Saturday, August 8, 2009

President Inaugurates Armed Forces Tribunal

Saturday, August 08, 2009 15:25 IST
The President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) here today. Calling it an important milestone in the history of the Armed Forces, the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hoped that the setting up of the Tribunal will enhance the confidence and trust among the large number of Services personnel in the country’s justice dispensation system in relation to their service matters. It has been a longstanding demand of the men in uniform to have the option for a review of decisions of the Court Martial.

Cautioning that the delay in dispensation of justice defeats the very purpose of delivery of justice, the President asked the Tribunal to be particularly careful in avoiding the build up of backlogs. “There should be predictability in court hearings and adjournments granted only in very exceptional circumstances,” she added.

Set up by an Act of Parliament in December, 2007, the AFT will have its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country. The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi. The Principal bench in New Delhi will be functional from Monday, August 10.

Terming the landmark event as a ‘magna carta’ in Indian military history, the Minister for Law and Justice, Shri M. Veerappa Moily said that the Tribunal would act as an outlet for redressal of grievances of Armed Forces personnel. The Tribunal is an endeavour in “the search for truth and justice” after the convergence of various pillars of democracy, Shri Moily said. He hoped that the Tribunal would not get bogged down in “the juggernaut of bureaucracy.” Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, who took over as the founder Chairperson of the Tribunal on Sep.1, 2008, said the arrears of pending cases in civilian courts is a matter of concern. He hoped that the Tribunal would reduce burden on the regular courts. At present nearly 10,000 such cases are pending before various courts across the country, most of them with the high courts.

The AFT will provide a judicial forum for redressal of grievances of about a 1.3 million strong armed forces personnel and another 1.2 million Ex-Servicemen. Having powers of a criminal court, the Tribunal can grant bail to men held in military custody and also hear appeals against sentences handed down by the court-martial. The decisions of the AFT can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

The Tribunal will provide better justice delivery system to the Services personnel, particularly those living in remote and inaccessible areas, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice KG Balakrishnan said. Pointing out that the Army, Navy and the Air Force Acts have some archaic and “authoritative” provisions of the colonial legacy, he observed that there was a general perception that sitting officers of the Court Martial are not inclined to impartial and fair justice. The Tribunal’s success parameters would be to ensure fairness, speedy justice and its enforcement, he added.

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said that the tribunal fills a void that existed in the military justice dispensation. It would fulfill the observations made by the Supreme Court long back in 1982 and the subsequent recommendations of the Law Commission that “the Services personnel must have at least one judicial review” of verdicts handed down by the Court Martial.

The Tribunal will have a Chairperson who has been or is a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a high court. Besides, each court consists of a judicial member and an administrative member. Justice RV Ravindran, a sitting Supreme Court judge who is the Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Armed Forces Tribunal, said that the decision making on grievances related to armed forces personnel demands specialized knowledge of Services protocol besides upholding the tenets of natural justice.

Delivering the closing address, the Minister of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju said that this day heralds a new era in the administration of justice for the armed forces personnel.
President Inaugurates Armed Forces Tribunal

Thoughts on Future Course for Veterans

Thoughts on Future Course for Veterans
My view is that unless the veterans prepare the ground (shaping the battlefield in military parlance), no attempt be made to re-start a confrontational approach. Once the ground work has been laid, a concerted plan must be put into effect. What does preparing the ground entail? In my view it includes the following:
  • Unity amongst the various veteran groups. In this, the first step may well be unity of purpose, as even this seems to be lacking at present.
  • The overall focus should be on the long term and not trying to get issues resolved in a hurry. The veterans have woken up after decades; to hope that they will be able to resolve their problems overnight is not possible.
  • Convincing the people of the justness of the veteran’s case.
  • A more broad-based objective, covering various facets of problems of the veterans and not focusing exclusively on OROP.
  • The present perception that the veterans are only seeking more money needs to be changed. The way to do it is to project lowering of status and not lowering of pay/pension. The latter would automatically follow.
  • Close interaction with the serving community, as it is the only way to get maximum synergy. We need to disabuse the notion that the actions of the veterans will embarrass the serving community. Such notions have little basis, in my view. It is the veterans who have to make such overtures and not the other way around. The serving have the option to go along covertly or overtly or even back out, but this must not deter the veterans.
  • Building up the various veteran organizations by major membership drives.
  • Personal reaching out to the rural-based veterans and weaning them away from their present exclusive focus on the different types of elections.
  • Periodic interaction with the Department of Ex Servicemen Welfare and the personnel directorates of the services headquarters, as also with the Ministers.
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd)
    Read more for valuable inputs:
    Thoughts on Future Course for Veterans
  • Debugging the skewed Military Pension Policy

    Dear sir,
    Please refer Ex Servicemen fighting to debug the skewed Pension Policy click me. It was extremely delightful to see different ex servicemen organisations coming together in the manner described in the blog. it is not important to know who is behind this effort, but what is great, is the realisation and the necessity of coming together to fight a common cause. Whosoever is behind this deserves praise.
    We have crossed one major hurdle. Attempts should now be on to merge ISEM and ISEL. Then it becomes a formidable force to reckon with. If rival corporates can merge together, why not our ex servicemen groups? There is not even monetary profits to be considered as in corporates. If there are any lingering egos in any quarter, that should be also shed keeping the ultimate aim in mind.
    I have been reading Gen Radhakrishnan's articles. He is probably the best choice to draft the intended letter to the government.
    I am already seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations and keep it up.
    Col Rajaraman Subramanian (Retd)

    Corps of Signals "Silver Stride" Motor Cycle Expedition Scales 18632 Feet Himalayan Pass

    New Delhi, July 28th 2009
    On the auspicious occasion of silver jubilee of 21 Signal Group, an adventurous motorcycle expedition covering a total distance of 4047 Kilometers is being conducted from 28 Jul to 12 Aug 2009. “Silver Stride”, the motor cycle expedition team of 21 Signal Group is a challenging stride towards developing leadership qualities and fostering a spirit of adventure among all ranks of the Group. The motor cycle expedition which was flagged off by Lt Gen P Mohapatra, AVSM, Signal Officer in Chief and Senior Colonel Commandant Corps of Signals on 28 Jul 2009 at India Gate Lawns, New Delhi. The adventure activity encompasses the perils of biking through tough and challenging desert and mountainous terrains of the Indian subcontinent. The route comprises of desert terrain of 940 kilometers and mountainous terrain of 1310 kilometers covering eight states. The motor cycle expedition involves crossing of nearly ten high altitude passes- Rohtang (13,360 feet), Baralacha-La(16040 feet), Nakee-La (15,547 feet), Lachung-La(16616 feet), Tanglang-La (17,582 feet), Chang-La (17,800 feet), Marsimik-La(18632 feet) Polokhang-La, Jalori Pass and Khardung-La (18,380 feet) which is the highest motorable road of the world and will be negotiated via Kullu, Manali and Leh axis. The aim of this expedition is to promote the spirit of adventure and to spread the theme of national integration, peace, harmony and create awareness amongst the youth about the Indian Army.

    The team consists of participation from Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other ranks to demonstrate the seamless established fact of supreme team work and leadership under constrained conditions. The mega event was eye witnessed by a number of retired and serving distinguished Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other ranks of defence forces, MD of sponsors and media persons.

    The expedition encompasses the locations of historic presence of the group to mark the silver jubilee celebration on one hand while on the other would expose the motorcyclists to the challenging and adventurous terrain of mountains and deserts developing their stress skills, leadership and team spirit. The expedition was sponsored by M/S Hero Honda, M/S Bharat Electronics Limited, M/S Shepherd Realms and Miracle Enterprises. The SO-in-C, in his speech during the flag off ceremony lauded the achievement of the group for being one of the most elite units of the Indian Army and Corps of Signals.

    Silver Knights en-route would meet ex servicemen and interact with locals to foster a spirit of pride for the Indian Army and would motivate the youth of the places they visit to join the elite Indian Army.
    Lt Col S Khanna
    21 Sig Gp
    Media Reports
    Motorcycle expedition by Silver Knights of 21 Signal Army Group kicks off from New Delhi
    Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations released today

    Ready for futuristic communication challenges

    Ex Servicemen fighting to debug the skewed Pension Policy

    Date: Friday, 7 August, 2009, 8:29 PM
    Further to our meeting of 9 Jul 09 at IESL HQ, we had another meeting at IESL HQ on 06 Aug 09 through the kind courtesy of Brig RKS Gulia, President IESL. Aim was to discuss the rather obstinate attitude of the Government to deny OROP to officers, JCO/ Warrant officers and OR, despite having been announced by the President of India and the FM in the Parliament.

    The following attended the meeting:
    a) Brig RKS Gulia, IESL
    b) R Adm S Ramsay
    c) AVM RP Misra
    d) Maj Gen Satbir Singh, IESM
    e) Maj Gen P Renjen, IESM
    f) Gp Capt Sethi, Air Force Assn
    g) AVM JK Pathania
    h) Maj Gen RKN Radhakrishnan
    i) Yours truly was asked to take the chair

    The members discussed firstly, the question of preparing tables of pension entitlement of all ranks and secondly, govt letter dated 15 Jul 09 regarding the implementation of Supreme Court judgement regarding fixation of pension of pre 1996 Maj Gens and the report dated 16 Jul 09 of the Cabinet Secretary on the issue of OROP.

    It was decided that pension tables need not be prepared till the govt issues a letter on pension entitlements as per the Cabinet Secretary's report. It was however decided that the Cabinet Secretary's recommendations for not granting OROP be challenged and the fact that despite the SC ruling in favour of pre 1996 Maj Gens, the govt has extended their revised pension only till 1997 and not beyond to 1 Jan 06, be questioned. After discussion it was decided that the following points be covered in a letter to the PM, Defence Minister and the Finance Minister.

    a) The definition of OROP stated by the Cabinet Secretary (as defined by a number of ESM orgs to him) in his report be reinforced ie pension should be based on the number of qualifying years of service and rank. Also special terms and conditions in which defence service pers serve should be highlighted and reiterated.
    b) No senior rank should draw less pension than a rank junior to him.
    c) Three assured career progressions must be assured to PBOR.
    d) Fitment should be done at the max of a scale of a rank plus three stagnation increments for superannuating offrs.
    e) MSP should be entitled to all ranks from Sepoy to Chief.. No artificial barrier of a salary limit of Addl Secy, Secy or Cab Secy should be laid down to deny senior officers MSP.

    Maj Gen Radhakrishnan was requested to draft the letter, which will be circulated to all representative ESM orgs for their views before it is issued. It was also decided that the letter will be signed by Heads of IESL, IESM, Naval Foundation and Air Force Association. As the last IAF CAS is the head of AFA, he should be requested to sign at the head of other signatories.

    I would like to put on record that Brig Gulia volunteered to provide staff and logistic support for the above. It must also be appreciated that all Orgs consented to provide full cooperation in making this ESM endeavour a success.
    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)

    A High-powered Committee of Secretaries looking into the One Rank-One Pension demand put forward by ex-servicemen on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 presented a concept of ‘modified parity’ to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Read more...
    Panel suggests modified parity, new pensions for ex-servicemen

    e- Governance, IT, PCDA and ESM Welfare Department
    1. Initiate training programs, modules and tools for MOD and PCDA staff to ensure quality and consistency of pension benefits delivery system. The present pension adalats are merely an extension of bureaucratic control lacking feedback and communication with the ESM.
    2. A 24 hour Customer service- toll free line for Widows, disabled and pensioners.
    3. Central agency for PBORs Pension Rolls updated online from various paying authorities.
    4. Information and technology investments- Delivery Network- should be made mandatory and those planned for the future should enable new technologies to be used to facilitate processing of PBORs claims and for providing the vast number of benefits to them and their families. The majority of development in new technology should include the enhancement of the compensation components, development of the Virtual VA imaging solution for compensation and pension, and operation of the program integrity and data management program. Thus ensuring delivery and peaking the Pension Mechanism down to the Treasuries and Bankers. This will facilitate and ensure monthly credit of entitled pensions, into individual accounts, are seamless and routine.
    5. IT Support for Education Opportunities, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Housing, and Insurance program be provided to eligible PBORs and their dependents. These programs should rely on supporting IT systems to ensure benefits and services are provided timely and consistently by the support staff at MOD/ Ex Servicemen Welfare Department.
    Note: Funds required for toll free line and "ESM Pension Delivery Network" and related IT architecture can be met from Welfare Funds accrued from Flag Day collections and CSD(I) profits which annually runs to over Rs 1000 crores, hence no dearth of funds.

    Indian Military: Degradation of Rank Structure

    NEW EQUATIONS in rank structure
    The implementation of sixth pay commission has drastically changed the warrant of precedence (WoP) for the Indian Armed Forces. The chairperson of UPSC has been upgraded to article 9A over services chiefs (at article 12). He/she used to be earlier at article 17 below services chiefs and also below officiating chiefs of the rank of Lt Gen who were on article 16. Chairperson of SCs and STs were added on article 17. Both these chairpersons are now higher than Army Commanders/Vice Chiefs who are on article 23. Members of SCs & STs placed at same level of Army Commanders/ Vice Chiefs at article 23. What more to say, even Field Marshall Manekshaw was placed at article 12 below two former civil servants (Brijesh Mishra and Vijay Kapoor).. Now, does anyone know what these gentlemen have done for INDIA?
    As was well known, Army Commanders/ Vice Chiefs were equated with secretaries to Government of India on article 23. However, Note 10(c) of the WoP make an interesting distinction: In official functions held at Delhi, Army Commanders /Vice Chiefs of the Army Staff or equivalent in other services will always rank after the secrataries to the Government of India.
    Following are the deductions:
  • DIG is now officially equivalent to a Brigadier (Earlier this rank was even junior to a Colonel)
  • Ministry of Home Affairs has declared that all IPS officers shall attain the rank of DIG in 14 year's service.
  • Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) is now officially equivalent to the rank of Major General.
  • Dept of Pers & Trg has declared that all IAS officers shall attain the rank of SAG in 14 year's service.
  • What would be achievable by 100% IPS officers in 14 years would now be achievable by 7% defence officers in 28 years.
  • What would be achievable by 100% IAS officers in 14 years would now be achievable by 2% defence in 33 years.

    It is pertinent to mention that the senior most civilian rank in a state was equivalent to a Colonel during independence; whereas, over a period of time, the nation has only seen the downfall of our BABUS performance wise. Their machinary collapse even with a simple storm, whereas, their protocol has kept on rising. I don't need to mention the professionalism of our Armed Forces; the nation knows well.

    In principle, our politicians needs to give an explanation for this remarkable erosion of a soldier's status over the past sixty years, the Generals, too, are equally responsible. They have virtually failed in restoring the pride of their own men whom they command. No doubt, even, they dont send their children to the military services who rather prefer beauty contests or becoming a Bollywood star. I don't blame them also, they have seen it all.
    It is high time that we speak up or else GOD only save this country.
    WOP tinkered again: Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh
    Received from Col Brig Thapa (Retd)
  • Friday, August 7, 2009

    Armed Forces Tribunal to be inaugurated tomorrow

    Friday, August 07, 2009
    The men in uniform will have another reason to cheer when their long-pending demand for justice becomes a reality with the launch of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) tomorrow. Befitting the momentous occasion, the long-awaited tribunal will be inaugurated by the President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

    Set up by an Act of parliament in December, 2007, the Armed Forces Tribunal will have its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country. The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi.

    Aggrieved armed forces personnel will now be able to appeal against sentences handed down by the court-martial. The Tribunal will also have powers to grant bail to any person in military custody. It is expected to be functional soon once the government issues the relevant notification. The AFT will provide a judicial forum for redressal of grievances of about a 1.3 million strong armed forces personnel and another 1.2 million Ex-Servicemen. At present about 9,000 such cases are pending before various courts across the country, most of them with the high courts. The AFT will not only result in speedy and affordable justice to the men in uniform but also save the Armed Forces’ resources in terms of manpower, material and time. The decisions of the AFT can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

    The Tribunal will have a Chairperson who has been or is a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a high court. Justice AK Mathur, a former judge of the Supreme Court, has been appointed the AFT’s first Chairperson and has assumed charge since Sep.01, 2008. Besides, each court consists of a judicial member and an administrative member. There will be in all 30 members in the 15 courts of the nine AFT benches, - 15 judicial including the Chairperson, and an equal number of administrative members. The judicial member must be, or have been, a judge of a High Court while the administrative member would be officers of the rank of Major General or equivalent in either of the three Services or an officer not less than the rank of a Brigadier or equivalent who has rendered not less than one year service as the Judge Advocate General of the Army, Navy or Air Force.

    The government has already appointed eight judicial members and 15 administrative members, while seven judicial members are yet to be named. The eight judicial members appointed to the Tribunal alongwith the location of the bench are: - Justice AK Mathur (Chairperson, AFT, Principal Bench, New Delhi, Justice Manak Lall Mohta (New Delhi), Justice Ghanshyam Prasad (Chandigarh), Justice Janardhan Sahai (Lucknow – yet to join), Justice SS Kulshrestha (Lucknow), Justice Bhanwaroo Khan (Jaipur), Justice AC Arumugaperumal Adityan (Chennai) and Justice K Padmanabhan Nair (Kochi). The 15 administrative members are: Lt. General ML Naidu, Lt Gen. ZU Shah and Lt. Gen. SS Dhillon (all New Delhi bench), Lt. Gen. Amrik Singh Bahia, Lt Gen. HS Panag and Lt. Gen. NS Brar (all Chandigarh bench), Lt. Gen. PR Gangadharan, Lt. Gen. RK Chhabra and Lt. Gen. BS Sisodia (all Lucknow bench), Lt. Gen. Susheel Gupta (Jaipur), Vice Admiral RF Contractor (Mumbai), Lt. Gen. Madan Gopal (Kolkata), Commodore Mohan Phadke (Guwahati), Lt. Gen. S Pattabhiraman (Chennai) and Lt. Gen. Thomas Mathew (Kochi).
    Armed Forces Tribunal to be inaugurated tomorrow

    Construction of War Memorial: GoM to look into the issue

    New Delhi, August 6: A Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will go into the issue of finding a location for constructing a National War Memorial in Delhi. This was decided at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.

    Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy will decide on the appropriate location of the National War Memorial after considering all aspects of the relevant proposal, PMO sources said.
    They said a lot of suggestions, including setting up such a memorial at India Gate complex, Dhaula Kuan and Princes Park in Kasturba Gandhi Marg, had come up at the meeting. The proposal for a War Memorial has been in the pipeline for some years but the issue of finding a location has put a hold on its implementation. The proposal was given an in principle approval during the Vajpayee regime. While Defence Ministry has suggested that the Memorial should come in the open space behind the India Gate hexagon, Union Urban Development Ministry and Delhi Urban Arts Commission are opposed to the view on the grounds that it will not gel with the layout of the area done up during the British era.
    Source: PTI
    GoM to look into issue

    Do you think you die for your country?

    Jul 29, 2009
    A question to Soldiers

    If there was a natural calamity in the country---army is called in. If law and order goes awry, soldiers are roped in. If a child gets stuck in a bore-well pit, soldiers are mustered to save the innocent life. No one punishes the guys responsible for such acts of omission and commission. In the bargain, if a soldier loses a life, they play act a drama as if they care too much but none does. There are many a widows of soldiers, who are fighting their lonely battles---no one is coming forward to help them except some ESM (Ex Servicemen) organisations such as IESL and IESM---whom no one listens---not even the army.
    Once NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, while in Germany, had made a remark on the army's recent projection of anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission. He retorted to the questioner," Don't worry we will sort out the bast**ds" or words to that effect. He did not know that MILITARY ATTACHE was also listening and who, then, faxed it to his chief. You know what happened then. The three chiefs walked up to the PM with resignation letters in hand. The recent case of OROP (One rank One Pension) is an interesting testimony to how bureaucracy fools everyone.
    Don't you know the way the soldiers have been fooled by this announcement in the parliament by our respectable Finance Minister on July 6 2009, when he vociferously announced implementation of ONE RANK ONE PENSION for the armed forces. Undoubtedly, it was an attempt to divide soldiers by announcing it ONLY for PBOR (PERSONS BELOW OFFICERS RANK). The govt has, thus, tried to create a wedge amongst officers and PBOR. Even the so called grant of OROP to PBOR is a fallacy. Unfortunately the UPA government is trying to exploit this by allowing some ex- Major in Delhi distributing leaflets on this. It is an utter nonsense. What the government has done is to bring at par the pre- 96 retirees with pre- 2006 retirees, which is only a minuscule segment of pensioners. The bulk of the pensioners ly in the post- 1996 and pre- 2006 category, which has been left untouched by the government. This is how our bureaucracy makes fool out of everyone and this is how the politicians willingly play into the hands of bureaucrats. I bet if Pranab Mukkherjee knows as to what harm he has done to the armed forces by approving this Machiavellian strategy of bureaucrats. To them, it is NOT the NATIONAL INTERESTS that matter but their PERSONAL INTERESTS.
    They had done the same thing during implementation and formulation of proposals for armed forces by SIXTH PAY COMMISSION. It is only due to near- rebellious situation in the armed forces that the govt reluctantly accepted it. Now the same bureaucrats have played another dirty trick with the army and the ESM. They do not realize by tampering with the ARMED FORCES and its disciplined ethics, they are endangering the security and integrity of the nation. Just imagine what happens, if the armed forces whither away like police or any other government organization! Bureaucrats and politicians had broken the back of police and made them ineffective. Thus Law and order has become a serious problem. Like Committed bureaucracy and committed police officials----they want soldiers also to be committed to political parties. If it happens, your national security be damned.
    THERE IS A VITAL NEED TO KEEP THE ARMED FORCES APOLITICAL. But some wise Congressmen think KARGIL-99 was not their war but BJPs---similarly BJP will think that 1971 or 1965 wars were not theirs but of the Congress. What happens to soldiers? They too are being cultivated to divide the army. Would Congress's soldiers like to die for BJP's war? The question is ridiculous but this is what Mr Rashid----- a Congress MP, meant when he ridiculed the celebrations of VIJAY DIVAS. No congressman asked him to shut up. How disgusting?
    Col Rajender Singh (Retd)
    Read more:
    Do you think you die for your country? Question to the soldiers

    complete profile rajee kushwaha: click me
    I am a post graduate in Defence Management from Chennai Univ and trained in Media Communication and Publicity at IIMC (Indian Institute Of Mass communications), New Delhi. After leaving the army, I had been CEO of a hospitality company for a year and a half, between 2006 to 2007. I blog on NETLOG, B click here...>>

    OROP Billboards, Samman Samaroh Invite, ESM unity and readers responses

    Dear Members,
    An invitation from one Maj TC Rao of Congress Party, to some Veterans and VIPs, and a reply by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, are reproduced below. If you remember Maj Rao, who had recently put up lot of posters in Delhi Cantt, with his photograph and announced that the UPA Government has granted OROP to All Ranks of Defence Services.
    Chander Kamboj.

    Dear Major Rao,
    Have you ever thought of honouring the war disabled? They also desrve to be placed on the radar of you party in the same manner as the war widows and the gallantry award winners. At present, they are conspicuous by their absence. Do you know how many are there in the country, as well as in Haryana? You have listed a whole lot of names on your mail - all political persons, as obvious VIP's. Don't you think the senior veterans, especially the heads of various veteran organisations, also needed to be included in the list of VIP's, not mere spectators, as your mail implies?
    Vijay Oberoi

    Dear Friends,
    1. We are conducting a state level “Shahidi Samman Samaroh” on 09 Aug 2009 (Sunday) at ITI Ground Narnaul, where all War Widows and Gallantry Award winners will be honoured by Sh Jagan Nath Pahadia, HE Governor of Haryana. Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, Minister of Irrigation, PWD & Elections will preside and Smt Shruti Chaudhary, Hon’ble MP from Bhiwani-Mohindergarh would be Chief Guest of Honour. Dr Karan Singh Yadav, Ex MP Alwar, Smt Shakuntala Bhagwadia, MLA Bawal, Ch Sukhbir Singh Jonapuria, MLA Sohna, Rao Dharampal, Ex-Minister Haryana, Smt Anita Yadav, MLA Salhawas, Rao Yadvendra Singh, MLA, Jatusana, Maj OP Yadav, MLA, Mandawar, Ch Habbibur Rehman, MLA Nuh, Sh Tika Ram, MLA, Alwar (Rural) and Maj Narpender Sangwan, MLA Dadri will also attend the Samman Samaroh.
    2. You are cordially invited to attend.
    3. Transport will be made available at Rajiv Chowk on 09 Aug 2009 at 0800h
    With Regards
    Yours sincerely
    Maj (Dr) T C Rao

    Dear Rajinder Kushwaha,
    Thank you for your email. I respect your views. From day one I have stood by the principle of our struggle remaining within the law. That is my advice still. Whether our efforts have achieved any results or not is left for everyone's own judgment. Our efforts have been directed for OROP that affects the whole ESM community and not for any ranks.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Dear General Raj Kadyan,
    Sohi has rightly pointed out the anomalies in the pensions of a MAJOR & a COLONEL and a MAJ GEN and LT GEN. What I suspect is that the people who have been benefitted with the latest govt announcements, as most of the LT GENS and LT COLs have been, they would like to put waters on the proposed action plans. Let us not talk in riddles if we want to really achieve something. Time has come for some concrete steps which will yield desired results. The first thing I would like to see is the UNITY and CONSENSUS on the chosen option or the course of action. Let us not make half-hearted moves with NO RESULTS.
    I find most of us are good in scoring self goals and also we might scuttle our own moves by showing dissent. I have been seeing this happening for the last six months that everyone in IESM or IESL is trying to become a LEADER. There are too many people who are drum-beating their names and projecting themselves. Can we have some CENTRAL SPOKES -PERSON doing this?
    Finally,I find all sorts of stuff being FORWARDED on this net. Let us remain focussed on one thing. Let us not show favour to some and reject others. If Lt General ViJAY OBEROI's ARTICLE can be circulated by 'REPORT MY SIGNALS"---so should be others. There should be no discrimination---After retirement---we are all retired army officers and there is NO RANK STRUCTURE in civil walk of life --whether a COL or a GENERAL or a MAJOR.
    Rajinder Kushwaha

    I am a part of IESM since inception. I, like so many of us here, am NOT looking to be a 'leader' (sic). Thank You. Would gladly have YOU as mine.
    Having said that, I fail to understand the 'bottom line' in your mail. If the perception is that 'activity' is better than 'inaction', pls rest assured that we agree. In fact IESM prides itself for having generated 'activity' over past 'nearly one year'. So inactivity is genetically not a characteristic. However, like in past we have to 'choose' the activity carefully. This has been done in the past, and IS being done now. The fact that we are into newer areas of 'endgame' is perhaps the reason why it may appear to be a lull in comparison to the hectic Jantar Mantar days.
    If you look back, Jantar Mantar DID serve a purpose. It may be (OR need not be) repeated, but by God's grace, every action by IESM has so far got us moving as anticipated..........perhaps better so.
    Like any orchestra, here too, once one instrument has played, it must make way for the other. What that is going to be, needs to be seriously thought over. THIS is the stage we are on.
    Lastly, RMS has its own set of rules and discretionary power of reproducing mails and articles they publish in the blog. That is ALWAYS the Administrator's prerogative. Neither Gen Kadyan nor You (or I), can guide them. Its an independent entity, and does NOT form part of IESM. BUT IESM enjoys as much privilege to have their mails circulated as you or any other ESM. If they dont consider publishing certain articles that you would have liked to see, may I recommend introspection to identify if those articles were worthy of larger ESM interest? Or were they just barbs, or just rude letters? May be you will then agree that its not the RANK but the CONTENT that formed the deciding factor for Brig Kamboj and his team. I feel they have been doing a marvellous job for the past nearly one decade, much before IESM came into being, and have greatly contributed to the ESM unity of purpose. I am sure you will agree.
    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi

    To straighten the records
    All non- repetitive articles of Col SS Sohi has been published in Report My Signal Blog. The RMS forums are not discriminatory, only interests of ESM are paramount. To deride LT Col and Lt Gen ranks and accuse them of watering down the movement is preposterous. The GOI by virtue of compulsion have granted enhanced Pension. This should not bracket them negatively for no fault of theirs. The OROP and Pension Parity is our ultimate goal which can be only achieved if there is unity within/ amongst us.
    Blog Moderator

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Army short of 11,387 officers: Antony

    Posted: Monday , Jul 27, 2009 at 1503 hrs, New Delhi
    The Indian Army is short of over 11,387 officers, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday. While the Navy was short of 1512 officers, the shortage in the Air Force was 1400, he said in a written reply. However, there is no significant shortage of Personnel Below Officer Ranks (PBORs) in the Armed Forces and nearly a lakh joined the army in that category in the last three years. As many as 5033 officers and 96,453 PBORs joined the Army in the last three years while 1209 officers and 6792 PBORs were enrolled by the Navy during the same period. As many as 1451 officers and 21,311 PBORs joined the Air Force in the last three years, Antony said.

    During the last three years and in the current year, 3764 officers and 27,477 PBORs of Army, 842 officers and 126 PBORs of Navy and 893 officers and 3961 PBORs of Air Force have sought discharge/voluntary retirement, he said. Listing the steps taken to motivate the service personnel to continue in service and attract youth to join Armed Forces, Antony said all officers including those in Short Service Commission (SSC) were now eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel after two, six and 13 years of reckonable service respectively. The tenure of SSC officers has been increased from 10 years to 14 years, he said. Antony said 750 posts of Lt Colonel have been upgraded to Colonel after implementation of A V Singh Committee Report.
    Army short of 11,387 officers: Antony

    By: Major (Retd) Virendra Sharma, 28-Jul-2009
    Today's army personnel (Officers and the personnel below officer's rank-PBOR) have much better service conditions. I am 1963 vintage ex-officer. At that time the Second Lieutenant started the basic salary at Rs.400/- pm. Today the rank of 2nd Lieutenant has been abolished and the starting basic salary is Rs 25,000/. Many other amenities have been increased, but the fact is that when in '60s there were very less avenues for young men like me, today is entirely different situation. Why to talk of other civilians, even the wards of the serving officers do not prefer to join the services because they are not very attractive. It is good that the service tenure of the SSCOs has been increased from 5 and 10 years to 14 years. I suggest that it should be increased to 20 years so that these officers are entitled to the pension. This will be a great step to attract people as the pension is seen as a secured future income.

    Critical analysis of the Military after implementation of AV Singh Committee Recommendations
    The quality is directly related to the quantity. While the world has flattened, the Indian Army has added to its hierarchical structure along with a significant increase in numbers. Protecting one’s fiefdom and enlarging its scope has been the hallmark of most government bodies and the army is no exception. The US army has been blindly aped by creating an Army Training Command more than 15 years ago, with no reduction in the training directorate at Delhi. South-western command and a new corps have been raised to ostensibly improve the operational effectiveness of the army. But many insiders believe that it is to create more avenues for promotions at the middle and higher levels. A new operational logistics and a public information directorate were also created in the recent past, adding to the existing layers of military bureaucratic structure. While all this has happened, there has been no talk of reduction in numbers ala the western armies. The US, UK and French military training schools are either outsourced or largely manned by civilian employees. No modern army worth its name runs its own logistics; their logistics is totally outsourced. The Indian army, on the other hand, still waxes eloquent about its teeth-to-tail ratio and takes pride in the large inventory of its ordnance corps – from a shoe nail to a tank.

    Can we have a leaner army that is as effective an insurance for the nation’s future? Arguably, yes. General Malik reduced 50,000 in his tenure as the army chief, but it all went away in the aftermath of Kargil. The political willingness to correct this anomaly is distinctly lacking. After all, there is safety in numbers. The annual report of the ministry of defence (2006-07) puts forth this grandiose justification in buckram prose:
    "India’s national security environment is determined by a complex interplay of its geographical attributes, historical legacy, and socio-economic circumstances as well as regional and global developments...bla bla..."
    Extract from:
    The Indian Army Part 3

    Ministry of Urban Development bowls out National War Memorial

    Animals in War
    The memorial is located at Brook Gate, Park Lane, on the edge of London's Hyde Park and was unveiled on November 24, 2004 by Princess Anne. The English Sculpture is David Backhouse. The sculpture depicts all the animals that have been used by troops in wartime, which have been killed in conflict while serving their country. Horses and mules to dogs, elephants, camels, canaries and glow worms are included in the memorial. The curved Portland stone wall symbolizes the arena of war, with the animals depicted on it in base. Two life-size heavily laden two bronze mules struggle up the steps towards a gap in the wall. Beyond the gap a bronze 10 foot horse and K-9 gaze into the distance. The memorial stands at 58-feet wide and some 55-feet deep.

    New Delhi, August 04, 2009
    Military struggles for war memorial sanction by Rahul Singh
    On the edges of London's iconic Hyde Park is a monument that could inspire our netas and babus. It's a tribute to the thousands of animals that served alongside the British and Allied forces in 20th century wars. The memorial depicts horses, dogs, mules, elephants, camels and pigeons. It's a Rs 16-crore testimony to their sacrifice. But India is yet to repay a debt of honour to its fallen heroes.

    The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has expressed reservations about a Defence Ministry proposal to construct a national war memorial to honour soldiers who fell in the Second World War and post-Independence wars. Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defence, told Rajya Sabha that his ministry had prepared a concept paper for a war memorial at India Gate. "However, the MoUD has expressed reservations with respect to statutory clearances and availability of land."

    The military has been pleading with the government to build a war memorial at India Gate, which commemorate soldiers who fought for the British in the First War. The MoUD fears the war memorial could ruin the landscape around India Gate. An assurance from the Defence Ministry hasn't worked. Will the unknown Indian soldier's sacrifice go unnoticed?
    Military struggles for war memorial sanction
    Related reading:
    Kargil hilltops lit up as India salutes war heroes

    For the Curious who wish to know about National Urban Develpment Ministry wrestling with Land Acquisition Act of 1894- just a century behind times!
    Despite the Report of National Commission on Urbanisation (1988) and the two successive National Housing Policies within a span of a decade, the country is yet to evolve a National Urban Policy. States Govts. have prepared their respective State Urbanisation Strategy Reports taking into account the pattern of urban growth, resources and potentials. At the national level, the Planning Commission has constituted a National Task Force on Urban Perspective and Policy in 1995. Three Technical Groups were also constituted on the subjects of Urban Perspectives and Policy, Urban Infrastructure and Urban Planning. The Technical Group on Urban Planning System under the Chairmenship of Dr. Arcot Ramachandran has submitted its final report. The Reports of other two Technical Groups under the Chairmanship of Shri Vaghul and Prof. Y. K. Alagh are yet to be finalised. After the final reports of the Technical Groups are available the Task Force will finalise its recommendations. These will provide input for the National Urban Policy.
    Ministry of Urban Development- A website poorly maintained
    Have grievances: Click here

    Pertinent Question
    MoUD can it take a decision for the twenty first century when it is grappling with laws of the ninteenth century? The Military's quest for the National War Memorial will be addressed by a Ministry dealing with the twenty first century matters. MoD needs to redirect its focus!

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    Creation of Chief of Defence Staff: Reasons sound like coming from KG children

    04 Aug 2009 8ak: Defence Minister Antony says that the delay in a decision on appointing a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is that the political parties who were asked their opinion on the issue have not replied for the last 3 years. The issue was first suggested in 2001. Pragmatic has a few points on why a CDS is not required for India. Read the article here.

    Rediff article here looks at the resistance from within the armed forces, the challenges in creating the jointness, the benefits and ends with a note that Antony may not have what it takes to be able to implement this.

    According to the PIB, the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) is the main coordinating body between the Services. The Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQIDS), functioning under the COSC acts as the nodal organization to promote jointness among the services.

    MPs, young and elderly alike, keen to join territorial army

    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    The Minister of State of Defence, Shri M.M. Pallam Raju addressing the Members of Parliament during a presentation on the Territorial Army, in New Delhi on August 04, 2009.

    Members of Parliament, young and elderly alike, have evinced keen interest in joining the Territorial Army (TA), the voluntary force of the Indian army for civilians, part-time. Participating in a presentation here today on the aim, role, organization and functioning of the Citizen’s Army, as it is often called, about three dozen MPs enthusiastically inquired how they could contribute to popularize the movement and be a part of the volunteer force.

    Addressing the gathering, the Minister of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju said the overwhelming response of the MPs to the programme demonstrates the faith of the nation in the armed forces and their keenness to imbibe the sense of discipline and patriotism cultivated by the armed forces across their rank and file. Lok Sabha MPs including Shri Navin Jindal, Shri Deepender Singh Hooda and Shri Hemanand Biswal keenly participated in an interactive session following the presentation. Former cricketer Shri Kapil Dev, who has been inducted into the TA recently as Honorary Lt. Colonel, was also present during the deliberations.

    Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said the Territorial Army has proved its merit both during war and peacetime. Men of the TA help maintain essential services during strikes and the force has contributed immensely in counter-terrorism operations in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East. TA personnel are fully capable to undertake responsibilities in running essential services and the TA departmental units has six Regiments trained in Railways, seven Regiments to run General Hospital services, one for Oil & Natural Gas, one for Refineries and Pipelines, one for Marketing Battalion of Army Supply Corps and an infantry battalion for Ecological Task Force which has undertaken several aforestation drives across the country.

    Major General KVS Lalotra, Additional Director-General of the Territorial Army, who heads the force, said a proposal to relax enrolment rules and training for civilian officers was under consideration. Government officers could be exempted from appearing before the Services Selection Board (SSBs) if the proposals are approved, he added.

    Raised by Sir C. Rajagopalachari, the first Governor General of free India, on Oct.09, 1949, the Territorial Army would soon be entering its diamond jubilee year. Having won five Vir Chakras and three Shaurya Chakras, the TA has seen many eminent personalities including Malayalam film actor Mohan Lal (Honorary Lt. Col.), former ONGC CMD Shri Subir Raha (Major-Retired), Shri Doshehe Y Sema (Major), a member of the Nagaland state assembly and several others, donning uniform.
    MPs, young and elderly alike, keen to join territorial army

    Parity in Pensions: Applicable to PBORs only

    Monday, July 6, 2009
    A new regime of Parity in Pensions is to be brought into place and the same has been announced in the Union Budget. As signified in the indianmilitary blog earlier, and contrary to the many tables floating around, the new system would be made applicable to PBOR only.

    The quantum of increase would be put into public domain soon. The same is expected to be based on a 'set amount' stipulation for each rank. The date of implementation may not be 1-1-06 but 1-7-2009.

    Bridging the gap between retirees of varied vintage (especially pre and post 2006) was the aim of the government, which to an extent seems to have been addressed. Pensions of pre-97 and post-97 pensioners have also been rationalised. Disability / casualty pension awards are also being rationalised.

    Complete authentic details would be uploaded on the blog only when officially released by the Government of India.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 1:49 PM

    Question: What about Lt Gens have they been specially granted HAG higher pay band- Does it mean suo motto OROP?

    Lt Gens get higher pay band
    Giving in to a long-standing demand of the Armed Forces, the Government on Friday approved placing of Lt Gen and equivalent officers to the highest pay band of HAG-plus (Higher Administrative Grade). Acting on a demand of the Armed Forces, the Government passed orders placing 33% of Lt. Gene quivalent officers in the highest pay band, thus making them equivalent to Director General-level IPS officers.

    With the new order, close to 50 of the senior-most officers of the three forces will now get salaries in the highest pay band (PB-4A). Earlier, the Armed Forces had objected to the pay structure that put Director General-level IPS officers in a higher pay-scale.

    While details will be worked out, thes enior-most 33 per cent of all Lt Gen level officers will benefit from the order. This was one of the four major anomalies that had been pointed out by the Armed Forces in the Sixth Pay Commission.

    Sources said the issue was taken up aggressively by the Ministry of Defence after it was put forward by the Armed Forces earlier this year. The forces had sent a letter to the Defence Secretary in January, requesting him to take up the matter with the Government.

    They had argued that Lt Generals need to be placed in the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG)Plus pay-scales to give them parity with DGl evel officers of the IPS. The logic given was that till the last pay commission, Lt Gen and DGP-level offices had the same status and by moving the IPS officer to HAG plus, the status of the Armed Forces has been lowered.

    With this new order, the Prime Minister’s Office has accepted three of the four demands relating to the pay panel that had been put forward by the Defence Ministry. The demand for placing Lt Colonels in a higher pay band and increasing the pensionary weightage for jawans has already been accepted by the Government.
    Lt Gens get higher pay band

    Bureaucrats biggest threat to Indian Democracy?

    I think the biggest threat to the country is from bureaucrats. For their greed, they have made corruption in the country the NORM, by using different names for the bribe they take. They have shown a sense of anti patriotism on number of occasions, by not doing their job with intelligence and in detail. Two glaring examples for the national security are the Tashkent Peace Treaty and the Simla Agreement. During Tashkent Peace Treaty, they should have insisted that the "Hazipir Pass" was not to be given back. In any case any gains by either side in Kashmir are not required to be handed back since it is not the violation of International borders for there is none that exists. The definition of Line of Control (at that time Line of Actual Control) means that. Hazipir was and is a strategic peace of terrain for our interests in Kashmir.
    The second example was Simla Agreement. We had the upper hand during that time. What did we trade? One line in the agreement making all previous agreements 'Null and Void" would have given enough room to the future governments to prevent Pakistan to talk about UN Resolutions of 1947 and so on.

    The defense forces the serving Generals must strongly oppose such statements. Actually, the concerned official presently IDSA Director must be brought to the live show where he needs to apologize to the Defense Forces. May be he could be arrested for driving a wedge between the Defense Forces and Civil Authorities. Since he is retired, some actions must be taken to find out the assets he has and how did he get what he has from the known resources of his income during the years of his service.
    Col (Retd) Virendra Tavathia
    Read connected blog link:
    IDSA Director spews venom
    The Sweep of IDSA director from Finance Ministry to IDBI
    1. IAS, Secretary (Financial Sector), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Jeevan Deep Buildidng, 3rd Floor, 10, Parliament Street, New Delhi-110001.
    2. Director: IDBI
    On July 29, 2004, IDBI in a communication to the Bombay Stock Exchange, stated that its Board of Directors at their meeting had taken ''in principle'' the decision regarding merger of IDBI Bank Limited with the Industrial Development Bank of India Limited subject to the approval of the shareholders and other regulatory and statutory approvals. The Board of IDBI Bank has also taken a similar decision on the same date. While a future action plan would be announced late this evening, IDBI Limited in its Board meeting yesterday, approved the appointment of Meleveetil Damodaran as wholetime Chairman of the Bank and also appointed six persons as first directors of the Bank. The newly appointed directors are: Ashok K Jha (IAS), Narendra Singh Sisodia (IAS), Shekhar Datta, K Narasimha Murthy, R V Gupta and Hiralal Zutshi.
    IDBI debuts as a bank provides Rs 2400 crore as CRR

    Chief of Naval Staff- changing hands

    Posted: Saturday , Jun 06, 2009 at 1856 hrs New Delhi

    Vice Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma once commanded India's sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

    Vice Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, an experienced Naval officer who once commanded India's sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat, was named as the next Navy chief on Saturday. Vice Admiral Verma, who is at present the Eastern Naval Commander at Visakhapatnam, will take over from incumbent Admiral Sureesh Mehta on August 31 when the latter retires from service, the government announced in New Delhi. Verma, who was born on November 14 in 1950, was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Navy on July 1, 1970 and during his long service spanning nearly 39 years, the Navy chief-designate has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. His sea command experience includes the Leander-class Frigate INS Udaigiri, Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvir and the flagship aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Before taking over as Eastern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, he was the Navy vice chief and has been decorated with Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and honorary Aide de Camp of the President.
    Govt names Vice Admiral Nirmal Verma as the next Navy chief


    Chief of the Naval Staff retires on 31 Aug 2009

    Admiral Sureesh Mehta was born on 18 Aug 1947 and is thus the first post-independence born Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in July 1967. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Fleet Air Arm and extensively flew Sea Hawk jet fighters from the carrier, INS Vikrant.
    The Admiral is also currently the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, in which capacity he oversees aspects of strategic warfare and joint operations.
    The Admiral was awarded the ‘Ati Vishist Seva Medal’ in 1995 and ‘Param Vishist Seva Medal’ in 2005 for his exceptional meritorious services.
    Admiral and Mrs Maria Teresa Mehta have two children.

    Kargil Diwas: “Why Have We Forgotten Kargil?”

    Dear All,
    My second piece on Kargil Diwas has been published in the COVERT Magazine 01 to 14 August 2009, as GUEST ESSAY
    “Why Have We Forgotten Kargil?” By Lt. Gen. Vijay Oberoi
    On the net (, you can only access part of the article. The full piece may be released in a few days.
    I am, however, enclosing the full piece that I had sent to the Magazine.
    Vijay Oberoi

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

    The 10th anniversary of Kargil Diwas on 26 July passed with no fanfare and little remembrance. Only the serving personnel and the veterans of the defence forces remembered their erstwhile comrades who had laid down their lives on those forbidding heights, as well as those who had fought shoulder to shoulder with the brave martyrs. That they prevailed against tremendous odds is a tribute to their guts and valour. The drama of Kargil was enacted over nearly two and a half months, till the last of the Pakistani intruders were killed or chased out of the Kargil Sector, by the doughty brave hearts of the Indian Army and Air Force. The Kargil Sector is actually a swathe of real estate along the Line of Control (LC) in J&K, stretching north east from the steep glaciated heights north of Drass and extending to the general area of Turtok, just short of the Siachin Glacier.

    Kargil had caught the imagination of every citizen of our country during those tumultuous summer months of 1999, from the time the Pakistani intrusion was first detected in early May, till the last of the Pakistani soldiers were neutralized and the entire area was sanitized by 26 July. The various battles fought in the sector were a series of tactical level offensive operations, conducted with courage and élan. The officers and men of the Indian Army had scaled those formidable and razor sharp sheer heights, unmindful of their lives and limbs. They had won victories on those high peaks, where the defenders - the Pakistani troops, had all the advantages. The nation had lost 527 valuable lives and over 1300 officers and soldiers of our defence forces were wounded, many losing limbs and organs permanently. They were all brave young men, who sacrificed themselves, with grit written large on their determined faces and a fierce fire burning strong in their bellies.

    Why is such unparalleled bravery forgotten by our countrymen within a span of a mere 10 years? Have our nationalistic feelings atrophied to such an extent that we have no time to remember the sacrifices of our brave soldiers and airmen, who fought so valiantly to restore the sanctity and pride of the motherland? Is it the government, which needs to be reminded to take the lead on such occasions, or the military or the people? The country does need to honour its soldiers and the earlier it is done, the better it would be for the security, growth and progress of our nation.

    Over the last nearly two and a half months, remembrances of the Kargil martyrs appeared in practically all newspapers on a daily basis. These were either inserted by their kith and kin or by their comrades and units to which they belonged. All of them were proud of these warriors and there is a lot of meaning in such remembrances. However, our government neither had the time nor the inclination to pay homage to those brave men who laid down their lives for their country. I was horrified to read in the media the callous statements attributable to the political leadership, the political parties and the bureaucracy, that made light of the valour and sacrifices of the officers and soldiers who gave their all for the honour of the country.

    It is the media, both print and electronic and the ex-servicemen (ESM) who took a lead in generating enthusiasm for the 10th anniversary of the Kargil Diwas, but alas the somnolent functionaries of the government remained unmoved. One newspaper had reported that the government has decided that the Kargil War was not worth celebrating as we had not crossed the LC! What logic indeed? Another report clarified that the army on approaching the government was grudgingly “allowed” to celebrate the Kargil victory on a “low key”! How generous of a grateful government that does not hesitate to call in the army at the slightest pretext? The related question is for the army. Since when does the army need permission to remember its comrades and martyrs, notwithstanding the low or high key effort the army chooses to adopt? This is solely the prerogative of the Chief and the C’s-in-C; they must not let anyone interfere with this. If the news report is correct, it is another unwarranted effort at reducing the status of the military, politicizing it and treating it with disdain.

    Ours must be the only country in the world where decisions to commemorate military events are based on which political party is in power! One national party, when in power, celebrated Kargil Diwas because that military victory took place when theirs was the ruling party. The other does not, but celebrates Vijay Diwas instead, as it was their party which was in power when the Indian Military did the country proud by their resounding victory over Pakistan in 1971. A third category popular with the government is when no event is celebrated, or is celebrated in ‘low key’, on the specious plea that it may adversely affect the peace process with a particular country! It is this kind of convoluted logic that shames our nation. The end result of such a thoughtless and lackadaisical attitude on the part of the government is that the military, which is proud of its brave military heritage, is forced to have such celebrations and remembrances in the confines of their cantonments, with no participation by the civil populace, the political leaders or the government. What a dismal and farcical situation?

    It is the intelligentsia, the opinion makers and the common man and woman who should have taken matters in their hands and honoured the warriors of the Kargil conflict on the 10th anniversary. In future, let such events not be sacrificed at the alter of political and administrative expediency, because the government wants to play politics, forgetting that when those brave soldiers assaulted the enemy sitting on those forbidding heights, they did so for the security of the nation and to restore its pride.

    The author is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).

    OROP: Lt Gens taken out of the equation

    To: Brig CS Kamboj
    Dear Sir,
    1. Since Government of India has turned down OROP, time has come to re appreciate and find a way forward.
    2. In my view, perhaps political approach was bit overdone. Return of Medals and going to Political Parties for inclusion of OROP in their Manifesto was justified. But forming a Political Party to fighting an Election perhaps came to over playing of hand. Ex-Servicemen cannot outplay seasoned and hereditary Politicians in politics. Plus I think it re-enforced their belief that this Political awakening must be crushed, that heightened their decades old fears of military.
    3. They have divided IESM at many levels. It was led by Lt Gens, they have taken them out of the equation. They have taken care of PBORs which the EGOM already had cleared in UPA-1 times. The others have been left high and dry. My sense of History is that before even the British, the Mughals employed the same ploy. Give the Military less pay and pension and force them to become corrupt. Corrupt can never group as they are mutually afraid. Though paid the Englishman very well from India's treasury.
    4. I wonder if the Lt Gens would lead the IESM with the same earlier zeal. But if they are for the good they would.
    5. VADM Harinder Singh had the Legal Approach in mind. But the GOI has set up Tribunals! Now the Lt Gens in the Tribunal may not be as naturally inclined. If they go to SC, they can say go to Military Tribunals. In that case can the IESM ask for Special Pension Commission whose findings should be dealt at the Political Level. But they are not inclined to do any thorough work ordinarily; unless perhaps Opposition Parties also are involved with the Commission. OROP is not the only issue there are other compelling issues e.g. Medi Care-ECHS, POWs, Memorials, Jobs and Reemployment, R&D for battle casualties treatment, rehablitation and reintegration with others. Accounting of Missing Servicemen, etc.
    6. Interaction with Elected Political Leadership at many levels with major National Parties to convince them of the apoliticalness of the Military. Allaying the fears or the superiority of IAS. They can be given one Rupee more for this. History is in our favour. All the other State Services are waiting to pounce on the Government if they accept OROP they would go to Courts too. One needs to find unbeatable arguments here. The best Brains of the Country and the Parliament are needed.
    7. At the moment demoralisation seems to be gripping us. Morale must remain high. Not battles but wars have to be won.

    With best regards,
    Prem P Batra (Veteran)

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    Pension Parity for Lt Gens for the Juniors OROP is a distant halo

    One Rank One Pension Halo: Do you see it- Is it close or near?

    One-rank, one-pension: To another question, Antony said the new pension scheme for defence personnel implemented by the government on the recommendation of a committee headed by the cabinet secretary is “almost near the goal of one-rank, one-pension.” It benefits not only the defence personnel below officer rank but also some commissioned officers and even the top generals, he said. The defence minister said the pension of the lieutenant generals has been revised after carving out a separate pay scale for them.

    He said the government has agreed to set up a separate pay commission for the armed forces in the future and under the new scheme for personnel below officer rank, parity has been established for those who retired before and after October 10, 1997.
    New scheme for defence personnel closest to ‘one rank one pension’

    All India Veterans Meet at Noida on 30 Aug 2009

    Date: Tuesday, 4 August, 2009, 5:13 AM
    Respected Veterans,
    Jai Hind.
    The first All India Military Veterans Meet was held at NOIDA on 13 Aug 2008; and, IESM came into being that day. A year has since passed and a lot of water has since flown down the Yamuna. It is an accepted fact that thanks to IESM and its vigorous & resolute action by way of March for Justice, Fast for Justice and Deposit of Medals; that the issue of ONE RANK, ONE PENSION has been brought ‘Centre Stage’; resulting in the announcement by Her Excellency the President of India in her address to the joint session of Parliament, on 04 June 2009, that grant of OROP would be favourably considered. Well, it is another matter that the UPA Govt. on the advise of the Cabinet Secretary has been playing Ducks & Drakes with the Ex-Servicemen fraternity and has not acceded to our demand for grant of OROP. The Finance Minister’s announcement during the Budget session on 04 July, that a sum of Rs. 2100 Crores has been earmarked for OROP and that 12 lakhs ESM would be benefitted is only a small gesture, setting right the anomaly created at the time of the 5th Pay Commission. In so far as grant of OROP is concerned, it must be borne in mind that the struggle is going to be long & hard and ESM must remember the adage, “When the going gets tough, the Tough get going”.
    It is with this as the background, IESM requests the presence of at least one retired Service Officer and a retired JCO/NCO/OR of the Army and their equivalents in the Navy or Air Force from each of the 600 Districts of the Country; or at least, one representative from all the major cities & towns of the Country, at the All India Military Veterans Meet at NOIDA, at 10.30 AM on Sunday 30 Aug 2009, to discuss & deliberate on various issues affecting Ex-Servicemen, courses or options open and to decide on the future course of Action(s), to energise the movement further.
    One of the options being considered seriously is to organize PADAYATRAS by ESM from various State Capitals to Delhi. One can imagine the impact of such a move, if 50,000 to 100,000 ESM can be galvanized to enter Delhi on a particular day, from eight different directions, to show case our strength.
    In the light of above, I on behalf of Veteran Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, Chairman of IESM, fervently pray & appeal to you all to make all out efforts to plan your move & reservation, so as to reach Delhi on the morning of 30 Aug 2009.
    Col S Rajan (Retd)

    The Just and Basic Demands of Ex- Servicemen

    The cause is noble and the concern is genuine
    “The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day”. The words of Kautilya addressed to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya are echoed by Dr Harsh V Pant a professor, King’s College London in an article titled ‘Here's a Civilian Perspective on Indian Soldiers’. He says, ‘A country makes a sacred contract with its soldiers.’
    ‘A country that refuses to respect this contract with its armed forces will eventually end up getting forces that will not respect the nations' aspirations.’

    Welcome to the IESM, IESL and all other ESM Organisations and Outfits of Pan India. The time for endless talk, seminars and meaningless letters, emails and petitions is over. It is now time for action.
    Truth is on the march and nothing can stop it.
    We make our greatest mistakes through ignorance.
    Never take away a person's hope. It may be all that they have.
    Real insanity is seeing the world as it is and not as it should be.
    ...until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
    This is your movement and it is your Right to support it any way you can and you are Free to do so if you so desire.

    The list of Demands
  • Absolute Parity in Pension, defined explicitly as “two soldiers of each rank with same length of service are entitled to the same pension”.
  • The denial of collective bargaining power to help the community of the serving soldiers is the root cause for the inability to study, understand and seek remedy to all anomalies and grievances.
  • The denial of job security, appropriately termed ‘Assured Continued Employment’ till the age of superannuation, has relegated the soldiers on retirement to a neglected community that is presently taken care of by half baked welfare measures, such as creating Directorate of Resettlement, Department of ESW, Rajya and Kendriya Sainik Boards and raising funds through Flag Day Collection.
  • The efficiency anf efficacy of these measures is appalling and matter of great concern.
  • The payment of pension has been the biggest bugbear. Pensioners especially the family pensioners are deprived of their due by the various Pension Disbursing Authorities and scant monitoring done by the CDA Pension adds to their woes. Whenever revision takes place through Pay Commissions the effect, which is very confusing even to the PDA, is not made known to the pensioners transparently and systematically by the Government, thereby resulting in wide spread short payment of pension.
  • Family pensioner who is entitled for 60% of the total pension of the pensioner is denied by introducing the condition that the family pensioner is entitled for either of the military or reemployed pension not both.
  • The Medical Care for ESM. The very concept is so much procedure oriented with checks and counter checks that the purpose for which it is introduced is not being served in a fair manner.
  • The monitoring of the reemployment of ESM does not exist and therefore, reemployment is a challenge to the ESM with the result that many defence pensioners who are not wise of the ways of civilian systems lose the battle and do not get reemployed. Post meant for ESM is more often reverted to civilian posts and duly filled up.
  • Retired senior officer cannot be trusted for even certifying bona fide status with regard to the ESM, who have to run after VAO, Magistrates and the Assistant Directors of local KSB.
    Credit: Maj Gen RN RADHAKRISHNAN (Retd)
  • Monday, August 3, 2009

    Pakistan's Counterfeit Jihad- non explosive and crippling

    Home ministry plans new measures to counter fake notes
    Headlines Today New Delhi, August 3, 2009

    The Home Ministry on Monday decided to adopt new measures to counter the growing inflow of fake currency in the country.

    The decision was taken during a meeting in Delhi. To make production of fake notes difficult, talks would be initiated with the Swiss company that supplies ink for printing notes. The ministry has also decided to increase surveillance to stop the entry of fake notes.

    In addition to the measures taken by the ministry, the Reserve Bank of India will provide additional security features in notes.

    Home Minister P. Chidambaram fears that the counterfeit notes seized recently could be just the tip of the iceberg.

    Fake notes seized
    Even as the ministry met to consider ways to tackle the menace, fake notes worth Rs 5.65 lakh were seized in Punjab's Nawashahar district. Three persons were arrested.

    Another seizure of fake notes was made on Sunday in Chandigarh. Two persons were arrested with currency worth Rs 4 lakh.

    Suspects Yudhveer Singh and Savinder Kaur are said to be residents of Amritsar. Two hundred notes of 1000 rupee denomination and 400 notes of 500 rupee denomination were found with them.

    “We suspect that Savinder Kaur smuggled the counterfeits from Pakistan. She also possesses a Pakistan visa,” said J.S. Khera, DSP, Chandigarh Police.

    According to the police, Savinder Kaur could be an ISI agent. She has been to Pakistan at least five times on the pretext of pilgrimage.
    Home ministry plans new measures to counter fake notes

    World Terrorism
    Resources for fuelling world terrorism is sucked up from the Indian Nation's wealth by drug peddlers, smugglers, money launderers, hawala operators, black money generators, prostitution, benami operators and human trafficking.

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Taliban will weaken Pakistan- More Mumbai like terror threat

    The Taliban are in an emboldened state today, despite the recent successes claimed by the Pakistani military. The Taliban have unfortunately been allowed to become too strong. Across the entire swathe of tribal areas along the Afghanistan border, the Taliban are rapidly consolidating power by activating their cells, regrouping and are challenging the army.

    The Pakistan Army may well be treating the current anti-Taliban operations as a temporary phase, to please the United States and obtain much needed funds. However, if they are not serious in pursuing the Taliban menace and the riposte weakens, the very viability of Pakistan would be at risk .

    Any deterioration of the situation in Pakistan can have grave repercussions for India. Our overall policy for meeting security related threats needs to be revamped. We need to strengthen our intelligence set up and hasten up our decision–making processes. The need of the hour is to prepare a series of contingency plans, to meet the situations that are likely to crop up.
    Read full article:
    PAKISTAN’S OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE TALIBAN- An Analysis from India’s Viewpoint By Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi
    The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) and a former Founder Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

    Absence of spouses age hampers bankers from payment of enhanced family pension

    Dear Veterans,
    I wish to bring to your notice that in none of our PPOs issued by the CDA(P) the date of birth of the spouse is mentioned. You may like to have this checked by scrutinising your PPO. The problem arises where the pensioner passes away and is survived by the spouse and if she crosses the age of 80 she will not be able to get the extra 20% without proof of age. There is therefore an urgent need to take up case with the govt and CDA to resolve this issue. The best and easiest way is to to Show ECHS card where the date of birth of spouse is mentioned. Someone needs to take up the case.
    Col N Viswanthan(Retd)

    SCPC: Pre- 1996 Maj Gens Pension hike

    Could you kindly put it up on the blog so that everyone benefits from it.
    Brig Kiran Krishan, SM (Retd)
    Coordinator, IESM, Panchkula

    Please quote your CDA(O) account number, since they need it to trace the file in the archives. This is an oversight by MoD deliberate or unintentional.
    Got to know when we checked out my Father's case. Those who haven't yet submitted can do so now. Others talk to your bankers for inclusion or resubmit a fresh form, should you wish to get 10% interest for delay, it has to be done by 13 Aug 2009.

    Colour of a martyr’s blood- Vikram Batra

    Dear Sir,
    The recent desecration and belittling of the sacrifices made by our martyrs at Kargil, by a standing MP has upset the soldiering fraternity as well as their dependents and the nation at large. Using Vikram Batra as a point of reference, I had written an article for publication on the oped page of The Tribune; not as a middle; in the belief that rather more number of readers browse the oped page than they do browsing middles.
    The article has been published today and the link to original post click me will take the reader to it. Also reproduced below for easy reading.
    May I request you to allow its replication in RMS and perhaps in the RMS blog that Col Kanagaraj runs so well as a key member of your team. The aim is to let your readership know that we care, each in his own way. I speak for the ESM fraternity at large.
    Warm regards,
    Maj Gen Raj Mehta (Retd)

    Colour of a martyr’s blood by Maj Gen (retd) Raj Mehta
    It is July 26, 2009 — another hot, humid, rainless day in the tricity. I am back home after a round of golf, followed by attendance with my better-half at a moving, well-conducted public function at the imposing Major Sandeep Sankhla memorial at Panchkula, by the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, to pay homage to the Kargil dead and injured.

    Restless, my thoughts wander... unaffected by the stifling heat, to the chill winds, the icy fastnesses of the brooding, gaunt mountains that overlook Dras, Kargil and Batalik.

    Ten years ago, 527 soldiers died in those unforgiving mountains; another 1,334 were wounded; some reduced to mortifying stumps; caricatures of once erect, alert, combative, dignified soldiers — all because they swore deathless allegiance to the idea of India; of upholding the sovereignty of their country at the cost of death or permanent maiming.

    They swore allegiance with passion, at times with prescience and quiet acceptance of grim reality, of either planting the tricolour on their objective; or returning with their bodies wrapped in it.

    The TV channels have been going ballistic covering the 10th anniversary of the famous victory. The newspapers speak of the need to learn lessons from the mistakes of 1999.

    This is intelligent, thoughtful stuff. What rankles the rank and file, numbs the nation are the comments of a member of Parliament, who opines that that “Kargil isn’t a thing to be celebrated. The war was fought within our territory. We didn’t even come to know when the Pakistani army crossed over and built bunkers inside our territory...”

    My thoughts are overtaken by the darkness that surrounds me. I light a candle and hold vigil over its flickering flame, as ex-servicemen and citizens are doing all over India, in honour of those who died in those trying days when Kargil happened. Yet again, my mind returns to memories of the past...

    It was past the witching hour. My time was up. Though still in uniform, I had just retired after 38 years in uniform; had ‘hung up my spurs’ with a heavy heart. With the majestic Dhauladhars as a backdrop, I stood outside the just refurbished War Memorial in Yol Cantonment, near Dharamsala, addressing an audience of serving and retired soldiers, their ladies and a few, distinguished gentry.

    Amongst them were the parents of the late Capt Vikram Batra, PVC, the brother of late Major Somnath Sharma, India’s first PVC and himself the ex Army Chief, Gen VN Sharma, along with his wife.

    Days earlier, I had visited the Batra’s at Palampur, to pay homage to Vikram, seek permission to borrow for display a few of his artifacts at the Yol museum and request his dignified yet grieving parents to join us for the ceremony.

    The Batra home, set beyond a tea garden in the low hills surrounding Palampur, is a far cry from the mountains that claimed him. Yet, his parental home exudes his passion, his fervour, his commitment to the pledge he took on becoming a soldier; the country first, always and every time.

    I showed a nine-minute TV clip on Vikram, on that hugely moving last day, at Yol. It was the Barkha Dutt recording of his now iconic ‘Yeh Dil Mange More’ and ‘fly the tricolour or come back wrapped in it’ sound bytes. Barkha stated very recently that she had intuitively sensed he would not return.

    So had his father, Mr GL Batra, as he watched that last, touching interview. They were both right. She had unknowingly essayed her first obituary. Mr Batra had lost a son, and Vishal, who resembles him so heart breakingly, his extraordinarily brave twin brother.

    Recalling Vikram’s sacrifice, Vishal broke down inconsolably, during the TV interview with Barkha, conducted under the shadows of Point 4875 where he died. We, the nation, broke down too. I wonder, though, how our honorable MP must have reacted.

    He needs to be reminded that the colour of a martyr’s blood across the continuum of time, era, history, country, location, is always red. Blood red. It is never daubed in the colours of political parties. May God, Allah Talah, forgive this MP his trespasses as the ESM fraternity and perhaps the nation at large are certainly going to have a problem doing that.
    Colour of a martyr’s blood by Maj Gen (retd) Raj Mehta


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