Saturday, July 21, 2012

OROP: Cabinet Secretary's Vengance will destroy the morale of Veterans

The Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh The Prime Minister Govt of India 7 Race Course Road New Delhi
Respected PM,
We have been pleading for grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) ever since 1982. This demand is supported by over seven hundred Members of Parliament through their Party Manifestos at one time or the other, besides it had been agreed to by five Prime Ministers in the past. We have however lost count of the number of times it has been strongly recommended by Parliamentary Committees.
2. The latest one was the Koshyari Committee of the Parliament appointed to consider the long standing demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP). This Committee submitted their report in Dec 2011 to the Parliament recommending in the strongest possible terms the immediate grant of OROP. This report was rejected by the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri on 20 Apr 2012. Thereafter during the briefing by the MOD on 17 May to us, about rejection of OROP by the RM, the matter was revived by the Hon'ble RRM when he directed the Secretary of the ESM Deptt to prepare the case for OROP with all its implications for discussion in July.
3. We had been waiting for July to finalize the matter and suddenly we hear that a Committee under the Cabinet Secretary has been appointed to consider OROP and other matters. We have yet to come out of the havoc created by the earlier Cabinet Secretary Committee and here we are saddled with another one. The earlier Committee which was appointed to correct the shortcomings of the Sixth CPC, instead destroyed every system of working of dues of Armed Forces. What should we be expecting from these Gentlemen when in their earlier AVTAR they went out with a vengeance to destroy all that was good for us?
4. We therefore submit that this noble initiative on your part will turn out to be an exercise in futility, unless we are represented on it. Such committees dealing with our problems without our say in these, are got approved by the bureaucrats not only to mislead the leadership but to also obtain a REJECTION CERTIFICATE OF OUR SUBMISSIONS, which they can quote to the next Govt also. The more powerful the Chairman of such committees the more powerful the REJECTION CERTIFICATE. They already got one from the Cabinet Secretary the most powerful one, which they were throwing at our faces, now they want another from him so that the OROP is buried for ever.
5. The last Committee in which we were represented was the HIGH LEVEL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE in 1990, of which you as the Finance Minister and I as representative of Ex servicemen were Members. In the proceedings the bureaucracy tried to mislead the leadership but could not get away due to our presence and presentation of the truth. As a result the entire leadership was ready to give OROP, but could not do it due to serious resource crunch, when to run the affairs of the Nation you sent our gold reserves to UK. Finding our presence too hot they probably took an oath not to have our representative in any such Committee in future and started the fashion of inter ministerial committees, the GOMs Committees and Cabinet Secretaries committees for achieving their aims of keeping us out. So much so that two Defense Ministers, heading two GOMs, who promised to invite me for presentation of our case before taking any decision, were not allowed to do so. One of them happened to be one of the most powerful ministers of the Cabinet.
6. On 17 May briefing in the MOD, after some discussions the RRM was very kind to give very clear cut orders to the Secretary to prepare a case for OROP for discussions in July. The Secretary had no way to avoid doing what was right by the Veterans. Do we believe that the present Committee has been appointed to wriggle out of the corner in which the secretary had landed himself in during 17 May briefing? 7. Respected Prime Minister Sir, it is time to get the problems of the Armed Forces sorted out in their entirety rather than do window dressing and again leave some kinks in the armory for the Bureaucrats to manipulate things and bring us back to square one.
8. The first step in solving our problems is to grant OROP by a Cabinet approval and direct the Paying Authorities to implement. There is no need for further examination of this problem as it has already been flogged several times in the last thirty years of us taking it up with various Govts and acceptance by five Prime Ministers including Indiraji on 25 Jun 1983 and Rajivji on 13 Mar 1987. The Paying authorities also do not need any guidance or support from the bureaucrats as they have all the wherewithal, knowledge and the necessary work force to do it.
9. The answer to our other problems does not rest in the Cabinet Secretary Committee from which we are kept miles away for them to play havoc with us. Please therefore cancel their appointment. For this you need to take definite worthwhile steps without which we will be landed in further trouble. This means appointment of an Interim Pay Commission to undo the damage done by the earlier Cabinet Secretary Committee and also address other problems which have come up later. Your Govt had accepted our demand for appointing separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces in 2006/2007. There should therefore be no problem in appointing an Interim Pay Commission now.
10. With your kind initiative we may get some of our problems solved for now. This however is not going to end our agony unless your own Philosophy of THINKING OUT OF THE BOX is put into practice for bringing about a radical change in the entire set up of the Defense Forces. What is required is the creation of instruments through which we can ensure that such a situation does not arise. The following minimal actions need to be taken:
  • Institutionalized inter action with the leadership on regular basis. A separate Standing Committee of Voluntary Associations (SCOVA) for Defense Ministry on the same lines as in Ministry of Pensions would meet the bill.
  • Ex servicemen Department of the MOD to be staffed by retired and serving officers and men.
  • Representation of the Armed Forces at all levels of decision making in the MOD. Armed Forces are the only uniformed Services which have been denied this privilege, resulting in all round trust deficit, which is sad for us all and dangerous for the Integrity of the Nation.
  • Ex servicemen Commission be set up with full powers, on the same lines as of other Commissions like Minorities Commission. 11. We look forward to an early response and announcement of acceptance of all that has been submitted above and definitely before you come on the ramparts of the Historic RED FORT on 15 August...
    Yours faithfully,
    Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd) Chairman
    Copy to: The Hon’ble Smt. Sonia Gandhi Chairperson, UPA 10, Janpath New Delhi
  • NDA Scam: Will Senior Army Officers be investigated?

    NDA scam: ‘Col A K Singh gave over a lakh to friend’
    Express news service : Mumbai, Thu Jul 12 2012, 04:26 hrs
    The Central Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBI-ACB) on Wednesday said that of the Rs 74.5 lakh Col Anil Kumar Singh — the presiding officer of examinations at National Defence Academy (NDA) —received as bribe, Rs 1.5 lakh was given to his friend, a retired army officer. Col Singh’s friend in turn used the money to pay his son’s fees in Symbiosis College.
    The CBI-ACB told CBI special judge D R Mahajan that at Col Singh’s behest, a witness burnt some documents on June 23 when they had raided the NDA. “Those partially burnt papers have been recovered and CBI wants to decipher the matter written on them,” said CBI special prosecutor Vivek Saxena, while seeking Singh’s CBI custody for six more days. He added that the CBI needs to recover the Rs 1.5 lakh Singh allegedly paid to the retired army officer.
    The CBI-ACB also seized a pen drive and Singh’s laptop on Tuesday. “The CBI wants to confront Singh with the data recovered from the them,” Saxena told the court.
    Singh’s counsel, S K Jain, objected to the CBI’s demand of extension of Singh’s custody. The court denied CBI Singh’s custody and remanded him in magisterial custody till July 25. “For the purpose of recovery of Rs 1.5 lakh which the accused allegedly gave a witness who paid it to Symbiosis College towards fees, the further CBI custody of the accused is not required,” the court said. The court added that Singh’s custody was not required for confrontation of the accused with the data recovered from the pen drive and laptop.
    Singh immediately tendered his bail application, which will be heard on Thursday along with that of the other four accused — Col Kulbir Singh, staff officer to NDA commandant, Balkrishna Kanojia, a food stall owner, Kanojia’s employee Vishnu Prasad Sharma and NDA employee Ramesh Gaikwad.
    Col A K Singh gave over a lakh to friend
    Comment: The commandant Lt Jatinder Singh is responsible for the scam. He and his family financial dealings for the last five years must be investigated to get to the bottom of this scam.

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Adarsh Scam: Scamsters intent to defraud the Military

    Defence Ministry defends CBI probe in Adarsh scam Terming Maharashtra government’s objection to a CBI probe into the Adarsh scam as “illegal and mala fide”, the Defence Ministry on Wednesday rejected the ruling by a state-appointed judicial panel that the land on which the controversial building stands belongs to the state.
    In an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the ministry made it clear that it has not accepted the Judicial Commission’s ruling settling the ownership of the plot in favour of the state government, dubbing it as “completely flawed”.
    “Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over. The Commission’s report is not binding on either the government or the court. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report.
    “The report of the Commission is completely flawed, contrary to the evidence on record and is made on patently incorrect interpretation of law,” the Defence Ministry said in an affidavit filed before a division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar.
    The Maharashtra government and Adarsh Society have contested CBI’s jurisdiction to probe the alleged scam on the ground that neither the state nor the High Court had handed over the investigation to the central agency, as required under the law.
    The CBI launched its probe into the scam on the direction of the Defence Ministry after an inquiry by the Army Chief. It formally registered an FIR in January last year.
    At the last hearing, the Court had allowed the Defence Ministry to intervene in the PILs relating to the case and asked it to file its response to Maharashtra government’s stand that CBI cannot probe it. Accordingly, the ministry filed its affidavit today.
    Defence Ministry defends CBI probe in Adarsh scam

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    OROP is only a mirage

    On 15 July 2012 18:50, Sailesh Ranade wrote:
    Dear Veterans,
    1. I have been closely following the situation with regard to OROP. I feel disgusted that veterans are crying like spoilt children for some fancy toy. This Tamasha has been going on for a few years now with no end in sight. In fact, we have brought this upon ourselves.
    2. Now let us come to the main point. Veterans are not children. So stop behaving like children. If you think that the government (politicians and bureaucrats) is going to listen to you, forget it. Have you noticed that the government will notice you only if you do dharnas, hunger strikes, rallies and resort to things like rasta / rail roko. See how every other department is holding the government to ransom.
    3. So what needs to be done? Get your butts off the ground and pull your finger out. Following points come to my mind readily.
  • Bring in a Tall and Clean Leader. Only one relevant present day ICON comes to my mind. Gen VK Singh. He has no financial historical baggage.
  • If you cannot muster VKS, bring in Anna Hazare.
  • Join Forces. Today we have all sorts of Brigadiers, Major Gen, Lt Gen and even a Major who run different types of organisation. Come together, but keep the tainted out. I used to see a lot of Generals on TV in the last 6 months. Dump them. Also dump all the military Governors and High Commissioners. They were all corrupt.
  • Form a Political Party. Call it the “Patriotic Front“. I guarantee, at least 100 seats in Parliament if there are clean candidates. The number of ex-servicemen and servicemen is easily close to 4 million. There is no bigger homogenous force in the world. If you include the paramilitary, it will easily touch 10 million. When in Parliament, make your own laws. Pass any bill in favour of the veterans.
  • The statement that “we will play by the rules” needs to be discarded. When your future is being decided by corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and judiciary, there is simply no future. Hold rallies, strikes, rasta roko etc. I am sure Delhi and surrounding areas can easily muster more people than what Anna Hazare and Ramdev could organise. And these two gentlemen brought the government on its knees.
  • As military veterans, we should consider all means. All is fair in love and war. The result will be quick and the lesson will sink in once and for all. We don’t need cry babies on TV. Act now. The mood is against the government. India desperately needs a revolution. A minor storm by military veterans will be enough.
    S Ranade

    An excellent idea. Implementable.
    Col Rajan

    Comment: Why are IESM and IESL the two large Veteran organisations losing steam? Is it because their primary aim is now refocussed on collection of funds and spending more and doing less for the Veteran community? What has happened to improvement of ECHS, CSD and Resettlement? We hear nothing on ground.
  • Sunday, July 15, 2012

    How many Serving and Retired Military Officers have money stashed abroad?

    Blackmoney: Indians have stashed over $500 bn in banks abroad, says CBI
    New Delhi, Mon Feb 13 2012, 14:40 hrs
    Indians are the largest depositors in banks abroad with an estimated 500 billion US dollars (nearly Rs 24.5 lakh crore) of illegal money stashed by them in tax havens, the CBI Director said today.
    India, in particular, has suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, British Virgin islands etc.
    "It is estimated that around 500 billion dollars of illegal money belonging to Indians is deposited in tax havens abroad. Largest depositors in Swiss Banks are also reported to be Indians," CBI Director A P Singh said speaking at the inauguration of first Interpol global programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery.
    He said getting information about such illegal transactions is a time taking process as investigators have to peel each layer by sending judicial requests to the country where such deposits have been made.
    "53 per cent of the countries said to be least corrupt by the Transparency International Index are offshore tax havens, where most of the corrupt money goes. The tax havens include New Zealand, which is ranked as the least corrupt country, Singapore ranked number five and Switzerland number seven," Singh said.
    He said there is a lack of political will in the leading tax haven states to part with the information because they are aware of the extent to which their economies have become "geared to this flow of illegal capitals from the poorer countries."
    The CBI director said tracing, freezing, confiscation and repatriation of stolen assets is a legal challenge, a complex process which requires expertise and political will.
    "Managing the asset recovery investigation is complex, time consuming, costly and most importantly requires expertise and political will. There are many obstacles to asset recovery. Not only is it a specialised legal process filled with delays and uncertainty, but there are also language barriers and a lack of trust when working with other countries," Singh said.
    He said global financial markets allow money to travel faster and further making tracking the money trail in such cases even more difficult which necessitates the organisation of such global training programs as they enhance the knowledge of investigators in tracking assets created out of corrupt and criminal acts.
    Singh said criminals are using the territorial issues of investigating agencies to their advantage by spreading their crimes to at least two countries and investing in a third.
    "In some of the recent important cases being investigated by the CBI such as 2G, CWG and Madhu Koda, we find that money is taken to Dubai/Singapore/Mauritius from where it goes to Switzerland and other such tax havens.
    "For criminals all it involves is setting up of a few shell companies and then making layered transfers from account to another in a matter of hours as there are no boundaries in banking transactions," he said.
    He said the World Bank estimates the cross border flow of money from criminal activities and tax evasion is around 1.5 trillion US dollars of which 40 billion US dollars is bribe paid to government servants in developing countries.
    Singh quoted the report to say that only five billion US dollars of this money has been repatriated during 15 years.
    Blackmoney: Indians have stashed over $500 bn in banks abroad, says CBI

    DGR perpetuates corruption in coal transportation

    Excl: Mafia exploits ex-army jawans 14 Jul 2012, 2115 hrs IST, TIMES NOW
    Korba-Chattisgarh coal trucks move along the highway-headed to transport coal to and from the many mines that dot the region. It is here that the mafia has complete sway and is exploiting army jawans to make huge profits. Coal transportation companies are allotted to ex-army officers by the resettlement wing of the army. They in turn employ jawans in whose name the trucks are to be operated. It is here that the mafia muscles in.
    When an officer’s turn comes without informing officer the mafia knows through the DGR, the name and address, they go and contact him and with the threats and lump sum they take over the company.
    The mafia exploits the jawans by using their names, documents and signatures to run the trucks. While each coal truck can earn them close to 20 lakh a year, the jawans are paid a petty stipend of 2000 a month which also stops after some time.
    They detail their own men to contact in Haryana villages, the widows and ex servicemen and collect 30 discharge books. They call the jawan to the place and open their accounts and get their signatures on blank accounts so they can raise loans for the trucks from their own finance companies Our investigation took us deep into mafia territory in Korba-men working with the mafia times now caught on camera told us how the ex servicemen just sign the documents without investing any money.
    A coal transportation company sponsored by the DGR should have at least 75% ex servicemen which cannot be sublet to anyone else. On the ground, the entire work has been taken over by the mafia while jawans and their families are left high and dry.
    In 2007 the scam was the subject of a parliamentary enquiry-which demanded a CBI probe. Little seems to have changed on the ground. Questions have also been asked of the army’s resettlement wing which has been unable to counter the mafia.
    Times now's investigation has shown that the mafia holds sway in Chattisgarh. Using muscle and money they exploit the army officers and jawans and despite repeated probes very little seems to have changed on the ground.
    Mafia exploits ex-army Jawans
    Comment: DGR is corruption centric and hence need to be disbanded and save the tax payers money. The bureaucratic set up under the MOD is a set up designed to help the corrupt Military Personnel to seek resettlement.


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