Friday, September 30, 2011

Baggage from the past haunts Ex Servicemen Pension Payments

Ministry of Defence30-September, 2011 17:19 IST
“Resolve Ex-Servicemen Pension Grievances Quickly”:
Antony’s Message to Defence Accounts on Annual Day

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today asked senior Defence Finance officials of his Ministry to consider the satisfaction level of Ex-Servicemen (ESM) pensioners as the benchmark of their performance. Addressing the 264th Annual Day Celebration of the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) here today, Shri Antony pointed out that his office still continues to receive several pension settlement related grievances.

“True, most of these cases were a baggage from the past as a consequence of Pay Commission recommendations and Cabinet decision on pay and pension hike, yet these needed to be addressed at the shortest possible time,” Shri Antony said. “Ultimately, the taste of the pudding lies in its eating,” he quipped adding that “the veterans deserved their due as they had sacrificed the prime of their life safeguarding our borders.”

The Defence Minister hoped that the two IT projects ‘Sangam’, for pension payment, and ‘Dolphin’ related to monthly pay system for the Other Ranks (OR) in Army, will facilitate quick disbursal of dues to the serving ORs and ESM. “You must strive to provide enhanced customer satisfaction through hassle-free service and prompt and accurate payment of dues to the soldiers and their dependents.” Project ‘Sangham’ has fulfilled a long-pending demand of our ESM.

Commending the DAD for launching of its two IT projects – ‘Vishwak’ and ‘Bhawan’, Shri Antony said, “You should strive to utilise this advantage to assist the Services in achieving their goals.” Underlining the need for transparency in accounting procedures, the Defence Minister observed, “In today’s era of globalisation, accountability has acquired new connotations. Accountability is no longer restricted to quantitative techniques and financial inputs and outputs. It has become an integral part of good governance, with several aspects like integrity, transparency, responsiveness and sustainability becoming a part and parcel.”

On the occasion, the Shri Antony also presented the Raksha Mantri’s Awards for Excellence for the year 2011. The Excellence Award for Software Development was bagged by CGDA (IT Wing Team) headed by Shri S Murali Krishnan, which has developed Project ‘Suvigya’ (Pension inquiry system), Project ‘Aashraya (pension disbursement system) and Project ‘Darpan’ (Defence Accounts Receipts and Payments Analyses). CDA Secunderabad, Secunderabad team headed by Shri Y Rajareddy was awarded the Excellence Award for Project ‘Dophin’, an online PBOR Monthly Pay System. PCDA (Central Command) team headed by Shri HH Mishra also bagged the Excellence Award for launching of Monthly Pay System and its implementation on all Pay Accounts Offices.

Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Shrimati Neelam Nath, Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) Shri Nand Kishore and Additional CGDA Ms UG Antony were among the dignitaries present at the function.
Sitanshu Kar/PK/NN (Release ID :76384)
Resolve Ex-Servicemen Pension Grievances Quickly: Anthony

Thursday, September 29, 2011

AWHO- Whose Welfare?

AWHO- Whose Welfare?
July 19, 2011 vsbrar

Living room water seepage


Seepage in bedroom walls
Tiles and batthroom fixtures- sample shoddy work

The AWHO – acronym meaning Army Welfare Housing Organisation is an organisation looking after the housing needs of the man in uniform staffed by the organisation at its own cost. The organisation should function as a non-profit organisation. But the facts and figures show that the cost of a house by AWHO is costlier than what is available in the civil.
I got a house in Greater Noida and for time being only posting some of the photos of the house for your information.
AWHO- Whose Welfare?
Related Reading
Salunke Vihar residents seek transparency: AWHO Pune under scanner
Related Post
AWHO Dream Projects

Widows Pension is related to the deceased!

Dear Colleagues,
I have received a reply this month from the Defence Minister to my query as to why the widows have been kept out of the pension-enhancement of 2010. The response unfortunately is a mere repetition of the earlier communications from the government on this subject. It again states that since the pension is related to the last pay drawn, it cannot apply to the deceased. That is incomprehensible. The enhancement covered the pre-2006 retiree pensioners. The enhanced pension sanctioned for them after the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee recommendations, also has no relation to their last pay drawn. But then these are the ways of the bureaucracy!
The Civil Services aspirants these days have to take a filter written test before they can qualify for the competitive examination; this is apparently to cut down the number of applicants. In one of the mock question papers for this examination held in June 2011, there was a question on ‘one rank one pension’. OROP has acquired visibility.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

National Disaster Management Team drains the Army in Sikkim

Friday , September 23 , 2011
Disaster team drain on army

New Delhi, Sept. 22: The army in Sikkim is fed up with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) because its personnel are not only unfit for rescue and relief work but also a drain on the military’s resources.

Army officers are wary of speaking out in public on the difficulties of helping the NDRF — which they have been asked to by the home ministry — but it takes little for them to vent their ire in private.

“They (the NDRF) do not have any administrative support and they are eating into ours. They should remain in Delhi and Gurgaon to rescue cats from high-rises,” an angry officer said.

Officers on the ground have been constantly complaining to their superiors and higher headquarters on the demands being made by the NDRF.

“This is a time for all able people to get down on the ground with pickaxes and shovels but these NDRF personnel are not fit enough to walk 1,500 feet downhill and then 800 feet uphill,” one officer said.

Deployment in the Himalayan state demands acclimatisation and high-energy levels that are not ordinarily required in the plains. The 10 NDRF teams, of about 400 personnel, were flown in by the Indian Air Force’s newly acquired Super Hercules C-130J aircraft from Delhi and Calcutta.

For nearly two days they were stranded in Bagdogra and Siliguri waiting for army engineers to clear the road to Gangtok after Sunday evening’s quake.

The army was also asked to dedicate three helicopters to the NDRF, an order that it has grudgingly accepted.

“This is the time for all available resources to be put to the best use. But we have had to give them these helicopters and they are still in ‘recce mode’ while we are desperately looking for more for casualty evacuation and to fly in resources,” another officer said.

Sikkim is in the army’s Sukna-headquartered 33 Corps area of responsibility. The Corps has three divisions — 27 (headquartered in Kalimpong), 17 (Gangtok) and 20 (Binaguri). All three are mountain divisions with their soldiers acclimatised or acclimatising for deployment in high-altitude positions.

Many of the army posts along the 250-odd kilometre frontage with China in North and East Sikkim are still not physically accessible.

But there are nearly 6,000 troops whose main task now is to clear roads because the deployment for “border management” (a defensive posture) does not require all resources to be posted at the front.

The army has been deployed across Sikkim for 40 years and along with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were the first responders to the quake.

An officer complained that not only has the NDRF been given dedicated helicopters, its officers also demand to be guided by the army.

The NDRF is a young force, formed after the 2004 tsunami. Ironically, former army chief, General (retired) Nirmal Chandra Vij heads the National Disaster Management Authority.
Disaster team drain on army

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is this India of our dreams?

A ship about to sink by Pritish Nandy
TOI 19 March 2011, 02:39 PM IST

I like Manmohan Singh. He has immaculate credentials. It’s these credentials that have seen the UPA through its most stormy years. If Singh wasn’t Prime Minister, the Government would have collapsed a long time back. No, not because of its inherent coalition contradictions but because it’s simply not possible for so many crooks with conflicting agendas to loot the country together, almost as if in perfect unison. The Indian Political Philharmonic Orchestra must be the world’s most amazing cacophony of rogues, rascals and robbers.

Luckily for the UPA, there was always Singh to fall back on. Most middle class Indians refuse to be cynical. We know exactly what’s happening around us, we criticise it constantly, but when it comes to the crunch we all rally around the nation and the flag. We are not bat-brained paranoids. Neither are we wide-eyed innocents ready to buy into every ridiculous explanation thrown our way to explain the loot that’s taking place in broad daylight. But the latest season of scams has flummoxed all. This is not just Alibaba and his chaalis chors. Everyone among the chaalis chors is another Alibaba with his own chaalis chors. That’s the way the pyramid of crime operates today. But because Singh, soft spoken and self effacing, is the face of this Government, India has kept faith.

But now, enough is enough. Neither Singh nor Pranab Mukherjee, nor anyone else is capable any more of saving this Government. It’s neck deep in its own sticky sleaze. What’s worse, you haven’t seen anything yet. All these scams are but the tip of the iceberg. Talk to anyone and you will get an instant dhobi list of scams in queue to break. No, I am not saying this. Congress leaders are, in private. Look at Singh, wan and waylost. Or Mukherjee going apopleptic in faux anger because he has to defend what he knows is indefensible. They look less convincing than Rakhi Sawant playing Joan of Arc.

The problem is: We have voted into power the stupidest bunch of thieves. They are such losers that they can’t steal a hamburger without leaving ketchup stains all over. Yet they are constantly trying to pull off the biggest scams in history. From Rs 64 crore in Bofors, they have upped the ante to Rs 170,0000 crore in 2G and no, I am not including hundreds of aircraft Air India bought while sinking into bankruptcy and preposterous sums spent on arms deals that have made India the world’s second largest arms buyer when we can’t provide food and healthcare to 60% Indians. Our leaders are making deals on the sly with greedy builders, land sharks, illegal mining companies, corporate fixers, shady arms dealers and, O yes, US diplomats who want to manipulate our political choices. And, what’s more amazing, they do it like bungling idiots. Even Inspector Clouseau can outwit them.

But that doesn’t mean they are not malevolent. These are people who are destroying India from within. They are not just robbing you, me, and the exchequer. They are destroying institutions, subverting laws, vandalising our heritage and history, and trying to build a dazzling, amoral edifice of crime and corruption unprecedented in the nation’s history. It’s a scary scenario that could turn the land of the Mahatma into one gigantic Gotham City with a flyover to hell.

But my question is more basic: Can we trust these idiots to run this great nation? If you travel and meet people across India, you will realise that for every scam that breaks—and currently there’s one breaking every week—there are ten more waiting in line. The media has never had it so good! And it’s the same gang whose names keep coming up. Kalmadi, Satish Sharma, Sant Chatwal, Ashok Chavan. The NCP lot. The DMK. And everyone, in private, is protesting his own innocence, pointing fingers at someone else. It’s a sure sign of a collapsing regime. It’s what happened when Rajiv with a staggering majority in parliament lost his mandate to govern. Rats alone don’t leap off a sinking ship. So do everyone else.

So even though Singh, like Pontius Pilate, may wash his hands off every scam that hits the headlines, the fact is: The longer this Government stays, the more compromised the Congress will be, and the less capable of coming back to power. You can’t allow the sovereignty of a nation to be compromised just to win a confidence vote. You can’t bribe MPs to get your way in parliament. You can’t allow a shady hotelier, with CBI cases against him, to play roving diplomat and, worse, give him a Padma Bhushan for it. You can’t appoint a tainted bureaucrat as the nation’s CVC. You can’t file a FIR against a corrupt CM and then allow him to melt away. You can’t let the prime witness to the nation’s biggest scam, who offered to turn approver, be murdered in broad daylight and pretend it’s a suicide.

If this is the best this Government can do, it’s time to step down.
A ship about to sink by Pritish Nandy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is corruption endemic?

August 11, 2011
Army Corruption Hits India

This isn’t going to help quiet the angry mobs in New Delhi: senior Indian army officials have been accused of misappropriating prime real estate built for soldiers wounded in the line of duty for themselves and their families.
The Indian Comptroller and Auditor General office’s willingness to publish such a report and the ability of protestors to demonstrate relatively peacefully are positive indicators of the health of Indian democracy and civil society. But democracy and civil society aren’t enough to guarantee India’s continued ascension to global superpower-status.
Corruption is endemic in Indian society. That corruption is increasingly making the already unwieldy state almost ungovernable — demonstrators unhappy with the most recent rash of scandals have now moved off the streets and into parliamentary sessions, preventing lawmakers from moving ahead with their legislative work.
The leaders of the world’s rising superpowers’ would do well to listen to the wise words of the Dalai Lama. Corruption is a cancer of the state.
And I am left wondering: what, exactly, is the moral difference between stealing military funds and treason?
click here for the original post

Director General Assam Rifles

MHA Probing Charges Against Assam Rifles DG: Antony
PTI | New Delhi | Sep 27, 2011

The Home Ministry is probing the charges of financial irregularities against Director General Assam Rifles Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy after the Defence Ministry forwarded to it the complaints against the officer.

"The ministry had received some complaints in this regard but the matter was forwarded to the Home Ministry," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters today when asked to comment on charges of financial irregularities against the officer.

Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary organisation in the country and is commanded by Army officers sent on deputation to the Home Ministry.

Though the Home Ministry is still probing the charges against the officer, nothing had been found against him in the initial investigations and allegations seemed to be motivated, the sources had said.

Speaking on the issue, Army Chief General V K Singh on Friday had said that "appropriate action" would be taken in the case involving Roy.

"The issue is under investigation and we will take appropriate action as per the Army rules," he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the probe ordered in the alleged Directorate General of Resettlement scam, the Minister said there will no compromise on the issue of corruption and anyone found guilty will be punished.

After an in-house inquiry of the Ministry detected irregularities in the resettlement of ex-servicemen, Antony referred the case to Serious Fraud Investigation Office under Corporate Affairs Ministry for further investigations.

Commenting on the Ministry's decision to put on hold the first joint venture between the Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) and Pipavav Shipyard, Antony said the step was taken after receiving complaints from two other companies.

On the rationale behind allowing shipyards to form joint ventures, the Minister said, "All the shipyards have full orders. They would have taken several years to complete them. In the present security scenario, we cannot wait for that long so we allowed joint ventures."

The Minister said that as a public sector entity, MDL has been nominated for several projects worth lakhs of crores and so, "they can't give (those projects) to the JV. For that, the JV should compete. Otherwise that will be exploitation."

He said the Ministry will take a decision soon on the issue and also evolve guidelines to plug any loopholes in the formation of JVs between PSUs and private sector companies.
MHA Probing Charges Against Assam Rifles DG: Antony

Monday, September 26, 2011

AFT: Army Chief can’t terminate services

Grants relief to Lt-Col acquitted by court martial twice
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, September 25
In a significant ruling, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today ruled that the Chief of the Army Staff is not vested with any powers to terminate the services of any officer. This power is held by the Central Government alone, which can be exercised in exceptional cases only on the recommendations of the Army Chief.

Granting relief to a Lieutenant-Colonel against whom administrative action was initiated for alleged irregularities despite having been held not guilty twice by a general court martial earlier, the tribunal held that plenary powers under Section 19 of the Army Act read with Rule 14 have been reserved with the Central Government only and these cannot be resorted to by any other person.

The court observed court martial proceedings were held against Lt-Col Harish Kumar twice and on both occasions, the findings were returned as “not guilty” and then administrative action was resorted to under the aforementioned provisions by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.

“Leave aside the GOC-in-C, even the Chef of the Army Staff cannot resort to this power. Therefore, the order passed by the GOC-in-C awarding a severe displeasure cannot be sustained,” the tribunal observed while quashing the order and allowing all consequential benefits to the petitioner.

The petitioner’s counsel, Maj SS Pandey told The Tribune that since he had been acquitted by a GCM twice, no action could have been taken subsequently on the same charges by issuing a show-cause notice and the action of the respondents was arbitrary and actuated with malice.

Pandey said the petitioner was responsible for recruiting civilian labourers in the Ordnance Corps. After the end of the selection process, he received three letters from the Defence Ministry through the Army Headquarters, which contained names of some individuals, seeking help in recruitment. The petitioner had expressed his inability to accommodate such a request. Later, based upon “mild and baseless” allegations, a court of inquiry was ordered to investigate any malpractices in the recruitment.
AFT: Army Chief can’t terminate services

DGR under investigation

Irregularities in ex-servicemen’s schemes
Defence Minister AK Antony orders further investigation
Monday, September 26, 2011, Chandigarh, India

New Delhi, September 25
An inhouse inquiry of Defence Ministry has detected irregularities in the resettlement of ex-servicemen, prompting Minister A K Antony to refer the case to Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under Corporate Affairs Ministry for further investigations.

The decision to seek the Fraud Investigation Office's assistance was taken after an inhouse inquiry report suggested that DGR officials flouted norms and guidelines of various schemes and were involved in administrative improprieties, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said here.

"Defence Ministry has decided to request Ministry of Corporate Affairs to hand over to SFIO the case relating to a private company Ex-Servicemen Airlink Transport Services Pvt Ltd (EATS) for further investigation," he said.

To ensure transparency in functioning of DGR office, Defence Minister Antony has also initiated a series of measures after the inquiry found substance in allegations regarding subletting of security agencies and obtaining multiple benefits by few ex-servicemen officers, Kar said.

"The essence of inquiry and its analysis is that in the last couple of years efforts have been made to introduce transparency in the manner of the functioning of DGR office," he said. DGR is under the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, which is responsible for training and rehabilitation of retired defence personnel and ex-servicemen through various self employment schemes.

One of these schemes relate to providing security services to central public sector undertakings. — PTI
Irregularities in ex-servicemen’s schemes
Related blog posts
DGR: Unsettling Resettlement
Resettlement Defence Scam and DGR Demystified


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