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Monday, November 3, 2014
Panel on veterans’ welfare set up
Chandigarh, November 2
In a bold initiative towards mitigating the grievances of military veterans, the govt has constituted a Standing Committee on Welfare of Ex-Servicemen. The committee would be chaired by the Minister of State for Defence and would be a forum for all the stake holders to discuss issues concerning them.
The committee, which came into being in October, has been set up on the lines similar to the Standing Committee on Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) that functions under the aegis of the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare, which takes up matters concerning the welfare of retired civilian government employees.
The committee on welfare for ex-servicemen is expected to meet at least once in a quarter, and would have official members, including the Secretary, Dept of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, CGDA, Director General Resettlement, Managing Director Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme and the Secretary, Kendriya Sainik Board.
Non-official members in the committee would include representatives of various ex-servicemen’s organisation, besides having provisions for special invitees and officials from the Veterans’ Cells of the three services.
Veterans claim that the major impediment in resolution and rationalisation of problems related to military veterans was that the stakeholders did not have a say in decision-making process and that senior bureaucrats and the political executive were isolated and insulated from the voice of the veteran community.
Welcoming the establishment of the committee, ex-servicemen said that issue concerning them would now be discussed openly and any anomalies and faulty inputs would be resolved before any policy is formulated, not only saving a lot of time and trouble later but also preventing protracted litigation.
Ex-servicemen have often expressed their unhappiness over the functioning of the Department of Ex-servicemen’s Welfare in the Ministry of Defence, pointing out that it is staffed entirely by civilians without any representation from the veterans, making it insensitive towards their requirements and grievances.
In the last SCOVA meeting held in September, chaided by the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh, the issue of redressal of ex-servicemen’s grievances had been strongly raised by veterans, including Col Hari Handa, the President of Disabled War Veterans, India (DIWAVE).
MoS Defence to chair committee
The standing committee on welfare for ex-servicemen is would be chaired by the Minister of State for Defence and would be a forum for all the stakeholders to discuss issues concerning them.
It would have official members, including the Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Controller General of Defence Accounts, Director General Resettlement, Managing Director Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme and the Secretary, Kendriya Sainik Board.
Non-official members would include representatives of various ex-servicemen’s organization