Saturday, December 17, 2011

Concrete Steps for Welfare of Ex Servicemen

Ten Percent of Group ‘B’ Posts in Paramilitary Forces to be Filled up by Ex-Servicemen
Government Aggressively Pursuing Measures for Welfare of Ex-Servicemen: Antony
The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to fill 10% of the Group ‘B’ posts in Central Paramilitary Forces from among Ex-Servicemen. Disclosing this at the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry here today, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said efforts are now being made to persuade public sector undertakings and the private sector to tap this invaluable reservoir of talented and disciplined Ex-Servicemen.

Shri Antony said the Government is taking ‘aggressive measures’ for the all-round welfare and well-being of Ex-Servicemen. He said the health of the Ex-Servicemen and their dependents is a prime concern for the government. Giving details of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) which has been operating since April 2003, Shri Antony said, presently the scheme caters to 38 lakh beneficiaries including 12 lakh Ex-Servicemen and over 26 lakh dependents. Initially, 227 polyclinics had been approved by the Cabinet. Later, in 2008 another 199 polyclinics were sanctioned, out of which 20 are functional and 179 polyclinics are in various stages of implementation. This scheme is currently being implemented through 247 polyclinics. Shri Antony said the reach and coverage of the scheme can be easily appreciated from the fact that during 2010-11, a total of 89 lakh patients attended the polyclinics. He hoped that with the commissioning of all the sanctioned polyclinics the entire fraternity of Ex-Servicemen would be covered comprehensively.

Cutting across party lines the Members of Parliament wholeheartedly appreciated the contribution of the Armed Forces personnel in ensuring the security and territorial integrity of the country as also their contribution in providing relief during natural calamities. They wanted to know the latest status as far as the demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’is concerned. The members also suggested that seats for the children of serving Armed Forces personnel and Ex-Servicemen should be reserved in all medical and dental colleges. Some members felt that there should be periodic inspection of the ECHS facilities so that the quality of service rendered by these units are kept high at all times. There was also a suggestion that the few surviving veterans of Second World War and war-widows should be given higher pension for dignified livelihood. Other suggestions were that the government should take urgent measures to build a suitable National Memorial for martyrs in the national capital and inclusion of the Members of Parliament in the Zila Sainik Board meetings.

Replying to queries Shri Antony said the issue of setting up of a war memorial in the capital is a long pending one. He said serious discussions are now on and hoped that the issue may be settled in the near future.

Referring to the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ Shri Antony said that the UPA government has twice increased the pension amount of Ex-Servicemen. He said the issue is not a closed chapter but it has to be approached in a phased manner. ‘Sincerity of the government is very much evident on the issue’, Shri Antony said.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM PallamRaju said MoD is working with National Skill Development Corporation to upgrade the skills of Ex-Servicemen so that they can be gainfully employed in various sectors of the economy.

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri GajananDharmshi Babar, Shri Rakesh Singh, Shri SS Ramasubbu, Shri Gopal Singh Shekhawat, DrShashiTharoor, Shri Ram Chandra Khuntia, Shri BalwantAlias BalApte, Shri Veer Singh, DrMahendra Prasad, Shri HK Dua, Shri Ishwarlal Jain and ShriPiyushGoyal. The Secretary Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Shri SamirendraChatterjee, the Secretary Department of Defence Production Shri ShekharAgarwal and other officials of the Ministry of Defence also attended the meeting. SitanshuKar/NN (Release ID :78716)
Ten Percent of Group ‘B’ Posts in Paramilitary Forces to be Filled up by Ex-Servicemen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Forces Law Gazette

This day, 16th December, is militarily a significant date for the region.
To fill up the vacuum in a very apposite space, I feel pleased today in announcing the release of the first issue of the ‘FORCES LAW GAZETTE’ – a free, non-commercial quarterly newsletter dealing with law & allied issues related to uniformed services of not just India but other democracies as well. Meant more for general reading than use in Courts, the Gazette would consist of three broad categories:
(1) Law Related to Uniformed Services,
(2) Developments & Miscellaneous, and
(3) Contributions & Articles.

The Gazette would remain available through for free download and distribution in pdf format. Of course, the link is also available on my blog Indian Military Info
Bouquets and brickbats are welcome on the comments section on the FLG webpage.
Readers are welcome to distribute and forward this email, and also the Gazette, freely and non-commercially without any inhibition or copyright concerns.
I, the Editorial team and the contributors hope to effectively sustain the concept with the next issue due in March 2012. Contributions in the form of articles are welcome and may be sent to me by email for publication in future volumes.
Thank You,
Major Navdeep Singh
Advocate, High Court

Vijay Divas Celebration on 17 Dec 2011

Dear Veterans,
1. This is to remind you again that National Veteran Association, will be celebrating a function on 17 Dec 2011 at 10 AM at Air Force Golden Jubilee Auditorium, Subroto Park, near R&R Hosp, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Cantt to commemorate the historic victory of Indian Armed Forces against Pakistan, under the dynamic leadership of Late Smt Indira Gandhi, Bharat Ratna.
2. The gathering would include War Veterans of 1971, War Widows, Ex-Servicemen, most of retired Chiefs of Armed Forces and retired General Officers. Defence Minister, Raksha Rajya Mantry, Chief Minister of Delhi, President DPCC, Cabinet Ministers, MPs & National leaders would also grace the occasion.
3. War Widows & 1971 War Veterans would be honoured in the function.
4. Gen (Retd) OP Malhotra, Gen (Retd) NC Vij, Admiral RH Tahiliani,Air Chief Marshal(Retd) SK Kaul, and other retired Chiefs have confirmed to join the function. Besides ex Chiefs large number of general officers will be attending the function.
5. You are cordially invited to join the function.
With regards,
Dr TC Rao, Veteran

Comment: National Veteran Association sounds to be a new set up. One hopes it is a registered organisation under the Indian Society Act 1860.

Remembering the heroes of 1971 War

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: December 16, 2011 01:06 IST
New Delhi: Forty years ago, when Lieutenant General AAK Niazi, commander of the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, signed surrender before Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, India's Eastern Army Commander, it marked the end of our subcontinent's most decisive war. In fact, the definitive liberation war in modern world's military history.

Bangladesh was born but about 3,900 Indian soldiers died, 9,851 wounded and 93,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken Prisoners of War.

"Only two such surrenders have happened in the world, one in Leningrad and another one in Bangladesh. We saw token a surrender of arms by the Pakistani troops, laying down their arms and the Indian people picking them up as mark of surrender," said Air Commodore Mirza Ali.

As the new nation asserted its identity before the world, 1971 emerged as India's finest hour, sweeping away as it did with a master stroke the ravaging blunders of the 1962 India-China conflict.

Awami League's Mujibur Rahman, an India loyalist, became the new Prime Minister of Bangladesh. And pushed to the corner, Pakistan had to sign the dotted line of the Shimla Pact that laid down the peace principles that should govern Indo-Pak relations. The accord also converted the 1949 UN Ceasefire Line into the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan.

Last, but not the least, was the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who emerged an icon for leading the war as she did against world opinion, to prove a point in a way India militarily and diplomatically has never been able to recreate.

Going against the Nixon-Kissinger snubs from the White House, she was able to position the 1971 War as a war for justice, ultimately turning global opinion in her favour.

Aiding her was another stellar personality - Army Chief Sam Maneckshaw - holding his own and refusing Indira as he did to start the war in March 1971. He went forward in December only after ensuring our military had readied itself and the nationalist freedom fighters Mukti Bahini within Bangladesh.

Our current Army Chief General VK Singh fought that war as a Second Lieutenant.
"It was a perfect synergy that was obtained between the political leadership and the military as well the nation. We should not forget all this. I would give great amount of credit to our then Prime Minister. I don't think people have appreciated what she achieved. She was able to get a consensus, she was able to build a world opinion, she was able to ensure that despite our own economic hardships we were able to look after thousands and thousands refugees who had come, and she allowed the military a certain amount of freedom to plan their operations in the best possible manner. It was unmatched leadership. When we look at the military, we were able to work out in great detail what is to be done and I have great pride in saying that it was the best manoeuvre war in the military history of the world. Nowhere in the world have they ever executed a manoeuver war like this. In a short time, we were able to achieve tremendous amount. You don't have wars where you get 93,000 prisoners. You don't have wars where surrenders take place like this," said General Singh.

Exactly four decades later, in a reappraisal of that military campaign in New Delhi this week, the Indian Army funded think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies or CLAWS, acknowledged the decisive role Mukti Bahini played in that war.

Mukti Bahini was a hastily assembled force of Bangladeshi students, lawyers and ordinary nationalist citizens - both Muslims and Hindu - who fought alongside Indian military to create Bangladesh.

Is such a war possible in this day and time? Theoretically, yes, in conflict areas where there is large-scale discontent among local people.

"If you have genuine grievances, like Kurds of Baloch, you have areas where the population has reached a stage where they have totally delinked themselves from the state they are part of. If that sort of grievances exist, an external intervention can create, and would create a state," said Alok Bansal, a military scholar.

But people who fought the 1971 War, like Air Marshall Inamdar and General VK Singh, remain sceptical.

"Look at the kind of surveillance capabilities everyone have now. Given that, something like this happening again, I think it's very difficult," said Air Marshal S G Inamdar.

"It depends on circumstances. It depends on how thing would come up. It depends on what are the factors which would guide such kind of a movement coupled with the type of resistance. This is not just a victory which was stand alone. This was a victory along with our brothers in arms from Bangladesh. It was a combined effort and if all these factors were to combine then may be, yes," Indian Army Chief, General VK Singh said.

Those factors may never come together as decisively as in 1971, making a repeat of the spectacular victory almost impossible.

Forty years after their finest military victory, the Indian armed forces are in the midst of another phase of rapid modernisation to meet new-age challenges. And while the challenges still remain about the process of modernisation and its speed, the key question that perhaps confronts India is: Do we have a political leadership as strong as we had in 1971? And is the current political leadership capable of taking bold decision?
Remembering the heroes of 1971 War

Capt Vikram Batra
In a time of war, he became the face of the young Indian soldier who fought ferociously and died fearlessly.
click here for the Video clip of 1999 Kargil war

Thursday, December 15, 2011

OROP may get a shot in the arm in the Parliament

Shot in the arm likely for ex-soldiers
Ritu Sharma- Express News Service
15 Dec 2011 09:08:36 AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a move that can bring joy to nearly 2.5 million retired soldiers, the Parliament Committee on Petitions is likely to favour their demand for ‘one rank-one pension.’
The report, likely to be tabled in the Parliament next week, will be a vindication of the stand taken by the soldiers who have been running from pillar to post fighting for their rights.
Thousands of ex-servicemen and war veterans returned their gallantry medals protesting the decision of the Ministry of Defence not to grant ‘one rank-one pension.’ Soldiers have been demanding equal pension for personnel retiring from the same rank irrespective of their date of retirement. Persons retiring before the pay commission cut-off date get less pension than those retiring after the date.
According to sources, the long-pending demand has found support as the Committee on Petitions has been considering the petition submitted by MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar and 24 others in October 2010.
“The committee conducted a detailed hearing on the matter by inviting citizen groups, ex-servicemen and government representatives to depose and express their views on the issue. The committee completed the hearing and the report will be presented during the winter session of Parliament,” sources added.
The petitioners in their argument had said that the demand of the ex-servicemen may be considered on the lines of the pension for MPs, which is `20,000 for the all first-time members.
While the report of the Parliamentary panel is not legally binding on the government, it will definitely lend weight to their demands.
Shot in the arm likely for ex-soldiers

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Indian Justice System moves at snails pace if not standstill

Khurshid admits justice delivery slow- DD News 14 Dec 2011
Admitting that the justice delivery system in the country was slow, Government on Tuesday said efforts were on to ensure matters are decided in courts within three to five years.
"I cannot comment on legal system procedures and rule of law," Law Minister Salman Khurshid said when asked about the delay in Afzal Guru case.
However, he said, "we are not entirely happy with the pace at which the rule of law is implemented in our country and that is a reason why we have a mission for justice delivery".
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament House, he said, "The Chief Justice has spoken of this and my predecessor has spoken of it and we are moving ahead with the mission and an enormous amount of effort has to be put in to ensure that matters are decided in courts within three to five years and nothing should go beyond five years".
"However," he said, "there are still some cases which go beyond five years. We want quick justice in all matters. This (Parliament attack) is of course a symbolic and significant event that we cannot easily forget but nevertheless even for such an event there is not much one can do except to hope that our entire system learns to respond in a much faster manner," he added.
On the question of inclusion of citizen's grievances Bill in the Lokpal Bill, Khurshid said "Cabinet will consider it."
Asked about the government's views on keeping lower bureaucracy and the Prime Minister under Lokpal, he said "wait for the Bill you will know."
Whether government still wants to go ahead with the food security Bill in the backdrop of falling rupee rate and slide in industrial output, he said government is committed to do it.
"Can government afford to go people hungry. Therefore, whatever else we have to do we have to ensure that people of the country particularly marginalised people get the protection they need and dignity they need, we will do whatever in our capacity to do that," he said. (SP-13/12)
Khurshid admits justice delivery slow

ECHS Indisposed- lack of funds and infrastructure

ECHS indisposed
Private hospitals await crores in dues
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 13

All may not be well with the much-hyped Ex-Servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), a welfare initiative launched by the Centre for providing comprehensive medicare to veterans and their dependants.

While some new measures are being implemented to streamline the functioning of the ECHS, some issues like large outstanding payments to private hospitals empanelled under the scheme and modifying some procedures for availing treatment need urgent redress.

With outstanding payments mounting, some private hospitals are reluctant to entertain veterans and there have been instances where they have been turned away. Over the past few years, several reputed hospitals across the country have opted out of the scheme over procedural delays and deferred payments.

Among the largest private hospitals in the tricity, Fortis in Mohali, for instance, is reported to have outstanding payments amounting to Rs 30 crore since 2004. Silver Oaks, another private hospital, has outstanding dues of Rs 8.9 crore for the past four years.

Mukut Hospital, Sector 34, is awaiting payments of Rs 4.5 crore for the past two years and-a-half. Bills worth several lakhs each by laboratories and diagnostic centres are still to be cleared.

“The verification process for bills is long and tedious, involving several establishments and hierarchical levels,” Hemendra Jain, the official dealing with ECHS as Silver Oaks, has said.

There are 30 empanelled hospitals, diagnostic centres and laboratories in the tricity and 1,400 across the country. Going by the dues, outstanding payments nationwide may run into hundreds of crores, according to the ex-servicemen’s association.

Some issues also pertain to the functioning of the polyclinics that are directly operated by the ECHS. This includes heavy patient load and inadequate infrastructure.

To cater to a clientele of about 35 lakh, including 11 lakh ex-servicemen and 24 lakh dependants, and to operate 227 polyclinics, along with medical and paramedical staff and medical supplies, the ECHS has a budget of Rs 1,000 crore.

According to a study done by the Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Movement recently, the per capita expenditure under the ECHS is Rs 2,700 compared to Rs 5,100 from the Central Government Health Scheme for civilian retirees.

Sources at Western Command Headquarters claim that ECHS bills of private hospitals are being cleared within two weeks and payments of about Rs 20 lakh are being disbursed every day. A weekly roster has been developed, under which a particular day is devoted to dealing with bills of specific hospitals.

Sources at the headquarters admit that complaints and suggestions from the ECHS clientele keep coming in and various problems at the functional level are being sorted out from time to time.

They have also hinted at some policy changes and overhaul of the ECHS system, with a new managing director assuming charge of the ECHS. Maj-Gen A George has been posted from Chandi Mandir as the new ECHS head on a short notice.

Some measures like automating polyclinics to cut down manual administrative processes and releasing payments to private hospitals online within 10 days are being devised. Universal smart cards, that can be used to avail treatment at any polyclinic instead of only the user’s parent polyclinic, are also being issued.
ECHS indisposed Tribune report

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OROP- Pension improvement an ongoing process

PIB Releases Ministry of Defence 12-December, 2011 14:34 IST
One Rank-One Pension
The gap between past pensioners and their youger equivalents retiring from the armed forces does not necessarily keeps widening with every successive pay commission. Over the years several improvements have been made in pension of past pensioners. The pension of past pensioners have revised in accordance with recommendation of each successive Pay Commission, as accepted by the Government. The Sixth Pay Commission had recommended fitment formula and modified parity for past pensioners, in order to reduce the gaps, which were accepted by the Government.
Pension Improvement is an ongoing process and considerable improvements have been made in the pensions of armed forces personnel. The Group of Ministers (GoM) had in 2005 improved the pensionary benefits of PBORs. On the recommendations of PMO, a Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary in June, 2009 to look into the issue of `One Rank One Pension and other related matters. After considering all aspects of the matter, the Committee keeping in mind the spirit of the demand, suggested several measures to substantially improve pensionary benefits of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and Commissioned Officers, which have been accepted by the Government and orders for implementation of all the recommendations have been issued. These are available at
This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Shri MM PallamRaju in a written reply to Dr.RajanSushantand others in LokSabha today. PK/NN (Release ID :78436)
One Rank One Pension

CSD Depots in Himachal Pradesh
Government of Himachal Pradesh has requested this Ministry for setting up of a CSD Depot in the State in view of the number of Servicemen, Ex-servicemen and their families residing there.
Land measuring approximately 188kanals had been offered by Himachal Pradesh Government in this regard. However, the same was not found to be suitable, since some of it Included khud/nallah which is prone to flooding during rainy season.
It is not possible at this stage to anticipate the time likely to be taken for setting up the Depot at Una in view of the fact that the Government of Himachal Pradesh is yet to identify another piece of suitable land. Once a suitable alternate land is offered by the State Government the proposal will be considered depending upon availability of budget and manpower.
This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to ShriVirenderKashyap in LokSabha today. PK/NN (Release ID :78428)

Sadbhavana Schemes of Army
Projects under Sadbhavana scheme executed by the Army in Ladakh relate to infrastructure, community development, Health care, Human Resources Development, Education, Information Technology and National Integration Tour etc. Since 2009-10, the expenditure incurred is as under:-
(Rupees In Crores)/ Year/ Amount Allotted/ Expenditure Incurred
2009-10/ 6.85/ 6.85
2010-11/ 7.00/ 7.00
2011-12/ 7.00/ 3.34 (till date)
These projects are undertaken in consultation / recommendations of village Sarpanches and district administration and are focused to supplement the requirements of the people in remote and inaccessible areas.
This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to ShriHassan Khan in LokSabha today. PK/NN (Release ID :78425)

Placement of IAF Personnel
A Placement Fair was conducted at Air Force Auditorium, Subroto Park, New Delhi on 15th & 16th October, 2011 by the Indian Air Force Placement Cell. A total of 2788 air warriors including 2671 airmen (2035 retired and 636 serving) and 117 officers (87 retired and 30 serving) participated in the event. A total of 38 companies participated in the fair.
666 air warriors were shortlisted for placement during the fair. So far 93 confirmed placements have been reported to Indian Air Force Placement Cell.
Such fairs are conducted as per the requirements of the Indian Air Force from time to time.
This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri A. Ganeshamurthi in LokSabha today. PK/NN (Release ID :78427)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vijay Diwas 1971 Bangladesh Operations

Dedicated to the Martyrs
Some Interesting Anecdotes
By Col TN Raman (Retd)

At 1631 Hours (IST), on 16 December 1971, Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, Chief Martial Law Administrator and Commander Eastern Command (Pakistan), signed the Instrument of Surrender, presented by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command, India. After the written Instrument was signed, General Aurora executed the Physical form of the Ceremony by demanding and accepting the Pistol and the Epaulette of Niazi. The venue was Paltan Maidan, Dacca . The event was watched by thousands of Bengalis and Mukti Bahini cadres, who were out to take revenge on the Pakistani soldiers. Timely intervention and a bold decision by the Indian Army Commander to allow the Pakistan Soldiers to retain their personal weapons, for their own protection, till the Indian Army could build up sufficient strength in numbers to ensure their protection, had prevented a possible catastrophe.
‘Pakistan was not defeated; it was humiliated’. This was the phrase used by the General Staff of Pakistan, which went into the debacle of East Pakistan, in March 1972. They could hardly believe that a Riverine Terrain like East Pakistan, which the Military Experts would vouch as the Defenders Paradise & the Attackers Nightmare, could be conquered in two weeks time. General Niazi, adopted the tactics of defending every inch of the East Pakistan , with the result he was strong nowhere. Had he planned to hold on to the few vital areas & attempted to stall the Indian advance based on the formidable Rivers as obstacles, the campaign would have prolonged sufficiently long. This would have given time for the Pakistan to negotiate an honourable Cease Fire, instead of the Surrender.

What was the back ground to such a brilliant campaign? Let us hear from Sam Manekshaw, the then Chief of Army Staff of India ( As per his interview published in the Quarter Deck, in 1996).
The gist is given below.
In April 1970, Sam was summoned to a Cabinet Meeting. Smt Indra Gandhi, the then Prime Minister urged him to immediately intervene to plug the flow of refugees to the Eastern States of West Bengal, Assam & Tripura. The General told her that meant war. She said ‘yes’. Now, over to Sam,
“My job is to fight to win. Are you ready? I certainly am not ready. Have you internally got everything ready? Internationally have you got everything ready? I don’t think so. I know what you want, but I must do it in my own time & guarantee 100 per cent success. I want to make it clear. There must be one Commander. I don’t mind working with BSF or CRPF. But, I will not have a Soviet telling me what to do. I must have one Political Master, who will give me instructions”.
After that, Indra Gandhi saw the light & agreed with the assessment. Sam was equally emphatic in eliciting further assurance from the Iron Lady. The lady agreed & the campaign was a historical success. Is it not strange, that the Arm Chair strategists & bureaucrats still keep humming the same tune of “war is too serious a business to be entrusted to the Generals”.
Later, Sam was to state that there was a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal & being dismissed. No wonder Sam is called Bahadur!!!
Pakistan was beaten in war by superior generalship, exhibited from the Chief down to all Formation Commanders. The resistance continued in several garrisons even after the Surrender Ceremony in Dacca . But one by one, the outlying Garrisons realised the futility of carrying on a war, in which their Commanders, both at Dacca and Islamabad , had abandoned them. By 18 December, all guns fell silent in the East. One example will illustrate the tenacity of the Pakistani Army’s junior commanders.
Brigadier HS Kler, leading 95 Mountain Brigade, cleared Kamalpur, at the border on December 04, and proceeded to advance on to Jamlpur Garrison. The garrison was encircled by December 07. Despite several threats of annihilation, the garrison held on. Kler sent a message to the Garrison Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sultan Mahmood, ordering him to surrender. In reply, the Officer wrote back the following message, which is preserved as a document, in the War Archives.
Dear Brig,
Hope this finds you in high spirits. Thanks for the letter.
We here in Jamalpur are waiting for the fight to commence. It has not started yet. So let us not talk and start it. Forty sorties, I may point out are not adequate. Please ask for many more. Your remark about your messenger being given proper treatment was superfluous. Shows how you under estimate my boys. I hope he liked his tea.
Give my love to the Muktis. Hoping to find you with a sten in your hand next time, instead of the pen you seem to have so much mastery over.
I am, your most sincerely,
Col Sultan,
Commander Jamalpur Fortress.

Major General Ian Cardozo : A war hero remembers

Gen Cardozo was the Chief of Staff 4 Corps when I was the Col GS ops.
A remarkably enthusiastic and hands on 'lead by example' person I would like to be with in any war.
Always spoke his mind out. Boldly too.
Has a way with children. The WHOLE lot of the Tezpur kids simply LOVED him. Swimming galas, sports, outings, camps....... you thought of it and the General made it possible.
What's more, he JOINED Them !! I particularly remember him splashing in the swimming pool, at times racing with guys years younger.
A couple of years ago, post retirement, he was invited by some organization to be Chief Guest for a swimming event for the disabled. He refused and opted to participate instead. AND WON in some events.
In the Rediffmail reportage below, a reader comments that he would make a good President. I agree. Would at least impart a no nonsense, optimistic, 'never say die' attitude to the country.
Here's to You Ian Sir, MY vote for YOU as Prez. I know you have a way with children, and out there you WOULD have to deal with a lot of 'grown up children'.
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi,

Dear Sirs,
Cardozo told me about it in passing a few years back when we got talking in USI. He was a course junior to me at NDA, A very polite, soft spoken and polished cadet with command over English Language. He went on to become Academy Cadet Captain [ACC] in his 4th Term. He was definitely healthy with baby chubby cheeks. He wrote book on PVC Recipients.
I could not at that point in time gauge that he would be so courageous with steely nerves and determined beyond human determination.
Later he told me that he had joined Ms Sonia Gandhi's NAC during UPA-1 for rehabilitation of war injured. I do not know how far he succeeded.
I applaud him fully.
With best regards,
Commander Prem P Batra Retired

'I cut my leg off and ordered: 'Go and bury it'
Last updated on: December 8, 2011 15:54 IST
Claude Arpi

Image: Major General Ian Cardozo served the Indian Army with distinction and was the first disabled officer to command a battalion and a brigade.
Major General Ian Cardozo was a young major in the 5 Gorkha Rifles in the 1971 war with Pakistan. In a swift military offensive, India defeated Pakistan within 13 days, liberated a region and led to the creation of Bangladesh.
In the war, the then Major Cardozo stepped on a landmine and had to cut off his badly wounded leg with his own khukri.
Yet, through sheer will power and determination, he did not let his disability come in the way of his duty as a soldier and went on to become the first disabled officer in the Indian Army to command an infantry battalion and a brigade.
Awarded a Sena Medal for gallantry, General Cardozo spoke to Claude Arpi about the historic war and how he conquered his disability in the second part of a fascinating interview.

Part I of the interview: 1971, A War Hero Remembers
Tell us about your wound.
At that time, I was still not wounded.
There was a BSF commander who got panicky when he saw all these fellows (prisoners) and asked: "Please send someone here." I told the CO that I would go. I did not know that I was walking on a minefield. I stepped on a mine and my leg blew off.

A Bangladeshi saw this happening, he picked me up and took me to the battalion headquarters. They were feeling bad. I told the doctor, 'Give me some morphine.' They had none- it had been destroyed during the operations. 'Do you have any Pethidine?' 'No'
I told him: 'Could you cut this off?'
He said: 'I don't have any instrument.'
I asked my batman: 'Where is my khukri?'
He said: 'Here it is, Sir.'
I told him: 'Cut it off.'
He answered in Gorkhali: 'Sir, I can't do it.'
I told him: 'Give it to me.' I cut my leg off and ordered: 'Now go and bury it.'
You tell people that you are embarrassed to tell the story because it was nothing at all. What was your first thought?
My first thought was for her (pointing to his wife, Priscilla). I thought, 'What a stupid thing happened to me. It was beyond my control, it just happened.'
Then the doctor came and tied it up. My CO also came: 'Ian, you are very lucky, we have captured a Pakistani surgeon. He will operate on you.'
'Nothing doing, Sir, I don't want to be operated by a Pakistani doctor. Just get me back to India,' I answered.
By that time Dhaka had fallen and there was no chopper available.
I then told the CO: 'Two conditions.' He immediately said: 'You are not in position to put conditions.'
I told him: 'OK, two requests. One, I don't want Pakistani blood.'
He retorted: 'You are a fool.' I said: 'I am prepared to die a fool. My second request, Sir, I want you to be present when they operate on me.' The CO asked: 'Why?' I answered: 'You know why.' (There had been cases of torture). So, he agreed.
Anyway, the Pakistani surgeon did a good job. His name was Major Mohamed Basheer. I have never been able to say, 'Thank you.' I owe him a thank you, but it is not easy (to find someone in Pakistan].

Image: The War Memorial in Jammu
'I wanted to prove that a person with a wooden leg could do as well, if not better'
What did you feel when you cut your own leg?
People are giving more credit than I do. Actually I just felt deeply embarrassed because my leg was in a terrible state. I did not want to look at it and others to look at it. I wanted to get rid of it. Nobody wanted to do it, so I did it.
You have said that you always dream that you have two legs.
Yes, in my dreams, I have two legs, no artificial leg.
How did you manage to get a promotion after being disabled?
One has to accept that the army puts a great amount of emphasis on physical fitness. One has to be fit to be a commander at any level.
From my side, I felt that the doctors were unfair to me to say that I could not perform as well as anybody else.
With my wooden leg, I was determined to prove to the army as well as to the world in general, that a person with a wooden leg could do as well, if not better, than a two-legged person. I resolved to keep myself physically fit.
I woke early morning, did some exercises and went for a run. I did the battle physical test. I had a problem with the officer in charge of the test who refused to allow me to pass the test. He said he would not let me go through that test because a year earlier someone physically unfit had gone through the test and died.
I told him I was fit, but he answered that he would arrest me if I do the test. I told him: 'You can put me under arrest only after I commit the offense. So let me do the test and you can arrest me after.'
So I did the test and left seven officers with two legs behind me. The officer was a good man, he said, putting his arm around my shoulder: 'Well done, Sir, good job.'
I later went to the vice-chief and asked him, what else should I do? He said: 'Come with me to J&K.'
He came by helicopter to a place at 6,000 feet. I climbed from the road to the helipad. When he arrived, he asked me: 'How did you come here?' thinking I had used my contacts to fly with a chopper. I told him: 'Sir, I climbed from the road.'
He was surprised: 'You can climb!' I told him: 'What I can or can't do is the minds of my senior officers.'
He said 'Alright' and put up my case to the army chief (General T N Raina) who asked me to accompany him to Ladakh. I walked in mountains in snow and ice. General Raina saw this and when he returned to Delhi, he asked for my file and wrote: 'Yes, give him a battalion and to all other officers who are not taking shelter behind their wounds.'
For me, it only meant that one has to do what is required by one's job. I was the first disabled officer to be approved to command a battalion.
The same thing happened when I was to take command of a brigade. The bureaucracy said: 'No, you can't command a brigade.' I wrote to the army chief that I had proven that I could command a battalion; there was no reason why I should be demoted in a staff job.
The chief said: 'Why do you harass this man, give him the command of a brigade.'
Later three disabled officers became army commanders. One even became vice-chief: he had earlier had both his legs amputated.
What would you tell the youth of this country?
I have many things to say: You have only one life to live, live it to the full.
You have 24 hours in a day: Pack it up.
The other thing is 'Never give up.'
If you believe in something, do it in a right way at the right time.
I must say I had always the support of my wife for whatever I did in my life.
'I wanted to prove that a person with a wooden leg could do as well, if not better'
Click here to read more

The coming Dark Age of India

Need for positive, clear-headed reform measures

Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra… no, this is not a listing of States with high growth. These are States that imposed rolling power cuts as late as in October, well after autumn had set in.
In fact, Tamil Nadu still has power cuts for periods ranging from 1-3 hours across the state. So, what's new, you might ask. Aren't power outages a fact of life in India?
Well, the difference this time is that it is happening not during the height of summer but during winter, a period of relatively low demand. Second, the duration of the power cuts is longer than what was faced during the summer.
The frightening fact though is that this could just be a taste of things to come unless the government takes corrective policy measures to clean up the mess in the power sector. What ails the industry?
There are two mainly. First, a conundrum over fuel, which, even a couple of years ago was non-existent. And second, a mess created by the inability of state electricity boards and distribution utilities to charge consumers the right price for the electricity they consume leading to losses.

Fuel trouble
As a country we may be tapping every available source of power generation but sadly all those sources are mired in problems either due to faulty policies or resource constraints or simply inept implementation. Thermal power is the most critical for India (see accompanying graphic), yet that is where we seem to have messed up the most.
Thanks to protective policies on coal mining in the country, coal output is unable to keep pace with the growth requirements in power. In the first four years of the current Plan period ending 2012, coal demand, mainly for power generation, grew by 7.3 per cent but coal output grew by just 5.4 per cent.
In the coming XII Plan period (2012-17), the projected coal deficit is 200 million tonnes and the sector to suffer the most will be power generation. Though 194 blocks have been allotted for coal production to public and private companies, only 28 have commenced production. This is mainly due to problems of environmental clearances and “no-go” policies for mining.
Imports were an option till recently, but not anymore. Countries such as Indonesia that have large coal reserves are clamping down on exports and making it more expensive and difficult for buyers. Indian companies such as Tata Power, Reliance Power, the Adanis and others who have a toehold there are now finding their toes crushed by the weight of the Indonesian government's policy to tax exports.
The options are just two: push domestic coal output in a big way through positive policies and second, brace ourselves for high cost coal imports, wherever they are available. With more than half of thegenerating capacity being coal-fired, the country just cannot afford to go wrong here.

Gassed out
The technical problems that Reliance Industries is reported to be facing in the KG Basin have affected gas-based generation. Gas output from the KG Basin now is less than half of what was projected as possible by Reliance and even this is being supplied to fertiliser companies on priority basis. Imported gas is an option but it is expensive.
The hope is that Reliance will be able to surmount the problems in the near term and gas output will rise again. But even if it does, the gas-based generation capacity available now may not be enough to substitute for the shortfall from coal-based generation.

Hydro dam(ned)
Hydel power, supposed to be environmentally-friendly, has ironically run into trouble with the green lobby. NTPC was forced to halt work on two of its projects in Uttarakhand after pressure from environmentalists. Even last week there were protests in Assam against a large hydro project, Subansiri, being executed by NHPC in Arunachal Pradesh. Hydel projects have always been sensitive anyway due to submergence of land.
If we thought that nuclear power will be our long-term saviour that hope is also now fading away. The imbroglio over supplier liability clauses means that American companies are unable to commence business for reactor supplies. With the performance of the French EPR reactor being questioned after the experience in Finland where it ran into time and cost overruns, it appears unlikely that the first of the planned ones at Jaitapur will ever take off.
The public protests against nuclear power at Jaitapur and lately, in Kudankulam, also mean that progress will be slow and painful in future. Public opinion is veering around against nuclear power post-Fukushima and the example of Germany, which will be totally off nuclear power by 2021, is being widely quoted as an example for us to move away too.

Financial mess
Part reason for the fuel trouble may lie outside our control but the same cannot be said for the financial mess that the sector is in today which is entirely due to our governments, Central and State. State electricity boards are estimated to have accumulated losses of a massive Rs.70,000 crore. Ratings agency Crisil estimates that distribution utilities alone had a cumulative loss of between Rs.35,000 crore and Rs.40,000 crore as of 2010-11.
Riding on government backing, the state electricity boards have been borrowing merrily from banks to sew up the gaping holes in their finances due to these massive losses. And the hole is only growing bigger. Banks, after initially accommodating the state electricity boards have now grown wiser and are refusing to lend.
According to a Crisil report, the total debt of state electricity boards and distribution utilities touched a huge Rs.3-lakh crore or Rs.3 trillion as of March 31, 2011. The same report estimates that as much as a third of the 56,000 MW of thermal generation capacity is in trouble due to the combined impact of fuel and financial problems.
So where does all this leave us? Hopefully not in darkness. We need positive, clear-headed reform measures to be undertaken, including passing on full prices to consumers who can bear them and subsidising the genuinely poor. Some States have reluctantly allowed their boards to revise power prices in the last few weeks.
We need to cut down on transmission and distribution losses and untangle the environmental problems that coal mining has run into. Policymakers have to balance the needs of development with environmental considerations. But for some urgent steps from the government the country may well return to the Dark Ages, literally.
The coming dark age
Comment: Only solution for home lighting is dependence on Solar Powered LED lighting which can to a extent reduce darkeness in the houses at night- The nation is really heading for the dark age with the looming and spiralling oil and gas prices!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gymkhana Clubs flout land lease rules

Annadale ground dispute with army in Shimla arbitration court
Ravinder Makhaik.

Not being able to dispossess the army authorities from the prized Annadale ground, the district administration has evoked an arbitration clause to resume a property that has been occupied by the army since 1955.
Talking to Hill Post, Onkar Sharma, deputy commissioner said, “Over 130 bighas of land at Annadale ground is under ownership of the government which on paper is recorded to be in possession of Gymkhana Club.”
“A lease signed between the government and the army authorities ended in 1982, and clause 4 in the lease agreement provides for arbitration should a dispute arise. We have evoked that arbitration clause before the divisional commissioner court at Shimla,” he added.
While the district administration has moved court, a signature campaign by the district cricket association (DCA) to get the ground vacated by the army has found tremendous support as over 75,000 till date have signed up.
“Annadale is the only big public ground in the state capital,” says Surinder Thakur, DCA president, “and the army should vacate it as the city desperately needs it.”
The association intends to collect 1 lakh signatures and submit a memorandum to defense minister AK Antony through state chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Relations between the state and the army authorities over the ground usage remain strained for the army even restricts helicopter landing facilities for civilian use on it.
Read more

A closer look at the Gymkhana clubs under scrutiny reveals:
The clubs have lease agreements for a period of 30 to 60 years. Defence lands— often huge tracts given to run the clubs to ensure "betterment of Members including the Garrison Officers". One needs to zero in on the terms and conditions of the lease agreements, which are grossly violated. These are: restricting public entry and use, discriminatory membership practices, non-payment of dues, non-submission of audited accounts and earning illegal revenue by letting out premises for weddings, parties, guest rooms and Guest fees. The Garrison Officers are relegated as second class members. The managements and Governing body owes an explanation to the nation for violating the Rules of the land. Even capital gains taxes are cleverly evaded.
Besides, the management and Governing Body are minting money by hiring out premises without paying a dime for tax. It's nothing but a robbery of citizens' resources, If these conserves of the privileged governing body can be brought to the negotiating table to renew their leases at reasonable rates and made to follow terms, the bigger battle of fighting corruption in high places can be won!

Anna Hazare Galvanises the Nation for a Strong Lokpal Bill

Anna Hazare sits on his third fast for a strong Lokpal Bill
December 11, 2011- Deccan Chronicle

Anna Hazare's one-day fast in protest against the proposals of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi - PTI
Lokpal activist Anna Hazare on Sunday vowed to continue his anti-corruption crusade, and if need be hold street protests and fill jails, till the government heeds the will of the people for a strong Lokpal law.
Addressing a huge gathering at Jantar Mantar, Hazare threatened to intensify the stir by courting arrest if the government fails to pass a law in parliament's winter session for a strong Lokpal that covers the bureaucracy and the prime minister.
"The government should listen to the voice of the people. Agitation will continue for a strong Lokpal," said Hazare, flanked by leaders of various political parties.
Hazare has called upon the opposition to join the fight.
"If government hesitates in passing a strong Lokpal Bill or rejects your suggestions and if you (opposition) fall short of numbers, we can do one thing. The people are here with us."
"You can join us with all your parties and partymen and come to the streets for a larger campaign. Let us see how the government does not do it."
Thousands were present at Jantar Mantar for the rally.
As the crowd swelled by the hour, India Against Corruption activists tried to control the deluge by erecting temporary barriers but to no avail.
Around 1,000 police and paramilitary personnel were deployed at the venue.
Anna Hazare sits on his third fast for a strong Lokpal Bill

ESM Welfare news

Assistance given to ex-servicemen and widows of World War II
Aakar Sukumar exhibition held
Bhopal:Friday, December 9, 2011: Updated 16:36IST

At the monthly Sainik Sammelan here, the District Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Office provided economic assistance worth Rs. 48 thousand to 24 ex-servicemen and widows of World War II. Cheques worth Rs. 2 thousand each were given away to ex-servicemen and widows of World War II by Joint Director Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Colonel V.K. Chaube (retired) and District Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Officer Colonel D.C. Goyal (retired).
The convention was informed that a recruitment rally of Air Force is going to be held on December 12, 2011 at district headquarters Kawardha in Chhattisgarh.
Aakar Sukumar Exhibition held
An exhibition of ceremic sculputres entitled 'Aakar Sukumar' is organised every year by Smt. Nirmala Devi, mother of Shaheed Captain Devashish Sharma in his memory at the convention venue on the premises of Sainik Vishram Grih, Banganga Bhopal. The exhibition organised today by her was inspected by ex-servicemen, war widows and their relatives. The income generated from the sale of these artifacts is donated by Smt. Sharma to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. R.S. Parashar/Sunita Dube
Assistance for WWII Veterans

November 27, 2011 14:36 IST | Updated: November 27, 2011 14:36 IST KRISHNAGIRI, November 27, 2011
Eye camp for ex-servicemen Staff Reporter

Over three hundred ex-servicemen and their family members participated in the free eye camp held in Krishnagiri on Sunday.
The camp was jointly organised by the District Ex-servicemen Welfare Board and the Dr. Agarwal Eye Hospital at the Office of the District Ex-servicemen Welfare Board at Old Bengaluru Road in Krishnagiri town near the five road junction.
The ex-servicemen and their family members were screened for cataract, growing of flesh in the eye and other eye related ailments. A team of Ophthalmologists headed by Mr. Sathish from Dr. Agarwal Eye Hospital, Krishnagiri screened the ex-servicemen and their family members.
Major (Retired) M. Muthuram, Assistant Director, District Ex-servicemen Welfare Board inaugurated the eye-camp.
Free eye camp
Comment: Why Free Eye Camp when we have ECHS- ESM reduced to beggars

Jammu, December 10 (Scoop News) – Zila Sainik Welfare Officer, Rajouri, Maj. R.S. Thakur (Retd) alongwith staff under the aegis of Brig. R.S. Langeh, AVSM Director RSB organized various ex-servicemen rallies in far-flung areas of district Rajouri. Simultaneously the rallies were conducted a on 10 November at Nowshera, 15 November at Sunderbani, 17 November at Kalakote and on 23 November, 2011 at Budhal to educate and motivate ex-servicemen and their wards to complete their documents for availing the benefits of various schemes launched by state and centre government and to made the payments to beneficiaries.
The central government has laid down the policy for grant of school going children (max two) out of Raksha Mantris Discretion Fund (RMDF). All ex-servicemen, widows are advised to complete the documents to avail the facility of this scheme. Financial assistance towards education (Rs. 1000 per month for boys and girls) till standard XII for two children only will be granted.
Army Group Insurance Directorate, New Delhi has advised all the retired ex-servicemen who have retired on or after 1st April, 2003 with pension to refund the contribution Medical Benefits Scheme specific date has not been specified but deposit as early as possible.
ESM Jammu Rally

MoD calls in white collar sleuths in veterans’ jobs fraud
In a first, the Ministry of Defense has called in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to investigate a case of a conspiracy to improperly procure contracts from the office of the Directorate General of Resettlement.
The ministry describes the Directorate General Resettlement as an Attached office of Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, which is responsible for training and rehabilitation of retiring defense personnel and Ex-servicemen through various self-employment schemes, which also include contracts to security Agencies run by veterans for security services to government-owned companies.
Assistance given to ex-servicemen and widows of World War II


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