Monday, July 25, 2011

Secretary ESW: Mirror of Bureaucratic Arrogance

Dear Colleagues,
1. In the continuing efforts by IESM in pursuing ESM welfare measures, I had a one-to-one meeting with the Defence Minister on 18 June 2011. Inter alia he mentioned:
a) The govt is moving towards OROP step by step. There was no firm commitment when/ if full OROP will come through.
b) The bureaucracy was opposed to grant of OROP to Defence personnel. The Finance Ministry also puts spokes with regard to sparing money for OROP.
c) On the subject of non grant of enhancement of pension to the widows, he sounded sympathetic and wanted a Note from me that I submitted.
2. Based on his directions, I received a call for a meeting with Secretary ESW and I met her on 15 July 2011, again a one-to-one meeting. Unlike the Minister, her attitude was more hardened and bureaucratic. The gist of what transpired was:
a) With reference to OROP she asserted that the JCO and OR pensioners were happy with the enhancement. On being questioned on the source of her information she disclosed that some ESM organizations and individuals keep interacting with her and have told her so. I challenged her to produce even one individual among the over two million pensioners who opposes OROP.
b) She maintained that there was only a minor difference in the pension of pre and post 1.1.2006 pensioners. I maintained that for a Sepoy of Gp ‘Y’ with 17 years service the difference in basic pension was 42% and gave her a copy of the table showing figures for various ranks.
c) She elaborated the difficulty in implementing OROP since ‘many pensioners have moved residence’, ‘records prior to 1989 are not computerized’ and ‘there are too many categories and groups’ etc. I pointed out that same difficulties would have been faced when they equated the pre and post 10.10.1997 pensions - highlighting that in fact relatively more records of that period were manual – and adding that on similar lines why cannot the pre and post 1.1.2006 pensions be equated. I further offered to help with whatever technology assistance was needed but she declined the offer.
d) On the legal problem in OROP, she read out from a DOPT circular that had quoted some SC judgment to the effect that the govt had a right to fix any cut-off date for fixing salaries and pensions and that it did not violate the spirit of Article 14 of the Constitution. I pointed out the negative side of it in that the govt wants to fix a cut-off date detrimental to ESM interests and then takes shelter behind the law. Conversely, if govt wants to fix a pro-OROP cut-off date, the law will not interfere with it.
e) On the issue of revised PPOs, she mentioned that the CGDA and PCDA Allahabad had raised their hands in undertaking the massive work. I mentioned that the Army have told us they would help and we have been assured that the first PPOs will start rolling out in three months. She was skeptical and remarked ‘we will see’.
f) On the non-enhancement of widows’ pension along with others she mentioned that the pension is related to last pay drawn and hence cannot apply to widows. I pointed that even in case of surviving pensioners the enhanced pension is not based on their actual last salary but a notional one and the widows could be similarly treated. She did not give any counter argument.
g) On ECHS I had sought clarification on the following three points: i. Empanelment of TPAs. She disclosed that a Cabinet Note had already been prepared and that this was about to come through.
ii. Empanelment of Pharmacies. She disclosed that the DGAFMS and the Service HQ were opposing it.
iii. Making up of Staff Shortages. She mentioned that this was an ongoing process and deficiencies are being made up.
3. In the end I told the Secy EWS that all eyes were on the Rajya Sabha Petitions Committee and during our presentations they gave all indications that they would recommend grant of OROP. I further added that in case the govt did not accept the recommendations of the Petitions Committee, the struggle by the ESM will further intensify.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

Press On Regardless IESM. We have tolerated enough nonsense from the so called Ex-Servicemen Welfare Section (ESW) of the Government of India. Not a single serving or retired Defence Person is part of this organisation. They do not know the ABC of the Defence Services. They are totally clueless about the problems of Defence pensioners.They are the maximum trouble creators for the Defence Services Ex-Servicemen of India, Defence Services widows and families.– We will tolerate NO MORE nonsense from ESW. I know many members of the Parliament are monitoring our sentiments. May I request you to kindly send a copy of this email to Secy ESW. Also many of you, receiving our views, have close relatives in IAS; please forward a copy of this to them also, provided of course if you have some loyalty to us. Many of you have been promising to send articles on the attitude of IAS towards Defence Services; probably you could not gather enough courage to do so – or can we say that you lack loyalty to Defence Service in spite of having spent best part of your life with Defence Services.
Thank you. –
Chander Kamboj
In the Service of Veterans
Related Reading: DGR Perpetuates Corruption

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