Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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Meeting of UFESM with Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, GOI, at 1600 hrs on 24 Nov 2015 at North Block, New Delhi

1. A delegation of United Front of Ex Servicemen Movement (UFESM) comprising the following met Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister at his North Block Chamber, New Delhi and presented a Memorandum on various issues of concern to Ex Servicemen on OROP Notification issued by GOI:
a. Lt Col Dinesh Nain – Secretary General
b. Sgt VN Mishra – Vice President
c. Cmde Sudheer Parakala – Chief Coord South Zone
d. Brig SKS Rana – Rep North Zone
e. Cpl Vijay Kumar – Member
f. PO Dhani Chand – Member
g. Hav Ishwar Singh – Member
h. Lt Gen Raj Kadyan – Advisor
2. The delegation was well received by Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Finance Minister without any Bureaucrats. The Members were introduced to him. It is the first time that Brig Rana and Cmde Sudheer Parakala represented Tri Service Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (TSEWA) during the meeting at FM level under the umbrella of UFESM on the subject of OROP Notification.
3. Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, Advisor, UFESM, informed the FM that more than 138 ESM organisations have come together and formed UFESM. On a query from FM, it was clarified that UFESM has got nothing to do with the activities of IESM at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

4. It was decided to present the three main concerns of UFESM so that the effort is not diluted on minor issues like the Effective Date and Base Year. The details of the three points that were included in the Memorandum are given in the succeeding paragraphs.

5. Periodicity of Equalisation of Pension. It was highlighted that OROP definition as given in Koshiyari Committee report and accepted on the floor of the House is “OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces Personnel retiring in the same Rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners”. Since after the VI Pay Commission, the salaries and consequently the pensions have been increasing by 3% every year, the pension must also be revised every year and not every five years as given in the notification.

6. Fixing of the Bench Mark. It was pointed out that the Notification talked of fixing the Benchmark up to which the past pensioners of the same Rank and same service are to be brought, based on the mean of minimum and maximum of the pension scale in a particular year. Since the pensions already being received are to be protected, it would imply that those already above the mean would continue to get the existing pensions which would lead to one rank and many pensions thereby violating the very definition and spirit of OROP.

7. Pre-Mature Retirement. It was pointed out that there are various categories of Defence Personnel who seek retirement and presumably may require different yardstick to be applied to these categories of personnel. The FM was requested to issue suitable amendments to the Notification elucidating the policy on this.

8. The FM gave a patient hearing on the above points and suggested that the points may be referred to the Judicial Commission. However the representatives stated that since the report of commission will only be recommendatory in nature and since the Ministry is competent to take a decision, it would be appreciated if these points were not left to the commission. The FM assured that the suggestions would be looked into on the file.

9. Single Ladies.The Members also highlighted the plight of single ladies who get very meagre pension and that they were unable to make both ends meet. The FM appreciated various aspects brought out by the delegation and assured to examine all the issues. He added that the burden on the Finances on OROP and VII Pay Commission exceeds 3% of GDP as against intended 2.5% and this will have an adverse effect on the development. The Advisor informed that a separate meeting would be sought to discuss the anomalies in the VII Pay Commission to which the FM agreed and said that his Ministry is examining the recommendations.

10. The meeting ended on a positive note because this is the first time that an ESM delegation has been met at the level of the Finance Minister.

11. The waiting electronic media was also briefed about the meeting and its outcome.

(Sudheer Parakala)
Commodore, IN (Retd)
Core Committee Member, TSEWA
24 Nov 2015.

(Source- Via e-mail) 

Committee of Experts Constituted by Defence Minister on review of litigation and redressal of grievances submits its report

Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Defence

24-November-2015 19:12 IST

The Committee of Experts constituted for review of service and pension matters including potential disputes, minimizing litigation and strengthening institutional mechanisms related to redressal of grievances submitted its Report to the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar here today. The five members Committee was constituted on the directions of the Defence Minister. 

The Committee thanked the Minister for taking a historic step for the first time to minimize litigation and grievances in the Ministry of Defence so that the focus could remain on the core issues of governance and administration. It also thanked Shri Parrikar for ensuring that there was no interference in the Committee’s functioning and for encouraging the panel to come up with honest, dispassionate and objective observations without fear or favour. 

The Committee’s approach remained to identify practical on-ground solutions to reduce litigation, especially appeals, and steps towards reduction of heartburn, maintenance of harmony between employees and the establishment and balancing of rights of both parties which could lead to an increase in productivity and enable the Government to focus upon its basic responsibilities. The Committee has postulated practical, workable, reformatory and gradual solutions in its 509 page report encompassing 75 recommendations in areas concerning service and pension matters, discipline and vigilance issues, matters concerning promotions and confidential reports, military justice, issues related to civilian employees and other potential areas of disputes. 

Showing utmost sincerity and seriousness towards such issues, it was the first time after independence that a step was taken in the Ministry of Defence personally by the Defence Minister for constitution of a panel of experts who went into great detail of all such issues. 

The Members of the Committee were former Adjutant General Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, former Military Secretary Lt Gen Richard Khare, former Judge Advocate General Maj Gen T Parshad, Advocate and expert in service jurisprudence and Member of International Society of Military Law Maj Navdeep Singh and Maj DP Singh.

(Source- Via e-mail from Sandeep Pandit)

Saturday, November 14, 2015


OROP row: Burning medals insult to the nation, says Parrikar; Kejriwal backs veterans

The OROP row escalated with Def Minister Manohar Parrikar terming attempts by veterans to burn medals as an insult to the nation and asked the protesting ex-servicemen to prove there was no political motive behind their stir even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal voiced support to them.
  • Parrikar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The OROP row escalated with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar terming attempts by veterans to burn medals as an insult to the nation and asked the protesting ex-servicemen to prove there was no political motive behind their stir even as Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal voiced support to them.
"If I say something, it will become an allegation. Let them prove that it is not political," Parrikar told reporters inArakkonam in Tamil Nadu when asked if he saw a political link to continuing agitation despite the government's response and notification on One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
He said the medals are a recognition of the nation for the sacrifice done by the armed forces. "Burning and returning them is an insult to the nation and the defence forces," Parrikarsaid.
The minister's comments come in the wake of a section of the ex-service personnel expressing dissatisfaction on the ground that the OROP notification has not fully met their demands.
The government had this month formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country. "Medals are a recognition of bravery, for the service to the nation. It has nothing to do with service conditions whereas OROP is about service conditions. It does not say you are entitled for medals, it talks about service conditions like your pay and entitlement," Parrikar said.
His comments came on a day when Kejriwal visited the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar wearing a cap and T-shirt with OROP slogans.
He asked the Centre to implement OROP for the veterans in its "true spirit" rejecting its recent notification in this regard.
Kejriwal, who spoke to the media near the makeshift stage of the protesting veterans, however, he did not address the gathering as he was asked not to make any "political statement" by Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who is spearheading the movement.
"The government notification is a farce because it is not in its true spirit. Please don't fool the veterans. Implement OROP as per its definition. They are not begging but asking for their rights. It is unfortunate that the country's soldiers are fighting for their rights on the streets," Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister also tweeted his support for the ex- servicemen saying all their demands are "logical" and that the BJP-led Centre has been "unjust" to them. "Centre shud immediately accept their demands."
The protesting ex-servicemen had earlier met Kejriwal and briefed him about the "shortcomings" in the OROP notification.
(Source- DNA News

Friday, November 13, 2015



Reckless belligerence on the one hand, an overdose of political chicanery on the other, and the moral cowardice of the “silent majority” in backing off rather than injecting sanity into the stand-off have blended to ensure that OROP heads the list of four-letters words dominating the national discourse. When some veterans sought to burn their medals on Diwali they only succeeded in ensuring that lingering traces of the reputed military ethos went up in smoke - but hardly “seen” in an already polluted atmosphere. No one can dispute the old soldiers have grievances; resorting to desperate publicity-seeking ploys renders them no different from municipal workers suspending garbage-collection to press demands.
That cracks have developed in the veterans’ ranks, that an officer-jawan divide is evident ought to have caused the Jantar Mantar agitators (are they truly representative?) to review tactics, if not re-work strategy. Alerting photographers to the medal-burning bid and a march to Rashtrapati Bhawan without being granted an appointment by the Supreme Commander are blots on olive-green and both shades of military-blue. Blots that must impact discipline, the chain of command and the significance of “gongs” among those still “serving the colours.” Attempting to curry favour with Opposition parties negates the apolitical tradition of the armed services. The devious attempt to project the government as anti-soldier is dangerous: recall that it took little “poison” to trigger the post-Bluestar revolt in some Army units, or the Air Force mutiny over a Pay Commission award in the mid-1990s.

The administrative inefficiency and inconsistency of the Modi government is re-confirmed by the OROP impasse. If the notification issued last week is indeed the government’s final position why did Manohar Parrikar not muster the guts to issue a formal statement rather than leave it to the Prime Minister to claim the issue had been “resolved”? And what was the “window” the Prime Minister left open during another overly-publicised Diwali with the jawans? Are the goal-posts being shifted, as alleged? Yet it is understandable that no government, not even one yet to come to terms with a political battering, will allow itself to succumb to the kind of pressure the veterans are mounting. And that is where the silence of a vast number of former “generals” is deafening, even demeaning. Before the confrontation snowballed some ex-chiefs ought to have played a more prominent role, averted the agitation from “skidding”. Having done so little, the impression in non-military circles is that they are waiting in the wings for what goodies the agitation will yield while sanctimoniously avoiding getting their hands dirty. In “civvy street” the image conjured up of a military vet is no longer of the likes of Cariappa, Manekshaw, Pereira and Arjan Singh… It has been replaced by the Jantar Mantar brigade.


India may soon have Chief of Defence Staff

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry is deliberating on creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post, a fourstar General position. If implemented, it would be the first major military reform by the BJP government apart from changes made in procurement process. 

Sources have told ET that the issue of appointing a CDS to promote jointness in planning, operations and modernisation of the three armed forces was revived by the ministry and the formula being worked out could lead to the creatio .. 
could lead to the creation of a fourth four-star General. At present, the chiefs of the three armed forces are the only four-star service heads. 

While a joint structure for the three forces exists, the Chief of Integrated Staff is a three-star officer with limited authority to bring the armed forces together on critical issues like procurement, joint planning and training.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has in the past few weeks approved major changes in the procurement policy to bring it up to the demands of the services as well as the industry, is believed to be pursuing the matter closely. 

Deliberations on the matter are expected to take a few months but the government is convinced that a new post needs to be created to deal with future and current challenges that the present structure does not cater to. 
The creation of a cyber-command as well as a space command for instance — both accorded top priority by the government — would be incomplete without a chief of defence staff who would be able to bring the three services in cohesion. 

Though a firm structure has not been approved, there are indications that the first CDS could be from the Army, the largest of the three armed forces. 

While the three services would report directly to their respective chiefs, the CDS would be in charge of the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in charge of nuclear weapons, plus the upcoming cyber and space command. 

The three-star post of the Chief of Integrated Staff could then be renamed as the Vice-Chief of Defence Staff to assist the CDS