Saturday, August 20, 2011

Should the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare be disbanded?

Pension of Hony Nb Sub
Copy of a letter written to the Raksha Mantri with copies to eight others is attached (less appendices) for information please. Great credit goes to Maj Navdeep for bringing out the startling manipulation by the govt and for doing the legwork for this communication. Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

From: Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM
262, Sector-17A, Gurgaon – 122001
IESM/ESW/2009 dated 20 Aug 2011
To:Hon’ble Raksha Mantri
Ministry of DefenceSouth Block,
New Delhi
1. This is to bring to your notice the unfortunate and unethical action by the staff of Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare in incorrectly and misleadingly briefing Govt counsel before the apex court in litigation involving military personnel and their families. The latest in this chain is the statement made before the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No 13139 / 2011 on 07-07-2011 (Enclosed as Appendix ‘A’). 2. Based on the acceptance of the recommendations of 6th CPC, the Ministry of Defence had, on 12-06-2009, issued a letter granting the pension as admissible to regular Naib Subedars to those Havildars who had been granted the Honorary rank of Naib Subedar on retirement. Having been issued after the 6th CPC, the said letter naturally contained a stipulation that it was to take effect from 01-01-2006 meaning thereby that the financial benefits were to apply from the said date. However, the MoD which had issued the said letter subsequently instructed the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) that the provisions were to be made applicable only to those personnel who retired after 01-01-2006 and that Honorary Naib Subedars who retired prior to 01-01-2006 were not to be granted this benefit of pension. This was in fact also against the universally accepted principles of modified parity which provide that pensions of personnel retiring prior to or after a cut-off date were to be determined on the same fresh pay scales introduced after the said cut-off date, albeit based on a different formula.

3. The interpretation of the MoD on the ibid letter was challenged by certain affected personnel before the Armed Forces Tribunal at Chandigarh in OA No 42 of 2010 (Virender Singh and others Vs UOI). The Tribunal was pleased to allow the same and it was ordered that effectuating two scales of two different ranks for determining the pension of personnel retiring in the same rank had resulted in serious discrimination and that this anomaly had to be rectified. As expected, this judgement was challenged by the MoD before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble Apex Court was pleased to dismiss the appeal of the UOI in SLP No 36534 of 2010 on 13-12-2010. (Enclosed as Appendix ‘B’).

4. When the judgement of the AFT was upheld by the Apex Court, it was expected that the MoD would carry out the direction in letter and spirit, but it was not to be. Despite the fact that the law had been settled by the SC, the MoD still went ahead and filed a spate of appeals before the SC which came up for hearing on 07-07-2011 and which form the basis of this letter.

5. When the case came up for hearing, the SC again dismissed the Appeals filed by the UoI but on the request of the battery of lawyers representing the UoI led by Sh Gopal Subramanimum, the then Solicitor General, the following was observed in the order :- “It needs, however, to be clarified that the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal shall relate only to the cases of Havildars who, before their retirement, were granted honorary promotion to the rank of Naib Subedar and shall not be used as a precedent in case of other ranks”.

6. The Solicitor General thus requested/advised the Court to clarify that the case shall only relate to Havildars granted the rank of Honorary Naib Subedar before retirement. But the shocking aspect highlighted here is that Havildars are never granted the Honorary rank of Naib Subedar before retirement, an Honorary rank of Naib Subedar is ONLY granted after retirement. If this were to be taken as the actual position, then no Honorary Naib Subedar shall be eligible for such benefits and even the letter dated 12-06-2009 issued by the MoD shall become redundant, null and void. The fact that the rank of Honorary Naib Subedar is only granted on retirement becomes amply clear from Paragraph 180 of the Regulations for the Army and Para 18 of Letter No B/43435/Policy/AG/CW-2 dated 16-05-2008 issued by the Ceremonial and Welfare Directorate of the Integrated HQ of MoD (Army).

7. More than the fact that a wrong statement was made before the Supreme Court by the Solicitor General, who apparently acted on wrong advice tendered by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, it pains the ex-servicemen community that the pension wing of the said department, instead of looking after the welfare of veterans, is increasingly assuming an adversarial role and scuttling all positive moves made by the higher echelons of the MoD and the Defence Services for the welfare of veterans and their families. The term ‘Welfare’ in the title of the Department is an unfortunate misnomer. This negative attitude is also resulting in delaying and denying the benefits even when upheld by the Supreme Court. This negative approach is very unfortunate and results in filing of multiple appeals before the Supreme Court by the MoD against its disabled soldiers and other pensioners imposing great financial burden by way of legal expenses on the affected Ex Servicemen. 8. As the above mentioned statement before the Supreme Court would indicate, the Department did not even spare veterans who were covered by an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court and took the opportunity to convey incorrect facts to the Court when even a notice had not yet been issued to the affected veterans (respondents in the appeal) who were thus not even represented in the Court either in person or through counsel. While I have no legal knowhow, but it seems clear that stating a wrong and misleading fact and that too in the absence of the affected party, may be contemptuous or even perjury. The fact that no attempt has been made till date to get the wrong statement rectified, modified or clarified, further lends credence to suspicion on the motive of the staff who would have briefed the then Solicitor General.

9. I request your intervention in undoing the mistake so that the veterans get their just due. There is also a need that the errant staff is taken to task so as to avoid repetition of such unfortunate misrepresentation of facts. With best regards,
Yours sincerely,
Sd xxx
Copy To:
1. Hon’ble Law Minister, Ministry of Law and Legislative Affairs, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
2. Hon’ble Rajya Raksha Mantri, Ministry of Defence, South Block, New Delhi
3. Chief of the Army Staff, COAS Secretariat, South Block, New Delhi
4. The Adjutant General, South Block, New Delhi
5. Director PS-4 (Legal), Sena Bhawan, DHQ PO, New Delhi
6. Solicitor General, c/o Supreme Court Bar Association, Supreme Court, New Delhi
7. Sh Gopal Subramanium, c/o Supreme Court Bar Association, Supreme Court, New Delhi
8. Ms Neelam Nath, Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence, South Block, New Delhi

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Common man loses Confidence and Screams for an effective Lokpal

India Inc uneasy at Hazare standoff
At the end of this month, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and his friends from India Inc — who had earlier collectively written an open letter to the Prime Minister and his political establishment — plan to meet once again and take their own crusade against corruption and governance deficit forward.
Industry chambers have spoken, calling for a balanced reaction from the government. They echo a popular sentiment that while Parliament has the right to make laws, individuals enjoy the freedom of speech and assembly.
"We strongly support any process or mechanism that will lead to good governance and weed out corruption from all walks of life," said Dilip Modi, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
"Industry believes it has a strong role to play in fighting corruption and, therefore, we have already developed the first version of a Code of Business Ethics," said a spokesperson of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Marico chairman Harsh Mariwala, also chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, is more realistic than many of his peers. "Anna Hazare is a symbol. The fight is a bigger one on corruption. When you lose faith in the entire system, it becomes difficult for the common man to have confidence in the political establishment. But a Lok Pal Bill alone cannot solve all the problems. There has to be a much bigger overhaul of all discretionary powers," he said.
Cyber citizens from India Inc have been active for the past few days. Some have been pragmatic, some circumspect yet cautious, while some are outspoken as ever. "Let's not be bogged down with scams by a few. Let's hold our heads high and focus on the numerous reasons we have to be proud, independent Indians," tweeted the king of good times and Rajya Sabha MP, Vijay Mallya.
M&M's Anand Mahindra, a corporate leader behind many social campaigns, -- seems to suggest the writing is on the wall for all to see. "Democracy means no voice, however small, must go unheard. The anti-corruption sentiment is not a whisper -- it's a scream. Grave error to ignore it," he warned.
Kiran Mazumdar-ShawBiotech's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is appalled at what has been happening for the past 48 hours. She tweeted several times in seeming despair. "The government is committing political harakiri -- as they say, if you are in a hole, stop digging!...." and then added, "The UPA Government has lost the plot -- they have incited the entire country by putting Anna behind bars .... The country-wide agitation against Anna's imprisonment can bring the Government down -- they don't seem to understand how incandescent the issue."
However, the stoic silence of most others may seem odd as they were vocal in their reactions before, when Hazare first led his protest outside Jantar Mantar in April. "We are sick of corruption," leading industrialist and Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj had then remarked. But since then, the slugfest over a Lok Pal and need for a legal framework for it has become overtly political.
Source: Business Standard
India Inc uneasy at Hazare standoff
Comment: The Parliament and Politicians should echo the Citizens Voice and not their own agenda of spinning money. The best constitutional experts need to be consulted to make an effective Lokpal bIll- not by vested Lawyers and Bureaucrats.

Anna Hazare's Arrest Galvanises the Nation to Arrest Corruption

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
Finally the Government and Anna supporters have agreed for the place of Anna’s fast and dharna.The place is Ram Lila Ground, New Delhi. Anna will shift to Ram Lila Ground around 1500 hrs on 18 Aug 11.Ram Lila Ground is easily accessible by Metro and bus.
Now that situation has stabilised, IESM has started its preparations to set up a shamiana at the Ram Lila Ground. At present there is too much of on rush of too many activities at the ground. IESM will be ready with its shamiana surely by 1600 hrs at Ram Lila Ground, may be earlier.
All ESM and families, whether members of IESM or not, in and around NCR, are requested to assemble at Ram Lila Ground today by 1600 hrs.Please wear regimental caps or miniature medals, or full medals or any insignia to distinguish you as an ESM.
IESM T Shirts will be available on site. 500 T shirts have arrived, more are on the way. Some suitable banners are being made and will be on site. Your help in getting some banners with you will be highly appreciated. From 19 Aug onwards, you all with your families are requested to be at Ram Lila Ground by 1000 hrs every day.
At Ram Lila Ground all administrative arrangements, including water and sanitation are being made by the organisers.It is advisable to carry your own water also. Those of you, who are away from NCR, should kindly join the Anti Corruption Movement of Anna, in your respective cities in an organised manner, making yourself visible as an ESM. Do send us periodic reports, with photographs.
Please try and involve media in your respective cities and if feasible, ensure that you as Ex Servicemen, with your families, are visible on the media. Vande Matram.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

Ex Servicemen Support Anna Hazare's Anti- Corruption Campaign

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
‘i’ am grateful to YOU ALL, for very strong support to the views expressed. As yesterday, today also all news channels are giving continuous coverage to the action in hundreds of cities of India and abroad.
The PM was forced by Opposition to give a statement in Parliament, which he did in both houses, turn by turn. I heard each word of it. Shree Jaitley, Opposition Leader in Rajya Sabha and Ms Sushma Swaraj, Opposition Leader in Lok Sabha replied to the PM speech extremely well.
The Govt was virtually torn apart for hiding behind the Police Commissioner of Delhi. I am sure the text of these speeches will be available in news papers and on the net. Do read these two speeches – it is worth the effort. Some of the ESM have doubt whether IESM is supporting the Anna Movement or not. Well let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind – starting from Chairman downwards – there is unanimous support by the Governing Body of IESM, for the movement by Anna Hazare. IESM has not been able to issue a consolidated programme because of uncertainty of the main venue of the Anna’s protest. However, large number of members of IESM Governing Body, other members of IESM and other ESM were and are there at Tihar Jail, Chatrasal Stadium and India Gate. Please come forward and support Chairman IESM and all members of IESM in their endeavour to support Anna and Jan Lokpal Bill.
Whether you are member of IESM or not – let us show India that its ESM are there to now protect it from corrupt politicians and other thugs. When you come to support Anna, please ensure you dress up in a manner that you stand out as and ESM.
Wear your regimental cap/ miniture medals/ full medals/ or whatever you consider appropriate.We are trying to procure enough number of IESM Tee Shirts also, which will be available on payment (probably priced around Rs 200 or so). Vande Matram.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

Veterans Support Anna's Anti- Corruption campaign for Jan Lokpal Bill
In an effort to show our solidarity with IAC/ Anna Hazare, Gp Capt VK Gandhi and I went to the Tihar Jail this morning.
With clear blue sky and puffy white clouds around here and there, it was a very warm day!
As we reached the site at Gate No 1, we could see about 1500 people already milling about there, all very animated with slogans of "Vandé Matram" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai".
I must say that it was really awe-inspiring the way ordinary citizens of India were all gathered there to show support for Anna Hazare -- with absolutely no political angles!
Gp Capt Gandhi and I, of course, had gone there in the IESM T-shirt, which aroused immense response from all around. News 9 were very curious as to where were we from!
The crowds were getting larger very rapidly.
By the time we left, my estimate was that there were at least 5,000 people anxious to show their support for Anna Hazare.
What came as a pleasant surprise was that there were these volunteers, who were quietly walking about and offering you good, clean water for drinking as also, a small package of something to eat!
At about the time we were leaving, after having spent about an hour there, we could see some buses coming up and on enquiring, the driver said that the police had called for them. So, there just may have been some plans to arrest the protesters, what with a "Water Cannon" vehicle also standing there!
Thanks to the high visibility of the IESM T-shirts, we were not only able to meet a whole lot of other ESM, but there was a gentleman from Anna's village, Ralegaon Siddhi, who happily took a picture of us!
It was a really energising and uplifting experience, and I would strongly recommend all of you to individually get out to the nearest point where the "aam aadmi" is gathering -- and express your support to them!
Wg Cdr CK Sharma (Retd)
Treasurer, IESM

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nation erupts over Anna detention drama

Army to cut litigation cases involving veterans

ARMY TO CUT LITIGATION CASES INVOLVING VETERANS From The Tribune Chandigarh of 15 August 2011. Forwarded without
K K Punchhi

Tribune News Service by Vijay Mohan Chandigarh, August 14, 2011
In a proactive move to reduce litigation, the Army Headquarters (AHQ) has asked all army commands to ensure that contested litigation concerning retired personnel are withdrawn where the issue involved is well settled by previous judgements.

The Adjutant General’s (AG) branch at AHQ has issued directives to officers in charge of litigation at the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and the High Courts that cases involving settled legal position in the favour of veterans should not be contested in courts since it results in unnecessary financial strain on former defence personnel as well as the Union of India.

Sources said this is for the first time that such orders have been issued. The AG’s branch has also issued specific direction to its officers that cases where medical board recommendations in favour of disabled personnel have been wrongly overruled by administrative authorities should not be contested and should be withdrawn.

The AG’s branch has also directed that cases should also not be contested where individuals with non-service related disabilities are medially boarded out with a little less than 10 years of service which is the minimum qualifying service required for invalid pension in cases of disabilities which are neither attributable to nor aggravated by service conditions.

The AG’s branch has further sensitised military authorities that individuals with non-service related disabilities should not be boarded out if they are nearing the minimum service limit of 10 years for earning an invalid pension. There is no minimum service requirement however to earn disability pension in cases with attributable or aggravated disabilities.

A large number of veterans have welcomed the AG’s directives. In recent times objections were raised by many veterans’ organisations on the tendency of the Defence Ministry of appealing against all pensionary decisions rendered by Courts in favour of defence veterans. “The directions issued by the AG is salutary move that is in line with the National Litigation Policy and which would reduce the burden on poor litigants as well as the courts, leaving time for more complex matters to be litigated,” Maj Navdeep Singh, President of the AFT Bar Association said.

The courts are flooded with pension related litigation, with disability pension claims forming the bulk. While the military authorities per se try to be helpful to disabled personnel, most of the litigation is directed towards non-adherence of rules by medical boards while determining attributability or aggravation of disabilities and towards the CDA authorities whom veterans say are insensitive to the problems of former soldiers.
Army to cut litigation cases involving veterans
Comment: Will the bureaucrats in MOD stifle the scheme?

Is the Military losing its sheen?

Military losing its shine
Time to recast Short Service Commission
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd )
Article in the Tribune 15/08/11

My dear Chander,
Noted below is an article that appeared in the Tribune to-day. While the paper, due to constrains of space, has omitted some parts of the article, I am forwarding to you the full text.
With regards and best wishes.
Full Text- click here
The Tribune: Military Losing its Shine

RM Lauds Role of Ex Servicemen
Defence Minister AK Antony today asked the armed forces to “uphold the trust of the nation”. A few cases of corruption in the armed forces have come to light recently and this has created “a somewhat negative impact on the image in the public eye”, he said while reminding them that it was the responsibility of each one of them to perform their tasks “with complete devotion, fairness, honesty and truthfulness”.
Lauding the role of ex-servicemen and underlining their welfare was a priority for the government, the Defence Minister said their pension related problems are being addressed and amenities are being expanded. Antony said: “I have appealed to all the states to provide more employment opportunities to ex-servicemen at all levels”.
RM Lauds role of Veterans

Rise India, Rise Against Corruption

Anna's Fast - a Wake up Call for All
Dear Compatriot,
Happy Independence Day! There is no second opinion on the menace of corruption which continues to rise. The Government, though guilty either for inaction or for involvement of its officers and ministers, also acknowledges the growth of this menace as echoed in the Independence Day speeches of the President yesterday and the Prime Minister today. It is the thinking people like you whose views and disposition matter more to more people. We all feel the pain of corruption but, sadly, do little beyond intellectual discourse.
To some extent we are all guilty of aiding corruption through our tolerance and inaction. Now, there is an opportunity to lend a helping hand to a good Cause. Nothing would be easier in the service of our nation than contributing our bit {Desh ke Maha Yagya mein Aapki ek paavan Aahuti} ideally by joining Anna Hazare's protest meeting tomorrow in Delhi and/or at least in the following way:-
  • Switch off all lights today (15 August 2011) from 8 to 9 PM and light a candle at your entrance or balcony (Darkness symbolising corruption; Candle our resolve to fight it).
  • Let's join Anna's protest Fast-cum-Rally tomorrow in Delhi (please watch for instructions from India Against Corruption on TV channels today evening).
  • Those of us who cannot for whatever reasons reach Delhi, are requested to gather peacefully at the nearest cross roads (CHAURAHA) to build up mass opinion against the Government's protectionist approach in dealing with corruption so that the country gets what it deserves - a strong, independent and effective Lokpal.
    I am neither a member of 'India Against Corruption' nor have I been approached by anyone to contact you. My conscience impelled me to share my ideas (atached) with you and, so I decided to send this mail to you. If it offends you in any manner, I should be terribly sorry and would aplogise to you with a request to condone my impropriety, if so it is. With regards, Karan Kharb
    Rise India, Rise Against Corruption

    Improving Governance
    Threats Facing Our Country And Proposals For Better Governance.
    India on the streets by Chetan Bhagat Aug 13, 2011
  • Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Address by President on 65th I-Day eve

    Corruption is a cancer affecting our nation’s political, economic, cultural and social life. It is necessary to eliminate it. Government, Parliament, Judiciary and society at large, should ponder about this, and find out ways to handle it in a manner that is practical, implementable and sustainable. There cannot be just one panacea or remedy to deal with it, but a system of transparency and accountability should be put in place at various levels, and, then, effectively enforced. It would require preventive and punitive measures, as well as adoption of rational approaches as we pursue the anti-corruption agenda. India is known for its sobriety and wisdom, balanced and sensible thinking. As is said in one of our shlokas, “अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत ”, which means that anything in extreme should be avoided. We need strong institutions and we need good governance in the country. Our institutions need to be fortified and our governance constantly improved. We should analyze the situation and find considered solutions to address the challenges we are facing in a thoughtful manner.

    Dear Citizens,
    I recall the words of Swami Vivekanand, “this national ship of ours my countrymen, has been plying for ages, carrying civilization and enriching the whole world with its inestimable treasures.” Dear Citizens, the challenge for us, is how effectively we carry forward the nation from now onwards. Let history be the judge that during our time, we found the right answers to the challenges we faced, and acquitted ourselves with dignity and continued to work with unity, to build the India of our dreams.

    Dawn will break tomorrow and our flag will flutter. Whatever task you are doing in the interest of the country is important, and I call on all citizens to pledge, that they will work with full commitment and dedication, honesty and integrity and with a sense of pride. If we do this, there is much that we will be able to achieve as a nation.

    With these words, I wish all citizens the very best on the occasion of Independence Day. JAI HIND!
    Click for full transcript- Address by President on 65th I-Day eve

    RMS team wishes all its readers a very Happy 65th Independence Day.

    Army Gallantry Award Winners and their Acts of Gallantry- 2011

    Army Gallantry Award Winners and their Acts of Gallantry
    4. IC-69025 captain saurabh dhamija, 3RD BATTALION THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT (SPECIAL FORCES)
    Click here to read the complete list of Gallantry Awardees
    Click here to read the citations and their heroic deeds (PIB- Release ID :74539)
    Honorary Commissions
    The list of Army personnel who have been honoured with honorary commissions on the occasion of 65th Independence Day -2011 click here

    Major's Pension Anomaly- Will it ever be addressed?

    Dear All,
    Please find the attached letter addressed to President- click here
    Sqn Ldr YS NIJJAR (Retd)

    Tribunal OKs Petition Ensuring Raised Pension for Majors
    Removing anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission, the Armed Forces Tribunal has allowed a petition which will benefit all the army Majors and officers in the same rank in the three services who had retired before 2006 and entitle them to enhanced monetary benefits.

    "We direct that the pension of pre (2006) retirees should be decided on the basis of minimum of the pay in the pay band that is Rs 23,810 with all other benefits and shall be given to them," the Tribunal Bench headed by Justice A K Mathur said in its verdict.

    The Tribunal has asked the Defence Ministry to complete the whole exercise within next three months.

    Pointing to an earlier pay commission policy that said that the pension of all pensioners shall not be less than 50 per cent, the Bench said, "then naturally 50 per cent of this will have to be treated as a basic pension and rest of it will be added to it as grade pay and other benefits which are given to the persons of that rank".

    Over 150 Major and officers of equivalent rank had filed the petition in the Tribunal to do away with the anomalies, which had resulted in the pre-2006 retirees getting lesser pension than post-2006 retired honorary captains, their Counsel Commodore Sukhjinder Singh told PTI here.

    "But even after this, there will be difference between pension of pre and post 2006 retired majors and equivalents. Pension of officers retiring after 2006 would be calculated by taking 50 per cent of the highest pay scale into account whereas ours will be the same proportion of the lowest pay-scale," he added.

    After this verdict, more than 5000 similarly placed retired officers will get the additional monetary benefit, which will be to the tune of Rs 5000.

    The gap in pensions had increased after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, which came into effect from January 1, 2006.

    After the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, pension of majors was fixed at Rs 14,100 per month.

    The petitioners had contended that the existing basic pay, inclusive of grade pay and military service pay, worked out to be Rs 36,410, hence their pension at the stipulated 50 per cent of basic worked out to be Rs 18,205 per month, to which they were entitled.

    The pension of lieutenant colonel is fixed at Rs 25,700 whereas that of majors who retired before 2006 is Rs 14,100, creating a huge difference of Rs 11,600, the petitioners claimed. Prior to the Sixth Pay Commission, the difference was just Rs 950.
    Tribunal OKs Petition Ensuring Raised Pension for Majors
    PTI | New Delhi | Sep 22, 2010

    Majors Pension Anomaly under RM's Radar!- RM's Reply
    IESL confirms- Widows and Major's Pension Anomalies remain grounded

    Happy 65th Independence Day: Should tryst with democracy end?

    By R Shankar, India Syndicate, 13/08/2011
    Should tryst with democracy end?
    Comment: Has the time come for India’s tryst with democracy to either end or change?

    As India celebrates her 65th Independence Day and has become a mature `senior citizen', has the time come to rethink on the way the nation is being governed? Has democracy lost its sheen, its soul, its meaning and its very purpose? Has the DNA of the form of governance been so distorted and mutilated that the nation is no longer a democracy in the true sense?

    The fist course correction to Indian democracy was tried out during the Emergency in 1975. But the timing was mistake, the purpose a bigger mistake and the way it was implanted the biggest. It was done to save Indira Gandhi from being dethroned, not the nation. Well, the dark days of democracy are history now. But we are now faced with bigger threats to democracy.

    Here are the threats:
    Electables and Unelectables
    Very few honest and upright persons can ever enter the portals of the Parliament as an elected member. If one wants to become an MP, he or she will need the following `qualifications': a criminal record, a huge bank balance (preferably black money), family backing or backing of religious communities.

    The Congress has accused Gandhian Anna Hazare as being an `unelectable' voice. Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari went on record to say that Hazare is "unelectable" and "if this democracy faces its greatest peril from someone, it is from the tyranny of the unelected and the unelectable".

    Can honest and upright men like Anna Hazare, Abdul Kalam, NR Narayana Murthy or Kiran Bedi get elected? Does that mean that they do not fit into the framework of a truly democratic polity?

    The answer lies here: In the present Parliament, 300 are billionaires and 180 millionaires. over 150 MPs face criminal charges with over 70 of them facing serious charges ranging from murder to rape and kidnapping to cheating.

    Add to this people like Mayawati who wants Rs 22 crore to refurbish her mansion in Lucknow; the Bellary brothers who flouted every rule to mint money in crores through illegal mining and irreversibly change the very ecology of the town; and, till recently, they were `honourable' ministers in the Yeddyurappa cabinet in Karnataka. Sons of a poor constable, the Reddy brothers used to `helihop' from Bellary to Bangalore for a dine-out. And there is A Raja, Kanimozhi, Kalmadi, Lalu, Jagan and the like whose main job was to make money by flouting laws. And, they are all law-makers!

    On the unelectables, all that the Congress has to do is to jog its memory. Even Mahatma Gandhi's candidate was once an `unelectable' man. In 1939, Gandhiji put up Pattabhi Sitaramaiah as his candidate for the Congress presidentship. He lost to Subhash Chandra Bose and a crestfallen Gandhiji had said that Sitaramaiah's defeat was his (Gandhiji's) defeat. The Congress made it so difficult for Bose to function that he had to resign a few months later.
    Read more... Click here


    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)