Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dearness Allowance from 01 Jan 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Cabinet Committee likely to approve today 6% Dearness Allowance to CG Employees...
The Union Cabinet Committee likely to release of additional instalment of 6% Dearness Allowance to Central Government Employees and Dearness Relief to Central Government Pensioners due from 1.1.2011.
The hike in the Dearness Allowance has been done in accordance with the recommended formula in sixth Central Pay Commission. According to the calculation with last six months of All India Consumer Price Index Numbers(AICPIN) published by Labour Bureau Govt. of India, from July 2010 to December 2010, may be given 6% of additional Dearness Allowance from January 2011 to Central Government Employees and Pensioners.
The proposed DA hike, to be approved by the Central Government today, this enhancement is taking the Dearness Allowance from 45 to 51 per cent of the basic pay and also some allowances and advances rise in 25% from the existing rates as per the recommendations in Sixth CPC.
Only thing to cheer is the fixed allowances such as Children Education Allowance, Conveyance Allowance for serving personnel will be 25% more as the D.A. will certainly cross the 50% mark. It may be remembered that D.A. linked allwances such as Transport Allowances will be unchanged.
There is a respite in Onion prices which made everyone weep as prices peeked to Rs 95/ per Kilogram- this was almost a $1- beating the US rates of $0.45 per pound!
Govt approves 6 pc hike in DA

National Disaster Management Agency- Can it manage Tsunami's?

Vision
To build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, pro-active, multi-disaster and technology-driven strategy for disaster management through collective efforts of all Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations
Role
NDMA as the apex body is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters. Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:-
  • Lay down policies on disaster management
  • Approve the National Plan;
  • Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects
  • Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plan for disaster management
  • Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation
  • Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government
  • Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with the threatening disaster situation or disaster as it may consider necessary
  • Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

    Friday, 11 Mar 2011
    TSUNAMI IN JAPAN
    After seeing the news reports of today’s devastating Tsunami in Japan, people were reminded of the worst memories of 2004 Tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean and there have been apprehensions and constant enquires about today’s Tsunamis’ impact in the Indian Coast.
    The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre located in INCOIS, Hyderabad generated a bulletin within 8 minutes of the occurrence of a devastating tsunami that hit the coast of northeast Japan today in the aftermath of an 8.6 magnitude earthquake about 80 miles offshore and its location was off Honshu, Japan's most populous island. The quake's epicenter was 373 kilometers (231 miles) away from Tokyo, as per United States Geological Survey.
    Based on the bulletin issued by INCOIS, Shri M.Shashidhar Reddy, Hon’ble Vice Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority, speaking to the media outside Andhra Pradesh Assembly in Hyderabad today, said that there is no threat for the Indian Ocean in the aftermath of this Tsunami. He further said that he has appraised the Prime Minister’s Office and also personally spoke to the Union Home Minister about the present situation.
    He also stated that NDMA Control Room is constantly monitoring the situation.
    NDMA official Webpage
    NMDA without a Mission- Can it take on a Tsunami creating 10M Tidal waves on the shores Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea?
    Click here to read RMS Blog Posts on NDMA
    Can Corrupt NDMA Officials filling his own coffers manage National Disasters?
    NDMA Secretary takes Rs50 lakhs bribe from distiller
  • One Rank One Pension Echoes in Parliament

    Dear Sirs,
    Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, during the discussion on Union Budget 2011-12 in the Parliament yesterday, has yet again urged the Hon’ble Finance Minister and the Hon’ble Defence Minister for a resolution of the One Rank, One Pension demand of the Armed Forces veterans.
    Please find below the link to Mr. Chandrasekhar’s speech, for your information:
    click here.
    Warm regards ,
    Vidya Narayanan

    March 10, 2011
    Extracts of Speech
    ...Lastly, the issue of One Rank, One Pension for our Veterans. Sir, I feel disappointed that as a nation that we are seeing a need to have this discussed in Parliament at all. These proud men and their families have served our nation selflessly, with a certain belief that the nation and their people will look after them, when it comes to their turn to be looked after. At a time, when there are visible signs of crony capitalism and hundreds of thousands of crores of largesse and benefits being given to vested interests, how can we look into the eyes of these veterans and deny them their legitimate demand quoting budgetary constraints. Let not a few hundred crores come in the way of our duty to these men and their families. I hope the Finance Minister and Defence Minister respond to this plea.
    Speech by Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP During the Debate in Parliament on Union Budget 2011-12

    ONE RANK, ONE PENSION ISSUE
    Dear Sh. Rajeev Chandrasekhar,
    1. We, the Defence Veterans are grateful to you for raising the issue of OROP in the Parliament once again on 10 Mar 2011.
    2. The Govt continues to ignore all efforts to get Justice to the Defence Forces. One way to make the Govt see reason is, if a sufficiently large group of MPs cutting across the party lines speak unitedly to ask the Govt to accept the long pending demand of OROP which had been promised by PMs, RMs for the last 30 years and had been on many occasions strongly recommended by the All Party Parliamentary Committees on Defence.
    3. May we request you to assist us in making presentation to a group of MPs who feel that the demand of Defence veterans is genuine and must be accepted. We will make presentation to them.
    4. The Defence Veterans have decided to continue with their struggle to get Justice. In a Rally held on 06 Mar 2011 the following important resolutions were unanimously passed by raising hands by all attendees with words “Jai Hind” and – Yes, renting the air:
    a) They will continue with their struggle till their demands are met.
    b) They will not only not take back the medals already deposited with the president but will continue to deposit the same in future.
    c) They will bring back medals if President did not receive these herself.
    d) The parties in power in the States would be requested to support their demand of OROP and have a resolution passed in their State Assemblies. If they did not do so, the Party in power in the State will have no right to ask for their ‘Votes’ in any future elections.
    e) The party in power at the Centre if it does not accept the demand of OROP will have no right to ask for their votes in any future election.
    5. Report on the Rally dated 06 Mar 2011 at Jantar Mantar New Delhi linked here-click here.
    6. We look forward to your positive response please.
    With Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman, IESM

    How Americans Expose Swiss Secret Accounts and Terror Financing?

    Home Minister and Finance Minister need to learn a lesson or two on "War on Terror" from the Americans!

    Insider Trading: What Else Did McKinsey Tipster Kumar Tell Rajaratnam?
    By AGUSTINO FONTEVECCHIA- Forbes
    "Greedy" Rajaratnam had info on AMD, says the prosecution
    The first round of wire-taps were played in a Manhattan law court on Thursday, revealing what will be the prosecution’s modus operandi in the mega-trial for insider trading where former Forbes 400 member Raj Rajaratnam is accused of reaping $45 million in illegal profits. Jurors heard recordings of Anil Kumar, former senior partner at McKinsey, giving Rajaratnam tips on deals involving American Micro Systems, a McKinsey client. Considered the prosecution’s star witness by the NYPost, Kumar gave Raj a few other tips, revealed when he plead guilty to insider trading earlier this year. Here’s what he knows.

    As a senior partner at McKinsey, Kumar had insider information and a fiduciary duty not to disclose his knowledge. Pressured by Rajaratnam, Kumar finally broke down and accepted an initial $250,000 to act individually as a consultant for Raj, against McKinsey policy. Finally accepting the money, which had to be deposited in a Swiss account under his domestic worker’s name. United States Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, estimated Kumar pocketed about $2.6 million, including profits from reinvestments in Galleon itself, and has been charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud.

    The tape played on Thursday showed Kumar and Rajaratnam having a friendly conversation on August 15, 2008 about some deals AMD was involved in. More specifically, Kumar claims that “yesterday they agreed on, at least they’ve shaken hands, and said they’re going ahead with the deal.” When Raj asks how much is being invested, Kumar puts the figure in the $6 to $8 billion range.

    In his guilty plea, Kumar reveals that he informed Rajaratnam of AMD’s intention to spin-off its loss-making manufacturing arm and enter into agreement with Abu Dhabi investment facility Mubadala Development, which would inject a substantial amount of cash. From the release:

    During August, September, and October of 2008, the Galleon Technology Funds invested tens of millions of dollars in AMD securities. On October 7, 2008, AMD publicly announced plans to spin off its manufacturing operations and to receive an investment from another entity in Abu Dhabi. That same day, AMD’s stock opened up approximately 25 percent over the prior day’s closing price.

    Paradoxically enough, a bad performance by the tech sector in the coming months erased all of Galleon’s gains, according to Preet Bharara.

    The Post stresses that “Kumar’s testimony is central to the government’s case against” and that he will continue to be questioned on Monday. So what else does he know?

    Kumar told Rajaratnam confidential information on two other market moving events, apart what was stated above. All in all, these tips helped Galleon make $19.7 million in illegal profits. The first deal Kumar disclosed was AMD’s intention to acquire ATI Technologies. Kumar heard about AMD’s negotiations and informed Raj, whose Galleon fund began accumulating ATI stock over the course of the next several months. When the deal was finalized and publically announced, on July 24, 2006, ATI’s stock “rose significantly on the news,” and, as Galleon sold all of its holdings in ATI, Rajaratnam made a hefty $19.2 million profit.

    The other deal the Attorney General’s office disclosed involved lay-offs at eBay. On October 2, 2008, Kumar found out from a client, and eBay subsidiary, that substantial layoffs would be announced that Monday, October 6, at the e-commerce giant. Kumar called Raj the next day, on October 3, and on that same day, Galleon began to short eBay stock. As had been anticipated, eBay announced the layoffs, the stock dropped precipitously, and Raj’s Galleon took in a nice $500,000 in profits, after closing their short positions.

    If the post is right, and Kumar is one of the star witnesses, then this will be what comes up next week in the super trial that is shocking Wall Street.
    Insider Trading: What Else Did McKinsey Tipster Kumar Tell Rajaratnam?

    World Financial Fraudsters
    Rajat Gupta takes 'leave of absence' from New Silk Route- sample of corporate governance globally
    Former Intel Exec Rajiv Goel Pleads Guilty in Insider Trading Case

    In Contrast Sample India
    We have Spectrum of Secret Swiss Bank Account Holders- like Hasan Ali- who defy the rule of law!

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    DGR defies MOD instructions and denigrates Veterans

    DGR uses the term PBOR in the above Advertisement

    Sir,
    Details are as follows:
    Paper: ToI dated 10th March 2011 Delhi Edition, Page 27
    Regards,
    chaitanya (Brig Chaitanya Prakash, Ghaziabad)
    DGR Advertisement

    Ex Servicemen Rally for One Rank One Pension

    Dear All,
    IESM had organised a grand rally at Jantar mantar New Delhi on 6 March 2011 from 1000h to 1500h to press for the demand of OROP of exservicemen. REPORT OF RALLY ON 06 MARCH 2011 AT JANTAR MANTAR- click here.
    Regards,
    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
    Gen Sec IESM

    Ex-servicemen's rally against Centre in Delhi
    March 11, 2011 5:39:11 PM PNS | DEHRADUN

    To protest against the Centre’s “apathy and negative attitude” towards their genuine demands the principal one being ‘one rank one pension’ veterans under the banner of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) would hold a mega rally in Delhi on Sunday.

    “A delegation would leave for Rashtrapati Bhavan to deposit gallantry and Distinguished Service medals and to handover a memorandum signed in blood to the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces,'” claimed Maj Gen Satbir Singh, vice-president of the IESMin his Press note.

    IESM chairman Lt Gen Raj Kadyan has already written to President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil to accept the medals and the memo herself.

    Earlier also veterans tried to return their medals to the President but access was denied. Now veterans have decided that in case the President does not accept the medals and the memo in person they will bring these back.

    “'Despite veterans’ peaceful protests across the country for the past over 30 months, depositing of over 22,000 medals besides memoranda signed in blood by over 1.5 lakh veterans and numerous missives to and meetings with the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and other authorities, the Centre has not accepted genuine demands,'” Maj-Gen Singh alleged.

    The Armed Forces tribunals, formed with a lot of “fanfare” to provide speedy justice to both serving and retired personnel, have been reduced to “toothless” tigers by the bureaucracy by not giving these the powers to initiate contempt proceedings against non-implementation of judgements.
    Ex-servicemen's rally against Centre in Delhi

    Rank Pay anomaly meandering in the Court

    Next date of hearing
    Dear Sir,
    Further to our mail on the status of rank pay case.
    The next date of hearing will be 13 Apr 2011. Kindly put on RMS for info of all.
    Thanking you
    Secy RDOA
    Visit Us At: RDOA and RDOA Blog

    Degradation in rank status upto rank of Brigs vis a vis civilians
    The earlier pay equation till the rank of Brig:
    I. Lt/JTS
    II. Capt/STS
    III. Maj/JAG
    IV. Lt Col/NFSG
    V. DIG
    VI. Col
    VII. Brig
    This has been changed by the 6th CPC and approved by the Cabinet
    I. Lt (0) /JTS (0)
    II. Capt (2)
    III. Maj (6) / STS (4)
    IV. Lt Col (13) / JAG (9)
    V. Col (20) / NFSG (13)
    VI. Brig (28) / DIG (14)

    (JTS – Junior Time Scale, STS – Senior Time Scale, JAG – Junior Administrative Grade, NFSG – Non-Functional Selection Grade. The numbers in brackets are the requisite years of service to reach the rank)

    How Military got cheated by MOD in connivance with Sycophants
    Let us educate ourselves on the issue of Rank Pay, it is not given for the hardships faced by the armed forces, but for providing an edge to officers of armed forces over other civilian counterpart. As per govt of India letter, rank pay is an integral part of basic pay on which we get DA & pension also. Hence the justification of reflecting rank pay as integral to our pay. The court is resolving the 4th Pay Commission anomaly of reducing our Basic Pay to the extent of Rank Pay to be at par with civilians!... read more click here

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Military ethics and scams

    Talking of Ethics in an era of Scams! by Col Karan Kharb
    Ethics, morals, principles, honesty, sacrifice, patriotism... blah blah... The more these expressions are traded, the more stink the discussion kicks up. Our politicians- demagogues all, orators few, patriotic none– have polluted these words so much that their very mention now triggers more suspicion than inspiration. Time was when people would be jubilant and voluntarily throng the lawns in front of Red Fort every Independence Day. I recall how as schoolboys we had kept awake all night and eagerly squatted there in early nightly hours only to have a closer glimpse of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru whom we treated like an angle from the celestial world. Leaders of that time looked too lofty, too pious, and too other-worldly! A touch or a handshake with them was a gift one cherished to preserve for life!

    That genuine eagerness for darshan of leaders evaporated from the public long ago. Corruption has divested today's leaders of the aura and charisma that once captivated masses. Now politicians have to resort to ingenious ways and weird means to muster up a gathering by luring crowds from slums offering them free transport, food packets - some even offer cash allowances to show-off their ‘impressive following.’ And then on mikes they blare "... ham Hindustan se garibi hata ke rahenge; minorities ka hanan ho raha hai, reservation dila kar rahenge; Matribhumi par sankat hai - apni jaan par khel jaenge..." By late evening they disperse to get-together at Park Hotel to analyse and celebrate 'media coverage' on their performance.

    Rampant corruption has opened easier ways for criminals to find entry into state legislatures and Lok Sabha. As many as 153 of our sitting MPs today are involved in criminal cases already registered, 54 of them in serious crimes including murder! No wonder our corrupt leaders are becoming more daring and do not shy away from dishing out explanations like "... my action may be immoral but it is certainly not illegal". If you thought that was an individual politician's view-point, now look at the audacious argument from the Government in the Supreme Court: ‘impeccable integrity’ is not an eligibility criterion for appointment of CVC! (Vahanvati’s argument in SC refers!). It obviously implies that it would be perfectly in order to appoint men of compromising integrity, purchasable character and even those charge sheeted like Thomas to hold high constitutional offices. I agree. In an era of Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja, Chor banenge Thanedar! If you can manipulate, hoodwink or work your way through machinations, your records can be dumped. The moral: "Nothing succeeds like Success!"

    The Indira Gandhi era would perhaps be better remembered as an era of political-bureaucratic intrigues. Corruption has to be integral to intrigues. This way corruption grew in the politico-bureaucratic power circles rapidly with every successive government and politicians patronising the evil covertly because it paid them dividends. Even judges found corruption a lucrative pursuit. Today we have a horde of tainted judges including retired CJsI who opened up their pants for a quick buck! With ample evidence against, some of them are facing possible impeachment too. And yet they are so brazen and shameless that we still find them not only sticking to their chairs but dispensing ‘justice’ too! What a shame!

    Over the years when pillars of governance started falling apart under the weight of corruption, India became a fertile land for crime, communal hatred and terrorism to flourish. Bureaucratic inefficiency and callousness also grew up as natural hedge to protect all evil and ward off any threat.

    Even as pessimism was enveloping the nation, people pinned all their hopes on one symbol of national pride, which they believed to be infallible in character and integrity – the Armed Forces – the ultimate mighty power of the nation! A universal belief the masses harboured in their minds was that if everything else failed, our Armed Forces would effectively save the country and do them proud even if sacrifices were called for.

    Alas, our generals too have today shattered that last hope of our people. Two lieutenant generals have been court-martialled. Some are awaiting their trial. Three former Services Chiefs have been indicted for their involvement in ‘Adarsh’ scam. Some more Courts of Inquiry are said to be in progress against senior officers suspected to be involved in cases of corruption and moral turpitude. What is even more shocking is that none of the senior commanders is facing a case for being defiant, taking a stand, refusing to bow or disobedience. They have exposed their shallow character by compromising on star qualities like integrity, honesty, uprightness and much clich├ęd ‘officer like qualities’. They have undoubtedly betrayed the faith of the nation and brought us all shame.

    I do empathise with many honest friends, excellent leaders in high positions in the Indian Army today. But, sorry friends, even though I will always be proud of you all and my profession, your sacrifices, your reputation and your command on people’s hearts have been brutally ruined by a few greedy generals. It is shocking that they – all men of negotiable character and easy virtues – managed to reach such lofty heights successfully hoodwinking the system all the way up! You will have to suffer and endure the public suspicion this breed of greed has injected in people’s minds about today’s higher military leadership. I cry as I stand on the wayside watching you carry the Cross on your shoulders with Jesus’ serenity and poise. I salute you for doing your best to preserve and nourish whatever is left of our military honour!

    Imagine the mental turmoil the budding officers passing out of the IMA would be going through when they hear the reviewing officer repeat the IMA credo in the backdrop of recent scams:

    “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first – always and every time.
    The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
    Your own ease, comfort and safety come last – always and every time!”

    It will certainly sound most ill suited, hollow, phoney and blatantly hypocritical in a scam-humming environment. We are quick to blame the British for ‘looting’ India without giving them credit for giving us systems of governance we find irreplaceable even after sixty four years of Independence – our dislike for them notwithstanding. They brought together plundering bands of our local chieftains and built up the Indian Military into institutions of national pride. What an irony that we find General Chetwode’s exhortation thoroughly genuine, more patriotic, more nationalistic, more Indian than our own even today!

    We need to learn our lessons afresh! May be some strong detergents and acid are required for purging the system. Sooner the better.
    Regards,
    Karan Kharb

    Related Reading
    Corruption demeans us before our own people: PM

    The army must never try to ‘manage/manipulate the media’
    Redeeming the Standing of the Army by Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD

    Dear Friends,
    Here is an article from the Pioneer of Wed 09 Mar 2011 by Shri Manvender Singh, It is indeed aa great irony that our own government continues to deny our martyrs their due honour and place in the national capital. We all need to take this up strongly. I am sure many other MsP and political, intellectuals and beaucrats will support us for this onerous task. An ode to the Indian soldier March 10, 2011
    Lt Gen NS Malik, PVSM (Retd)

    United States Military Academy (West Point, NY)
    Speech Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, West Point, NY, Friday, February 25, 2011

    Dear Sir,
    Something very interesting that I came across and I believe worthy of being shared on “Report My Signal”.Click here
    Regards,
    Col TS Gururaj (Veteran)

    Is the Law Ministry befooling and hoodwinking the Disabled Veterans?

    Meeting with Additional Law Secretary
    Being the President of The Disabled war Veterans (India) I have been getting all the credit for the efforts of our Senior Vice President Satnamjit Singh,who retired as Ambassador to Egypt. We have been working in close cooperation trying to ensure that the Disabled War Veterans receive their just dues.

    One of the issues that was causing heartburn effecting morale was the unnecessary appeals by MOD on the issues hard fought and won in AFT or Courts and delaying the same further. Many appeals filed quoted out of date letters are facts were incorrect.
    Please find attached a copy of issues raised with Mr Koli, Addl Secretary Ministry of Law and his response thereto. WE WILL HAVE TO SEE WHETHER THEY ARE ACTED UPON.

    Today, I met with RL Koli (not Kohli), Additional Secretary in Ministry of Law. The meeting was further to my meeting with Legal Advisor (Defence) last week and a part of the ongoing effort to sensitise concerned officials to the need to adopt a sensible policy on the issue of appeals against Tribunal / Court judgments in cases relating to war injury pension, disability pension and family pension. You would recall, earlier I have met Secretary (ESW), JS (ESW) and JS (Pension) in this regard.

    I conveyed DIWAVE's views on the lines of the enclosed note, a copy of which was also left with him at the end of the meeting. Last week's discussion with LA (Def) also were on the same lines.

    Mr. Koli stated -
  • Since the adoption of the National Litigation Policy in June, 2010, the Ministry had given instructions to its Law Officers (who process judgments to decide whether they should be appealed against or not) not to file appeals against individual pension cases, as a matter of routine. However, he would give specific instructions in cases involving war injury pension, disability pension and family pension cases.
  • While the final decision regarding appeals would still lie with Ministry of Law, he would direct LA (Def) not to make such a recommendation in this category of cases. He also assured that he would not pass these cases to Law Officers, but handle them himself, return the files to MoD within a matter of days after getting Secretary's approval.
  • He has also agreed to write to MoD asking them to ensure that defence counsels are briefed properly, not suppressing facts and quoting only relevant rules. He suggested we should also request MoD accordingly.
  • He would also instruct Law Officers to take care that appeals are not filed in cases with settled legal position.
  • Koli assured that from now onwards you would see a marked improvement in the situation on the issues of our concern.
    Let's see!
    We can start monitoring the new appeal cases and if we find a case violating the above assurances, it can be brought to Additional Secretary (Legal)'s attention requesting for withdrawal. In this connection, legal eagles like Major Navdeep can play an important role.
    Col H N Handa (Retd)
    President Diwave

    Comment: Assurance of Bureaucrats is routine, nothing tangible will materialise and the ground reality is apparent from statistics! No eagles can untangle the Law Ministry's web/ wall of deceit. Only the courts can unravel the truth!
  • Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    I Paid a Bribe- Let us fight Corruption Together- A new online Initiative


    Bribed? Didn't bribe? Powerless? Victimised? Angry? Tell us your story
    Using your stories we'll advocate with the government for an improved system. Together let's fight corruption

    About Janaagraha
    Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is a non-profit organisation based in Bangalore, India. It works with citizens and the government to improve the quality of life in Indian cities and towns.

    The term ‘quality of life’ as defined by Janaagraha has two distinct and inter-related aspects. The first is ‘quality of urban infrastructure and services’ – the quality of urban of amenities, i.e., roads, drains, traffic, transport, water supply, etc. The second aspect is the ‘quality of citizenship’ – the role that urban residents play by participating in civic issues.

    Founded in 2001 by Ramesh Ramanathan and Swati Ramanathan, Janaagraha started as a movement to enable citizen participation in public governance. It has now evolved into a robust institution for Citizenship and Democracy.

    Janaagraha’s guiding principle to define quality of life and bring about changes in public governance is a comprehensive framework called REED . It is an acronym for four defining aspects of urban governance:
  • Regional perspective to urban issues
  • Empowered citizens and local governments
  • Enabled citizens and local governments
  • Direct accountability of the government to the people

    Each of Janaagraha’s initiatives aligns with the REED framework, on some or all of its aspects.

    Striving to make government departments transparent and accountable, the 'I Paid a Bribe' programme strongly identifies with the ‘Direct accountability’ element of REED.

    About I Paid a Bribe
    IpaidABribe.com is Janaagraha’s unique initiative to tackle corruption by harnessing the collective energy of citizens. You can report on the nature, number, pattern, types, location, frequency and values of actual corrupt acts on this website. Your reports will, perhaps for the first time, provide a snapshot of bribes occurring across your city. We will use them to argue for improving governance systems and procedures, tightening law enforcement and regulation and thereby reduce the scope for corruption in obtaining services from the government.

    We invite you to register any recent or old bribes you have paid. Please tell us if you resisted a demand for a bribe, or did not have to pay a bribe, because of a new procedure or an honest official who helped you. We do not ask for your name or phone details, so feel free to report on the formats provided.
    I Paid a Bribe

    Read the article
    The Numbers Say It All
    'I Paid A Bribe' has had over 3 lakh hits since launch last year. Reactions have poured in from 282 cities across India with Mumbai leading the charge. A total estimate of 49 crore rupees has been reported as bribe money by citizens all over.

    It's appalling to note that Mumbai alone has registered bribe demands totalling to 4,108 lakh rupees. The website homepage even provides a 'bribe analytics' tab for a more detailed break-up of those figures.

    Another feature is the 'Hall of Shame'- where you get all the latest news related to corruption and the fight against it.

    You even have a Forum to discuss various issues- land, water, certificates, taxation, etc. How to get a new water connection? What are the fines for trafic violation? All you wanted to know about tax deductions, registrations, reimbursements- everything and anything under the sun. Post your queries or lend advice to others.

    In addition, the webpage hosts The One Million Campaign- a signature drive to collect 1 million votes to force the government to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption. Shame the bureaucracy thoroughly enough, to force those in power to take a step in the right direction.
    ...So log in now. Tell the world your bribe story.

    Source: India Syndicate
    By Sumitha Narayanan Kutty, India Syndicate, 08/03/2011
    No more 'Don't ask, don't tell'
    IPaidABribe.com: A unique initiative that's leading the fight against corruption. Tell the world your bribe story

  • Listen to the Video

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Vishal Rally Press Release by IESM

    Dear Veterans,
    1. Press Release on the Rally held at Jantar Mantar New Delhi is enclosed.
    2. Please circulate the same to the maximum ESM across the globe. Those who have contacts with the media are requested to kindly get the same covered in both print and electronic media.
    3. It is time now for to us to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with- UNITE AND DELIVER OR SUFFER.
    With Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    Press Release 07 Mar 2011
    Peeved by continous neglect by the government, Defence veterans held Vishal Rally at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 6th March 2011
    Dear Members of the Media,
    1. Peeved by the continuous neglect, apathy, and non acceptance of their demands, the main being the One Rank One Pension (OROP) ,the defence veterans including widows of the martyrs held a Vishal Rally at Jantar-Mantar New Delhi on 06th Mar 2011. Not only, they were anguished and angry but were deeply hurt on the negative attitude of the Govt towards the affairs of the Defence Personnel. How long the Government wants us to be on the streets sitting on dharanas? They resolved to continue their struggle PAN India till the Govt sees the reason and accepts their demands.
    2. The Vishal Rally was attended by over 6500 Defence Veterans, and their family members including 105 widows of the martyrs who had come from 16 states of the country ie Punjab, Haryana, UP, HP, Uttarkhand, J & K, Rajasthan, MP, Jharkhand, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, AP, TN, Karnataka, Kerla. 3800 medals were voluntarily deposited by the veterans and 3000 voluntarily signed memorandum to the President in their blood. The veterans marched in threes for approx 3 Kms in Connaught Place area in a most disciplined manner. The placards carried by them and slogans ranting the area demonstrated all for which they had gathered. The police witnessed entirely different conduct than they were generally exposed to in various other Protest Rallies.
    3. A large number of veteran representatives from various States expressed their views on their demands of OROP, non enhancement of widows pensions, serious anomalies in their pensions, non implementation of over 3600 judgements which went in their favour out of the 4000 cases filed in toothless Armed Forces Tribunals in the last one year, the Govt not even honouring the Supreme Court ruling to establish Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commissions, non enhancements of Hony Rank pensions, reservists pensions, large unacceptable gap in pensions of over Rs 14000 in Maj and Lt Col and over Rs 9800 gap in Maj Gen and Lt Gen, the list of injustices was never ending. They were rather surprised as to why the Govt is not listening to their tale of woes?. They expressed that they felt cheated by the Govt.
    4. The following important resolutions were unnamaniously passed by raising hands by all attendees with words “Jai Hind” and – Yes, ranting the air:
  • They will continue with their struggle till their demands are met.
  • They will not only not take back the medals already deposited with the president but will continue to deposit the same in future.
  • They will bring back medals if President did not receive these herself.
  • The parties in power in the States would be requested to support their demand of OROP and have a resolution passed in their State Assemblies. If they did not do so, the Party in power in the State will have no right to ask for their ‘Votes’ in any future elections.
  • The party in power at the Centre if it does not accept the demand of OROP will
    have no right to ask for their votes in any future election.
    5. The above resolutions will be given wide publicity throughout the country to unite all Defence Personnel, their members of the family and their supporters to demonstrate the power of their Votes if Govt understands this criteria of acceptance of their genuine demands.
    6. You are requested to carry this important news in your esteemed paper/magazine.
    With Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
  • Monday, March 7, 2011

    DGAFMS muddies Disability Pension

    Military Medical Boards: Mathematics or Medical science?
    The following appears in this month's 'Salute' magazine.
    (Copyright : 'Salute to the Indian Soldier') by Navdeep Singh

    Disability benefits in the forces are contingent upon the declaration of a disability being either ‘attributable to, or aggravated by’ service conditions. Detailed Entitlement Rules promulgated by the Government further determine the question of attributability and aggravation. However, non-adherence to the ibid rules and a purely mathematical approach, as opposed to the desired medical one, is resulting in denial of benefits to the disabled and also overburdening judicial fora.
    So who decides attributability and aggravation? Based on an artificial over-reliance on various judgements of the Supreme Court wherein it has been held that the opinion of medical boards has to be granted due weight, the system wrongly seems to believe that medical boards are supreme in this arena. They actually are not. Attributability and aggravation are determined under the rules and the boards are supposed to work within the four corners of these rules with proper application of medical and scientific procedures, not mathematical formulae. Primacy of medical opinion does not definitely imply that it would hold field even when rendered in contravention of the statute or when prima-facie perverse. Despite our progress, attributability of disabilities is still decided on primitive guidelines which reflect a strong disconnect with practical realities.
    While the unpredictability of military service is universally appreciated, the Guide to Medical Officers published by the office of Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, still prescribes that stress related disorders cannot be service-related unless a person spends a specific length of time in a field area and unless the symptoms arise within a period of some months after being posted out of field. Ignored is the fact that a solitary stressful incident in a single day can also trigger stress without any reference to length of service in a particular area, and as modern psychiatry has established, there can be a delayed onset of symptoms even 5 years after a stressful event. Then for example the requirement that the symptoms should manifest themselves within 3 months of being denied leave in case of the death of a parent when the individual happens to be the ‘only’ son. Would not a person be affected if he is not the ‘only’ son or if the symptoms arise after four months rather than the mathematical guideline of 3 months? What could also justify the basis of determining heart diseases on the basis of the ‘14 days charter of duties’ ? The service-connection of complicated heart problems in the Indian military is determined by activities a person had indulged in the last 14 days prior to the onset of the disease? It is common knowledge that heart diseases manifest over a long period of time, isn’t it time to shun these outdated practices and deal with such situations with a more scientific temperament on a case to case basis ?.
    Claims of attributability and aggravation are rejected by one word terms such as ‘No’, ‘Constitutional’, ‘Unknown’, ‘idiopathic’ whereas the rules clearly stipulate that if the causes are unknown then presumption operates in favour of the claimant and attributability, or atleast aggravation, ‘shall’ be conceded.
    In defence, naysayers harp on the argument that stress and lifestyle related disorders can happen to civilians too and thus have no link with military life. How wrong they are. Can one compare the stress levels of a soldier leading a strictly regimented life away from family under a strict disciplinary code 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at times under the shadow of the gun, with a civil employee living with family, working from 9 to 5, enjoying weekends and holidays. Even seemingly trivial issues such as admission of children, property disputes and insignificant family rows can have a stressful impact on our soldiers especially those deployed away from families, irrespective of whether in peace or field, and to ignore such incidences of service as unrelated to stress related disorders would be the greatest disservice. Not may are aware that civilian employees have the protection of Section 47 of ‘Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995’ which provides that if an employee gets disabled, even when not on duty and due to own negligence, his or her service remains protected and if the said employee is not able to work, still he or she is kept on supernumerary strength and paid full pay and allowances till the age of 60 and pension thereafter. This protection is not available to defence personnel who can be invalided even for minor disabilities, and who, at the lower ranks, even in normal circumstances anyway do not have the protection of employment beyond their 30s.
    It is a quivering double jeopardy for disabled soldiers. On one hand, our own medical boards follow a self-defeating hyper-technical approach, and on the other, the protection of employment as guaranteed to all other government employees is unavailable to defence personnel. In theory, 2011 may be the year of the disabled soldier; it remains to be seen how it works on ground.

    Major Navdeep Singh is a practising Advocate in the Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 11:27 AM
    Related Reading
    Army to observe 2011 as year for disabled soldiers
    Comment
    When a military member has a medical condition (including mental health conditions) which renders them unfit to perform their required duties, they may be retired from the military for medical reasons. The process to determine medical fitness for continued duty is dependent solely on Medical Boards.
    Do we have a statute setting forth policies and procedures for Military disability?
  • Retirement for Physical Disability
  • Physical Disability Evaluation and Norms
  • Administration Schedule for Rating Disabilities
  • Ex-soldiers protest 'government betrayal'

    New Delhi, March 6 (IANS)
    Thousands of ex-army men from across the country demanding 'one rank one pension' gathered here Sunday and blamed the government for their financial hardships, accusing it of 'ignoring' and 'betraying' them.
    Huge posters reading "Jai Hind" and "Stop discriminating" were put up outside Jantar Mantar in central Delhi, the venue of their demonstration organised by Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).
    "The armed forces are children of lesser gods for the government. No one pays heed to our demands and the bureaucrats and politicians sitting in their air conditioned rooms decide what is good for us. Our lives have no value for them," said a livid AJB Jaini, a retired major general.
    There should be a separate pay commission for the army and it should be headed by a serviceman. This is not an officers' movement but a soldier's movement as almost 99 percent of the demonstrators are junior commissioned officers, added Jaini.
    The protestors accused the government of being biased against them.
    "Farmers are getting their loans waived off, Pakistan and Afghanistan are granted aid, and worse, crores of rupees are being guzzled in various scams by corrupt politicians, but the government has nothing for us," said retired colonel Kirit Joshi.
    In a rally in 2002 in Chandigarh, Sonia Gandhi had promised "one rank one pension". She never fulfilled her promise and secondly, she even refuses to meet us, alleged Joshi.
    The demonstrators said they will return their medals to the president, the supreme commander of the armed forces, as a mark of protest and would also be submitting a memorandum signed in blood.
    "At the end of the rally we will have around 125,000 signatures in blood, including those collected in earlier rallies, and we will submit them along with the medals to the president," added Joshi.
    It is not a fight for money, but for honour, he said.
    Ex-soldiers protest 'government betrayal'
    Related Reading
    Ex-servicemen's rally against Centre in Delhi today
    March 07, 2011 5:00:17 PM

    OTA Gaya meandering through MoD's bureaucratic labyrinths

    Year later, Gaya OTA plan yet to take off
    Rajat Pandit, TNN Mar 6, 2011, 03.21am IST

    NEW DELHI: Faced with a crippling shortage of officers in Army, the UPA government in its first avatar initiated the project to establish a second Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya in Bihar. The Cabinet Committee on Security of UPA-II then formally approved the project with much fanfare in December 2009.

    But the Gaya OTA, on the lines of the existing one in Chennai, is yet to take off. This when the 1.13-million strong Army is currently grappling with a shortage of 12,510 officers in its "sanctioned strength'' of 47,864.

    The defence ministry seems to be sleeping over the new OTA project, with even the "government sanction letter'' yet to be issued for it. "The letter is needed to commence implementation of the project. For instance, the recruitment of the around 200 civilian personnel needed for the OTA cannot be done without it,'' said a source.

    Similarly, the long-standing proposal to create a couple of additional Services Selection Boards (SSBs), which conduct interviews and psychological evaluation of candidates keen to join the armed forces as officers, is still meandering through MoD's bureaucratic labyrinths.

    It's not as if the Gaya OTA will require major funds or infrastructure build-up. The OTA will be housed in the existing premises of Army Service Corps Centre (North), which is being moved to Bangalore.

    With a proposed capacity to eventually train 750 "gentlemen cadets'' per year, the OTA will require Rs 364 crore as non-recurring expenditure and Rs 44.75 crore as annual recurring expenditure.

    The Gaya OTA will initially train around 150 short-service commission (SSC) officers per year, which will supplement the 600 SSC officers who pass out of the Chennai OTA. Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun, in turn, trains around 1,000 permanent commission (PC) officers per year.

    IMA gets its cadets from the tri-Service National Defence Academy at Kadakvasla, open to youngsters after class XII, as also through `direct entry' for college graduates. The OTA, in turn, is open to college graduates only.

    Armed forces want to gradually move towards substantially increasing the number of SSC officers in their ranks as part of force-restructuring to maintain a youthful profile. The eventual plan is to have a 1:2 ratio for PC to SSC officers.

    But while salaries have gone up after the 6th Pay Commission, the services are still finding it difficult to attract youngsters with adequate 'officer-like qualities'. The perceived high degree of risk in a service career, poor promotional avenues and frequent transfers which disrupt family life are the main factors behind this.
    Year later, Gaya OTA plan yet to take off

    Present Shortage
    The extent of shortage of officers is around 12,349 in the Army, 1,818 in the Navy and 837 in the Air Force. The shortage of Pilots in Air Force is about 426.

    Comment: Bureaucrats perception that SCPC- post 2006 Pay Scales- will attract hordes of students and graduates to OTA, NDA, IMA and other Military Training Establishments has proved otherwise and a lie. In fact the present pay scales is a dampener to the already top heavy Military (thanks to Phase-II of Ajai Vikram Singh Committee Report Implementation). Compounded to this is the gradual degrading of Rank and and Honour. Therefore, infusing the right kind of new and young blood to the Armed Forces is becoming a distant dream. The Politicians have been blinded to the reality and are misguided by sycophants in the MoD and the Military!

    Give the military veterans their due



    Rediff.com Last updated on: March 5, 2011 09:57 IST
    Any nation that yearns to fulfil the aspirations of its people needs two emotional nutrients: Sense of pride and sense of shame. Wonder whether the sight of military veterans protesting governmental injustice will prick the national conscience, asks M P Anil Kumar.

    I had just landed at the base camp of Siachen Glacier for my stint as the Forward Air Controller. A subedar hustled to the captain of the helicopter, implored him to evacuate a havildar in his early thirties to the army hospital at Leh. The bawling of the havildar was intermixed with howls of him seeing only white all around.

    I learned from the medic later that his terrible condition was caused by overexposure to the combo of intense ultraviolet rays at high altitudes and glare rebounding off the snow. He added the havildar was lax in protecting his eyes with goggles, he could not be evacuated in time because of inclement weather, and he thought the retinal burn had become irreversible.

    Two weeks later, I temporarily shifted base to Kumar -- named after the veteran alpinist Colonel Narinder Kumar. Another jinx: A pallid, wan major was being evacuated to the base camp. He and his detachment were manning a crucial 21,000-feet-high post on the Saltoro Ridge. Elemental fury claimed all his three subordinates, but the helicopters could not make it because of impenetrable clouding.

    By the time he was rescued, frostbite had laid waste his hands and feet, starvation had enfeebled him and the loss of his men had transformed him into a wreck. His expressionless face said it all. All his frostbitten fingers and toes would be amputated at the Leh hospital.

    It was February 1986. Since neither could continue in service because of physical disability and blindness, both the major and the havildar would be discharged from the army on medical grounds some time in 1987. That meant another battle, a lifelong one, with life itself.

    The vast majority of our countrymen and women think that our soldiers get killed or crippled only in wars, or fighting armed militants in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast. Battlefield or not, our men in uniform can get maimed in a day’s work too. And those who get disabled in peacetime outnumber the war casualties. Since they cannot find alternative employment, the government pays them what is called disability pension – an amount parsimoniously calculated by our babus to help them make both ends meet, but not live a life of dignity as a former Indian soldier who unfortunately fell by the wayside.

    Since they were involved in Operation Meghdoot (the military action we launched in April 1984 to regain and hold our territory in Siachen Glacier), the army would declare the Major and Havildar as war casualties, and the two would get war injury pension.

    What would the Major and the Havildar get as war injury pension today? The Major Rs 17,742 plus dearness relief (DR), and the Havildar Rs 10,520 plus DR (hereafter, DR needs to be added to the figures mentioned as pension). However, if they hadn’t suffered disability in a war zone, the Major would be eligible for disability pension of Rs 11,862 and the Havildar Rs 7,010.

    Mind you, the two were struck off the rolls in 1987. Now suppose a Major and a Havildar with the same years of service (6 and 14-15 respectively) were discharged in 2010 on the same grounds. How much would each draw as war injury pension? The Major Rs 36,410 and the Havildar approximately Rs 14,800. (In case of disability pension, it would be Rs 16,905 for the Major and approximately Rs 7,940 for the Havildar.) Too many numbers, but I hope you are still with me.

    We can make the following observations from the above:
    The government practises ‘soft apartheid’. When the cost of living is same for both, why should personnel getting disabled in wartime and peacetime be treated differently for pensionary benefits? A life of disability is a life of disability; the context of the injury should not matter. The government needs to ensure parity while fixing pension among a class of its employees, to provide for a certain standard of living of all parties. I believe peacetime disabled soldiers deserve to be paid as much as the wartime ones, but the war disabled must be paid a large sum as compensation. Two soldiers of the same rank and same service getting disabled two and 25 years ago receive different amounts as pension. The Major gets just 49% of what his 2010 counterpart gets as pension. Similarly, the Havildar gets 71% of his 2010 counterpart.

    War injury and disability pension are special cases and few thousands receive it. The ordinary military veterans – vast majority pensioned off in their mid-thirties to early-forties – too are victims of the government’s discriminatory policy of paying different rates of pension for retirees from different periods.

    Given the unique rank-based hierarchy and service conditions, and early retirement, rank-based ‘military pension’ was instituted as recompense till the second pay commission, but the third pay commission overturned the policy and equated civil and military pension. Ever since, the military veterans have been demanding ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP). It implies the rank and the length of service must be the sole determinants of calculating military pension. The date of retirement should not figure in the calculus. Like, the Major and Havildar of 1987 must get the same war injury pension as the pair of 2010.

    The OROP argument has been won by the veterans – including securing the imprimatur of the Supreme Court and the approbation of the leading lights of political establishments. (To know more about OROP, read my article The government cons the military, again.) However, as is their wont, the IAS babus – the self-appointed arbiters of what’s good for you and me, the wellsprings of enlightenment and wisdom – throw a monkey wrench into the works by rehashing the defeated counterpoints, over and over, just to deny the veterans their due. Spite.

    The games babus play
    As for our governments, it won’t be an exaggeration if I say the tail wags the dog – the ministers rubber-stamp what the IAS babus decide. Doesn’t matter if the Peter Principle (in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence) has overtaken the now totally corroded ‘steel frame’.

    Though it defies reason, though the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (SCPC) did not make any such distinction, why the disparity in the amounts of old and new pensioners? Our ‘creative’ babus created the division. They decreed that those who retired before 1 January 2006 (the day SCPC awards came into effect) would be an underclass of pensioners drawing only a percentage of what those retired on/after 1 January 2006 – the upperclass – was bestowed by the SCPC.

    But wouldn’t such a division pigeonhole the bureaucratic nobility too? Don’t worry, our babus know how to skim the cream off! The cabinet secretary and the secretaries tap the same pension scales irrespective of their date of retirement (people in the know will tell you that unless vigilant citizens like Prashant Bhushan get them implicated in serious crime through the courts, the system has been artfully manipulated to enable all IAS officers to reach secretary level without exception!). To dispel the impression of them having and eating the cream, they have served some stuff to their equivalents too.

    But why have the rest of the pensioners been denied their due? Soft apartheid!

    The SCPC is a mishmash of illogicalities. Common sense tells you that pension must be derived from the last drawn pay, which in turn must be a function of service, but this applies only to the upperclass, not the underclass. For example. While the SCPC acknowledged and retained the rank structure of the defence services within the four pay bands by referring to ‘minimum of the rank pay band’ to compute pension, the babus sank ‘rank’ sans a ripple, and implemented the rest of the phrase – ‘minimum of the pay band’. Consequence: sepoys to havildars who put in 17 to 21 years’ service will take home pension equivalent to one year’s service. Boo!

    Anomalies and oddities galore, but the troubling issue is: How can a committee of secretaries mutilate those recommendations of the Pay Commission that were unpalatable to the IAS? Nature of the beast.

    Pension scales must be unitary, and as I argued earlier, the amount of pension fixed must enable the entire lot belonging to a class recognised by the government to lead a certain standard of life. Instead of tying in knots to justify the unjustifiable, the government would have become a model employer if it had devised a unitary pension mechanism. The SCPC muddle only amplifies the call for OROP, for OROP is built on the bedrock of equity.

    Mr Pallam Raju, minister of state for defence, informed the Lok Sabha on 21 April 2010 that “the Government would not be able to meet the ‘one rank one pension’ demand due to administrative, financial and legal implications.” (You don’t have to be a genius to demolish the stock administrative-financial-legal contention.)

    But wait. The government being a government, has to be two-faced if it has rejected anything. Lately its functionaries, despite the ministerial assertion, are claiming that they have nearly implemented OROP for Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks, and would soon surprise the Officers with similar benevolence. Sheer sophistry, as believable as the government’s trumpet to fetch the filthy lucre stashed in foreign vaults!

    Hard-done-by, the next option for the veterans is to seek adjudication, i.e. knock the doors of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). While drafting the AFT Act, 2007, the babus ensured that the Tribunal was not vested with the powers of civil contempt. (The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines: civil contempt essentially means wilful disobedience to any judgement/order, wilful breach of an undertaking, etc., while criminal contempt means scandalising the court, lowering its authority, obstruction of the administration of justice in any manner, etc.)

    Without the power of civil contempt, the AFT cannot call to account the government (read babus) for temporising or not executing its orders. (Interestingly, in a proactive interpretation, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has told the AFT to take coercive action for non-implementation of its orders by treating it as criminal contempt. This is bound to be challenged in the Supreme Court.) Here’s the long and the short of it: if the babus thumb their nose at the AFT, the AFT can only wink at that gesture. Spite, again.

    Contrast this. Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunals Act – the Central Administrative Tribunals for the babus draw power from this statute – capacitates the CATs with full powers of contempt!

    The other recourse, the Armed Forcers Grievance Redressal Commission, has only recommendatory role, not adjudicatory teeth. Which means we are back to square one: the validation of the Commission’s pronouncement will be the prerogative of a babu! (While every babu isn’t unresponsive or a stonewaller, the service not short of officers with positive outlook, the SCPC and OROP experience does not inspire the veterans with confidence in the bureaucracy.)

    The veterans feel they have been outflanked, and boxed in. The only avenue left is to protest against the injustice, adopting the same badge of decorum they lived by while donning the uniform. On the 6th of March, aggrieved military veterans will hold rallies in different cities to highlight three primary issues: denial of OROP, disregard for widows’ entitlements and non-implementation of AFT orders. In the capital, they would submit a memorandum to the President, signed in blood.

    Forsaken, at the Supreme Commander’s doorstep
    Although they are veterans now, they still look up to the President as their Supreme Commander, but tragically, this veneration remains unrequited. The veterans had sought the President’s availability, several times, to personally hand over the memorandum and deposit their medals. This time too, citing unavailability, the President’s office has detailed an officer to be the receiver. Unlike last time, the veterans have decided not to hand over the medals to the President’s staff.

    The last time, the official refused to accept the memorandum signed in blood, I believe, for the fear of getting infected! Well, it’s okay when the same blood is spilled while battling the nation’s enemies.

    Whenever I read about the American President, qua commander-in-chief, walking that extra mile to embrace and empathise with the veterans, I naturally wish for the Indian President emulating him. What a world of difference that would make. The Supreme Commander surely can be more than a complaint box.

    Veterans and a government caught up in jobbery
    In Greek mythology, Zeus sentenced Sisyphus to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, but it would always roll down just short of the peak, forcing him to start all over again! Though there is a Sisyphean parallel, Sisyphus’ struggle seems like a stroll today if one compared it to the Indian military veterans’ tortuous toil since 1983 to obtain OROP.

    I doubt whether even an unfeeling government would let things slide so much as to compel the country’s military veterans to take it to the street.

    Can the military veterans stir the present dispensation, widely perceived to be, uncharitable though, a government of the corrupt, by the corrupt and for the corrupt?

    I believe that any nation that yearns to fulfil the aspirations of its people needs two emotional nutrients: sense of pride and sense of shame. A sense of shame to prick the national conscience to set right the wrongs and the inequalities. These could be slavery, dehumanising caste stratification, discrimination, institutional apathy or even indifference to people simply because they cannot collectively bargain with their employer like the soldiers who surrender their fundamental rights.

    Wonder whether the sight of military veterans protesting governmental injustice will prick the national conscience. Jai Hind!
    MP Anil Kumar is a former fighter pilot. He contributes a regular column to Rediff.com
    Images: Veterans Rally at Janatar Mantar seeking Justice on 06 Mar 2011.
    Photographs: Col TN Baba (Retd)
    Give the military veterans their due

    Who is MP Anil Kumar?
    AIRBORNE TO CHAIRBORNE
    MP Anil Kumar a former Air Force Pilot writes about his traumatic experience in life- Writing with the mouth- using will power to lead normal life

    IESM Rally at Jantar Mantar on 06 Mar 2011






    Dear Colleagues,
    The rally at Jantar Mantar was a huge success. It was heart-warming to have 6,500 veterans and 105 families participating from 16 States. The determination to carry on the struggle till our demands – fronted by ‘one rank one pension’ – were met was easily visible on bronzed faces from largely rural India. The 3 km march around Connaught Place area was extremely well disciplined and orderly. The slogans stressing our demands in booming soldierly voice and the large number of placards left little doubt on what we are seeking.
    An additional 3800 medals were voluntarily deposited. A party of 13 veterans thereafter proceeded to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Since the President was not available to receive the medals in person, these were brought back while the memorandum carrying several thousand signatures in blood was handed over to the staff.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan,PVSM,AVSM,VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    IESM fast tracks ECHS to aid Veteran in Ventilator

    Dear Colleagues,
    The mobile phone has been on the buzz most of the day. Many ESM called up to confirm large attendance for the rally tomorrow. Those who cannot make it due to the distance involved, called up to express support and solidarity for the Movement. Over eight lac rupees have been donated by members for the event. The response has been overwhelming. The confidence and faith shown by the environment puts a heavy responsibility on us to steer the Movement to meet the expectations of the majority.
    I was called today to unveil a martyr’s statue in village ‘Palda’ in Jhajjar District of Haryana. It was the wish of the ESM in the region that the honor is done by Chairman IESM and not by any politician or government official. It was a solemn ceremony attended by hundreds of ESM and families. School children sang patriotic songs. Palda has a proud history of valour and sacrifice. There are now four statues of martyrs in a row, the first being of Hony Capt Umrao Singh, VC.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

    Assistance to No 14606646 Ex L/Nk Hari Kumar KG For Specialized treatment at Cochin
    Dear Veterans,
    1. This is to bring to the notice of all veterans that IESM HQ moved on OP immediate basis to get the sanction of Sr consultant (MED) for the specialized treatment to No 14606646 Ex L/Nk Hari Kumar KG who is on ventilator in ICU at Amrita Institute of Medical Science an ECHS empanelled hospital at Cochin. We were approached by the family members of the veteran patient when all their efforts failed and the hospital was to start the treatment after the sanction from DGAFMS is given. The amount involved as on 24 Feb was Rs 3,58,100/-.
    2. IESM HQ contacted whose who in the medical set up at RR hospital, DGAFMS, DGMS (Army), DGCW AG's Branch. the required documents sent by Air force Hospital Bangalore were not traceable in the office of DGAFMS. Emergency ops room functioned at IESM HQ and we were able to get the required sanction conveyed to OIC ECHS Cochin yesterday at 3 Pm. I can only say "God! you are too kind". We pray, with the commencement of treatment, our veteran soldier is blessed with speedy recovery.
    3. Our special thanks to DG(CW) Lt Gen BG Nair, DG MS (Army) Lt Gen HR Kakaria Sr consultant (MD) Maj Gen AC Anand, Col Chatraj SO To DGMS (Army), Col SS Roy So to Sr, consultant MD DGAFMS, Col Summit Roy OC ECHS Cochin, AVM Anil Behal AF Hospital Bangalore; who voluntarily and positively understood the urgency and helped in expediting the sanction.
    "Hum Teri bandagi karein na karein par tere bacho ko pyar karte hain"
    Best regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM

    Polyclinics
    Mr. Raju said the government had recently sanctioned an additional 300 polyclinics as part of the endeavour to provide better healthcare to the ex-servicemen. Efforts were also underway to help the ex-servicemen have an access to the corporate hospitals. Resettlement courses for the ex-servicemen were getting fine-tuned in a bid to promote skill upgradation among them. The idea was aimed at preparing the ex-servicemen, who were used to do the conventional jobs associated with the refilling stations, toll plazas on the highways and security agencies, to take up the emerging and new generation employments like software as their second career. The Minister said the Centre had decided to increase its share of funds from 50 to 75 per cent for running the State Sainik Boards in a bid to provide more focus on the welfare of ex-servicemen and widows. The State-level boards are funded by the State and Central governments in a 50:50 ratio till now.
    Welfare of ex-servicemen priority of Defence Ministry
    Related Reading: JK CM announces Rs. 20 lakh as financial assistance for blind Ex-Servicemen

    MoD drops use of term PBOR in Armed Forces

    The Ministry of Defence has accepted a long-pending demand of ex-servicemen to drop the use of the term ‘Personnel Below Officers Rank’ (PBOR) in official communication.
    A letter to this effect has been issued to all command headquarters of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
    Henceforth, in official communication, soldiers will be referred as Other Ranks (Sepoy, Naik and Havildar), Junior Commissioned Officers (Hony Naib Subedar, Naib Subedar, Subedar, Subedar Major) and Officers (Lieutenants and above).
    Officers are commissioned in forces, so are Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). The JCOs also put on stars on shoulders like officers.
    The JCOs are Class II gazetted officers and their gazette notification is also signed by the President of India. Some JCOs do take on officer’s duties, responsibilities and also draw officiating allowances for that.
    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd), former Vice-Chief of the Army and chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, said: “I am happy the system has recognised it. It was unfair to call Junior Commissioned Officers as PBORs.”
    The term PBORs is considered derogatory because it draws a line between officers and the other ranks. “It creates a deep sense of difference in the hearts and mind of ex-servicemen and also in forces,” said Lt Col SS Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-servicemen Grievance Cell. He had also petitioned the MoD to drop the term.
    Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the All-India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, however, said everybody should be called ex-servicemen after retirement. "After retirement, all are equal and categorising soldiers who have served at the lowest ranks as Other Ranks should also be avoided," he said.
    MoD drops use of term PBOR in Armed Forces

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