we have been late in coming, and colours in the Central Park have lost their myriad hues and wear a drab wintry look. However, there is “fall” of a different kind. It is the “fall” in the economy.

    All those stores for the rich and others for not so rich are shorn of customers and wear a deserted look. Many have put up notices for discounted sales, while some others are simply down and out and ripe for outright closure and great picking.

    The newspapers make gloomy reading with layoffs in thousands by the day: Industry after industry seems to be going under. No one appears to know how all this came about. There is a recall to the Great Depression of 1929 and we learn that Bernanke, Chairman Federal Reserve Bank of America is an authority on the Great Depression and will surely fix the economy.

    They say that perhaps “sub-prime lending,” in housing is the villain. But Greenspan, the previous Chairman of Federal Reserve Bank, was an authority on housing finance. So also were a bunch of CEOs, each an expert in his field, drawing fat salaries and millions in bonuses, whose companies have gone bust.

    America too has the largest number of Nobel Laureates in economics. But now
    we are told the economics is not a precise science. No two economists agree
    on any one economic issue. The debate often turns to free capitalism versus
    controlled economy.

    The motor car industry is on the brink of collapse and is in dire need of resuscitation in the form of bridge loan (whatever it means) of 25 million dollars. Oil prices had shot through the roof and the great American gas guzzlers had lost their attraction and now when the oil prices have come down there is no credit available and there is little money in the wallets.

    Law makers are not enthused with this fat demand of 25 million dollars. So uncertainty prevails as it does in most other areas. Auto manufacturers should have been working on fuel-efficient vehicles rather than on gas guzzlers. is the refrain .

    Much hope is being pinned on the President elect, Mr Barack Obama, and his team. But the new Presidency is still many weeks away and much more “fall” may occur. Nor does the President elect have a magic wand to restore sanity and economic order in a jiffy.

    The way Roosevelt handled the 1929 depression is now the subject of much study. But no two situations are ever exactly alike, so we wait out for the current financial turmoil to run its course.

    Even if we are late for the “fall colours” this year, the Fall is there, though of a different type where the colours are missing but it does offer great bargains and is a shopper’s paradise. All you need is a fist full of dollars!

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)
    “Fall” is different this year

    ECHS: Woman alleges rape at command hospital, Chandimandir

    Breaking News! A 39-year-old woman was alleged gangraped by two ward attendants at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir near Panchkula (Haryana). The woman, wife of an Airman, alleged that a third person videographed the rape. A case has been registered against the accused - Hottam Singh, Iftekhar Khan and Raj.

    Medical examination of the woman is done and results are awaited. The woman visited the Command Hospital around 12.30 pm on Saturday to get physiotherapy of her shoulder. When she was returning after the treatment, Neuro Surgical Ward Documentation-in-Charge Hottam Singh took her to another room and raped her with the help of other accomplices.
    Woman alleges rape Command Hospital, Chandimandir

    Comment: Ex- servicemen Contributory Health scheme conceived by Bureaucrats to reduce burden on Military Hospitals has removed the ESM load from its purview. A new organisation ECHS so created is mainly staffed by civilian Medical Staff for administering to the Health of Veterans. The scheme in 5 years has run out of steam. The salaries of ECHS staff are peanuts and what you really get are sex manics. We need to eliminate all civilian medical staff including dental staff who prefer to treat the breasts rather than the teeth! The administration of each polyclinic should be entrusted to a firebrand retired officer with powers to sack the indisciplined and corrupt. Alternately give the Military Hospitals the additional staff and resources to cater to the needs of ESM. There is also a requirement to re-define dependents. Due to the existing loopholes lot of medication and stores are siphoned off to the civil market through the warden boys.

    SCPC: Pension Anomalies Aggrevated

    Dear Colleagues,

    The Government notification on defence pensions issued on 11 Nov 2008 has created serious anomalous situations both for inter-rank and intra-rank pensioners. Here are a few examples:

  • A pre-2006 (and post-1996) Sepoy will get 39% lower pension than a post-2006 Sepoy while a pre-1996 Sepoy will get 73% lower than his post-2006 counterpart.
  • A post-2006 Sepoy will get 24% more pension that a pre-2006 Hav and 30% more pension than a pre-1996 Hav.
  • A pre-2006 Lt Gen will get 9.7% lower pension than a post-2006 Colonel while a pre-1996 Lt Gen will get 17% lower than such a Colonel. (The Maj Gens and Brigs are similarly affected)

    These aberrations were highlighted to the RM on 19 Nov 2008 and once again will be highlighted during meeting with the PM on 24 Nov 2008. The efforts are on- going and we will continue to press for OROP which seems the only sane route/ solution to to set right the old and new set of pension anomalies created by successive pay commissions.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
  • Now civil services regain popularity

    CHENNAI: A secure but challenging job of the civil services has suddenly become attractive for candidates who were once aspirants of the IT sector. While waiting for the IT companies to intimate their date of joining, a number of engineering students with offer letters have taken the initiative of appearing for competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.

    “There is an increase in the number of engineering students joining the coaching for civil services examination recently,” said Pattanam Sengodan Ravindran, Director of India’s premier IAS coaching institute Vajiram and Ravi.

    “Around 50 per cent of the candidates who have joined our civil services coaching academy recently are engineering graduates,” said D.Shankar, Director of Shankar IAS Academy. J. Jegan, a biotechnology engineer who has been selected by an IT major has not yet been intimated by the company of his joining date.

    Many IT aspirants from Bangalore, too, have joined the coaching classes as they now want to become a government official, said Mr. Shankar. Prabhu Roy Mathias, another engineering student who had been selected by an IT major said he had decided not to join the company.
    Aloysius Xavier Lopez
    Now civil services regain popularity

    Comment: In view of the economic down slide, assured promotions and the steep hike of salaries for the IAS and IFS, there is a sudden spurt of candidates opting for civil services. Will the IT bubble burst enhance visibility and attract candidates to choose Military as a career option? MOD has to set its mode to attracting candidates to fill up the 11000 or so officers deficient in the three arms of the Military.

    1st JSW-NDA COURSE Website

    Veterans of the Three Defence Services of India, Serving Fraternity, the Nation at large and readers of the Blog

    A large number of officers of the Indian Defence Services have had the privilege of being trained at the National Defence Academy Clement Town, Dehardun and later after the Academy shifted to Khadakvasla, in Dec 1954.

    The First Course/Batch of any training institution has a special place in its history and progress. We from the First Course JSW/NDA are lucky to have this privilege as far as NDA is concerned.

    It is my added privilege and pleasure to have conceptualized, worked on the content and get a website designed for our Course. The website can be seen at the link: National Defence Academy: 1st course JSW

    The authorities in the Ministry of Defence and Services Headquarters, before and after the Independence and Partition of India on 15 Aug 1947, did a commendable job in raising this Institution, the First of its kind in the World, where officer cadets of the three Services were to be trained together. This was more so, considering that the Nation was in turmoil due to the partition of the Country, there were riots and brutal violence, migration of millions from one part of united India to the other and millions of refugees were to be settled.

    The Website explains the process of planning and establishing the Joint Services Wing at Clement Town and the beginnings and experience of the First Course for two years while they were under training there. Details of subsequent pre commission training of the Army Cadets at IMA Dehradun, the Naval Cadets in England and India and of the Air Force Cadets at Air Force Academy at Jodhpur and Begumpet are also included. An overview of the performance of the Course while in Service is also covered.

    Hopefully, after seeing this website, some other NDA courses and courses from other such training establishments will be motivated to have websites of their own.

    This website will be linked to the official website of the NDA, shortly.

    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen (Retd) PVSM
    Signal Officer-in-Chief Indian Army, 1988-91
    Member of the First Course JSW/NDA

    Pay parity for armed forces a difficult task, says Govt

    Sun, Nov 23 03:19 PM
    Achinta Borah New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) With the armed forces insisting on a pay hike, the government has said it is "very difficult" to maintain a balance in salaries of government servants doing varied jobs. "It is a very difficult exercise.

    Because it is not just a question of ensuring that people get better salaries. It is also a question of parities. Balances," Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar told PTI in an interview.

    He was responding to a question on what steps the government was contemplating in view of the armed forces' demand for pay parity. Chandrasekhar said issues become more complicated when people start feeling that they are being discriminated against by the Pay Commission recommendations.

    "It is very difficult when people feel that this chap has got more than me. That feeling is there. So, to maintain that kind of balance. It is very difficult," he said. The Cabinet Secretary said the ministerial committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had held both Defence and Finance portfolios earlier, was working on to find out a solution to the demands of the defence forces.

    The armed forces have recently strongly conveyed to the government that there should be "no dilution" on their demands for pay parity. This comes in the wake of reports that the government was trying to find a "middle path" to break the deadlock over the armed forces' demands that included placing Army Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force in Pay Band-4.
    Pay parity for armed forces a difficult task, says Govt

    Comment: The government certainly has not made an attempt to maintain balance of salaries rather it has skewed the existing parity and dumped the Armed Forces with a view to diminish its command and control structure. What needs to be seen is whether its intent and purport was wilfull or by oversight? No Chief of Armed Forces will accept to degrade his own Forces to the ultimate peril and security of the Nation.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Indian Navy foils Somali pirates' hijack bid

    The key problem is that no one wants to go ashore and take on the Somali warlords responsible for the surge in piracy. No wonder, as the natural state of Somalia, over the last few centuries, has been violent anarchy. This would be bloody, mainly for the Somalis, and no nation wants to get accused of war crimes and brutality by the media.
    Somali Pirates Defeat Warships
    Indian Navy foils Somali pirates' hijack bid

    The Tabar has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since Oct 23, and has escorted 35 ships safely through the 'pirate-infested waters' Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    The Indian navy announced that one of its warships in the Gulf of Aden destroyed a ship belonging to Somali pirates while patrolling 285 nautical miles (528km) south-west of Salalah in Oman, on Tuesday evening.

    According to early reports, INS Tabar was approaching a pair of high speed launches and a pirate 'mother ship'- used as a base from which to launch attacks.

    An Indian navy spokesman said it demanded the vessel stop for investigation but the pirate ship responded by threatening to "blow up the naval warship if it closed on her".

    The pirates, who were running around the decks with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine-guns, then attacked.

    The Indian Navy retaliated by opening fire and that there was an explosion on the pirate vessel, which sank. "Fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored in the vessel," the Indian navy said.

    Some of the pirates tried to escape on two speedboats - the Indian sailors gave chase but one boat was later found abandoned, while a second boat escaped.
    Somali pirates attack Indian warship in latest brazen attack

    SCPC: Pension Comparison pre/ post- 2006 Retirees

    Same Table as below

    Legend Pensions Pre- 2006 Retirees:
    1. * Pension of Major and Lt Col is as per pension tables since it more than the mininmum i.e 50% of minimum Pay Band+Grade Pay+ MSP
    2. All other pensions except Post 1996 Lt Gens at 50% of Minimum Pay Band+Grade Pay+MSP. Pension for Maj Gen and other Lt Gen,is stepped up to Brig since MSP benefit is not given, otherwise it is 23700 and 24700 respectively.
    3. ** Non-Army Commander
    4. @ Notional benefit of MSP for fixation of revised pay

    Veteran JS Bhinder

    We thank Veteran Jaspal Bhinder for the comparative tables. It is obvious that there are number of interpretations and even pay commission "authors" (bureaucrats) who are avowed mathematicians have asked the CGDA to interpret the tables. I believe a master software is being tried out, which eventually will be transferred to he banks for credit to veterans in bits and pieces. It is likely that the computers will run out of memory (or remain bugged) in the first run! Indians invented the concept of "Zero", and our Bureaucrats have put the seal of "Zero" concept in the government functioning and multiplying their own personal gains by a manifold (digits 1 to 9 invented by Arabs)!

    Exodus From Armed Forces: Any visible SCPC sops to reverse the trend?

    Exodus From Armed Forces: REVISE SIXTH PAY COMMISSION
    By Dr. P.K. Vasudeva
    New Delhi, April 18, 2008- (Posted Just to refresh status)

    A fresh and potentially crippling round of exodus has hit the Armed forces, already facing severe manpower crunch. There is a shortage of about 35,000 personnel in the Forces. In the Army alone there is a shortage of 11,153 officers, Navy 1,403 officers and the IAF is short of 1,368 officers.

    The disappointment with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, has forced dozens of officers to seek premature release from service and a large number of them are planning to leave for greener pastures outside. The pay package of a Major to Brigadier has gone up by just 13-15 per cent. A horde of Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels are therefore queuing up to quit soon.

    Defence Minister A K Antony has assured the Service chiefs that he will push for corrections in the pay panel report to meet the aspirations of the soldiers, who will be getting less than that of a peon of the civil services. But such a situation could have been avoided in the first place. For much before the decision to appoint a Sixth Pay Commission was taken by the Centre, the three Services’ chiefs had placed before it the need to appoint a separate Pay Commission for defence services.

    Their stance was that no member of the Armed forces was included in the Pay commissions even though the Forces comprised 40 per cent of the Central Government employees. Moreover, the civilians were unable to comprehend the tough service conditions, ground realities and military ethos which need to be taken into account while working out the pay and allowances. Worse, the panel couldn’t appreciate the promotion structure, wherein a Brigadier was given more pension than a Major-General and scrapped the running pay board, which had partially compensated for limited promotions.
    By Dr. P.K. Vasudeva
    Exodus From Armed Forces

    Armed forces: Too little, too late
    Huge hikes for greenhorns will make the forces attractive but not enough to retain the flock. Half the army’s officer corps is still unhappy.

    The armed forces hoped the Sixth Pay Commission would improve their attractiveness, increase their retainability and reduce the deficiency in the officer corps. These are three of the biggest problems the world’s second largest armed forces are grappling with and yet the report has addressed only the first problem.

    A hike of over 60 per cent for young officers has somewhat levelled the playing field in the hunt for young talent and in reducing a shortage of nearly 12,000 young officers. However, a modest hike for mid-level officers like lt colonels, colonels and brigadiers— from where the exodus is taking place— means nearly half the army’s officer corps feels left out.

    A paltry pay hike for soldiers (they will get a military service pay of only Rs 2,000) is a reflection of how there is no shortage of aspirants for persons below officer rank. The new running pay band means the service chiefs, now treated on par with the cabinet secretary, will get huge pay hikes amounting to Rs 90,000 per month.

    The commission has recommended a military service pay of Rs 6,000 per month for officers and lateral absorption of retired personnel of armed forces into the paramilitary forces (the armed forces retire their personnel earlier). However, the proposed pay hike will create fresh inequalities. (Lateral entry scheme is the pipe dream of bureaucrats and will never see its daylight as long as vested interests are there in recruitment!)

    A young lieutenant now earning Rs 8,250 will receive Rs 25,760 or a pay hike of over 60 per cent. However, his commanding officer, a colonel with 19 years of service, will take home only Rs 44,140. The running pay band has also triggered angst because most of the armed forces’ personnel will continue to draw lower pay through their career. Almost all civil servants will reach the rank of joint secretary in 16-17 years service and remain in the higher pay band for a period of another 20 years. On the other hand, approximately 87 per cent of armed forces’ officers will never rise to the equivalent rank of major general.

    The commission has recommended a significant improvement in terminal benefits— gratuity has been raised from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. The underlying message to the armed forces is “come join us if you have it in you. Serve for 20 years and then go fend for yourselves”, says Major General Surjit Singh (retired).

    The commission is silent on short service commissions, something critical for ensuring the army can fill in vacant slots and has shot down the one-rank-one pension scheme which figured in the UPA’s election manifesto and was meant to redress the imbalance between retired personnel. The forecast is that after the initial euphoria, old problems will return to haunt the armed forces.

    Sandeep Unnithan
    Armed forces: Too little, too late

    Present Status of Pay Anomalies
    All would have noticed that the Chiefs are being made to plead services case first before the Cabinet Secretary and now Sushma Nath, the expenditure secretary. Who in any case is the villian of the piece, first as member of 6 CPC then a member of Committee of Secretaries. It is a repeat of the charade of 5th CPC. It lowers the dignity of the chiefs to plead the case before a mere secretary. It is for the RM to fight the services case and at best the chiefs should argue their case before the Committee of ministers.

    The second issue as per the OUTLOOK of 13 Oct 2008, the decision of the Cabinet Committee of Ministers was fudged by some babus to benefit themselves and those in the IFS. Victory of IAS manipulators will ensure the degradation of the Armed Forces which is the only visible, credible and dependable institution left unblemished!.

    The armed forces, instruments of state power, are clearly at risk of being affected by the growing mismatch between the ideals they adhere to and the practice they witness.
    The body politic in uniform

    RTI Act 2005 Public Grievances

    Dear Friends,
    The text of a mail received by me is reproduced below. I have NOT seen the advertisement myself but not surprised either. They would have advertised in some very limited papers. Just compare this with the full page advertisements issued by the various minstries, for example by the railways even when a renovated platform is inaugurated in some remote corner of the country!

    Regards and best wishes
    Maj PM Ravindran (Retd)

    Parliament of India
    Rajya Sabha Secretariat
    Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law And Justice Invites Suggestions on Implementation of RTI Act 2005

    The Above Standing Committee Headed by Dr. E M Sudarashana Natchiappan M.P., has taken up the Subject: "Implementation of Right to Information Act 2005, in various Ministries Departments/Organisations/ PSUs etc. for examining and report. The Committee has invited Memoranda Containing Suggestions /Views in the Subject Confined to Utility of RTI Act, level of Awareness in the People, Major Impediments, Strengthening the Act and Ammendment if any required. Please Submit your Memoranda in two sets to (english or Hindi) to K N Earendra Kumar, Deputy Director , Rajya Sabha Secretariat Room No 222 , Parliament annexe, New Delhi 110001 (telephone No. 23035447 Fax No. 23016784 E-mail: within 30 days of publication of this advertisement (which published on 22nd November, 2008). The Memoranda submitted to the Committee would be treated as confidential in terms of the advertisement.

    Sixth Central Pay Commission injustices galore for Veterans

    It is with extreme agony that we realize that we have wasted our lives serving in the armed forces under the delusion of patriotism. The euphemism ‘being more patriotic than the king’ seems to apply to us to the dot.

    That the status and quality of life of the armed forces personnel have been systematically eroded over the last 60 years is a fact of history. The pay commissions have been one of the vehicles used by successive governments, guided by the self serving and manipulative bureaucrats, to perpetuate this gross injustice is also well known. The fact that the three service chiefs have refused to implement the latest pay commission recommendations that have been approved by the government is nothing to cheer about. That they have staked their post-retirement rehabilitation in Raj Bhavans and embassies abroad speak of only one thing- the seriousness of the situation that has developed with morale of the forces taking a plunge, towards the seventh hell if there was one! The list of grievances that has led to the current fiasco is long. Very long, indeed. But here again the chiefs have taken up just 4 issues, possibly based on their priorities and also because of the need to avoid a situation where a long list is presented and the babus prevail to resolve the most simplest of them all and go to town claiming that of the N number of demands so many have been resolved and the others will be considered in due course but never to see the light of the day again. This is not a hypothetical situation that we are painting but one that is borne out of experience.

    The issues of One Rank, One pension, lateral employment etc have been hanging fire for decades and the former is even there on the election manifesto of the Congress party leading the current government at the Centre. The dues on account of Rank Pay granted by the 4th Central Pay Commission is still pending with officers having had to form groups and take the matter to the courts. As per reports appearing in the media there are more anomalies waiting to be addressed and pending since then. There is a recent verdict of the apex court in the matter of pension of Major Generals which has reiterated the principle of one rank, one pension. Inspite of all these, the order issued by the Ministry of Defence on 11 Nov 2008 regarding pensions, has introduced what we would like to term as an All Ranks, One Pension scheme! The pension tables indicate just two pensions for all officers as under:

    Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel: Rs 14000+/-500
    Colonels to Lieutenant Generals : Rs 26100+/-500

    A similar situation exists for Personnel Below Officer Rank too, in paybands 1 and 2.

    Can there be anything more absurd? On delving a little more into the possible reasons for such absurdities being imposed on the armed forces, the subterfuge by the IAS lobby becomes evident. While the pay band scheme covers all services and this situation applies to all such services the only service that is NOT adversely affected by it is the IAS because invariably a direct entrant to IAS will get to the Higher Administrative Grade and an assured pension of Rs 37,750/-!

    Suffice to say that we have reached the end of the proverbial tether. We know that we have no role in vote bank politics and are not conditioned to the politics of the streets. But it appears that we will be failing in our duties if we fail to educate the youth aspiring for a career in the armed forces about what waits for them in uniform and out of it. This is something we cannot afford to neglect because it is a call of duty that will have serious repercussions on the security of the country. Fifth columnists have subverted the security of the nation even in the past and when they are ruling the roost the least that soldiers of yesteryears should do is to expose them.

    Veteran Major P M Ravindran


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