Thursday, November 27, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DEFENCE MINISTER

A former JAG officer writes to Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, asking him to ensure 'Indian Military Veterans like me command respect and dignity in my own country too, just as we do, ironically, in other democracies'.
Dear Shri Manohar Parrikar,
I write to you today after attending Veterans Day celebrations in Washington DC on November 11, 2014, as a former Indian Army Veteran. I would rather prefer calling ex-servicemen as ‘Veterans’ without giving them a feeling of gender bias or being left out as the term ‘ex’ conveys.
Having served the Indian Army, given my youth to the nation and being a third-generation Army officer I am proud to say that the qualities of ‘guts and glory’ run in my blood.
With this open letter, I intend highlighting the fact as to how Veterans are respected and revered in the United States of America, which I never witnessed back home in my own country. This, I say with conviction after having a first-hand experience at various events, which reflect the honor meted out to the Veterans of the Armed Forces. The country and its citizens do not give any differential treatment to non-US Veterans like me. Rather the kind of attention and respect I have received here as a Veteran is applaudable.
The Veterans Day Celebrations made me feel how American citizens (including civilians) were proud of their soldiers who defend their borders. Each person who knew that I had served my nation came to appreciate my role and hugged me. I wonder why our Indian civilian population would not pay attention to the soldiers who have sacrificed their youth for India. The root cause for all this is that we do not glorify the important role of our Armed Forces in the World Wars and respective wars in the annals of history in the curriculum taught at school level.
Are our men and women in uniform only to be remembered for a short attention span? They are called only on occasions such as Republic Day and when in dire straits especially during natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquake for relief work. Not to mention the ‘aid to civil authority’ in times of domestic turmoil just because the local police and administrative authorities (the so called babus) could not handle the situation.
I would like to emphasize that USA has special programs and scholarships (yellow ribbon program) to encourage veterans to continue their higher studies. Please note that this scheme is alike for officers and troops. One such example is yours truly.
I am presently pursuing my Masters of Laws in a top ranking US Law School and the University has awarded me at par scholarship as a foreign veteran. There are various networking events and recruiting workshops that are conducted only for the veterans.
The US Veterans face the same myths of ‘irrelevant experience’ and ‘rigidity in thought and action’ while moving to the civilian world however the US government and its policies make the transition simpler. The US Department of Veterans Affairs and other authorities as well as universities make the Veterans’ ride smooth to move from the battlefield to the boardroom. US Companies receive tax benefits on hiring Veterans. It is pertinent to mention that US troops (not just officers) have been making a mark in the corporate arena by displaying their leadership qualities.
My concern at this point in time is that why our Armed Forces personnel are not glorified for their heroic acts. Our soldiers have been fighting in the toughest terrains possible in this world.
Why are the Veterans treated like a ‘burden’ by the serving officers and the Ministry of Defense? Why does a Veteran have to struggle to get his paltry sum of disability pension by resorting to long drawn and expensive litigation doing rounds of Armed Forces Tribunal and higher Courts? Why are the majority of appeals filed by the Ministry of Defense in the Supreme Court against their own disabled soldiers and old pensioners? Why are you- the decision makers, shielded and insulated from the real problems suffered by the veteran stakeholders and made to sign on the dotted line wherever the military or civilian bureaucracy wants resulting in unilateral decisions which are forcibly imposed?
Why do you not directly get to hear the authentic voice of the Veterans and the problems that they are facing? Why is the status of military personnel on a constant decline in the official pecking order? Why are there not enough continuing legal programs for our soldiers except the antiquated vocational courses of Director General of Resettlement? Why is the Kendriya Sainik Board not being pro-active on policies on Veterans? Is showing an agenda on paper enough?
I say this not as a disgruntled Veteran but as a responsible former officer of Judge Advocate General’s Department who has served in the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defense and worked with these institutions closely.
May I also remind you that your party in its manifesto had promised minimizing appeals against soldiers with respect to the rulings rendered in their favor by judicial bodies, an issue which was also strongly raised by Ms Smriti Irani when she was in opposition, however sadly nothing seems to have moved in that direction, there being not even an iota of change in the attitude of the Ministry in the said regard.
I request you, as the new Defense Minister, to implement progressive policies for all Armed Forces personnel (not just officers but also the troops) and Veterans of the three Forces.
As for the Indian citizens to look up in awe towards the Indian soldier and appreciate the role of Armed Forces at all times, this change in attitude and thought has to be instilled in the minds of the younger generation by highlighting the glory of the Forces. This is also the reason for the low rate of selections in the Armed Forces in the past few years at the Commissioned Officer level.
My country has the third largest Army and an equally capable Air Force and Navy, that craves for attention and respect for the valor it has shown over the ages.
It is for you to take a call on this Raksha Mantri Ji, it is for you to ensure that Indian Military Veterans like me command respect and dignity in my own country too, just as we do, ironically, in other democracies.
Sincerely,
Loveleen Kaur Mann

Former Captain,
Judge Advocate General’s Department
Indian Army


ABOUT LOVELEEN KAUR MANN


Loveleen Kaur Mann
Loveleen Kaur Mann is a former JAG officer of the Indian Army. She has conducted various Courts-martial independently and handled critical litigation on behalf of Union of India before the Armed Forces Tribunal and Supreme Court of India. Currently she is pursuing her International Legal Studies LLM at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC. Her focus is on War Crimes and International Criminal Procedure. She has been nominated as the Global Teaching Fellow 2015 and will teach the Laws of Terrorism and Asylum.

(SOURCE- STRATPOST.COM)


OROP will be implemented once the modalities are approved: Latest statement in Rajya Sabha



The principle of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces has been accepted by the Government. The modalities for implementation were discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration of the Government.  It will be implemented once themodalities are approved by the Government.: MoD's reply in Rajya Sabha on undermentioned Starred Question

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF  DEFENCE
RAJYA SABHA
QUESTION NO  31
ANSWERED ON  25.11.2014
Implementation of One Rank One Pension policy

31
SHRI SUKHDEV SINGH DHINDSA
Will the Minister of DEFENCE be pleased to satate :-

(a) whether Government’s decision to
 grant pension to the retired personnel of the Defence Forces as per “One Rank-One Pension (OROP)” formula has since been implemented; if so, the details thereof;

(b) if not, the reasons for the delay; and

(c) by when this scheme is likely to be implemented?
ANSWER
   
MINISTER OF DEFENCE (SHRI MANOHAR PARRIKAR)


STATEMENT IN RESPECT OF PARTS (a) TO (c) OF RAJYA SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO.31 FOR 25.11.2014 REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION POLICY.
(a)   to (c) :  The principle of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces has been accepted by the Government.  The modalities for implementation were discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration of the Government.  It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the Government.

(Source- CG Employee tools)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Disability pension of jawan stuck for years, Tribunal calls Defence Secy for hearing

The Principal Bench of the AFT has ordered the Defence Secretary and Secretary (Finance) of the MOD to be present in the court at the next date of hearing in a case where the orders of the tribunal regarding disability pension of a jawan have not been implemented even four years after they were passed.

In fact, such has been the attitude of the authorities in the case of disability pension of a Sepoy that despite several orders and imposing costs on two different occasions of the government officials, the orders of the AFT were not complied with. Finally, the Principal Bench, comprising Justice Prakash Tatia, chairperson of the tribunal and the administrative member Lt Gen Sanjiv Langer were left with no option but to order the personal appearance of the Defence secretary and the Secretary (Finance) on the next date of hearing if the orders are still not complied by then.

It was in April 2010, that the petitioner, Sepoy Ram Chandra, was allowed the disability pension. However, he was granted only “disability element of pension” and not given the service element of pension by the government. The petitioner, who got the relief, has not been able to get the benefit of the Tribunal’s order till date.

The bench had imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on one of the officials at one hearing and then an additional cost of Rs 10,000 on the Director (Legal) of the MOD in April this year and asked the Director (PS-IV-Legal) to be remain present before it on May 5, 2014. However, the Director did not even appear on the date of hearing and nor seek any exemption. The bench then imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 upon the Director (PS-IV-Legal), to be paid personally.

In the latest hearing on Monday, the bench observed that “Since the order of the Tribunal dated April 12, 2010 has not been executed for more than four years in spite of orders imposing cost and the cost imposed upon the officer himself and despite sending a copy of the order May 4, 2014 order to the Secretary (Finance), Ministry of Defence, and the Defence Secretary. Therefore, we are left with no option except to direct the Secretary (Finance), Ministry of Defence, and the Defence Secretary to remain present before us on December 2, 2014 if the order is not implemented before that date and if the proceedings are not initiated for finding out the guilty officer who delayed the implementation of the Tribunal order”.

(Source- Indian Express)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Manohar Parrikar needs to modernize military arsenal on a war footing







NEW DELHI: It was a no-brainer that the gigantic defence ministry, with its complexities and national security imperatives, required a full-time Raksha Mantri. It was all the more critical after eight years of a "holding operation" by the risk-averse A K Antony. When he took "additional charge" of defence in May, finance minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that it was a stopgap arrangement. 

Now, that Manohar Parrikar is the new defence minister, Jaitley will not have to divide his attention between North and South Blocks. Jaitley has done some ground work, which ranges from clearing several long-pending projects worth Rs 1,20,000 crore to pushing for indigenous manufacture of helicopters to submarines. Apart from a nuanced blacklisting policy to replace the older indiscriminate one, the FDI cap in defence production too has been raised to 49% from the earlier 26%. But it'll take a lot more to ensure Modi's 'Make in India' rhetoric is actually translated into concrete action on the ground to build a robust defence industry base. India cannot afford to remain in the strategically-vulnerable position of being the world's largest arms importer, sourcing over 65% of its military hardware from abroad. 

Forces continue to battle operational shortages, from submarines, fighters and helicopters to howitzers, air defence weapons and night-vision devices, despite India having spent Rs 83,458 crore on importing weapons in the last three years. Then, systemic reforms are required to revamp the country's moribund higher defence management. There is need to bridge the civil-military divide by integrating Service HQs with the MoD, create tri-Service commands for space, cyber and special operations, streamline cum- bersome arms procurement procedures, and overhaul the tardy functioning of DRDO and its 50 labs, five defence PSUs, four shipyards and 39 ordnance factories. 

The pace of border infrastructure development is another vital matter. Only 18 of the 73 "strategic'' roads, identified for construction along the Line of Actual Control with China a decade ago, have been completed till now. Construction of the 14 "strategic" railway lines is yet to kick off. There are also the highly- emotive issues like the National War Memorial or the yet-to-be-implemented policy of one-rank, one-pension for 14 lakh serving and almost 30 lakh retired military person- nel spread across the country. 

(Source- toi)

PM launches Jeevan Pramaan – Digital Life Certificate for Pensioners

Monday, November 10, 2014


PM launches Jeevan Pramaan – Digital Life Certificate for Pensioners

Huge relief for senior citizens who have to produce Life Certificates each year to continue receiving pension

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today launched “Jeevan Pramaan” – an “Aadhar-based Digital Life Certificate” for pensioners, in a move that could eventually benefit over a crore pensioners. The Prime Minister said that after the push towards self-certification, this digital life certificate was another enabling mechanism which would benefit the common man.


The proposed digital certification will do away with the requirement of a pensioner having to submit a physical Life Certificate in November each year, in order to ensure continuity of pension being credited into his account. The Department of Electronics and IT has developed a software application which will enable the recording of the pensioner`s Aadhar number and biometric details from his mobile device or computer, by plugging in a biometric reading device. Key details of the pensioner, including date, time, and biometric information will be uploaded to a central database on real-time basis, ultimately enabling the Pension Disbursing Agency to access a Digital Life Certificate. This will conclusively establish that the pensioner was alive at the time of authentication.

The earlier requirement entailed that a pensioner either personally presents himself before the Pension Disbursing Agency, or submits a Life Certificate issued by authorities specified by the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO).

At present, 50 lakh individuals draw pension from the Central Government alone. A similar number draw pension from State and Union Territory Governments. Several PSUs also provide pension benefits. Over 25 lakh retired personnel draw pension from the Armed Forces. The Aadhar-Based Digital Life Certificate will go a long way in reducing hardship which so many senior citizens have to go through to produce a Life Certificate every year.

The software application system will be made available to pensioners and other stakeholders on a large scale at no extra cost. It can be operated on a personal computer or a smartphone, along with an inexpensive biometric reading device. This facility will also be made available at Common Service Centres being operated under the National e-Governance Plan, for the benefit of pensioners residing in remote and inaccessible areas.

Source: PIB News

బడ్జెటులో మాజీ సైనికులకు 5 కోట్ల 20 లక్షల రూపాయల కేటాయింపు


(Source-eenaadu)

తెలంగాణా ప్రభుత్వం తమ మొట్ట మొదటి బడ్జెటులో  మాజీ సైనికుల సంక్షేమానికి గాను 5 కోట్ల 20 లక్షల  రూపాయల  కేటాయింపు చేసినందుకు గాను తెలంగాణా ప్రభుత్వానికి ముఖ్యంగా ముఖ్య మంత్రి శ్రీ కాల్వ కుంట్ల చంద్రశేఖర రావు గారికిహోం శాఖామాత్యులు శ్రీ నాయిని నరసింహారెడ్డి గారికి మరియుఆర్ధికశాఖామాత్యులు శ్రీ ఈటెల రాజేందర్ గార్లకు తెలంగాణా రాష్ట్ర మాజీ సైనికుల సమాఖ్యహైదరాబాదుసెక్రటరీ జనరల్  జి వెంకట నారాయణ  హర్షం  వ్యక్తం  చేస్తూ ధన్యవాదములు  తెలుపుతున్నారు. 

Cabinet Expansion: Manohar Parrikar Gets Defence, Suresh Prabhu Gets Railways

Cabinet Expansion: Manohar Parrikar Gets Defence, Suresh Prabhu Gets Railways
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Council of Ministers
NEW DELHI After an expansion and reshuffle of the Narendra Modi cabinet on Sunday, Manohar Parrikar is the country's new Defence Minister and Suresh Prabhu will hold the Railways portfolio. They were among 21 new ministers sworn in on Sunday.

(Source- NDTV)