Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indian Army battles encroachments of its lands in cities

Army, corporator fight over 'encroached' land by Hemanth CS, DNA, Updated: December 09, 2010 15:40 IST

Bangalore: The Indian Army not only has to deal with incursions on the borders but also with alleged encroachment of its lands within cities where their bases are located.

The Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC) in Bangalore is one such. A local corporator has allegedly not just encroached upon its land in two separate locations adjoining HD Deve Gowda Road in RT Nagar, but also built a commercial complex and a petrol bunk there.

Documents with the PRTC officials show that a total of 27.87 guntas of land has been allegedly encroached upon by JC Nagar corporator N Govindaraju (of ward no 46).

Govindaraju claims the land is his ancestral property and insists that he is in possession of the PRTC land which had been handed over to the Central government by the Mysore State after it merged with the Indian Union in the 1950s.

"The Mysore State Force handed over 613 acres and 33 guntas of land to the government of India after the state's merger. This land which was used by the Mysore Lancers and the Mysore Infantry and given to Ministry of Defence in 1955. But over the years small portions of our lands have been encroached upon," a senior official of the PRTC told DNA.

The encroached land on which the petrol pump and commercial complex have come up fall under survey no 42 of Matadahalli and survey no 1 of Saverline villages.
Read more at:
Army, corporator fight over 'encroached' land

How the Army Lands are ursurped and encroached?
Local civil cantonment/ municipal elected councillors are the real culprits who allow criminals to surreptitiously and silently encroach Military Lands over a period of time in collusion with the Defence Estate officers who get a kick back on regular basis. The Military is often made a scapegoat as it has no wherewithal to fight the Political criminals and prefer to turn a blind eye to encroachments!

International Anti-Corruption Day: India scores highest marks

By resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003, the UN General Assembly designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. This decision was taken in order to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. The Assembly urged all States and competent regional economic integration organizations to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption as soon as possible in order to ensure its rapid entry into force.

Are we racing towards a Failed State?
India 87th on corruption list – Will we ever improve? by Viral Dholakia
Have you noticed how a bunch of ants surround a cube of sugar? Similarly, where there is big money involved – the corruption will most likely find its roots dug deep into the system. It is literally under every stone you turn. And, by now, most of us in India have learned to live with corruption as a part and parcel of our life.

In India, the tentacles of corruption are spread far and wide in all horizons of life and not just limited to government organizations. Recent instances of IPL scam and the Commonwealth Games fiasco underscores as to how a big moolah can attract corruption even in a Gentleman’s game. (The 2G Spectrum Scam has drained the national wealth- increasing the nation's poverty Index/ levels and making the poor poorer)

Moreover, corruption is not just limited to India. It is a massive phenomena and a real cancer destroying the benefits of globalization in many poor countries.

The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that three quarters of the 178 countries in the index have fared miserably in terms of corruption problem.

Specifically, India has slipped three places in global rankings of most corrupt countries, from 84 in 2009 to 87 this year.

On the ranking based on the scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (low level of corruption), India scored 3.3 to grab 87th position in sharing with Jamaica and Liberia. It is understood that the CWG has to take blame for India’s poor show – on account of large-scale corruption in preparation to hosting the grand event.

On a positive note, only 5 countries – Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland and Sweden – managed to score higher than 9 points which indicates the list of least corrupted nations. The countries that ranked as most corrupt nations were Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report released by Transparency International, which is based on input from 13 different experts and business surveys, further indicates that the global financial crisis took a toll on people’s views of corruption in government.

Notable among decliners over the past one year are some of the countries most affected by the financial crisis precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits. The survey highlighted the fact that few of the improvers were from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Download complete PDF report

India ranks 87th- the most corrupt nation of the subcontinent
Are we racing towards a failed state?
PM says he is worried about future of Parliamentary system

Friday, December 10, 2010

केन्द्रीय सतर्कता (सीवीसी) आयुक्त और नागरिक डिजिटल पहल भ्रष्टाचार से लड़ने के लिए

परियोजना Vigeye (सतर्कता नेत्र) एक नागरिक केंद्रित पहल है, जिसमें नागरिकों को भारत में भ्रष्टाचार से लड़ने में केंद्रीय सतर्कता आयोग के साथ हाथ में शामिल हो.
परियोजना Vigeye मंच है जिसके माध्यम से सतर्कता जानकारी आम जनता, सरकारी एजेंसियों और सतर्कता आयोग के माध्यम से आसानी से बहती है, जिससे यह संभव राष्ट्र के भ्रष्टाचार सूचकांक में सुधार लाने में एक कदम कूद प्राप्त करने के लिए है.
आप एक खाली एसएमएस या "VIGEYE" 09223174440 पर भेजने के लिए एक अपने मोबाइल में पंजीकरण कड़ी युक्त एसएमएस प्राप्त कर सकते हैं. परियोजना Vigeye की महत्वपूर्ण विशेषताएं हैं:

कई चैनलों के नागरिकों के लिए सीवीसी को अपनी शिकायतों और शिकायतों हवा
अपने मोबाइल फोन के माध्यम से: सीवीसी वेबसाइट से मोबाइल अनुप्रयोग डाउनलोड करने से. शिकायतों बेहतर / अपने मोबाइल फोन से सीधे / फोटो सबूत वीडियो, ऑडियो जैसे अतिरिक्त डेटा के साथ जोड़ा जा सकता है.
इंटरनेट के माध्यम से: तक शिकायत ऑनलाइन फार्म भर कर वे ऑडियो / वीडियो / फोटो साक्ष्य संलग्न कर सकते हैं.
टेलीफोन के माध्यम से: हेल्पलाइन सेटअप किया गया है
संपूर्ण शिकायत प्रसंस्करण ऑनलाइन किया जाता है, डिजिटल रूप में, जल्दी और शिकायतों का सही प्रसंस्करण सक्षम करने से.
सीवीओ संबंधित शिकायतकर्ता से सीधे फोन पर होगा / या व्यक्ति में ईमेल संपर्क, जैसा भी मामला हो सकता है, इसे आगे ले
शिकायत की स्थिति वापस शिकायतकर्ता को नहीं भेजी है - संचार पाश पूरा हो जाता है
Vig-Eye: यहाँ क्लिक करें

When a Soldier Cries

Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD
The profession of arms is all about management of violence, destruction and death. As it is not easy to muster courage and nerve to kill other human beings, soldiers are trained to acquire a streak of raw ruthlessness and brutality. Consequently, according to common perception, soldiers are supposed to be cold-hearted and unsentimental fighters, totally impervious to emotional weaknesses. It is just not ‘soldierly’ to cry and shed tears like other mortals. But then as Voltaire said, “Tears are the silent language of grief”. Grief is a fundamental sentiment. It spares no one and soldiers are no exception. Soldiers by nature are highly sensitive to the environment and its responses.

However, soldiers do not grieve through wailing, howling, weeping and even sobbing. Their grief finds expression not through tears but through their silent anguish. Here are five triggers that overwhelm soldiers’ hearts and make them cringe with pain.

When he loses in battle
Soldiering is not a profession. It is a commitment that every soldier undertakes with missionary zeal to defend his country. It stretches much beyond the normal call of duty as is commonly understood. It is a matter of honour for a soldier to fight and win, whatever be the challenges and cost. It is a trait that becomes an inalienable part of every soldier’s character and provides motivational sustenance. Soldiers see themselves as the sole guardians of national security. Being the last bastion of the state, the military is fully aware of the fact that it cannot fail the nation, whatever may be the odds.

Memories of reverses suffered during the Chinese aggression of 1962 still cause immense pain. Despite the fact that the soldiers were ill-equipped and ill-clothed to fight in snow-bound areas, their devotion and valour were in the highest traditions of the services. Soldiers were not to blame for the failure, yet they felt that they had let the nation down. Scars of retreat in the face of the Chinese onslaught continue to haunt to date. Inability to dominate and crush forces inimical to national interests makes soldiers miserable. They become restless for an opportunity to redeem their lost honour.

When he loses a mate
Self preservation is a strong natural instinct and subordination of personal interests to group interests is against normal human psyche. However, military life is all about camaraderie and group cohesion. Indian military thrives on shared commitment among soldiers to achieving the assigned goal. Shared commitment flows from cohesion developed through rigorous training, caring and emotional bonding. It is not uncommon to see soldiers risk their lives for their colleagues. Soldiers are neither reckless nor impulsive. They are fully aware of the trauma and privations their families would have to suffer should they die in the call of duty. Their inexplicable behavior is purely due to intense attachment and loyalty to their colleagues and the group.

The worst thing for a soldier is to lose a ‘buddy’. Poignant notes of the ‘Last Post’ send shivers down the toughest of soldiers’ backs. Tears shed in the memory of a fallen comrade are invariably accompanied by a sense of guilt and helplessness. Many tend to blame themselves for their failure to save their colleague’s life. This is the reasons why arms are reversed while bidding final farewell to a friend.

When his leaders let him down
Military as an institution sustains itself on the trust-loyalty equation existing between the leadership and the rank and file. To be trusted is the greatest compliment that a leader can earn. Trust is the expectancy that the followers can rely on a leader’s immaculate personal conduct and professional competence. It flourishes on the credibility that a leader enjoys in his command. Soldiers willingly repose faith in a leader in the belief that he would remain incorruptible and morally upright.

When military leaders indulge in land grabbing, sale of liquor or fake encounters, soldiers start wondering whether such leaders deserve their trust and confidence. They get disillusioned as their faith in the uprightness and integrity of the leadership gets shaken. They feel let down by the leadership that they had trusted unquestioningly. Worse, loss of credibility makes soldiers doubt their military competence and worthiness. They cry out in anguish as they find that their icons of morality are unworthy of their trust.

When countrymen fail to understand him
Soldiers’ dedication to duty, loyalty to the nation and willingness for the supreme sacrifice are driven less by material considerations and more by an overwhelming urge to earn love and respect of their countrymen. As the soldiers know that their image in the society is dependent on media projections, they tend to be very sensitive to adverse publicity and undue criticism. They feel betrayed that their national media ignores their contribution and highlights a few aberrations.

Soldiers do not question subjecting the military to public scrutiny. However, they want it to be done in an objective and balanced manner. For example, quite unfairly, in the recent case pertaining to Adarsh Housing Society, the media has twisted the facts so blatantly to make it appear to be a scam perpetrated exclusively by the service officers. Worse, Army’s prompt action against transgressing officers is never recognized. Further, it is most demoralizing when a few self-proclaimed chair-bound activists make their living through regular military-bashing. According to them, anti-national crowds can throw stones at uniformed persons and maim them, but return fire in self-defence is not acceptable.

It is unfair to expect that there would be no aberrations in a 1.3 million strong force. However, it must be appreciated that 90 percent of the troops are deployed on borders or in counter-insurgency operations. Soldiers doing duty in remote and uncongenial areas feel terribly pained when a few acts of misdemeanor and indiscretion are cited to paint a negative picture of the services as a whole. They wonder if the countrymen understand their trials and tribulations. They cry for the nation’s empathy and recognition.

When the government shows apathy
A supportive government’s compassion acts as a major motivator for the soldiers. It is not a question of financial remunerations alone. It is the way a government treats and values its soldiers that matter. Except for token inanities on Independence Day, the Government has singularly failed to appreciate the intensity of sense of hurt of the soldiers at their continued neglect. Frequent degradation of their status through manipulated pay commission awards has made them skeptical about government’s intent.
In the recent past, India was witness to the most unfortunate sight of numerous military veterans returning their medals to the President to register their protest against Government’s indifference to their pleas. Medals earned during active service are the proudest possession of soldiers and their being driven to surrender them should have made the Government sit up and take note. But true to its wont, the Government remained totally unconcerned and unmoved. This episode will certainly go down as a dark chapter in the history of Independent India.

When the government expresses its inability to spare a small piece of suitable land for a war memorial in the capital to honour independent India’s martyrs, it hurts every soldier. They consider it to be an affront to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice. When a senior member of the ruling party declares that commemoration of Kargil war is not warranted as the war took place due to an intelligence failure of the earlier government, soldiers are left aghast at the brazenness of the logic. When the government adopts a negative attitude and makes no effort to redress their genuine grievances, the soldiers are left a disillusioned lot with no one to provide solace.

Military is a social organization, albeit highly structured and disciplined. It consists of living human beings with their normal share of sentiments and idiosyncrasies. Soldiers also emote and go through phases of elation and sorrow. It is just that they are trained to keep their emotions under control lest it affects their performance in crisis situations. Their anguish remains muted due to their strong sense of loyalty to the country and to uphold military honour. For that reason, soldiers need to be handled with sensitivity and compassion.

Also see: Omar seeks 30,000 new Kashmiri cops to replace CRPF  | Maoist threat: Deploy the Babus, not army

Major General Mrinal Suman, (retd) AVSM, VSM, PhD directs the Defence Acquisition Management Course for Confederation of Indian Industry and heads its Defence Technical Assessment and Advisory Service. A prolific writer, he is often consulted by policy makers and the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, and is regularly invited to address various industrial chambers in India and abroad. The views expressed here are his own.)

By the same author: Are ex-servicemen Enemies of the State? | Women in the Army? Not yet! |Why India is not a great nation | Unsung Heroes: The Ice Warriors | When a soldier prays | Why everybody loves a flood | Did the British Really Divide India to Rule? | Where are the real leaders?
When a Soldier Cries

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amar Jawan Jyoti- IAF Band to Enthrall Audiences

Thursday, December 09, 2010 17:53 IST
A 30-member IAF Band will enthrall audiences and visitors to Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate on Saturday, December 11. With a combination of Jazz and Military Brass musical instruments, the air warriors will play western, Indian classical, martial, patriotic and popular Hindi tunes during a ninety-minute performance. The free display will commence at 4 p.m.
Air Force Band to Perform at India Gate on Saturday

अमर जवान ज्योति-वायुसेना ग़ुलाम बनाना दर्शकों को बैंड
गुरुवार, 9 दिसंबर 2010 17:53 IST
एक 30 सदस्यीय भारतीय वायु सेना के बैंड ग़ुलाम बनाना दर्शकों और शनिवार, 11 दिसंबर को इंडिया गेट पर अमर जवान ज्योति पर आगंतुकों होगा. जाज और सैन्य पीतल संगीत वाद्ययंत्र का एक संयोजन के साथ, वायु योद्धाओं एक नब्बे मिनट का प्रदर्शन के दौरान पश्चिमी, भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत, मार्शल, देशभक्ति और लोकप्रिय हिंदी धुनों खेलेंगे. मुफ्त प्रदर्शन 4 बजे अपराह्न शुरू होगा
वायु सेना के बैंड इंडिया गेट पर शनिवार को प्रदर्शन करने के लिए

CVC Citizen Digital Interface to Combat Corruption- "Vig-Eye"

Project Vigeye (Vigilance Eye) is a citizen-centric initiative, wherein citizens join hands with the Central Vigilance Commission in fighting corruption in India.
Project Vigeye is the platform through which vigilance information flows freely through common public, the government agencies and the vigilance commission, making it possible to achieve a step jump in improving the corruption index of the nation.
You can send an empty SMS or "VIGEYE" to 09223174440 to get an SMS containing the registration link in your mobile. The important features of Project Vigeye are:
  • Citizens have multiple channels to air their grievances and complaints to CVC
    a) Through their mobile phones: by downloading the mobile application from the CVC website. The complaints can be better articulated with additional data like audio/ video/ photo evidence from their mobiles directly.
    b) Through the internet: by filling up the complaint form online they can attach audio/video/photo evidence.
    c) Through telephone: help line have been setup
  • The entire complaint processing is done online, in digital form, enabling fast and accurate processing of complaints.
  • The concerned CVO will interact with the complainant directly over phone/email or in person, as the case may be, to take it forward
  • Status of the complaint is communicated back to the complainant - the communication loop becomes complete
    Vig-Eye: click here

    Upload videos, audios to expose corruption on CVC's 'Vig-Eye'New Delhi: In a unique move, the Central Vigilance Commission on Thursday launched an exclusive website for people to upload videos, audios and lodge complaints exposing acts of corruption in government departments.
    According to an anti-corruption watchdog official, Vig-Eye (an acronym for vigilance eye), provides a more user-friendly platform for interface between the CVC and the citizens who may have suffered at the hands of corrupt officials and who want to disclose information about such illegal activities.
    "The advantage of Vig-Eye includes simplified process of filing complaints and it will provide authentic identity of the complainant. Vig-Eye would be completely digitised and it will give online access to vigilance information," Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas said while inaugurating the web portal.
    "Efforts at modernising the vigilance framework are underway which include development of new models of preventive vigilance, adoption of risk management approach and aligning the vigilance function with the corporate governance framework," he said.
    The CVC said that preventive and punitive approaches to addressing corruption need to complement each other. The Commission has adopted a strategy of leveraging technology and has been persuading the government to adopt e -governance measures.
    "The aim is to use technology in activities vulnerable to corruption in order to reduce human intervention," he said. Thomas said that the Commission has undertaken a campaign aimed at creating awareness about corruption and inculcating ethics on good governance. The campaign would help reduce people's tolerance for corruption.
    The Commission has also recommended to the government to include ethics education in the school curriculum, Thomas said. Thomas was speaking during a seminar 'Empowering citizens to combat corruption' organised at Vigyan Bhawan here on International Anti-Corruption Day. The seminar was aimed at deliberating and recommending proactive and participative measures to combat corruption.
    Introducing the Vig-Eye, Vigilance Commissioner Srikumar said that it will help build up the vision of proactive and predictive vigilance. The VC said that people can use mobile phones and web based technologies to lodge complaints or grievances using mobile phones with a software application specially designed to file complaints.
    People can visit CVC's website ( to access or get more information on Vig-Eye. The CVC acts as an apex anti-corruption statutory body mandated to fight corruption and ensuring probity in public life.
    Source: Agencies
    Upload videos, audios to expose corruption on CVC's 'Vig-Eye'

  • On second thoughts...
    Can CVC Doubting Thomas be trusted?

    Signal Officer battles corruption

    I became victim of personal vendetta

    Loud whistle: Major General (retd) V.K. Singh / Photo: Sanjay Ahlawat

    No government likes it when its spies talk about their jobs. In fact, under the Official Secrets Act, employees of security services are not allowed to disclose anything to anyone about any aspect of their work. Even after retirement, these officers are discouraged to write and speak on intelligence matters. When Major General (retd) V.K. Singh published his book, India’s External Intelligence—Secrets of the Research & Analysis Wing, he was charged with the crime of violating the OSA. His house was ransacked and his passport seized. In an interview with THE WEEK, he speaks about the legal struggle, holes in the case against him and how he became a victim of personal vendetta.

    Had you ever thought that your book would bring you such trouble?
    I had no idea that the book would invite such a reaction from the authorities. While I was in R&AW, I noticed several aberrations such as indiscipline, lack of accountability and corruption. The professionalism and pride that one associates with a premier organisation were absent. I felt that these anomalies should be corrected and this would only happen if they were brought to the notice of the public. In fact, the most important issue that I wanted to raise was corruption. During my stay, I noticed a few cases in R&AW as well as the SPG, where equipment appeared to have been procured from foreign vendors at exorbitant prices or without the mandatory security checks.

    What are the charges that have been levelled against you?
    The main charges against me are that I have given the charter of R&AW recommended by the Group of Ministers on National Security in 2001; that I revealed the names of officers and locations of R&AW stations; and that I gave details about certain projects in R&AW.
    Firstly, the contents of the GoM report were the subject of several articles in 2001, some of which I have referred to in my book. At the time of its formal release on May 23, 2001, the chapter on intelligence was deleted. The report, minus the deleted portions, is still available on the web site of the ministry of defence. The names of all the officers are available on the Department of Personnel and Training web site. In August 2009, the CBI held its biennial conference at Vigyan Bhavan, in Delhi. The list of attendees was circulated to all departments of the government. It had the names and appointments of about 30 officers of R&AW. In a recent decision, the Central Information Commission has ordered the DoPT to give the names of all officers above the rank of joint secretary posted to R&AW from 2001 to 2008. So, the anonymity of R&AW officers is a myth.
    It is common knowledge that R&AW officers are posted in foreign countries. The location of R&AW stations in India is also known to vendors who are given turn-key projects for installation of equipment, such as VSAT terminals.

    Many say that if no action was taken against you, it would have encouraged other disaffected officers to write about intelligence agencies?
    Not all officers who write books are disaffected. People like Sankaran Nair [former R&AW chief], T.S.R. Subramanian [former cabinet secretary] and General (retd) V.P. Malik [former Army chief] had reached the top of their professions. They can hardly be considered disaffected. Recently, an official history of MI-6, the British intelligence agency, was published. There are several books written by officers who have served in the CIA. Such books form a part of history. As you are aware, in 2008 a gag order was issued through a gazette, according to which all officers serving in such agencies will have to give an undertaking that they will not write anything after retirement. If they do, the officer will forfeit his pension. I believe the DoPT has asked the defence minister also to publish a similar gazette for armed forces personnel. If that happens, soon there will be no Indian military history.

    There are a couple of books written by former intelligence officials, including one by B. Raman [former head of the counter-terrorism division of R&AW ] that accuses [former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi of influencing the Bofors probe. The authors were never harassed.
    The other authors, such as Raman, Sankaran Nair and [former IB joint director] Maloy Dhar, were insiders, who know much more than what they have written. If they are prosecuted, they will reveal many things which would be even more embarrassing. I was an outsider, and thus no threat to them. I became the victim of a personal vendetta. In my book, I had mentioned the names of many officers in R&AW who were inefficient and involved in corruption. I had also mentioned a senior officer who did not attend office for eight months after being overlooked for promotion. Though I have not mentioned his name in the book, it was common knowledge that the man was Ashok Chaturvedi, who later became the R&AW chief. I am told he was furious at the mention of this incident in the book. He and his number two, Sanjiv Tripathi, were instrumental in launching the case against me.

    Are you saying that there were many attempts to harass and implicate you?
    Yes, there were. While I was in R&AW, I had been given a Maruti car, without a driver, to commute. I was then staying at RK Puram. One night the car was stolen from outside my flat. I lodged an FIR next morning but the car was never found. A few months after the case against me was initiated, I came to know that some people in R&AW were trying to locate the person who had been my orderly at that time. They planned to pay him a large sum, and get him to state that the car was not stolen but had been sold by me.
    They also tried to plant documents on me. I remember a few weeks before my home was raided on September 21, 2007, a person by the name of Shakti Prakash called me up. He said that he had read my book and that he was being harassed by R&AW as he was being forced to become an agent. I told him that I had retired and had nothing to do with R&AW now, but he pleaded for a meeting. I along with an Army colleague, who had also been with me in R&AW, met him at USI Library in Delhi. He handed over to me a bunch of papers and asked me to go through them and advise him what to do. The folder had letters addressed to the President, Prime Minister and many others, complaining of harassment by R&AW. I brought the folder home and forgot all about it. Later, when the CBI raided my house they took away the folder and produced it in court when they opposed my plea for anticipatory bail. I still don’t know whether Shakti Prakash was a plant, or a genuine sufferer at the hands of R&AW.

    How easy is it for intelligence agencies to wrongly implicate a person?
    Very easy. The Samba spy case is a ?perfect example. Innocent people spent 14 years in jail on charges trumped up by military intelligence. More recently, Captain B.K. Subbarao and Iftikar Geelani were similarly prosecuted and later acquitted. Unlike the famous Dreyfus case in France, where the persons who had falsely implicated him were punished, in India this never happens. On the other hand, they get out-of-turn promotions and monetary awards.
    I became victim of personal vendetta: Maj Gen VK Singh
    RAW: Controversies, Spies and Scandals- click here to read more

    Poor Quality Hearing Aids- Approved Vendors Roam RR Corridors

    Dear Sirs,
    This perhaps it is the third time that I am addressing the mail to IESM/ECHS. There has never been a reaction.I have met Col Dogra every month to find out if there is any firm policy on the hearing aid vendors. Once I met the Regional Director, who had no clear answer.
    The case is simple. I am hard of hearing as far as higher frequencies are concerned. Also, listening in a hall is difficult.
    RR Specialits recommended Digital hearing aid, in 2006. By 2007 I was tired of being offered COSTLY aids by mr Anand of Basrurkar market. The pieces offered by him were without any volume control. Cost, such as Rs 50000/- did not impress me.
    Next I was directed to Vasant Vihar Optique. There too, COSTLY and even TWO pieces were offered to me but without a volume control. I did not take any.
    Oi/c ECHS Lodi tells me that the above are the only vendors on the approved list. In Delhi we have ALPS, who offered a good and cheaper Aid to me but would not deal through ECHS. Same goes for the Hearing Aid shop in Noida, Chandigarh and Amritsar.
    There is a need to review the policy on the hearing aids. More vendors, and if necessary some from out stations have also to be brought in the approved list. There has to be flexibility in the concept of PARENT Clinic, in this case.
    I have said it earlier and am repeating it again:
  • I am not yet helpless.
  • There is a strong hold of two approved vendors in RR. Their staff is even seen moving around in the Eye and Throat Department.
  • Some of my friends fell in for COSTLY Aids, to keep them in the box, most of the time
    With regards,
    Maj Gen Satish Chandra(Retd)
    Related Reading
    CBI alleges its men were obstructed at military hospital
  • Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Genetic Orientation of Military Officers is Autocracy as opposed to Democracy

  • Col SS Rajan- IESM AGM Report of 28 Nov 2010- click here
  • Response by Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM, Gen Sec IESM- click here

    Dear Col Ranjan,
    I believe I owe it to you to write this mail as I can see the passion with which you have been raising these points for the improvement of the IESM. I am a new member in the organization, have never met you, and will not know the personal equation of all members with each other. But I have served under Gen Raj Kadiyan when he was my Corps Cdr and have a very high respect for the fellow senior officer. He will not know me but suffice to say that he is the most suited person to lead a fledgling organization like the IESM. Most general officers settled here in Panchkula play golf, at times give some bytes to media and retire to their homes in the evening. There are very few to stick their neck out and take on the government, agencies and the system on behalf of the veterans.

    Coming on to the functioning of such bodies, I see in our AWHO meetings in Panchkula, a lone member (served in JAG) drags every other meeting and members to the court, since he feels that only his view should prevail. I have been trying to dissect the psyche of soldiers out of uniform, as to why do they believe that whatever they say must be heard by the majority and implemented or else....

    The problem lies in our genetic orientation, which is highly undemocratic. We were driven in a top down structure and autocratic leadership style. Post retirement, in such forums, we suddenly find our vote being counted and every member finds a voice. While it is good to voice our concerns as you have a right to do so, we ought to learn to go with the majority views. That is something the politicians know but we are yet to learn. I appreciate your concerns but once a decision is made by a majority vote; someone of your passion should go and implement it.

    The movement perhaps will fall apart not due to the MOD bureaucrats or Antony or the President not receiving our medals; but by a dissent within and made public so often. The politicians play this game all the time, getting insiders to sabotage well intentioned groups. We need to guard against any such attempts. I am sure you will not play into the hands of media or a bureaucrat or a politician to malign such a noble organisation and the only voice of the veterans.
    It is my personal request and hope it is of every other member of the IESM.
    with regards
    Col KK Sharma (Retd)
    IESM Report by Col SS Rajan
    IESM General Secretary's Response to Col Rajan's Report
  • Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Armed Forces Flag Day

    07 Dec 2010 16:50 IST
    Armed Forces Flag Day was observed today throughout the country. The day is observed to remember the sacrifices made by our gallant servicemen in defending the integrity of our motherland and salute the martyrs, honour the brave and express solidarity and support towards welfare of widows, children, disabled and sick ex-servicemen.

    On this occasion officials of Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) pinned Armed Forces Flag Day Lapels on the President Smt Pratibha Patil, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju and the three Service Chiefs. Similar functions were held throughout the country with the assistance of school students, NCC cadets and Govt officials.

    The mobilized fund is utilized for giving grants to various welfare institutions like Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Cheshire Homes, St. Dunstan’s After Care Organisation for Blind, construction of War Memorial hostels, financial assistance towards marriage, medical, education grants and relief to ex-servicemen towards penury besides hosts of other welfare measure. Samir/Raman
    Armed Forces Flag Day Observed

    Audit of Flag Day Collections
    If Nation wide audit and utilisation of Flag Day funds are carried out it will be realised that hardly any of deserving veterans are really the beneficiaries. However the paper work like any other Government agency camouflages where the funds go. Difficult to unearth the scam.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Bizarre road signs: Border Roads Organisation takes the cake

    By Anoop Chugh, 26/02/2010
    Bizarre road signs
    On my last trip to McLeodganj my eyes fell upon something that would have infused life into a dead soul.

    "Beware of road surprises", read one of the road signs. Road surprises? What the hell is that supposed to mean? The road would take you to a dead end or would end abruptly in a ditch?

    Or may be, it would take you to the same place where you had started from, much like Delhi's Ring Road. Of course, with some piece of information to add to your misery, "you have just discovered the world is round". Must say, these PWD (Public Works Department) guys are a funny lot. They keep the humour going, wherever you go.

    Why limit ourselves to only two emotions when there are hordes of them? How about something that can arouse and stir up the dying romance in your life. "Be gentle on my curves", are the kind of things that can warm up newly-weds up on their way to honeymoon. The moment your head starts getting ideas there will be a dampener howling, "Make love not war, but nothing while driving". Man! Such a turn-off! Creatively-bent heads can appease their artistic selves with "Hospital ceilings are boring to look at. Avoid accidents"

    Surely, PWD believes we can't even wipe-off our ass without making a mess of it. Or, why else would they warn 'Caution: Wet roads during rain'. Surely, even somebody in diaper would know rains make roads wet. What else would they preach us - 'Don't drive sitting in the rear seat', 'If AC ain't working, roll down your windows', or 'breathe out, once you breathe in'.

    Whatever little I have travelled, these boards never fail to amaze me. Road signs enthusiasts would unanimously agree that graffiti on hills is much more creative when compared to the other parts of the country.
    No doubt the one-liners like "Don't gossip, let him drive" and "Darling I love you, but not so fast" sprinkled all across the Himalayas, add zing to your zeal.

    Then there are gems like "Soft shoulder, blind curves, steep grade, big trucks. Good luck!", which send a shiver down your spine and make you smile at the same time. Not everyone can bring out a perfect concoction of fear and laughter.

    Border Roads Organisation takes the cake
    Did I forget to mention the poets the Border Road Organisation is filled with. Here are some verses that won't put John Keats to shame but at least they rhyme. "Don't dream otherwise you'll scream", "This is a highway not a runway", "Mind your brakes or break your mind", "Do not be rash and end in crash". In fact, it sounds more like the title track of some pseudo rock band. This one surely does, "Drive like hell, and you 'll be there". Take care.
    Bizarre road signs

    Fauji Bicycle- words of wisdom

    Fauji Bicycle- words of wisdom
    You may have heard the story of the young officer 50 yrs ago, when he got a cycle loan and purchased one from the unit canteen.
    The cycle was a beauty (the way mobikes/cars are today) but did not have a carrier at the back.
    So he sent his orderly to get one fixed.
    When the cycle came back with the carrier fitted, the Y.O. noted that the stand was missing.
    He went to the CSD authorised cycle dealer and asked him why the stand had been removed.
    He was told, "Sahibji, Fauj me ek hi cheeze mil sakti hai- Career ya Stand.
    Agar stand loge to Career khatam or agar career banana hai to stand kabhi mat lena."

    सैन्य साइकिल
    आप 50 साल पहले युवा अधिकारी की कहानी सुना हो सकता है, जब वह एक चक्र ऋण मिल गया और एक इकाई कैंटीन से खरीदा है.
    चक्र एक सौंदर्य (वैसे मोटर बाइक और कारें हैं आज) था लेकिन पीठ पर एक वाहक नहीं है.
    तो वह अपने अर्दली भेजा करने के लिए एक तय हो.
    जब चक्र सज्जित वाहक के साथ वापस आया, युवा अधिकारी ने कहा कि खड़े याद कर रही थी.
    वह सीएसडी अधिकृत चक्र डीलर के पास गया और उससे पूछा कि क्यों खड़े हटा दिया गया था.
    उन्होंने कहा, सर था, "में सेना एक बात शानदार सफलता कैरियर है या खड़े रहो.
    अगर आपको एक स्टैंड से अपने कैरियर समाप्त हो गया है, लेकिन आप अपने कैरियर से कभी कभी अपनी साइकिल के लिए एक स्टैंड ठीक करना चाहते हैं चाहिए के लिए चुनते हैं.

    Armed Forces Veterans symbol of unity

    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    I am sending you another article under the caption "A FORMIDABLE UNIFICATION OF DEFENCE VETERANS" published in Free Press, Indore Edition on Sunday, December, 5, 2010, for disseminating to our readers. Please specifically see the Paras in blue regarding Manish Tiwari and the second last Para about resolve of IESM.
    Thanking you.
    Col LK Anand Retd

    Free Press, Indore, Sunday, December, 5, 2010 By Col LK Anand RetdA FORMIDABLE UNIFICATION OF DEFENCE VETERANS
    The Sixth Pay Commission although gave a telling blow to the hopes and aspirations of the Defence Forces, by miserably lowering and compromising their status, financial benefits and morale, worse than a setback on a battlefield, for which the Government can never be excused, yet it has to a great extent helped in unification of the entire lot of Ex Servicemen or veterans in India and to a large extent the serving Soldiers as well. It is an equally sad moment for the loyal courageous and brave members of the three services viz Army, Navy and Air Force and lakhs of veterans including war wounded, disabled and widows who felt ignored, humiliated, degraded and denigrated by the Pay Commission Report, to realize that their overall unhappiness and disappointment has not moved any sections of the Indian society, including the Government and the bureaucracy, who seem to be least concerned about the deep pain in their hearts over such inept and indifferent handling of their cause.

    The media who starts flashing/breaking News on the slightest of insignificant happenings in the country, do not seem to have budged at all, at the number of articles written, demonstrations made and concerns shown by various Ex Servicemen organizations and representatives of the forces to them, about the unfairness with which the Sixth Pay Commission has formulated their recommendations. These recommendations pleased very few, but have displeased the vast majority and the main fighting elements of the Defence forces especially the Defence Veterans. The media had plenty of time and space for covering insignificant events, but had no time or inclination for covering even the investiture of brave Indian sons of the soil many of whom laid down their lives for the Nation, by the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces (the President). The media invariably takes great interest in publicizing senseless serials of the like of “Big Boss” and “Rakhi Ka Insaaf” but is not interested in covering the bravery of Indian Soldiers. What a pity and a shame on the Indian Media?

    Incidentally, the situation has now changed drastically from what it used to be earlier, when the ill feelings of servicemen were always moderated and motivated by their military leaders, to happily and without a frown to accept the decisions of the Government. These decisions were based invariably on the ill advice of the bureaucracy who never permitted the three services to flourish the way it was desired by their leaders. Now a time has come when the serving soldiers and veterans will not accept the disgrace and humiliation, being meted out to them by all and sundry lying down, and accept anything less than their justified needs and demands.

    The veterans who earlier were dispersed in all parts of the country and hardly had any worthwhile identity as a group, have now decided to unify themselves throughout the Nation, and their leaders have started a movement to approach every nook and corner of the country to make their voice heard and feelings known to as many colleagues and subordinates as possible. The IT revolution has given a big boost to their awareness, not only of the unification movement but also of highlighting the genuine and legitimate demands of one and all. There is every possibility, that now such a unified movement of the veterans, with support of the serving soldiers, who would eventually be also veterans in the near future, would become an even more sizable force to reckon with and effectively and surely affect the election process of this country. There is no dearth of able leadership to guide their destiny in the desired direction. Such vast majority of a class of citizens, definitely deserve some reserved seats in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha.

    In the past two years on the basis of a call from the veterans’ leadership there was a tremendous response not only from the veterans of various states in over 60 cities of the country, but also from their circle of influence and impact amongst their families, friends and various associations linked with them. It may be a point to ponder that the veterans in the country numbering over 25 to 30 lacs and the serving soldiers numbering over 10 lacs possess sufficient power of numbers, to influence over 2.5 to 3 crores of the population of the country, which by all means can guide the course of any general election in the country. This inherent but latent strength and power of the total population of the Defence forces serving and retired personnel had never been harnessed in the past.

    However, with the bureaucracy’s continued indifference towards the cause of the Defence Forces, their negative advice to the Government and the politicians against the will of the Defence Forces, has resulted in the Government succumbing and totally ignoring them. This has lead to continued degradation humiliation and denigration of their status and reputation (Izzat – upon which a soldier survives and functions under grave situations) ever since India attained freedom, causing detrimental effect, not only on their financial benefits but also on general lowering of their morale. This is bound to undoubtedly affect their battle worthiness in the long run. The country can ill afford such a situation as this could cause irreparable damage to its external as well as internal security and safety, knowing full well that the posture adopted by India’s neighbours is much more aggressive than ever before. The internal situation caused by Maoists, Naxalites and other militants is also highly unsatisfactory and may cause more serious problems than assessed by the Home Ministry.

    It is indeed a shocking display of adamancy, on the part of the Government, duly misguided by the bureaucracy, to not only give a favourable consideration to the justified demands of the veterans, but also for totally ignoring and closing their eyes to the reality, as also the recommendations of some State Governments The Supreme Court and various high powered committees constituted by the Government itself. It is difficult to fathom any justified reasons, for the Government to have become hindrance in the path of granting rightful and just demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP), and to deny it even after acceptance by almost all the ruling Governments in the past 26 years. The Government seems to have totally closed its eyes, towards the disparities faced by its gallant soldiers, subjected to truncated service as compared to its other employees. There is evidence enough of its promise by the Congress party before the last Lok Sabha elections as well, as shown below.

    “The Congress spokesman Shri Manish Tiwari had advocated in Ludhiana on 14 March 2009, for one rank one pension scheme for the ex servicemen across the country. An extract of the clipping of the news item in Punjab Newsline, Saturday, 14 March 2009, Tewari Advocates One Rank One Pension For Ex Servicemen.

    LUDHIANA: The national spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee, Manish Tewari has advocated the one rank one pension scheme for the ex servicemen across the country. In a statement issued here on Saturday, Tewari said, he and his party were working out a comprehensive package for the ex servicemen with one rank one pension as the main focus. He said, although the one rank one pension scheme had been implemented till 1986, it is being extended to include all the ex-servicemen. Referring to some reports claiming that he was not in favour of one rank one pension, Tewari clarified that these were absolutely false and baseless. He asserted, the issue of my opposition to the one rank one pension does not arise as me and my party have always held the view that all the ex-servicemen should be governed by this policy. Tewari promised that once the Congress government is formed at the centre after the general elections, implementation of one rank one pension scheme would be his top priority as he believed that this was quite a justified demand.”

    The Congress could have certainly shown magnanimity and granted the wish, at least after winning the elections.

    A point worthy of note is that the Sixth Pay Commission had been rather liberal with the higher rung of officers of the three Services, which has created a general impression amongst the lower staff of the Defence Forces, that even their own big bosses though in a negligible strength, are not much concerned about the welfare and improvement in the lot of the lower and middle rung of officers, JCOs and the Other Ranks, and have become sycophants of the Government, as well as of the bureaucracy, for feathering their own nests by obtaining post retirement benefits in the form of lucrative and high posts for themselves. So they prefer to keep their mouths shut instead of taking firm stands when required, with the Government for getting the desired benefits for the lower staff. The Adarsh scam has unexpectedly and substantially tarnished the image of the top brass of Army as well as Navy. Involvement of big wigs amongst political and bureaucratic hierarchy, in such scams can always be expected in keeping with their culture and influence. They would go scot free anyhow.

    The general feeling and expectation amongst the staff, this time was, that their top level superior officers, would not follow their predecessors, but would take a firm stand and some drastic and unexpected steps, so that the Government and the bureaucracy is compelled to accept, what is best for the Defence Forces and their subordinates get what had been sought for them and nothing less. It was also expected that all the top rung serving officers and the veterans in high posts of the Government, such as even Governors or Lt Governors, would put their foot down and pressurize the Government to fully and finally honour the recommendations or submit their resignations. But alas, nothing like that happened, and most of those officers maintained a neutral and indifferent stand, to let the bureaucracy and the Government play merry hell into the aspirations of the rest of the defence forces including the Veterans.

    It is a pity that all the calls for getting justice from the government, so far have fallen on deaf ears and no solutions to the demands appear to be in sight. One of the largest organization of Defence Veterans ie IESM after due deliberations as an unified organization of veterans, has resolved that they would continue their peaceful struggle/agitation until the minimum genuine overdue demand of One Rank one Pension, without any exceptions is accepted by the Government, besides fully restoring the Status & respect of the Defence Forces Personnel, downgraded ever since the post independence era.

    My personal view is that, since, the newly unified organization of the Defence veterans, would be a formidable and reckonable force, the Government should also consider reserving a few seats for them in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha.
    Col LK Anand (Retd)

    Career in the Armed Forces a dream come true

    Abhishek Mande
    In our special year-end section, looks at people -- who for better or worse -- wrote the India story this year.
    Krishnant Gholap is an autorickshaw driver's son. After two failed attempts, he made it to the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasala, which he saw as the only way out into a better life.

    He graduated from the NDA last month.

    Abhishek Mande spent time with Krishnant on his last day at the Academy and met the Gholaps at their humble home in Pune. He tells the story of the hardships faced by the family to realise a long-cherished dream.

    Sometime in the last semester at the NDA, Cadet Krishnant Gholap was struggling.

    He had to pass a run test -- complete a stretch of 5 km in 26 minutes. This was his fourth and final attempt.

    The first three times the cadet missed the target by a little over 20 seconds. If he couldn't meet it this time, he would have to stay back for another six months and graduate one batch behind his peers.

    There were other things to consider too. His sister Rohini was to get married. The family had been saving up for the wedding for a long time.

    Another six months would mean the family would also have to keep aside Rs 1,500 each month for his pocket money according to NDA rules.

    For a family that lives in an apartment slightly larger than the cadets's rooms in the Academy, this was a lot of money.

    Plus the fact that he could not make it with the rest of the batch would be a blot on his career.

    "There were too many things tied in with my passing out (from the NDA). I couldn't afford to lose," Krishnant recalls.

    And so he ran.

    With a 20-odd kilo bag on his back, a gun on his shoulder and a pair of boots as heavy as lead, Krishnant Gholap ran because his life depended on it.

    On November 29, 2010 a little past nine in the morning, Cadet Gholap marched with the rest of his batch and stepped on the 'Antim Pag' or the 'Final Step'.

    Somewhat poetically, as the last of the cadets marched out of the parade ground, the sun -- that was hidden behind the clouds all morning -- began to shine brightly.

    Image: Krishnant Gholap, right, with a friend in the white uniform worn in the NDA cadet's mess. Photographs: Abhishek Mande/
    I was desperate. I wanted to get into the army
    Army chief appeals to techies to join the forces by Akhilesh Kumar Singh, TNN, Dec 5, 2010, 02.50am IST

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Setting up of Commission for Judicial Reforms

    PIB Sunday, December 05, 2010 15:37 IST
    The government has, in principle, decided to set u a “National Mission for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms”, which inter-alia, propose to undertake strategic initiatives to reduce the period of pendency in the courts from an average of 15 years to an average of three years by 2012. The detailed action plan is to be formulated under various strategies by the National Mission when set up, taking into account also ongoing activities. For speedy disposal of cases Government have already implemented initiatives likes increase in strength of Judges in Supreme Court and High Courts, amendment in Cr. P.C. to limit the number of adjournments to three, enactment of Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, Computerisation of Courts, release of funds as per Thirteenth Finance Commission recommendations for setting up of morning/ evening/ shift courts, strengthening alternative dispute Resolution system, Lok Adalats etc.

    This information was given by the Law and Justice Minister, Dr. M. Veerappa Moily in Lok Sabha recently. vlk
    Setting up of Commission for Judicial Reforms

    Is PAN necessary for senior citizens without taxable income?

    Tax Forum: Questions & Answers
    PAN: ordeal for taxpayers
    QUESTION: I am writing this provoked by your answer titled “Is PAN necessary for senior citizens without taxable income?” in The Hindu, Kochi Edition dated September 27, 2010.

    I shall elaborate with a live example. My mother, a widow, aged 82, is drawing a family pension averaging Rs.85,000 annually. Recently, due to pay revision based on one-rank-one-pension as per the rules of the Kerala State, she received arrears of pension in one lump sum in March 2010 covering past four years.

    On availing benefit of spreadover under Sec. 89, her total income for the years did not exceed the income tax exemption limit. Since she did not have a PAN (Permanent Account Number) number, State Bank of India, through which her pension is being disbursed, promptly deducted income tax during the last week of March 2010. She had no time either for applying for PAN nor did she have any intimation to the effect that TDS was being deducted. By the time she obtained her PAN number, deduction was already made and the TAN return was submitted by the bank without inserting PAN. When she went to submit her income tax return before July 31, the income tax authorities declined to accept the return for want of PAN. Now after obtaining PAN, the return has been accepted. Since the bank had already furnished its return without the PAN number, in all probability, the refund claim will not get any matching entry with the income tax authorities. What will be the plight of these elderly citizens, who for no fault of theirs, are penalised due purely to the proverbial red tapism and ways of bureaucracy. There will be scores of such people whose little income like interest on deposits and their hard earned pension, have been subjected to such TDS without giving them sufficient time to get PAN number, which is practically of no utility for them other than avoiding TDS.

    ANSWER: The ordeal of taxpayers relating to the requirement of PAN in the above letter is aired by the reader, Gerard K. John, retired Assistant General Manager of State Bank of India, Kochi, in respect of his mother's case.

    The difficulties as stated above cannot possibly be avoided for one reason or the other, but the situation can be remedied by expediting refund by setting right AS 22 at the earliest opportunity on the basis of PAN details subsequently received.
    PAN: ordeal for taxpayers


    The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
    Neither the "Report my Signal -Blogs" nor the individual authors of any material on these Blogs accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused (including through negligence), which anyone may directly or indirectly suffer arising out of use of or reliance on information contained in or accessed through these Blogs.
    This is not an official Blog site. This forum is run by team of ex- Corps of Signals, Indian Army, Veterans for social networking of Indian Defence Veterans. It is not affiliated to or officially recognized by the MoD or the AHQ, Director General of Signals or Government/ State.
    The Report My Signal Forum will endeavor to edit/ delete any material which is considered offensive, undesirable and or impinging on national security. The Blog Team is very conscious of potentially questionable content. However, where a content is posted and between posting and removal from the blog in such cases, the act does not reflect either the condoning or endorsing of said material by the Team.
    Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)