1. Meeting of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) Delegation was held on 21 Sep 2021 from 11.30AM to 1 PM with Shri. B Anand, Secretary (ESW) and Shri Dr. Hari Prasad Pudi, Joint Secretary to discuss welfare issues of Ex-Servicemen and their dependents.
2. In this connection a letter written to Secretary (ESW) copy to Hon’ble Raksha Mantri and three chiefs alongwith details of discussions of IESM Delegation Meeting are enclosed herewith for your information and widest circulation please.
Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
Advisor United Front of Ex-servicemen Jantar Mantar &
Chairman Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM)
Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570
Dated: 28 Sep 2021
DETAILS OF DISCUSSIONS OF INDIAN EX SERVICEMEN MOVEMENT (IESM) DELEGATION MEETING HELD ON 21 SEP 2021 WITH SECRETARY DESW
Meeting of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) Delegation was held on 21 Sep 2021 from 11.30AM to 1 PM with Shri. B Anand, Secretary (ESW) and Shri Dr. Hari Prasad Pudi, Joint Secretary to discuss welfare issues of Ex-Servicemen and their dependents.
2. IESM Delegation consisted of the following :-
a) Maj Gen Satbir Singh SM (Retd)-Advisor United Servicemen JM IESM front of ESM and Chairman.
b) Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM (Retd) – Vice Chairman (had to leave the meeting for Chandigarh due to family emergency.
c) Wg Cdr Vinod Nebb Vr C (Retd) – Member, Governing Body, ESM.
d) Hony Lt Kameshwar Pandey (Retd) - Jt Secy IESM.
e) Mrs Sudesh Goyal W/O Maj Ajmer Singh (Retd) – An active member of UFESM (JM).
3.. Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd) thanked the Secretary ESW and all members for inviting IESM Delegation for the meeting to discuss issues concerning the welfare of Ex servicemen and their dependents.
4. The following issues were discussed during the meeting:
a) Implementation of Full OROP: It was explained to Secretary DESW that the so called OROP released by the Government has many anomalies. These anomalies had been informed to MOD and DESW many times. Secy DESW expressed that the issue is sub-judice and hence the Govt cannot take any action. The IESM delegation explained that Honorable Supreme Court vide their order dated 1 May 2019 (Copy attached) had advised the MOD/DESW to resolve anomalies in the OROP released by the Govt and the anomalies explained to HSC by IESM (petitioner). Hence the issue being sub judice does not stop GOI (MOD/DESW) to resolve the anomalies should resolve these anomalies at the earliest and raise morale of Armed Forces Personnel and veterans. Maj Gen Satbir Singh further explained that full OROP has not been implemented. What has been implemented is One Rank Five Pension and not OROP. It was informed that the definition of OROP as under was stated in the Report of the Committee Headed by the Cabinet Secretary, Committee of Secretaries Report on OROP on 30th June 2009 OROP is defined as (Copy attached) and was also confirmed by Koshyari Committee Report (Copy attached. The same definition was then confirmed by RRM Sh Rao Inderjit Singh on 2 Dec 2014 in reply to a question by Sh Rajeev Chandrashekhar MP in Rajya Sabha(Copy attached).
Definition of OROP “One Rank One Pension: implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners."
The Govt of India in a budget speech in Parliament on 17th Feb 2014 announced the acceptance of grant of OROP to the defence personnel and their dependents. The same definition as above was given in Govt of India MOD letter no 12(01/2014-D (Pen/Pol) dated 26 Feb 14 (Copy attached), wherein the Govt accepted the concept of OROP as per the above definition. This meeting was headed by Honourable RM and clear orders were given to all to implement OROP as per above definition..
Response of Sec DESW: - Secretary DESW stated that they will study and take further action.
b). Constitution of Ex Servicemen Commission to be headed and manned by Ex Servicemen: A long pending demand which has not been resolved for veterans' community. Other sections of society have their commission, but there is no ex-servicemen Commission, even though ex-servicemen have gallantly served the country in peace as well as in war. This point was also put to the Chief of the Army Staff during a meeting of the Ex-servicemen organization held on 11 Feb 2020. It was stressed by Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd) that the Ex-servicemen Commission be constituted at the earliest. Further that this commission should be headed by an Ex-serviceman and its members should also be ex-servicemen.
Response of Sec DESW: - Secretary DESW will study the issue and will take further action.
c). Second Assured Carreer to Defence Personnel till the age of 60 years through the Act of Parliament. Recommendation of Committee on Defence of 25% reservation in the Central /State Governments jobs in all groups .i.e. D,C,B & A, need to be filled at the earliest, not later than one year, and these reservations need to be kept filled in perpetuity. Resettlement of defence personnel who retired early starting from 35-54 years of age is an important issue of welfare which the Govts at the Central/State must give priority. This will encourage the youth to voluntarily opt for the last bastion of the nation that is the defence forces.
Response of Sec DESW: - Secretary DESW assured that they will consider and take further action on the issue.
d) Mandatory inclusion of Defence Members for any Committee or Commission Constituted for the Defence Forces. At present no member from the Defence Forces serving /retired are included as a member of any Committee or Commission constituted for Defence Forces. Even DESW i.e Directorate of Ex-Servicemen Welfare has no staff from serving/retired Defence Forces. It is strongly recommended that a member from the Defence Forces (Army/Navy and Air Force) be included in any Committee Commission ordered to understand the issues concerning Defence Forces and they also must be posted in Directorate of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DSEW).
Response of Secy DESW: Secretary DESW informed that they will study and take further action.
e)Covenant Act of Defence Forces : The first duty of the Government of India is the defence of the Nation. Our Armed Forces fulfil this responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedom, facing danger, and sometimes suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the Defence personnel. They deserve respect, support, and fair treatment from the Nation. The obligation of the nation involves the whole society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organizations, action of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces and Govt of India. The Covenant act should include all rules, regulations, and obligations to look after the Armed Forces personnel. Once an individual joins the Defence forces, he/she becomes the responsibility of the Nation in respect of his/her welfare measures for their veteran and their family. These are the issues which are covered in the covenant act. Most of the countries of the world have a covenant act covering these issues. We must also make the Covenant Act of Armed Forces on the line of the Covenant Act of UK at the earliest.
Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW understood the aim and objectives for having similar Covenant Act of Armed Forces of India and stated that they will consider and take further action.
f). Enhancement of Reservists Pension. Defence Personnel retired on completion of 10 yrs of service were boarded out from Army and kept as reservists for five years. Many of them were called back and fought wars for India in 1971. These reservist soldiers are getting a minimum pension of Rs 9000/- only. These ex-Servicemen had taken part in 1962, 1965 and 1971 WARS and active insurgency. The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Regional Bench Chennai in the case 0.A. No. 156 of 2017 dated 29 Jan 2019, has approved basic pension for a reservist as 2/3rd of minimum basic pay of a soldier. This should be given to all reservist soldiers without waiting for order by courts. This will not only increase morale of Armed Forces but will also reduce legal load on the courts. Numerous letters have been written to the Min of defence but pension of reservists has not been revised as per judgement. In this connection copies of our letters along with AFT judgement are enclosed. It is requested that reservist pension be revised immediately which should not be less than 2/3rd of normal pension. (Copy of the judgement is attached).
Response of Sec DESW: - The joint Secretary informed that the minimum pension has been revised upward to Rs 18,000/-per month. The delegation members informed that the same has not been implemented on ground and the reservists are still getting a minimum pension of Rs 9000/-per month. Secy DESW was requested to amend the policy and issue instructions to all concerned to revise the reservists pension which should not be less than 2/3rd of the ESM pensions.
g)Pay and Pension of Hony Ranks for all Defence personnel granted Hony Ranks: - At present through the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court Hony Rank Pension is being paid to Hony Nb Sub and equivalent in other service. However, all other hony ranks are not being given the pension i.e. hony Sub and Hony Sub Maj. It is strongly recommended that all Defence personnel granted Hony ranks should be paid the pensions of Hony Ranks. This will reduce legal load on Govt and courts and will also increase morale of Armed Forces Personnel.
Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW will consider and take further action.
h) Pro Rata Pension and Lump sum grant to Short Service Commission Officers (SSCOs). Short Service Commission Officers have put in 5, 10 and 14 years of service and then been released. Some percentage of SS officers are granted permanent commission while the others are sent home without pension. These officers have fought wars 1971 and operated in extreme insurgency in J&K, North East and Punjab. This is motivating to the young officers who volunteer who serve as Short service Commission. This issue was discussed with the then Hon'ble Rakha Mantri Late Shri Manohar Parrikar. He had informed the IESM delegation that Lump Sum grants are being thought of as dependents on the service rendered by the SSC officer that are granted Permanent Commission. It was requested by Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd) that the Govt must look after the SSC Officer in their re-settlement post.
Response of Sec DESW: - Defence Secretary informed that the issue will be taken up for further action.
i) Enhancement of Widow Pension. Widows are getting the minimum pension of a soldier. It is important note that the widow has lost her husband and has no income to support her family of children, parents and herself. This issue had been taken up at numerous occasions to enhance widow's pension equivalent to that of ex-servicemen.
Response of Sec DESW: Secy DESW confirmed that minimum pension of a widow has been revised to Rs 18000/- per month. Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM requested that necessary instructions be passed to CDA so that this benefit is given to all windows at the earliest.
j) Medical Care of Defence Pensioners and their Dependents.
(i) Medical Care in all military hospitals. It was noticed that some of the military hospitals were denying admission and medical care to the defence veterans and their dependents throughout their lives. Necessary orders need to be issued to all military establishments to provide medical care including Super Specialty Treatment to the defence veterans and their dependents.
(ii) Establishment of Veterans Hospitals. It was brought out by Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd) that the proposal of establishment of a veteran's hospital which was long pending demand has been shelved by the Government. It was strongly suggested that a veteran hospital must be established at the earliest. The Defence Secretary stated that the Govt, instead of a separate Veterans Hospital, has planned to establish veteran wings next to the military hospital. The staff of the military hospital after superannuation can be shifted to the veteran wing for a specified time schedule. It was suggested by the delegation that more is welcome and such wings be established near to all military hospitals of the country.
(iii) ECHS to be made top most scheme in the country for all types of medical care to the defence personnel and their Dependents. At the movement all orders of CGHS are being followed by the ECHS. The environment under which CGHS dependents live in Urban Area mostly in class cities, whereas the defence personnel serve in hospitable weather and tern environments and face numerous health issues. Thereafter the ECHS Scheme should have all the latest facilities of scientific advancement and the best medical care including Super Specialty.
(iv) Latest medical procedure for ECHS. At present it takes upto 2 years to bring any latest medical procedure which has come to the country to be placed in ECHS procedure list. It is strongly recommended that any procedure which has come to India in any hospital should be automatically placed on the ECHS procedure list immediately.
(v) Allotment of Funds. In the past sufficient funds were not being allotted in time to service the ECHS Scheme. Consequently payments were delayed to the empanelled hospitals forcing them to withdraw from the ECHS scheme causing difficulties to the defence veterans and their dependents. It is strongly recommended that the budget for ECHS be provided at the beginning of the year so that MD ECHS can plan to service the scheme efficiently and effectively.
(vi) Availability of medicines. The prescribed medicines are not be provided to the patient in ECHS Clinic, instead veterans and their dependents are being asked to local purchase the non-available prescribed medicines from their own money and later claim the refund, which will be reimbursed in four months. This procedure is very tedious and takes a long time for the reimbursement. It is strongly recommended that all prescribed medicines be provided in the ECHS Clinics in the ECHS. If any local purchase is to be carried, it should be done by OIC Clinics and not the veteran and their dependents.
(vii) Refusal by empanelled Hospital to accept Ex-servicemen and their dependents for Medical care. It was noticed in the last two years during the (COVID +19) pandemic that some of the empanelled hospitals had refused medical care to the veterans and their dependents, the delay had caused a few deaths. It is strongly recommended that instructions need to be issued to empanelled hospitals and military hospitals to give priority to the defence veterans and their dependents for provision of medical care.
(viii) Upgradation of ECHS Scheme. It should be a constant endeavor by the Govt to upgrade the ECHS scheme so that the latest medical care is made available to the defence veterans and their dependents.
Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW will consider and take further action on all points regarding healthcare of ex servicemen and their dependents.
6. The under-mentioned issue was not discussed during the meeting, but included in this letter since the same has been informed to the office of the DESW.
(a) Enhanced Rate of old age Pension Defence Personnel: As per Guwahati HC Judgement and order dated 15 Mar 2018 increase in old age pension would start after the age of 79 years on the First Day of 80th years of age. The Govt had challenged the Guwahati HC Judgement and order dated 15 Mar 2018 in the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The Hon'ble Supreme Court had finally rejected the petition of the Govt. Therefore the judgement is applied to all central Govt employees including defence personnel. For information and action. In this connection our letter dated 08 Sep 2021 addressed to Hon'be Raksha Mantri, copy endorsed to Hon'ble Raksha Mantri and three chiefs dated 08 Sep 2021is enclosed herewith. Secy DESW is requested to issue necessary instructions for the increase of old age pension as per the above quoted judgements.
6. Thereafter, Wing Cdr Nebb, VrC, Hony Lt Kameshwar Pandey (Retd) and Mrs Sudesh Goyat W/O Major Ajmer Singh (Retd) spoke at length and raised the following issues :
(a) Commemoration of Victory Day. 16th December gazetted as a Victory day. It should be commemorated as Victory Day PAN India like republic and Independence Day. Our Armed Forces have made BHART proud by creating a new country in a swift war and captured 9300 POWs unparalleled in history.
Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW informed that the issue will be taken up with the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri for further consideration and action.
(b) Protocol Gallantry Awards Winner. The Gallantry Award should not be restricted to one time celebration. Such winners must edify the nation hence a need to have a protocol like civilian awardees. Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW informed that the issue will be taken up with the Hon'ble raksha Mantri for further consideration and action. (c) Railway Concession. Till Jan 2014 all the Chakra series Gallantry Awardees were entitled to travel free in AC II class. Since then a divide has been created between VrC and the PVC & MVC holders. PVC and MVC are now authorized to travel by AC I class. This badge may be removed and be authorized to travel in AC I.
Response of Sec DESW: - The Secretary DESW informed that the issue will be taken up with the Hon'ble raksha Mantri for further consideration and action.
(d) Lady Officers to be posted in the Veteran Directorate. In an earlier meeting with Hon'ble Raksha Mantri, it was suggested and agreed to that Lady Officer be appointed at the Veteran Directorate to facilitate widows and their dependents' may be able to talk their problem freely.
Response of Sec DESW: - Secy DESW accepted that this is a very good point and he will issue the instructions to the appointment of lady officer at Veteran Directorate.
(e) Settlement of All dues in respect to widows in time schedule. Pension and all other issues of the widows must be settled within 30 days and not later than 60 days of the passing away of the soldier. Response of Sec DESW: - Secy DESW accepted that this is a very good point, and he will issue instructions accordingly.
(f) Opening of two CSD Canteens in Haryana. There is a need to open a CSD Canteen at Lakhan Majra (Rohtak) or Bahal Jhuppa (Bhiwani) in Haryana to facilitate the veterans and their dependents availing of the facility. Response of Secy DESW: - Secy DESW confirmed that he will have to check with authorities the complete procedure of opening of a canteen and take further action.
(g) Equalisation of Pension for Defence Personnel. As per Govt of India Min of Def Notification dated 07 Nov 2015 equalization of pensions of defence personnel were to be carried out every five year which became due on 01 Jul 2019. The same has not been implemented. This is Independent of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) legal case for the implementation of full OROP in Hon'ble Supreme Court. Since Govt of India Min of Def Notification dated 07 Nov 2015 (Copy attached) does not implement OROP; as per the original definition and concept as notified in Govt of India MOD letter no 12(01/2014-D (Pen/Pol) dated 26 Feb 2014. The next date of hearing is on 08 Nov 2021.
Response of Secy DESW: - Secy DESW confirmed that the issue is under consideration and action will be taken accordingly.
7.. The meeting was held in a cordial environment. It is requested that the suggestions made as above may please be implemented at the earliest and feedback given to all Ex servicemen and their dependents and this office for giving further wide publicity for the benefit of ESM and their dependents. A positive consideration in a letter and spirit be provided, so that the youth continues to volunteer for noble profession and last bastion of the Nation Indian Defence Forces. .
8. The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) delegation thanked the Secretary (ESW) and Joint Secretary (ESW) for a very purposeful meeting.
Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd) Advisor United Front of Ex Servicemen Jantar Mantar & Chairman Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570 Email: email@example.com
Encls : 89 Pages
((Source : Via E-mail)
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