Thursday, July 19, 2012

Service chiefs discuss today on Pay, Pension & One Pension One Rank issue.

The three Service chiefs, led by Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Naval chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, will today meet the Committee of Secretaries to discuss upon strong demands from armed personnel and ex-servicemen for One Rank One Pension and to push for their demands further.

The other core issues that the Service chiefs will push for are fixation of the rank pay, fixation of pay structure for jawans and non-functional upgradation granted to civilian counterparts but not to Defence personnel. These, the Defence personnel say, have been six core anomalies from the provisions of the Sixth Pay Commission granted in 2008.

The six-member committee was set up by the Prime Minister under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secy after a Rajya Sabha panel last year recommended granting One Rank One Pension to the retired Defence personnel. The govt has asked the committee to submit its report by August 8. The other members of the Committee will be:

(i)Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
(ii)Defence Secretary
(iii)Secretary, D/o Expenditure
(iv)Secretary, D/o Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare
(v)Secretary, D/o Personnel and Training

The Committee’s ‘terms of reference’ will be to look into the following issues relating to:

(i)Defence services personnel:
•Common pay-scale for in-service JCOs/ORs
•Initial pay-fixation of Lt. Col/Colonel and Brigadier/equivalent
•Review and enhancement of grade pay
•Placing of all Lts General in HAG+ scale
•Grant of non-functional upgradation (NFU) to armed forces personnel

•One-rank one-pension
•Enhancement of family pension
•Dual family pension
•Family pension to mentally/physically challenged children of armed forces personnel on marriage

Service chiefs also want a military representative on the committee.

The One Rank One Pay scheme 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 past pensioners.
Once implemented, it will resolve all anomalies related to the ex-servicemen's pension and bring uniformity in the post-retirement scheme. The Centre has given in-principle approval to the 'one rank one pension' demand of ex-servicemen


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

OROP : On 15 July 2012 18:50, Sailesh Ranade wrote

Dear Veterans,

1. I have been closely following the situation with regard to OROP. I feel disgusted that veterans are crying like spoilt children for some fancy toy. This Tamasha has been going on for a few years now with no end in sight. In fact, we have brought this upon ourselves.

2. Now let us come to the main point. Veterans are not children. So stop behaving like children. If you think that the government (politicians and bureaucrats) is going to listen to you, forget it. Have you noticed that the government will notice you only if you do dharnas, hunger strikes, rallies and resort to things like rasta / rail roko. See how every other department is holding the government to ransom. 3. So what needs to be done? Get your butts off the ground and pull your finger out. Following points come to my mind readily.

•Bring in a Tall and Clean Leader. Only one relevant present day ICON comes to my mind.

Gen VK Singh. He has no financial historical baggage.

•If you cannot muster VKS, bring in Anna Hazare.

•Join Forces. Today we have all sorts of Brigadiers, Major Gen, Lt Gen and even a Major who run different types of organisation. Come together, but keep the tainted out. I used to see a lot of Generals on TV in the last 6 months. Dump them. Also dump all the military Governors and High Commissioners. They were all corrupt.

•Form a Political Party. Call it the “Patriotic Front“. I guarantee, at least 100 seats in Parliament if there are clean candidates. The number of ex-servicemen and servicemen is easily close to 4 million. There is no bigger homogenous force in the world. If you include the paramilitary, it will easily touch 10 million. When in Parliament, make your own laws. Pass any bill in favour of the veterans.

•The statement that “we will play by the rules” needs to be discarded. When your future is being decided by corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and judiciary, there is simply no future. Hold rallies, strikes, rasta roko etc. I am sure Delhi and surrounding areas can easily muster more people than what Anna Hazare and Ramdev could organise. And these two gentlemen brought the government on its knees.

•As military veterans, we should consider all means. All is fair in love and war. The result will be quick and the lesson will sink in once and for all. We don’t need cry babies on TV. Act now. The mood is against the government. India desperately needs a revolution. A minor storm by military veterans will be enough.

S Ranade
An excellent idea. Implementable.
Col Rajan
Comment: Why are IESM and IESL the two large Veteran organisations losing steam? Is it because their primary aim is now refocussed on collection of funds and spending more and doing less for the Veteran community? What has happened to improvement of ECHS, CSD and Resettlement? We hear nothing on ground.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Govt constitutes Committee to look into pay and pension related issues of defence services personnel and ex-servicemen

Cabinet Secretariat13-July, 2012 18:03 IST

The Government has decided to constitute a Committee, under the chairpersonship of Cabinet Secretary, to look into pay and pension related issues of relevance to defence services personnel and ex-servicemen. The other members of the Committee will be:

(i) Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
(ii) Defence Secretary
(iii) Secretary, D/o Expenditure
(iv) Secretary, D/o Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare
(v) Secretary, D/o Personnel and Training

The Committee’s ‘terms of reference’ will be to look into the following issues relating to:

(i) Defence services personnel:
• Common pay-scale for in-service JCOs/ORs
• Initial pay-fixation of Lt. Col/Colonel and Brigadier/equivalent
• Review and enhancement of grade pay
• Placing of all Lts General in HAG+ scale
• Grant of non-functional upgradation (NFU) to armed forces personnel

(ii) Ex-servicemen:
• One-rank one-pension
• Enhancement of family pension
• Dual family pension
• Family pension to mentally/physically challenged children of armed forces personnel on marriage

The Department of Expenditure will service the Committee. The Committee may co-opt any other member. The Committee will finalize its recommendations and submit its report to the Prime Minister by 8th August, 2012.

(Source - PIB)

Very Positive development: Finally, a time-bound committee to look into, and implement the resolution of anomalies affecting defence personnel and veterans

Friday, July 13, 2012 :

The defence community would be pleased to know that the Prime Minister’s office has directed the constitution of an anomalies committee to look into many vital anomalies affecting serving and retired personnel and also their families.

The best part of the directions signed this week is that the committee is to submit its recommendations within a month and the implementation of the accepted recommendations may also be announced on 15 August 2012, thereby marking a radical signal of positivity.
Though a chunk of the bureaucracy in the Ministry of Defence was not inclined to let any such committee come through, this has been possible due to multiple channels of Track-II diplomacy and the stellar efforts of the Chairman COSC and the Pay Cells of the three services which evoked direct response from the Raksha Mantri who then took it upon himself to get this committee approved from the Prime Minister personally and directly without being blinded by comments of lower bureaucracy of the MoD.
The only negative offshoot is that the committee does not have any serving or retired military member and that a proper consultative process was not initiated before identifying the anomalies which required immediate examination. Ideally, the stake-holders should have been a part of the process. However, the saving grace is that the committee has been granted the authority to co-opt any additional member if required. The Committee shall function under the Cabinet Secretary with the Defence Secretary, Secretary Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Secretary DoPT, Expenditure Secretary and Principal Secretary to PM, as members.

Howsoever we may view the development, many important issues such as Non-Functional Upgradation, enhancement of pensions of widows, One Rank One Pension, dual family pension, fixation of pay of Lt Cols/Cos/Brigs, enhancement of Grade Pays, universalisation of scales, grant of HAG+ to all Lt Gens, removal of pay anomalies of other ranks etc have been listed in the charter of the committee. Five anomalies concerning serving personnel and four concerning veterans and pensioners shall be taken up. One surprise (and actually infructuous) entry in the list of anomalies is that the committee would be looking into the issue whether a handicapped family pensioner could be granted family pension on marriage since as per the current interpretation, family pension to handicapped family pensioners is discontinued on marriage. However this issue already stands addressed by the Hon'ble AFT in the case of Vinod Kumar Vs UOI and the judgement also already stands implemented and hence the inclusion of this point in the committee seems totally redundant once it has been judicially adjudicated.
It is however surprising that while the PM had directed that the constitution of the committee may be publically announced, the same has not been done by the staff at MoD till date despite the fact that the directions were conveyed by special courier (by hand) to the MoD for immediate action by the PMO.
(source; Indian military benefits and issues)

Grant Of One Rank One Pension To Defence Veterans - Letter to The Prime Minister of India by IESM

 DEAR All,

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Letter to PM, RM and three Chiefs Titled Grant of One Rank One Pension to Defence Veterans dated 05 Jul 2012 is circulated herewith for further dissemination please.
Dated: 05 Jul 2012
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
10 Parliament House
New Delhi -11


Hon’ble Prime Minister,

1. This has reference of our letter dated 14.03.2012 addressed to all Members of Parliament and reply received from MoD (Pension Grievances) signed by Mr. Ajay Seth (Accounts Officer) (Copy attached).
2. We are deeply concerned at the way the welfare issues of Defence Personnel are being dealt with by the Govt. Letters to the PM are written only when all efforts to get the issues resolved have not borne results. Mr. Prime Minister Sir, we wish to inform you that we have appealed to every possible authority including your goodself a number of times on the issue. It seems that your staff does not even put up our letters to you since no reply is received which has your approval. Accounts Officers/Section Officers send the routine bureaucratic reply which does not even mention that the PM has considered and the draft of the reply has his approval.
3. One Rank One Pension (OROP) has been strongly recommended by Rajya Sabha Petition Committee and its recommendations were tabled in Rajya Sabha on 19 Dec 2011. Action Taken Report (ATR) by the Govt was due within three months ie by 18 Mar 2012 which is still awaited. The salient features of the recommendations were forwarded to all members of Parliament and others Govt functionaries. These are once again given in succeeding paras.
4. Findings and Recommendations of the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee Report on OROP:-

(a) Concept of One Rank One Pension. OROP 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 past pensioners.
(b) Govt Justification to deny OROP Untenable. The Committee has not agreed with the infructuous arguments offered by the Government to deny OROP to Defense Pensioners/Family Pensioners. The committee observed that the three reasons i.e. Financial, Administrative and Legal, given by Government to deny OROP are untenable and merely a smoke screen to deny the ex-Servicemen their rightful dues. The Committee felt that such injustice to the Defence Forces is only due to bureaucratic apathy.
(c) Historic Perspective Justifies OROP. The Petition Committee observed that not only has the demand of OROP been included in the manifests of all leading political parties but it has also been repeatedly considered by all Central Pay Commission since the 3rd CPC in 1973, numerous committees like Inter Ministries Committees, Group of Ministers and Committee of Secretaries besides two Parliamentary Standing Committees on Defence of 2003 and 2010. In view of the above, the Committee felt that there is merit in the demand for OROP by Armed Forces Personnel.
(d) Bureaucratic Manipulation to Change Established Concept of Military Pensions. The Committee observed that in order to adequately compensate for the uniqueness of the armed forces as distinct from the other Govt servants, the concept of military pensions was historically better and different from that of the remaining Govt Servants. However, this was arbitrarily and without any justification changed by 3rd CPC in 1973. The Committee opined that the Govt has not been able to provide any justification for changing the established concept and reducing military pension and the decision to align military pensions with civilian pensions was an ill considered decision, which gave rise to the demand of OROP.
(e) Uniqueness of Defence Forces- No Commonality with Other Services. The Committee observed that the Govts apprehension that civilian pensioners will also demand OROP is baseless because of tougher and harsher conditions of service of the armed forces vis-à-vis the civilians and there is no commonality between the Defence Forces and other Govt services. The two cannot be equated and the armed forces deserve special dispensation.
(f) Ex Servicemen Discontent is Distressing.“The Committee is distressed to note that the defense personnel of our country have returned their service medals to the President of India because of the Governments' apathetic attitude towards them. The Committee felt that such alienation should not recur and their legitimate and fair demand of OROP be accepted.
(g) Small Financial Outlay. “The Committee noted that out of the total financial liability of Rs 1300 crores for the year 2011-12 in case OROP is implemented fully for all the defense personnel in the country, the liability for the Commissioned Officers would only be Rs 235 crores and remaining for JCOs and Other Ranks. The Committee feels that Rs 1300 crores is not a very big amount for a country of our size and economy for meeting the long pending demand of the armed forces of the country.
(h) Recommendation.
(i) “Keeping in view all the above factors, the Committee strongly
recommended that Government should implement OROP in the defense forces at the earliest”.
(ii) Applicability for Future Increases. “The Committee further recommends, for future, the pay, allowances, Pension, family pension, etc. in respect of the defense personnel should be determined by a separate commission so that their peculiar terms and Conditions of service, the nature of duties they are required to perform, etc., which are quite different from the civilian work force, are duly taken into account while taking decision on the same”.
5. This is an important demand of the Defence Forces and has been strongly recommended by almost all PMs, all political parties, three parliamentary committees on Defence. It is not understood as to why the same has not yet been accepted by the Govt? The fact that this issue remains unresolved for a long time and is still being persisted by the Defence Veterans and the three service HQs indicate the importance and genuineness of the demand. This has been duly analysed by the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee which found it totally justifiable demand and strongly recommended its sanction and implementation. The reasons so for given by the Govt and the Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary to deny the OROP have also been strongly rejected by the Petition Committee.
6. Sir, the Defence Veterans are getting restless due to total apathy and disregard being shown to them. It also adversely affects the serving defence fraternity since most of them have veteran kiths and kins and the fact that they would also be veterans in due course of time. OROP is a concept which in the form of Military pensions existed till 1973 when the 3rd Central Pay Commission clubbed the Defence Personnel with other Civilian Central Services; a decision which the Petition Committee felt was unwise. The Defence Personnel have suffered thrice over; one they were denied their system of Military Pensions, (the pension of Defence personnel were reduced while that of Civilians Counterparts were increased. The highest pension of civil servant till 1970 was Rs 416.50 Pm/- while that of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) it was Rs 1000 Pm/. In 2006, pension for both is Rs 45000/- pm, which means while the pension of Defence highest rank has increased only 45 times, that of civilian highest rank it has increased 108 times). There is just no justification for the same. Thirdly, while Non Functional Upgrade (NFU) has been granted to Group A Central Services and IPS, the same has been denied to the Defence Officers and for other ranks, the Third Assured Career Progression (ACP) sanctioned by the 6th CPC award for all Govt employees, has been denied to the soldier Sepoy who is being compulsorily retired after 15/17 years of service. These are glaring and serious issues of injustice and need to be resolved immediately.
7. OROP is just and fair demand which must be sanctioned immediately. This affects over two million defence veterans and over three lacs widows. The IESM Governing Body is compelled to decide that incase the OROP is not sanctioned by 15 Aug 2012, the protest Movement across the country will be intensified. Sir, this decision though very painful has been forced on the Defence Veterans since concerted efforts for the last over four years have been nullified by the Govt Apathy towards the welfare of Defence Veterans.
8. We earnestly, request you for your personal indulgence and grant of OROP to the Defence Personnel immediately to stop any further alienation, demoralization and anguish to the defence fraternity.
With Regards,
Jai Hind,
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement
Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570
Copy to :-
Sh. A.K. Antony, - For information and action please.
Defence Minister,
104, South Block,
New Delhi
Gen Bikram Singh, -                              With request for collective intervention
PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC   to address the serious shortcomings and
Chief of the Army Staff   consequent injustice to the OROP must be got                        
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Army)     sanctioned to defence forces at the      
South Block, New Delhi-110011                     earliest.
Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and
Chief of the Naval Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Navy)
South Block, New Delhi-110011
Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, PVSM, AVSM, VM
Chief of the Air Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Air Force)
Vayu Bhawan, New Delhi-110011

Thursday, July 12, 2012

India needs more synergy among its armed forces

New Delhi: The Naresh Chandra Task Force, constituted to undertake a reappraisal of India's current and future security threats, submitted its report to the Prime Minister more than a month ago. Bits and pieces of the as yet secret report have appeared in the media but the government is yet to release it officially. We do not know if the recommendations of the task force will ever be made public.

Nevertheless, from whatever little source-based information is available three recommendations stand out and are certainly worth implementing forthwith. They are:
  • Appointment of a Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC)
  • Integrate Service HQ and Ministry of Defence by allowing more cross-postings
  • Shift focus of India's national security strategy from Pakistan to China

While the shift in focus from Pakistan to China has been talked about and is being implemented in fits and starts for the past four or five years, the first two recommendations are worth deliberating in little more detail.

It is worth noting that the Task Force has NOT recommended a five star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) since discussion on the creation of the post has created a lot of acrimony among the three forces ever since it was made exactly a decade ago. While the Army has favoured the appointment of a CDS, envisaged as a single-point military adviser, the Navy has been ambivalent on the issue but it is the Air Force which has vehemently opposed the post. Former Air Chief, ACM PV Naik, in his last interview before demitting office last August had told me that the IAF opposes CDS in its 'present form.'

Aware of these inter-services dynamics, the Naresh Chandra Task Force has found a way around it by recommending creation of the post of Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, a four star officer, who will be in charge of the two existing tri-services commands-the Strategic Command Force (SFC) and the Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC). The three service Chiefs will continue command and lead their respective services, the Task Force said.

The Permanent Chairman CoSC, according to the recommendation of the Naresh Chandra Task Force, will have a fixed tenure of two years and will be rotated among the three services. This officer will be assisted by the existing Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), headed by a three star officer from any of the three services.

Over the past decade, the IDS has evolved in a barely workable tri-services structure with over 300 officers drawn from the three services trying to function as a cohesive unit tasked with evolving "jointness." On ground however, jointness or inter-operability has remained at best patchy. The Air Force in particular has resisted creation of a CDS fiercely, fearing that would be reduced to a supporting role.

The new recommendation seeks to overcome these differences. The Naresh Chandra Task Force has also recommended the creation of a separate Special Operations Command on the lines of the US structure since asymmetric threats are seen as the main challenge to India's national security in coming decades.

The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, as recommended by the Task Force is thus supposed to command the two existing tri-services commands and also lead the Special Operations Command whenever it comes into existence.

The new post, the Task Force is hoping, will also bring in synergy in major acquisitions for all the three forces. Often, the three services have worked independently in procuring same set of equipment, duplicating work and creating separate infrastructure when synergy would have saved hundreds of crores of rupees.

Linked to this is the recommendation that more cross-postings of bureaucrats in service headquarters and service officials in the Ministry of Defence should take place starting from director level upwards and should go right up to the additional secretary level gradually. This, the Task Force felt, would help greater integration and faster decision making since technical and domain knowledge from both the civil and military side will be instantly available whenever necessary instead of putting every query on file thereby adding to delays.

Having mulled over some of these proposals, a thought comes to mind. Why not create two more tri-services commands and give some more work to the proposed Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee?

Given the frequency of cyber-attacks on India's IT infrastructure, creation of a cyber-command is only a matter of time. Then again, an aerospace command has been discussed at the highest levels for some years now but inter-services rivalry has prevented it from taking off. Along with the creation of the proposed Special Operations Command, why not create these two additional tri-service commands? And let the Army, Air Force and Navy be the lead service for a particular command?

The proposed Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee can remain the head of these three commands with each of them being led by an Army Commander level officer. Given the experience and expertise available with the Army, it can take charge of the Special Operations Command, the IAF, with its domain knowledge, can take over the aerospace command and the Navy can lead the cyber command. The heads of these commands can have their second rung manned by two-star officers from each of the services so that they continue to have the benefit of expert advice from across the services but the overall responsibility must remain with the designated service.

Given that the existing tri-services commands go through painful changes each time their Commanders-in-Chief get rotated, making each of the service responsible for the proposed new commands will make their the working smoother and more efficient.

The new arrangement proposed by the Naresh Chandra Task Force, incomplete in itself can perhaps be better utilised in this manner.

Food for thought or a fanciful idea of an ill-informed hack?
( Source-NDTV Blog-Written by Nitin A Gokhale, Edited by Aamir Nowshahri | Updated: 12 Jul 12,  20:16 IST)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

HE IS A HERO IN LIFE TOO - Despite being ion need of money, retd AF Corporal Charles Williams wants to return the excess money credited to his pension account

Amid growing scams and corruption and amassing of wealth in improper ways by many, a retired Air Force Corporal has shown the world exemplary honesty will be hard to ignore and one can live with dignity even amidst penury.

Charles Williams, 89, a World War II veteran from Mysore and who is in poor health, wants to return the excess money credited to his pension account. Williams joined the Royal Air Force in pre-Independent India. Aftera six-week pre-induction training, he was posted at Agra. Within days, he was sent to Burma where he saw action against Japanese. “Though in the RAF, our unit saw a lot of ground battle and we dug in and stayed put in the trenches. We were holed up for weeks without regular supply of food and water. The battle that raged was horrific with soldiers getting maimed and killed in the heavy exchange of fire. But ultimately we prevailed,” recalled Williams, whose father, P.V. Williams,  had enrolled with the British Army and took part in World War I.
Speaking toThe Hinduat his residence near Bamboo Bazaar here, Williams said that after Independence, he was inducted into the Indian Air Force and was part of the first convoy that landed in Srinagar following the outbreak of hostilities with Pakistan. He opted for voluntary retirement from the IAF in 1959, joined HAL and retired in 1983. After retirement, he found certain anomaly in his pension and complained that he was being underpaid. “A visit to the local Sainik Welfare and Resettlement Board did not help me much as officials are apathetic to the grievances of ex-servicemen,” Williams said. He approached M.N. Subramani, president, VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust in Mysore.
But calculations showed that the Centralised Pension Processing Centre of State Bank of Mysore, Mangalore, had credited Williams’ account with excess money.
Mr. Subramani said he was being credited with Rs. 300 towards fixed medical allowances for which he was not entitled to. He was credited with Rs. 15,200 in excess with effect from July 2007.
“When this was brought to the notice of Williams, he asked me to inform the bank to recover the amount in 15 equal instalments so as not to put him in financial hardship,” said Mr. Subramani.
What is ironic is that Williams is returning the medical allowance when he needs it the most. He is visually impaired and desperately needs Rs. 1.5 lakh for a heart operation. “When I am not entitled for something, the national exchequer should not be made to bear the burden,” said Williams.
Meanwhile, Mr. Subramani has mailed a letter to SBM, Mangalore, drawing their attention to the anomaly.

  • After retirement, he found certain anomaly in his pension

  • He is returning medical allowance when he needs it the most


  • Addressing ex-servicemen's issues is top priority: Army Chief

    PTI | 07:07 PM,Jul 01,2012 Pathankot, Jul 1 (PTI) Listing the welfare of ex-servicemen and war widows as his top priority, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today said the issue of one-rank-one-pension is being looked at the ministerial level and the Army is geared up for speedy redressal of their grievances. "The government and the Army are sensitive to their needs and would take every step to ensure that ex-servicemen and their families are looked after well, the Army Chief said here, addressing an ex-servicemen's rally organised here on the occasion of celebrations of Golden Jubilee of 21 Sub Area. He assured the ex-servicemen that all their complaints routed to district Sainki Welfare Boards and area commanders will be attended. Meanwhile, a wife of a mentally-challenged ex-servicemen shouted during the function complaining that she had not been given regular job despite her repeated plea to the authorities. "My husband, an ex-serviceman is mentally challenged. I had been applying for regular job for the last 8 years, but every time I submitted my file, it was thrown in dustbin by authorities concerned at 21 sub Area," shouted Sharda Pathania while Gen Singh was taking round to hear the complainants. Earlier, Gen Singh accompanied by his wife visited Rising Star Corps at Yol near Dharamsala to review the operational preparedness of the Corps.