Saturday, January 3, 2009

IESM: Rally Fast for Justice at Jantar Mantar

Dear Gen Raj Kadyan,

Cordial regards.
First time in the history of defence services, veterans have created record under your leadership by fighting for lost status and Izzat. Your sacrifice and dedicated efforts with your team, has only made it possible to sort out certain major anomalies with the Govt. Otherwise it was very difficult to get such pay hike for Lt Cols/Cdr(IN) /Wing Cdr(IAF), restoration of 70% pensionary weightage for PBOR, separate pay commission for defence services etc. Lot to achieve more from the Govt in near future also for welfare of defence services so keep it up sir, we all are with you.

Since Raksha Mantri’s letter to Chairman IESM, merely shows that Govt is fully aware of IESM activities so veterans genuine demands for justice can’t be ignored and justice can’t be denied by the Govt for the remaining anomalies. (BHAGWAN KE GHAR MAIN DAIR HAI PAR ANDHAR NAHI)

No doubt leading role played by our three chiefs and other senior veterans is highly admirable yet major credit goes to you, your team and all veterans who volunteered for fast unto death and relay fast which is going on with full josh and hosh despite cold climate so we all ESM are indeed proud of you all.

Your interaction with TV/Media was always so excellent, which made lot of difference on Govt to listen genuine demands for justice of veterans and that impact in future also will remain to over come other remaining anomalies as justice can’t be denied.

We indeed owe deep debt of gratitude for taking extra initiative and the dedicated efforts put in for successful persuading and progressing the pending issues of 6 CPC with highest authorities and doing needful for the achievements of the results for the welfare of veterans.

All ESM of Dehra Doon Valley send best wishes for the New Year to all the members of the Core Group & the Veterans who are carrying on with the Protest Relay Fast despite the cold season. We have full faith that IESM will always be successful in achieving the Mission to deliver the goods and bring many laurels in near future also and progress by leaps and bound.
May Almighty God bless all of us.

Lt Col B M Thapa (Retd)
Gen Secy, Dehradun Ex- Services League

Journalist Couple with a flair for Military Affairs

The Headlines Today correspondent Shiv Aroor who had Interviewed the IAF helicopter display team 'The Sarang'.
Current: Senior Special Correspondent at TV Today
Past: Senior Reporter at Indian Express Reporter at Financial Express
Education: Cardiff University/ Prifysgol Caerdydd St/ Stephen's College
Journalist specialised in defence and military affairs for five years, with three years reporting for a national newspaper, and the last two years with the 24-hour news broadcasting station.
His mail ID is
Blog: LiveFist
He is the son-in-law of Air Vice Marshal Anil Chopra who was the AOC J & K and now posted in Air HQ. His wife is Shaili Chopra Aroor the anchor you must have watched on the NDTV Profit...

She has pursued master's degree in Broadcast and Television from 2002 batch, The Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. She is an avid traveler and is planning to make documentaries and short films in the near future. She finds time to write, which is a passion for Shaili despite her busy program in television. She believes the blood of a martyr more sacred than the ink of a writer. Her writings and poetry are also published in Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer, Femina among various other magazines and websites. Some of her poems are The windy night, Kingdom of Gods, Fear, Loneliness too is a feeling of joy, Hide and Seek.

Details provided by:
Brig PT Gangadharan (Retd)

Lt Col finally in higher pay band. What does it practically mean for serving and retired officers?

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world - Etty Hillesum

In these times of chaos, let us wish and hope for peace. A very happy new year to all readers of this blog. Now back to the topic at hand.

Impact on serving officers
There have been mixed reactions to the news confirming the placement of all Lt Colonels and equivalent in Pay Band-4 with a Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 8000. But if you ask me, there is no reason to feel dejected. We should feel happy that for the time being our Lt Cols are in PB-4 and would not be drawing a total pay package lower than Non Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) officers of Group-A civil services or Selection Grade (SG) officers of the All India Services. The Grade Pay has been tinkered with and lowered but we would keep pursuing the issue and there is nothing like a ‘full stop’ in the labyrinths of administrative strata.

Many people in the civil as well as defence set up were convinced that PB-4 was never going to come through but I’m glad that ultimately we were established in the positive and they in the red. Lt Colonels were wrongly placed equivalent to the Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) by the 6th CPC (PB-3 with GP of Rs 7600) but now have been upgraded to PB-4 with a GP of Rs 8000. The GP of Lt Cols has however been kept lower than NFSG officers of Group-A civil services / SG officers of All India Services who enjoy a GP of Rs 8700.

The upgradation would also practically mean that Lt Colonels shall now draw a higher pay band and a higher GP than the following :
  • Deputy Secretaries to Govt of India
  • Directors and Additional Secretaries to State Governments
  • District Police Chiefs (Known with variable nomenclature as District SPs / Distt SSPs / DCPs)
  • Non-Functional Selection Grade Officers of the Central Engineering Services
  • 2ICs of Central Police Organisations
  • Commandants (Junior Grade) of the Indian Coast Guard
  • Deputy Commissioners / District Magistrates / Collectors of Districts in the Junior Administrative Grade
  • Scientists ‘D’ of the Technical and Scientific Services
  • Joint Controllers of Defence Accounts (JCsDA)

    Impact on retired officers
    Retired Lt Colonels (Selection Grade as well as Time Scale) are also expected to gain from this announcement. The basic pension of pre-2006 Lt Colonels and equivalent would most probably be fixed at Rs 25700 which is higher than the basic pension of NFSG officers of the Group-A services as well as SG officers of the All India Services which is now fixed at Rs 23050. As prior to 6th CPC, the edge in pensions of Lt Cols shall hence continue to operate vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts. Most of the earlier Lt Col retirees were till now drawing a basic pension of Rs 7550 whereas NFSG/SG officers were drawing a basic pension of Rs 7150 but the 6th CPC had altered this advantage to the detriment to Lt Cols who were now granted a basic pension of Rs 17063. Thankfully this has been rectified by the GoM.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh
    Thursday, January 1, 2009
    Lt Colonels finally in Pay Band-4. What does it practically mean for serving and retired officers?
  • Taliban: Seven years of missing the obvious

    taliban. More British-born Muslims ...
    In his interview to Time magazine on December 29, 2008, President-elect Obama has spelt out his foreign policy priorities. He has said, among other things, “Managing a more effective strategy in Afghanistan will be a top priority. Recognising that it is not simply an Afghan problem but it’s an Afghanistan-Pakistan-India-Kashmir-Iran problem is going to be a priority.” It is strange that neither terrorism nor jihadi extremism figures in this formulation. Prima facie it would suggest that the incoming administration looks at the issue as a regional interstate problem.

    Let us remind Obama and his team that this phase of the Afghan problem started with ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in October 2001 following the refusal of the Taliban regime in Kabul to surrender Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda cadres. The Taliban regime was cleared out of Afghanistan by the US Special Forces and troops of the Northern Alliance supported by US air power. As the operation was coming to a close and Osama bin Laden and remnants of Al Qaeda were cornered in the Torah Borah mountains, terrorists with links to Pakistan’s ISI attacked the Indian parliament. That compelled India to mobilise its forces on the border. Pakistan countered that move and by vacating its western borders permitted Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership to find safe havens in Pakistan. It is now quite clear that the attack on the Indian Parliament was a provocative ruse to trap India into a military move which would justify Pakistan’s convenient troop withdrawal.
    K. Subrahmanyam
    Posted: Jan 02, 2009 at 2222 hrs IST
    Read more...Seven years of missing the obvious by K.Subrahmanyam

    Two decades of incessant bleating about terrorism radiating from pakistan and over analysiing the same has left us in a state of frozen inaction. Need of the hour is resolute action, action and more action. Gita says do your duty do not worry or expect fruits.
    g.chandra mohan on 2009-01-02 15:28:53.177699+05:30

    IESM: No Pain No Gain- Struggle for ESM Welfare is a continuous process

    To: The Chairman IESM

    Dear Sir,
    1. The latest news of up-gradation of the pay-band of Lt Col rank from PB3 to PB4 has been indeed a heart warming outcome of the efforts of IESM and their members who supported the cause at various levels and through various sources including the efforts put in by the three Chiefs of Armed Forces and the Media. Much more does remains to be achieved for both the serving and retired personnel including rank/ status parity and OROP, as applicable. It is the persistence in efforts and due diligence in subtle handling of the issues which has made the change in the thinking of the Government. It is also evident that this approach alone may not help in future in obtaining the desired level of perceived justice. More vigorous approach and efforts may henceforth be required to undo the injustice meted out to both the men in uniform and the Veterans. The former is bound by the well perceived/ known discipline but the later is not bound by the same even though the instinct may prevent him otherwise, yet he is free to have liberal approach in this matter, to extract justice. And thus the onus, in a way, does fall on the shoulders of the IESM. So Bravado IESM.

    2. We, the members of the Club-20, which is an informal group of retired IAF Engineer Officers (in the age band of 70+1 yrs) wish to place our sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all members of the IESM and through its medium, the three Chiefs of the Defence Forces and all others including the Media, who helped in achieving the results noted above. We also affirm our sincere commitments for the baton raised by the IESM for achieving justice.

    3. With good wishes,
    I Jairath
    Gp Capt (Retd)
    Club 20

    Mumbai Mayhem: War on Terrorism and need for Political Wisdom

    Hello Friends

    1. The USA has now changed its stand on handing over of the Pak terrorist/Groups involved in Mumbai mayhem to India for trials. This was the demand of the GOI. They have now told that they should be tried in Pakistan itself. Probably, tomorrow they will say that the people involved are not Pakistanis. Where do we stand. The fact is that we have to fight our own battle and that we should. We have to depend on our own strength ultimately. The earlier we understand the better.

    2. We have to depend on our own Armed forces. Will that happen by downgrading them in Status, Rank, Pay and Pension and by adversely affecting their morale? There appears to be progressive built up of serious commotion among the personnel of the Armed forces, both serving and retired, which does not augur well for the Indian State. Who will look into this degraded state of affairs? Media could be restrained to some extent by the Govt, but can we, the ire of the public if that also happens to rise in consonance with the Armed Forces. We will see in the coming days, the worsening of the situation.

    3. I caution for RESTRAINT but without loosing grip over the situation building up. Also, We now need young people to take over reigns of the political command to lead the Nation: but do you see any one on the Indian Horizon?? It is time that the present Govt acts with foresight and Deep Wisdom, by leaving aside their political compulsions and take the country safely from the current crises.

    Gp Capt (Retd)
    Member Club-20

    IESM: Relay Fast for Justice

    Dear Colleagues,
    The relay fast continues; as does the increasing stream of visitors. The ESM from around Gurgaon had the honour of keeping fast today. The Press is gradually picking up interest on the "One Rank One Pension" and related issues.

    Jan 03, 2008 will mark another milestone in the IESM. A large number of senior veterans are likely to join the Movement in a public function, expected to be well covered by media.

    For those unfamiliar with Delhi, a brief history of city of Jantar Mantar as a monument is:
    "The famous 18th century astronomer king and the founder of the Pink city of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh, built the first of his five astronomical observatories across India. The observatories are known as Jantar Mantar which is a corruption of the words 'yantra' (instrument) 'mantra' (formula) over the period. It gives a glimpse of the astronomical advancement India had made in ancient period. The Jantar Mantar at Delhi is located on Sansad Marg close to Connaught Place. It is the largest and the best preserved compared to the other four open-air observatories which were built by Sawai jai Singh in Varanasi, Jaipur, Mathura and Ujjain. The various abstract structures within the Jantar Mantar are, in fact, instruments that were used for keeping track of celestial bodies. Yet, Jantar Mantar is not only a timekeeper of celestial bodies, it also tells a lot about the technological achievements under the Rajput kings and their attempt to resolve the mysteries regarding astronomy."

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
    All Political Parties Support the Primary Demand of Ex Servicemen
    Jaswant supports 'one rank one pension' principle for Defence forces
    Sonia calls for one-rank-one-pension

    Bureaucrats reject the Demand of Ex Servicemen as the demand was "not found acceptable" for administrative, financial, and legal reasons.
    Govt rejects 'one rank, one pension' demand of soldiers

    Friday, January 2, 2009

    Careers at Sea and in Shipping

    A sea career offers early responsibility, a challenging job with good prospects and an opportunity to acquire qualifications that are internationally recognized and transferable. It is possible to achieve senior rank at an early age, to earn a decent salary while enjoying world travel, and experience the sea in all its moods.

    Shipping is increasingly specialized and there are great differences between the operations of different types of ship and their patterns of trade. The operation of a Very Large Crude Carrie (VLCC) is very different from life on a short sea container ship, a cruise ship or ferry. Nevertheless the huge variety of different trades must surely be an attraction in itself.

    There are however, certain common characteristics that the person seeking a sea career ought to have. A ship is a small society, and the successful seafarer needs to have patience, tolerance and rub along harmoniously with people of different cultures. A disciplined approach to life and a degree of self sufficiency will be an advantage.

    Ships’ officers are usually trained as cadets and undertake a blend of college and at-sea training, with a number of statutory examinations as they progress through the ranks. It is usual to specialize as a deck officer, responsible for navigation and cargo, or as a marine engineer officer, responsible for the ship’s technical systems, although it is now possible to train for dual deck/engineroom licenses. Ratings (non officer class) are usually general purpose trained and work either on deck or in the engineroom. There is a range of specialized training available for particular ship types such as tankers, or gas ships.

    From the cadetship, a young officer progresses into a junior officers’ post either as a watch-keeping deck officer or a junior engineer, after more study and sea time there will be opportunities for promotion to senior officers positions and eventually to a job as master or chief engineer, highly responsible and challenging roles.

    But the sea career offers further opportunities into a whole range of associated marine industry careers ashore in what is described as the “maritime infrastructure” that supports the ships at sea and provides services to the industry. Superintendency, ship management, technical operations, port management, surveying, marine education, pilotage, marine equipment, hydrography, marine safety and regulation are just some of the further careers available to sea-trained officers.

    Some people are perfectly happy to spend their whole career at sea, valuing the longer leaves that are compensation for time at sea, but not infrequently an officer will elect to move from the sea into one of the these associated professions.

    The shipping industry itself offers other careers for people who prefer to follow a commercial path, moving into ship broking or marine insurance, working ashore in shipping companies or agents. Ashore or afloat, the marine professional does an essential job, which can be fulfilling and very interesting.

    Kind Courtesy Capt RN Gulati, Pune

    IESM: Fast for Justice at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

    Fast for Justice: Commenced 17 Dec 2008- Sixteenth Day

    Dear Colleagues,
    Contingent from Hisar (Haryana) held fort today at Jantar Mantar. There were many veteran officers and PBOR who visited the venue, became members and made financial contributions. These included Lt Gen GL Bakshi, Brig BS Lamba, Brig Sinha, Brig Pooran Uppal and Brig N Bahri among others. Thank you allmfor providing motivation to the relay fast.

    There were also visits from some TV channels: ‘Zee TV’, ‘News X’ and ‘CNN-IBN’ being the main ones.

    ESM from different parts of India continue to call to express solidarity and support. Col Rajan, who holds the anchor in Bangalore, has promised to arrive on 16 Jan 2008 with a contingent from Karnataka. The IESM spirit has really caught on.

    We need to further improve dissemination of what we are doing. Many still seem unaware.

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

    Demands of Ex- Servicemen who are victims of Bureaucratic Impotence
  • One Rank One Pension (OROP)- Empty promises by successive Governments for the last ten years
  • Resettlement till the age of sixty- Lateral absorption of ESM in PMF yet to become a reality. Delay is due to bureaucrats who see a cherry in Fresh Recruitment!
  • Ex Servicemen Commission headed by ESM- Bureaucrats vie for these lucrative posts with no committment for ESM Welfare.
  • Services/ ESM representation on all committees pertaining to ESM welfare- All committees presently overseen by Bureaucrats who niether served nor have knowledge of the Military.
  • Thursday, January 1, 2009

    Indian Army's Changing Face

    The Article by Manoj Joshi is 10 years old but today even more relevant. One of the thrust of the Article is that there has been considerable intake from what we call ‘lower middle class’. May it be suggested that this is not a new phenomenon. However, it is true that earlier larger number came from well to do families than these days.

    The British had established RIMC and KGRIM. While the former had cadets from richer families the KGs mostly had wards of JCOs and OR. Many generals and other officers who did well during wars were from KGRIM!!

    If a ward of a JCO, NCO, taxi driver makes it to the NDA/IMA/OTS, he/she have to have special qualities. They obviously have talent, will power, self confidence, brains and leadership qualities to overcome the short comings if any in their upbringing. After all they made it, beating thousands from better off families, during the tough and unbiased selection process and later in various academies! Gen Kyani, Chief of Pakistan Army is son of a JCO!!

    It is for consideration that in today’s consumerism society, many of the wards of the neo rich will not be fit for the Defence Services. They will not be attuned to discipline and hard military life. The Defence Services require a hardy, tough human being and those who have had to struggle in childhood are likely to have such inherent qualities. May be that such officers can empathize with the soldiers better!!

    They may be at a disadvantage initially, but the training in NDA/IMA/OTS polishes up most of the cadets. Later it is up to the senior officers in units to bring up their officers. True the family back ground will have some continued effect but gradually it will wear off. Social graces, living standard etc are also important but over emphasis on these is not justifiable.

    The real test/evaluation of performance would be to analyze the back ground of bravery award winners (PVCs, MVCs, Ashok Chakras, VrCs, SMs etc) officers. My hunch is, quite a few of them will be from what is termed ‘non affluent/lower middle class’!!

    Not with standing the above, there is no doubt that diluting status and Izzat of the Defence Services, lesser pay, very hard life, frequent postings in non family stations, large number being left out for ranks higher than a Lt Col due to very narrow pyramid, do inhibit certain spectrum of young men and women from applying for the Defence Services. This needs to be rectified expeditiously.

    Jai Hind.
    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen, PVSM
    Former Signal Officer-in-Chief
    Readers may send in their comments on the Article---Indian Army's Changing Face by Mr Manoj Joshi
    Blog Link: Indian Army's Changing Face

    IESM: Fast for Justice RM response

    ‘One rank one pension’
    - Photo: V. Sudershan
    Seeking justice: Members of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement marching down Parliament Street in New Delhi on Saturday demanding “one rank one pension".

    One Rank One Pension: The Hindu

    Copy of Letter from AK Anthony received by Raj Kadyan

    (National Emblem)
    DO No 209/MP/PGC/2008/6884-F/RM/08 16 December, 2008

    Dear Gen Raj Kadyan,
    This has reference to your letter dated 18th September, 2008 regarding One Rank One Pension.
    The 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) with regard to the demand for “One Rank One Pension” for ex-servicemen observed that the 5th CPC had already granted full parity between pre and post 1.1.1986 pensioners and modified parity between pre and post 1.1.1996 pensioners. Identical dispensation was given to the civilian employees as well as Defence Forces Personnel. However, the Government is examining whether certain improvements can be made in the pension being given to the old pensioners.

    With regards,
    Yours sincerely,
    Sd xxxx
    (A. K. Antony)
    Lt Gen (Retd.) Raj Kadyan
    Chairman, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement

    Just to recapitulate
    Why not go in for one rank, one pension?

    Armed forces to have separate pay commission

    Breaking News..........

    New Delhi, Jan 1 (PTI) In a major New year bonanza for the armed forces, the Prime Minister's Office has informed the Defence Ministry that the armed forces personnel would henceforth have a separate pay commission, which is delinked from the civilian pay panel.
    In a communication to the Defence Ministry the PMO also granted the demand for placing 12,000 odd Lieutenant Colonels and equivalents in Navy and Air Force in the pay band four of the sixth central pay commission. PTI
    Armed forces to have separate pay commission

    The present PMO communication, sent to the Defence Ministry in the last week of December, however, is silent on the two other core demands of the armed forces: placing the Lieutenant Generals in the higher administrative grade plus pay scales and bringing grade pay of officers from Captains to Brigadiers on par with their civilian counterparts.

    But, conceding to the Defence personnel's demand the PMO said it would set up a high powered committee to review the command and control functions, and the status of the armed forces vis-a-vis that of their civilian and paramilitary counterparts.

    Though Defence Ministry assumed that the PMO's communication is a fiat to the armed forces, the nitty gritty of implementing them would have to be worked out in concert with the services headquarters, officials said.
    Read more: Govt approves separate pay commission for armed forces: Economic Times

    Why not a separate Armed Forces Pay Board?

    Defence was not happy with the recommendations and now the government has fuelled the resentment in the forces even more. Now it is the turn of an unfeeling government to drive the military and its veterans into despondency. Defence minister A K Antony informed the parliament in a written reply that the government has not found acceptable the demand for ’one rank one pension’ (OROP) by the ex-servicemen. OROP is an emotive issue for the men in uniform, and there is deep hurt and resentment at being taken for another ride.

    The concept of ’one rank one pension’ says that if two military pensioners who retired in the same rank after rendering equal service should get equal pension irrespective of their dates of retirement. Since the date of retirement also determines the quantum of pension, with each pay commission (with periodicity of 10 years), the military veterans who retired early receive lesser pension compared to those who retired later with the same rank and same service. As military pensioners are subjected to two or three more pay commissions in their lifetime, they have to suffer the disparities bred by it every 10 years. None has ever found it irrational.

    One needs to understand the importance of the forces in a country. If the forces are demoralised by the stupid babus then we are heading for some serious trouble in the time ahead. Armed forces have always been discriminated. That is how our bureaucracy plays the stepmother, spoiler and the game of attrition.

    It is high time that as a citizen of this nation we support our armed forces. Even the most formidable army needs to be cared for and nurtured by the mother country. The soldiers fight for us and if we show callousness then we as a society have betrayed them. We should force the government to ponder over the legitimate demands of the forces. A much better option will be to have a separate commission for the forces. Currently, there is not even a single representative of the forces in the commission. Many countries have implemented the same and thus we should also think over it.
    Why not a separate Armed Forces Pay Board?

    New Year brings more pay for armed forces

    NDTV Correspondent
    Thursday, January 01, 2009, (New Delhi)

    There is good news on New Year for over 12,000 officers in the armed forces.

    After months of uncertainty, Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalent officers in the Indian Air Force and Navy will now be placed in a higher pay category and status, Defence Ministry sources said.

    As first reported by NDTV on December 22, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cleared the proposal that will put at least Rs 12,000 more in the pockets of the officers every month.

    The notification in this regard is expected to be issued shortly.

    However, the other proposal to equate Lieutenant Generals and their equivalent officers in the other two services with Director Generals of state police has been rejected by the government, despite being aware that this decision is likely to create functional problems between the civilian officers and Lieutenant Generals.
    New Year brings more pay for the armed forces

    The government, however, has apparently rejected the fourth "core demand" of granting uniform grade pay to officers of armed forces on par with civilian officers, said sources.

    As reported earlier by TOI, the armed forces blame "bureaucratic subversion" for introducing "far more serious anomalies" in their pay scales rather than resolving the ones present in the 6th Pay Commission report.

    The armed forces, in fact, hold that their extant parity with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts had been "destroyed" by the new pay scales.

    They were upset over the "extant parity" of Lt-Col rank officers being lowered by retaining them in Pay Band-3 (Rs 15,600-39,100), while raising similarly placed civilians and paramilitary officers to PB-4 (Rs 37,400-67,000).
    Armed forces all set for pay hike

    IESM: Greetings 2009

    Date: Wednesday, 31 December, 2008, 8:28 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    Col Sandhu and his stalwarts from Amritsar are holding fort at Jantar Mantar since this morning for their 24 hours duty. Unmindful of the biting Delhi cold, their confident and fortifying presence at the venue is a great boost for the morale of the IESM.

    Among the veterans who continue to visit the venue was our senior Lt Gen Satish Bahri. He has been an active contributor to the ESM cause both with his pen and with his purse. He and others who brave the cold and come over to pat those present, inject renewed life in the participants as well as the organisers. On behalf of all I thank him.

    A number of other veterans and their spouses also visited the venue to buck up the team and to make financial contributions. Among these were a group from NOIDA (Col & Mrs Sekhri, Col & Mrs Vinod Kumar, Col Mohan, Col & Mrs KD Kaushal, Col CP Singh and my friend-in-law Manjula Mahajan). Our heartful thanks to them all.

    The relay fast continues. We will soldier on.

    Here is wishing every ESM and every Service family in India a very happy, healthy and agreeable 2009.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    IESM: Gratitude to our Torch Bearers

    Dear Colleagues,
    Now that we have reached some conclusion by the Group of Ministers, I'm sure we must be partly relieved although there must be some more anomalies remaining to be redressed. This also goes to show that we must agitate and make known our problems at the right time to the right people and not stay goody-goody tight lipped as certain sections of the society would like us to believe (sorry Mr. Shekhar Gupta).

    Now that we have reached somewhere, do you think all this would have been possible without the support of some particular people. So besides the Army, Naval and Air HQ pay cells members who continue performing their thankless jobs for all of us, we must thank some torch bearers who actually got our dues for us. We must thank them personally through emails and letters to show our gratitude in the following order :

    Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta: Email: (official address)
    Where would we be without him? Without his support and demand of izzat, our Lt Col rank would still have drawn PB-3 grades. His openness on pay commission disparities was criticised by the media but we would have reached nowhere without his stand. A salute to you Sir.

    Major Navdeep Singh, Advocate in Punjab High Court: Email:
    His logic and historical viewpoint could not even be denied by the ministers who finally saw reason. His frank and free views which he did not mind sharing with all of us and big powers ultimately made all the difference. Most agree he is the single brain behind whatever we have got.

    Shri Vijay Mohan from the Tribune. Email:
    His articles were the most thought provoking and went a long way in educating the public on issues of pay commission. He thoroughly supported the services in every effort and we are thankful to him and his newspaper for standing by all of us in times of need.

    Shri Nitin Gokhale from NDTV Email:
    He is the one from the electronic media who stood by us. Even if Barkha Dutt was a little cross with us, he still made sure that our problems were brought out in the correct perspective– this also shows the democratic set up of NDTV. A thank you to Shiv Aroor from Headlines today too (email address unknown to me).

    So dears, I request you to thank them all at least via emails so that they know that the jobs that they have done did not go unnoticed and we are not that thankless as we are perceived. I would request friends running blogsites and websites to place this appeal of mine online. Let us make our happiness known to them.

    Thank you very much and Happy 2009
    Brig C Bhanot

    We remain indebted to the ESM fraternity represented by IESM and galvanised by "Report My Signal" team. A Happy New Year to all readers and a big thank you for your support and contribution to the growth and success of our national movement for the welfare of our serving and retired brethern. Our movement's thrust and aim should be restore a Jawan's image, stature, dignity and respect amidst our society. "Jai Jawan" a refrain in true spirit forever!
    Blog Team

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008

    IESM: New Year Tidings

    Dear Friends,


    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    We wish all the "Report My Signal Blog Readers" a Very Happy New Year. May 2009 bring joy cheer and happiness to each and everyone in our extended families.
    Blog Team

    Higher Pay Band for Lt Cols

    Well folks.

    My inputs suggest that Pay Band-4 (Rs 37400 - 67000) is finally through albeit with a Grade Pay of Rs 8000. All Lt Cols at 13 years of service are to be upgraded to PB-4.

    Lt Cols, Wg Cdrs (IAF) and Cdrs (IN) have been placed higher than the grade of Deputy Secy to Govt of India (erstwhile Rs 12000-16500 scale / now Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay Rs 7600) but lower than Directors to Govt of India (Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay Rs 8700).

    The minimum pension of Lt Cols who retired prior to 2006 is however likely to be jacked up above Directors GoI.

    The basic minimum pension of pre-6th CPC retirees of the rank of Lt Col is expected to be Rs 25700. Basic pension of pre-6th CPC Directors (GoI) is Rs 23050.

    Again, I still would suggest readers to take the above with a pinch of salt till the final official announcement.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 3:42 PM
    Wednesday, December 31, 2008
    Pay Band-4 confirmed for Lt Cols

    The government cons the military, again

    Reflections of a Fighter Pilot
    Rediff News December 30, 2008
    First it was the unflattering and detrimental report of the sixth pay commission. Then followed the malicious manoeuvring to downgrade the military further, on the sly, through the committee of secretaries tasked to reconcile the contentious proposals advanced by the same pay commission. Now it is the turn of an unfeeling government to drive the military and its veterans into despondency.

    In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Rajya Sabha on December 11 that the government has not found acceptable the demand for 'one rank one pension' (OROP) by the ex-servicemen.

    Our politicians may have no qualms about showering promises and reneging on them at will, but the military veterans today feel cheated, no less. The whole military structure rests on the bedrock of ranks. Unfortunately, the stuffed shirts inhabiting the corridors of power are uninterested in understanding military ethos. Make no mistake, OROP is an emotive issue for the men in uniform, and there is deep hurt and resentment at being taken for another ride.

    Worse, the denial of OROP comes at a time when the three services are acutely enfeebled by shortage of young officers, at a time when the services are labouring to curb the exodus of middle-level officers, at a time when eligible lads are giving a career in the forces a miss. Could there be a worse illustration of governmental apathy?

    MP Anil Kumar
    Former Fighter Pilot
    Read more:
  • A brief history of 'one rank one pension'
  • The mystery of OROP negation- it beats me
  • Cold-shoulder, procrastinate, turn down -- the time-tested trick
  • What now? Limited options, time to rally round
  • The larger issues
    Click: The government cons the military, again
  • IESL: Battling for One Rank One Pension at Jantar Mantar New Delhi

    IESM Himachal Pradesh Delegation 30 Dec 2008

    Dear Colleagues,
    Delhi is under cold spell. The IESM relay hunger strike of soldiers is on. A group of nine ESM from HP led by Col Kirpal with other JCOs and OR had joined battle today in daytime. All of them are IESL members and their expressed zest for the work that the IESM is doing has been infectious. We happily let them display the IESL banner. As per our philosophy, our focus is only ESM welfare; under what flag we sit, is of no consequence. They have carried back membership forms for others as they commenced their return journey in the evening. A photo of the occasion is attached.

    The Punjab reinforcement led by Col Sandhu will arrive at the site Dec 31 morning for their day long fast. The nucleus for the overnight relay fast
    continues from Haryana ESM. An officer from the Core Gp remains present in daytime (Gp Capt VK Gandhi on 28 Dec, Col Krit Joshipura on 29th and Wg Cdr CK Sharma on 30th). Col Kanwar Bhardwaj our Haryana Convener visits daily, as do other officers from the Core Gp including Gen Satbir. Subedar Ramsarup Yadav from Gurgaon has been the officer incarge logistics and has rendered splendid service.

    Brig JK Chadha, KUMAON, has been a regular visitor and has collected membership forms for distribution. Thank you Jiti.

    The efforts by all are having positive results in uniting the Indian ESM for a common cause.

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

    Demands of Ex Servicemen
  • One Rank One Pension (OROP)
  • Resettlement till the age of sixty
  • Ex Servicemen Commission headed by ESM
  • Services representation on all committees pertaining to ESM welfare.

    Pension for Jawans is a right for services rendered for defending the Nation. Same Soldiers rendering equal service and reaching the same rank, having been discharged with same level of responsibility, should get equal compensation, irrespective of their dates of retirement. In simple words a Sepoy retiring after 17 years service in 1962 should get the same pension of a Sepoy retiring after 17 years in 2008. The present entitlements as per SCPC Pension tables has introduced "One Rank too Many Pensions" with anomalies difficult to set right in the near furure. The ESM will continue to battle for Justice at Jantar Mantar in a peaceful manner (Rally commenced on 17 Dec, 2008 and continuing). The Government needs to address the concerns and welfare of Ex Servicemen. The literate Bureaucrats have confused the illiterate Politicians and the learned GOM deputed to debug anomalies by interlacing the simple issue with extreanous (alien, extrinsic, immaterial, impertinent, inapplicable, adventitious, exotic, foreign, irrelevant, needless, outer, pointless) and uncompounded logic. The promised issue by successive Governments and favourable directives by High Court and Supreme Court in the last one decade, are being scuttled by a few Bureaucrats who have vested interest in their own career profile!
  • Tuesday, December 30, 2008

    Mumbai Mayhem: Who nurtures terrorists?

    Pension for Terrorists

    The enemies of this country are NOT Pakistanis or Chinese. The average Pakistani or Chinese is as good or as bad a guy like you or me. It is the people who manage their systems who are using them as pawns in their power games. And in this matter our people would beat them hollow! Can you believe that the dependants of terrorists are being paid pension in Kashmir by our central govt? A clip of the media report on the subject is shown as above! Our authorities blame the intelligence agencies for their failure whenever a Mumbai type incident occurs and we just lump it and forget it. When the resources of the state are totally misused and abused by those in power how can things improve? Whatever developments this country has made has to be considered as due to the persistence of the common man in spite of the problems created by the people in power.

    Coming to our soldiers, are you aware of the relay fast by veterans of the armed forces at Jantar Mantar from 16 Dec 2008 onwards? Our authorities have managed to even gag the media from highlighting the agitation and the causes leading to it. Can you believe that the 6th Central Pay Commission which had poofed off a few crores of the taxpayers' money had looked after the interests of only the IAS lobby? A lobby which, the RTI Act has proved, is not any better-performance wise- than an LD clerk or a postman. In fact it is this lobby which has to be blamed for the sordid state of affairs of the country because it they who manage our illiterate and semi-literate ministers and elected representatives.

    Maj PM Ravidran (Retd)
    Comment: Shame on successive governments to deny One Rank One Pension to the Ex Serviceman who have defended the Nation with their blood sweat and tears. Now a fast to death rally of ESM at Jantar Mantar battling for justice. How can Governments squander tax payers money by paying terrorists? In the IAC high jack case millions of Dollars paid to terrorists on a plate. Now we hear of pension for terrorist dependents! Is this the recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission? Vicious cycle indeed! How illiterate Politicians are hijacked by literate Bureaucrats, is truly a ground reality beyond comprehension!

    Military options are never easy

    The Mumbai attacks have served as a wake-up call and our political leaders appear to have stirred themselves out of their stupor to review the national security threats and challenges that the country faces.

    The UAPA Amendment Bill and the creation of a National Investigation Agency are good first steps. Enhancing intelligence acquisition should now be the foremost priority. The solution lies in upgrading humint (human intelligence) capabilities by an order of magnitude, creating a suitable organisation to make intelligence assessments and fine-tuning India's counter-terrorism response to react quickly and effectively.

    Simultaneously, counter-terrorism cooperation with friendly powers should be enhanced so as to benefit from a larger pool of knowledge and resources.

    The intelligence agencies are cognisant of the existence of many sleeper cells across the country. A few of these terror modules have been eliminated in encounters in recent years. It is only by stepping up the deployment of humint resources and penetrating the control HQ of the sleeper modules -- a very complex intelligence operation -- that sufficient information about them can be acquired.

    Thousands of well-qualified ex-servicemen retire at a young age (35 to 40 years) and go back to their villages every year. Many of them would be willing and eager to take up the challenge to be trained as agents of the Intelligence Bureau. The people of the country can also contribute to this national effort by maintaining vigilance and reporting all unusual activities to the authorities.

    New police personnel and intelligence agents need to be recruited, armed, equipped, trained, housed and fed before they can join the work force. Surveillance devices like CCTVs and infrared monitors also need to be purchased and installed.

    The ones that are already available need to be made serviceable. Coastal and border surveillance must be carefully coordinated. Meanwhile, the security of vulnerable areas must be ensured by calling for help from the central police and paramilitary forces, bearing in mind that some of these are also overstretched.

    One action that all state governments can take right away is to withdraw the thousands of security personnel detailed for VIP security duties and re-deploy them at key locations that are more vulnerable than VIPs so that they can act as a deterrent.

    On a larger plane, the Indian leadership must stop pretending that all of India's national security challenges are of external origin. Most of India's law and order problems like communal riots and agitations for increased reservations and quotas have been caused by vote bank politics and the extant politician-bureaucrat-police-criminal nexus.

    The time has come to re-examine the merits and demerits of India's parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster model in which both the executive branch and the legislature are manned by the same people.

    India's political leaders have failed to rise above self interest -- that is centred on elections and secret funds to win them -- and have therefore failed to provide good governance. They have failed both the Constitution and the people and it is time for change.

    India needs its own Obama moment if the present rot that lies within is to be stemmed. If the Mumbai terror attacks serve to cause some introspection and act as a catalyst for change, the sacrifice of the lives of 200 innocent people and security forces personnel will not have been in vain.

    Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd)
    Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    Read more: Military options are never easy
    Related articles:
    End of an Era
    In Your Face
    War clouds, nuclear overhang

    Indian Army's Changing Face

    India Today April 13, 1998

    Middle-class officers, more educated soldiers and women are changing the face of the army which is confronted by tough professional challenges. But a relative decline in wages and social status are hurting the army's self-esteem and could affect its performance.
    By Manoj Joshi

    Full Article: Indian Army's Changing Face
    Courtesy Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
    A GOOD WRITE UP FOR PROFESSIONAL DEBATE. Readers are invited to provide valuable inputs which will be debated and discussed in the Professional Blog at: Professional Matters

    A Call to the Nation- Stand up for the Ex-Servicemen

    Published on December 29, 2008 by admin
    It’s a matter of shame, as well as grave concern that those who gave up all the pleasures of life to stand as a wall to protect this nation, are on the road, fighting for something they should have received without asking. It’s also surprising that the media is silent about the whole affair. If this is how we treat our brave soldiers then ofcourse we should not run up to them for any calamity domestic or otherwise for help and protection.

    The news is that Ex-Servicemen, through All India Federation of Military Veterans Organization, are fighting for justice. Their demand is One Rank-One Pension (OROP). The truth is that the demands of these Veterans are falling on deaf ears. The govt has not even moved a finger to put the wrong right. Now the agitation has entered its thirteenth day. The patience of the ever-tolerant servicemen is running out. Sep Suleman Khan (68) Nayak Rekhraj (58) has been on fast unto death since 16th of Dec. On 24th Dec Colonel Lakhiram, Maj I.L.Jakhad, K. Omprakash, Subedar Major Dahiya have also joined Rekhraj for a fast unto death.

    On 24th only, Rekhraj took an oath to immolate himself on 13th of Jan, the day of Makar-Sankaranti, if the demands of the organization are not met with. He has also expressed his hatred for the corrupt leaders by stating that, no corrupt leader should put a wreath on his funeral pyre.

    The facts state that the OROP concept is already being followed in case of our Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies, Honorable Judges and a large number of IAS & IPS Officers. Ever since the sixth pay commission report was submitted on 24th Mar 2008, The EX-Servicemen have been knocking at every possible door to get their long-standing OROP demand accepted.

    Having failed to convince the authorities, they were forced to take their case to the public on 20th Oct 2008, a large number of them including a Lt Gen, many Maj Gen s and other officers & over a hundred others including service families were arrested by the police, when they were holding a totally peaceful rally in New Delhi.

    Group from Punjab consisting of Brig. Hanumant Singh, Col S S Sohi, Capt JS kumbhra and other JCO s & Jawans have come to take part in the relay FAST. The groups from other states have also volunteered to take part in the protest fast. Wives of Ex-Servicemen initially blocked the Jantar-Mantar road and marched up to police station Parliament Street and gave vent to their feelings.

    It’s a matter of greatest shame and regret that those who give up the joys of normal life to protect this country, who bear all kind of hardships so that we can sleep in peace, those who stand like rocks in the face of death should bear such injustice. The nation should stand up to support them. The posthumous awards and laying of wreaths on the dead bodies of the soldiers is not the only time we should think of them. They too deserve to lead a life of comfort and above all respect.
    A Call to the Nation- Stand up for the Ex-Servicemen

    Mumbai Terror Attacks
    India looked at military option after Mumbai carnage
    The 1.5-million-strong defence forces of the country also had their own moments of despair, when “anomalies” remained to be addressed by the Sixth Central Pay Commission report that was implemented in September.

    The pay-related issues led to a series of unsavoury developments and heart-burn among the armed forces and the bureaucracy when the three service chiefs took an unprecedented stand refusing to accept the new pay scales approved by the government.
    Read more: India looked at military option after Mumbai carnage

    IESM: Fast for Justice at Jantar Mantar

    Dear Veterans,

    This morning, when i left home at 0845 Hrs for jantar mantar, temp was 11C and visibility was so poor, i had to move with head lights on and speed 20 kmph. There were two car pileups and 15 Km distance took 80 mins to cover. I thought i did a great job, till... i find Gen Rajendra Prakash from Dehradun, among us, with a walking stick, smiling and breathing heavy. Mind you, he is just 80, but with young spirit. All 10 of us present were mesmerised. Best part was, he said he forgets due to high BP, whereas we all found him very alert and smiling throughout 30 mins he spent with us. He was alert and kept praising our efforts, wishing us success.

    Then, suddenly, he got up and told us that he had to catch a train to Dehradun and left assuring us that he would come back soon.

    What surprises me is with such comdrs, why are we in present mess? Probably, too much involvement with profressional matters ignoring manipulations by B advisors with our IZZAT and Status. OR...

    Lt Col Kirit Joshipura (Retd)

    SCPC Goof Ups: Letter to Prime Minister

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Despite several appeals, requests, complaints, and even protests from various quarters regarding grievances of the armed forces personnel on the 6th CPC, there has been no sympathetic response from the govt. I sincerely feel this matter now requires your personal intervention. Hence, this mail.

    It seems the members of the 6th CPC and those responsible for the follow up action either did not know or failed to appreciate the importance and sanctity of age old accepted precedence of the armed forces ranks not only vis a vis their counter parts in other central services but also the inter se rank precedence within the armed forces.

    Otherwise, how on earth they should they prescribe pay/ pension revision formulae as would result in fixing pay of the ranks like Lt Col and above up to Lt Gen(and their equivalent) less than that of lower precedence posts of other services? And within the Armed Forces, why should the pay of a selection grade rank not be better than that of a time scale promotee who fails to make the selection grade? Why the rank- inherent rank pay now not be paid to the illegible serving officers?

    Among the pensioners, why should the pension of higher ranks work out less than that of junior ranks? Why should a selection grade retired officer be given pension less than a time scale one? Why should old pensioners get less pension by thousands of rupees as compared to the new ones retiring in the same ranks? Why should an old Havaldar get pension less than a Sepoy? These are a few most glaring inconsistencies among other anomalies galore.

    It would also appear those (including the Group of Secys and their staff ) responsible for follow up action on the approved recommendations of the CPC did not do their home work fully and sincerely, before rushing promulgation and implementation. Most of the anomalies could have been resolved at that stage and dissatisfaction avoided. They failed to appreciate that any piecemeal and half baked tinkering with one service would have serious ramifications adversely affecting others.

    It is well known that the govt is committed to maintaining a healthy balance among all the central services. Yet, this has been totally upset now. As the time slips, the situation is becoming complex – otherwise, by now, the best brains and most learned Group of
    Ministers deputed by you to resolve matters should have come out with a solution.

    With such frustration, one is agitated to suggest scrapping of the entire proceedings of the 6th CPC and rework the whole exercise ab initio in fairness to all. If this is too much, even at this belated stage, the govt should consider appointing a Special Pay Commission exclusively for the Armed Forces to address their problems afresh fully, expeditiously, and without any prejudice so as to restore confidence and satisfaction among them. Had, initially, the advice/suggestion of the three Chiefs for accommodating a services representative on the 6th CPC been heeded, this situation could have been averted.

    With profound regards, and full of hopes,
    Yours sincerely,
    Lt Gen Manmohan Singh, PVSM(Retd)

    Copy forwarded by Brig V Thyagarajan (Retd)

    Monday, December 29, 2008

    IESM: "One Rank One Pension" Ploy of Successive Governments


    I give below, two extracts from e-mails received on the IESM e-net. The first is a Tribune article dated 25 May 1999 by RAdm Satyendra Singh and the second is a very recent Press Statement by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    The first shows how when the BJP-led NDA government was in power, they made the right noises by Defence Minister Fernandes "okaying" OROP, but did nothing to implement it even though they had enough time and more. The second shows how the BJP is making political mileage out of the present UPA government's insistence (totally idiotic and myopic, in my view, considering the integrity of the Union of India) that OROP is neither feasible nor necessary.

    The bottom line as far as our IESM policy is concerned, should be that none of the political parties can be trusted, and we can get our due of justice and equity only if we fight on simply as IESM without any leanings towards one political party or another, as we have been while in service. The common factor is, of course, the bureaucracy, which has seen to it (regardless of which party or coalition is in power) that OROP has not been sanctioned by government. May I request that this letter be circulated for info of others.

    Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year 2009 with good health and fitness, and wishes for success in gaining OROP in 2009.
    In solidarity,
    Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)
    Issue of one rank, one pension: Nine years ago
    One rank, one pension blues: Decade ago
    Sonia calls for one-rank-one-pension: Six years ago
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
    Original copy of Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri

    Mumbai Mayhem: Pakistan deflects terror conflict

    DH News Service, New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear on Tuesday that India was not for war and asked Pakistan to make "objective efforts" to dismantle the "terror machine" in its territory instead of creating a war hysteria in the sub-continent.
    Pakistan told to dismantle terror machine: PM decries war cry

    Indian border security force soldiers on duty at the western sector of India-Pakistan international border at Ranjitpura village, Rajasthan state, India. Photograph: Vinay Joshi/AP

    Pakistan moved troops away from its western border with Afghanistan, amid reports that thousands of soldiers were being redeployed along the eastern frontier with India yesterday, in what would be a major escalation of the confrontation between the two countries after the Mumbai terrorist attack last month. Most experts still believe that war between the nuclear-armed adversaries is unlikely but, if confirmed, the troop movements risk triggering a conflict, with both sides in a state of nervous high alert.
    Pakistan 'deploys soldiers to Indian border'

    Pakistan cancels army leave as India tensions rise
    27 December 2008 | 01:39 | FOCUS News Agency
    New Delhi/Islamabad. Pakistan canceled army leave and redeployed some troops Friday in a sign of rising tension with India, Reuters reported.
    The United States urged both sides to refrain from further raising tensions, already high after India blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for attacks on Mumbai last month that killed 179 people.
    The latest strains followed media reports in Pakistan and India that "several" Indian nationals had been held in the last two days after bombings in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Multan.
    The foreign ministry in New Delhi warned Indian citizens on Friday that "it would be unsafe for them to travel (to) or be in Pakistan."
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier discussed tension with Pakistan during a scheduled meeting about military pay with the chiefs of the army, navy and air force, his office said. "The prime minister met the tri-services chiefs to discuss the pay commission issues but obviously the situation in the region was also discussed," said an official from Singh's office, who requested anonymity.
    Pakistan cancels army leave as India tensions rise
    US Urges Calm as Tensions Rise Between India and Pakistan

    SCPC: Convoluting the Morale of Ex- Servicemen and Career of the Military

    Dear All,
    I have sent a letter to the PM and sent copies to the three Chiefs; copies are as under: -
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    War Wounded Foundation
    Plot No. 339, Village - Shahabad Mohammadpur, Opp. Pump House No. 3,
    Near IGI Airport, Delhi- 110061
    Web site War Wounded
    28 December 2008

    In the last seven years since my retirement as the Vice Chief of our army in 2001, I have addressed you only twice. The first was on the Siachin issue, where I had urged you not to agree to the formulations of Pakistan; the second was my suggestion relating to employing ex-servicemen in nation-building projects, if genuine implementation was desired. Fortunately, on both occasions you were gracious enough to reply and assure me that the concerns I had reflected had been noted.

    I am now approaching you for the third time to share perhaps the most important issue, which has a direct bearing on the security of the nation. The concern has added meaning in the light of the developing situation on our western borders. I do hope this is placed on your table by your staff and not hijacked enroute by those who have vested interests!

    The issue I am taking your valuable time about is the morale and welfare of an extremely important and valuable segment of the nations’ polity, viz. the officers and jawans of the defence forces, both serving and those who have hung up their boots after serving the nation with all their might. You must be already ‘au fait’ with the tragedy of the 6th Pay Commission, or at least those aspects which have been brought to your notice by both the current Chiefs’ of the defence forces, the erstwhile Chiefs’ and other senior officers of the forces, as well as the versions of others who no doubt have briefed you from time to time.

    According to media reports, you are already discussing the major issues placed before you by the Chiefs’, relative to the serving personnel. It would therefore be incorrect on my part to say anything about them. However, I do wish to draw your attention to the plight of the ex-servicemen, who unfortunately have no “mai-baap”, except the political leaders of the nation. There are of course many “spoilers” sitting in important positions of the government, who, I am sure are well known to you. When the majority of political leaders are also not amenable to listen to their genuine pleas for justice, where do the ex-servicemen go? Obviously to you, Sir, and hence this letter.

    There are far too many anomalies that are making the ex-servicemen both angry and frustrated, but I will only mention the important ones. I am afraid what is really rankling is that your government, your party, as well as the common minimum programme of the UPA have failed to honour the commitments made to them relating to the issue of “One Rank One Pension (OROP)”. Sir, I cannot obviously go into details, but the situation today is that over 30 lakh ex-servicemen are a disillusioned lot, and their demeanour affects not only their morale and that of their families (which may be inconsequential in the view of your advisers, on account of their ignorance) but more importantly the morale of those aspiring to have a career in the defence forces, as well as the serving personnel who know that they are the ex-servicemen of tomorrow and will therefore meet a similar fate.

    It is highly unfortunate that the bureaucrats, however intelligent and clever they may be, can never discern the extent of disillusionment there is amongst the soldiery of the country, which has been systematically downgraded by naïve and ignorant persons because of their “tunnel vision” and not thinking about the interests of the nation. Let me state unequivocally that the Indian military continues to be the most loyal segment of the polity of India and it needs to be nurtured and supported and not ignored or reduced in esteem.

    The second and related issue is that the government has given virtual OROP to the Chiefs and C’s-in-C, but has denied it to all others including our jawans. In the military we have always ensured that our subordinates get all dues and perks first and only thereafter the senior defence officers get them. I do agree that such ethos does not prevail amongst the bureaucracy for a variety of reasons, which I am sure are well known to you. However, by giving virtual OROP to the very few senior most military veterans, great injustice has been done to our subordinates. This needs to be set right immediately. You may well say that it is equally applicable to the civil officials, but the situation is markedly different between civil and military officials. As an example, nearly 90 per cent IAS, IFS and IPS officers retire in the Apex or the HAG Plus scales, but in the case of the military officers the equivalent percentage is barely 0.001! Neither is there a case for inadequacy of funds, for the total amount even in these inflationary times is less than Rs. 2200 crores, which is not even 2.08 percent of this years defence budget and a minuscule percentage of the nation’s budget.

    The third issue is that of the bungling done by the civilian government officials, wherein the amount of pension sanctioned for officers of different rank, viz. brigadiers, major generals and lieutenant generals is identical. This, besides its incongruity, is also an invitation to the serving officers to quit the service after becoming brigadiers as in any case their pension would be the same in higher ranks! Surely, in the interest of the security of the nation that could not be your intention. I could cite more such examples but I am sure a wise person like you would have understood the illogicality of such dispensations.

    May I in the end draw your attention to the fast deteriorating civil-military relationship in the country, which does not auger well for the future security of the country, especially in these unstable and turbulent times? The Indian military has scrupulously and unwaveringly followed the principle of remaining apolitical, even at the cost of its legitimate aspirations not being met. In the larger national interest, the balance between these two arms of the government must continue and be even fine-tuned, but there is need to mention that it is fast reaching a breaking point. I am afraid, Sir that your personal intervention is needed to set this balance right, so that the ship of state remains on an even keel.

    Dr. Manmohan Singh
    Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
    Prime Minister’s Office
    New Delhi-110011

    28 December 2008

    The pensionary awards for the military veterans are a great disappointment. There is great resentment amongst the rank and file, which obviously is neither good for the country nor the defence forces. I need not go into details as you must already be fully apprised of them.

    I have addressed a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard, a copy of which I am enclosing, both for your information and for your support, which would be invaluable.

    General Deepak Kapoor, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
    Chief of the Army Staff

    Admiral Sureesh Mehta, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
    Chief of the Naval Staff

    Air Chief Marshal F H Major, PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC
    Chief of the Air Staff

    Calling All Pakistanis

    Published: December 2, 2008
    On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

    After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

    So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai? India says its interrogation of the surviving terrorist indicates that all 10 men come from the Pakistani port of Karachi, and at least one, if not all 10, were Pakistani nationals.

    First of all, it seems to me that the Pakistani government, which is extremely weak to begin with, has been taking this mass murder very seriously, and, for now, no official connection between the terrorists and elements of the Pakistani security services has been uncovered.

    At the same time, any reading of the Pakistani English-language press reveals Pakistani voices expressing real anguish and horror over this incident. Take for instance the Inter Press Service news agency article of Nov. 29 from Karachi: “ ‘I feel a great fear that [the Mumbai violence] will adversely affect Pakistan and India relations,’ the prominent Karachi-based feminist poet and writer Attiya Dawood told I.P.S. ‘I can’t say whether Pakistan is involved or not, but whoever is involved, it is not the ordinary people of Pakistan, like myself, or my daughters. We are with our Indian brothers and sisters in their pain and sorrow.’ ”

    But while the Pakistani government’s sober response is important, and the sincere expressions of outrage by individual Pakistanis are critical, I am still hoping for more. I am still hoping — just once — for that mass demonstration of “ordinary people” against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India’s sake, but for Pakistan’s sake.

    Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities.

    Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.”

    Why should Pakistanis do that? Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process.

    “I often make the comparison to Catholics during the pedophile priest scandal,” a Muslim woman friend wrote me. “Those Catholics that left the church or spoke out against the church were not trying to prove to anyone that they are anti-pedophile. Nor were they apologizing for Catholics, or trying to make the point that this is not Catholicism to the non-Catholic world. They spoke out because they wanted to influence the church. They wanted to fix a terrible problem” in their own religious community.

    We know from the Danish cartoons affair that Pakistanis and other Muslims know how to mobilize quickly to express their heartfelt feelings, not just as individuals, but as a powerful collective. That is what is needed here.

    Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.
    The world suffers a lot,
    not because of VIOLENCE of BAD people but,
    because of SILENCE of GOOD people.

    Calling All Pakistanis

    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    IESM: Fast for Justice Press Release

    Press Note
    Dated: 27 December 2008
    Ex Servicemen on Relay Hunger Strike and Fast Unto death since 16 Dec 2008.
    Govt Apathy Disturbing

    Dear Members of the Press,

    “My Lord, that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to demand his dues or, worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived overnight nor in vain. It will also bode ill for Magadha. For then, on that day, you, My Lord, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King! It will also be the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire!!"” (Kautalya)

    1. Relay Hunger Strike and Fast unto death by Ex Servicemen enters the 12th Day, six of them are on Fast unto death. They are Major Ishwar Singh Jakhar, Capt Om Parkash, Subedar Major SR Dhaiya, Sep Suleman Khan, Naik Rekh Raj and Naik RK Yadav. It is most disturbing that the Govt is totally unmindful of the anguish and hurt feelings of Ex Servicemen. They feel more aggrieved with the logic given by the Govt for rejecting the One Rank One Pension (OROP), the most genuine demand of the Ex Servicemen. The Govt has said, grant of OROP is not necessary thereby indicating that the Ex servicemen are the Fired Cartridges and need not be given the OROP. Secondly, it has said that the morale of the Defence Forces will not be affected since they will look after the interest of serving personal at the time of their retirement. Thirdly, the Govt does not find it affordable. These reveal the degenerated mind of the Govt functionaries tasked to go into the grievances of Defence Personnel. Fired Cartridge status to Ex Servicemen proves the old saying,” God and Soldiers are remembered only during distress and danger and once the danger is gone, the God is forgotten and the soldier is slighted”. Who would like to join the Defence Forces since over 95% of them will be compulsorily retired between the ages of 35 – 42 and will be going through 4 – 5 Pay Commissions in their life time? Down gradation by every Pay Commission will force them to live life of penury.

    2. Secondly, the logic that the Morale of Defence Forces will not be affected is illogical. Mostly, the children and relations of Ex Servicemen are serving in the Defence Forces. The ill-treatment to their elders will definitely adversely affect their morale. Also, they will be facing the same treatment. It is pertinent to mention that there is no politician or the bureaucrat who has sent his/ her children in the Defence Forces. How will they know the pain of losing their loved ones and the extreme adverse conditions they live in? Lastly, the affordability, their logic is a crude joke. The total amount worked out by the Govt in August 03 for OROP was only Rupees 613 crores. This amount for the Govt is nothing even after escalation and 6th CPC award is added to it.

    3. Therefore the reasons given are totally illogical and flimsy, to say the least. Sh. Jaswant Singh the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha has also written to the RM Sh. AK Antony to urgently so resolve the issue of OROP as to enable the Relay Fast at Jantar Mantar to be cabled off.

    4. We implore the Govt to immediately grant OROP. Non grant of OROP will be violative of article 14 of the constitution. The Govt cannot create classes within the class. Irrespective of the date of retirement the Defence Personnel of the same rank must be given the same pension, ruled the Supreme Court in judgment delivered on 09 Sep 2008. The Govt must honour the legal advice and grant OROP immediately.

    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
    Pension - Supreme court Judgments, Central pay commissions observations & the Government

    IESM: fast-unto-death demanding Parity of Pension

    Suleiman Khan

    HT epaper A battle of a different Kind
    Five ex-servicemen go on fast-unto-death demanding parity of pension benefits
    HT Correspondent
    New Delhi, Decemeber 27, 2008

    FROM FIGHTING for his country to fighting for a day-to-day existence Sepoy Suleman Khan never fathomed life would come to this point. Living on a monthly pension of Rs 2,600 after serving in the Army for over two decades arouses a sense of indignation in him. Selling peanuts for a living adds to the humiliation. Khan and several other ex-servicemen like him are no longer willing to endure the "government's apathy" towards their financial plight. He and five other ex-servicemen, Major Ishwar Singh Jakhar, Captain O.M. Parkash, Subedar Major S.R. Dhaiya, Naik Rekh Raj and Naik R.K. Yaday, have taken to an extreme method to have their voices heard fast-unto-death. On Saturday, over 500 ex-service- men gathered at Jantar Mantar road to express solidarity with them and mount pressure on the government to implement the 'one rank one pension' (OROP) principle. With pay commissions increasing the salaries of armed forces personnel every 10 years, the gap be- tween the pensions received by those who retired before the implementation of the commissions and those after implementation has widened. The OROP principle intends to resolve the disparity of pensionary benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The government rejected this long-standing demand this month. Major General Satbir Singh, vice chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, said: "Who would like to join the defence when over 95 per cent of them will be compulsorily retired between the ages of 35 to 42 and wm be going through four to five pay commissions in their lifetime? Downgradation will force them to live a life of penury" "I have served during the 1962 and the 1971 wars. My family and I currently live in a jhuggi (slum dwelling) in Madanpur Khadar and supporting them on a measly pension of Rs 2,600 makes life difficult," said Khan, who was on his 12th day without any food on Saturday.

    Mumbai Mayhem: ISI Paradox

    Russell’s Paradox and the ISI by T. C. A. Srinivasa-Raghavan

    Pakistan’s former ISI chief, and now Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, made some loudly belligerent noises on Tuesday. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, immediately responded by saying war was not an option. A few days ago, Fareed Zakaria, the well known columnist and editor of Newsweek, told an interviewer on NDTV “that the Pakistani military can only be reined in by itself. No civilian government in Pakistan has ever had the ability to tell the military in Pakistan to rein in itself.”

    Unwittingly, perhaps, Mr Zakaria has pointed to one of the biggest paradoxes (or impossibilities) of formal logic. It was first discovered, if that is the word, by Bertrand Russell sometime in the first decade of the 20th century, perhaps even as early as 1901.

    In its simplest form the paradox is this: if the village barber shaves only those villagers who do not shave themselves, who shaves the barber? That is, if a barber shaves only those who don’t shave themselves, he can’t shave himself. So what is he to do if he doesn’t want a beard? Or, consider library catalogues. Should the catalogue of catalogues list itself? A catalogue can’t list itself because, by doing so, it would belong in another catalogue, that is, that of catalogues that do include themselves. So, whatever you do, it can never be a catalogue of catalogues that don’t list themselves.

    A problem of logic
    There are many such examples but the point, presumably, is clear. If you follow the rule that a set can be a member of itself if, and only if, it is not a member of itself, you get a paradox.

    Now, even though this may be a gross over simplification in mathematical terms of what is essentially a problem of logic, apply this to the ISI and you will see the resemblance, though not perhaps a one-to-one mapping. Pakistan’s sovereignty means that no other country can rein in its army, and the ISI’s self-made charter ensures that it will not rein itself in. This is where Russell’s Paradox becomes evident.

    If the only reason for the ISI’s existence is to create problems for everyone else in the belief that it serves Pakistan’s national interest, how will it rein itself in? Why would it, for then it would belong to the set that doesn’t want to create problems for the world and that is not logically possible.

    Solution of sorts
    Mathematicians and logicians struggled for a long time with what is known as Russell’s Paradox. Eventually, they found a solution which is really not a solution, at least not of the paradox: the only way of resolving it was if such a barber did not exist. Or, what was the same thing, if the barber was a woman. Substitute ‘ISI’ for ‘barber’ in the second sentence of the previous paragraph or ‘civilian government’ for ‘woman’ in the last sentence, and you get the answer.

    This essentially means that if the categories listed above are to live in peace, the ISI must cease to exist in its present form, or even better, entirely. There is simply no other solution. The US and India have grasped the problem and are asking the ISI to be brought under civilian control. But have they understood that this is not possible without a sex-conversion surgery on the ISI?
    Russell’s Paradox and the ISI

    Mumbai Mayhem: Nation United by Terrorists

    In 60 blood-soaked hours, you have achieved what we as a nation haven't achieved in 60 years of independence.

    Today, we want answers.
    Today, we won't lie back and wait for someone else to do the job.
    Today, we won't be lulled into inaction by glib talks and subterfuge.
    Today we won't say "Chalta Hai "
    Today we won't vote for goons.
    Today we will not accept religion or caste or creed, just nationality.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    In 60 horrifyingly sickening hours, you have awoken a giant that lay asleep for 60 years of sovereignty.
    Every Indian will now walk together.
    Every Indian will now value his vote.
    Every Indian will now demand accountability.
    Every Indian will now see through lies and deceit.
    Every Indian will now demand explanations.
    Every Indian will now stand up to be counted.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    In 60 gruesome, murderous hours you've instilled a pride in us that we couldn't instill in 60 years of liberty.
    You have left behind a reminder that we the people can make a difference.
    You have left behind a reason to unite rather than divide.
    You have left behind a nation with sheer will & intent.
    You have left behind a spirit that dances to a new beat.
    You have left behind a billion renewed patriotic hearts.
    You have left behind a voice that will be heard.
    Thank you, terrorists...

    If only you'd let the innocent live & taken the lives of 200 politicians instead…
    A humble plea to my fellow Indians

    The next time politicians tear down a place of worship; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians divide us on the grounds of religion; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians divide us on the basis of state; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians with criminal records stand for elections; lets label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians take kick-backs on arms deals; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians jump parties to grab power, let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians politicize terror; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians twiddle their thumbs while our cities burn; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians capture voting booths; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians accumulate assets disproportionate to their income; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians transfer honest policemen; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians provide substandard equipment to our forces; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians misuse our taxes; let's call them terrorists.
    The next time politicians skip meetings on national security; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians play an opportunistic blame game; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians try every trick in the book to hang on to their "kursis"; let's label them terrorists.
    The next time politicians insult a martyr's family; let's label them terrorists–
    (Courtesy Ms Mala Sen)
    We thank Brig PT Gangadharan for sending us the spirit of "National Awakening" aptly worded by Ms Mala Sen. We need to enthuse and invoke the same spirit in respect of corrupt Bureaucrats who are taking the common citizens for a ride.

    SCPC: Eliminate Anomalies

    Copy of attachment to Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri Click Here

    Neta virodhi dal (Shri Jaswant Singh):
    Sadar shahab, Badi khushi ki baat hai ki seize-fire to ho gaya. Seize-fire hone ke bad, main yahan faujiyon ki jo kuch takleefe hai, ve apke samne rakhna chahata hoon. Peechle chand manhino se yahan musla chal raha hai and we have had, Sir, a demonstration of great discontent by the Armed Forces and jt. is unusual for the Chiefs to have gone to the extent of voicing that discontent in public. It was an unusual step, but it is unusual circumstances that have compelled them to do so, and, therefore, rather than elaborating what the entire situation is, may I recommend for the consideration of my good friend, the distinguished Minister for Defence, and, of course, the hon. Prime Minister, to please consider very sympathetically and attentively the questions that have been raised or the aspects that have got underscored by the Sixth Pay Commission's treatment of the Services? We have got focused particularly on the question of pension, on the question of pay relating to two ranks, namely, Lieutenant Colonel and Lieutenant General - Lieutenant General, when it comes to precedence; Lieutenant Colonel, when it comes to precedence and pay. Let me submit to you, Sir, that one of the most difficult questions to address and answer honestly is why does a soldier, a sailor or an airman agree to die. Please, believe me, Sir, that the principal motivation is izzat, and if you do not give izzat to the uniformed community, then you are robbing them of the central impulse of military morale. My recommendation for the Government, therefore, to consider please examine the question of Inflation Indexing of pensions and with that, is related the aspect which has now troubled us for some years. I have had the benefit and distinction of being a Member of a Committee established for the benefit and welfare of ex-servicemen long years back when late Mrs. Gandhi was the Prime Minister and my distinguished friend and colleague, Mr. K.P. Singh Deo, was the Chairman of that Committee. We spent many months deliberating and did make recommendations. Some of them got implemented, some have not. Number of steps-was then taken by the NDA Government, but there still remains the question, which is troubling us, of 'one rank - one pension'. May I recommend to the Government to re-examine it in all its aspects and let us all work towards its timely implementation?

    There are just few other recommendations. One is to constitute a commission for the welfare of ex-servicemen and it ought to be really a statutory commission so that this periodic problem does not arise. Second is the question, and it has troubled us very greatly, of resettlement of ex-servicemen. At the rank of Sawar or Jawan,-a soldier will retire and go on pension at the age of 36. Thirty-six year old person is a young man, or a young woman, and still has full life ahead of him or her. And, it is a very great pity that this trained and talented manpower is then taken away from the nation. It is very useful national asset, Sir. A lot of recommendations have come. But lateral induction, how many can be taken, as Jobs are scarce, I recognise all that. But then, ex-servicemen are also a vital category, and it is because of all these factors that today we have a shortage -- I could be corrected on the actual figures -- of almost 18,000 personnel in the officer rank. It is a very critical shortage. This is about re­settlement.

    My third recommendation is about representation of serving and retired personnel in Pay Commission. The problem arises when you constitute a Pay Commission and everyone else is represented but the Services. If you have the Services represented, there will be a representative of the services to articulate their views when the Commission is functioning.

    Sir, now the Government must attend to eliminating the anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission as far as the Services are concerned. I do not wish to take the time of the House in listing all them out. The Government is aware of what the anomalies are. Please attend to them. A Group of Ministers has got constituted. But there is so much work that the Hon. Minister of External Affairs has, he can't do it all. There is a very able Defence Minister, why not complete this under the Prime Minister's care itself?

    Sir, please take on board that the prestige and precedence aspects of the Services are vital categories of honour. It is for this reason, Sir, that I have raised this issue. (Ends)
    Press Statement issued by Shri Jaswant Singh Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
    Original copy of Shri Jaswant Singh's letter to the Raksha Mantri


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