Saturday, June 25, 2016

IAF Makes a Child Pilot For A Day

My dear friends,

A great job done by IAF and Air Force Station, Sulur---a salute to you all Air Warriors!!!                                        




I am army officer retired in 1994 and would like to share with my veteran country mates something. 

Our niece stays at Chicago, USA and we decided to visit her, which we could not do it earlier. On 14.05.2016, I &my wife reached Chicago on a 2 month sojourn. 
When we landed in Chicago, there were three other heavy duty aircraft which also landed each having 350 to 400 passengers. By the time we could arrive at the point of immigration department, there were around 1200 people ahead of us. We were wondering as to how long we have to stand in the queue for immigration and customs clearance.
As we were standing in the line, I enquired from the uniformed airport homeland security staff if there was any separate queue for the Veterans. He looked at me and took me to the Supdt of customs and immigration. The Supdt asked me if I was carrying any Identity card and then I showed my Retired Officers Identity Card. After a glance at the card he took us to an enclosure and asked us to wait there. 

Within minutes an young lady in uniform arrived and enquired from me “Sir, were you identified as a Veteran?” When I replied in affirmative she took me to the serpentine long line seen by me earlier and most reverently placed me and my wife at the top of the queue ahead of those 1200 people who were ahead of us when we joined the line. She then went ahead and met the official stamping the passports with Visa immigration stamps and whispered something in the ears of this official who looked at us. 

After he finished the stamping formalities of the person ahead of us, he gestured at us. As I approached the immigration stamping official he stood up from his chair and appreciated my embroidered regimental cap that I was wearing. Very politely he asked for our passport, had a quick check, completed the biometric check, on finishing the formalities, he quietly affixed immigration stamp and then instantly added respectfully, “Welcome to USA, Sir and have an enjoyable stay here. Customs is waived for you, please go and collect your luggage from the belt and proceed ahead to the exit door.”  

And that was the respect they show to a veteran of another country.
30th May of every year is observed as Memorial Day throughout USA. It is a day dedicated in the memory of brave hearts who have fallen while protecting the unity and integrity of the country and in the service of the nation. The Veterans are given the due respect and remembrance for protecting them against all external and internal adversaries working against the national interest. The day is observed as a National Holiday. 

Oblivious of the importance and significance of the day, we were in the market going through the grandiose of the products in various stores. In one of the stores we bought some items and when I came to the counter for paying the bills, the attendant looked at my cap, hesitated for a splitting second and enquired if I am a Veteran? I replied in the affirmative, and he checked my credit card where my name starts with my rank and then he promptly announced – “Sir, 15% discount for the respected Veterans on Memorial Day! We are indeed grateful to the Veterans.”

We had to travel a lot across the country and for domestic air travellers very stringent security measures are adopted in all airports. I am very happy to say that many a times the security personnel at the airports gave me and my wife a broad coloured paper on which priority and expedited security check was written and we were told not to remove shoes and jackets and head gear we were wearing and eased through the body check booth.

At San Diego Sea World water-park where killer whale shows are held, the Director of the park came on the stage and announced if there are any Veterans in the audience and he made a specific mention that not only US Veterans but Veterans from all other countries are included in the count. There were 15 veterans in the audience of around 650 people and when all 15 of us stood up, the entire amphi-theatre erupted into a clamour for clapping which continued for good five minutes. 

Then the Director announced, “We are so very happy that you all are with us today. We are safe because of you and your mates. This show is dedicated to you!" There was tumultuous clapping thereafter.

The point I am making is the quantum of honour and respect these people bestow on people of Defence background to show their gratitude, love and affection for the sung and unsung heroes who had withstood like a rock against all efforts for disrupting the integrity of the country and humbled every possible attempt for disintegration of their nation. 

A true homage indeed!! 

Wish we had some steps like this nature in our beloved country to recognise and appreciate the sacrifices made by us!!!


Friday, June 24, 2016


Rarely in One's Life, one may get to serve the Marshal of the Air Force. 
What an Honour for both!

(Source- AFA Facebook page)

Sly machinations of the officialdom can reduce Political Executive and the Higher Bureaucracy to a naught (Published @ The Quint) by Vet Maj Navdeep Singh

File noting initiators are experts at deriving incorrect decisions from the political executive which may militate against the broad stated policy of the Government. Political will, thus, must be imposed with an iron hand.Navdeep Singh

Having dealt with litigation and public policy for long, one thing that constantly bothers me is the lack of proper inputs to the political executive and even to the senior bureaucracy finally leading to improper decisions which do not reflect the collective will of the Government but only the personal opinions and limited understanding, or lack thereof, of the army of section officers and under secretaries who initiate file notings, ultimately resulting in issuance of policies that at times militate against the broad stated position of the Government itself. In the end, the restrictive and limited understanding of the initiators of the file notings at the lowest echelons of the Government is imposed upon millions of citizens in the form of public policy, which, good or bad, the Government later has to defend even when genuinely attacked, and which, even if realized to be imbalanced, is not usually rescinded since it becomes a prestige issue for the higher ones who signed it.

I was reminded of this disturbing reality again while going through a recent Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) on the subject of litigation, issued on 7th of June. But more on it later in this piece.

It needs no emphasis that our Courts are overburdened with litigation, especially appeals and challenges initiated by the Government and its instrumentalities. The Government, over the years, has become a compulsive litigant rather than a responsible one. The reason is simple- the Government is faceless and responsibility is seldom fixed on individual personalities, and there is no personal financial pain involved since it is the taxpayers’ money that is squandered on litigation.

Alive to this, the Prime Minister commendably conveyed to various departments that such litigation should be decreased and even disputes within various departments and Ministries should be resolved. The Law Minister further, as he has made publicly known, is trying to tune-up a new National Litigation Policy, which besides other measures, would be attempting to curb irresponsible litigation initiated by the Government and its agencies.

But the situation on ground is quite hazy. One latest example of this condition is the above mentioned Office Memorandum. To put it crudely, the said circular, by a sleight of hand, wants to put to naught the efforts of the current regime, the endeavour of the Law Minister and even honest legal opinion recorded on file.

Since on many occasions, when Courts render decisions which are perceivably against policy as interpreted by DoPT, the Law Ministry opines that the decision should be implemented without filing any appeal, the DoPT has found a unique solution, and that is, by way of an innocuous looking line in Paragraph 1(a) of the OM it has decided to do away with the process of referring the file to the Department of Legal Affairs of the Law Ministry altogether and rather to go in for an appeal if the matter is perceived to be against ‘policy of the DoPT’. Needless to state, this practically means that appeals shall be filed in almost all cases where positive decisions are rendered by Courts and Tribunals in favour of employees since in the first place such employees would have taken recourse to judicial remedy only when their departments would have rejected their claims based on their interpretation of ‘Government Policy’. Of course, the reality also is that more often than not, appeals and reviews are filed in employment related service matters not out of any genuine reasons or judiciousness, but out of ego and prestige. As far as litigation is concerned, the Government has always been trigger-happy, and the only speed-breaker, at times, was the candid legal advice by the Department of Legal Affairs, which is its first bounden duty under the Allocation of Business Rules, and with that now out of the way, the raging bulls of litigation are bound to have a free run putting the efforts of the Prime Minister and the Law Minister to jeopardy.

So what is the solution? The quest for an answer to this is admittedly not an easy task. But then some very basic steps can be taken:

(a) Follow a collegiate method of decision-making rather than the one-way file noting system. Make face to face meetings by the competent final authority more frequent where polices or even regular decisions affecting the public, before issuance, are thrashed out and brainstormed rather than relying upon notes put up from below. Look beyond the comfort zone of the coterie that insulates from practical ground realties.

(b) Follow a more aggressive system of stake-holder consultation to get a well-rounded view of the issue at hand. For example, on the issue of litigation or public policy, the authority empowered to take a decision, while retaining that right to take a decision, must consult all stake-holders, experts and also representatives of the affected parties so that he or she gets an unbiased 360 degree viewpoint rather than just the perspective of the official establishment. In such meetings, there exists the very useful opportunity of rebutting incorrect or imbalanced views which might go unchecked on file when there is nobody to counter them. The regular meetings of the Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) and Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) under the same DoPT are worth emulating in other spheres of policy making.  

(c) Ensure that the political will is enforced with an iron hand. India is a democracy where the desire of the political executive should reign supreme. Once a particular pro-people broad decision on public policy is taken, any projection of hurdles should not be accepted and a strong top-down approach must be maintained.

All of us must understand that since times immemorial, our governance and policy have been slaves to ego-enhancement tools of those in key positions, even if at junior levels, where the ability of creating impediments for the public or to make the masses run around in circles, are symbols of power, prestige and a perverted form of augmentation of self-esteem. In such a scenario, our Ministers must understand that officials down the chain would not want to let go of the power concentrated in a few hands- such officials thrive on the sadistic pleasure from red-tape and license-raj, they love the way they can derive decisions out of generalists and political leaders, and thus to overly rely upon such elements would be the greatest disservice to what our nation, incidentally a democracy, stands for.

India should be governed by robust policies made for public good powered by good intentioned outlook of a strong political executive, and not by the personal opinion of some bored babusitting in the corner of some dull room in Delhi wanting to impose his or her limited exposure and approach upon us. Representatives of the people must apply mind and should not be taken for a ride, you are answerable to the people, not thatbabu.

Political executive, please stand up and take charge!  

Major Navdeep Singh is a practicing Advocate in the Punjab & Haryana High Court. He was the founding President of the Armed Forces Tribunal Bar Association. He is a Member of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War at Brussels. He was also a Member of a Committee of Experts constituted by the Defence Minister on directions of the Prime Minister to reduce litigation initiated by the Ministry of Defence.









Dear Veterans,
This is in reference to my previous post on the subject and my mail to PCDA (Pensions) and DESW dated 24 May 2016, in which I have brought the errors in their knowledge, but no reply from them.
Finally today I have lodge an online complaint on pgportal vide reference number DOPPW/E/2016 /05880.
Complaint lodged and errors in table are attached herewith for the knowledge of all the veterans. I am sorry to state that we have to wait for another 7 months to file as case since date of One Man Commission on OROP has been extended till Dec 2016.
For the tables you all can understand how PCDA(P) has cheated us, even in the formula of (average of pension of Minimum & Maximum for a Rank, Same length of service & group )developed by them.

Rajeev Behal
Coordinator Punjab & Member Legal Cell
Voice of Ex-Servicemen Society Regd
9357172728 Whatsup


(Source- Voice of Pensioners society)

Reply received from MOD : Delinking revisedd pension from QS of 33 years.

Shri Manoj Sinha Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Cc: "UpendraB.Joshi OSDtoRM"

                Please refer to your e-mail dated 13.06.2016 addressed to Hon’ble RM regarding delinking of revised pension from Qualifying service of 33 years.
2.            In this regard it is stated that the issue regarding delinking of revised pension of pre-2006 Defence Pensioners  from Qualifying service of 33 years is under consideration in Ministry of Defence.

(Manoj Sinha)
Under Secretary (Pen/Pol)