Wednesday, September 9, 2015
JUSTICE, RESPECT/HONOUR AND WELFAREM OF ESM COMMUNITTY IN NATIONAL INTEREST
From: Lt Col SS Sohi (Retd) Dated: .
To: Sh M Parrikar,
Hon’ble Defence Minister,
CC: Chiefs of Army, Navy & AF.
BCC: All concerned.
Request for the full Justice, Honour and Welfare of the Ex-Servicemen Community in the National interest.
Respected Parrikar Sir,
1. Congratulations & thanks for living up to your words, reputation & winning the hearts of the ESM Community. With due apology & concern, I wish to convey that your Govt has done a great service to the ESM community by giving OROP, which was our life long struggle issue. As you said VRS is not applicable for the Defence premature retirees after 15/20 year’s mandatory service. Hope fully few other small anomalies & clarifications will also be managed soon, with your committed efforts. We feel now “it’s different,” BJP cares for its War Veterans & Widows. OROP will give lot of relief to our long suffering ESM community. Our some segments had become weaker section of society.
2. War or no war, soldiers are suffering casualties regularly, hence they deserve regular care & reliable welfare system. But there have been negative attitudes in our MOD since a long, so our lot many issues & problems have been adding up and accumulating. Even, last RM had said in front of me that ESM are not their responsibility. Therefore, one can well imagine the level of prolonged neglect by the last regime. Some Babus drive pleasure in troubling Faujis. Thereby, I put across some major issues (in brief) for your urgent kind considerations, please. Most of these issues have hardly any financial implications.
3. To revert back to our pre 1973 status & order of precedence. Jawans were getting 75%, JCOs 70% & Officers 60% Pension of their last pay drawn. After winning 1971 War, we all were brought down to 50% Pen of pay. Reasons given were poor economy state. Where as, our counter parts civilians were rewarded from 30/33% to 50% Pen of last pay. So Babus misused their office supremacy and powers, unjustifiably, to bring us down, even in order of precedence also, time to time. Now we want our Pre 1973 status back from the Govt, since economy & democracy is improved. More over, our 25% reduced amount’s arrears are good enough to make up OROP expenses. Most of the Soldiers of the other countries are drawing 10 to 29% more Pension than their civil counter parts. Nation must pay for its assured security & safety, unlike from chowkidars.
4. Job Guarantee upto 60 Years of age, like civilians. Our job quota has been eaten away by bureaucrats & Politicians. As on today, not more than 1% (out of 13%) ESM are seen in Govt offices. Soldiers are forced retd much early just to keep the fighting forces young in the national interest. Its prime age time when they need job the most to feed up growing family obligations. ESM are over exploited & humiliated for meager salaries, on sub standard jobs by the contractors. No body listens to DGR & their resettlement training & plans. As a result a well trained, motivated & disciplined manpower is being wasted out, by the corrupt system. Therefore, it is suggested that all aging soldiers must be rewarded & transferred to State Police and Civil Administration, (but certainly not to the CRPF/ Para military forces). This will improve civil services reliability, accountability & discipline to reduce corruption level, as per BJP agenda. This will also improve our lost social value in the society. Today, no body cares for us in the Offices.
5. Formulation of Ex-Servicemen Commission. Like Women & Minority Commissions. Since we have been baby of no one, we need some inherent protection mechanism. ESM commission was formed 7-8 yrs back with 5 civilian, (2 women) & only 2 Members from Forces, which was objected to, so it went under the carpet of Babus. Because, we have no Godfather & Unions. After giving exceptionally good service & sacrifices to the Nation, (when civil admn collapses in every calamity), we certainly deserve an ESM Commission to safe guard our interests, welfare, dignity & value.
6. Implement 9000 pending AFT/ Court’s decisions favoring ESM/ serving. Habitually, all ESM cases are contested by MOD, just to deny benefits to the ESM & serving, invariably. That’s why, we as NGOs, find it difficult to convince our ESM, as to who is delaying & sleeping over their benefits for so long. There are many such ESM suffering from serious medical problems & cancer, still waiting for pension benefits, even after going to courts again & again. Lots many queries are not attended to by the MOD. Such choked Justice example for the ESM community, is not heard any where in the world. This needs your immediate attention before such patients die, please. Does Babus also go to the Courts at their own cost?
7. Replace MOD’s ESM Welfare Dept of Babus with ESM or close it. EWD was created 5 yrs back by Cong Govt as promised but it gave extension to the MOD Babus only, who keep troubling Faujis. Not a single ESM is working in it; hence it is yet to do some thing for the ESM community. That’s how its main job is being performed by the Serving soldier’s Help lines & Veteran’s Cell.
8. ESM Rep in all Decision making bodies. We must have our ESM representation in all the Govt decision making bodies, from Panchayat to the Parliament. No body takes up our issues; hence ESM community is suffering since a long. Political parties nominate only civil popular faces & not from the Defence Forces. Only 3-4 MPs speak for us in the house but out side all MPs talks only. No body cares for us in the Govt offices (w/o corruption), so we must have enough ESM in all Govt Offices & Police.
9. Misc points like:-
(a). Defence widows Family Pension should not be less than 60 % of last pay drawn, as it was declared 2 yrs back. 30% Fly Pen is too less to live respectfully.
(b). Defence has no provision for Job to the wards of Martyrs and serving who die while on duty. Where as this provision exists in most Govt Dept, even if he dies of liquor. Defence can fix criteria & create such provision for their own deserving blood, at least.
(c). Pro rata Pension for the War Veterans who fought wars during National emergencies and left prematurely after 7-10 year’s of service, due to reason beyond their control. Like the Freedom Fighters (FF), these patriotic Ex Soldiers had also sacrificed & contributed a lot towards the Nation but not rewarded like the FF. They also deserve recognition & some kind of war Pension.
(d). To Re org Sainik Welfare system & responsibility under MOD only and not under the state Govts. States Govt uses this staff for their Political gains mainly. They are accountable to their Political & IAS boss only & not to Army or suffering ESM/ widows. Sainik Welfare system is not seen in many States or Distt level.
10. National Character, patriotism and accountability level has gone down & corruption increased beyond limits. National Defence budget has gone down to less than 1.80% of the GDP & 75% funds allotted for various projects, do not reach any where. We can fore see national emergency/ War may come up at any stage any where. Therefore, it is recommended that all civilians must serve in Defence Forces at least for 2 years. All selected IAS & IPS must serve with Army on Borders for 365 days, for their proper grooming/ calibration & fine tuning towards the National cause. Defence budget needs to be increased to 2.5%. By doing so, you will kindly find that Civil Admn will never collapse during emergencies & Natural calamities. Corruption free India will be peacefully developing & progressing, in the safe hands.
With warm regards.
Lt Col SS Sohi (Retd).
Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell (R) Mohali
& Member UFESM.
(Source- Via E-mail)