Saturday, February 28, 2015




(Source- sANJHAMORCHA blog)

Government, Army told to hike disability pension for retired Colonel

DC | P. ARUL | February 27, 2015, 07.02 am IST
Representational image
Representational image
Chennai: The regional bench, armed forces tribunal, Chennai, has directed the Union government and Indian Army to hike the disability pension provided to a retired Army aviation pilot who developed health-related problems.
Disposing of a petition from retired Col Tummala Amarnath of Secunderabad, the bench, comprising judicial member, Justice V. Periya Karuppiah, and administrative member, Lt Gen K. Surendra Nath, said, “The petitioner is entitled to composite disability pension from the date of his retirement - September 1, 2009 - and arrears shall be paid within four months.”
In the petition, retired Col Amarnath submitted that he joined the Army in 1978, was appointed helicopter pilot in 1984 and flew for nearly a decade till March 1993 in different terrains, including Ladakh and Siachen glacier.
Due to the weather and stress, he developed a cardiac problem, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, severe disc prolapse and high BP and was operated in 2003. After serving for over 30 years, he retired. The release medical board, Secunderabad, opined on August 14, 2009 that the disc prolapse was aggravated by military service and assessed 20 per cent disability for life, but dismissed other claims. His appeals were dismissed by the authorities in 2010 and 2012.
The bench felt that he was entitled to composite disability pension for the three disabilities - diabetes, primary hypertension and disc prolapse for life – and, hence, its order entitling him to composite disability pension from the date of his retirement.

(Source- Deccan Chronicle)

Friday, February 27, 2015


     Dear all Vet Brother,

    After noticing the comments of one of our Vet Bro - b singh, in the chatroll, I am compiling the follwing points (including ones mentioned by him) for the benefit of information of all all:- 


a) There is no real representation of 95% strength of JCO's/NCOs/Ors. Most of these JCO’s/NCOs’/OR’s are serving in the field. The JCO’s/NCOs’/OR’s risk of life is more than officers working in the office.

b) The MSP (Military service Pay) – It must not be linked with Basic pay or the Rank pay at all. Sep to General is doing same military service and it must be same for all ranks.  The MSP for Officer is – Rs 6000/-, whereas, for Ors/NCOs/ JCO's and equivalent ranks is Rs 2000/- only. For example at Leh – Ladakh on the same pplace a sep and a officer is on duty and you can see both are human beings and having the same feelings of difficulties, coldness and loneliness.

c) The Sub Maj is the highest JCO rank reached by an OR, equival to Gr B Gazetted civil ranks. In the 6th CPC they are clubbed with Ors/Jawan for MSP Rs 2000/-. The JCO’s are deliberately down graded in their rank and status which is a  great injustice to them.

d) A serviceman job in defending the nation itself is an honour on him.  But Honorary ranks are given to JCOs at the fag end of their service, after 30 plus years of service, which is a rank injustice to them. (There is no such thing Honorary posts in Civil service. The Group C&B service employees get promoted to Gp A posts after putting in some years of service. An employee joining as LDC some time retire as Dy Commissioner/Dy Collector/Under Secretary rank). The top JCO be given the regular promotion in the ranks of Lt/Capt/Maj ranks after completing 25, 28 and 32 years of regular service. 

d) ACP and Promotion – Officers get three promotions in eight years. The Ors get one ACP in 8, 16 and 24 years, to keep the defence forces young. A Sep retires in 17 years. How he can achieve 3 ACPs in his service?. Hence,
Sep to Hav ACP must be given on 5, 10 and 15 years of interval or the same promotion criteria for Officer,

e) Pay and pension disparity a wide gap from Sub Maj to officer rank. Officer’s strength 5% and they  have Pay Bands – 3, 4, Apex scale (HAG,HAG+) and Fixed (Four pay bands). But the Ors/NCOs/JCOs strength is 95% and they have pay bands–1& 2(Two pay bands). The Ors/NCOs/JCOs and equivalent ranks must be placed in three Pay bands. i.e,  Pay band 1-- Sep and NK Pay band 2-- Hav, Nb Sub, Sub Pay band 3—Sub Maj and Hony Lt & Hony Capt.

f) Grade Pay - The existing grade pay from Sep to Sub Maj is low and put them in Higher grade pay.

g) Pension 75 % (percentage ) to JCO’s/ORs --- A sep retires in 17 years and Hav in 24 years of service or below 35 and 45 years of age respectively .This retirement age is very early compare to civil servants age of 60 years. There must be 75% of the last pay drawn and officers’ pension must be 50% of the last pay drawn. After retirement the condition of JCO’s/ORs is very bad and working in security agencies for rupees four – five thousand only.

h) A seargent of IAF is considered as Senior Non Commissioned Officer for all the responsibility, but for pay band in 6th CPC his placed is at the bottom of PB 1. Hence, in the 7th CPC Sgt should be protected as a SNCO &upgraded to PB 2.

A)      Lateral Absorption: The armed forces personnel are a vast pool of skilled workforce having trained and experienced in different spheres of activity. They are disciplined and punctual and mostly can handle any situation or even can handle any new situation without much of difficulty. This valuable workforce could be deployed straight-away into various central and state Govt departments at appropriate levels in Govt Depts- such as :

I.      Armed Forces HQrs and Units in civilian posts.
II.    All Defence PSUs (numbering 42).
III.  All Central Para-military forces/CPOs/Shipping Cos.
IV.  The Central Election Commission or the State Election Commissions.
V.     All States/UTs Police Forces.
VI. All Central/States/UTs Fire & Rescue/Forest/Jails/ Disaster Management Deptt.
VII.  Railways/Roadways/Airways and Logistics Depts.
VIII.All other Depts of State/UT Govts in the Revenue, Education, Health, Electricity/Municipality Depts etc.
IX.    Any other Govt Deptt/PSU etc.

B)Disabled Veterans. Armed Forces recruit A Cat medical category individuals and as such any disability occurs in the course of military duty is to be automatically be treated as an Occ. Hazard. The Disability Act applicable to Civ employees must also be applied to army disabled personnel. They are to be employed in other posts or their dependents be absorbed in their place in the Govt. Service. They must not be thrown out of employment and the Medical Officers/Account Officers certifying  – disability attributable military service – may be made compulsory, in tune with the recent judgements of the Apex Court.

C) ECHS Facility. This facility is available only in limited places and the ex-servicemen are scattered in all over the hinter land. CGHS facility may also be extended to ESM within a 20 KM distance to their native place, instead of ECHS clinic which is far away (hundreds of KMs).

D)Reservations: Presently, different % of jobs are reserved for ESM in different state/Central Govt deptts. A Uniform %of 30% C class jobs, 20% B Class jobs and 10% A class jobs may be reserved for ESM

E) Reservation in allotment of Agri lands/House sites/Dwelling units:  Almost all the ESM would have served in border and difficult areas and thousands of miles away from their native place. And return to the native place after retirement. They face the problem of shelter besides staring bleak prospects of livelihood. They may be allotted 5-10 acres of agri.lands, house sites at the opted place, 20% of the Govt dwelling units, near to their native places.

F) ESM FINANCE CORPORATION. The Govt may and advance advance loan to ESM to set up SMEs on concessional rates or subsidise the cost/interest.

G) Senior Citizens get concessional tickets in Railways and in some state Roadways. ESM may also be given 50% concession for their travel.

H) Reservation in Allotment of Agencies.: Unlike the Gas/Oil agencies, the ESMs may be allotted (fixed %) in all Govt Agencies like Agri markets, Fair Price Shops, Security, Rail/road logistics, tourism and travel, parking slots at Railway Stations/Bus stands/Govt offices or Municipalities etc.

I) The ESM be exempted from Property tax/registration/stamps duty for transfer of property (agri land/dwelling units) in their names.

J)  The ESM be exempted to pay court fee etc. in litigation matters.

K) The ESM be exempted from payment of fee for tendering Govt works and small works may be nominated to them.


रक्षा मंत्री का वादाः एक रैंक एक पेंशन पर विचार होगा

नई दिल्ली

उत्तराखंड से बीजेपी के राज्यसभा सांसद और उत्तराखंड सशस्त्र सैनिक सम्मान और सहायता समिति के अध्यक्ष तरुण विजय ने रक्षा मंत्री मनोहर पर्रिकर से मांग की है कि भले ही सांसदों को मिलने वाली सुविधाएं कम कर दी जाएं लेकिन वन रैंक वन पेंशन की सैनिकों की बहुत पुरानी मांग को स्वीकार किया जाए।

विजय ने कहा कि पिछली सरकारों ने सैनिकों के साथ विश्वासघात किया है और अब उनकी उम्मीद केवल प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी और रक्षा मंत्री मनोहर पर्रिकर ही हैं।
रक्षा मंत्री पर्रिकर ने तरुण विजय को आश्वासन दिया कि वह सैनिकों के दुख-सुख में उनके साथ हैं और सरकार उनकी इस मांग पर सहानुभूतिपूर्वक विचार करके उचित फैसला करेगी। पर्रिकर ने कहा कि सैनिक हमारे समाज और राष्ट्र की शान हैं और हम हर संभव प्रयास करेंगे कि उनकी न्यायोचित मांगें पूरी की जाएं तथा उनके प्रति किसी भी नजरिए से अन्याय नहीं होने दिया जाएगा।
(Source- Navbharath times)

Tarun Vijay meets Parrikar, demands 'one rank, one pension' for forces

Feb 26, 2015, 07.56PM IST TNN

The picture shows Tarun Vijay giving memorandum to the defence minister in his office in Raksha Mantralaya on 26th Feb 2015.
NEW DELHI: BJP MP Tarun Vijay, who is also member, parliamentary standing committee on defence and president, Uttarakahnd's Society to Help Armed Retired Personnel met defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday and gave him a memorandum demanding that the long standing issue of 'one rank, one pension' be resolved in favour of the soldiers.

He said that if the government feels a crunch of funds, please take away the privileges given to the MPs and MLAs and give the funds to the forces so that their legitimate and logical demand to get 'one rank, one pension' is met. He said that soldiers give their best to the nation but they are forced to die early and run from pillar to post after retirement. Tarun Vijay told the minister that soldiers were disappointed by the UPA, they have great hopes from PM Modi and him, as a minister.

Tarun Vijay told media persons that Parrikar was very sympathetic to his demands and fully agreed that the government must act sympathetically to the long standing demands of the forces. He said, "as the defence minister I stand with my soldiers". Their demands will certainly receive sympathetic consideration.

Tarun Vijay also said that there are more than 3000 cases regarding disability pension pending in courts. Soldiers' basic pension was revised in line with 6 CPC recommendation from 24 Sep 2012 (instead of 1-1-2006) but disability pension has not yet been revised notwithstanding various letters written on the subject by various associations. CAT had given clear verdict but legitimate dues are being denied. Broad banding of disability pension has been denied in spite of AFT/ SC orders.

SC upholds AFT's decision to grant disability pension to ailing airman

CHANDIGARH: In a huge relief to defence personnel, the Supreme Court has held that a member of the armed forces is presumed to be in sound physical and mental condition at the time of his entry into service, if there is no note or record to the contrary made at the time of one's entry.

The apex court has also clarified that in the event of his subsequent discharge from service on medical grounds, any deterioration in his health is presumed to be due to military service. A division bench comprising Justices Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and N V Ramana passed these orders on Tuesday while upholding a decision passed by the Chandigarh bench of Armed Forces Tribunal in the case of an airman Angad Singh Titaria.

SC bench also clarified that the provision of disability pension is a beneficial provision, which ought to be interpreted liberally so as to help those who have been sent home with disability at times even before they completed their tenure in the armed forces. "A soldier cannot be asked to prove that the disease was contracted by him on account of military service or was aggravated by the same. The burden to establish such a disconnect would lie heavily upon the employer for otherwise the rules raise a presumption that the deterioration in the health of the member of the service is on account of military service or aggravated by it," held the bench while referring to several earlier rulings of the apex court.

Angad Titaria had joined the Indian Air Force on November 13, 1971 in the clerical trade after he was found medically and physically fit as per prescribed standards. In 1987, he was diagnosed for coronary artery disease, namely infero-lateral myocardial infarction, and in 2006 he was diagnosed for diabetes mellitus.

In April 2008, he was released from the Air Force on recommendation of the medical board and was denied disability pension. The board was of the opinion that he had always remained posted at peace stations, and in that situation his disabilities were constitutional in nature and not attributable to or aggravated by service in the Air Force.

Angad moved the AFT, Chandigarh, against the Air Force seeking disability pension. On December 3, 2010, a division bench of AFT comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prasad and Lt Gen H S Panag had ordered the Air Force authorities to pay him disability pension but the Union government had approached the apex court against the decision.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pension tension - By Ajit K. Dubey (The Week)

Centre gets brickbats over delay in implementing 'One Rank, One Pension' scheme

Yagya Narain, 68, retired as master warrant officer from the Indian Air Force 10 years ago and settled in Rajasthan. His son is a Delhi-based defence correspondent. Soon after the Narendra Modi government took over, Narain would call his son regularly to check on the status of the 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP) scheme. During the Lok Sabha poll campaign, the BJP promised to fulfil this four-decade-old demand of ex-servicemen. Eight months down the line, Narain asks his son: Will OROP ever be implemented?

Modi spoke of OROP at Rewari, Haryana, on September 15, 2013. Rewari has a long tradition of producing officers and jawans. Modi told the gathering: “Today, I publicly demand, on behalf of Army men and ex-servicemen of this country, that the government publish a white paper on the statusof the One Rank, One Pension scheme.” He said it was in his destiny to fulfil this long-standing demand. In the next seven months he would lambast the Manmohan Singh government many times over the OROP scheme.

While sailing on the INS Vikramaditya in June and in his Independence Day address, Modi reiterated his commitment to implementing OROP.

Lt Col Brij Mohan Thapa, who heads a Dehradun-based forum for ex-serviceman, said: “As veterans in the last days of life, are we expected to wait for date after date to get unfulfilled promise after promise? And, die without seeing a government that fulfils its promises?”

Retired brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, a strategic expert,  tweeted to former Army chief V.K. Singh, who is now a Union minister: “Dear General, deep resentment among Veterans re PM Modi promise on OROP. As seniormost in Parlmnt n Govt, all looking up 2 you.”

Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), said he had written to Modi about the issue. He blamed bureaucrats for blocking OROP on financial grounds. IESM office-bearers allege that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had asked them to “lower expectations”, citing heavy financial burden. They say Jaitley hinted that the government might dilute the OROP scheme.

Satbir Singh said: “We will not accept anything less than OROP in full. Accepting it partially would mean only a hike in pension. OROP must be implemented from April 1, 2014, so that the soldiers also get some arrears.”

If OROP is enforced, every pensioned soldier of the same rank would receive the same pension. Only the duration of service would be considered; the date of retirement would become immaterial. Now, soldiers who retired recently receive more pension than those who did earlier, because of the salary hikes by pay commissions.

The veterans called off two protests—one scheduled to coincide with the winter session of Parliament and the other on February 1—after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reassured them. Parrikar told THE WEEK: “The NDA government will definitely implement OROP. I am sure that we would be able to implement it before the budget for next fiscal is announced.”

The confusion, apparently, is about the annual financial outlay. In 2010-2011, the Army Headquarters told the defence ministry that it would be around Rs1,400 crore. The ministry's department of ex-servicemen welfare puts it at Rs3,000 crore. The defence accounts department puts it at Rs9,300 crore, before the implementation of the seventh pay commission.

A senior bureaucrat from the ministry told THE WEEK that OROP was Parrikar's top priority. The ministry has the support of Parliament's standing committee on defence, which is headed by former Uttarakhand chief minister B.C. Khanduri, who retired as major general.

(Source- The Week)

MoU Signed Between Indian Army and State Bank of India

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
MoU Signed Between Indian Army and State Bank of India
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Army and State Bank of India (SBI) on the Defence Salary Package on 23 Feb 2015. The signing in ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma and was attended by top dignitaries of SBI Bank, headed by Dr Vaidyan MG, Dy MD (Retail Strategy). 

The first MoU between SBI and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was valid for a period of three years. The revised MoU is tailor-made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families. A number of additional facilities have been incorporated in the revised MoU after concerted efforts spanning over a year. 

The basic features of the MoU include a number of free / concessional services like free drafts, free cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT, free ATM cards etc. The provision also includes the Nepal Express Remittance Scheme which enables instant fund transfers to Nepal for the benefit of the Nepali Domicile Gorkha Soldiers serving in the Indian Army.

Additional improved features are linking of the Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) to the Savings account instead of the debit card, enhancement of the PAI amounts, enhancement of the exemption percentage of margin money for house and car loans and waiving off of the processing charges on the loans. The revised MoU will benefit almost 19.5 lakh pensioners and 10 lakh serving personnel who hold Pay or Pension accounts with SBI and also provide them an opportunity to access modern banking facilities.

Col Rohan Anand, SM
PRO (Army)


Implementation of One Rank One Pension Scheme: Govt. Statement on 24th Feb, 2015

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
24-February-2015 16:42 IST
Implementation of One Rank One Pension Scheme

The principle of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces has been accepted by the Government. The modalities for implementation have been discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration of the Government. It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the Government.

This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Shri Rao Inderjit Singh in a written reply to Shri Avinash Rai Khannain Rajya Sabha today.


Leakgate reaches defence ministry, police grill staffer- Another Key Player Held, 8 Questioned

New Delhi:   Feb 24 2015 : The Times of India (Hyderabad) 
The leaks scandal got even bigger on Monday with police launching a probe into documents allegedly stolen from the defence ministry even as the crime branch arrested Lokesh Sharma, a key player in the corporate espionage case, and questioned eight others.In what will have implications for the country's security, police interrogated a defence ministry employee for more than six hours on Monday, highly placed sources told TOI. He has been identified as Virender, who is suspected to have leaked classified documents from the highly sensitive ministry and was in touch with some of the accused in the case.
With classified defence documents coming into the probe ambit, cops are likely to press for invoking the official secrets Act. Defence is the fourth ministry, after oil, coal and power, to enter the list of compromised departments. Meanwhile, police arrested 33-year-old energy consultant Lokesh Sharma, who worked for Noida-based firm Infraline Energy and was leaking documents from the petroleum, coal and power ministries, joint commissioner (crime) Ravindra Yadav said. Police are looking for the firm's owner. Cops believe Sharma not only supplied leaked documents to his company but also to other accused, including Santanu Saikia and Prayas Jain, and earned multiple profits in the operations, Yadav added. Saikia and Jain have been arrested earlier and hunt is on for other receivers.
A Janakpuri-based firm, idata, was also raided as employees of this firm allegedly bought documents from Sharma. Cops have registered a second FIR under similar sections in the case against Sharma and others, and are analysing the nature of the documents that were leaked from these ministries. A team led by additional CP Ashok Chand and ACP K P S Malhotra has been assigned to further probe the case.
Sharma was taken to Shastri Bhawan around noon where he led the cops to the rooms of employees he was in touch with to obtain government papers. Seven of them were picked up for questioning and were asked about their frequent contacts with Sharma.
Among those picked up from the coal ministry were Laal Babu and Ranjeet Mehto while Bhupendra, Amit, Kamal Kishore, Virendra and Surendra were questioned from the petroleum ministry .They will also be called for questioning on Tuesday .
Police are seeking to establish the money trail before arresting some of these employees, sources said.
Sharma, police said, was the son of a petty official at the petroleum ministry and frequented the ministry to meet his father as a teenager. He joined Infraline seven years ago and used his contacts in the ministry to steal papers.Some of the leaked information also made way to the firm's magazine, InfralinePlus, police said.
Among the documents leaked from the coal ministry, a major chunk pertains to coal block allocations and related note-sheets and communiques. Several companies, cops said, had demanded information on the allocations.Companies with a stake in the coal allocations are being scanned, police said.

Leakgate: Ministries to change locks -Cabinet Secy Calls Meet To Discuss Holes In Security

Even as Delhi Police widen the probe into corporate espionage, Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth has convened a meeting with secretaries of sensitive ministries like home, defence and finance as well as key economic ministries on Tuesday to discuss how to tighten access control at their offices and secure files containing classified information. The meeting will brain storm on the chinks in the security set-up across buildings housing key government ministries and departments, as borne out by the ongoing probe  into the oil ministry leaks, and discuss SOPs to be followed by agencies such as CISF to prevent unauthorized entry .

According to a senior home ministry official, the measures would not only include installing enough CCTVs to cover every nook and cranny of the ministry premises, but also 24x7 monitoring of CCTV footage by a suitably-manned control room.“This will ensure that if any attempt is made to breach security by switching off the CCTVs, it will be captured by screens installed in the control room, enabling the surveillance staff to raise alarm,“ said the official.

The maintenance of an entry log at all entrances to government buildings such as South Block, North Block and Shastri Bhavan will be made mandatory for security personnel tasked with access control. In addition, CISF personnel guarding key government offices may be asked to deploy personnel at each of the floors and not just the main entrances. This will ensure that an unauthorized or suspicious visitor is detected at the next level of check even if he gets through the main entrance.

A key item of discussion at the meeting to be chaired by the cabinet secretary will be how to limit access to sensitive files relating to policy decisions or containing classified information with implications for national security.“Guidelines may be drawn up to ensure that these files are handled only by senior officers and not passed on to lower staff even for transit. After office hours, they may be put away safely under lock and key , with a senior officer retaining custody of the key ,“ said an official.

Leakgate leads to extra vigil in govt buildings

Leakgate scandal is having a ripple effect on security at various ministries.CISF DG Arvind Ranjan on Monday instructed all force teams guarding various government buildings to be more vigilant and carefully scrutinize the identity of visitors post 5.30 pm.The instructions have been given in the light of alleged theft of confidential documents from petroleum ministry in Shastri Bhavan by former employees of the ministry. The building is guarded by CISF personnel who apparently allowed the `thieves' to enter the building late at night as they had flashed`valid' entry passes. These passes have now turned out to be fake. Sources said while a comprehensive revamp of security would be possible only after Delhi police completes its investigations in the case, instructions have been passed to prevent such leaks till such time.“These are largely general instructions for greater vigilance and alertness particularly during night time. Specific instructions could be chalked out only after discussions with various ministries as to how they want their offices to be secured. This would be possible after investigations are complete and clear loopholes in security are revealed,“ a senior CISF officer said.

Already discussions are on in various ministries as well as in CISF, which guards over 35 government buildings housing various ministries in the Capital, as how best to prevent a leakgate repeat. Regulating entry of people through extra proof of identity (beyond the entry pass), fixing the  number of hours a person can stay in the ministry and placing more security personnel on various floors of ministries to monitor movement of people are some of the suggestions being discussed. There is also talk of more CCTV cameras and biometric access control systems to be put in place in sensitive areas of various ministries.

(Source- TOI)



Charge of Parrikar Brigade (One Man Army)

South Block is speculating about the increased pace of work in the Defence Ministry that is telling on its officials. At least three joint secretaries in the ministry have recently put in their papers, seeking repatriation to their parent cadres. These include Vikram Dev Dutt,joint secretary (G&A), who manages both the army and air force,Himanshu Kumar, joint secretary (establishment) and A.S. Lakshmi, joint secretary (DESW ex-servicemen welfare).Dutt and Kumar have spent barely six months in the ministry.

by Pranab Dhal Samanta, Asit Jolly , Anshuman Tiwari , Amarnath K. Menon, R Ramasubramanian, Ashish Misra, J Binduraj, Rohit Parihar and Aravind Gowda

    SOURCE  :-   page 20       INDIA TODAY 23 FEB 2015

                  TO SAVE THE NATION

                 NEED OF THE HOUR







Monday, February 23, 2015


(Source : Jottings blog)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Strange Case of a Naval Court Martial, ‘Hero’ Under Trial

NEW DELHI: A year ago when cables of submarine INS Sindhuratna, with 94 officers and sailors on board smoked and melted under water during final trials, releasing black viscous smoke, the bravery of the young commanding officer, Sandip Sinha, was lauded by many retired and serving officers. His presence of mind and quick impulses led to saving 92 men on board from asphyxiation when carbon monoxide engulfed the submarine that was going through final trials after a Rs 200 crore refit. 
Unfortunately, two young officers Lt Cdr Kapish Muwal and Lt Manorajan Kumar could not come out of their cabin right above the Battery Room and died after inhaling the gas. Though it was officially announced a day later their bodies were found by the commanding officer as he personally evacuated seven officers and sailors who had fainted inside and had to be physically carried out. In the process he had a near miss with death as he had inhaled plenty of poisonous gases and was in critical state for a few days in the Naval Hospital. Muwal and Kumar might have survived had there been new and modern breathing equipment available. 

The faulty cable that smoked out black gas was not changed in the Rs 200 crore-plus refit. The Navy has no specifications for the cable as the Russians never shared it and here nobody bothered. It is pertinent to remember that this submarine was commissioned in 1988! 

The CO of the submarine saved 92 lives (Commodore SK Kapoor, incharge of the final trials was on board with his 15 member team when the accident took place) and they were the first to leave the sub. Naval sources say that along with black smoke the battery levels showed high levels of hydrogen, No one could identify the black smoke and contrary to a perception created by early media reports after the accident there had been no fire. The CO used his judgement and had the presence of mind to get 92 people evacuated within four minutes.The power supply was switched off to stop the sub from exploding and he personally saved people by going in through the hatch and pulling out men who had fainted, and taking them to the top of the deck. 

He is now being court martialed for having saved 92 people. The Board says why did he use his judgement and not follow the drill?? Had he followed the drill and stayed under water, sources said, would have compounded the tragedy manifold. The breathing equipment was being shared by submarines as for over 10 years no breathing equipment had been purchased by the defence ministry. This has not changed today. 

Why should young officers sacrifice their lives and suffer due to bureaucratic failure and, failure of the the defence minister AK Antony, for not having sanctioned money for repairs and allowing ships and submarines to be cannibalized? 

Why are defence ministry bureaucrats not punished for their failure to sanction money for spare parts and equipment? Why does every ministry officer believe that the request for spare parts is an unnecessary demand? How can an ungrateful nation expect young men and women to join the armed forces, in particular join a submarine and play with his life? Sinha’s court martial does not look at what were the reasons behind the accident but, in a strange travesty of justice really focuses on why did he save so many lives?


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Implement ‘one rank, one pension’ in three months: SC to Centre

    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to implement its six-year-old verdict to follow the one rank, one pension (OROP) principle for retired armed forces personnel, reminding the BJP government that it had promised to do so in the run-up to last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

    A bench of justices TS Thakur and AK Goel warned the government of contempt if it failed to abide by its order within three months. “We make it clear that no further time will be granted for the purpose of implementation of the judgment,” the bench told additional solicitor general Pinky Anand who assured the bench that modalities would be worked out till then.

“This was part of your manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections. You must keep your word,” justice Thakur reminded Anand while hearing a contempt petition filed by retired Major General SPS Vains who dragged the defence ministry to court demanding the OROP scheme.

Armed forces personnel holding the same rank will get the same pension, regardless of the last drawn pay, years of service and the years served in a particular rank, under the OROP scheme.

Vains’s counsel, senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, said the Union government wasn’t doing charity since there was a court order in his clients’ favour. “We have a judgment. It has been six years and we are still waiting,” Gupta told the apex court.

 He later told HT, “Before this judgment came, there was disparity among retired armed forces personnel receiving pensionary benefits that were calculated as per their pay-scale. So a major general, who retired before 1996 when the fifth pay commission was introduced, drew pension lower than not just a similarly ranked officer who retired post-1996 but also a brigadier, colonel and a lieutenant colonel.”

“The 2008 judgment brought everyone at par as the verdict said there should be no classification due to the date of retirement,” he added. Successive governments in the past have opposed OROP on the grounds that it would not be financially feasible.
However, the Modi government has promised to implement the policy that will benefit around 25 lakh ex-servicemen. OROP for the armed forces is likely to be part of the Union budget and could be implemented soon.

(Source- Sanjha Morcha)