Wednesday, September 10, 2014

25th SCOVA MEETING (See emphasis in RED) :For those taking keen interest in pension matters. A long read.

The Department of Pensions, Personal & training colloquially called the DPOT is the Policy making body for Pensions in the Central Govt. Twice a year, they invite Pensioner Organisations for a meeting to listen and take measures to resolve grievances of Pensioners. These organisations send in their Agenda they are desirous to  discuss and out of those issues, some are brought out in the meeting. The rest are sent to the parent ministry for comments. These are also followed up. Issues general to all are normally taken up. The meeting is chaired by the MOS in charge and present are the Secretary and his directly concerned JS, Director Pensions and other staff. Also attending are officials from the Postal Department, Railways, Telecommunications, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of defence. The Pension Paying authorities like the CPAO and CGDA are also present. From the Defence Ministry, Mr CR Saini, Dy Secy ESW was present along with the JtCGDA.  Mr MM Khanna, Dy Director PS 5 and Mrs Manju Jingra DDGPS (C)  were present as observers.
The Meeting was chaired by Dr Jitendra Singh the MOS.  At the outset, he declared that he was in the process of streamlining procedures and reducing delays. The department was now able to reply within two days. He indicated that there were three types of pensioners. The very senior old ones, the otherwise retired pensioners and those that were nearing superannuation. Procedures were being developed for all three categories.
Prior to discussions on the Agenda, the MOS sought general views of the Pensioner Organisations. The undersigned brought out to the Minister that unlike the DPOT, the ESW organisation was totally DYSFUNCTIONAL and worked against the Veteran Community and were anything BUT providing welfare or solace to Veterans. They did not believe in proactive approach of consultation with Pensioner Organisations and decided on various issues without any discussions of the organisations concerned. This was reiterated by Gp Capt Sethi of the AFA League.The MOS directed the representative of ESW to bring this to the notice of Secy ESW and hold consultative meetings quarterly with the recognized Veteran organisations and be more proactive. He added that he himself was a service Veteran. 
PPO'S :  1.Serial 1(e) was concerning the issue of PPO's by CGDA. They had indicated that out of a figure of 18.5 lacs pre-2006 pensioners, they had revised PPO's of 14.11 lacs defence pensioners and 2.11 lacs defence civillian pensioners. PPO's yet to be revised according to them were 85000.
Both Gp Capt Sethi, AFA League and the undersigned informed the Chairman that these figures seemed incorrect  as the number of queries received for revision of PPO's were considerable.
LOK ADALATS : The other issue was of holding LOK ADALATS for Veterans. CGDA declared that they had held one for two days in Dec 2010, one in Missamari also for two days in 2013 and one was proposed in October 2014. Since holding of LOK ADALATS assisted in bringing down unnecessary litigation, it was proposed that instead of only sticking the big city venues,the CGDA should consider holding some in the hinterlands like the upper reaches of uttrakhand, Himachal, Kathua and Ladakh in J&K and such areas as well. They were advised to increase the frequency and coverage of these LOK ADALATS.
BROAD BANDING OF DISABILITY ELEMENT OF PRE-96  CASES : The MOS was informed by the representative of the Dept of Expenditure Min of Fin that the sanctioned file had been returned to the MoD. He was informed by us that the said file was with MoD for the last three weeks and orders were yet to be issued. A case that related to the sanction of broad banding since 2001 with MoD sitting on the file till it was brought to the notice of the then Secy ESW (Mrs Neelam Nath) and the process to issue the orders had already taken another 4 years since our bringing it to the notice of Secy ESW. 
The MOS was informed by the Deputy Secy ESW, present, that the file had been sent to the Minister for approval of the DGL and the orders were likely to be issued in the following week.

Since this mainly concerned those covered for CGHS but some civilian defence employees not covered under the scheme would be required to be covered, we requested that Dehra Dun and other areas of defence related destinations be covered.  This was noted.
DEDICATED DAY FOR PENSIONERS TO MEET SECY ESW : During the previous 24th SCOVA meeting, a point had been mooted that a dedicated day should be made available for Veterans to meet and resolve their issues. The Secy ESW reply to this direction was, in our opinion not only of poor taste but totally negative. We indicated as such.
The Secy ESW, in their reply indicated that the office of PCDA (P) Allahabad is the nodal office for resolving individual cases and therefore defence pensioners need to visit PCDA (P) to resolve issues. They further indicated that visiting ESW was not feasible as they were located in a restricted area.
They further mentioned that the Secy/Jt Secy were meeting Veterans and resolving issues.
Gp Capt Sethi, indicated that this was not acceptable and they did not consider it feasible for Veterans to visit different areas to resolve issues. The undersigned informed the chair that the secy ESW never called meetings of ESM's nor were they proactive in resolving issues and further were not communicative about any progress on various issues. This led to disillusionment and court cases. Examples of the quarterly meetings organised at the time of Mrs Neelam Nath were mentioned and on this it was ruled that the Secy ESW should become more pro-active and ensure quarterly meetings be called inviting ESM's to discuss and resolve issues together with other departments just as in DPOT. This was agreed to by Mr CR Saini Dy Secy.
STEPPING UP OF DISABILITY ELEMENT ON THE BASIS OF FITMENT TABLES : Pursuant to recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries, Deptt of ESW issued orders on 17.1.2013 stepping up service and family pension of pre-2006 pensioners by determining it with reference to 'minimum of the fitment table for the rank in revised pay structure issued for implementation of recommendations of sixth CPC instead of minimum of pay band. This was followed by a similar order dated 27.1.2013 by DoPPW.'
As disability element/war injury element of pre-2006 disabled Veterans is also fixed as a percentage of 'minimum of the pay in the Pay Band + + it also needs to be revised with reference to the fitment tables. 
Since then the D0PPW in respect of civil pensioners has examined the proposal with draft OM and the same has been approved by the Department of Expenditure.
The Department of ESW indicated that the file had been moved to Defence Expenditure and hopefully will be forwarded by them to Department of expenditure min of finance. The representative of department of expenditure indicated that if the file reached him, the sanction would be accorded within the week since civilians had received the same.
We informed the Chair that the Secy ESW department would not give to file no or diary number and therefore did not believe that the file had moved. Mr Saini informed the chair that the file had moved in late August and was told to get it expedited.
Consequent to the meeting, Mr Saini informed the undersigned the the dept of ESW should now be believed and they will work to the betterment of Veterans. Mr Harbans Singh would be leaving on 20 September 2014 and Mrs Malathi Narayanan had already left. He assured the undersigned of better relations.
Please circulate to others as well.  
The Secy ESW had replied to the proposal that after due consideration and consultation with Dept of Expenditure, office of CGDA and min of def (Fin) they found the proposal not possibe and were closing the matter.
The undersigned informed the chair that the ESW department had wrongly considered the proposal taking into consideration of widows of all Disabled veterans whereas the proposal was only for the WAR DISABLED VETERANS INVALIDED OUT OF SERVICE which were only 3000 in number. The Chair was informed that the proposal should have been discussed with the "Disabled war Veterans" to understand the issue involved and this was just an example of their closed system of working. At this, the CHAIR ordered the representative of the ESW that the case should not be closed and reopened. Consultations with DIWAVE should be invited so that a proper prospective is understood.
Similar proposal has been placed by DPOT to their own concerned Ministries.
Col H N Handa
President, Disabled War Veteran's (India)
B6/6 DLF City, Phase 1,
Gurgaon 122002
Tele: 0124-4051570

One Rank One Pension: an obligation to be fulfilled -ByGp Capt AG Bewoo

In democracies, bureaucrats with their political masters run the show, and it matters little to them that the nation’s Armed Forces creates conditions to run that show in a secure environment. Democracy means civilian control over Armed Forces, but it is conveniently forgotten that ‘control’ demands including the Armed Forces in the decision matrix on anything that impacts the security of that democracy.
In India an immature political leadership controlled by extra constitutional power centres, has connived with a self-serving bureaucracy to make irresponsible and unaccountable use of the Armed Forces, and keeping them out of the decision matrix, even when military options are discussed. The Indian fauji has no political ambitions and eschews interference in governance at all levels. Concurrently our intelligence community have created a bogey about a military coup, exacerbating the exclusion of valuable military advice in decisions involving India’s security. This is tragic for our young nation, where despite coups all around us, we have a proven apolitical cadre of military personnel.
The disdain for Indian Armed Forces, consistently demonstrated by the politico-bureaucratic-extra constitutional combine, is translated into negation of a justified demand for One Rank One Pension, (OROP).

What has this to do with Pensions?

The Two Truths. The public is ignorant about two vital aspects. First the canard perpetrated by civil servants about military coups in India is neither discussed on TV nor written about in national/regional dailies, thus this travesty of truth remains hidden. Second, military personnel retire at a relative young age around 50 years; their civilian contemporaries retire at 60 years. It is critical that these two truths are stated in electronic & print media both regional and national to educate our population. When the possibility of Armed Forces staging a coup is ridiculed on TV and in print, then the politician cannot accept this theory. Sadly the media has failed the nation and our military in particular, by neglecting this issue.
…to mistreat and deliberately mismanage the issue of OROP is criminal with serious implications on both external and internal security of India.
Disregard & Disinterest. The so called upper classes, elite, bureaucrats/technocrats/business entrepreneurs/rich professionals couldn’t care less about what the faujis do, what they get, how they manage their affairs and such tiresome issues. When they are safe, secure and successful, the fauj is irrelevant. Whether the material and emotional wherewithal given to the fauji and his family is adequate for maintenance of national security and safety, is far from their minds. They pay taxes and expect the Govt to ensure their security to generate wealth for themselves and India. They are not to be blamed for this indifference, because our politico/bureaucratic/extra-constitutional power centres have encouraged disinterest about matters military.
Year after year no one seeks information about the Defence Budget, whether funds allocated are adequate, justified, commensurate to threats, or wasteful. The public has a very poor understanding of how threat is assessed i.e what are the inputs, who debate and determine the threat, and how it impacts each Indian man, woman and child. It is sadly of no concern to more than 95 percent of Indians. This is the biggest hurdle in the fauji getting anything justifiably due to him.
The 6th Pay Commission, controlled and configured by bureaucrats, has generated avertable bitterness between bureaucrats and military. Pensioner’s protesting across the country, returning medals, rallies, sparse articles in the odd national daily, with some TV exposure has created insignificant awareness, certainly not enough to convince the average Indian, that something is terribly wrong about our fauji’s pensions. Deplorably, no one is bothered. The fauji is not looking for sympathy, he does not need it. He wants the nation to understand why he is asking for OROP, not as a gift but a right.
The disdain for Indian Armed Forces, consistently demonstrated by the politico-bureaucratic-extra constitutional combine, is translated into negation of a justified demand for One Rank One Pension.
A Quick Perspective. Till the 60s, OROP was in vogue as Military Pension, and faujis got 65 percent of last pay because most had to retire in their late 40s/early 50s while civilians got 33 percent since all served up to 58 years. The 3rd PC abolished Military Pensions, reduced it to 50 percent, increased civil pensions to 50 percent, and added a proviso that to earn full pension a govt servant must serve for 33 years. Thus most military men seldom got full pension because very few could serve for 33 years, but the civil servants invariably got full pension because they served till the age of 58, getting them at least 33 years of service.
Look at the perfidy of this rule and the shabby treatment meted out to the Armed Forces? The Supreme Court has already declared that pension is, “delayed wages for services already rendered”. But look at it this way, Colonel Kapur who retired with 24 years of service at the age of 48 years in 1989, must get the same pension as Colonel Ghosh who retires today at the age of 50 years with 24 years of service. Why must Colonel Kapur have to beg for this, he is only seeking justice because he had to retire at a much younger age than his civilian contemporary who joined the IAS at the same time.
The civilian does not retire with only 24 years service at the age of 50 years, he carries on till the age of 60, and crosses that 33 year barrier. Recently the Supreme Court was constrained to rebuke the Govt for “treating soldiers like beggars”. Regrettably our media, so fond of sensationalism, has not cared to take up cudgels for the military, which provides and preserves that freedom of expression the media clamour for.

Enormous Numbers and who is Responsible?

The Numbers Are Staggering. The number of retired Officers and Other Ranks is large. Studies have shown that for every serving man/woman, the number of pensioners will soon double. Big standing Armed Forces is inescapable to defend our land, its coastline, air space and borders. Add to this the burden of keeping military manpower available for, taking over tasks of the para-military, disaster relief, mega national events etc. Looking at the politico-economic-adversarial relationship with our neighbours, the regional inter-se equations and our global ambitions, trimming the Armed Forces is not an option today.
…the fauji is not seeking what the IAS gets. He has no quarrel with what any other Govt servant gets. He wants what he justifiably deserves.
So What can be Done and Urgently? To ignore unhappiness among retired military personnel is undesirable, but to brush aside and snub disenchantment among the serving military forces is dangerously foolish. Which is why, even with an unblemished 63 year service record since independence, the equation between the military and civilian masters remains skewed against the military, with great possibility of greater disillusionment within the Armed Forces?
Who Got Us into This Condition? Who but the civilian leadership of India have brought us to this perilous state? Their acts of commission & omission have created a hostile environment within and around India, making it impossible to drastically decrease the size of our military just to cut the pension bill. So don’t blame the Armed Forces for the number of pensioners. Young men are enticed to join the Armed Forces because there is a pension, which is a big attraction. Our large population ensures multitude applications for few vacancies, and we get a voluntary military force that is exploited to the hilt by civilians, and then aborted like unwanted pregnancies at a young age. How long will this carry on?
The Indian military leadership has ensured loyalty, integrity and obedience from the rank and file, and will continue to do so. But to expect that leadership to maintain loyalty in the face of gross injustice is challenging the very roots of good military conduct and behaviour. Serving faujis will become pensioners one day, if they have misgivings about fair-mindedness of the system throughout their military service, somewhere, sometime, something will snap. India’s one billion people will not be able to contain the ill effects of such a breakdown. So there is urgency for remedy, clearly, truthfully. We may be running out of time, Indian governance cannot practice brinkmanship with its own Armed Forces.

What Justifies the Military Demanding One Rank One Pension?

Does Honour, Izzat, Life Threatening Occupation Matter? It has been said that izzat, honour, life threatening occupation are irrelevant to pension. Let’s accept it. A recent comment on TV equated the danger to a fire-fighter to that of a soldier fighting terrorists. Ridiculous as it is, one fact is indisputable; the fire does not shoot bullets nor lobs grenades, at the fire-fighter. Further comparison is unnecessary. Notwithstanding the truth that a fauji’s occupational hazard is far severe than all other’s, and he braves those hazards for izzat, camaraderie, and honour of his unit, let’s not consider this factor for granting OROP. It is incomprehensible by non-military persons.
 A Colonel who retires at 50 years will get a pension based on salary at retirement which will not be the maximum salary of a colonel. If he had served for till 60 years he would receive that maximum salary and get maximum pension of a Colonel.
Service Under Colours in the Forces. Being a force that demands high physical fitness, it is imperative that the average age of a serving officer or soldier is kept low. Most if not all, retire by the age of 50 years. Of the four lakh boys who aspire for NDA every six months, only 250 will enter the Academy. Of these 250 not more than 20, less than 10 percent will reach the rank of a Major General, equated to Joint Secretary in the IAS.
On the other hand, more than 85 percent of boys and girls joining the Lal Bahadur Academy for IAS probationers will become Joint Secy. While 80 percent of those 250 boys who joined NDA retire before 50 years, all IAS probationers are guaranteed service till 60 years. If a Colonel does not become a Brigadier, out he goes. If a Deputy Secy does not become a Director or Jt Secy, he continues as Deputy Secy till 60 years. Is this ‘civilian control over the military’? The injustice in this equation begs the question, how does this impact pension?
How Is Pension Amount Arrived At? Pension is based on last salary drawn, and depends on the actual years of service put in. In the Armed Forces (AF), there is a sliding scale of pay for every rank except the top two rungs. A Colonel who retires at 50 years will get a pension based on salary at retirement which will not be the maximum salary of a colonel. If he had served for till 60 years he would receive that maximum salary and get maximum pension of a Colonel. The IAS probationer, who say reaches the rank of Director, and does not get promoted, need not retire at 50 years as the Colonel has to. He remains a Director till the age of 60, by which time he gets maximum salary for a Director and so maximum pension for a Director.
(Source- IDR )

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.

On the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day it is worth recall-ing what the Congress did during its time in power.

Act 1

Let me tell you a story about an old man who lived in a small village somewhere that does not matter. It all began when the man’s sons came to him and told him that some people from the neighboring village had stolen a chicken from their farm. The old man told his sons to go after the thieves and recover the chicken. The sons said, “Father, it’s only one chicken. We have hundreds of chicken. One won’t make a difference.” The old man said, “Do what you please.” A few days later, the thieves stole a goat. Once again the old man told his sons to not let them get away with it. The sons said that they have dozens of goats and it’s not worth the trouble. The next week it was a horse. Once again the sons rationalized it away saying that they still had six horses that the farm needs. 

Finally, the next week the sons came back to report to the old man and said, “Father, our sister has been abducted. What shall we do?” The old man said, “It’s too late. You should have recovered the chicken. Now there’s nothing you can do.”     * * *

Act 2

I heard this story from an expat from New Zealand who runs a very successful school in Singapore. David told me that in the early years of Lee Kuan Yew’s govt, a minister was suspected of having taken a bribe. People said that since the minister was a close associate of LKY, in all likelihood the man would get away with it. But as it happened, LKY had a brief chat with the minister one afternoon. The next day the minister went out with a bang — he put a bullet in his head.

Singapore is one of the least corrupt nations in the world. LKY’s policy is simple: 
zero tolerance for corruption. That’s so because he himself is incorruptible and 
therefore does not tolerate corruption. The wages of public corruption is death. 
People know it and act accordingly.

Act 3
India’s appointed P M was Dr Manmohan Singh. Under his watch, the most egregiously blatant instances of public corruption have taken place. His ministers and other office holders have been involved in acts of public malfeasance that are stunningly incredible — but for at least a significant segment of Indian voters, it is quite alright. They appear to take it as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary. The rulers are going about the rape of the land and the people just lay back and supinely accept it. We are talking figuratively about rape but Dr Singh’s mis-governance has descended into literal rape. Not just rape, gang rape. Not just gang rape, it has finally hit(one hopes)the rock bottom into murderous gang rape. The 23-year old woman who was gang raped in a New Delhi bus died in a 
hospital in Singapore.  * * *

Act 4

They first stole a chicken. The Congress government under Jawaharlal Nehru was involved in corruption. The newspapers reported it. Nehru responded saying that the reporters were being silly since corruption is a global phenomenon and there’s nothing to get all excited about. Then they stole a goat. Nehru’s daughter nationalized many sectors of the economy, thus making public office attractive to the most criminally corrupt. The people of India did not disapprove. They in fact voted her back to power. The stage was set for horse thieves.    * * *

Act 5
Some people started waking up to the reality. They realized that somehow the system was not working. They heard the call from a chosen few and gathered to register their protest. The government followed the time-worn strategy of attack being the best form of defense. They sent in their baton-wielding cops and the crowds — leaders too — beat a hasty retreat.

The lesson the appointed prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s government learned was that it does not take a whole lot to put the people in their place — the place of course being that the people in the government are the rulers and
the people are serfs. 

For around a century, a few hundred million Indians were the serfs of a few thousand British. Now it is different. India is under self-rule. An Italian, Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi, and her bunch of sycophants led by Digvijaya Singh ruled about a thousand million Indians for a decade destroying the economy and the destinies of millions of Indians. Well, perhaps it is not all that different. Though Maino’s father was a fascist. That could make the British Raj 2.0 a little more vicious than the British Raj of pre-1947.    * * *

Act 6

It tickles me no end when I hear talk about India being a free country and a democracy with universal adult franchise. Every adult has the vote and therefore is in some sense responsible for the kind of government they get. In my opinion, India is a kakistocracy — government by the most corrupt and the least principled.
Indians freely elect these people. And among the elected are criminals who have 
been charged (and many convicted) of rape and murder. The people who gang raped the unfortunate woman on the bus in New Delhi two years ago share at least some of the characteristics of the law makers of India: their criminality. A significant numbers of Indians vote for these kinds of criminals.  * * *

Act 7
There’s more. The despicably dishonest appointed P M Dr Manmohan Singh’s government moved to shut down protests in New Delhi by closing down a few metro train stations. Perhaps the people will back down and go home. If they hadn’t backed down, I suppose the appointed Prime Minister Dr Singh would probably escalate the situation till we see army tanks on the streets of New Delhi.

The sister has been abducted.

And if I were a betting man, I would place the bet that the people are not going 
to do anything about it.   * * *

Act 8

Although they have lost power, Sonia Gandhi and her gang of vile henchmen remain unprincipled criminals. But they are not stupid. Their moves are calculated to push the boundaries and they know precisely what they can get away with. They know precisely how much they can steal and yet be elected. They know precisely how many backs they can break with their police lathi-charge and still the people will not lynch them.

Indians have an amazing capacity for tolerating injustice.

It was an American, born a slave but who understood the dynamics of slavery, who put it best over a century ago. Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the renowned American abolitionist wrote, “Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be
imposed upon them . . . The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance 
of those whom they oppress.”

The rulers are not unintelligent. They would not be where they are if they were not the most accomplished criminals. They make the laws. They dictate the terms. They control the press. The press provides the cover for them and they in turn protect those in the press that do their bidding. The Ghoses, the Sardesais, the Dutts - these are not unimportant players in this sordid play. They are complicit in the figurative rape of India and are handsomely rewarded for their immorality. * * *

The Final Act

Every single time an outrage has occurred under Congress’ watch, for a few days the twitterati will be screaming murder. A few thousand will go on candlelight vigils. In a few weeks, another distraction will occupy the talking heads on TV. Cricket will take over the collective psyche. And of course the sordid stories of Bollywood shakers will move the public to other concerns.

Talking of journalists, I am reminded of what the legendary American radio broadcaster Edward R Murrow (1908–1965) said: A nation of sheep will 
beget a government of wolves. Yes, India did have a government of wolves for the better part of its post-Independence history because India is a nation of sheep even under the changed political circumstances. 

Although there’s a new leadership with many positives and forward-looking policies to its credit, a fundamental change in the collective Indian psyche must ensue for these policies to have an enduring impact.
 (Source - BC Vasundhara blog -By Atanu Dey CommentaryPolitics August 16, 2014)

Friday, September 5, 2014

OROP – diminutive in deeper malaise : by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch, IDR, Net Edition

30 Aug , 2014
There is plenty hoopla about OROP and with reason – some angered, some amused, some complacent. Articles have appeared that veterans are disappointed and are losing faith in the government. Some write that since Uttrakhand had large number of military veterans, they chose to vote for opposition parties in assembly elections and that trend will likely continue. Reporters and cross section of the public ask what has happened that announcements about OROP by two successive governments have yielded nothing so far. So what exactly is happening?
…if an IAS officer becomes Joint Secretary in 17 years of service the officers of Organised Group A Service will start drawing the salary of Joint Secretary in maximum of 19 years of service and similarly that of Additional Secretary / Lt Gen in 30 and 32 years respectively
One thing is quite certain that the BJP by far has been the political party that favours the military the most. It is no secret that during the Kargil Conflict it was the BJP that raised the grant to the next of kin of a martyr from Rupees 2 Lakh to Rupees 20 Lakhs in one go. Had it been Congress in power, raising the grant by 20 paise would have perhaps taken 20 years. Therefore with the majority BLP government in power, observers are all the more puzzled what is happening about OROP. Government has announced they are committed to honour the commitment but that is what UPA II kept singing with Anthony leading the choir.
An analysis would tell you that OROP is drowning in a much deeper malaise, whose history runs back decades. It is on record that post Independence Nehru wanted to disband the army and on being asked how the country would be defended had responded that he had the police. Now why would Nehru have such view who otherwise was hailed as a statesman is puzzling unless he was following an agenda of his actual ancestry discounting the pseudonym Nehru adopted by his father. It is well known he had a disdain for the military and treated them no more than ‘necessary evil.
The second nut in the jigsaw came in the form of VK Krishna Menon, the worst Defence Minister India has had to-date. He not only kept the military, particularly army, starved of basic equipment but initiated the arms mafia in MoD by masterminding the infamous jeep scandal; short-circuiting the laid down procedure for imports and signing the deal in personal capacity while High Commissioner in London prior to taking up assignment of Defence Minister, imported jeeps at triple the actual price, procured less jeeps than number contracted and pocketed huge profits. Whether Nehru shared the booty is unknown but Nehru did not reprimand Krishan Menon for this blatant corruption. Both Nehru and Krishna Menon abhorred military advice and initiated violation of the institutional integrity of the military by thrusting Kaul an ASC officer as the commander of the vital Corps facing the Chinese in NEFA.
What happened thereafter is history but the fact remains that the nation and the military were ridiculed to put it mildly and Krishna Menon who should have been castrated for bringing such shame to the country was rewarded with a road named after him in the capital, replete with his statue that is garlanded annually on his birthday.
This language too was not changed in the ‘Rules of Business’ so that the top bureaucrat of MoD would become the mighty Skeletor while the Defence Minister could remain free for making money for the political party in power…
The above circus was keenly observed and analyzed by the bureaucracy in the MoD, and though sans any military sense, deduced that there was much profit in continuing with this arrangement. If they could continue to rule the roost (forget military issues) and make profits like the jeep scandal, what better situation? The involvement of the political hierarchy would make the polity hostage to the bureaucracy, latter knowing all secrets, which aside from money making would secure equally or more lucrative post retirement assignments. The only caution required was to keep the military at bay. Luckily, no one noticed that the ‘Rules of Business’ adopted from the British mentioned the Services Headquarters as “Attached Offices”. So not changing this gave the handle to not only keep the military away but also absolve MoD of whatever happened in the Services.
In British India, the Defence Secretary was charged with the defence of the country because their Defence Secretary was also the Defence Minister. This language too was not changed in the ‘Rules of Business’ so that the top bureaucrat of MoD would become the mighty Skeletor while the Defence Minister could remain free for making money for the political party in power, in synch with the arms mafia masterminded by the bureaucracy in tandem with other tentacles in PMO, DRDO-DPSUs-OF and abroad. Little wonder why our defence indigenization is so pathetic and despite the 1995 Dr Abdul Kalam headed Review Committee laying down the target of 70 percent indigenization by 2014, 19 years later we are still importing over 70 percent defence equipment – no inquiry for lapses, no blame apportioned, no heads rolled.
It was a beautiful blueprint that was readily accepted by Nehru and his lineage that followed (pseudonym Gandhi) – military kept away, arms mafia flourishing, money in billions of dollars. Whether the ‘actual’ ancestral lineage led the way to an anti-India agenda can be conjectured but then giving up 38,000 sq kms with “not a blade of grass”, gifting Fishtails to China, arbitrary imposition of Article 370 in J&K without reference to Home Minister Sardar Patel; perpetrators’ of rigging 1987 J&K elections that set in motion an insurgency to Pakistan’s advantage going scot free; inaction on subsequent ethnic cleansing in J&K rendering 3,50,000 Hindus refugees in their own country; deliberate enactment of the infamous IMDT Act in Assam and institutionalized illegal immigration from Bangladesh (made legal by providing Indian identity on crossing over to India) that changed the demography of not only the northeast but even the NCR, arming and training Bodos, criminalizing Punjab politics, move to vacate Siachen are events that can hardly be accredited to ambivalence.
But the most damaging part was the deliberate campaign launched to keep the military ‘subdued’ by not only keeping them underequipped but through hitting at their status, pay and allowances, and vilification. If all this sounds outlandish, then readers may wish to answer the following quiz:-
In which country would you find that the military is kept outside strategic decision making and continues without a national Security Strategy for 68 years?
  • In which country would you find the MoD appealing and taking to court the War Widows and War Disabled denying them their emoluments and dragging them into prolonged legal battles, knowing full well some of them can’t even afford such litigation or would simply give up?
  • In which country would you find a former Vice Chief of Army Staff who had lost a leg in actual battle as a young major fight a legal battle for years post retirement just to get his disability pension?
  • In which country would you find a woman heading the Government’s Department of Ex-Service Welfare (DESW) reveling in denying emoluments of War Widows? Is she and ISI agent?
  • In which country would you find the Government’s Department of Ex-Service Welfare crammed with bureaucrats without a single veteran posted to it.
  • In which country would you find generalist bureaucrats sans professional military knowledge ruling the roost in MoD for years?
  • In which country would you have a swollen headed woman in MoD who says no officer lower than Brigadier rank should ring her up?
  • In which country would you find that the military is kept outside strategic decision making and continues without a national Security Strategy for 68 years?
  • In which country would you find Services Headquarters made “Attached Offices” other than a colony of a foreign power?
  • In which country would you find military personnel deliberately lowered in order of precedence year after year?
  • In which country would you find the pay and allowances of the military being brought lower than sister government services?
  • In which country would you have a DRDO directly under MoD but doesn’t bother to take MoD sanction for most projects wasting crores of rupees?
  • In which country would you find that despite consistent demands, the military is deliberately not represented in the various Pay Commissions?
  • In which country would you find military veterans fasting in the country’s capital and returning their medals and gallantry awards in disgust?
  • In which country would you find that when military veterans go to the President to return their medals with petitions written in blood, the so called Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (appointed by the political party in power) can’t muster courage to meet them?
  • In which country would you find a RRM peeking out of his cocoon to say “it is unbecoming of veterans to protest” and hide his face without meeting the veterans or finding out what their grievances are?
  • In which country would you find the MoD refusing to implement directions of the Supreme Court of the country with regard to pay and allowances of military personnel?
  • In which country would you find a former Defence Secretary and his cronies summoned in Contempt of Court by the Supreme Court of the country for not honouring its directions with respect to pay and allowances of military personnel?
  • In which country would you find that despite scores of defence scams, no bureaucrat has ever been questioned, leave aside being convicted? Wasn’t Krishan Kant the Defence Secretary during the Eurocopter and Westland Helicopter scam? Wasn’t Arvind Joshi the JS (G) and JS (Air) during the Hawk trainer deal? Didn’t Haschke’s diary lists out the appointments bribed in MoD but lid has been put on the case?
  • In which country would you a find a two cent journalist (one amongst the group branded “intellectual prostitutes” by John Swinston of New York Times) briefed to publish a false story of an attempted military coup?1

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch ​(Veteran- Special Forces, Indian Army​)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Monday, September 1, 2014

01 Sep 2014

Sh. Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
New Delhi -110001


Dear Prime Minister,

This is in continuation of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) letter dated 14 Aug 2014 and   22 Aug 2014.  This is the third letter, I am writing to you on behalf of the Ex-Servicemen and Defence family pensioners Fraternity to request you to fulfil your assurances given to them during your Election Rallies which were also reflected in the BJP Manifesto.  

Mr. Prime Minister one of our Ex-Servicemen Maj Gen  K M Bhimaya (Retd)  visited Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library at Springfield Illinois and came across a priceless peace of tribute to the US Army Veterans by the Decatur Review (May 31, 1893).  I would like to share with you the excerpts from the above piece which the General has shared with us.  After reading the piece. I am sure you will  feel  deep inside, the obligation of the Nation towards its Martyrs and Living soldiers  both serving and retired and their members of families :-

“Every soldier who placed himself on the deadly altar is as deserving of credit as if he had died there. The truest way to honor the dead is to rightly appreciate the living. The returned veteran who is healthy and beyond need and to whom the nation is largely indebted does not ask charity at the hands of the government he served, but it is not too much to ask that the pension laws shall be so perfected and so administered that none of our worthy comrades and their families shall be left to suffer for the comforts of life.”

Sir, we were very sure that you at the helm of affairs of the Govt will undo the injustice done to the Defence Forces by successive Govts for the past 67 years.  Our status and inter-se-equations with other Central Services have been systematically downgraded since 26 Jan 1950. 

 One Rank One Pension as per the accepted definitions ie “Pensions as on 01.04.2014 of defence personnel will be paid to all past pensioners with same rank and same years of service and the future enhancements in the rates of pensions will also be passed on to the past pensioners” as assured by you starting with Rewari Rally, has not been implemented even six months after its sanction.

 The Defence Fraternity is rather surprised to know that the bureaucrats have as “Red Herring” brought in the hurdle of Finances and are trying to create confusion by giving a twist to the very definition of OROP.  At the time of giving approval to the concept of OROP and issuing executive orders for the same, it was clearly mentioned that funds required for the same will be made available.  Then, sir, why, the Draft Govt Letter (DGL) prepared by the Service HQs which has been correctly prepared as per the Govt executive orders has, not yet been issued?

May we request you to kindly issue instructions to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) exactly as per the approved definition the earliest please? What we understand from your policies and manifesto that your Government will ensure stronger military and would raise the morale of Armed Forces Personnel by respecting them and giving them their dues. Sir, Armed Forces personnel look up to the veterans as their future life and see them as their guide and philosopher. Well being of  Ex-servicemen will raise morale of serving soldiers many notches high.  

Any further delay, will cause disillusionment amongst the Ex-Servicemen towards the BJP and its Govt. 

    With regards,

Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Chairman IESM
Mob: +919312404269, 0124-4110570
Email ID:

Copy to
General Dalbir Singh                                
PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC                       Chief of the Army Staff
Integrated HQs of  Ministry of Defence (Army)
South Block, New Delhi-110011

For Information please.
Air Chief Marshal Arup  Raha 
PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC                                       Chief of the Air Staff &
 Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee (CoSC),       Integrated HQs of MoD ( Air Force) 
Vayu Bhawan, New Delhi 110011

Admiral R K Dhowan 
PVSM, AVSM, YSM,                                           Chief of the Naval Staff                             Integrated HQs of MoD (Navy)          
South Block, New Delhi -110011
(Source- BC Vasundhara blog)