Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pay Commissions: Supreme Court upholds decision in favour of Major Generals

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
Another great news of the day.
The Major Generals and equivalents have finally won their pension case in the Supreme Court. The court has rejected the petition filed by the Government against the earlier decision by the Supreme Court in favour of the Major Generals and equivalents. This will now set precedence of OROP for All Ranks of the Armed Forces.

On behalf of All Veterans on behalf of Report My Signal, 'i' congratulate Maj Gen Suri and all other officers who were fighting the case. (It is a pity that very few Major Generals and equivalents contributed money towards the case and now all of them wish to take the benefit of the case. Similarly, some of us are fighting for OROP and all are sitting on fence to take benefit of it.)
Please see the email received from Maj Gen SC Suri, appended below. Email ID of Gen Suri-
In Service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

From: gensuri
Subject: Review petition - Sessions- Pre 96 Maj Gens & equivalent
Hi Chander,
As you are aware that the Supreme Court had given a judgment in favour of Pre 1.1.96 Maj Gens/ AVMs/RADMs. I am happy to inform you that the Supreme Court has now rejected the Govt Review Petition submitted to it against the judgment.
Hope fully the Govt will now implement the SC orders.
With best wishes & warm regards.
Maj Gen Satish Suri

Comment: The GOI should see the reading on the walls! Congratulations to Gen Suri and his dedicated team, for spearheading the campaign for Rank Based Pension for all ESM.

Recession turns a boon for Army

Monday, 23 February , 2009, 13:47
New Delhi: The economic slump has a silver lining for the officer-strapped Indian Army. Officers planning to seek premature retirement are having second thoughts and those who had applied have begun withdrawing their applications. In comparison to the situation some months ago, when many army officers were leaving the force for greener pastures in the corporate world, now one official is withdrawing his application for premature retirement every third day, according to army sources. "In the past six months 65 officers have withdrawn their applications for premature retirement," a senior army official said, requesting anonymity.
Recession turns a boon for Army

Mumbai Mayhem: Taliban Marching East

Taliban Child Soldiers

The Obama administration faces dilemmas familiar to several of its predecessors. America cannot withdraw from Afghanistan now, but neither can it sustain the strategy that brought us to this point.

The stakes are high. Victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan would give a tremendous shot in the arm to jihadism globally -- threatening Pakistan with jihadist takeover and possibly intensifying terrorism in India, which has the world's third-largest Muslim population. Russia, China and Indonesia, which have all been targets of jihadist Islam, could also be at risk.
A Strategy for Afghanistan by Henry A Kissinger: Thursday, February 26, 2009: The Washington Post

Was it worth the more than 4,000 American lives lost, tens of thousands of casualties and many more Iraqis killed?

"Well, you know, I don't want to look backwards,'' Obama says in an interview with Jim Lehrer of the Newshour, which PBS will air this evening. "As you know, I opposed this war, I did not think it was the right decision, but I don't want to in any way diminish the enormous sacrifices that have been made by our men and women in uniform....

"I will tell you that the most sobering things that I do as president relate to the deployment of these young men and women,'' Obama tells Lehrer. "Signing letters of those who have fallen in battle, it is a constant reminder of how critical these decisions are and the importance of the Commander in Chief, Congress, all of us who are in positions of power to make sure that we have thought through these decisions free of politics and we are doing what's necessary for the safety and security of the American people."
Obama: 'Exit strategy' for Afghanistan too

IESM: Fast for Rally: seventy second day

Date: Friday, 27 February, 2009, 8:03 PM
Dear Colleagues,
The Jantar Mantar venue is under the charge of combined contingent from Sonipat and Gurgaon. (Haryana).
Medal Depositing
Punjab has taken the lead in sending 500 medals today to Delhi. Well done! I urge others to emulate their example.
President’s Address
I am grateful to the many friends who responded to my call and provided copy of the President’s address to the opening session of the Parliament on 7 June 2004. The President in Paragraph 57 of his speech only says this for the armed forces:
We are proud of our armed forces. They have risen to the occasion whenever called upon to defend the territorial integrity of our country and assist the civil authorities in maintaining law and order and organising relief and rescue measures. My government will eliminate all delays that hamper the modernisation of our armed forces and ensure that funds earmarked for modernisation are utilised fully for the purpose for which they are meant. The welfare of ex-servicemen will get priority and they will be involved in crucial nation-building tasks.
There is no mention of OROP, as has been the general impression. The government response to welfare of ex-servicemen will get priority is already known – they have raised an Ex Servicemen Welfare Department in the MOD. The fact that apart from giving some additional posts to the bureaucrats, they have achieved nothing does not bother anyone. The new department has taken the three institutions– DGR, ECHS and Kendriya Board– under them and have been quoting their outputs as the Department’s achievements. Such is reality.
Model Code of Conduct
The elections are to be announced any day and the model code of conduct is likely to come into force. There is general apprehension that after this happens, the govt cannot enhance the defence pensions. That may not be a correct inference. The code only debars the govt from initiating new schemes. Pension issue is an old one and there are no shackles on the govt to announce benefits any time.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Unfullfilled Dreams of ESM: Government nulls/ buries recommendations
Panel seeks one-rank-one-pension for ex-servicemen
19 Aug 2003, 1933 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Despite the government's earlier refusal to grant one-rank-one-pension to all ex-servicemen, the parliamentary standing committee on defence has once again recommended this measure to remove the "disparity" in pensionary benefits among pensioners of the same rank.

The committee also urged the government to set up a national commission for ex-servicemen on the lines of similar commissions for minorities and Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

Declaring that the nation "must repay its debt to the defendants of the motherland", the committee said many old soldiers were now struggling to survive on a paltry pension and asked the government to re-examine the two schemes for the ex-servicemen which had earlier been rejected.

In its 20th report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the committee called for giving ex-servicemen insurance cover till death irrespective of their ranks and reservations for wards of servicemen in professional institutions.

The committee also urged the government to set up a special court of appeal, independent of Service HQ, where those charged by military courts could appeal within 90 days. Such a court should be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, whose judgement can be only reviewed by the apex court.
Panel seeks one-rank-one-pension for ex-servicemen

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lt Gen Mote Dar’s works are sheer poetry

Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
FULL OF LIFE Lt Gen Mote Dar and his paintings

He speaks of the wars of 1965 and 1971 in the same breath as the poetry of T.S. Eliot and Kalidasa. He links strategic military command and the creation of art. Meet Lt Gen (Retd) Mote Dar — former Vice Chief of Army Staff and the man who paints — and speaks — like a poet.

Dar was in Chennai recently for the first showing of his exhibition “Inner Vision Outer Truth” at Prakrit Art Gallery.

He’s been painting for a long time — he had his first exhibition as a young captain in the Indian army back in 1965 — but this set of works is almost entirely new, created in the last few months.

“I continued to paint even as a junior and senior officer, but in the last part of my career, when I became General Officer Commander-in-Chief Southern Command, and then basically the number two man in the army, it was very difficult to find the time,” he says.

Now, of course, he has all the time in the world, so he’s chosen to experiment with oils — he did mostly only water colours before, because they were quicker — and with numerous themes, from a depiction of the seasons of the year to surrealist abstracts.

“In Indian poetry, the seasons of the year have been written about from time immemorial — from Kalidasa to Guru Nanak — linking the different months with festivals, with emotions of separation and union,” he says. “So, I thought I’d do a contemporary re-imagining of them.”

The result is a series of radiantly-coloured paintings filled with lively, abstract imagery of flowers blooming in spring and children playing in the monsoon — a joyful celebration of the seasons. On the other hand, his surrealistic ‘On the thorns of memory’ series is more enigmatic, using more light and shade and Freudian symbolism in the midst of swirls of thick, strong colour.

“I see painting more in terms of an inner awakening, as a form of meditation that drives away your stress, and helps in self-actualisation,” says Dar, who was part of the 1965 and 1971 wars, wounded in the latter.

Creative thinking
He adds: “I also believe it aids in the creative, out-of-the-box thinking that’s so essential in strategic military command — when big armies are on the move, you need to be able to envision their movements in time and space.”

Not surprisingly, one of the most powerful series of paintings in the exhibition has to do with war — a pair of abstracts bearing a single inscription across a solid wall of colour. Starkly gorgeous is the one in the vibrant green of the valleys of Kashmir with a quote from Jahangir in Persian above, and a single trail of blood below. “When Jahangir went to Kashmir, he’s supposed to have said, ‘If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here’,” says Dar, who is Kashmiri but has had to leave his troubled home state to live in Pune. “But now, it is all tears and blood and coffins.”

However, the collection of 29 paintings pulses with life, much like the man himself. The exhibition is on until February 27.
Art and Awakening: Mote Dar’s works are sheer poetry

IESM: Is India poor to compensate its Military Personnel adequately?

Is India poor, who says? Ask the Swiss banks. With personal account deposit bank of $1,500 billion in foreign reserve which have been misappropriated, an amount 13 times larger than the country's foreign debt, one needs to rethink if India is a poor country?

DISHONEST INDUSTRIALISTS, scandalous politicians and corrupt IAS, IRS, IPS officers have deposited in foreign banks in their illegal personal accounts a sum of about $1500 billion, which have been misappropriated by them.. This amount is about 13 times larger than the country's foreign debt. With this amount 45 crore poor people can get Rs 1,00,000 each. This huge amount has been appropriated from the people of India by exploiting and betraying them. Once this huge amount of black money and property comes back to India, the entire foreign debt can be repaid in 24 hours. After paying the entire foreign debt, we will have surplus amount, almost 12 times larger than the foreign debt. If this surplus amount is invested in earning interest, the amount of interest will be more than the annual budget of the Central government. So even if all the taxes are abolished, then also the Central government will be able to maintain the country very comfortably.

Some 80,000 people from india travel to Switzerland every year, of whom 25,000 travel very frequently. 'Obviously, these people won't be tourists. They must be travelling there for some other reason,' believes an official involved in tracking illegal money. And, clearly, he isn't referring to the commerce ministry bureaucrats who've been flitting in and out of Geneva ever since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations went into a tailspin!

Just read the following details and note how these dishonest industrialists, scandalous politicians, smugglers, corrupt officers, cricketers, film actors, illegal sex trade and protected wildlife operators, to name just a few, sucked this country's wealth and prosperity. This may be the picture of deposits in Swiss banks only. What about other international banks?

Black money in Swiss banks -- Swiss Banking Association report, 2006 details bank deposits in the territory of Switzerland by nationals of following countries:


Now do the math's - India with $1,456 billion or $1.4 trillion has more money in Swiss banks than rest of the world combined. Public loot since 1947:

Can we bring back our money? It is one of the biggest loots witnessed by mankind -- the loot of the Aam Aadmi (common man) since 1947, by his brethren occupying public office. It has been orchestrated by politicians, bureaucrats and some businessmen.

The list is almost all-encompassing. No wonder, everyone in India loots with impunity and without any fear. What is even more depressing in that this ill-gotten wealth of ours has been stashed away abroad into secret bank accounts located in some of the world's best known tax havens. And to that extent the Indian economy has been stripped of its wealth. Ordinary Indians may not be exactly aware of how such secret accounts operate and what are the rules and regulations that go on to govern such tax havens. However, one may well be aware of 'Swiss bank accounts,' the shorthand for murky dealings, secrecy and of course pilferage from developing countries into rich developed ones.
Read related articles:
Is India a poor country - Revelation of Swiss Bank Accounts
"People Think India Is a Poor Country. It Is Not"
Swiss bank to reveal secret accounts
Comment: Finance Minister is right when he claims India is not poor. When it comes to paying the Jawans of this Nation, he can ill- afford to pay 2200 crores in addition to streamline the skewed pension system of the Ex Servicemen. The Jawans who have defended the nation with their blood and tears are getting a peanut pension! We need an answer from our Supreme commander for the injustices heaped on serving and Ex- Servicemen?

For ex-servicemen, parity in rank, pension long overdue

February 25th, 2009
By Shankar Roychowdhury
Three hundred or so weather-beaten old military veterans returned their medals to the President of India on February 8 as a mark of protest against official apathy in the matter of “one rank one pension” (OROP) a feeble flapping of wings by an irrelevant group which barely made any ripples in the public domain. Nevertheless, it should serve as a small, perhaps miniscule, reminder of the continuing dissatisfaction and unhappiness of a forgotten community. It is, of course, no secret that the defence services have been bitterly resentful of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission with respect to pay scales and, perhaps, more significantly in terms of downgraded equivalence with their civilian counterparts.
Whatever dissatisfactions on these and other aspects may have been expressed within the services, they did not find their way into the public domain, and the service chiefs too maintained a stiff upper lip, though they were undoubtedly concerned about its effects on their respective forces and with good reason. They jointly chose to highlight their unhappiness with stunning and totally unprecedented gesture of not accepting the new pay scales until anomalies had been looked into and ironed out and chose to continue with the existing pay scales in the interim period, a unique “Gandhigiri” in uniform, something unheard of earlier, which must have caused a flutter in the bureaucratic and ministerial dovecotes of South Block. Some in the print media, and at least, one irascible former diplomat were perhaps nudged to fume and splutter that it was really uppity for the services to “demand” pay scales, parity of service and protocol with the civil servants and all that — bad for discipline, don’t you know! Better keep these soldierwallahs at heel!

The moral courage of the service chiefs was exemplary during their undoubted crisis of conscience, and fully in consonance with the second stanza of the Credo of the Indian Military Academy — “The honour welfare and comfort of the men you command come next”, which ranks below the safety, honour and welfare of the country, but well above “your own ease comfort and safety” which comes “Last — Always and Everytime”. Ex-servicemen were most supportive, anxious and fully concerned, but wisely refrained from raising issues pertaining to their serving comrades who were best left to the official hierarchy. They focused on issues pertaining to ex-servicemen for which they adopted the prevalent customs of the strange world outside the service — meetings at Jantar Mantar, processions, slogans, fasts and even intended self-immolation. All this was alien to their traditional environment and something that many within the community were themselves uncomfortable with. Throughout the whole proceedings, the armed forces — the “Fauj” — maintained total impassivity, but their silence was deafening in its own context. They watched, listened and noted because the present generation of soldiers no longer conform to the traditional public stereotype of dumb-driven cattle. They are intelligent, highly-trained and highly-skilled craftsmen in a deadly trade. They are not mercenaries or contract soldiers fighting for pay. The government came out with two amazing statements: The government did not have the resources to grant OROP and if granted to ex-servicemen, the public sector, the paramilitary forces and the civil establishment would also want the same. To take the second point first — ex-servicemen of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force are not, repeat not, from paramilitary forces, the public sector or the civil establishment. In their own time, they constituted the “Ultima ratio regis” — the King’s last argument, India’s last resort when all else has failed, and they have the track record to prove it. Comparisons are, therefore, ill-informed and odious and should not be made. As for availability of funds, India is no longer a “poor” country and while financial resources at the disposal of the government may not be unlimited, there is certainly no crippling shortage either. Extensive investments have been made in the social sector and it is, indeed, right that this should be so, yet it is also undeniable that there is massive haemorrhage of public funds from flagship projects like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. With proper supervision and oversight, funds for OROP can certainly be found if the haemorrhage is staunched, and proper accountability enforced.

The OROP movement by ex-servicemen is perhaps not a desirable development, but there has to be some other credible alternate method of drawing attention of the government to an intrinsically social issue. However, it is the possible long-term implications of such agitations which should be of concern to present and future governments — its effects on the serving soldiers, sailors and airmen, including their officers, who constitute the rigidly-disciplined world of defence forces. The relationship between the serving and former soldiers is umbilical and their perceptions and values fundamentally identical. The OROP agitation by ex-servicemen presents a complex paradox of service values and ethos impacted by the realities of the world outside the services. At this stage all that can be said is that matters are seriously wrong and require to be looked into.

In the midst of all this comes Mumbai 26/11, with its 24x7 breaking news coverage of commandos from the Special Action Group (SAG) of the National Security Guard (NSG — all Army, by the way) dropping onto Nariman House and excited chatter about surgical strikes against Pakistan on chat shows. Also around this time, almost unnoticed, the “Bharat sarkar” makes an announcement granting, amongst other benefits, a separate Pay Commission for the defence services, one of the very long-standing demands of the armed forces hitherto dismissed out of hand by the bureaucracy. Coincidence? Am I reading things into it or might there be (as is whispered) a connection between Mumbai 26/11 and the sudden change in attitude of the government on Sixth Pay Commission awards to the defence services?

Meanwhile, reports out of Pakistan indicate that the Taliban are on the move and are headed our way. So be glad India, that you have one of the finest armed forces in the world — on land, sea and air. Look after them, even pamper them a little, but above all, be thankful, because if you have to call upon them again, they will be there.
Gen Shankar Roychowdhury (Retd) is a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Member of Parliament
For ex-servicemen, parity in rank, pension long overdue

Pay Commissions- Multiple Pension entitlements of ESM

Multiplicity of orders/ circulars/ memorandums/ corrigendums. Distinct Pension Tables for Pre 1986, Pre 1996, Pre 2006, Post 2006 added to it the One Time Increase effected!

The following guidelines and orders baffles even the die hard and end result is a fruitless search for the correct tables which is not easily correlated with what the bank/ treasury credits to an ESM be it an officer or PBOR.
SCPC Circulars
Vth CPC Orders: PBOR
Vth CPC Orders: Officers
Pension Regulations: Army, Air Force and Navy
6th CPC Report Implementation

Pension Adalat:
As per the Annual Action Plan of Controller General of Defence Accounts, New Delhi in consultation with the Ministry of Defence, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts(Pensions) Allahabad will be organising the 91st DEFENCE PENSION ADALAT in the Army Cantt at Jamnagar in the last week of February, 2009 for redressal of grievances of Defence Pensioners / Defence Family Pensioners / Defence Civilian Pensioners drawing pension through Public Sector Banks, Treasuries /Sub Treasuries in the State of Gujarat.
Any Defence Pensioners / Defence Family Pensioners / Defence Civilian and their families having any specific grievances relating to sanction or disbursement of defence pension are requested to submit their representation, in writing, in duplicate, to:
Sri Ashish Sen,
Pension Adalat Officer
O/o Principal CDA (Pensions),
Draupadi Ghat,

A format of the representation is given on this website. Applicants are advised to apply as per the format, for easy processing of their applications.

Kindly Note
Applications can either be sent by post or by E-Mail
Two copies of the applications should be sent
Xerox copies of Pension payment order, Corr PPO, discharge certificate (wherever required) and other documents must be enclosed
Each application will be allotted a unique Adalat Registration Number. The same should be quoted in all future correspondence.
Individual call letters notifying the date and venue of the Adalat will be sent in due course
Incomplete and unsigned representations will be rejected.
The venue and date of Adalat will be notified in electronic and print media shortly.

TA/DA will not be reimbursed to pensioners/individuals attending the Adalat for redressal of their pension related problems.
Pension Adalat

Comment: Pension orders will beat any Guinness World Record on Red Tape. It is known in the Military that the paper work which was around 1.5% in 1946 is around 27% in 2008. The time spend in Military Training, Operational Readiness, Recce, Sports and entertainment has been correspondingly reduced by 30% from 75% in 1946 to 45% in 2008. These statistics are extrapolated and serves as an average guideline only, for various arms and services of the Armed Forces. There is a urgent need to reduce paper work and red tape in the Military if operational preparedness is to be given the cutting edge!

IESM: Rally at Mohali and Varanasi- Program

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:39 PM
Subject: IESM Meeting/ Rally at Mohali on 4 Mar..Come one come All

Dear All,
Pls see mail below from Col SS Sohi from Punjab about the Rally on 4th March at Mohali of the IESM. Gen Kadyan/ Gen Satbir/ Gen Jaini and Gen Renjen are all joining the same for strengthening the movement of our IESM which is growing in spirit day by day. Please give this wide publicity to all your friends in Punjab.
Cdr Sharan Ahuja (Retd)
Member core group IESM

IESM Rally at Mohali
Dear Sirs & Friends,
Jai Hind.
1. The Tricity ESM have the honour again to organise ESM Rally/ Meeting for Pb ESM Assn/ Org at Mohali at 11am to 1pm on 4/3/09 at Phase 5 Community Centre (near Gurudwara/ Mandir).
2. All ESM are requested to please join us, whole heartedly (with tan man dhan) & deposit Gallantry & service medals to strengthen our struggle for OROP & Justice. Please erol as IESM members at rally site by handing over filled membership forms. (Forms downloadable from Message Board of this blog)
3. Gen Kadyan, Gen Satbir, Gen Ranjan & many are gracing the mtg, sharing views & addressing Pb ESMs for further OP plans to make the movement a success.
4. Please, be brave, sacrifice your some comforts for the sake of your grossly suffering ESM community.
With regards.
Col SS Sohi (Retd)

ESM Rally at Varanasi
Dear Sir,
We have planned a ESM Rally at Varanasi on 17th of Mar 09. This is done in the light of your ensuing visit to other cities in UP. We are told that this date is available for us. Hence we are going ahead. We are coordinating this with Col Saxena and Hav Srivastava at Lucknow.
Closing with best wishes and high regards.
Maj SR Singh (Retd)

IESM: OROP- Voices of Veterans

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:05 PM
Subject: Article 'OROP' Revisited

Respected Sirs,
I read the mail on the above captioned subject with interest. Without taking away credit from the Herculean efforts made by the IESM team and the success achieved so far in highlighting our demands in the media, I feel that a fresh look is needed at our strategy.

In that context, Admiral Ghose has clearly and openly expressed views which will give an entirely different direction to the struggle being waged for grant of OROP. Personally, I,too, had been getting a little uneasy that our efforts might not bear fruit looking at the response, or rather lack of it, from the ruling party. Even the head of BJP, Mr. Rajnath Singh, it appears (from feedback from Gen. Kadyan), is not fully committing itself. Perhaps, the reason is that in the current political milieu, these parties do not think that supporting the cause of veterans will enhance their election prospects. In the end, we all know that this is the only motivation for the politicians. And 'media fatigue' is bound to develop sooner or later as in all cases, even more sensational. After that we will have to think what next? Forming political parties is a good idea, but it has an unacceptably long gestation period which will not fit into our scheme of things right now.

As Admiral Ghose has drawn attention to the fact that the process of devaluation of services started with the 3rd CPC. The recommendations came into effect in the year 1975. (I cannot comment on the 2nd CPC because I joined just after its implementation). The recommendations were sorely disappointing and some of us then Sqn Ldrs found to our dismay, that we were equated with our juniors (in service) in respect of the pay and with some anomalies, juniors got more pay than their seniors! We did not think of any protest but dourly lumped it. More disappointing was the fact that the pay scales had such a predominantly built-in 'salary stagnation' element that we had already reached the end-of scale for the next higher rank (of Wg Cdr) in the lower rank (as Sqn Ldrs) with the result that as Wg Cdrs we did not get a 'Paisa' of basic pay rise for the next 7 years, but only DA increases till the 4th CPC. This did adversely affect the pensions of those of us who took premature retirement before the implementation of the 4th CPC recommendations and subsequent pension revisions.

I have indulged in a rather long discourse, which many seniors must be aware of, but it is to put the whole issue in proper perspective and also for the benefit of those who joined services later and to stress that it is the 3rd CPC which did grave injustice to the services and the trend followed for subsequent CPCs.

In conclusion, my opinion is that a change of strategy could be considered by the Core Group and as suggested by Admiral Ghose, try to fight for going back to the old system of 'service pension' which, I am sure would have a legal base (an old act of pre-independence time which is still valid), which might have been overlooked by not only the 3rd CPC but also by the Armed Forces Headquarters. And if it does have legal base, then we have a better chance of succeeding because then no government can take cover under any plea unless it dares to amend the law. I think legal brains of IESM could delve deeper into the subject.

Shashank Bendre
Wg Cdr(Retd)

Blog Links
OROP Revisited: Raj Kadyan
OROP Media Inputs of Veteran Voices
One Rank One Pension: Tribune forum 2006
One Rank One Pension: Tribune forum 2005

Matter of Honour: Letter to Editor

Ref: A Matter of Honour: Times of India

Date: Thursday, 26 February, 2009, 4:50 PM
Dear Editor in Chief
1. On behalf of all Defence Personnel both serving and veterans, we from Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) thank Editor-in-Chief, Times of India and his team for publishing a very relevant and focused Article, “ A Matter of Honour”, by Commodore Udhay Bhaskar (Retd) of Indian Navy on 25 Feb 2009. This will certainly serve the cause of Defence Services. The Govt and the Nation need to pay serious attention to strengthen the Armed Forces in quality and content, to face the Emerging Security Challenges to our Nation, both External and Internal.
2. In his speech to both houses of the congress, President Obama laid special emphasis to the Defence Services and need to qualitatively improve the service conditions of the Defence Personnel. There is urgent need for our Govt functionaries, specially the Prime Minister, Raksha Mantri, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and all members of the cabinet to ponder over President Obama’s Speech to the Congress.
3. Thank you Times of India and Thank you Commodore Udhay Bhaskar. Keep at it please. Defence Services are the strongest pillar of Democracy. The Nation needs the Best Defence Services both “Man and the Machine”. There is much to be desired in this respect.

With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM

Letter from Commodore Uday Bhaskar
Date: Wednesday, 25 February, 2009, 9:52 PM
dear general satbir and brigadier kamboj,
i have recd. a number of calls and e.mails from the retired faujis....and some serving response to my article in the times of india of feb 25th. they were all very positive and i am deeply gratified and humbled......i sincerely believe that much of the praise and many of the superlatives were not warranted.
but a big thanx.....i have not been able to respond personally to all. sorry.
i have a request - and will be grateful if you can send this out on your net. the TOI has been very supportive of the OROP effort and this is borne out by their coverage of the event in their newspages....and now on the edit page. may i request those who are so inclined - to write to the TOI and commend the paper and the editor for their support...? the e.mail ID for the TOI letters section is: normal mail can be sent to: edit page editor TOI, bahadur shah zaffar marg, new delhi 110002.

warm rgds
uday bhaskar

Thursday, February 26, 2009

IESM: Fast for Justice Rally- seventy first day

Date: Thursday, 26 February, 2009, 7:21 PM
Dear colleagues,
Palwal/Faridabad (Haryana) contingent continues to be in charge of the Jantar Mantar venue.
Audience with the President
Consequent to my letter dated 24 Feb 2009 to the President (copy reproduced below for ready reference), telephonic confirmation has been received that she has agreed to meet us on 09 March 2009:
“Excellency, Madam President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,
This is in continuation of my letter of even No dated 15 Feb 2009.
I write to apprise you that more Ex Servicemen want to deposit their medals to show their disenchantment with the government refusal to remove the discrimination the old pensioners are being subjected to. Their single plea remains that two pensioners who have rendered equal length of service and have retired at the same rank should be given equal pension irrespective of their date of retirement. The Congress party, as major constituent of the UPA had committed in their manifesto that they would find a satisfactory solution to this long-pending issue. However, they have gone back on their commitment and have outrightly rejected the demand. The Ex servicemen have thus been compelled to resort to public demonstration of their disillusionment.
We would like to deposit the next consignment of medals at Rashtrapati Bhawan at 15:30 hours on 14 March 2009. We as a delegation of five Ex servicemen would also like to meet you on that day to explain the issue in person. If not convenient, the meeting could also take place on another date, independent of depositing of medals. In this connection my request for seeking an audience with your Excellency, is already pending since 24 November 2008.”
Medals Depositing on 14 March 2009
Just to remind- do kindly ensure the medals reach Gurgaon (same address as given on membership form) by 13 March 2009.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, ACSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Govt approves 6% DA hike for Central staff

Thursday, February 26, 2009
New Delhi: The cabinet Thursday approved a six percent hike in the dearness allowance paid to central government employees and pensioners, entailing additional expenditure of Rs.6,020 crore (Rs.60 billion) till March 31, 2010.

"The hike will be effective Jan 1 and will be payable from March 1," Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.

He was briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating from coronary bypass surgery.

"The outgo for fiscal 2009-10 will be Rs.5,149 crore. For the 14 months from January, the outgo will be Rs.6,020," Chidambaram added.

There are some four million central government employees and some three million pensioners.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service
Govt approves 6% DA hike for Central staff

IESM: Fast for Justice Rally- seventieth day

Date: Wednesday, 25 February, 2009, 11:22 PM
Dear colleagues,
Palwal/ Faridabad (Haryana) contingent continues to be in charge of the Jantar Mantar venue.
Medals Depositing on 14 March 2009
A good and practical suggestion has come from Veteran Colonel Vivek Bopiah from Bangalore. He says;
“I feel that we should organise collection of medals centrally in each city and send it onwards to you. All of us could share the costs (within each city) which in any case would be cheaper than sending it individually. Also more Veterans are likely to respond than if it is to be done individually. The medals could be packed by each individual in a thick transparent plastic bag with details (address of the individual, number of medals etc) written in such a way that they are easily identifiable without opening the packet. All can then be packed in a suitable carton centrally in each city collection centre. The package can be labled to reflect the city, the address of IESM City representative and the contents (number of individual sets of medals) reflected on the package. A letter accompanying the package could give the nominal roll of the veterans and their addresses. All that the IESM reps in Delhi have to do is to present the unopened cartons to the President or…edited by me. Later it will be easy to facilitate the return of medals (if and when it takes place). Can you imagine the pile they will make if 300 or more cities send their packages. The media will have a field day to record the mountain of packages. Each City rep must ensure maximum veterans are informed of the collection centres and dates. They could also arrange for plastic packets/ pouches to be given on payment for on the spot packing to veterans who may so desire. Veterans can be invited to give suggestions to refine the above procedure.”
Thank you Vivek.
Do kindly ensure the medals reach Gurgaon (same address as given on membership form) by 13 March 2009.
Letter from Sardar Tarlochan Singh, MP
In response to my letter of thanks to him (I had put the letter on email), Sardar Tarlochan Singh has written-
“Thankful to your letter dated 15th February 2009, this is for your information that during my speech on the address of the President I again mentioned your case in proper words....Assure you my support and cooperation.”
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan
Chairman IESM

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time has come for armed forces' reforms: MPs panel

The Hindu- Tuesday, February 24, 2009 : 1935 Hrs
New Delhi (IANS): Saying it was "high time" reforms were brought in the armed forces to address "undesirable discriminatory practices" based on rank and gender bias, a parliamentary panel has also urged an "attitudinal change" in the mindset of the higher echelons of the military in view of socio-economic changes in society.

In a series of far-reaching recommendations, parliament's standing committee on defence has also asked the defence ministry to also "devise an effective training strategy" to meet the long term requirements of the armed forces and said it was "perturbed" that the measures taken to address the staggering shortage of officers "have not proved efficacious enough".

This apart, the committee, in its 34th report tabled in parliament on Tuesday, noted that the recruitment procedure for officers had remained virtually static during the last three decades and that no attention had been paid to promotional avenues for personnel below officer rank (PBORs) like what had been done in the case of officers.

Turning to the huge shortage of 14,666 officers in the armed forces, with the army alone accounting for 11,807 of these, the committee said it was "not inclined" to accepting the defence ministry's view that this was mainly due to the youth according to low priority to a military career.
Full Article:
Time has come for armed forces' reforms: MPs panel

IESM: Update and future plans

Dear Friends,
1. Veterans across the country have resolved to fight the injustice heaped on them by the successive Governments for the past sixty years. The IESM has become the unifying force of all ex servicemen of the country. It is encouraging to receive veteran organizations and individual veterans volunteering to join the Movement.
2. The rally on 8th Feb 2009 alongwith return of 2500 medals and the subsequent return of 3000 medals to the President on 21 Feb 2009 have received due attention of media to bring the true facts of our case to the people of our country. Inspite of making requests four times to the President the Supreme Commander for an audience with her during the “Return of Medal” events, we were denied the much desired meeting. Maybe the advisors had their say. On 21 Feb 2009 while at Rashtrapati Bhavan, we expressed our hurt feelings and anguish at denial of meeting with the President.
3. Gen Raj Kadyan and Gen Surjit on CNBC with Karan Thapar at prime time set the stage right for furtherance of our cause. Mr Manish Tiwari, the congress spokesman who had joined the CNBC Programme, was only putting forth untrue facts. He will not be allowed to get away by injecting false beliefs in the minds of the people. Measures are being taken to suitably counter his false statements on the TV. One Rank One Pension is only a slogan coined way back in 1985 and not what we are asking today. Friends, what we are asking is equity and justice in pensions ie Same Class of Defence Personnel in Rank and Length of Service must draw same pension regardless of their date of retirement. You cannot create classes within a class; doing so will be violative of article 14 of the constitution. This principle has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a recent judgment on 09 Sep 2008 in the case of Major Generals. Why the Government is not honouring this principle while granting pensions to the past pensioners (ie pre 2006) is what is hurting the veterans the most.
4. In a coordination meeting of IESM held at Gurgaon on 22 Feb 2009, some landmark issues have been discussed. These are:

  • Our Relay Fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi will continue and the site will also act as a coordination office of IESM. A mobile phone has been made operational with No: 93 131 61596.
  • The next instalment of return of medals to the President has been fixed as 14 Mar 2009. We expect that much larger number of veterans will return their medals on that day. All state, district, city, Kasba, Tehsil and village conveners of IESM, all ESM organizations and individual veterans to kindly get into “Operational Immediate” mode and start collecting the medals from the veterans and start leading from the front. The medals duly packed in transparent small polythene bags should reach Jantar Mantar, New Delhi by 13 Feb 2009. Medals can also be deposited by individual veterans at Jantar Mantar on 14 Mar 2009 between 11 AM to 2 PM. “Every village should become the collection centre and every Ex Serviceman should be the “Karya Karta of IESM”.
  • Blitzkrieg Campaign on an Op Immediate basis be launched throughout the country for membership drive. Every ESM organization and every ESM are requested to join the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) and make it “A FORCE TO RECKON WITH”. Let us now show the numbers and our ability to not only UNITE but continue to Act Unitedly”. Please don’t wait for a call” or a motivator. Please Volunteer” and also be a catalyst to spread the message. I am sure “We Can DO it”.
  • We are now ready for Political foray. Every one of the 150 present, with one voice, felt the need to make Indian Ex Servicemen Party at the earliest and fight the coming Lok Sabha Elections. There are over 62 big cantonments in the country with over fifty thousand votes of Serving Defence Personnel and their dependants with equal number of votes of ESM settled around these cantonments and another over 200 other military stations with 5000 to 30000 votes of Serving Defence Personnel and their dependents. There is a need to ensure that the serving personnel are registered as voters at their respective stations. ESM and, serving senior leaders need to rise to the occasion and make the Election Officers at respective stations to carryout door to door campaign to register defence voters to enable them to exercise their right to vote. The Election Commission and the Service Headquarters have already issued orders but the scheming bureaucracy and the politicians are coming in the way of registering the serving defence personnel as voters at their respective military stations/ cantonments. IESM Core Group will soon take a decision on the name and formation of Political Wing of the IESM.
  • Core Group members will start visiting various states and cities to encourage ESM to join the Movement and setup state, district, city, Tehsil Committees for planning and executions of events of IESM.
  • IESM documentary and CD on 08 Feb 2009 Rally are being made and will be available throughout the country for wide publicity of IESM aims and objectives.
  • We once again request all ESM to enlist the support of media as “Force Multiplier” of our Movement. Please ask your friends, wards and relatives connected with the media both Electronic and Print or having liaison with them to cover our Movement extensively. We need their support the most.
  • Plans are being made to start state wise IESM “Yatras” and rallies throughout the country over the next six weeks and then the hurricane of ESM will descend on Delhi with a Maha Vishal Rally at Ramlila Ground in the 1st /2nd week of April 2009, just in time to show case the strength of ESM to the political System of the Country. We are thankful to the Government for making the sleeping “Lion” Wake Up, and for heaping on us the grave Injustice by downgrading our status, respect and emoluments.

    We will however carry out all our events and plans peacefully and within the democratic norms of discipline. We will ever be ready in the Service of Our Nation till the last breath. “Let us join and heave together”
    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
  • A Matter of Honour

    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    You may perhaps already have seen this article in today's ToI which is very favourably inclined towards the cause of defence services. The publication also brings out the change in mindset that is taking place.
    Warm Regards,
    Col SV Ramachandran (Retd)

    25 Feb 2009, 0010 hrs IST, Money is not the only thing the military is fighting for by C Uday Bhaskar Times of India
    Rashtrapati Bhavan, the august premises where the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces awards highly coveted medals to select members of the military, witnessed an unusual, unprecedented and ignominious scene recently. An anguished delegation of military veterans returned over 2,000 gallantry and distinguished service medals to the president to register their protest over the government's stubborn denial of the long-promised one-rank-one-pension (OROP) dispensation for retired faujis. The civil- military chasm has been increasing in recent years in India exacerbated by the UPA government wherein the honour of the Indian military has been steadily denigrated by the civilian leadership.

    It is an irrefutable tenet of the democratic ethos that the military as an institution will always remain subordinate to the elected representatives, and each country has its own way of arriving at the appropriate civil-military equipoise. This evolution is particularly challenging for the post-colonial state, where the military the army in particular may have been part of the colonial experience. The Afro-Asian experience after World War II is deeply blemished and many nations have seen their armies seizing political power through coups, often abetted by external actors. Within South Asia, the historical experience of Pakistan and Myanmar is a case in point.

    However, the Indian case has been an exception and due credit must be given to the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and his colleagues, Sardar Patel and C Rajagopalachari, each of whom had an imposing personal stature and unassailable conviction about the idea of a free India. And this was shared by the top leadership of the Indian military. Field Marshal Cariappa, the first Indian Army chief, and his peers, were deeply imbued with the same normative nationalism and accepted civilian supremacy. Despite the humiliation of 1962, engendered by rank political ineptitude, the Indian military grew into a credible and highly professional but totally apolitical institution. Thus the tumultuous trajectory of Indian democracy was served well by the stability that the Indian military steadfastly provided.

    However, the top Indian political leadership has always had a distant and formal relationship with the military and this was perhaps due to Nehru's own misplaced perception about the military as an institution. But this changed dramatically after 1962, and the role and relevance of the armed forces for an independent India in an adversarial neighbourhood was acknowledged. In the early decades after 1947, the cream of Indian youth joined the military to serve the nation, and for the honour of our flag.

    Many died in the wars of 1965, 1971 and, most recently, in Kargil in 1999. They continue to fall in the ongoing war against terrorists and insurgents. On balance, the fauj, with its innate sense of 'izzat', was revered by the people but was kept at a distance by the politico- bureaucratic elite. Certain protocols and procedures were recognised, and an acceptable civil- military status quo maintained.

    However, in recent months, more so after the award of the 6th Pay Commission, a series of unfortunate but totally avoidable events have led to the denigration of the armed forces as a collective. Gross disparities in the pay and allowances of the serving military in relation to the other cadres of the government were introduced that were detrimental to the soldier. When this was pointed out, the request for a review was dismissed in a cavalier manner and canards floated in Delhi that the military was resorting to trade union tactics.

    More than money which is no doubt an important element the honour of the military was deliberately trampled upon, and here some degree of bureaucratic perfidy is discernible. Some redress for serving military personnel has been awarded by the government, which appointed a group of ministers headed by the indefatigable Pranab Mukherjee.

    More than the status of the serving community, it is the plight of the retired military personnel that has triggered the unseemly returning of medals by the veterans. As per current pension norms, all military personnel (barring the chief, C-in-Cs and honorary commissions) receive different pensions for different ranks depending on when they retire. This, incidentally, is true for the civilians also and only those who attain the pay scale of secretaries to the government of India have the benefit of OROP.

    But given the fact that military personnel retire at a very early age (beginning at 32 for sepoys and going to 54 years for most officers), harmonisation was sought and successive governments since the days of Rajiv Gandhi have promised to do so, but never delivered on the promise. Consequently many pension asymmetries prevail. For instance, a sepoy who retired before 1996 gets a pension that is 82 per cent less than a post-2006 retiree.

    In yet another incident that reeks of deliberate denigration of the men in uniform, it is reported that at the traditional president's Republic Day 'At home' this year, the three service chiefs were not accorded a place with their supreme commander for the first time in living memory. In snubbing military personnel who are sworn to lay down their life for the flag and honour, it is the honour of the republic of India that is sullied. But alas, who cares?
    A Matter of Honour
    The writer is a Delhi-based security affairs analyst.

    ESM Welfare India vs Veteran Affairs USA

    1. Matters relating to Armed Forces Veterans (Ex-Servicemen) including pensioners.
    2. Armed Forces Veterans (Ex-Servicemen) Contributory Health Scheme.
    3. Matters relating to Directorate General of Resettlement and Kendriya Sainik Board.
    4. Administration of-
    (a) the Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961 (Parts I and II);
    (b) the Pension Regulations for the Air Force, 1961 (Parts I and II);
    (c) the Navy (Pension) Regulations, 1964; and
    (d) The Entitlement Rules to Casualty Pensionary Awards to the Armed Forces Personnel, 1982.
    Ministry of Defence
    Resettlement and wefare schemes

    Veteran Affairs USA in is akin to the Ex Servicemen Welfare Department under the MoD, India
    Mission, Vision, Core Values & Goals
    Veteran Affairs: Mission Statement
    To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise – “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.

    VA Vision
    To provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned – and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability, and stewardship.

    VA Core Values
    Compassion– We will treat all veterans and their families with the utmost dignity and compassion. We will provide services in a caring manner, with a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

    Commitment– Veterans have earned our gratitude and respect. Their health care, benefits, and memorial service needs to drive our actions.

    Excellence– We strive to exceed the expectations of veterans and their families. We strive to perform at the highest level of competence and take pride in our accomplishments.

    Professionalism– Our success depends on maintaining a highly-skilled, diverse, and compassionate workforce. We foster a culture that values equal opportunity, innovation, and accountability.

    Integrity– We recognize the importance of accurate information. We practice open, truthful, and timely communication with veterans, employees, and external stakeholders. By carefully listening and responding to their concerns, we seek continuous improvement in our programs and services.

    Accountability– We will perform in a manner at all times that makes us accountable, responsible, and answerable to veterans and their families, our leaders and other employees as well as external stakeholders.

    Stewardship– We will ensure responsible stewardship of the human, financial, and natural resources as well as data and information entrusted to us. We will improve performance through the use of innovative technologies, evidence-based medical practices, and sound business principles.

    Strategic and Enabling Goals
    Goal 1 – Restore the capability of veterans with disabilities to the greatest extent possible, and improve the quality of their lives and that of their families.
    Goal 2 – Ensure a smooth transition for veterans from active military service to civilian life.
    Goal 3 – Honor and serve veterans in life, and memorialize them in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the Nation.
    Goal 4 – Contribute to the public health, emergency management, socioeconomic well‑being, and history of the Nation.

    Enabling Goal – Deliver world-class service to veterans and their families through effective communication and management of people, technology, business processes, and financial resources.
    Veteran Affairs USA

    IESM: Fast for Justice Rally- sixty ninth day

    Date: Tuesday, 24 February, 2009, 10:00 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    Palwal/ Faridabad (Haryana) contingent has taken charge of the Jantar Mantar venue.
    Medals Depositing on 14 March 2009
    The next instalment of medals will be deposited on 14 March 2009. A letter written to the President is attached. We need to ensure that the number of medals deposited that day far exceeds the earlier instalments.
    Mass Contact
    All State/District conveners must start visiting their respective areas to apprise the ESM of what the IESM has been doing. The misinformation spread by the government (as was done by Mr Manish Tewari during the TV programme) that the officers are the only ones affected and that the PBOR are fine, must be countered. The hard fact is that the Sepoy is the hardest hit with a pre 1996 Sepoy pensioner getting 82% lower pension than his post 1.1.2006 counterpart. The difference in other ranks is relatively lower.
    Karan Thapar’s TV Programme
    I would like to place on record my deep appreciation for Veteran Maj Gen Subhash Bindra who played the main anchor role in organising the TV programme with Karan Thapar (aired 19th and 23rd Feb). After he had done the leg work it started with a telephone conference on 28 Jan among all of us, including Karan. Thank you Subhash. It is learnt through different sources that on Karan Thapar’s TV programme ‘India Tonight’, Mr Manish Tewari made legally incorrect statements. On this the emails exchanged between Karan and me are reproduced below:
    My email to Karan
    Mr Nidesh Gupta is a supreme court lawyer who is presently handling the case of Maj Generals. He watched the programme on TV on Friday and asserts that Manish Tewari quoted the three judgments out of context and totally misled the viewers. Nidesh is prepared to come on the TV - if given a chance - and rebut/demolish what Manish said. I thought I would pass this on to you.
    Karan’s reply
    Many thanks. I'll bear this in mind for the future. A very useful tip.
    Foray into Politics
    Drawing on military dicta, some ESM have rightly cautioned that first success is essential for morale. I do not know whether this would equally hold true in politics. Even if chances are slim, we may have to take the plunge. Success will come, even if not immediately. Those volunteering to contest would know that it means high cost.
    Court Attitude on OROP
    It is generally believed that the courts are ‘allergic’ to the term OROP. It does not bother them that soldiers are different from others. They would apply the law blindly and treat everyone equal. If the courts rule in favour of OROP for all, the government might claim that the cost is too high for all to get OROP and that might be the end. It seems prudent that we change our motto from OROP to something else, while keeping the substance unchanged. May be we can call for ‘sammaan aur samaanta’ or just seek equity under ‘military pension’ , as I had mentioned in my emailed article. Do shoot views/ comments/ suggestions asap.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan
    Chairman IESM

    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)
    Chairman, IESM
    IESM/OROP/Medals/2009 24 February 2009
    Excellency, Madam President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,
    This is in continuation of my letter of even No dated 15 Feb 2009.
    I write to apprise you that more Ex Servicemen want to deposit their medals to show their disenchantment with the government refusal to remove the discrimination the old pensioners are being subjected to. Their single plea remains that two pensioners who have rendered equal length of service and have retired at the same rank should be given equal pension irrespective of their date of retirement. The Congress party, as major constituent of the UPA had committed in their manifesto that they would find a satisfactory solution to this long-pending issue. However, they have gone back on their commitment and have outrightly rejected the demand. The Ex servicemen have thus been compelled to resort to public demonstration of their disillusionment.

    We would like to deposit the next consignment of medals at Rashtrapati Bhawan at 15:30 hours on 14 March 2009. We as a delegation of five Ex servicemen would also like to meet you on that day to explain the issue in person. If not convenient, the meeting could also take place on another date, independent of depositing of medals. In this connection my request for seeking an audience with your Excellency, is already pending since 24 November 2008. With best regards,
    Yours sincerely,
    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan

    Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil
    Hon’ble President of India
    Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi
    Copy to:
    Shri AK Antony
    Hon’ble Defence Minister
    South Block, New Delhi – 110 011

    Medals pose gallantry query 26/11 shower lifts eyebrows

    The Telegraph: Medals pose gallantry query 26/11 shower lifts eyebrows by SUJAN DUTTA
    New Delhi, Feb. 18: The Indian Army finds an “awkward” situation arising after the government this year conferred as many as 11 Ashok Chakras, the highest peacetime gallantry awards most of them to policemen who were killed.

    Unable to articulate its dissent in public, the army has expressed its protest by posting on its website the criterion for conferring the medal which, it says, is not meant for members of the regular police services.

    In reality, officers in Army Headquarters here say in private that they find the decision to award the Ashok Chakra to Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte of the Maharashtra police and Mohan Chand Sharma of Delhi police dubious because their actions do not fit the definition of “conspicuous gallantry beyond the call of duty”.

    The four policemen died in the course of their duties, the first three in the terror attacks in Mumbai and Sharma in the encounter at Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar.

    Former army officers are voicing dissent. “The Ashok Chakra has an aura and a dignity only because it is given rarely. It will lose that dignity if it is given away commonly. Second, these awards are for gallantry and not for dying.

    “My condolences to the families and it is true that they have died in action but unfortunately I do not think they are deserving of gallantry,” says former deputy chief of army staff, Lieutenant General (retired) Raj Kadyan.

    Kadyan says maybe the army is itself to blame because it recommended the Kirti Chakra, also a gallantry award a notch lower than the Ashok Chakra, to Brigadier R.D. Mehta, India’s defence attache who was blown up when a terrorist drove a bomb-laden truck into the embassy in Kabul.

    “There is no gallantry in getting blown up,” he says. “By that token, every civilian in Sarojini Nagar who was killed in terrorist blasts or in CP (Connaught Place) ought to be given Ashok Chakras.”

    There are also insinuations that political expediency shaped the decision on the Ashok Chakras for Sharma and Karkare. The BJP had demanded the medal for Sharma who led the raid against the alleged Indian Mujahideen suspects in Batla House where he took bullets and died hours later. Karkare, of Maharashtra police’s anti-terror squad, was leading the probe into the Malegaon blasts in which an army officer is an accused.

    Since the Ashok Chakra — its wartime equivalent is the Param Vir Chakra awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy — was instituted, only about 40 have been granted. The highest given in a single year was three in 2002 to security personnel involved in defending Parliament against the attack on December 13, 2001.

    But on January 26 this year, 11 Ashok Chakras were given by the President, and the Republic Day parade was cut short to make time for the award-giving ceremony. The Ashok Chakra is the only gallantry award given on Republic Day.

    Six of the 11 awardees were for security personnel in 26/11 — all posthumous: Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajendra Singh (from the NSG), and Karkare, Kamte, Salaskar and Tukaram Omble from the Mumbai police.

    The other awardees were inspector Sharma, Havildar Bahadur Dohra, Colonel Jojan Thomas, Orissa Special Operations Group assistant commandant Pramod Satpathy and Meghalaya’s DSP Raymond P. Diengdoh.

    Former Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt General Vijay Oberoi, who lost a leg in the 1965 war with Pakistan, says in an article titled Death is humbling but not synonymous with bravery that “by all accounts, all four police officers were highly efficient, dedicated and exemplary officers. Their devotion to duty needs to be recognised and honoured, but this is not the way of doing so. There is a vast difference between gallantry awards and awards for distinguished service. A large number of military personnel, especially from the army, lay down their lives or lose limbs fighting terrorists in various parts of the country, nearly on a daily basis…. Yet most of them do not qualify for earning gallantry awards….

    “Let me cite my own example. I lost my leg during the 1965 Indo-Pak War and became permanently disabled, but I did not get any award. Neither did I ever think that I should have been given one. The same is the case with the large number of soldiers and officers who are killed or disabled in wars or warlike situations. That is how it should be.”
    Medals pose gallantry query 26/11 shower lifts eyebrows

    Comment: The aura and halo of Ashok Chakra reduced to medal for dying sans bravery. The Military Medals are being freely distributed to those not in the Armed Forces! The Police too should come under the Army Act to be eligible for the awards?

    SCPC: Resentment after pay hike

    February 24th, 2009
    By Our Correspondent
    Feb. 23: In what has created a resentment among the officers of the Central and state services, the government of India has offered additional allowance of 25 per cent of basic salary as special allowance to the officers of All-India Services posted in Northeastern states. In this regard the ministry of personal, public grievances and pension has issued a separate notification on February 10 to the state governments of the region. The notification no 14017/4/2005-2005 AIS (II), signed by director (services) Harjot Kaur said, “The ministry has decided to grant special allowances to officers belonging to any cadre of All-India Services working in Northeastern states.

    The allowance, known as special allowances, will be at the rate of 25 per cent of basic pay and in addition to other allowances payable to officers posted in Northeastern states.” If insiders are to be believed, there has been no recommendation of the Pay Commission in this regard or decision of the Cabinet. The letter written to all chief secretaries and finance department of the Northeastern states said that this notification has been issued after an effective concurrence of the department of expenditure, ministry of finance and will be made effective since the day the notification has been issued (February 10, 2009). The special incentive that has been given to IAS, IPS and IFS only has created resentment among the officers of other Central services and the state governments as well as they started questioning the relevance of this “special treatment”.

    This has come close on the heels of alleged distortion of Cabinet decision in September last year on the Pay Commission report by the government in formulating certain pay scales for IAS and IFS officers. The exorbitant 25 per cent special allowance is also going to create a serious problem for the state governments which are yet to mobilise fund for its employees who are agitating for salary hike already given to Central government employees in the Sixth Pay Commission. Most of the Northeastern states have expressed their inability in implementing the Sixth Pay Commission of the Central government to its employees. The officers of other Central services posted in Assam and other Northeastern states have also expressed surprise that such important notification was issued “secretly” and not displayed on the sites of the ministry.
    Resentment after pay hike

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Corps of Signals celebrate 99th raising day

    Punjab Newsline Network
    Sunday, 15 February 2009
    CHANDIGARH: The Corps of Signals personnel also known as "Information Warriors" celebrated their 99th Raising Day at HQ Western Command in Chandimandir Sunday.

    Lt Gen TK Sapru, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Command extended his greetings to all ranks, their families and veterans of the Corps on the occasion of their Raising day. He lauded the professionalism displayed by personnel of the Corps of Signals both in peace and war and exhorted them to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation.

    Chief Signal Officer (CSO) HQ Western Command, Maj Gen VP Shrivastava addressed the Officers and Jawans at a special sainik sammelan and emphasized the important role being played by all ranks of Signals in enabling net-centric warfare in today's information age.

    Gen Srivastava stressed that all the technological development undertaken by the Corps is primarily to enhance the decision making capabilities of the field Commanders by providing them timely information and reliable communication. As a token of recognition for their commendable contribution, he presented Signal Officer in Chief's commendation to Officers, JCOs and other ranks.

    A lively Social evening was also organized on the occasion which was attended by senior serving officers of Western Command and all veteran signal officers settled in the tricity.

    Corps of Signals has, in recent years, taken rapid strides in establishing world-class information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure in the Indian Army. The Corps which is aptly recognized as the benchmark of growth and efficiency, has also made its mark in international arena and have laid out state-of-the-art technology communication as part of the UN Mission. The Corps continue to strive for exceptional standards in all spheres of communication techniques.

    Maintaining unremitting vibrancy and mission orientation, the Corps of Signals has successfully integrated various networks and systems including satellite to deliver the Army the 'Network of Networks'. Mobile satellite communication is also being introduced in a big way which would further enhance the communication capability of the Corps. Thousands of kilometers of optic fibre cable laid has enabled a high capacity backbone and convergence of Army voice and data networks, resulting in improved redundancy and optimal utilization of resources. Contribution of "Dharma Chakra Signallers" of Western Command in providing infallible communication support in aid to civil authorities in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi and Chandigarh has been truly stupendous.
    Corps of Signals celebrate 99th raising day
    Photo Slideshow of Information Warriors- Courtesy Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh- former SOinC

    RTI violator to head State Information Commission

    Alka Pande
    Posted: Feb 23, 2009 at 0342 hrs IST
    Lucknow The Mayawati government has finalised the appointment of a retired bureaucrat, Ram Kumar, as the State Information Commissioner and sent his name to the Governor for the final stamp. Kumar was issued notice for violating Section 20 of the Right To Information (RTI) Act. The government finalised the name of 1976 batch UP cadre IAS officer on Friday to take over. The post was lying vacant since last November after the Governor, on the recommendation of the state government, had suspended former Commissioner M A Khan.

    Kumar retired as the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare and Social Welfare Commissioner last year. In 2006, in an application filed under RTI, a complainant had wished to know the details of an employee’s appointment. The case (no. 761/3/07) carried on for a year and eventually on July 26, 2007, the State Information Commission issued a notice to the Social Welfare Department — headed by Kumar — for not taking the desired action and imposed a daily penalty of Rs 250 which could have gone upto Rs 25,000.
    Read full text:
    RTI violator to head State Information Commission

    Comment: Government defrauding its own citizens! Retired Corrupt IAS officers are invariably appointed as State Information Officers by politicians as reward for their nefarious activities.

    IESM: Spreading awareness of 'one Rank One Pension'

    Dear IESM leaders,
    You may have noticed that in all IESM activities so far, Maharashtra is hardly represented, especially when there are a huge number of veterans from that state. Maybe no one has mobilised them so far. One answer is given in the next para.

    I received the Forward appended below from a friend in USA and watched one of the video clips. Why I am sending this to you three is to consider using the Mumbai Dabbawalas for propagating the cause of the military veterans. The Dabbawalas deliver lunches to 2 lac persons daily. Microsoft had used them to spread information about their products.

    Their web site, may be accessed to contact them and check their charges for distributing a one/two page leaflet or a simple brochure, with information on the just demands of the veterans. Later, when it is decided to send an advisory regarding voting/not voting for a particular person or party, you can use them again. Alternately, someone in Mumbai may be asked to contact their office and find out details. I think it is worth a try and may yield good dividends.

    Warm regards.
    Vijay Oberoi
    (Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Former VCOAS)

    Mumbai Dabbawalas
    Dabbawals in Mumbai
    My Dabbawala
    Mumbai Dabbawalas: Amazing Management success story
    India Dabbawala

    Dear friends,
    It is very important to make public aware of our demand of OROP. Media support has started trickling but not enough as on date. Self help to make public aware is a must. My suggestion for this are:
  • All ESM involved in any type of business should display very prominently our demand of OROP.
  • OROP banner at the entrance of their shop/ showroom, on the noticeboards, other prominent places.
  • If possible posters can be pasted on the notice board of major establishment where number of ESM are working including ECHS Polyclinics. With due permission from the head of establishment.
  • In all colonies/ societies constructed by ESM/ for ESM or defence people.

    Sq Ldr Bankim Sutaria (Retd)

    Date: Monday, 23 February, 2009, 5:04 PM
    Dear Gen Kadyan,
    I tend to agree with you that perhaps the media is suffering from OROP fatigue. Irrespective of what political leaders say, it is doubtful if GOI will grant it the way it is being projected by us. My experience in dealing with Govt in such matters is that they blow hot and cold on this issue and finally put it on the back burner Now they can claim it to be sub judice.

    The closest we got the Govt to grant us this was when OTI was granted as a poor substitute. The speed with which OTI increases were computed and promulgamated was mind boggling. Many of us in service were not convinced nor happy with this turn of events. But being comparitively junior in service we were silenced. Much of the inside story I learnt many many years later from the PCDA(Navy) who was DS(Pensions) working and implementing OTI .

    Therefore it is essential that a fallback position acceptable to all and called by another name is discussed and firmed up. In doing this greater reliance on known truths and not emotions alone should be the cornerstone. The following facts are of relevance:
  • Defence Pensions were traditionally different from Civillian pensions right upto 1974. In fact they were termed SERVICE PENSION as distinct from Retiring Pension for civillians and was applicable to all pensioners irrespective of vintage except of course KCIOs.
  • Service pension was Rank based. Each rank had a distinct pension related to the years of service specified by DSR/RegsNavy requiredto reach that rank. This was called Standard Service. If one did more than standard service pension remained the same till superannuation. If one did less than standard service prior to retiring then a monetary amount was deducted.

    The Third CPC which did maximum harm to the Armed Forces salary structure demolished Service Pension and brought them on par with the civillian retiring pension. Weightage in years of service was given to defence personnel to bring them notionally on par with the civillian retiring age in view of their truncated career. The Armed Forces were unhappy with this which lead to the GOI forming the famous KP Singh Deo Committee which reccommended going back to Service Pension calling it ONE RANK ONE PENSION. The GOI did not accept this reccommendation and today we are still fighting to get it.

    The Pension Regulations have not been ammended and still refer to Service Pension. Therefore we are not asking for any thing new. We had Rank based pensions till as late as 1974. All that we want is Service Pension back as existing till 1974 duly updated to match current conditions of service and inflation. We need make out that we are projecting a case in consonance with the Pension regulations.
    Warm regards
    Vice Admiral Barin Ghose (Retired)
    Member Core Group IESM

    Problems of Ex-Servicemen
    Questions Tabled in Parliament
    *356. MAJ. GEN. (RETD. ) BHUWAN CHANDRA KHANDURI: Will the Minister of DEFENCE be pleased to state:
    Written Answers 50
    (a) whether the Government have received a large number of complaints regarding anomalies and lacunae in the One Time Increase (OTI) in pension to the Armed Forces pensioners;
    (b) if so, the details hereof;
    (c) whether the Government have set up any committee to review the same;
    (d) if so, its composition, terms of reference, and the time by which the report is likely to be submitted;
    (e) whether this committee would also look into the demands of the demobilized soldiers of the Second World War; and
    (f) if not, the reaction of the Government to their demands?

    Government have received various representations regarding anomalies in the Scheme of One Time Increase (OTI) in pension. These mainly relate to the grievances against the exclusion of certain categories such as re-employed pensioners,State Forces pensioners, and pensioners in receipt of two pensions, from eligibility to receive OTI. A Committee has been set up to examine such demands. It is headed by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence and includes an Additional Secretary each from the Ministry of Law, the Ministry of Finance, the Deptt. of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare; Adjutant General, Army Hqrs; Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence; Additional Controller General of Defence
    51 Written Answers
    Accounts; AddI. Financial Adviser, Ministry of Defence; Deputy Secretary (Pens), Ministry of Defence.
    2. The terms of reference of the Committee are:
    (a) To deal with the problems/ anomalies arising from
    the implementation of the scheme for grant of One Time Increase (OTI) in pensions to Armed Forces-personnel who retired before 1.1.1986.
    (b) To work out suitable methodology to determine actual quantum of OTI to pre 1.6.1953 Armed Forces personnel who have been authorised OTI in pension as an interim measure.
    (c) To look into the problem relating to rent of OTI to State Forces pensioners; -Territorial Army pensioners; pensioners in receipt of only the disability element of pension; PAK,BURMA and HKSRA pensioners; non- regular Commissioned Officers etc.
    3. The Committee is likely to submit its report soon.
    4. Another Committee, set up to examine the remainder problems of ex-Servicemen, is dealing with the demand for provision of suitable relief to the World War veterans.
    One Time Increase- Muddle

    Existing Pension: means the basic pension inclusive of commuted portion, if any, and One Time Increase (OTI), if any, due on 31.12.1995. It covers all classes of pension including Disability pension granted under the Pension Regulations of the three services / State Forces and various other Orders issued from time to time on the subject. This also includes additional pension sanctioned to Havildar granted Honorary Rank of Naib Subedar. However, it will not include Adhoc ex-gratia payment and personal pension (PP) and unabsorbed personal pension (UPP), if any.
    Implementation of Government's decision on the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission - Rationalisation of pension of pre - 1996 pensioner / family pensioners belonging to the Armed forces.

    Comment: Bureaucratic impotence, muddle and red tape at its best. Multiple committees/ pension orders to address a simple welfare measure of ESM- gets entangled in a web of "Hollow echos of nothingness" with no material benefit to the deserving ESM! The Politicians who are clueless of ground realities beat around the bush in the Parliament. Supreme Commander has no time for her Veterans!
  • IESM: Fast for Justice Rally- sixty eighth day

    23 Feb 2009
    Dear Colleagues,
    The contingent from Karnal continues to be in charge of the Jantar Mantar venue.
    Court Case
    As reported in the media one retired Army officer has gone to Delhi High Court demanding legal intervention in favour of ‘one rank one pension’ and the case is coming up Feb 24. The legal opinion is that at this stage this could have harmful consequences for the overall cause of the ESM. It is learnt that the petitioner is one Lt Col VB Bhanot, EME. He has done so along with 40 other civilians. Efforts are being made to persuade the officer to withdraw the case. Anyone who knows him is requested to kindly use his influence – Veteran Bhanot’s mobile number is – 09953583798 email:
    Meeting HP ESM
    The HP ESM are organising a rally at Hamirpur on 5 March 2009. Four of us - Maj Gens Satbir, Renjen, Jaini and self are scheduled to participate. Similar rallies are also being planned in UP, Punjab and Rajasthan.
    Debut in politics
    There seems little doubt that entry into politics is the only solution to get justice for the ESM. We should follow a two-pronged strategy:
    1. Raise own political party and field candidates. Even if the chances are slim, the foray would be worth it.
    2. Those who can get nomination from other parties should do so; aim is to get into the Parliament. In the present environment of coalition governments even a small number of MsP can wield immense influence.
    Karan Thapar’s TV Programme
    I have spoken to Mr Ashok Upadhyaya, who was the coordinator of the programme. He is examining feasibility of putting the programme on YouTube.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan

    Dear Gen Sat Pal Aul,
    Thank you so much for your continued support with your camera at Jantar Mantar.
    Brig CS Kamboj
    Surrender of medals 21 Feb 2009- slideshow click here

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Slumdog Millionaire bags record OSCARS

    Nominations (10)
    Achievement in Cinematography ......won
    Achievement in Directing ...........won
    Achievement in Film Editing
    Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) ...... Won
    Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
    Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) ........Won
    Best Motion Picture of the Year ....won
    Achievement in Sound Editing .......won
    Achievement in Sound Mixing ........won
    Adapted Screenplay .................won
    Truly amazing bagging 8 OSCARS at the 81st Academy Awards
    OSCAR Nominees

    IESM: Moist eyes, they return medals

    22 Feb 2009, 0653 hrs IST, Neha Pushkarna, TNN
    NEW DELHI: Subedar Chauhan could not hold back his tears as he parted with his medals on Saturday. He said he had worn them close to his heart all his life but only the government could not stand up to his contribution to the country. Nearly 300 ex-servicemen returned their medals to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Saturday in protest to demand 'equal pension for equal service.'

    "More than 3000 medals were collected on Saturday, which we returned at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. We wanted to give the medals to our Supreme Commander, President Patil, but she did not meet us. If our demand is not considered, many more ex-servicemen of all ranks will return their medals," said Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, vice-chairperson, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement the group that initiated this protest in December 2008.

    More than 2000 medals were earlier returned to the President on February 8, 2009 when ex-servicemen from all over the country, including 300 general-rank officers, had gathered at Jantar Mantar. According to the ex-servicemen, those who retired earlier get less pension than those who retired recently even though their number of years in service may be same.

    Retd Commander Sharan Ahuja, member, Indian ESM Movement, said, "If an officer of my rank retires today after 20 years of service, he would get Rs 30,000 per month as pension. However, I get Rs 14,500 as I retired in 1994." The ex-servicemen say that the disparity in the pension of the defence personnel retiring at different times is too stark because the old ex-servicemen never got adequate increment after the various Central Pay Commissions. They said that the issue has been raging for 25 years now.

    Retd Commander Ahuja said, "We have fought the wars in 1965 and 1971. We had spent our lives looking after the frontiers of the country. Many of us don't even know how many schools did our children had to change. Many of us weren't even around when our children were born." He added, "Our medals were a testimony to all this but we had to give them up as no government has acted on our demand to have equal pension for equal service in all these years. Ex-servicemen from all the three forces are together."

    Hawaldar Mukesh, who retired in 2004, said that government should understand the plight of the ex-servicemen after they retire. "I haven't fought against plastic bullets. Then why is my pension less than those who retired after me. There are no jobs for ex-servicemen either" he said. Subedar Ram Swaroop Yadav, who retired from the army in 1992 says returning the medals is as painful for him as parting with his child. "But if the President doesn't have any concern for our services, we better give the medals back," he said.
    Moist eyes, they return medals

    IESM: Fast for Justice Rally- sixty seventh day

    Date: Sunday, 22 February, 2009, 10:42 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    The contingent from Karnal (Haryana) has taken charge of the Jantar Mantar venue.
    ESM Gathering
    Today at Gurgaon we had a luncheon gathering of the ESM who have been actively involved in the Movement. There were some 150 ESM from many States. A large number took the mike (the lunch was served past 4 pm). Following points emerged:
  • The Jantar Mantar venue has become the de facto IESM office and should continue to remain active.
  • The return of medals on 14 March should be by a very large number of ESM. The medals should reach Delhi on 13 March.
  • The IESM membership needs to go in overdrive– all present agreed to put in their best.
  • The IESM organisation to build its structure at village/block/District/ State level. It was pointed out that the IESM is like a tree that takes its sustenance and strength from the roots. The members should send names of candidates who are committed, who can devote adequate time and who have acceptability by the majority. The gathering promised to follow it up in their respective areas. This needs to be done Pan India. We hope to receive names latest by 30 April 2009.
  • The most important subject of discussion was the widely expressed view that we must form a political party and fight the Lok Sabha elections. There was hardly any dissenting voice. There was debate on the name to be chosen for the political platform. Some ESM who are already in politics under different political banners, wanted their existing name and platform to be used. After discussion it was left to the Core Group to choose a name and disseminate to all. It seems the die is cast.
    Contact with Politicians
    I had a brief meeting with the BJP President Shri Rajnath Singh today. While thanking him for his support for the OROP demand I pointed out that the wording ‘will be seriously considered’ does not inspire the required confidence among the ESM. I suggested that a firm yes/ no commitment be made and a definite timeline set for implementation. Further, the point should also be included in the NDA agenda. He gave an assurance to get this done.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan
    Chairman IESM
    One Rank One Pension- revisited: Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
  • SCPC: Soldiers’ pension row reaches High Court

    Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times, Email Author
    New Delhi, February 23, 2009
    Delhi High Court will decide if the Centre is justified in denying “one rank one pension” to retired defence and government employees, numbering about 40 lakh.

    After around 5,000 ex-servicemen, including decorated war veterans, returned their medals to the President at protest demonstrations at Jantar Mantar, the personnel have knocked on the doors of the court seeking justice.

    Justice S Ravindra Bhat will on Tuesday hear a petition filed by a former army major and a retired central government official. They have challenged the notification that has created disparity among the pensioners by dividing them into four pay bands.

    “Defence personnel of same rank and same length of service must draw same pension, irrespective of the date of retirement. As per the notification for the implementation of the recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission, those who retired prior to January 2006 are at a very big disadvantage from those who retired after it as the government is using different formulae for computing their pension”, said lawyer Arun Maitri representing the retired personnel.

    The petition says that if pension is paid for past satisfactory services rendered and to avoid destitution in old age as well as a social welfare or socio-economic justice measure, differential treatment for those retiring prior to a certain date and those retiring subsequently will amount to injustice.

    With the pay commissions increasing the pay of armed forces and security personnel every 10 years, the gap between the pension received by those who retired before the implementation of the respective commissions widened.
    Soldiers’ pension row reaches HC

    Comment: The above seems to be mischievous case and certainly no former army major would file a court case at this juncture. Veterans certainly need to prevent such dubious cases being individually fought; and ensure the eagerness of some, does not negate our just cause of the majority. This should be withdrawn or else it could derail our legitimate fight for OROP. Many ESM cases though won in court rests deeply frozen by the Government (by counter SLP to inordinately delay the outcome). This is a catch 22 situation and all ESM need to approach the court with caution and discretion. It will be prudent always to consult reputed Maj Navdeep Singh who is an expert in legal affairs.


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