Saturday, September 22, 2012

Will the India Against Corruption movement lose steam?

Dear friends,
I have just returned after attending a marathon meeting called by IAC to enable Anna Hazare to take the views of some people on the political alternative that he had announced when ending the fast at Jantar Mantar on 3rd August. The meeting started at 1000am and ended at 1915pm.
In spite of a fervent plea from many eminent people, including Shashi Bhushan, who was one of the founder members of the Janata Party in 1977, Anna stuck to his oft repeated stand that he will not join or allow his name to be used by any political party. He expressed the fear that politics will taint his reputation and image in Maharashtra. He said that he would continue to agitate for the Jan Lokpal Bill, and make sure that it is passed before the next elections, in 2014.
Most of us were sorely disappointed. Many people felt that the movement will lose the momentum and goodwill it had gained during the last two years. Anna's credibility will also suffer. People want a change and will not forgive us if we back out at this stage.
I am reminded of the words of Alexander the Great, who once said "An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep."
Veteran Maj Gen VK Singh

India Against Corruption
Although many feel disillusioned with the way the movement has dissipated and disintegrated, some of its spectacular successes won’t be forgotten easily. Among the most captivating was the Sense of the House resolution adopted by Parliament in August 2011 accepting “in principle” some of the demands of the Lokpal movement.
Eventually, the manner in which the movement was outwitted by the politicians and the high expectations created by the 24×7 media coverage also brought with it many valuable lessons. While Hazare is determined to fight his battles apolitically —as he has done all his life —Kejriwal is not entirely wrong in wanting to establish a political party. After all, politicians get their power from the votes cast by the people and if the people truly want to bring a change, there’s no alternative but to go and cast one’s vote.
If the politicians of the day have reduced Parliament to a dirty commode, as conveyed by the cartoonist, can one expect the politicians to clean it themselves? The people have no choice but to undertake this task themselves.
Why Arvind Kejriwal deserves our unstinted support
Comment: Kejriwal's route of forming a Political Party and taking on corruption is a long drawn out affair- There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Anna's and Arvind's route may differ but in essence it is same... to fight corruption... the Lokpal Bill is only a starter.

Rank Pay: Insult over Injury

Insult over Injury
In 1986, my responsibilities to my family were beginning to peak and I was looking forward to the Pay Commission. But some nasty chaps in the Government, by a sleight of hand, denied me 1/5th of my basic pay, Rs1000/- to be precise - a lot of money those days!
I was not even aware of this treachery as I trusted the Government. Maj AK Dhanapalan saw through it (God bless him). He first, and then others, Retired Defence Officers Association (RDOA) in the forefront, fought in Courts, long and steadfast, with their money and the Government fought back, with our money, with resilience and determination, appealing perpetually against court verdicts, to do down the fellows who are all up to save them.
The Apex Court finally directed to pay all those affected, the arrears with 6% interest from 01 Jan 1986 onwards. The Government pleaded that it is poor (it has to be, after all these scams) and the Court waived off interest for the first 20 years!
It is not possible to compensate for the lost opportunities of our families but payment of the interest would, at least, have been a token recognition of the wrongs done to us, some compensation for our deprivations and humiliations, particularly when it was not due to a mistake. It was not even mere mischief. It was treachery, born out of arrogance and assurance of impunity. The very least that should have been done was to treat the amount due as a recurring deposit, the maturity amount reinvested at Postal rates, periodically. Therefore, the Court was benevolent to impose only 6% of interest to start with, but the crocodile tears of the Government made it deprived us, the victims, 20 years (no less!) of the already low interest!
Further, the initiating culprit should have been ordered to be identified and he, along with all the superiors who dealt with and finalized ‘the stab in the back’ to the people who protect the Country (them included) at the cost of their lives, to be punished.
What sort of justice is this? The perpetrators of the crime and their protectors not only go scot free but also evoke sympathy of the court! We, the sufferers, having waited for decades, are now left down in the ditch. All those criminals must be caught, their pay or pensions should be forfeited and if necessary their properties should be confiscated to pay us, the fair amount.
But that is ‘day dreaming’ or is it ‘crying in the wilderness’? What can you expect from this bunch? Now, if I cheat the Government and get caught, I should be able to plead for reduction in payment, of at least the penalty amount, as paying that much money would hurt me terribly. A precedent has been set. Applicability should be universal.
Col BN Ratha(Retd)

Pathribal Fake Encounter: GCM starts against 5 officers

Pathribal Fake Encounter: Court martial starts against 5 officers 22/09/2012
The Army has commenced General Court Martial (GCM) proceedings at Nagrota-based 16 Corps headquarters against its five officers allegedly involved in the Pathribal fake encounter killing of five innocent men in Anantnag district of Kashmir more than 12 years ago.
“On Sept 20, the Army initiated disciplinary proceedings against the accused Army Officers in the alleged Pathribal fake encounter case”, an Army officer said.
Consequent to the Supreme Court’s Order, the Army had taken over the case from Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, and thereafter attached these officers to its Nagrota-based 16 Corps, he said.
Lt Gen A S Nandal, GOC 16 Corps in the capacity of Commanding Officer, heard the charges preferred by CBI against these officers and directed summary of evidence to be recorded against them, officer said.
Lt Gen Nandal heard the evidence led by Ashok Kalra, the CBI Inspector who had investigated the case, he said adding he also produced the document filed by CBI before a CBI court.
“All witnesses examined by CBI during its investigation will now be summoned to appear before the officer recording summary of evidence. After the summary of evidence is recorded, the final charge-sheet will be prepared for the next stage of proceedings”, he said.
On the aspect of change of location of the Court Martial proceedings, the Army spokesperson stated that GOC 15 Corps had contested the case on behalf of the accused persons right up to the Supreme Court and therefore, it was just and proper as also fair to the victims’ families that the disciplinary proceedings be conducted by another commander.
In the fag end of June month this year, the Army decided to try in GCM its five officers allegedly involved in the Pathribal fake encounter in March, 2000.
The Army moved an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, the designated CBI court, seeking transfer of the case to the GCM.
The CJM directed transferring the records including the charge sheet and other material evidence to the GCM through the Army’s authorised officer.
The Army’s decision came after the Supreme Court on May 1 gave eight weeks’ time to it to decide whether the accused officers will be tried in the GCM or face a trial in the civilian court.
Brig Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Maj Sourabh Sharma, Maj Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan were chargesheeted by the CBI in 2006 for killing five civilians and later dubbing them as foreign militants.
As per the CBI investigation, the five civilians were killed and branded as militants days after 35 Sikhs were massacred in the nearby Chattisingpora village.
The CBI had filed the charge sheet against the accused officers in 2006 but the Army contested maintainability of the charge sheet claiming that prior sanction from the Centre was required under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which provides immunity against prosecution to Army personnel deployed in disturbed areas.
The Army’s plea was rejected by all courts, including the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, till the Apex Court partly agreed with it saying prior sanction was required for prosecution.
Pathribal Fake Encounter: Court martial starts against 5 officers
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Vellore ESM: Dilapidated building to be rebuilt

CM’s order rebuilds ex-servicemen’s hope
By V NarayanaMurthi|ENS - VELLORE 24th August 2012 08:27 AM

NEW LEASE OF LIFE: A view of the dilapidated building of the ex-servicemen office which would be rebuilt |Express

The ex-servicemen community has thanked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for sanctioning `2.19 crore towards rebuilding the old office premises of the Ex-servicemen Welfare, in Vellore.
K Mathivanan, president of the Katpadi Ex-sainik Seva Sangam said Vellore which housed one of the highest population of ex-servicemen and serving personnel in the country, certainly deserved a spacious and well-equipped office premises to extend better facilities and services. The gesture of the Chief Minister in this regard was timely, he added.
Vellore had housed one of the earliest ex-servicemen welfare offices in the State, the foundation for which had been laid by the then Governor of Madras, Sir Arthur Hope on March 7, 1945, on the ring road of Vellore Fort. It was named after him as ‘Hope Ex-service Centre’. The building was completed in the same year and was declared open by Sir Normal Strathie, advisor to the Governor of Madras on November 29, 1945. Khan Bhadur S Ahmed Ali was the president of the District Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen (DSSA) Board then.
As the 60-year-old building had developed cracks and posed threats to safety, the office was shifted to ‘Jawans Bhavan’ building on the officers line.
The existing dilapidated structures would be replaced with a new two-storied building with 4,844 sqft ground floor and 5,888 sqft, each of first and second floor. While the ground floor would be occupied by the ex-servicemen welfare office, the first floor would have a nationalised bank. A part of the second floor would be rented to government departments.
The premises would also have a dormitory facility and two or three rooms that can be used as guestrooms for directorate’s senior officials to stay. The office would be equipped with communication and Internet facilities. The construction, being entrusted with the PWD, is likely to begin shortly.
The ex-servicemen welfare office has been extending various services to the 50,000 plus ex-servicemen and serving personnel, somewhat similar to what the district social welfare has been offering to the general public. The office is providing welfare assistance to the tune of `15 lakh per month, in terms of pensions (for veterans and war widows) and educational scholarships. The office is also helping veterans secure employment in various sectors besides focusing on their healthcare requirements.
It is also liaisoning with government departments to establish a Kendriya Vidyalaya at Vellore shortly.
CM’s order rebuilds ex-servicemen’s hope

Full speech: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation

Full speech: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation | Updated: September 21, 2012 20:47 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today addressed the nation, defending the economic reforms which were introduced last week.
Click here for the Video link
Here is the full text of Dr Singh's speech:
My dear brothers and sisters,
I am speaking to you tonight to explain the reasons for some important economic policy decisions the government has recently taken. Some political parties have opposed them. You have a right to know the truth about why we have taken these decisions.
No government likes to impose burdens on the common man. Our Government has been voted to office twice to protect the interests of the aam admi.
At the same time, it is the responsibility of the government to defend the national interest, and protect the long term future of our people. This means that we must ensure that the economy grows rapidly, and that this generates enough productive jobs for the youth of our country. Rapid growth is also necessary to raise the revenues we need to finance our programmes in education, health care, housing and rural employment.
The challenge is that we have to do this at a time when the world economy is experiencing great difficulty. The United States and Europe are struggling to deal with an economic slowdown and financial crisis. Even China is slowing down.
We too have been affected, though I believe we have been able to limit the effect of the global crisis.
We are at a point where we can reverse the slowdown in our growth. We need a revival in investor confidence domestically and globally. The decisions we have taken recently are necessary for this purpose.
Let me begin with the rise in diesel prices and the cap on LPG cylinders.
We import almost 80% of our oil, and oil prices in the world market have increased sharply in the past four years. We did not pass on most of this price rise to you, so that we could protect you from hardship to the maximum extent possible.
As a result, the subsidy on petroleum products has grown enormously. It was Rs. 1 lakh 40 thousand crores last year. If we had not acted, it would have been over Rs. 200,000 crores this year.
Where would the money for this have come from? Money does not grow on trees. If we had not acted, it would have meant a higher fiscal deficit, that is, an unsustainable increase in government expenditure vis-a-vis government income. If unchecked, this would lead to a further steep rise in prices and a loss of confidence in our economy. The prices of essential commodities would rise faster. Both domestic as well as foreign investors would be reluctant to invest in our economy. Interest rates would rise. Our companies would not be able to borrow abroad. Unemployment would increase.
The last time we faced this problem was in 1991. Nobody was willing to lend us even small amounts of money then. We came out of that crisis by taking strong, resolute steps. You can see the positive results of those steps. We are not in that situation today, but we must act before people lose confidence in our economy.
I know what happened in 1991 and I would be failing in my duty as Prime Minister of this great country if I did not take strong preventive action.
The world is not kind to those who do not tackle their own problems. Many European countries are in this position today. They cannot pay their bills and are looking to others for help. They are having to cut wages or pensions to satisfy potential lenders.
I am determined to see that India will not be pushed into that situation. But I can succeed only if I can persuade you to understand why we had to act.
We raised the price of diesel by just Rs. 5 per litre instead of the Rs. 17 that was needed to cut all losses on diesel. Much of diesel is used by big cars and SUVs owned by the rich and by factories and businesses. Should government run large fiscal deficits to subsidise them?
We reduced taxes on petrol by Rs. 5 per litre to prevent a rise in petrol prices. We did this so that the crores of middle class people who drive scooters and motorcycles are not hit further.
On LPG, we put a cap of 6 subsidised cylinders per year. Almost half of our people, who need our help the most, actually use only 6 cylinders or less. We have ensured they are not affected. Others will still get 6 subsidised cylinders, but they must pay a higher price for more.
We did not touch the price of kerosene which is consumed by the poor.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
You should know that even after the price increase, the prices of diesel and LPG in India are lower than those in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The total subsidy on petroleum products will still be Rs. 160 thousand crores. This is more than what we spend on Health and Education together. We held back from raising prices further because I hoped that oil prices would decline.
Let me now turn to the decision to allow foreign investment in retail trade. Some think it will hurt small traders. This is not true.
Organised, modern retailing is already present in our country and is growing. All our major cities have large retail chains. Our national capital, Delhi, has many new shopping centres. But it has also seen a three-fold increase in small shops in recent years.
In a growing economy, there is enough space for big and small to grow. The fear that small retailers will be wiped out is completely baseless.
We should also remember that the opening of organised retail to foreign investment will benefit our farmers. According to the regulations we have introduced, those who bring FDI have to invest 50% of their money in building new warehouses, cold-storages, and modern transport systems. This will help to ensure that a third of our fruits and vegetables, which at present are wasted because of storage and transit losses, actually reach the consumer. Wastage will go down; prices paid to farmers will go up; and prices paid by consumers will go down.
The growth of organised retail will also create millions of good quality new jobs.
We recognise that some political parties are opposed to this step. That is why State governments have been allowed to decide whether foreign investment in retail can come into their state. But one state should not stop another state from seeking a better life for its farmers, for its youth and for its consumers.
In 1991, when we opened India to foreign investment in manufacturing, many were worried.
But today, Indian companies are competing effectively both at home and abroad, and they are investing around the world. More importantly, foreign companies are creating jobs for our youth -- in Information Technology, in steel, and in the auto industry. I am sure this will happen in retail trade as well.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The UPA Government is the government of the aam aadmi.
In the past 8 years our economy has grown at a record annual rate of 8.2 per cent. We have ensured that poverty has declined much faster, agriculture has grown faster, and rural consumption per person has also grown faster.
We need to do more, and we will do more. But to achieve inclusiveness we need more growth. And we must avoid high fiscal deficits which cause a loss of confidence in our economy.
I promise you that I will do everything necessary to put our country back on the path of high and inclusive growth. But I need your support. Please do not be misled by those who want to confuse you by spreading fear and false information. The same tactics were adopted in 1991. They did not succeed then. They will not succeed now. I have full faith in the wisdom of the people of India.
We have much to do to protect the interests of our nation, and we must do it now. At times, we need to say "No" to the easy option and say "Yes" to the more difficult one. This happens to be one such occasion. The time has come for hard decisions. For this I need your trust, your understanding, and your cooperation.
As Prime Minister of this great country, I appeal to each one of you to strengthen my hands so that we can take our country forward and build a better and more prosperous future for ourselves and for the generations to come.
Jai Hind.
Full speech: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation

HC refers service matters of armed forces to AFT

Saturday, September 22, 2012, Chandigarh, India
Saurabh Malik/TNS Chandigarh, September 21, 2012
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, by passing a single order, has referred “all service matters concerning members of the armed forces” to the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The “matters” involve pension and other retirement benefits pending before the HC.
The significance of the order can be gauged from the fact that the HC has disposed of, through the order, nothing less than 31 writ petitions filed by Army personnel “pertaining to the disability pension, dismissal from service, etc.”
The bunch comprised writ petitions against the orders passed by the CAT and Regular Second Appeals against the judgments and decrees of the courts below.
Taking up the petitions by Naik Prem Singh and other petitioners against the Union of India and other respondents, a Division Bench of the HC asserted the petitions pertaining to the disability pension, dismissal from service, etc. of Army personnel fell within the definition of “service matters” as defined in Section 3(O) of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.
The bench added: “At the outset, counsel for the respondents have raised a preliminary objection by placing reliance on Section 34 read with Section 14 and 3(O) of the Act. A conjoint reading of these Sections would show that all service matters concerning the members of Armed Forces, involving pension and other retiral benefits, pending before this court are required to be transferred to the AFT, Chandigarh Bench, which is constituted for this jurisdiction”.
HC refers service matters of armed forces to AFT

Indian Army’s unpaid spy dies in oblivion

SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Chandigarh, India
British-born Sydney Wignall discovered the secrets of China’s expansion across Tibet to the borders of India and Nepal

Sadly, New Delhi has ignored the death of Cheshire-born Sydney Wignall who died a few weeks ago in the UK at the age of 89. A British-born hero and unpaid spy of the Indian Army, he used both brains and brawn to discover the secrets of China’s expansion across Tibet to the borders of India and Nepal.
Wignall suffered frost bite, dysentery and regular beatings at the hands of Chinese army guards during his two-month incarceration in a rat-infested prison in Tibet. After his release, he received profuse thanks from his Indian Army contacts for the valuable data he obtained. But the only ‘reward’ he claimed and obtained was a supply of cricket bats and balls for the children of a Nepalese village school that he visited on his way to Tibet.
In 1955, seven years before the Indian Army’s disastrous rout at the hands of Chinese forces, Cheshire-born Sydney Wignall was inspired to lead a Welsh Himalayan Expedition to try and climb the 25,355-foot-high Gurla Mandhata peak in Western Tibet.
Sponsored by the Liverpool Daily Post newspaper and Life magazine, the ostensible objective of the team was to place the flags of Wales and the Chinese Republic on the Gurla Mandhata summit.
Unbeknown to his fellow climbers, however, Wignall had also agreed to gather information for the Indian Army intelligence worried about China’s secret military build up in what was then the autonomous region of Tibet.
Although he and his fellow climber John Harrop, together with their Nepalese liaison officer Damodar Narayan Suwal, were captured soon after they crossed the ill-defined Nepalese border, the information that Wignall collected was the equivalent of intelligence gold dust.
It was gratefully received and analysed by his Indian Army contact, Lieut-Col ‘Baij’ Mehta, who was later killed during the Chinese invasion of Arunachel Pradesh in 1962. It was passed on to an equally grateful Gen KS Thimayya, who later became India’s Chief of Army Staff. He tried and failed to persuade Jawaharlal Nehru of China’s aggressive intentions.
Tellingly, Wignall subsequently had little time for Indian politicians, especially Krishna Menon, who allowed their communist sympathies to blind them to Beijing’s aim of dominating South Asia.
Wignall had met Menon many years earlier in London in 1940, seven years before Independence, when India’s future defence minister and other fellow left-wing activists toed the Soviet Union’s then policy of avoiding confrontation with Adolph Hitler. Menon called 18-year-old Wignall ‘impertinent’ and Wignall formed the impression that Menon was ‘vain, arrogant and conceited.” He called him ‘A thoroughly detestable man.’
Wignall’s Indian heroes were the likes of Gen Thimayya, Col Mehta and Brig John Dalvi, who, in 1962, had only 2,700 soldiers under his command to resist a Chinese division of 12,000 that swept down on him from the Thagla Ridge in what was then known as the North East Frontier Agency or NEFA.
Brigadier Dalvi’s 7th Brigade, which ran out of ammunition, suffered 90 per cent casualties. Those who survived the immediate onslaught died overnight because they had not been supplied with adequate tents, sleeping bags or warm winter clothing. Brigadier Dalvi himself was captured and tortured. A broken man when he was released, he died a few years later much before his time.
It was while he was preparing for his Himalayan expedition in 1955 that Wignall made contact with a retired Indian Army officer, one Lieut-Col Toby Tobin, who was then the vice-president of the Himalayan Club and editor of the Himalayan Journal. Tobin told him, “You might be able to do some friends a favour” before introducing him to a contact called ‘Singh’ at the Indian High Commission in London.
What followed thereafter was like something out of a John Buchan novel. Singh briefed Wignall about the bellicose statements that some Chinese generals had been making about territorial claims to large parts of Northern India, Nepal, Sikkim and Burma. For that reason the Indian military authorities were interested in rumours of China’s intention of building a military highway in west Tibet, close to the sacred lake of Mansarowar.
“You happen to be the only one visiting what to us is the most sensitive area in the whole border region,” Singh explained. “From a vantage point on the north-west ridge of Gurla Mandhata you would be able to see, with a telescope, any sign of a military encampment in that area, and you could look for evidence of the building of that military highway to west Tibet.”
Supplied with maps provided by the British War office, Wignall and his team soon embarked on their 6,500-mile trip from London to the borders of India, Nepal and Tibet. Within days of crossing into Tibet from the Khatang Pass, however, the three lead members of the team were arrested for illegally crossing into Chinese territory.
For the next two months they were held in freezing, rat-infested rooms and interrogated by a team led by Gen Chang Kuo-hua, the military commander of Tibet. These were hard-line party supporters, very different from the likes of 21st century Chinese communist VIPS like millionaire Bo Xilai who had his son Bo Guagua educated at Harrow, Oxford and Harvard.
General Chang was made of much sterner stuff. His minions beat up and abused the British mountaineers, subjecting them to mock executions and telling them, “You intended disguising your illegal armed invasion of China so that the Tibetans would not know you are agents of a foreign power, Western Fascist Lackey Imperial Running Dogs.”
Wignall himself was told, “Sign the confession that you are a Western Fascist Lackey Imperialist Running Dog of the American CIA and we will be very good to you. Otherwise you will be severely punished.”
Although they were under close surveillance during their captivity, Wignall and his friends were able to extract vital information, both from their interrogators and from some of the more friendly guards.
In what was then the pre-satellite age, Wignall managed to accurately estimate the strength of the secret Chinese army base at Jitkot, 17 miles from Tklakot close to the Nepal border. More importantly he was able to gauge that China’s strategic highway from Lhasa would reach Tklakot within the next two years. And from General Chang he heard how Beijing laid claim to India’s Aksai Chin and NEFA regions, as well as parts of Nepal, Kashmir, all of Sikkim, all of Bhutan and parts of northern Burma.
Much of what Wignall discovered was confirmed and reconfirmed before, during and after the 1962 Chinese invasion of India. He himself neither asked for, nor was given any form of compensation by the authorities in India.
Wignall did brief members of the British Foreign Office about his adventures when he returned to London, but his main satisfaction was extracted from the belief that he had taken high risks for the right reasons. In later years he became an underwater archaeologist, uncovering wrecks in British, Portugese and Panamanian waters. A handful of Indians may still remember both his affection for the country and his perilous exploits in the Himalayas. For them he remains a much-loved friend of Mother India.
Indian Army’s unpaid spy dies in oblivion

Conquerors of Himalayan peaks deserve better

Saturday, September 22, 2012, Chandigarh, The Tribune India
Conquerors of peaks deserve better
A Punjab Regiment expedition team on a mission to conquer 6,830m peak of Mountain Kedar Dome in Uttarakhand was faced with a natural ordeal in the form of an avalanche around 11 am on September 19 when it was on its last leg to achieve the objective. Three members of the team were untraceable after the nature’s fury subsided.
An Army helicopter was put into service to locate the missing members of the expedition team (“Three missing as avalanche hits Punjab Regiment expedition team”, September 20).
Those countries that have made their mark in the international arena have shown concern for their single citizens in the hour of their needs. No concrete steps were taken by the Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre and other authorities for making this expedition safe and a sure success since each little event and achievement affect the morale and motivation of the organisation to which a team belongs and the nation in general.
Conquerors of peaks deserve better

Indian Army launches campaign for ex-servicemen

Indian Army launches campaign for ex-servicemen
Lucknow: The Indian Army on Tuesday launched a campaign aimed at deepening its respect for aged and retired soldiers.

The army's Central Command launched the "Year of the Veteran" campaign in the presence of several ex-army men and serving officers.
They were drawn from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, an army official said. Lt Gen Anil Chait opened the event.
With over 300,000 ex-servicemen, the officer said two pilot projects had been taken up.
So far 911 complaints regarding issues like housing and pension have been registered with the army.
In the first phase, an officer said that army teams had fanned out in villages to obtain data about the problems faced by ex-servicemen.
Indian Army launches campaign for ex-servicemen

Friday, September 21, 2012

OROP: Government likely to accept four demands

As per news article by Tribune News Service the govt. may accept following 4 demands related to Armed forces pay fixation & One Rank One Pension issue:
1. Armed forces be given non-functional upgradation (NFU) to match their counterparts in the IPS, IAS and paramilitary forces.
2. The grade pay can be looked into.
3. It has agreed that a common payscale be evolved for in-service jawans.
4. It has agreed on removal of all anomalies towards one rank one pension (OROP).
Meanwhile, a fresh calculation has been ordered following a Supreme Court judgment relating to a 25-year-old pay-related case filed by Major Dhanapalan. The court ruled in his favour to correct the anomaly and will impact all officers who were serving then and now.
Read full article on Tribune [click here]
One Rank One Pension: Govt may accept 4 demands
  • One Rank One Pension - Lok Sabha Q&A
  • 'One Rank One Pension' for Ex-Servicemen is unlikely to recommend
  • One Rank One Pension: Service chiefs meet Cabinet Secy
  • Government may not allow defence representatives in pay panel
  • Outcome of Meeting for Armed forces and One Pension One Rank issue.
  • Meeting today to discuss pay, pension of Armed forces and One Pension One Rank issue.

  • What lures Generals to Panchkula?:

    Panchkula: 'City of Generals'
    PANCHKULA: Panchkula, the satellite town of Chandigarh, seems to be fast becoming the " City of Generals" as one more war veteran has made it his post-retirement home. Army commander of Western Command Lt Gen S R Ghosh, who hung up his uniform, has decided to settle down in Panchkula, which is already home to hundreds of Army officers including Gen V K Singh, who also retired recently, and former army chief V P Malik.
    Lt Gen Ghosh said he loved the area during his stint as Army commander and decided to settle here because of the atmosphere and way of life the city offers for the defence personnel. Another reason for settling down here, he added, was that his wife, a retired bureaucrat, was born and brought up here. Ghosh, nevertheless, maintained that the city lacks maintenance and that considering the number of senior officers settling here, local bodies should focus on its proper upkeep.
    Panchkula already has hundreds of officers and war veterans, who remained commanders of various vital formations of Army during conventional as well as non-conventional wars, settled here. Among them are former Army chief Gen (retd) Malik, former Army vice-chief Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, former commanders -- Lt Gen H S Panag, Lt Gen P S Hoon, Lt Gen Deepinder Singh, LT Gen T K Sapru, Lt Gen G S Sihota, Lt Gen R S Dayal (died recently), Lt Gen Daljit Singh and Lt Gen Surinder Singh among others.
    Sector 12, 12-A, 6, 20 and MDC have a high concentration of top Army officers. In fact, Panchkula has become a station of choice post-retirement not only for those from the region but also those belonging to other parts of the country.
    According to senior Army officers, the city is one of the best urban planned cities of the country, has spacious roads, large lung spaces and planned markets. Besides, it is strategically located -- within an earshot of Shimla to the north and New Delhi to the south. With Chandimandir Cantonment in the vicinity, officers' link to service life and a large community of retired and serving officers make it particularly attractive.
    Panchkula: 'City of Generals' gets 2 more after 'farewell to arms' by Ajay Sura, TNN Jun 1, 2012, 05.01AM IST

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Shortage of Officers inspite of implementing AV Singh Committee Recommendations

    Officers’ shortfall causing friction in Army
    By Ritu Sharma / ENS - NEW DELHI 20th September 2012 09:52 AM
    Shortage of more than 10,000 officers in the Indian Army has played a detrimental role in the equation between officers and jawans and the increased friction between them flared up on two occasions this year, Army Chief General Bikram Singh said on Wednesday.
    As a Court of Inquiry report into two recent incidents in Ladakh and Jammu were pending, the Army Chief said measures were being taken to address issues between jawans and officers.
    Earlier this year, officers and jawans were reportedly engaged in a fist fight in Nyoma in Ladakh and in a separate incident in Jammu, a prolonged stand-off between the two sent the Samba unit into a tizzy.
    When asked if the shortage of officers is leading to an increase in the instances of friction between soldiers and officers, Gen Singh said, “Yes, that is one of the main reasons. The shortfall of officers as of now is 10,100. The deficiency is definitely impacting.” The Army has suffered a shortage of officers for the past five years.
    Singh, however, termed the two incidents as “aberrations” and “isolated ones”, adding that measures were to be taken once the Court of Inquiry is complete. “We had one or two instances, these are aberrations of course and these were isolated incidents,” he said.
    On steps taken by him to address the issue, he said, “As a chief, my concerns have been to ensure that we get back to basics and ensure that climate and environment in the units are correct and conducive to growth and the core values of the Army are upheld.”
    Officers’ shortfall causing friction in Army
    AV Singh Committee Report- 2005
    The government has issued orders to implement the phase 1 of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee recommendations involving the restructuring of the officers’ cadre, reduction in qualifying service for promotion in non-select ranks and a package of peel off measures to mitigate stagnation. This will help in achieving optimum combat effectiveness by bringing down the age profile of battalion / brigade commanders and to make the three services more effective in fulfilling individual career aspirations of the officers.
    Click here for the original post
    Shortage of 14,448 officers in Army, Navy, Air Force- 2010
    Antony said that a number of steps have been taken to attract the talented youth to join the defence forces. “All officers including those in Short Service Commission (SSC) are now eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel after two, six and 13 years of reckonable service respectively. The tenure of SSC officers has been increased from 10 to 14 years,” the Defence Minister said.
    “A total number of 750 posts of Lt. Colonel have been upgraded to Colonel towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-I). “Further, 1896 additional posts in the ranks of Colonel, Brigadier, Major General and Lieutenant General and their equivalents in the other two Services have been upgraded towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-II),” he added.
    2010- Shortage of Officers
    Comment: The AV Singh Committee recommendations has not improved the shortage of officers situation in the military. Now indiscipline is attributed to shortage of officers. This a joke really. All knew the AV Singh only pepped up the senior officers career profile. Top heavy and the Military is saddled with command and control disconnect from top heavy to a bottomless low...

    Pay and Pension issues of the Armed Forces

    Ref: Cabinet Committee Recommendations
    Warrant Officer P.R. Balathilakan, MSM September 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm
    We the Ex-Servicemen are eagerly waiting to know the outcome of the report which has been submitted by the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee to the Hon’ble Prime Minister relating to Pay and Pension issues of the Armed Forces personnel. The report is stated to have been submitted during the last quarter of previous month. Since the Committee has stated that the points are to be met immediately, then why there is delay in announcing the recommendations. Hope, the authorities will take a note to make the report public soon.
    Warrant Officer P.R. Balathilakan (Retd.) MSM

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    OROP: UPA under siege will it collapse the issue?

    Foreign media on UPA's new vulnerability
    Jim Yardley, Gardiner Harris, The New York Times | Updated: September 19, 2012 15:58 IST
    New Delhi: The turmoil surrounding India's national government intensified on Wednesday, with a growing number of regional partners threatening to withdraw their support from the government and a former ally calling for the prime minister to seek a fresh electoral mandate.
    Following the announcement by Mamata Banerjee, the populist chief minister of the state of West Bengal, that her party would formally leave the government on Friday, another member of the government, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, said his party would support a nationwide strike on Thursday called by opposition parties to protest policy changes announced last week by the governing coalition, the United Progressive Alliance. Mr. Karunanidhi controls 18 votes in Parliament, just one fewer than the total controlled by Ms. Banerjee.
    Meanwhile, Ram Gopal Yadav, a major leader of the Samajwadi Party, which controls 22 votes in Parliament, said that his continued support of the governing coalition was no longer assured. "This government has lost credibility and can't take our support for granted," he said, according to media reports.
    Ms. Banerjee has given the government until Friday to reverse new economic measures, including ones that would allow multinational giants like Walmart and Ikea to build major retail outlets in India, or face the withdrawal of her 19 lawmakers from the coalition. Since Parliament is not in session, there is little risk of the government collapsing immediately. But if Ms. Banerjee follows through on her threat, the governing coalition must rely on Mr. Karunanidhi, Mr. Yadav and others to avoid early elections.
    Read More: Foreign media on UPA's new vulnerability- click here

    NDA Scam: CBI tight lipped

    CBI grills former NDA commandant for 2 days
    Published: Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012, 13:55 IST
    By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
    Former commandant of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Lt General Jatinder Singh, was grilled by a team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials in the NDA job scam case for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
    Lt Gen Singh was the NDA commandant when a Rs2 crore scam in the recruitment of class III and IV officers came to light in July.
    Lt Gen Singh was later transferred to the Army Headquarters as a staffer.
    The CBI officials, however, were tight-lipped about the outcome of the interrogations. Superintendent of CBI-Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Rajkumar Vhatkar said, “We have been interrogating Lt Gen Singh for the last two days. We questioned him on various aspects of the case from 10 am on Tuesday till late evening. We cannot disclose what was the outcome of the questioning. Information about the revelations will be included in the chargesheet which will be submitted to the court.”
    The CBI-ACB had already arrested eight people including two serving Colonels in the case. The arrested people include Colonel Kulbir Singh, Colonel AK Singh, Suhas Waghmare, Manoj Shitkal, Dattatray Shitkal, Balkishan Kanojia, Vishnu Sharma and Ramesh Gaikwad. All the arrested people have been granted bail.
    CBI grills former NDA commandant for 2 days
    Comment: CBI is famous for cover ups. This is a straight case where bribes were taken under the command of NDA Commandant- without his knowledge such scale of scam in Military parlance cannot be executed.

    Newton's Law of Corruption in India

    Nitin Gupta (Rivaldo) is a stand-up comedian & is an alumnus of IIT Bombay (Chemical Engg) and founder of Entertainment Engineers.
    Here he is seen performing for the students at the S.P. Jain College and the subject is the CWG, 2G and other scams - the Archimedes Principle and Newton laws are a brilliant take why nobody gets caught in the scams in India – this can be explained by the Archimedes Principle for corruption "Any minister fully or partially immersed in corruption is pushed up by a buoyant force which is equal to the weight of the money displaced by him in the scams".
    Laws of corruption should be passed – similar to Newton laws of motion
  • Black money at rest will remain at rest, scams in motion will remain in motion, until unless an external force like the Jan Lokpal Bill is applied to them by people outside the parliament...
    See and enjoy the hilarious video for more - unfortunately its not a laughing matter, it is the current state of affairs in India.
    click here for more funny comments
  • Admiral Gorshkov: Revised date of delivery

    Tue, 18 Sep 2012 16:32:53 GMT
    Arrival of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov further delayed New Delhi/Moscow, Sep 17 (PTI) The delivery of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to Indian Navy, which is already behind schedule, has been further hit due to malfunctioning of the warship''s engines during sea trials and it is now expected to arrive in Indian waters in the second half of next year.
    The ship was originally supposed to have been delivered by 2009 but it''s handing over to the Indian Navy has been marred by cost overruns among other issues.
    An Indian Navy team on the ship has indicated that there are problems with the warship''s boilers, sources said here.
    Reports in Russian media have suggested that the aircraft carrier would be arriving in India by October 2013.
    The ship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled for commissioning into the Indian Navy by December 4, this year.
    The sources dismissed reports that other systems of the warship had also been damaged due to the engine malfunctioning.
    They said India is expected to ask the Russian side to hand over the carrier to the Indian side within the stipulated delivery schedule and carry out the required overhauls within that time frame.
    The deal for the aircraft carrier was signed in 2004 but the price of the ship was renegotiated and later put at USD 2 .3 billion after repeated cost revision demands by the Russian side for repair and overhaul. The ship will be part of Indian Navy''s plans to operate an aircraft carrier in each of its two seaboards.
    At the moment, its only operational aircraft carrier is the INS Viraat, which is in the last leg of its service after having gone through several upgrades.
    Admiral Gorshkov was a Kiev class aircraft carrier laid down in 1978 at Nikolayev South in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned in 1987.
    Arrival of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov further delayed
    Comment: The jinxed Aircraft Carrier. Poor choice made by the Navy. The Chinese build similar ones for one tenth of the cost of Russian vintage.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Remembering 1962 debacle: Is the Military better prepared?

    Ref: Can China repeat its 1962 military humiliation of India?
    IAF101 • 28 minutes ago • parent −
    What a "surprise" - a military officer blames the politicians and bureaucrats for failure! Guess we haven't heard that excuse from military officers before!
    Who ever loses a conflict is a "Yes Man" general and whoever wins is a "skilled" general right? What convenient logic!
    Dealing with the political authority is part and parcel of being a general in a democracy. Blaming X and Y is meaningless because it is not some politician or some bureaucrat whose fate is affected but the entire nation! Just as Nehru takes the ultimate blame for failure, the Indian Army also must accept blame that it was unprepared and over matched by the Chinese military. Individual heroism of a few brave officers means nothing if defeat is the outcome. Even the Nazi had heroic officers who fought for their side but today nobody remembers them because they LOST. It is a fact that some Indian commanders gave bad orders and the Indian military headquarters as a whole was struggling to resupply and move troops to the remote NE while the Chinese were crawling up and down Tibet with ease.
    As long as the Indian military does not accept responsibility for defeat, it can never learn the lessons required.
    Click here for more interesting comments

    Armed Forces win Battle in Supreme Court: Reactions

    Ref: Rank Pay- AF win battle in Supreme Court
  • Baba Tiruvalam 1 week ago
    While one is happy that the finally justice has been given to the serving and retired officers, it is sad that some people had to wait for over 25 years to get this justice. It is pertinent to point out that in the meantime many who were waiting passed away and were cheated out of their legitimate dues. It was not any thing to do with legal interpretation. It was mere arithmetic interpretation. Even if a mistake was committed at some level in 1987 when this was being implemented, why was the Govt reluctant to correct the mistake when it was pointed out during Maj Dhanapalan's case until relief was given to him by Kerala High Court initially and then the Supreme Court subsequently when the Govt appealed against the decision of the Kerala High Court. Subsequently also they had resisted extending the benefit to similarly affected officers. It took 5 long years and several hearings at the Supreme Court to reach the verdict given today. All along the Govt machinery including the MOD and the Law ministry did not see the wisdom in withdrawing their appeal gracefully. At-least now will the Government show graceful acceptance of the verdict and pay the arrears as ordered before some more of the affected officers kick the bucket?
  • The Patriot
    It is unfortunate that in a democracy like ours the armed forces are being treated like this. They remain the last and only institution left that the nation can depend on in a crisis. The recent happenings in the Army are a clear indication that all is not well with the armed forces too. One wishes that the babus and politicos keep off the armed forces. The recent amendment to the constitution giving reservation in promotions is a further blow to the very secular foundation of this country, just imagine babus promoted thus exercising control over the armed forces, like they say-vinasha kale , viperetha budhi!
  • freudneo1 week ago
    To grant a benefit of just 1500 crores to its armed forces... govt fights for 20 years ! n themselves siphons off thousands of crores in just two years ! Wow... what a democracy we are living in!
  • Bidyut Chatterjee
    The Judgement did make us happy,but we would be happier still, if the bureaucracy and the lower babus were penalised for feeding the Courts with wrong and misinformation. 50% of their pay and allowances should have been deducted to compensate for the delayed justice which was only because of them. This would partly meet the cost involved to implement the Judgement.
    Armed Forces win long outstanding battle inSupreme Court
  • Heros from the Hills

    September 17, 2012
    Heroes from the hills

    The Madras Regimental Centre in Wellington, is the oldest regiment in the Indian Army. Its history is chequered with battles won and lost, bravery, courage and endurance.
    254 glorious years
    click here for the complete article

    NDA job scam: CBI grills ex-commandant

    NDA job scam: CBI grills ex-commandant for 10 hours
    Pranav Kulkarni , SushantKulkarni : Pune, Tue Sep 18 2012, 00:52 hrs
    The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday grilled Lt Gen Jatinder Singh for 10 hours in connection with the alleged recruitment scam that had unseated him in July from the post of National Defence Academy (NDA) commandant.
    Now attached to the Army Headquarters as a staffer to the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Singh arrived at the CBI office in Pune at 10 am in a Pune HQ Sub Area car and emerged at 8 pm through a backdoor in a bid to evade reporters. CBI sources said he will be called again at 10 am Tuesday.
    Rajkumar Vahtkar, superintendent of the CBI-ACB, confirmed that Lt Gen Singh was questioned in connection with the case on Monday morning. He refused to divulge details.
    The alleged scam involving recruitment of class ‘C’ employees had come to light in June last week. His staff officer Col Kulbir Singh and Physical Training Officer (PTO) Col A K Singh, besides a civilian staffer and five others who acted as “agents”, have already been questioned by the CBI and are currently out on bail.
    Lt Gen Singh was shifted on July 4 after the CBI wrote to Defence Minister A K Antony, seeking his transfer to facilitate an “unbiased probe”.
    The CBI had said they recovered Rs 1.76 crore of the alleged recruitment scam money, and that “trails are also being traced” of about Rs 4 lakh Lt Gen Singh’s staff officer Col Kulbir Singh is believed to have handed over to Lt Gen Singh’s brother in a five star hotel in Mumbai on June 23.
    “Lt Gen Singh claimed Kulbir Singh had handed over money he had borrowed. Why would the amount be in cash, when his brother had paid him by cheque? Interestingly, we also seized 12 bottles of expensive whisky along with the Rs 4 lakh in cash,” said an officer.
    A 7000 sq ft post-retirement bungalow Lt Gen Singh has been constructing at Ambala has also come under the scanner of the agency. The CBI is reportedly looking into various payments made for the house valued at approximately Rs 1 crore. “We are looking into modes of payment for the house. Our teams have carried out searches in Delhi and other places,” said a CBI officer.
    Another officer said, “During questioning, we asked Singh about relations between him and his staff officer as well as PTO. He was cooperative during questioning though he opted not to answer many questions. We will be questioning him again on Tuesday.”
    When The Indian Express team visited the CBI office in Akurdi, the car was parked outside. Lt Gen Singh was accompanied by his son-in-law, a doctor at the Military Hospital, Pune, and other relatives. Lt Gen Singh tried to evade the Express team. In fact, one of the persons who accompanied him sat in the car, while Lt Gen Singh opted to exit through a back door. One of the persons who accompanied him tried to prevent The Indian Express photographer from taking pictures.
    NDA job scam: CBI grills ex-commandant for 10 hours

    No Permanent Commission for Women in Combat Formations

    No permanent status for women in combat areas, Centre tells SC
    Published: Monday, Sep 17, 2012, 20:16 IST
    Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
    The government has told the Supreme Court that it would not be possible to grant permanent commission status to women officers in combat wings like infantry, mechanised infantry and armoured corps.
    In an additional affidavit filed before the apex court, the defence ministry has said that combat support arms/ services have to sustain prolonged conflict hazards and hence, there is no question of grant of permanent status to women officer either now or in the future.
    The ministry has filed the affidavit in connection with the appeal filed by it challenging the Delhi High Court's March 12, 2010, judgment directing the Centre to grant permanent commission status to women short service commissioned officers in the air force and the army.
    The Centre while agreeing to implement the direction with regard to the air force has however, expressed its opposition to extending the benefit to women in the army combat and its support units.
    "That the grant of permanent commission to women officers in combat arms like infantry, mechanised infantry and armoured corps, which are involved in direct combat with the enemy is ruled out because of their close proximity with the enemy and attendant hazards of battle.
    "As regard granting permanent commission to women officers in combat support arms like engineers, signals, army air defence, intelligence and services like electronics mechanical engineers, army service corps and army ordnance corps, the issue has been examined at length," the Centre said justifying its stance.
    No permanent status for women in combat areas, Centre tells SC

    Illegally acquired surveillance equipment to monitor Indians

    DNA exclusive: PMO knew you were being snooped upon
    Published: Monday, Sep 17, 2012, 10:00 IST
    By Saikat Datta & Pradip R Sagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
    The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the national security advisor (NSA) allowed an agency, not permitted under the law, to acquire surveillance equipment and monitor Indians between 2010 and 2011.
    An investigation by DNA shows the NSA, Shiv Shankar Menon, knew that the defence intelligence agency (DIA), a tri-service organisation drawing personnel from the army, the navy and the air force, was keen to purchase off-the-air cell phone monitoring equipment.
    Not only was the DIA not authorised to tap phones of Indians, but it also did not have the approval of the technical coordination group (TCG), chaired by the NSA. Despite these legal and procedural lapses, documents accessed by DNA show that the DIA went ahead and procured the equipment while the NSA, the PMO and the defence ministry looked the other way.
    In the absence of any independent monitoring of intelligence agencies in India, no one knows how these machines have been used.
    They could have been used illegally to tap phones and gather political intelligence or even monitor people.
    The TCG was created after the Kargil war to ensure coordinated intelligence gathering. As per its charter, all purchases of technical intelligence equipment above Rs20 crore must be cleared by the TCG. The NSA is the chairman of the TCG and the technical intelligence agency’s, NTRO, chairman is its member secretary.
    In the 9th meeting of the TCG, LtGen DS Chauhan, who was then the director general of DIA, had put up a note on August 10, 2011, seeking the TCG’s approval for the purchase of 26 off-the-air GSM monitoring machines, six off-the-air CDMA monitoring equipment, and five GSM jammers.
    But on August 12, the TCG pointed out in the DIA’s inventory that one CDMA and four GSM-cell phone monitoring equipment had already been bought.
    How did the DIA buy these without the TCG’s approval or even the legal framework to buy such machines?
    These cell phone monitoring machines have a limited range depending on the terrain and the weather. So, why was the DIA allowed to buy such machines since it is mandated to gather technical intelligence with limited human intelligence in insurgency-prone areas? In either case it is not a “notified law enforcement agency”, which is mandatory for phone tapping.
    This was brought to the notice of the NSA as well as cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, defence secretary Sashi Kant Sharma, and joint secretary in the PMO Pankaj Saran.
    No one objected and the DIA continued to illegally monitor people using unauthorised equipment.
    The PMO did not respond to a written questionnaire from DNA. LtGen (Retd) Tejinder Singh, who as the director general of DIA before LtGen Chauhan, told DNA that the procedure to purchase these equipment started much before him.
    “In either case, the purchase was sanctioned at every level — from financial advisors to the director general (acquisitions), who is currently the defence secretary,” the retired lieutenant general told DNA.
    “Anyway, the signals directorate, which purchased the equipment, comes under the DIA for operational purposes. All their procurements must be approved by the defence ministry and not the director general of DIA because he does not have the financial powers to do so.
    Despite the fact the government hasn’t notified DIA as an “authorised” agency for phone tapping, the official spokesman of the defence ministry, Sitanshu Kar, said no “illegality” had taken place. “We find your statement calumnious. The defence secretary, as DG (acquisitions) had not sanctioned, at any stage, any illegal purchase of any equipment,” Kar said.
    Phone tapping in India is governed by the December 18, 1996, judgment of the Supreme Court and section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act that says phone tapping is legal only if it is authorised by the Union home secretary.
    Only nine agencies are legally authorised to put in requests for tapping phones. Which means any government or private agency besides these nine agencies are not authorised to keep tabs on any form of communication in the country, let alone put in a request to the Union home secretary.
    The IB, the R&AW, the income tax department, the enforcement directorate, the narcotics control bureau and the state police forces are among the nine authorised agencies.
    DNA exclusive: PMO knew you were being snooped upon

    Rank Pay: Landmark Judgement exposes MOD's immodesty

    Unhelpful attitude against military
    Tuesday, September 18, 2012, Chandigarh, India
    Apex court comes to the aid of defence personnel
    by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)
    ON September 4, 2012 the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgment, which goes against the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The 4th Central Pay Commission (CPC) gave defence services’ officers up to the rank of brigadier rank pay in addition to the basic pay. The MoD, working in consultation with the CDA (O) and in a most arbitrary manner and without any authority, deducted the rank pay from the emoluments of thousands of the effected officers. That was in the year 1986. From then onwards all efforts to get the MoD to undo this gross injustice have been opposed by it. In this machination and subsequent cussedness have been involved the top bureaucrats in the MoD and successive Defence Ministers. From 1986 till now, a large number of defence services’ officers have died, some during the Kargil war, without getting their rightful dues.
    A gutsy Major from the South fought it out in the Kerala High Court. Not willing to relent on its mischief, the MoD went in for a review petition, which too was rejected by the Supreme Court. It took the officer over a decade to get this injustice undone. This was followed by innumerable appeals in most high courts of the country by the officers who had been denied their rank pay. The Supreme Court in its wisdom ordered that all these be clubbed and brought before it. A spirited group called the Retired Defence Officers Association (RODA) obtained a favourable order from the Supreme Court on March 8, 2010. Thereafter, the MoD sought recall of the Supreme Court order. Then on subsequent 10 occasions the Solicitor-General of India sought adjournments, stretching the case to September 2012.
    The Solicitor-General told the highest court of the land that the defence services headquarters too were opposed to giving back the rank pay to these officers. However, the defence headquarters gave in writing to the Attorney-General that they did not oppose the grant of rank pay and, on the other hand, fully supported the case of these officers. This letter from the defence headquarters falsified the position of the Solicitor-General and, in fact, he stands exposed for an act of perjury. Consequently, the MoD, throwing all norms of fair play to the winds and in a brazen manner, tried to “arm-twist” the defence services headquarters in asking it to withdraw this letter to the Solicitor-General, which the defence services headquaters declined to do.
    The Solicitor-General, as a last ditch attempt, pleaded that the restoration of rank pay be ordered to only those officers whose cases are before the court. Ignoring this mischievous plea, the Supreme Court, on September 4, 2012, ordered that all the effected officers (their number is in thousands) should be paid their dues starting from 1986 to now and taking a lenient view of the MoD’s plea of financial constraints made by the Solicitor-General, reduced the period of interest, which starts from 2006 instead of 1986, and at 6 per cent interest.
    The Fifth CPC took away the “running pay band,” which, on the hints of resignation by the three service chiefs, was granted by the Fourth CPC and was introduced to somewhat compensate for extremely limited promotions. In the case of the Sixth CPC, there are 39 anomalies that are still to be resolved. The grant of bounty of Non-Functional Advancement to all Central services officers by the Sixth CPC and denying the same to the defence services officers is not only scandalous but also blatant display of bias against them.
    Instead of extending a supporting hand to the defence services, the MoD has in almost every case related to pay and allowances and the status of defence personnel been taking an adversial stance. In the case of the Second Central Pay Commission, (CPC), the MoD fielded the case of pay and allowances of defence personnel “as given”. In the case of the Third CPC, the defence services were not permitted to present their case before the Pay Commission on the specious grounds that the same will adversely effect their discipline! While the absurdity of this stance by the MoD is detestable, the fact that this arrangement was accepted by the services chiefs is equally distressing. In the subsequent CPCs, the defence services could get no support from the MoD and on the other hand its despicable act of illegally depriving the officers of their rank pay in the case of the fourth CPC needs no further elaboration.
    The MoD’s stance has always been unhelpful to the military. Such a sustained attitude of the MoD has created deep fissures in its relationship with the military. There is palpable mistrust of the ministry among the armed forces. The adverse fallout of this relationship, at one level, relates to national security, and at another it impacts on the military’s commitment and motivation. The Ministry of Home Affairs fights tooth and nail to promote the interests of, say, the Central Police Organizations ( CPOs-inappropriately called para-military). As opposed to this, the MoD operates in a motivated manner against those of the military. This adversial stance of the MoD has become so visible in that the CPOs, in pay and allowances, are far better placed than the military. These policemen, unlike soldiers who retire at 35 years of age, retire at the age of 60 and further end up getting much higher pension, etc.
    This attitude of the MoD towards the defence services has created a climate of mistrust, animosity and disharmony between these two major components of the government. This hiatus has had adverse effect on the pace of modernisation of the military as well.
    The Supreme Court judgment of September 4, ordering the government to pay up the amount due to the affected officers starting with 1986, needs to be taken to its logical end by bringing to account all those officers who were responsible for this mischief, including those who have since retired, and ones who have continued to follow the same line. It is time some accountability was jacked into the government functioning, and those who function in an arbitrary and irresponsible manner are hauled over the coals
    . The writer is a retired Deputy Chief of Army Staff.
    Unhelpful attitude against military

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Armed forces’ pay fixation: Govt may accept 4 demands

    Armed forces’ pay fixation: Govt may accept 4 demands
    Tribune News Service New Delhi, September 16
    The government is keen to accept at least four of the armed forces’ demands on fixation of their pay and pension. The high-powered committee set up by PM Manmohan Singh has given its ideas wherein it has accepted that some of the demands of the forces need to be met immediately as there are glaring anomalies, sources said.
    Sources said the committee has recommended that the armed forces be given non-functional upgradation (NFU) to match their counterparts in the IPS, IAS and paramilitary forces.
    The grade pay is another issue, the committee has suggested, can be looked into. Thirdly, it has agreed that a common payscale be evolved for in-service jawans. Lastly, it has agreed on removal of all anomalies towards one rank one pension (OROP).
    Meanwhile, a fresh calculation has been ordered following a Supreme Court judgment relating to a 25-year-old pay-related case filed by Major Dhanapalan. The court ruled in his favour to correct the anomaly and will impact all officers who were serving then and now.
    This had to be factored in before a final announcement. The PM can still make changes as Defence Minister AK Antony was very keen on resolving matters at the earliest and in favour of the forces.
    The committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was formed following an intervention from PM Manmohan Singh on July 8 this year.
    The forces protested that they had no representative; the committee specially met the three service chiefs. Its mandate was to deal with six issues of serving officers and jawans and another four issues relating to those who retired.
    Sources said the committee was unanimous on payscale for jawans, OROP, grade pay and NFU. The most serious was the NFU issue. The Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations were out in October 2008. The IAS in the post of Joint Secretary (JS) to the Government of India was made eligible for a grade pay of Rs 10,000 a month on completing 22 years of service.
  • Armed forces be given non-functional upgrade to match their counterparts in the IPS, IAS and paramilitary forces
  • Grade pay can be looked into
  • A Common payscale be evolved for in-service jawans
  • Anomalies be removed towards one rank-one pension
    Armed forces’ pay fixation: Govt may accept 4 demands
    Comment: One hopes and prays that the Government does not collapse before implementing these recommendations. The FM is very shrewd! We need to wait and watch.
  • Sunday, September 16, 2012

    NDA Scam: Lt Gen Jatinder Singh to be grilled by CBI

    Ex-NDA chief to be grilled in job scam
    Rajshri Mehta, TNN | Sep 16, 2012, 01.33AM IST
    MUMBAI: The CBI will question Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, former Commandant of the National Defence Academy, on September 17 in the recruitment scam.
    According to an investigation, Rs 3-5 lakh was allegedly paid in bribe for C-grade posts of as C-grade staff like cooks, gardeners, clerks etc at NDA while Lt Gen Singh was the commandant there. The total bribe amount came close to Rs 1.76 crore. The accused allegedly took signatures of the candidates, who agreed to pay the bribe, on blank sheets and later filled them with correct answers, the investigation said.
    The defence ministry granted the permission to quiz Singh after the CBI reportedly reportedly established a "money link", connecting Singh and his brother to the alleged scam. The CBI probe showed prime accused Col Kulbir Singh, also the staff officer to the Commandant, gave Rs 4 lakh in cash to Singh's brother during a meeting in a five-star hotel in Mumbai on June 23. After the CBI arrested six of NDA's employees, including Singh's staff officer, for allegedly taking bribe from candidates appearing for the subordinate jobs, Singh lieutenant general was earlier transferred out of NDA and attached to the Army Headquarters.
    Singh declined to comment when contacted by TOI.
    The CBI has already questioned Singh's brother who works in a leading corporate house. "He told us Singh took Rs 4 lakh from him which was returned by Kulbir Singh. The money was for building a home in Ambala. It's odd that Singh should take money from a staff officer to repay his brother and that too, in a five-star hotel. Singh took the money from his brother in cheque and paid it back in cash," said an agency official.
    Singh will be asked to explain the source of funds for his under-construction 7,000 sq-ft bungalow in Ambala, worth over Rs 2 crore. The agency will ask Singh questions like his powers in approving and preventing any mischief in the recruitment process and action taken on complaints of malpractices in exams.
    According to the probe, bribes of Rs 3-5 lakh were allegedly paid for jobs as C-grade staff like cooks, gardners, clerks at NDA while Singh was the commandant there.
    Ex-NDA chief to be grilled in job scam
    Comment: The commandant is obviously privy to the scam and author of the same. He was cultivating 5 Star Culture and VIP status in the Academy. He should go down in NDA history as a scamster. The law should catch up and confine him in his rightful quarters.

    Adarsh Scam: Military Officers who tell lies repeatedly

    After former Army chief Deepak Kapoor, another senior officer says Adarsh Society isn't a security threat
    Edited by Prasad Sanyal | Updated: July 31, 2012 13:07 IST
    Mumbai: After three former Chief Ministers, a number of retired senior army men, including former chiefs General N C Vij and General Deepak Kapoor have been summoned by the judicial commission probing the Adarsh housing society scam.
    Former general officer commanding of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa region, Lieutenant General (Retd) Tejinder Singh told the two-member inquiry panel today that the high-rise was not a threat to military installations in Colaba, in south Mumbai.
    In his deposition earlier this month General Deepak Kapoor has contradicted the Defence Ministry's stand and maintained that the Adarsh building is not a security threat for the nearby defence installation as compared to other high-rise buildings in the area. General Kapoor had given up the Adarsh membership after the news of the scam broke out.
    The Defence Ministry has always maintained that Adarsh Society was illegally built on their land.
    There are multiple agencies probing the Adarsh scandal, including the judicial commission which was set up by the Maharashtra government after the outcry over the scam. The commission is probing the ownership of the land and whether it was reserved for Kargil War heroes.
    The interim report submitted by the commission stated that the land belongs to the state. Three former chief ministers of Maharashtra who have deposed before the panel - Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh - too have maintained that the land belonged to the state.
    Mr Chavan is among 13 people who have been charge-sheeted by CBI in the multi-crore scam. He has been charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy for recommending the allotment of 40 per cent of flats to civilians in what was supposed to be a society for defence personnel.
  • After former Army chief Deepak Kapoor, another senior officer says Adarsh Society isn't a security threat
  • Enforcement Directorate to attach Adarsh properties
    To Gentlemen Military Scamsters Wake Up
    You have let down the proud institutions you headed. You have let down your colleagues who must suffer the suspicions you have aroused. You have let down your country that decorated you so much. Worst of all, you have let down that soldier who saluted you day in and day out. You owe him an apology, not just a glib explanation. About others, the less said the better. They occupy some of the most plum posts and yet possess all the integrity of a pickpocket. It is no wonder India has climbed further in corruption ladder. Merely dispossessing these scamsters of their ill-gotten apartment would be no punishment. They need to be dismissed from service and prosecuted for being unworthy custodians of our trust......Sochlo?
    Extracted Click here
  • Restrictions on Defence Officers joining firms

    Govt mulling restrictions on defence officers on joining firms
    Press Trust of India / New Delhi September 15, 2012, 18:45
    Against the backdrop of cases of alleged involvement of former militray officers in defence scams, the Government is considering a proposal to impose restrictions on services personnel joining private arms companies post retirement.
    A proposal in this regard has been prepared and is expected to be sent to the armed forces in the near future for their views on the issue, sources said here.
    The biggest worry of the Government is about officers working in procurement and acquisition directorates of the ministry and the services and joining arms companies as consultants soon after retirement, they said.
    Recently, Defence Minister A K Antony had stated that the Government was "seriously considering" a Standing Committee recommendation to bar services officers from joining private sector five years after their retirement.
    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence had recommended that cooling off period should be five years from the present one year.
    The cooling off period was earlier two years but it was reduced to one year.
    After the allegations levelled by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh against Lt Gen Tejinder Singh for lobbying for Tatra trucks, the Standing Committee had said that some of the retired defence officers act as a middlemen for defence procurement.
    It recommended that cooling off period needs to be increased to five years for officers of the rank of Brigadier and above, and their equivalents.
    Govt mulling restrictions on defence officers on joining firms
    nimesh (Delhi) 15 Sep, 2012 08:55 PM
    These defense officer guys are scamming the tax payer worse than corrupt babus. Like people the world over we indians revere the 'Jawans', but these corrupt officers are a scourge on the nation. They are making crores from the defense budget while the poor have nothing to eat. AK Antony is a great minister. May he succeed in his mission to clean up the defense ministry.
    Moderator Comment
    Generally senior officers (Brigs, Maj Gens and Lt Gens) who have six or more tenures in Delhi (and who are generally medically unfit) are prone to build up nexus with corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and munition suppliers. Many of these Officers have links with relatives of politicians who are into the business of arms procurement for the Military and Police establishments including paramilitary with the intent of making a 10% to 25% commission on weapon purchases. These commissions find their way to secret Swiss banks. Senior Officers who are medically unfit and repeatedly seeking a posting in Delhi must be boarded out. All Senior Officers posted in AHQ must be monitored by the CBI for clandestine activities and pursuing 5 star culture.
    More Valid Inputs
    1. The main beneficiaries from arms/equipment deals are the politicians; thousands of crores. Next come the bureaucrats. Some Army officers may get a few lacs. It is very easy and news making to set up news items against Service officers and put restrictions on them. This also deflects focus from the prime beneficiaries as mentioned above. WILL THEY PUT SAME RESTRICTIONS ON DY/JT SECRETARIES, ADDITIONAL SECRETARIES!!
    2. The world over Defence Officers are employed by companies dealing with Defence Equipment. In India lately considerable officers of middle rank, Brigadiers/Cols/Lt Cols/Majors have found such employment. Many Signals officers have done so too. All are aware that Officers retire early and it is essential for them to have second career so that they can settle their children. Such restrictions will adversely affect them. Very few generals get employed.


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