Saturday, July 10, 2010

US firm bribed Indian Public Sector Undertakings

Press Trust Of India
Washington, July 07, 2010
Officials of Indian PSUs like BHEL and NTPC appear to be the beneficiaries of bribes that were doled out by a California-based valve company to bag lucrative contracts, mostly for tools used in the construction of power plants. Prominent among these Indian companies are Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Maharashtra State Electricity Board, Haryana State Electricity Board, National Thermal Power Corporation and Bhilai Electric, according to documents submitted by the US Department of Justice before a US court.

It is possible that the details of the beneficiaries are listed in the sealed court documents, but no names were immediately known.

California-based Control Component Inc (CCI) on June 31, 2009, pleaded guilty before the US court to having committing bribery in 36 countries from 2003 to 2007.

India, besides China, the UAE and Qatar, are some of the major countries where Control Component Inc indulged in unfair practices to bag contracts.

According to court documents, the payments related to India were made between 2004 and 2007. Topping the list is the Sipat coal-fired power plant of NTPC, for which CCI paid a bribe of $163,449 in two installments to an official of a Moscow-based company, who has been identified as Vladimir Batenko in the documents submitted by the US Department of Justice before the US court.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice announced that it has extradited Flavio Ricotti, a former executive of CCI on charges of bribing foreign companies.

An Italian national, Ricotti, was arrested on February 14 in Frankfurt, Germany, and arrived in the United States on July 2.

The alleged bribe for the Sipat thermal power plant was paid in two installments. The first payment of $26,865 was made on November 29, 2005, from the company's Handelsbanken Bank account in Sweden to an account at Dresdner Bank in New York for the purpose of securing the contract for the Sipat thermal power plant.

The second payment of $136,584.98 was made in October, 2006, from the same Handelsbanken Bank account in Sweden to an account at the Baltic International bank in Latvia, the FBI alleges, for the purpose of making a corrupt payment to a Company 3 employee with regard to the Sipat thermal power plant in India, the DOJ said.

According to court documents, the CCI -- in two installments on November 6, 2006 and January 9, 2009 -- made a total payment of $69,012 to BHEL and MSEB.

BHEL officials are reported to be the beneficiaries in several other instances, but most of the amounts are less than $5,000.

In 2007, officials of the Bhilai Electricals are believed to have received $8,600, while those of HSEB received $15,802 through a transaction on July 7, 2007.

In addition, Spin Industries, J Mehta & Co and MSEB were the beneficiaries of another bribery transaction of $15,000 made by CCI on March 3, 2004.

However, the court papers are not clear, how many of these contracts were bagged by CCI and what was the value of the contracts it won.

The Department of Justice said CCI has admitted that from 2003 through 2007 it made approximately 236 corrupt payments in more than 30 countries, which resulted in net profits to the company of approximately $46.5 million from sales related to these corrupt payments.

NTPC denies
However, in a statement sent to Hindustan Times, NTPC has strongly objected to its name being taken in the news report. The NTPC said that they have not placed any direct order with the Control Component Inc for the Sipat Project. NTPC also said that it is not a party in the contract between any of the Manufacturers and its equipment suppliers i.e. the said party Control Component Inc (CCI).
US firm bribed Indian PSUs
Swiss Banks secrecy laws makes it it convenient for non- detection of the Money Laundering route. Bureaucrats and Politicians are the beneficiaries of all such ill gotten wealth transferred to foreign countries.

RTI: Portal for knowledge and learning

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that the RTI Act imposes new obligations on all stakeholders. The government is called upon to be more transparent and accountable in decision and policy making, and manage its records better. Addressing at the launch of “RTI Portal developed by Institute of Management in Government (IMG)” at Thiruvananthpuram (Kerala) today, he has said that the civil society is expected to be an informal clearing house for information to help common citizens understand and use this new instrumentality. This makes possible the participation of citizens in governance beyond elections.
Vice President launches RTI Portal Developed by IMG at Thiruvananthapuram

Institute of Management in Government (IMG) is the apex training institute of the Government of Kerala. It is situated in the heart of the capital city Thiruvananthapurm and operates from two training campuses, the Barton Hill training complex and the administrative/training complex. Strategically located in the heart of the city, it is at a stones throw from the State Secretariat and Legislative Assembly complex.

The Institute of Management in Government, Thiruvananthapuram was established as an autonomous body under the auspices of the Government of Kerala in 1981 with the objective of developing managerial skills, organisational abilities, leadership qualities and decision making skills among different categories of employees of Government, Private and Public sector.

As part of the RTI Knowledge Portal the Institute has initiated the work of preparing a bi-lingual e-learning module wherein any stakeholder including the government officials and the general public can register and get certified online. Trainers undergoing this course may have to qualify an additional chapter The contents have been organized in user friendly manner and there shall be interim quizzes and tests in each section and the learner can proceed to the subsequent chapter only after scoring 80% or above in each chapter. As part of this we also plan to create video lectures by setting up mechanism for lecture capturing in classroom and then creation and authoring of video lectures with course materials as well as the facility to archive and stream the synchronized videos on demand.
Please visit :
RTI Index
RTI India Forum

IESM: Unite to fight injustice

Dear Veterans,
1. You will be glad to know that IESM is spreading its wings across the country by the day. The aim is to go down to the level of each village throughout the country. We are getting tremendous response from every where. ESM in large mumbers are volunteering to be part of various committees to work for the welfare of Defence Personnel both serving and retired and for getting them their due Justice. The Govt, ill advised by the bureaucracy is continuing to demonstrate negative attitude while dealing with Defence Personnel. This attitude of the Govt is also clearly reflected in their not adhering to the various recent judgements of Supreme Court, High Courts and Armed Forces Tribunals (AFTs) which have gone in favour of the Defence Personnel. Two months have passed since. The All Party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in written report on 07 May 2010 had strongly recommended the grant of OROP. The Govt by now should have been judicious enough to accept the recommendation of the Committee. The same has not been done so far.
2. I appeal to all ESM organizations throughout the country to associate themselves with the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement. Let us work out Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and action plan to get Justice to the Defence Forces. Let us give a strong push forward to Our Movement to make the Govt see reasons.
3. All state, district, city, tehsil, block convener are requested to constitute IESM committees and forward the details to the IESM HQ.
click here for more details
With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
No matter how different we may seem, veterans have much more to unite us than to divide us.
Related Post
Injustice to ESM by IESM Chairman Veteran Raj Kadyan

Grievous injustice to Defence Forces

1. The Govt on 19 April 2010 has rejected the OROP quoting Financial, Legal & Administrative reasons. The financial burden is too inconsequential and legal reasons have been adequately set-aside by the courts in many of their recent judgements. The administrative reason given is due to the mental block of the bureaucracy and its agonistic attitude and towards the Defence Forces.

2. Consequent to the efforts of Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM), the All Party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence while tabling itn report in the parliament on 07 May 2010 has recommended the implementation of OROP holistically. Will the Govt be gracious enough to accept the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on or will the bureaucracy again succeed in denying it to the defence personnel?

3. Till 1973 defence personnel were given Rank based pension which meant OROP. The Pay and Pensions of defence personnel was higher then their counterparts in the Central Govt Services. However, after 1973 ie in the 3rd Pay Commission, defence personnel whose service conditions are entirely different were clubbed with the civil servants. This was the grave mistake and has resulted in a large number of anomalies cumulatively passed on from 4th to 5th and from 5th to 6th CPC.

4. OROP for the last 25 yrs has been promised by every Political Party, PM & RM, even Smt. Sonia Gandhi Jee had promised. However, the promise has been broken by everyone. Why such a mistreatment of Military?

5. 85 percent of defence personnel are compulsorily retired at the age of 35 yrs and will live through atleast 4 CPCs and suffer their dispensation for retirees. Where as his counter part in the civil will not only continue to benefit from successive Pay Commission while still in service for an additional 25 years but on retirement will be affected by just one CPC. Is this not a grave injustice?

6. In comparison,the total amount drawn in terms of Pay and Pension by a solders is Rs 47.3 lacs less than his counter part in the civil by the time both reach the age of 75 yrs. Is this not a grave injustice?

7. There is a large gap of Rs 11600 in pension of pre 2006 retiree Maj and Lt Col while the gap in their pay in the 5th Pay Commission was only Rs 1000/-. Similarly the pension gap between pre 2006 retiree Maj Gen and Lt Gen is Rs 9800/- while the difference in their pay prior to 2006 was only Rs 1200. Why this grave injustice?

8. The 6th Pay Commission had granted three Assured Career Progressions (ACP). strangely the ACP has not been applied notionally while fixing the pensions of Pre 01 Jan 2006 retirees. Why this injustice?

9. Even for Post 01 Jan 2006 retirees defence personnel, only two ACPs have been granted. Why the third has not been granted to a Sepoy who has been compulsorily retired from service after 17 years of service? Why this injustice?

10. For over nine months the bureaucracy did not implement the enhancement of pensions of JCOs/ORs which had been accepted by the Govt on 04 June 2009. Due to the concerted efforts of the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM), not only the question was raised in the Parliament by Sh. L.K. Advani on 03 Mar 2010 but also the implementation orders which had been withheld for nine months were issued on 08 Mar 2010. It reveals intentional delay by the bureaucracy.

11. The enhancement in pension of JCOs/ORs is not One Rank One Pension (OROP). 13 years old pension anomaly had been removed. Even now there is a large gap in pension between the Pre and Post 2006 retirees ie ‘Y’ Group Sepoy with 17 yrs of service will get Rs 2958 less without the DA and Rs 3994 less with DA.

12. The anomalies of 4th, 5th and 6th Pay Commissions have created wired situation which is blatant violation of Article 14 of the constitution. An officer who is four rank senior is being given less pension them his junior just because the senior retired prior to 2006. The very functioning of the Army Rank structure is being adversely affected since the present serving personnel are the future retirees.

13. The Govt has done grave injustice by filing an appeal against the SC judgement in the case of Rank Pay to officers. The SC had corrected 26 years old anomaly which the Govt had illegally inflicted on the defence officers. Is this not a grave injustice?

14. There is a Commission for every segment of society but there is no ESM commission. The Govt had announced the formation of such a Commission with members from the civil service. This is not acceptable. ESM Commission must have all members from the ESM only and must have all the powers as available to any other commission. Why this grave injustice?

15. Separate Pay Commission for Defence Forces. The Govt has already accepted the demand for the Separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces. There are large number of anomalies of 4th, 5th &6th Pay Commission adversely affecting the Pay and pensions of Defence Personnel. Instead of waiting for the next Pay Commission, it is recommended that separate Pay Commission be set up now and all the existing anomalies be handed over to them with the task to resolve all within one year.

16. Do the injustices mentioned above reveal a conspiracy against the Defence Forces? If so it is very unfortunate. The ESM have been forced to come on the street to protest against the injustices, deposit their coveted medals, sign memorandum in blood. It is very painful and unfortunate happening for the nation. Why this has been allowed to happen?

17. Where other big democratic countries like USA, UK, France, Germany etc give due respect and honour to the defence forces, India is illtreating, mistreating, downgrading, disrespecting and demoralizing its defence personnel. Even the SC while passing serious strictures has asked the Govt not to treat defence personnel like beggar. Why this injustice to defence personnel.

18. We appeal to all segment of society to unite and join in the peaceful struggle to get due justice to the Defence Forces.
“The above has been issued in the interest of the nation”
Jai Hind
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh,SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
Dated: 27 June 2010
Related post
Unity of ESM

Redress of grievances of EX-SERVICEMEN without rank discrimination

Dear Friends,
A copy of the letter sent by Shree Nitin Gadkari, National President BJP, is as below for your information. IESM is also in touch with the Congress Party and are likely to meet the top leaders of Congress Party in near future.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

Letter to Prime Minister: Tuesday, 06 July 2010
Dear Dr. Singh,
Subject: Redress of grievances OF EX-SERVICEMEN Without rank discrimination
The Ex Servicemen stand very high in esteem of our countrymen. On account of their gallant services, they undoubtedly are special. They are a category of retired people WITH DIFFERENCE. If Article 14 of our Constitution were to be invoked for a worthy 'reasonable classification' there can't be any better cause than that of the Ex Servicemen. They do deserve a preferential treatment.

The UPA Government has, for reasons inexplicable, failed to pay any serious attention to their genuine grievances. As President of a NATIONALIST political party, I find it as my duty to remind you, in your capacity as the Prime Minister of India to help shed the apathy and indifference of your Government towards the problems of our ex servicemen.

It would be appropriate here to recall that our nation had suffered a great political, territorial, material and human loss when Chinese attacked our borders in 1962. The raison detre for that defeat was no other than the apathy of that day's government and the then TOP POLITICAL LEADERSHIP towards the defence matters which had greatly lowered the MORALE of the fighting men.

As not to face a 1962 like situation again (by neglecting our armed forces), I am reminding you to address the problems of the ex servicemen, WITHOUT ANY DISCRIMINATION AND DIVIDE OF RANKS, in right earnest and resolve it.

Genuine and justified demands of the Ex Servicemen are given in the succeeding Paragraphs.
i) One Rank and One Pension (OROP)
Despite promises and various statements made by the Government in and outside the Parliament this problem still remains to be resolved in its essential elements. Disparities in pensions of the ex servicemen, due to their date and year of retirement, exist even today. Sixth Pay Commission, in this has done little in this regard.
ii) Supreme Court Judgement of 08 Mar 2010 on Rank Pay
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India on 08 Mar 2010 gave a judgement,in the context of the FOURTH PAY COMMISSION'S AWARDS, that the rank pay to the armed forces personnel was to be given in addition to the revised pay scales. The implementation of this award was missed out due to the misinterpretation of the Fourth Pay Commission's recommendations by the Government. However, when the Supreme judgement came for putting this anomaly right, the Government instead of obeying the Supreme Court orders gracefully have filed an application in the Supreme Court to "rehear the case and modify the order" This, to say the least, is tantamount to a grossly hostile Government attitude towards the Ex Servicemen. It is Government's MORAL duty to withdraw this application and implement the Supreme Court Judgement.
iii) Service Span of Defence Forces Personnel
Presently Defence Forces Personnel, particularly personnel below officers Rank (PBOR) retire very early. This puts them to great hardships, at a time when their family responsibilities are increasing due to the needs of their growing children. Appropriate LATERAL INDUCTION to other security services, of the defence personnel, can solve this problem and enable the defence forces personnel to serve for 60 years.
iv) Setting up of a Statutory Commission For Ex Service Men
This is a genuine organisational requirement to take care of the welfare of Veterans. A separate PAY COMMISSION FOR THE DEFENCE FORCES personnel will solve many anomalies, which the successive ten yearly PAY COMMISSIONS have handed down to the defence forces personnel.

In view of the fore going, I request you to look into the matter and redress the grievances of the VETERANS at the earliest. Let this discontentment be removed lest it creeps into the serving soldiers and lowers their MORALE too.
With regards,
(Nitin Gadkari)

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
Govt. of India,
New Delhi
Letter by BJP National President, Shri Nitin Gadkari to the Prime Minister on redress of grievances of Ex-servicemen without rank discrimination

Friday, July 9, 2010

Army helps to control floods

Situation in flood ravaged districts of Punjab and Haryana further worsened on Friday as fresh breaches in Hansi Butana canal in Kaithal and Ghaggar in Sangrur district left several villages marooned even as army and other authorities were trying to plug the breaches.

The fresh breaches in Hansi Butana canal and Ghaggar had further compounded problems with army personnel summoned to plug these at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the road traffic on the Ambala-Hisar highway remained disrupted due to a 30 feet breach on road, officials said, adding army personnel were trying hard to restore traffic on the road. Meanwhile, a senior railway official told media in Chandigarh that the rail traffic had been restored on Ambala-Chandigarh railway line.
Read more
Situation worsens in flood-hit Punjab, Haryana

Kerala HC summons Union Defence Secretary for payment of disability Pension

Wed, Jul 7 08:30 PM
Kochi, Jul 7 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today summoned Union Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and other top officers of Defence Accounts to be present in court on July 26 in a contempt of court case. The order in this regard was issued by Justice S Sirijagan on a contempt petition filed by discharged military official P Madhusudanan of Thiruvananthapuram on non-payment of disability pension.

In June 2009, the High Court had directed payment of disability pension to the petitioner within three months. Following non-compliance of the order, Madhusudanan moved the contempt petition.

When the petition came up for hearing today, Justice Sirijagan ordered personal appearance of the Defence Secretary, Director General Controller of Defence Accounts Neetha Kapoor and Colonel J S Jaswal, senior records officer artillery research signal, Nasik.
Kerala HC summons Union Defence Secretary

US aid fuels dangerous deal in Pakistan

Please do read the article in Boston Globe titled "US aid fuels dangerous deal in Pakistan". click here
Also comments below by Mr. Ram Narayan.

USA is fully aware of the proliferation of nuclear and missile know how by Pakistan to N Korea,Iran, Algeria etc.Pakistan may have also done the same with Saudi Arabia. It will not hesitate to facilitate making of a small dirty nuclear device by Islamist extremists/providing them such a device, which may be used against India based on its national interests. For example in an adverse war situation with India, Pakistan may use such a device as an act of terrorism rather than use nuclear weapons openly!!

USA also cannot be immune from such a covert attack by Alqaeda and any other Islamist extremist organisation, material for which would come from Pakistan.

Due to reasons best known to US authorities, Pakistan has escaped retribution for past serious acts of proliferation. It won't be an overstatement to say that Pakistan has been the epicenter not only of
terrorism but also of nuclear/missile proliferation. There is no way but to disinvest Pakistan of nuclear capability, since Pakistan has proved its intentions repeatedly to seek and provide nuclear and missile technology, covertly and deny proven acts in this matter blatantly, time and again. It
is just inconceivable that Nuclear Head Abdul Qadeer Khan could carry out all the nuclear and missile deals with countries named above on his own!!

How and when USA and its allies disable/take out Pak Nuclear assets is a
topic for separate discussion. USA also has to bring this subject head on with China and NATO. Continued Pussy footing is fraught with danger.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen (Retd)

Dear General Harbhajan Singh,
Some days ago, I had sent the following Selig Harrison article titled, "US aid fuels dangerous deal in Pakistan," published in the Boston Globe of June 29th, to a select few. Harrison had highlighted several crucial and alarming scenarios for Pakistan, the U.S, India, and the global community.

His grim conclusion:
“Pakistan poses many dangers to the United States, notably its aid to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and the use of its territory for the training of would-be suicide bombers. But the greatest of all is that fissile material will be smuggled out of its nuclear facilities by undetected Islamist sympathizers and that a future leadership infiltrated by Islamists will risk a nuclear Armageddon in Mumbai or Washington.”

I did get some excellent feedback from the few who received my message. In view of the dire consequences of inaction pointed out by Harrison, friends have advised me that it should go to everyone on my list

The question is: What can – and MUST – be done urgently to mitigate, and avoid the frightful consequences of the conclusion of Harrison.

It is imperative that the governments, people, and strategic thinkers in America, Pakistan, India, and the world community immediately address this festering issue. There is general consensus – across all political ideologies, governmental leaderships, and the common women and men on the street in any city or town of the U.S., Pakistan, India and any corner of the globe that such a rogue situation may horrendously, truly face any of us in a not too far future.

Isn’t it incumbent on leading thinkers and influencers to share with wider and governmental machineries and help or influence them to coalesce to pragmatic action IMMEDIATELY?

May I request your views on this important matter? More importantly, I solicit your suggestions on what pragmatic steps must be taken IMMEDIATELY to help prevent this dangerous slide over the cliff?

My idea is to compile the suggestions received (you may choose to remain incognito, in case you wish – but please let me know how I should attribute your suggestions in the compiled report) and get a message out to you and to various authorites in the US and India.

Please go through Harrison’s article, and let me have your thoughts ASAP.
Ram Narayanan
US-India Friendship

IESM objects to demeaning term PBOR

The Indian Ex-Servicemen's Movement (IESM) is has objected to the usage of the "demeaning" terminology Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR).

"Such an acronym is neither authorised nor officially accepted. It is not even included in our military manual titled the 'Glossary of Military Terms' and another named 'Military Abbreviations'," Major-General (Retd) Aditya J B Jaini, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, told UNI.

Since the past few years, media, government representatives and even military writers have been using the terminology that was concocted by the bureaucracy in an attempt to create a horizontal divide between ''us officers and our men,'' alleged the veteran who is a member of the Governing Body and Core Group of IESM.

''The bureaucracy -- which never ever leaves any stone unturned to humiliate, belittle, berate, defame or embarrass the Services -- has coined PBOR most subtly and seditiously only to create an impression that there are officers and those below officer rank.

Nothing could be further than that from reality,'' said the Major-General who was Senior Directing Staff (Army) at the National Defence College, New Delhi, before he hung up his boots in 2003.
The Indian Ex-Servicemen's Movement (IESM) has objected to the usage of the "demeaning" terminology Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oversight committee to monitor Bhopal clean- up

Government forms panel to clean up Bhopal
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday constituted an oversight committee to co-ordinate and monitor activities related to waste disposal, decontamination and remediation at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Headed by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh and Madhya Pradesh minister for relief and rehabilitation Babulal Gaur, the panel will ensure that all requisite technical, financial and other support is available to the state government and its authorities.

The primary responsibility for the removal of the toxic waste from the now defunct Union Carbide plant, soil and ground water remediation, and detoxification and dismantling of the defunct plant will be that of the state government. The 16-member oversight committee will ensure requisite technical, financial, logistical and other support is available to the state government and its authorities at all times while remedial action is taken.

The state environment minister; secretaries of the Union ministries of environment, chemicals and petrochemicals, and science and technology; secretary, department of Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation; and principle secretary for finance in the Madhya Pradesh government are members of the committee. Other officials on the committee are the commissioner of Bhopal, additional secretary and finance advisor in the Union environment ministry and the joint secretary in charge of hazardous substance management.

Directors of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, National Geophysical Research Institute and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, and the chairmen of the Central Pollution Control Board and the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board are the technical experts on the committee.

The Centre will spend around Rs 310 crore for environmental remediation in and around the disaster site where the hazardous material continues to pollute ground water and soil on a massive scale more than 25 years after the industrial mishap.
Government forms panel to clean up Bhopal
Related articles
Bhopal case: Jairam 'sorry' govt smuggled Union Carbide waste
I want to do something for Bhopal victims: Ex-Union Carbide chairman Mahindra
Former Carbide chief was to get Padma in 2002
Is the Oversight committee an adjunct to an Anomaly committee analogous to deception per se?
An oversight committee can have an impact on the quality and fairness of fact-finding even before the committee gains access to the relevant information. When research is done in the knowledge that an outside entity will be reviewing the research methods and findings, there is an increased sense of accountability. Government or corporate research entities must ensure the standard of their work is acceptable, especially because in the long run it will be more costly and time-consuming if they are forced to go back and correct mistakes when an oversight committee detects errors or deceptions. However, oversight committees must seek to avoid what is called "analysis paralysis," the tendency to want to analyze something forever, in an effort to eliminate all uncertainty before making a decision. Since uncertainty is unavoidable in many scientific inquiries, it is important that oversight committees recognize when the best available research strategies are used, and accept the results from that research as the best obtainable at the time. This allows decisions to be made and actions taken in a timely manner. Will the clean up of Bhopal be based on scientific analysis or whims and fancies of Bureaucrats and Politicians who can make a sizable buck from the clean up funds amounting to about Rs 400 crores!

Rank Pay and OROP: Hostile attitude towards the ex-servicemen

Separate Armed Forces Pay Commission Needed: BJP
New Delhi | Jul 06, 2010
Accusing the government of failing to redress the grievances of ex-servicemen, BJP president Nitin Gadkari today asked the Prime Minister to set up a separate Pay Commission for defence forces.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Gadkari said "a separate pay commission for defence personnel will solve many anomalies, which successive ten yearly pay commissions have handed down to the defence forces personnel."

He said the "discontentment" should be removed before it "creeps into the serving soldiers and lowers their morale too".

Demanding early implementation of one rank one pay (OROP), he said despite various statements both inside and outside Parliament by the government, the disparities in pension of ex-servicemen due to their date and year of retirement exist even today.

He said the Sixth Pay Commission has done little to solve the problem.

Gadkari said defence personnel, particularly those below officers rank, retire very early which creates problems for them in fulfilling their responsibilities, including meeting the demands of growing up children.

He suggested that such retired personnel should be inducted into other "security services" and be allowed to serve upto the age of 60 years.

The BJP chief also demanded that the government withdraw its application filed before the Supreme Court requesting it to rehear the case relating to anomalies in the Fourth Pay Commission regarding rank pay to armed forces personnel besides the revised pay scales.

"When the Supreme Court judgment came for putting this anomaly right, the government instead of obeying the order filed an application to rehear the case and modify the order. This, to say the least, is tantamount to a grossly hostile government attitude towards the ex-servicemen," he said.
Separate Armed Forces Pay Commission Needed: BJP

Related article regarding present ESM pension
The pension of PBOR and JCOs who retired before October 10, 1997, (implementation date for the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations) will be brought at par with the pension of those retired after that date. The pension of those retired before January 1, 2006 including the 1997 group will be substantially hiked to come close to those who retired after the cut-off date of January 1, 2006 (implementation date for the Sixth Pay Commission). Once realised, the new pension scheme will lead to creation of two groups of pensioners in the armed forces with January 1, 2006, serving as the cut off date.
“This is not OROP. Those who retired after January 1, 2006, will get higher pension. The government has just bridged a gap for the JCOs and PBORs,” Maj Gen Satbir Singh, vice chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told Deccan Herald. Both decisions would be implemented from July 1, 2009, resulting in enhanced pension for more than 12 lakh jawans and JCOs.
Relief for ex-servicemen by Kalyan Ray, New Delhi: Deccan Herald
Blog Posts
Unfair to military personnel. They must get their Rank Pay denied to them since 1986
Rank Pay: Lt-Gen writes to Sonia against Centre's appeal

Double Speak: Open to Permanent Commission for Women in Army

Govt Open to Permanent Commission for Women in Army
New Delhi | Jul 07, 2010
Even as the Army challenged a Delhi High Court verdict on permanent commission to women defence officers in the Supreme Court, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju today struck a different note, saying his ministry was in favour of opening up more streams of armed forces for their permanent commission.

The government was "very happy" with the court verdict on providing permanent commission to women, Raju told reporters here on the sidelines of a CII seminar.

"This is also the wish of the (defence) ministry. We want to give permanent commission to women in all three services," he said.

Noting that at successive conferences of defence commanders more and more streams were being opened up for induction of women, Raju said the decision was being looked at by the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

"We will be opening it (armed forces) up more and more for them (women)," he added.

However, he said the armed forces' view was that the women officers should be kept away from combat role.

"In the spirit of things, the views of the armed forces has been to not to put women in situations where there is potential harm to them," he said.

Raju's views come a day after the Defence Ministry filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court verdict of March 12 ordering the Army to accord permanent commission to its women officers.

Though the Delhi HC order was for a batch of petitions from both Army and Air Force officers, the review plea in the apex court was only with regard to the women army officers, as the Air Force had already adhered to the court order and offered permanent commission to the 22 women officers who had won the case.

However, the women army officers, who had got a favourable court order on permanent commission, had a couple of days ago filed a contempt plea in the Delhi HC against Army Chief General V K Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and the Army's Adjutant General for not complying with its March 12 order.

The HC had issued a notice of contempt to the three Defence Ministry officials following which the review plea was filed before the apex court.
Govt Open to Permanent Commission for Women in Army
Blog Post
HC issues contempt notice to Army chief on commission issue

National Security: Chinese Rail to link Pakistan

PTI, Jul 7, 2010, 02.09pm IST
NEW DELHI: India today expressed "concern" over China's plans to have a rail link with Pakistan through the Karakoram ranges, but said it was doing its own preparations to counter such a move.

"It is definitely a matter of concern. But we are taking our counter measures and we are doing our own preparation," Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on the Chinese plans to build the rail link to Pakistan and reach the Arabian Sea via Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pak-occupied Kashmir.

Raju said both China and Pakistan had made it "very apparent" that they were "working closely together and cooperating closely" on defence and strategic issues.

China has already built a rail line up to the Indian borders along the Tibetan plateau and now the plan is to have the rail link to Pakistan and reach the Arabian Sea.

Media reports had suggested that a Memorandum of Understanding for the rail link will be signed between Beijing and Islamabad soon.
Chinese rail link to Pak matter of concern: India

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pawar and Patel pitching for peak profile portfolios after present 'Killing' performance

Harish Gupta / DNA Wednesday, July 7, 2010 1:19 IST Email
New Delhi: After Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, it is the turn of minister for civil aviation Praful Patel to request change.

Before flying off to Johannesburg, South Africa, Patel is learnt to have conveyed to the prime minister (PM) that he be shifted to some other ministry. Though no reasons are known for Patel’s desire to be relieved of the civil aviation portfolio, he is said to have conveyed to Manmohan Singh that it has been over six years that he has been in the ministry and he feels it is time to move on.

“Please do not ask me what transpired between me and the PM. Let me come back on July 10,” Patel told DNA.

Patel is the second Union minister — that too belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — to express desire for a change in profile. Patel had met the PM thrice, the last time being the inauguration of the new airport in New Delhi.

It is learnt that Pawar had raised the matter of Patel’s desire to be shifted to another ministry when he (Pawar) called on the PM at his residence on Monday morning. Apparently, when Pawar requested the PM to lighten his workload, he politely demanded that Patel be upgraded to full cabinet minister considering his seniority. “If Pawar sheds the crucial department of food and consumer affairs, he wants a cabinet rank post in return for his party. There is no free lunch,” said a senior Congress leader.

Pawar’s decision to go public soon after meeting the PM took the Congress by surprise. The party may have been eager to tame Pawar by blaming him for high food prices, but it is also fully aware that starting the process of reshuffling the cabinet before Parliament’s monsoon session will cause more pain.

If the nine-member NCP in the Lok Sabha gets two cabinet posts in the new scheme of things, why shall the 20-member DMK bandwagon compromise with three cabinet berths (A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and M K Alagiri)? A couple of senior Congress leaders may have been indicating an impending reshuffle and gunning for the portfolios of telecom minister A Raja and environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh (the opposition has been baying for Raja’s blood over the 2G spectrum scam).

Also, minister of new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah probably desires to be shifted to tourism or some other ministry.
But the Congress high command and the PM are disinclined to undertake such an exercise as there are no “compelling reasons” to reshuffle the council of ministers. The Congress has 27 Cabinet posts out of 33, leaving only six for its allies; it has most of the plum portfolios as well.

However, the Congress is fully aware that the Monsoon session will be stormy, with the NDA and the Left joining hands on fuel price and the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. So why buckle under them and sacrifice Raja, for which the DMK supremo is not ready?

The final call will be taken at the Congress core committee meeting on Friday at the PM’s residence.
After Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel seeks profile change

SCPC: Status of Armed Forces Officers degraded and eroded at the behest of bureaucrats?

'I feel cheated' published 18 months ago... revisited

Lt Col A K Rai (Retd) 2008-12-19 12:49:47
My father Daroga Prasad Rai, who was Chief Minister of Bihar in 1970, motivated and encouraged me to join Sainik School Tilaiya with a view to make me join Armed Forces as an officer.

He always spoke of the Indian Armed Forces with the highest regard. At that time I was only about nine years old. At that impressionable age I became highly motivated. I do not deny that I was thrilled by the prospect of joining the most noble profession, where one gets a chance to make the supreme sacrifice for his country.

Accordingly I competed and joined Sainik School Tilaiya. But I did not want to leave any stone unturned in my ambition to become an Army Officer. When I came to know about Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun (RIMC), which was considered to be the best, I competed and joined the RIMC in January 1973. Even though my initial enthusiasm had not waned, by the time I reached 11th standard, with whatever understanding I had, I started enquiring about a career in the Armed Forces.
Also Read: Unsung heroes: Part I Unsung heroes: Part II Unsung heroes: Part III

My seniors who were at the Indian Military Academy by then, fed me some comparisons. First, they showed me that all the Class-I Services officers (including IAS and IPS) started their career at a basic salary of Rs 700/- per month, whereas in the case of Armed Forces officers it was Rs 750/- per month. (I later came to know that this extra Rs 50/- was special disturbance allowance, which was merged with basic pay by the Third Pay Commission).

Second, they also showed me the orders where a Major was equated with an IAS Officer with not less than 12 years of service. The obvious conclusion, which will be drawn by any 16 or 17-year-old boy, would be that the Army as a career was almost equal to the IAS, and certainly better than the IPS or other Class-I central services.

Having convinced myself, I put in my best in the NDA exam, and ranked eighth in the final merit list. After successfully completing my training at NDA Khadakwasla and IMA, Dehradun, I was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in June 1981 in the 7th Battalion the Sikh Regiment, on my own choice i.e., after exactly 11 years of hard training and spartan living. But due to an injury, attributable to Military Service, I was placed in a permanent low medical category. Consequently, I was transferred to the Army Ordnance Corps in 1988 i.e., after seven years of regimental service in Infantry. On transfer I was posted to the Ordnance Depot, Shakurbasti, Delhi.
Also Read: The IAS cannot dictate pay scales

It was here I learnt that whatever I had been thinking about the career in the Indian Army was wrong. In the Ordnance Depot, I discovered that the JCOs who are Gazetted Officers (I have seen the Gazette Notification of JCOs) are equated with non-gazetted civilian employees and that too of Class-III i.e., Group-C. The point has only been made to emphasise the arbitrariness and irrationality of orders regarding the relativity of ranks. And as the de facto equation stands today, there cannot be any service with worse career prospects than the Army except some Group-B services. But is this the result of a “steep pyramidal hierarchy” as is often claimed? No.
Also read: Are our forces lower caste?

It is the result of a conscious effort by the bureaucracy to degrade the services ever since independence. To undo this, i.e., if the Government is sincere, the solution is to revert to the pre- A V Singh Committee implementation stage and reintroduce the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and to offer one-rank one- pay scale in the standard pay scales as was applicable to all the Organised Central Group-A Civil Services (erstwhile allied services).

Till recently, the Warrant of Precedence stated that a Major is equal to an IAS Officer with not less than 12 years of service and a Superintendent of Police with not less than 15 years of service. The status of Army officers was further degraded as per the underlying thrust of the Sixth Pay Commission, at the behest of bureaucracy. Why are these facts not disseminated to the young aspirants to the Armed Forces? If bureaucrats and policemen are higher in rank and status, then why are Army officers debarred from taking the IAS and IPS exams? I do not think that anyone today, if he is aware of of these facts, would join the Army, except to earn hsi bread. As for myself, had I known this, forget the Sainik School or RIMC, I would have never joined the Army.

The relativity in rank and status is irrational and arbitrary, against the letter and spirit of the Constitution and violates my fundamental rights.

Lt Col A K Rai is alumnus of Sainik School Tilaiya, Rashtriya Indian Military College, Deharadun, NDA, Khadakwasla, the author was commissioned into the Sikh Regiment in Jun 1981. he was transferred to the AOC in 1988. He took premature retirement after serving the mandatory period, he now works as the Chief Administrative Officer of a 150-bed hospital in Patna.
I feel cheated:

What is the resultant outcome?
The Armed Forces career is not attractive precisely for the degraded honour (not for pay and salaries as projected by the media) inflicted on the Personnel subject to Army Act which literally silences them! End result acute shortage of Officers now averaging and hovering around 25% deficiency.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SCPC: National Anomaly Committee extended till March 2011

Friday, July 2, 2010
Extension in the tenure of the National Anomaly Committee at 8:28 PM
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, PG & Pensions
Department of Personnel & Training
New Delhi, the 1st July, 2010
Subject:- Extension in the tenure of the National Anomaly Committee.
The undersigned is directed to refer to para 5 of this Department’s O.M. of even number dated the 12th January, 2009 regarding setting up of Anomaly Committee to settle the anomalies arising out of the implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission’s recommendations and to state that it has been decided with the approval of the competent authority to extend the tenure of the National Anomaly Committee up to 31st March, 2011.
(Dinesh Kapila)
Extension in the tenure of the National Anomaly Committee

One Rank One Disability Pension

Tribunal for equal disability pension to retired army personnel
PTIWednesday, June 30, 2010 23:40 IST
New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal today asked the government to pay equal war disability pension to personnel who retire at same rank irrespective of the pay commission under which they have left the service.

Hearing the plea filed by lieutenant colonel (retired) PK Kapur, Tribunal's Principal Bench headed by justice AK Mathur "struck down" the defence ministry circular issued in 2008 regarding war disability pension.

"Government is directed to give benefit of war disability pension without any distinction between pre and post 2006 retirees," the Tribunal said. It also asked the ministry to pay the difference in pension to Kapur with 12% interest from 2006.

As per the present policy, personnel who have retired after 2006 get more benefits under the war disability pension than those who have left service before it.

Following the tribunal verdict, all eligible retired personnel are likely to get the pension as per the sixth pay commission which came into effect from January 1, 2006.

In his plea, the retired officer had termed the new rate of war disability pension implemented after the sixth pay commission as "unconstitutional" as it gave more benefits to those who retired after it.

After joining the Sikh Light Infantry regiment of Army in early 60’s, Kapur suffered an injury during the India-Pakistan war in 1965 and was released from service in 1989 with 30% disability. PTI
Tribunal for equal disability pension to retired army personnel

Administrative egotism and mischief must cease

The Tribune Tuesday, July 6, 2010, Chandigarh, India Navdeep Singh
THE new National Litigation Policy has special significance for the defence services, particularly disabled veterans. The policy ordains that frivolous appeals would not be filed by government departments and that appeals on orders of Tribunals shall be an exception rather than the rule. Further, false and misleading pleas or technicalities shall not be espoused.
For long veterans have been at the receiving end of paper violence perpetrated by the government’s legal pundits, who, guided by a strange spirit of sadism, exhaust every single game in the book to ensure benefits do not reach the beneficiaries even when directed by higher judiciary.
To begin with, medical authorities indulge in “literal” rather than “liberal’ interpretation of rules, thereby denying benefits to disabled soldiers. They forget the “spirit” while clinging to the “letter”. When there is a court order granting disability pension, appeals and reviews are filed as a matter of routine even in cases fully covered by earlier judicial rulings.
It is not the higher echelons of governance or the services headquarters that are to blame, but the swarm of section officers, under secretaries and deputy secretaries who rule the roost. The lower-level bureaucracy with its caustic file-notings, unfortunately, runs the government.
That the new policy specially mentions “false” and “misleading” pleas shows the powers that be are aware of the malaise. Appeals are filed not out of legal necessity but because of administrative egotism – How could a petty employee win a case against the mighty officialdom?
Then comes the stage where dubious pleas are presented before the courts, which if not rebutted by a well acquainted legal brain, end in pronouncements which can hardly be termed well-rounded.
This reminds me of some cases with special reference to disabled soldiers. In Secretary MoD Vs Ajit Singh, the defence ministry is on record, stating that disability pension was not released to him since he did not have the minimum required service of 10 years. In reality, there is no minimum service requirement for disability pension and even a recruit is entitled to the same.
In the recent case of Karan Singh Vs UOI, the government espoused that the Army alone provides disability pension to its employees. The truth is that civilian employees are also entitled to exactly the same benefits. In P.K. Kapur Vs UoI the government went hammer and tongs proclaiming it had the right to fix a cut-off date for grant of certain disability benefits that had been refused to pre-1996 retirees. The case went in favour of the government since the Court was never informed that the said benefits through the same master notification had already been extended to similarly placed pre-1996 civilian retirees. The petitioner could not rebut the falsehood since he could not afford a lawyer.
It is not that mischievous elements are playing around only with the judiciary. The higher strata of governance is also not left untouched. In a speech last month, apparently prepared by a similarly inclined officer, the Defence Minster was made to “announce” with pride that the government had introduced an additional amount of Rs 3,000 as constant attendance allowance for disabled soldiers keeping in view their sacrifices. So far so good, but the humble Minister was not in the knowledge that firstly, this allowance is applicable to civilian employees too and hence has nothing to do with valour or sacrifices. Second, the concept is in force since times immemorial and even its enhancement is old news which was announced in March 2008 by the Sixth Pay Commission. Third, it is not applicable to all disabled personnel but only to 100 per cent disabled retirees.
In the past two years there have been other instances where the political executive and the top brass have been misled into announcing beneficial “policy decisions” by hiding from them the fact that the same had actually been necessitated due to Supreme Court decisions.
(Maj Navdeep Singh is a lawyer practicing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court)
Administrative egotism and mischief must cease by Navdeep Singh

Military Law Need to go beyond piecemeal changes
For a century, military law in India has remained stagnant in its colonial character. Unless fundamental changes are brought about to make it more effective and amiable to today’s socio-economic environment, dissatisfaction and litigation could increase.
The Tribune by Vijay Mohan
Military Law Need to go beyond piecemeal changes

44 yrs after, ex-sepoy gets disability pension

Kusum Arora Tribune News Service Jalandhar, July 5
The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has allowed an appeal filed by a 70-year-old mentally deranged soldier challenging the rejection of his disability pension.

A former Sepoy, Gurmit Singh, a resident of Kalra village near here, had challenged the rejection of his disability pension. While the disability claim was rejected on the grounds that the disability is neither attributable nor aggravated by the military service.

A bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prasad and Lt. Gen N.S. Brar allowed the disability pension from July 25, 1993, within a period of six months of filing of the petition. They also ordered payment of eight per cent interest on the arrears. The tribunal held that the delay in approaching the court for pension is of no consequences as the cause of action in the matter is recurring and arises every month.

The appeal of Gurmit Singh was filed by Bhim Sen Sehgal, Chairman of the All India Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association under the Legal Aid Scheme of the association as the petitioner was invalid out of service due to hysterical reaction (mental disease) and nobody has taken up his case in the court of law.

Gurmit Singh joined the Army on August 27, 1963 and was declared invalid on May 4, 1966 on medical grounds. It was stated that the disease arose due to stress and strain in the field area during his Army service. However, his claim of disability pension was rejected by the military authorities.

The suit and appeal filed by Gurmit was dismissed on the grounds of delay of 30 years, despite the fact that the court admitted that he was entitled for the disability pension. Being a psychiatric patient and on account of illiteracy in his family he could not file the appeal in the high court, which resulted in a further delay of 1717 days.

Hence, the case for condoning the delay was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the All India Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association. Justice Arvind Kumar of the high court admitted the case while condoning the delay on extreme compassionate grounds as the appellant was a mentally deranged person and had become 100 per cent disabled by now.

The case was later transferred to the AFT, Chandigarh, after its constitution last year and came up for final arguments.

Rajesh Sehgal, counsel for the appellant, submitted before the bench that both the courts below have committed insurmountable illegality by dismissing the case on the grounds of delay as the law is well settled by the Supreme Court. He also maintained that the delay is not attracted to the pension matter being recurring cause of action and the right to receive pension accrues every month.
44 yrs after, ex-sepoy gets disability pension

Internal Security: CRPF sees Red, to withdraw from Bastar

Raipur: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has expressed a desire to withdraw from all interior locations of the worst-hit Naxal area of Bastar in Chattisgarh, a move opposed by the state police.

Official sources, who referred to this wish by CRPF, said the para-military force has also approached Chhattisgarh Police to provide security to its camps at Narayanpur where 27 security personnel were killed in a Naxal ambush recently.

Immediately after the attack, senior CRPF officials were up in arms and said they would be abandoning the post at Durai road if the state police did not guard the two camps in the area, about 300 km from here.

Around 50 police personnel each were rushed to these two camps, a move which was seen as "strengthening of the camps." At least 26 CRPF personnel and one state policeman were killed by Maoists on June 29 when they were returning from road opening duties.

The CRPF has also listed four places in Narayanpur and Dantewada from where they would be shifting their base, the sources said, adding initially the para-military forces wanted to shift their camps closer to the National Highways, which was, however, objected to by the state police.

The CRPF has demanded presence of one-third of district police in every operation and for road opening party. A meeting between the state authorities and the CRPF witnessed heated arguments over the issue and it was decided that road opening duty was exclusively of CRPF domain and there would be no local presence, the sources said.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has also indicated that the CRPF in Chattishargh needs to be relocated and reconfigured. Taking a cue from this, the CRPF has decided to keep a minimum strength of 200 personnel in each camp.

About the rescue and relief on the June 29 killings, the sources said the state authorities pointed out that no help was received from the two camps which were located within five kilometres of the area. The first rescue team came from a CRPF camp located nine kilometres away.

No need to deploy army in Naxal-hit areas: Pillai
The government on Monday said there was no immediate need to deploy army in Maoist-hit regions and it could take nearly seven years to get rid of the menace.

Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, who is on a visit to review the situation in Chhattisgarh, said there was no need to deploy army personnel at present in the Maoist-hit regions. He, however, did not elaborate.

Speaking to reporters at the district headquarters at Kanker, Pillai said that it could take between three and seven years to get rid of the Naxal menace in the country.

Referring to the casualties suffered by paramilitary forces recently, he said the Naxals were taking advantage of situation whereby jawans enter into their territory to fight them. Pillai denied that there was any difference between the state police and the CRPF, saying both the forces were coordinating and working together.

He said the government was speeding up development work in the Naxal-hit regions and the Planning Commission was preparing an integrated development plan for these areas. Pillai reviewed the state's situation at a meeting with top officials.
Source: PTI
CRPF sees Red, to withdraw from Bastar
Rs 14000cr Maoist balm
It is the basic and prima responsibility of the officer commandiing to ensure that their troops are properly motivated and fed during the operation. It is sad to note that the Inspector General who is the supreme authority himself is complaining of his inability, which spells the sad state of affairs. The CRPF recruitment scam too is instrumental in the poor quality and morale of troops inducted. It is time the IPS Officers are made accountabile and not be indulging in the blame game like the Politicians! The weapons lost by CRPF to Naxals are being used to inflict needless casualities!
CRPF troops fighting Naxals face lack of food, water

Monday, July 5, 2010

HC issues contempt notice to Army chief on commission issue

Press Trust Of India New Delhi, July 05, 2010
The Delhi High Court today issued contempt notice to the Army chief after the force failed to comply with its previous order directing grant of permanent commission to serving women officers, who were selected on short service commission basis.

Justice G S Sistani also sought response from the Secretary, Defence Ministry, by August 18 on a petition filed by Lt Colonel Sangita Sardana and other serving women officers of the Indian Army alleging that the force failed to grant Permanent Commission to them.

The court had in May also stayed Army's decision to release the next batch of women officers.

Appearing before the court, counsel for officers Rekha Palli argued that contempt of court proceedings be initiated against the respondent (Army) for "willful disobedience" of the judgement.

She further contended that "the Indian Air force has complied with the High Court directions and implemented the same last month whereas, the Army failed to make its stand clear and has taken a decision to release some officers belonging to the next batch despite court's order staying the same."

The High Court had on March 12 directed the government to allow grant of permanent commission to women officers serving in the defence services on the petitions filed by more than 60 serving and retired lady officers.

"There were also male officers performing the same task. If the male officers can be granted permanent commission while performing those tasks, there is no reason why equally capable women officers cannot be granted permanent commission. It is not a charity being sought by the women officers but enforcement of their own Constitutional rights," the court had said.

It had also turned down the plea of the government that permanent commission can be allowed only for future recruitment and the benefit cannot be given retrospectively for the serving and retired lady officers who had approached the court.

"These women officers have served the Armed Forces of the country well in the areas of operation they were recruited for and have worked in this capacity for 14 to 15 years. They deserve better from the respondents (government)," the court had said.
HC issues contempt notice to Army chief on commission issue: Hindustan Times
Contempt notice to Army chief on permanent commission for women: Deccan Herald
Present Status
Currently, 5,137 women officers serve in the armed forces. They include 4,101 in the Indian Army, 784 in IAF, and 252 in Indian Navy. This includes women granted permanent commissions in the Army Medical Corps, the Army Dental Corps and their equivalents in the other two services as also in the Military Nursing Service.

In the army, women serve in support arms like the Corps of Signals, Army Ordnance Corps, the Corps of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers and the Army Service Corps.

In the IAF, women are inducted in all streams barring the fighter stream. In the Indian Navy there are restrictions on posting women officers aboard ships and submarines.
Permanent commissions for women: Notice issued to Indian Army chief
MoD delaying tactics
The defence ministry and Army are likely to approach the Supreme Court to review the high court judgment because it's felt granting Permanent Commission to women officers will lead to "practical and operational problems". Permanent Commission for women officers in the armed forces, following a government decision in 2008, is restricted as of now to wings like education and law, which do not involve command of men or units.
Army chief gets HC notice over parity to women: The Telegraph

MOD Clarifies
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Certain reports have appeared in the media that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has issued a contempt of Court against the Chief of Army Staff and Defence Secretary, on the Delhi High Court Order, in respect of Granting Permanent Commission to Women Officers. It is clarified that “the Delhi High Court has sent only a notice on the plea of women officers, to the Army Headquarters to explain its position on the directions given by the Delhi High Court in this regard”.

In this matter, meanwhile, Ministry of Defence has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.
Permanent Commission to Women Officers: SLP slapped
Women in Army: Govt takes battle to Supreme Court

Public Relation exercise to downsize neglect of ESM

MoD Signs MoU With DD Produce Programmes on Ex-Servicemen
Monday, July 05, 2010
The Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here today with Doordarshan to produce programmes of various genres on different facets of Ex-Servicemen’s (ESM) lives. The programmes will also include the role played by the ESM in nation building and the efforts being made by the Government for their welfare and resettlement over the years.

The MoU was signed by Smt Neelam Nath, Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW), Ministry of Defence and Smt Aruna Sharma, Director General, Doordarshan.

Television viewers across the country will now be able to experience the real life stories of the ESM and the contributions made by them in nation-building. The infotainment programmes will also project the resettlement and various welfare measures of the government.

There are nearly 27 lakhs Ex-Servicemen including over five lakh widows. This figure swells by an average of about 50,000 ESM who are released from the Armed Forces every year. The Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR), an Inter-Services Organisation under the Ministry of Defence, runs various resettlement and welfare schemes for the benefit of the vast ESM workforce in the country. Over 50 thousand ESM were gainfully re-employed by the DGR last year alone. PK/RAJ
MoD Signs MoU With DD Produce Programmes on Ex-Servicemen

Soldiers of Misfortune: A sordid and squalid state of affairs

India Today June 26, 2010
Sandeep Unnithan
In the Kargil War of 1999, the battle for Tololing will be remembered for its sheer ferocity and for delivering the Indian Army one of its most important victories. Havildar Digendra Kumar, a burly commando from the Rajputana Regiment and part of a 10-man team led by Major Vivek Gupta, climbed the 15,000-ft-high feature and engaged in furious close-quarter combat with soldiers of the Pakistani Northern Light Infantry on June 12.

Digendra Kumar (41)
RANK: Havildar
INJURY: Sustained five gunshot wounds in the assault on Tololing during the 1999 Kargil War. The only survivor of the 2 Rajputana Rifles assault team. Decorated with Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest gallantry award.
STATUS: Retired from the army with no disability pension. Did not receive any benefits given to Kargil heroes. Filed petition in the Armed Forces Tribunal which decided in his favour. Has not received pension even three months after the verdict.

At dawn, Digendra, his body riddled with five bullets, was the sole survivor of the assault team that had conquered the icy heights. He was decorated with a Maha Vir Chakra, the nation's second highest gallantry award. Nearly 12 years later, Digendra's battle is still on. With the government.
He was denied a disability pension by the army on the grounds that he had voluntarily retired in 2005. Digendra didn't get any of the benefits given to other Kargil war heroes, again because he was not given a disability pension.

In March, the Jaipur bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal recommended that he should be given a disability pension, but even after three months, he is yet to hear from the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions) (PCDA), the ultimate authority that disburses pensions. "It hurts when you get nothing for fighting for your motherland, but what can one do? I will get my pension when the Government decides," says Digendra, visibly resigned to a long wait.

There are hundreds of soldiers like him, who may not be as heavily decorated but have similar stories to tell. For them, it is the endless rounds of dusty government offices, courtrooms or poignant attempts at drawing attention to their cause-veterans like Captain Chanan Singh Sidhu, who lost his right arm in 1970, burnt their medals and prosthetic limbs at India Gate three years ago.

Reet Mahendra Paul Singh (67)
RANK: Captain
INJURY: Lost right eye while leading an armoured assault on Pakistani positions in 1965 Indo-Pak War when he was hit by shell splinters.
STATUS: He retired after five years of service in 1969 but the army took only one year of service into account while calculating his disability pension. Filed a petition in 1996 in the Punjab & Haryana High Court and struggled for 14 years. This month an armed forces tribunal ruled in his favour, revising his pension from Rs 14,819 to Rs 22,000.

"It is sad. At one stage, nearly 80 per cent of military cases before the courts were on account of disability pension," says General V.P. Malik (retired). Of the 7,995 army-related cases pending before the Supreme Court and various high courts, 3,531 petitions, or nearly 44 per cent, were pension related. Most of these cases have now been transferred to the Armed Forces Tribunals (AFT) set up in 2009 to decide military disputes. An AFT member says over half the pension-related cases were about disability pension, the issue of whether or not a certain injury was caused by military service.
To start with, the soldiers have to plead their case, an insult to heroes. Typically, babudom has created a maze of clearances. Disability is defined by doctors, army officers and accountants, who then determine the quantum of disability pension. Bullet injuries are not difficult to cite, but other ailments like hypertension, which could be a result of numerous postings, have to be argued. All of which consume time and effort and result in trauma.

The percentage of the disability and whether it is attributable to or aggravated by service is assessed by Invaliding or Release Medical Boards (IMBs/RMBs) which examine retiring soldiers before their discharge. The boards' conclusions are sent to the PCDA (Pensions) based in Allahabad, which eventually disburses the pension. This is where the anomalies set in. Often soldiers are improperly assessed by the medical boards or administrative and accounts authorities. Terming Havildar Mohar Singh's injuries as constitutional in nature, the PCDA rejected his claim for grant of disability pension.

Disabled and totally dependent on his family members after being involved in a road accident in Arunachal Pradesh eight years ago, Mohar was brought into court on a stretcher. The shocked AFT bench not only restored his disability pension but also levied a Rs 1-lakh fine on the three members of an armed forces board that had declared him ineligible for disability pension. The problem?

"It is sad. At one stage, nearly 80 per cent of military cases before the courts were on account of disability pension." General V.P. Malik, (Retd)

"Rules are interpreted in a restrictive and literal manner rather than a liberal and beneficial manner as indicated by those very rules," says Navdeep Singh, a Chandigarh-based lawyer and defence counsel in several such cases. In 2005, to make the system more responsive towards the disabled soldiers, the medical boards, and not the PCDA, were given the final say in deciding injuries. Veterans say the move merely replaced the bureaucracy of the PCDA with that of the Defence Ministry and the army. They also argue that there is a different set of rules when it comes to such cases of senior officers.

Last year, 13 officers of the rank of major-general and above applied for and received disability pension. "Senior officers manipulate the system to get disability pension while officers like me are sent out because we cannot continue to serve because of injuries," says Captain M.P. Singh.

Mohar Singh (45)
RANK: Havildar
INJURY: Sustained wounds in an army truck accident in Arunachal Pradesh in 2002. Diagnosed with motor neuron disorder, given disability pension and discharged.
STATUS: Completely dependent on his family for even the smallest of chores. An Appeal Medical Board in 2007 declared his condition not a result of military service which meant he would not get disability pension. Filed writ petition before high court. Last month, an armed forces medical tribunal ruled in his favour and levied a fine of Rs 1 lakh on officers of the medical board.

Those who fight with spirit have to learn to live with the letter of the law. Even when the high court grants veterans their disability pensions, the government challenges the cases in the Supreme Court, prolonging the agony of the litigants.
Captain Sidhu, for instance, won the case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court but had to fight it all the way up to the Supreme Court when the Government challenged the verdict. Dismissing the appeal in April, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Markandeya Katju and A.K. Patnaik asked the government to stop treating veterans like beggars when it came to their pensions and emoluments.

"If this is the manner in which the army personnel are treated, it can only be said that it is extremely unfortunate. The army personnel are bravely defending the country, even at the cost of their lives and we feel that they should be treated in a better and more humane manner by governmental authorities, particularly, in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits," the bench said. Strangely, these sentiments are not shared by army authorities or by the ministry. "The military is going as per the policy laid down in the Army Act. We feel that the procedure is absolutely right," says a senior army official.

The establishment of the AFT with a principal bench in Delhi and benches in various other cities has come as a relief in many such cases. Yet a slow-grinding system does not keep pace with the rapid relief offered by the AFT. Several litigants like Digendra are yet to see their pension settlements even after the three-month delivery period laid down in their judgements.

"It is like adding insult to injury," says Colonel S.B. Singh (retired) a Jaipur-based lawyer for Digendra and Mohar. Several other veterans in the Punjab and Haryana AFT have not received their pensions even a year after the judgements. "The Defence Ministry does not adhere to the time-frame prescribed by the courts unless contempt petitions are filed," says Navdeep.

Speedy justice, it seems, is a far cry in the Defence Ministry.

Senior officers may be getting preferential treatment
Among the worst things that can happen to a career military officer is to become a "category" or to be put in a low medical grade which could hinder further promotions. "I would hate to become a category even after I retire. What will my men think of me?" says a lieutenant-general. Not anymore, it would seem. Last year, 13 officers applied for and received disability pension. The list includes four lieutenant-generals and nine major-generals. This would not be so strange. "The health of an officer does deteriorate due to health and service conditions. We have a Release Medical Board, which has stringent procedures and certifies officers six months before release," says Major-General Sanjeev Madhok, additional director, General Public Information. But this figure is nearly twice that of general officers who received disability pension in 2008. The trend continues in 2010. Three lieutenant-generals and two major-generals, who retired until April this year, received disability pension. The Sixth Pay Commission last year hiked disability pension to a maximum of 30 per cent of their last salary. Is this serving as a dubious incentive? Most officials agree that the seniors hide ailments through their service and declare them on their way out to claim pension benefits. "It's just being plain greedy," says Major-General Surjit Singh (Retired).
Soldiers of Misfortune

Bureaucrats are land grabbers: Sample Chandigarh

VIP land grabbers Chandigarh has been choked
The Tribune Monday, July 5, 2010, Chandigarh, India

WHEN Le Corbusier planned Chandigarh, he had ordained that no other city should come up anywhere in its vicinity. He would have never imagined that Panchkula and Mohali would be developed within metres of the dream city. As if that was not bad enough, much of the open space in its periphery has been grabbed by land sharks. Agricultural land has already been converted into lavish farmhouses and illegal colonies. Those who are supposed to stop such illegal activity have turned a blind eye because the land grabbers stand far higher than them in the hierarchy. Whether it is Punjab politicians, including Cabinet ministers and MLAs, or IAS and PCS officers, almost everybody who is somebody indulged in the land loot.
Thanks to the media focus, this systematic robbery is being looked into by the judiciary. Many uncomfortable truths are tumbling out. Some 145 IAS officers and 180 PCS officers are among those who grabbed land on the periphery. An ordinary person doing so is bad enough. When those who form the steel frame of the administration do so, the crime is far more serious. What makes it even worse is the fact that many of them have not even been able to explain where they got the money to make these acquisitions. One hopes that the inquiry by Punjab DGP (Railways) Chander Shekhar will reach its logical conclusion.
Besides the VIP land grabbers, the periphery was also ruined by nearly 350 illegal colonisers from 1984 to 2010. They floated societies at Zirakpur, Kansal, Karoran, Mohali, Dera Bassi, Lalru, Dhakoli, Bishanpura, Baltana, Himmatgarh and Sohana, etc, as if they had no fear of the law. Apparently, they were certain that the police would not “interfere”. Such lawlessness could not take place without the tacit approval of higher-ups. Only if all wrongdoers are deprived of their illegal properties and are also fined heavily would the future land grabbers think twice before emulating them.
VIP land grabbers Chandigarh has been choked

Unfair to military personnel. They must get their Rank Pay denied to them since 1986

by Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi (retd)
The Tribune Monday, July 5, 2010, Chandigarh, India
Governments, they say, are impersonal and yet a democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We take pride in saying that we are the world’s largest democracy. Yet, the people’s voice is largely not heard because the political leadership and the bureaucrats who advise them are so bound by rules and regulations (of their own making unfortunately) that unless they are nudged, nay shoved violently, it is difficult to change their somnambulant state.

Unfortunately, the military fraternity of both serving and retired categories seems to be experiencing the brunt of it, especially since early 2008, when the continuing and tragic saga of the Sixth Pay Commission commenced. While the commission has been hogging the headlines, there are many other important issues that also need to be highlighted so that the people, who after all are supposedly the real rulers of the country, are aware of them.

This piece is about a few inter-linked yet vastly different issues that are making military personnel very angry and justifiably so. The first is the case of the “rank pay”, where despite an elaborate and clear ruling by the Supreme Court, the authorities, ill advised by the bureaucracy, have filed another appeal! This is a farce of monumental proportions being played against a large number of affected military officers. As a case of bureaucratic pusillanimity and procrastination, this does take the cake. Let me briefly narrate the essentials.

In 1986, the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission included the grant of “rank pay” to all defence officers of the rank up to brigadier and equivalent. However, while implementing the same, equivalent amounts were reduced from the pay, by an omission or by design (both perceptions exist)! No military person noticed this at that time. This may be hard to believe but the prevailing culture at that time was that most military personnel were fairly blasé about their pay and allowances.

It was in fact considered infra dig to get in to mundane issues like entitlements, as it was a firm belief that the authorities will always look after one’s interests. It is now clear that we were really naive. The authorities in the corridors of South and North Blocks, however, had little time for such niceties! Having learnt bitter lessons after the Sixth Pay Commission, the military has now become wiser, but at the huge cost of losing confidence, trust and fair play in the government (read bureaucracy).

Reverting to the “rank pay” case, the issue came to light only when retired Major Dhannapalan discovered it, approached the Kerala High Court for redress and fought it with the unrelenting Ministry of Defence (MoD) in both the High Court and the Supreme Court, till he won the case in 2005, after nine years. However, while implementing the judgment, the MoD gave benefits only to the officer. The representations of a large number of similarly affected officers were ignored. This resulted in a flood of writ petitions, as the affected officers had no other option but to seek justice from the courts. Finally, despite the vehement opposition by the MoD, the Supreme Court ruled on March 8, 2010, that the benefit of the judgment must be extended to all eligible military officers and also awarded 6 per cent interest on the amount due to the officers.

While the affected officers were still doing their calculations, the empire struck back with an appeal against the ruling. Why is the MoD deliberately trying to deny justice to a large number of military officers? Is it a delaying tactic designed to cheat the military personnel and stall the implementation of the judgment, or a case of losing face or the fear of being penalised for a deliberate act of commission, or a combination of all three? Whatever be the motivation, the military personnel are livid on being denied their legitimate emoluments.

This also begs the larger question of the government being the single biggest litigant, keeping the courts busy and in the process preventing them from dispensing justice to more needy persons. I fail to understand the logic of the government contesting every order the Supreme Court has passed in favour of defence forces. It did so for umpteen years in the case of fixation of pension of Major-Generals. In the case of a disabled officer, Capt CS Sidhu, the Supreme Court was constrained to remark that the government treated its soldiers worse than beggars!

Dr V. Moily, Minister of Law and Justice, has recently announced the National Litigation Policy, which aims to reduce average pendency time from 15 years to three years. The policy emphasises that the government must cease to be a compulsive litigant. The Law Minister may keep making announcements and publishing policies, but will the stalwarts in the MoD as well as other ministries listen? In the meantime, the large numbers of affected military personnel continue to be deprived of their legitimate emoluments.

Let me now highlight the second and a more recent issue, relating to jobs for military personnel after their retirement. In 2004, the Directorate-General of Resettlement, as part of its drive for securing jobs for retired officers and soldiers, had persuaded the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to accept retired military personnel for running toll plazas on highways. Being disciplined and honest, they are doing a superb job and have already increased collections at the ex-servicemen-run toll plazas from the earlier 15 to 80 per cent. There are over 25,000 military veterans running NHAI-owned toll plazas, while another 10,000 provide logistical support.

Now, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to auction all the toll plazas to the highest bidder. The motive is undoubtedly monetary, while efficient running or jobs for the needy veterans do not seem to have any place in the thinking of the government! As a sop, the NHAI has stated that the toll plazas in Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern states or other disturbed areas would continue to be kept for the military veterans sponsored by the Director-General of Resettlement. How nice, but no toll plaza exists in these areas!

While the government is keen to employ military veterans to do all the difficult fighting against the Maoists, including the highly dangerous clearance of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), when it comes to giving them their dues in terms of their legitimate emoluments or jobs as part of their rehabilitation, it baulks at and panders to power and money brokers. Is this our version of democracy?
The writer is a former Vice-Chief of the Army.
Unfair to military personnel They must get their due by Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi (retd)

IESM: Be temperate and disagree with dignity

Dear Colleagues,
Over the last two years there has been a great awakening among the ESM. We have become visibly and vocally aware of how successive governments have been doing us down over the years. Our voice, suppressed over the years by the weight of the Service rules, has found air. We are justifiably angry. In the case of some of us the anger finds expression through our keyboard fingers.
With this rather sudden realization we have begun to look for issues to criticise the regime on. We need to keep in mind that raising too many issues – some not even directly connected with the ESM welfare – might give us an unfair and unwanted tag of being garrulous. This would hurt pursuit of our main goal of OROP and other demands.
Internally, the subject of membership fees refuses to die down. There are weighty arguments supporting both options; maintaining status quo as well as effecting a reduction. The issue has been debated and decided repeatedly in the Governing Body, as well during a Core Group meeting. Views expressed in rallies have also not been unanimous in favour of either option. We should leave the issue for discussion in the next AGM.
A related issue is whether the government response has any direct relation to the total number of members and to the fact that an entity is recognized by the government. While each one of us has his view on the subject, recalling of some facts may be in order:
  • Before IESM membership had touched a four-figure mark, or even before IESM was born and when the protest rallies were conducted under ESMO beginning in April 2008, the government conceded two of our major demands.
  • Constitution of an ESM Commission
  • A separate pay commission for the armed forces. We should recall that on earlier occasions the government had repeatedly turned down the Chiefs’ request of even having representation in the pay commissions.
  • We already have ESM organizations having large membership (lakhs) and government recognition and still not having been able to get the ESM their dues.
  • It needs to be known that government recognition is based on certain pre-conditions. These include a written acceptance of shunning any form of anti- government public protest such as rallies, depositing of medals etc.
    I will again appeal to all ESM to use temperate language while voicing a counter view. All of us are entitled to our opinions. Let us disagree with dignity. Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    None amongst must forget..."
    "For democracy... for the precious right to speak freely..."
    "Down the long, long corridors of duty, of honour, of gallantly going silently, We remain silent of deeds and sacrifices..."
    "No veterans, no democracy, you got no India we lovingly call Bharat."
  • ECHS Secunderabad Gearing up for Veteran Care

    Dental Wing

    Cafeteria and CSD Canteen

    Ambulance donated

    Dear Veterans
    I am sending pictures of recent events at ECHS Secunderabad to update you all. As has been in the recent past the Army Commander, Sub Area Commander Maj Gen KD Singh has made it possible for the veterans to have these improvements and additions at the ECHS. I am honoured to be a volunteer in this enabling environment. The Sub Area Commander has taken initiative and his drive and enthusiasm is very encouraging (and infectious) to all of us. His staff and those at the ECHS are also very helpful. The Sub Area Commander is always willing to examine suggestions for improvement of ECHS.

    1. The dental wing building in the ECHS compound has been completed and now in addition to the Dentist at ECHS, 3 more dental chairs from the Army Dental College centre (Extn) which was functioning from the Bison Canteen Compound have been shifted into this building. We now have four dental chairs, a qualified dentist (ECHS), 3 dental interns from the Army Dental College, hygienist and other staff. A specialist from the Army Dental College will make a visit once a week.

    2. The building that is going to house the Cafeteria and CSD outlet. This was an existing building and lot of renovation and repair has been done and a building with an area of appx 2500 plus sq ft is now getting ready. The false roofing is nearing completion and the flooring, painting and other refinements/ additions will take another fortnight or so for completion. The roofing for this building costing about Rs 1.8 Lakhs has been donated by a private listed company, MS Pennar Industries subsidiary Pre Engineered Building Systems (Pebs Pennar). I have been associated with Pennar Group in various capacities for the past 20 years.

    3. Donation of Ambulance by family of late Lt Col Gev Eduljee
    The most notable and very noble and heart moving gesture was made by the family of Late Lt Col Gev Edulji (his son Viraf is a serving Capt in the Indian Navy). The ambulance was donated yesterday 2 Jul 10 at a simple function. The Sub Area Commander Maj Gen KD Singh and other retired senior officers -Air Marshal Nair, AVM PK Mani, Admiral Pestonji and others were present. Capt Viraf and Mrs Edulji handed over the keys of the ambulance to Maj Gen KD Singh who handed it over to Col Basha the OIC ECHS Secunderabad.

    The current parking area is not sufficient and hence a new parking area just outside the compound is being got ready. The ECHS at Secunderabad currently attends to about 500 patients daily. Plans are afoot to make further improvements/ additions.
    With best wishes,
    Wg Cdr (Retd) A B Bhushan

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    IESM: Meet at Bangalore on 27 June 2010

    South Zone Military Veterans Meet
    Vidhan Soudha Bangaluru, India
    Jun 27, 2010
    by Partha
    South Zone Military Veterans Meet, convened by veteran Col SS Rajan (South Zone & Karnataka State Convener IESM was held at Banquet Hall of Vidhan Sudha, Bangaluru on Sunday the 27th June 2010. The Meet was attended by more than 350 Gourav Senani representing not only the four southern states, but few from Assam, Delhi, J&K, Meghalaya, Maharastra & Tripura. It is noteworthy that Hon'ble Home Minister of Karnataka, Dr V.S Acharya had graced the Meet. Please have the pleasure of viewing them.
    Photo Slideshow


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