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More women race to join the Navy

, by indianmilitaryveterans


More women race to join the Navy

18/02/2012
Breaking the gender barrier, more women are joining the defence forces. And, the process has got further impetus after Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala, opened its doors.

Since 2009, when PM Manmohan Singh inaugurated the academy, 174 women officers have been trained in various disciplines. As on July 2011, 413 women officers have passed out from INA.

In fact, the Navy, which began inducting women in their ranks in 1992, now has about 350 women among its 5,000-plus officers. While women were initially granted commission for seven years, it was gradually extended to 14 years.

The Passing Out Parade of the 13th Naval Orientation Course (NOC) was held at INA, Ezhimala on Dec. 3, 2011. Among 238 trainees who completed their course were 70 women.

“We recruit young girls and develop them into knowledge warriors, outstanding professionals, compassionate colleagues and, above all, responsible civilians,” vice admiral Anurag G. Thapliyal said. “(But) It will be difficult to accommodate them in the combat zone (because) it will be an embarrassing situation if a woman is caught as a prisoner of war.”

As of now, women are admitted to NOC, which lasts from six months to a year. They are then drafted into the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard, Mr Thapliyal said.

But despite all this, one grievance of women officers is that while the Army and the Air Force have agreed to reinstate woman officers and consider them for permanent commission, the Navy is yet to do it.
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Once bitten, Defence Ministry cautious on promotion policy

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Once bitten, Defence Ministry cautious on promotion policy
K. V. PRASAD of The Hindu News paper

Refers to Law Ministry issue of discretionary evaluation marks to Army officers
Once bitten — following the controversy over the age of Army Chief V.K. Singh — the Defence Ministry is cautious on the issue of promotion to Army officers. It has sought the opinion of the Law Ministry on the Army awarding discretionary evaluation marks under a promotion policy to officers being considered for senior ranks.

Defence Ministry sources said the decision was taken after the Army sent a list of officers for promotion from Brigadiers to Majors General and Majors General to Lieutenants General based on the promotion boards held during October last with grading that includes discretionary marks.

Army sources said they were awaiting a decision which had been pending for over four months amid the possibility that some recommended officers would be entering the zone of retirement. As per rules, a Brigadier would have to retire on attaining the age of 56 and a Major General on reaching 58.

As per the evaluation marks policy, the collegium consisting of the Army Chief, the Vice-Chief and Army commanders has the discretion of awarding up to 5 marks to a candidate being considered for promotion while the rest 95 are quantified on the basis of work and achievements and other parameters during the service period.

Army sources said that while the evaluation marks had been in place for the last few years, including in the other two Services, the Defence Ministry had sought to question it. However, Ministry sources said that in the light of how the controversy over the date of birth of the Army Chief played out, the government is keen to ensure that everything is in black and white and there are no grey areas leading to litigation.
Defence Ministry cautious on promotion policy

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A military succession plot fine tuned by bureaucracy

, by indianmilitaryveterans



How Can Great Oaks Sway With The Wind?
When he was a lieutenant general, V.K. Singh gave it in writing that he had faith in his army chief. This cannot be construed as ‘acceptance’ of a wrog DoB.



An error had been made regarding the date of birth of my father at the time of filling up the UPSC form when he had applied for admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA). This was detected instantly and certain steps were taken to correct the year of birth even before he joined the academy. In fact, he reported 13 days late to the NDA as the date was being sor­ted out. This was obviously taken due note of, for all NDA records then showed his year of birth as 1951. Three years later, when he moved from the NDA to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), he was told to write the date of birth as in the UPSC form. He pointed out that this had been corrected and was told that this would be verified by a board of officers. The pre-commission advisory board checked and verified his particulars; his IMA ident­ity card and his record of service duly sta­ted that he was born in 1951. For the next few decades, ever since his commissioning into the army, his year of birth in all records, whether in the military secretariat or the adjutant general’s branch, was 1951. The only exception was the Army List, which is published keeping the original UPSC form as reference point. Even in this case, as the date of birth had to be verified against the school-leaving certificate, the entry was erroneous.

On May 3, 2006, 19 days after the results of the selection board for lieutenant generals had been declassified, the military secretary at the time, Lt Gen Richard Khare, first wrote to Gen V.K. Singh claiming there was a discrepancy in the records of the two branches. This set off a chain of events that eventually led to the army chief first filing a statutory complaint and then referring the matter to the Supreme Court.

On February 3, 2012, the SC, in its wisdom, castigated the government, stating that the due process of natural justice had not been followed and the process had been “vitiated” in addressing the army chief’s statutory complaint. The attorney general at that time asked for an adjournment, which was granted. During the second hearing, a week later, the attorney general started proceedings by submitting an affidavit by way of which it withdrew its order dated December 30, 2011, that rejected the statutory complaint. In view of the government's move, and the praise about the general’s professional and personal conduct, our lawyer felt there was no point in pressing the matter further, especia­lly since the court had made it clear that in light of the government’s stance, there was nothing further to be discussed from a legal point of view. As a citizen of India, the army chief has already expressed his grateful thanks to the learned judges of the apex court for addressing the issue.

***

My Ambition

I don’t want to be,
A wealthy man,
Nor I want to be,
A working man.

I want to be,
A great soldier,
Fighting on the front,
with a gun on my shoulder,

I want to die for,
My great, beloved nation,
And for my enemy,
I shall have no compassion,

I want to let the
Chinese know
That Indians can die,
For their Motherland.

(A poem written by Gen V.K. Singh as a Std VIII student, culled from his school magazine)

***

The order passed by the court is not ambiguous in its content. I am bitterly disappointed at the deliberate spin given in the media to the proceedings in the court, which in my view and understanding are quite contrary to what the honourable judges have said in their order. Firstly, the order does not uphold an error in the threshold document, nor does it say anything about the legality of either of the two dates of birth. There’s also nothing to suggest that the so-called ‘acceptance letters’ exist. While it is true that these points came up during the hearing—as did many other statements, which include the much talked about “wise men move with the wind” remark of the judges—but these were arguments that in my understanding cannot be confused with the order passed by the learned judges.

If the government had not withdrawn its order of December 30 concerning my father’s statutory appeal, the arguments in the court would have had a different flavour and intensity and all the facts given above would have come into play, requiring adjudication. But this did not happen, and my father’s critics have gone to town, repeatedly harping that there are three occasions when he had “moved with the wind” and given acceptance letters to the year of birth being 1950. This is blatantly untrue, and I would like to set the record straight.

Contrary to what is being projected, there has never been any such ‘acceptance letter’. In 2006, he was perhaps the only serving lieutenant general in the history of the nation to be asked to furnish a fresh date of birth prior to being cleared for appointment as a corps commander. This despite the fact that just a few weeks prior to that, the military secretariat branch records had cleared him for promotion based on a 1951 year of birth. The then army chief, Gen J.J. Singh, my father’s chief at the time, had categorically told him that there was merely a clerical discrepancy in the records. This would be sorted out, and for that he needed to accept that he had faith in the army chief’s decisions. This would be in the interest of the organisation, as it was otherwise holding up the appointments of all corps commanders. Once the army chief had this letter, it was projected to the defence ministry that there was an ‘acceptance letter’ procured from my father, acknowledging the year of birth as 1950. The fact that my father, then a lieutenant general, continued to ask the military secretariat branch even after that how and why the army chief had been advised to make him declare a new year of birth underlines the fact that in 2006 there was no such ‘acceptance’.

The question that needs to be asked of the then army chief, the military secretary (Lt Gen Khare) and the judge advocate general (Maj Gen Nilender Kumar), who together initiated what was clearly not the standard operating procedure in 2006, is: Why did they make an exception in this case only? These gentlemen have found immunity in red tape, aided perhaps by some deft management of the media, which has sidestepped this question, while my father is accused of “bending with the wind”. In my view, this is where the injustice lies.

As for the second and third ‘acceptance’ letters, it is loos­ely being said they had been written in 2008 and 2009. This immediately begs the question that if there was a ‘first acceptance’ letter, then, what was the need for a second and a third one to be asked for? The situation here is slightly more complex. The army chief at this point of time was Gen Deepak Kapoor and the military secretary Lt Gen Avdhesh Prakash. It is a well known fact that these two gentlemen, both professionally and otherwise, differed sharply from my father (then a lieutenant general) and if the former had his way, my father would not have headed the Eastern Command. Professionally, there was nothing that could be used by the army chief to damage my father, so the ‘age issue’ was once again raked up to provoke him into disobeying a direct order to accept an incorrect year of birth. The army chief is the most powerful man in the army and a series of letters were written which have to be seen in their entirety to get the complete picture. Opinions should not be based on an isolated sentence which cites “the larger organisational interest”. Had this logic been true—that Lt Gen V.K. Singh ‘accepted’ the year of birth as 1950 so as to head the Eastern Command and later become army chief—he would have shut the cupola and not stirred the issue at all during his tenure as eastern army commander before taking over as the chief. However, he continued to write to the military secretary (Lt Gen Prakash), going systematically along accepted lines of redressing the clerical error within the army.

Honour and izzat are words that are emblazoned on a soldier’s heart. Apart from being the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh, I too am an army wife and have seen from close quarters the man I call my father stand up for what he considers is the right thing to do.

In this rather one-sided slanging match, it is also being implied by his critics that the army chief would be better off fighting for one-rank-one-pay, war memorials, weapon systems and all the other problems that haunt the system. I am not going to get drawn into what all he has done as the army chief; that’s best left to others and that is a part of his job anyway. For me, his worldview is best encapsulated in a quote from Ernest Hemingway that he uses often: “Few men for the right cause brave the disrespect of their fellow men, the censure of their colleagues and ignorance of society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields out painfully to change.”

(Mrinalini Singh is the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh)

—as told to Chander Suta Dogra
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Kudankulam plant safe: TN panel

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Kudankulam plant safe: TN panel

Tirunelveli, February 19
The four-member committee set up by Tamil Nadu government today virtually gave a clean chit to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), saying it was well-equipped to withstand natural calamities, be it earthquake or tsunami.

Emerging from the two-hour-long talks with members of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), committee convenor S Iniyan told reporters they inspected the KNPP yesterday for more than three hours and reviewed the safety measures put in place to deal with any contingency.

"From our inspection, we have gathered that KNPP can withstand tsunami strikes as the plant is 20 feet above sea level. The reactors, which are of third generation, would automatically shut down in case of any problem," he said.

KNPP also has a passive heat removal system and high-power diesel generators to meet any situation, said the convenor, adding these safety measures had been certified by authorities concerned.

Iniyan said talks with the PMANE group, spearheading the protest against the KNPP, were "cordial", but the committee rejected their demands to hold discussions with PMANE's expert group and to meet people of the coastal villages surrounding Kudankulam. — PTI
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Govt drags ex-Vice Chief of Army to SC

, by indianmilitaryveterans


DISABILITY PENSION
Govt drags ex-Vice Chief of Army to SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 19
The government has dragged Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, who retired as Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, to the Supreme Court over a dispute involving a difference of just five per cent in the disability pension.

Gen Oberoi lost his right leg below the knee during the 1965 India-Pakistan war when he was Captain.

Subsequently, his disability was assessed at 70 per cent. He was retained in service and he rose to the rank of Lieutenant General before his retirement in 2001.

The war hero claimed 75 per cent disability pension under a February 3, 2000 government circular on rounding off of benefit. Under the circular, personnel assessed at 20-50 per cent disability would be entitled to 50 per cent disability pension.

Similarly, the extent of disability from 50 to 75 per cent would be rounded off to 75 per cent and 75 to 100 per cent disability would be treated as 100 per cent disability.

Subsequently, the Defence Ministry issued a letter on January 31, 2001 disqualifying those retiring on superannuation from getting the rounding off benefit. Another letter on January 19, 2010, clarified that rounding off would be done only for those who were prematurely released from service.

Gen Oberoi challenged the two letters before a regional Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chandigarh, at Chandimandir, which allowed his claim for 75 per cent disability pension on August 4, 2010, directing the government to make the payment within six months. Any delay in the payment would entail an interest of 8 per cent.

The government has, however, moved the SC after a delay of 429 days, challenging the AFT’s judgment. Opposing the petition on behalf of Gen Oberoi, counsel Aishwarya Bhati contended that the matter had very serious ramifications as about 2,000 such cases were pending for adjudication.

After a brief hearing on February 17, a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad tagged the petition with other similar cases and sought the response of Gen Oberoi.

In the appeal, the government contended that the AFT’s ruling was in violation of several SC verdicts, holding that there was a clear distinction between those invalidated out of service and those discharged from service on completion of tenure for the purpose of pension benefits. Further, the AFT had no power to strike down government orders.

This case has come to the SC close on the heels of the apex court resolving another high-profile dispute involving the age of Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh. The SC had rejected Gen Singh’s plea that his date of birth should be taken as May 10, 1951 on his service records and not as May 10, 1950 as directed by the government.
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Welfare of Ex Servicemen : Bhopal

, by indianmilitaryveterans




Honour to ex-servicemen in society to inspire youths
February 7, 2012
Mr Gupta chairs 17th meeting of Rajya Sainik board

Bhopal, February 7, 2012 (Ataullah Faizan): Home Minister Mr Umashankar Gupta chaired the 17th meeting of Rajya Sainik Board here today. The meeting discussed provision of 10 percent and 20 percent reservation to ex-servicemen in class-III and class-IV posts respectively and applying carry-forward system in it, extension of reservation benefit to ex-servicemen vis-à-vis reserved post in police recruitment and making available vehicles on hire for Beti Bachao Abhiyan and officers of District Ex-Servicemen Welfare Board. Mr Umashankar Gupta said that implementation of provisions for reservation to ex-servicemen in general and police recruitments will be ensured. He said that a meeting of the senior officers of General Administration and Police Departments will be convened in connection with rules.
Home Minister Mr Chouhan said that people join defence service for the security of countrymen under a missionary zeal. The entire country holds them in esteem. He said that an honourable place to ex-servicemen and their families will go a long way in inspiring youths to join these services.
The meeting also discussed making available on hire to 21 District Ex-servicemen Welfare Offices. The Gupta said than every possible assistance will be made available at the administrative level for running welfare programmes of ex-servicemen.
The meeting also discussed the phenomenon of less average of youths joining the army from Madhya Pradesh that other states. It also discussed a proposal to urge army, military and other educational institutions in the state to encourage students to join defence forces and imparting training to them accordingly.
Mr Gupta instructed that the initiative of such training of youth should be taken by Ex-servicemen Welfare Department in coordination and consultation with the Education Department.
Those who attended the meeting included Commander Bhopal Sub-Area Suresh Gupta, Secretary Home Mrs Seema Sharma, Director Ex-servicemen Welfare Brigadier George Mathai, Joint Director Ex-Servicemen Welfare Col. V.K. Chaubey and officers of General Administration, Police, Home departments etc
http://khojkhabarnews.com/?p=21631 Click here

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Latest News

, by indianmilitaryveterans


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday assured to consider raising the retirement age for college lecturers from 60 to 65.

The Himachal cabinet on Wednesday released revised(double) house rent allowance(HRA) for employees of the state government from next month .

IBA released circular for Dearness Allowance for Bankers from the month of Feb,Mar and April 2012. As informed earlier, the hike is of 19 slabs (2.85%).

New Delhi: Central and state government employees will be entitled to 7 percent additional dearness allowance (DA) with effect from January 1, 2012.This increase is on account of the proportionate rise in twelve-month moving average of Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) as of December 2011, according to Labour Bureau sources.

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North India Special Darshan

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 North India Special Darshan


Package Cost:
₹ 7181/-
(including Service Tax)
Book Ticket
Duration:
12Nights/ 13Days
OverviewItineraryInclusionTerms & ConditionsContact Us

Description:

"Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Train", one of the most affordable all inclusive tour package, covering all the important tourist places in the country. Booking of Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Trains is available online on our website. Booking can also be done through our Tourist Facilitation Center, Zonal Offices and Regional Offices.

Route :-  Vizag-Puri - Konark - Gaya - Varanasi - Allahabad - Haridwar - Delhi - Mathura - Agra

Itinerary Dated :- 15.04.12 to 28.04.12 (14 Days)

Package Tariff:- ₹  7181/- (including Service Tax)


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NCTC: 7 CMs oppose anti-terror agency

, by indianmilitaryveterans


NEW DELHI: The newly constituted National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) has run into strong political resistance with a group of chief ministers coming out in the open to oppose its powers. The face-off could trigger serious doubts about the effectiveness of the agency, billed to be the country's principal counter-terror body after its launch on March 1.

A diverse group of chief ministers, including personalities as politically disparate as Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi, said NCTC's charter was violative of the federal structure. They questioned the manner in which the agency was set up, without taking states on board, and demanded that the decision be reversed.

The opponents include other chief ministers too - Bihar's Nitish Kumar, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa, Prem Kumar Dhumal of Himachal Pradesh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh. Their number is likely to increase.

Telugu Desam Party leader N Chandrababu Naidu also joined the protest, calling for revocation of the notification setting up the NCTC with the objective of improving the country's response to the threat of terrorism. This, when the Centre has set itself a deadline of 90 days to complete the recruitment process and make the agency fully operational.

Patnaik was the first to raise the red flag and was instrumental in rallying his peers around. "My concern is the authoritarian notification with draconian overtones about law and order among others in which the state governments have not been consulted," he said. Along with Banerjee, Patnaik has already lodged a strong protest with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
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War against terror can't be won if states work independently: Centre

, by indianmilitaryveterans


KARNAL: In the midst of opposition to NCTC from non-Congress chief ministers, home secretary RK Singh on Saturday said the Centre has the duty to fight those who wage war against the nation and this war can't be won if states start working independently.

"It is the duty of the Central government to deal with terrorists and to coordinate with the states to tackle the terrorists. If all states work independently and if there is no coordination, can we win this fight ?," he told reporters when asked to comment on the opposition to NCTC.

Singh said dealing with someone waging war was the responsibility of the Central government.

"It is the Central government's responsibility to tackle someone who wages war against the nation. That is in the Union List (in the Constitution). We can't fight terrorism in this manner," he said.

The Home Secretary said the law that has been referred to (by the chief ministers) has been in the statute book since 1967.

"There were some amendment in 2004 and again in 2008. The section that has been talked about, all these were part of that law (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) since 2004. It has been there for last eight years," he said.

Chief Ministers of non-Congress and BJP-ruled states and a Congress ally had raised a banner of revolt against the Centre's proposal to set up an apex counter-terror agency, saying it struck at the federalism and usurped states' powers.

The protest was lodged by several chief ministers, including Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Mamata Banerjee ( West Bengal), J Jayalalitha ( Tamil Nadu), Narendra Modi (Gujarat) and Shivraj Singh Chauhan ( Madhya Pradesh).

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Carrying of Original ID Proof is Compulsory during Train Journey in All Air Conditioned Classes

, by indianmilitaryveterans


From Today Onwards, Carrying of Original ID Proof is Compulsory during Train Journey in All Air Conditioned Classes 
New Condition is Not Applicable on Passengers Upgraded to AC Class

From  today onwards i.e. 15th February 2012, anyone of the passengers/the passenger booked on the ticket issued from computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS counters) and Internet (i-ticket) undertaking journey in AC-3 tier, AC-2 tier, 1st AC, AC Chair Car and Executive Classes will have to carry one of the nine prescribed proofs of identity (in original) during the journey.  The passengers of these AC classes would be required to produce the Identity Card in original as and when required failing which all the passengers booked on that ticket will be treated as without ticket and charged accordingly.  However, the Identity Card (in original or its photocopy) will not be required at the time of purchase reserved AC tickets from PRS counters or i-ticket.  These instructions are valid for all categories of trains, with the above mentioned classes of travel.  The Ministry of Railways has taken this decision to prevent misuse of Reserved Train Tickets and reduce cases of travelling on transferred tickets, Ministry of Railways has decided that with effect
In case of passengers who are automatically upgraded by the system from sleeper Class to Air-conditioned class and in case of passengers who are upgraded by on-board ticket checking staff on realization of difference of fare, the condition of carrying proof of identity during the journey will not be applicable.
These fresh instructions are in addition to the existing instructions under which the passengers with Tatkal tickets and e-tickets are already required to carry original proof of identity during the course of Railway journey.  In case of Tatkal tickets, self attested photocopy of the Identity Card is required at the time of purchase from the PRS counters or Identity Card details (Number etc.) are to be entered at the time of purchase from internet.
A message on this count will be indicated on the ticket issued in the above said classes through computerized PRS/I-ticket.
Center for Railway Information System (CRIS), an organization under Ministry of Railways, has been asked to make necessary provisions in the software.
The list of valid proofs of identity are as under:-
Ø                  Voter Photo Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India.
Ø                  Passport.
Ø                  PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department.
Ø                  Driving License issued by RTO.
Ø                  Photo Identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government.
Ø                  Student Identity Card with Photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students.
Ø                  Nationalized Bank Passbook with Photograph.
Ø                  Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph.
Ø                  Unique Identification Card “Aadhaar”.
            The scope of the term “photo identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government” permissible under the scheme  is very wide and it covers a large number of photo identity cards, some of which are as under:
Ø                  Pension Pay Orders (PPO)
Ø                  Ration Card with photographs
Ø                  Senior citizen cards.
Ø                  Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards.
Ø                  ESI Cards (with photograph) issued for taking treatment in ESI dispensaries.
Ø                  CGHS Cards (with photograph) issued to individual family members of Central Government employees.
AKS/HK/LK/TR

(Release ID :80330)

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Government is Committed to bring a Strong and Effective Lokpal Bill

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Government is Committed to bring a Strong and Effective Lokpal Bill : V.Narayanasamy 

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and in the Dept. of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension, Shri V. Narayanasamy, has said that the UPA Government is taking pro-active steps for curbing corruption in public life and no one is being protected. Addressing the All-India Editors’ Conference on Social Sector Issues in Puducherry today he said that Right to Information Act 2005, Whistle Blowers’ Bill, Judicial Accountability Bill, Citizens’ Grievance Redressal Bill, Reforms in Procurement and in Mining Sector, Administrative Reforms are some of the areas where the Manmohan Singh government has taken key initiatives to bring transparency and curbing corruption since it came to power in 2004. Shri Narayanasamy said the government has passed Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha but due to lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha, the Bill is still not through. He said the government is committed to bring a strong and effective Lokpal Bill and, therefore, looking into the various amendments suggested in the Rajya Sabha.

He said the government has introduced the Right of Citizens for time-bound delivery of services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 in Parliament. Under the Bill, every public authority is required to publish a citizens’ charter specifying the category of goods supplied and services rendered by it, the time frame within which such goods shall be supplied or services rendered; to establish information and facilitation centre for efficient and effective delivery; of services and redressal of grievances and to designate grievance redress officer in all public authorities to enquire into and redress any complaints from citizens.

He said the Whistle Blowers’ Bill tabled in Lok Sabha will provide adequate protection to persons exposing corruption or willful misuse of power or willful misuse of discretion which causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant.

Shri Narayanasamy said that the UPA Government has removed the discretionary quota of the union ministers so that there is no room left for corruption. A Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted by the government in January 2011 to consider measures that can be taken by the government to tackle corruption. He said the GoM has submitted its first report which has already been accepted by the government with some minor modifications and action had been initiated by the government towards implementation of the accepted recommendations.

The Minister said to bring efficiency in the administration, major initiatives have been taken through administrative reforms. He said recently the government has notified a policy of reviewing performance of IAS officers at 15 years and 25 years of their career to identify and remove non-performers. He said sanctions for prosecution against the officers who are facing corruption charges will be given in three months and departmental inquiry has to be completed within a year of filing of the complaint.

Referring to the measures to strengthen CBI, the Minister said it was decided to set up 71 additional special courts for CBI in various states of the country to expedite adjudication of the pending cases. He said 51 courts have already been sanctioned.

DNM/AD/sb
Source : PIB

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Railways Extend Advance Reservation Period to 120 Days

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Railways Extend Advance Reservation Period to 120 Days 
New Provision to be Effective from 10th March, 2012
The Ministry of Railways has decided to increase the advance reservation period for booking reserved train tickets from existing 90 days to 120 days on experimental basis (excluding the date of journey) w.e.f. March 10, 2012.

However, there will be no change in case of certain day-time express trains like Taj Express, Gomti Express etc. where lower time limits for advance reservations are at present in force. There will also be no change in case of the limit of 360 days for foreign tourists.

AKS/HK/LK/TR
Source : PIB

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DEFENCE :VIDEO

, by indianmilitaryveterans


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PHOTOS : DEFENCE

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Defence Photos

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Multi-Purpose Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Inducted into Indian Air Force

, by indianmilitaryveterans




The Indian Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has said that India has always strived for peace, trust and cooperation. Addressing a gathering here today after inducting the advanced Mi-17 V5 helicopter into the Indian Air Force (IAF), Shri Antony, however, said that the developments around us necessitated the building of our defence capability.

Pointing out that the Mi-17 V5 is the best helicopter in its class, the Defence Minister assured that the Government stands committed to provide the latest and best possible equipments to our armed forces. Shri Antony underlined the role of Russia as a dependable partner in the defence sector. Calling upon the IAF personnel to keep pace with the latest technological advancements, the Minister said that adequate training should be provided to absorb the induction of complex systems into the forces.

Following is the text of the Address delivered by the Defence Minister on the occasion:

“Today is a special day for the Indian Air Force, as it inducts Mi-17 V 5 helicopter into its helicopter fleet. The multi-purpose Mi-17 V 5 helicopters will add to the flexibility and operational muscle, as well as capabilities of the Indian Air Force. It will help the IAF in meeting its growing mandate.

“The helicopter fleet of the IAF has been rendering useful service to the nation by operating in remote, inaccessible and inhospitable parts of our country. The role played by these helicopters in providing humanitarian assistance and carrying out relief and rescue efforts in the wake of natural disasters, or accidents has received widespread appreciation. They are operating at the heights of Siachen glacier and have also proved their professionalism in UN missions.

“Today, the economic growth of our nation is quite impressive. The growth opportunities bring greater regional and global aspirations. We have always done our best in fulfilling our national commitments in a manner befitting our stature. We have always strived for peace and stability in our immediate and extended neighbourhood.

“India has always been a votary of building an atmosphere of peace, trust and cooperation between different countries of our region. However, the developments around us necessitate that we build our defence capabilities and continue to work towards maintaining peace and stability in the region.

“Our Government stands fully committed to provide the latest and best possible equipment to our Armed Forces. Today’s induction is one such example. We want that the IAF should continue to retain its qualitative edge at all times. I have been told that this helicopter is an instance of the best product in its class and will greatly enhance operational capabilities.

“The helicopter is expected to take the IAF’s combat support capabilities to newer heights. I am sure that the IAF will utilise the machine to its fullest potential.

“On behalf of the Government, I wish to place on record our appreciation for the initiative taken by officials of Russia to work in tandem with the Indian officials. I also extend my heartiest congratulations to the Defence Ministry and Air Headquarters for the success of the project.

“A word of caution – the induction of new, complex technological systems is not an easy task. All of you must strive to keep pace with the latest technological advancements and provide training from time to time.

“Last but not the least, I congratulate the Commanding Officers and personnel of new helicopter units, as they prepare to soar higher with this new helicopter. With these words, I dedicate this helicopter to the Indian Air Force and hope that this man-machine combination will continue to work together in service of our nation.”

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Job Highlights (11 FEBRUARY 2012 -17 FEBRUARY 2012)

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Job Highlights (11 FEBRUARY 2012 -17 FEBRUARY 2012)


Union Public Service Commission notifies Civil Services Examination, 2012.

Union Public Service Commission invites applications for various posts.

Export-Import Bank of India requires Management/MM-II and Chief Manager/MM-III.

Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited, Kalpakkam requires Technical Officer/C in various disciplines.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force requires Constables (Geneal Duty) Group ‘C’ under Special recruitment drive in J&K State.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, New Delhi requires GDMOs and Specialist Doctors.

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, New Delhi requires Social Security Assistants.

Central Industrial Security Force requires Constables/Drive and Constable/Drive-cum-Pump-Operators.

Directorate General Border Security Force, New Delhi requires SI (Master)/SI (Engine Drive)/HC (Master)/HC (Engine Drive)/HC (Workshop)/CT (Crew) in BSF Water Wing.

Directorate General Border Security Force, New Delhi invites applications for the posts of Technicians (different Posts) for Motor Transport Workshop Cadre and Technicians (Different Posts) for BSF Air Wing.

Indian Air Force invites applications from male aspirants for selection as a Senior in Group ‘X’ (Education Instructor) Trade.

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Implement one rank, one pension: Par panel to govt

, by indianmilitaryveterans

New Delhi: A Parliamentary Committee has asked the government to implement the long-pending demand of 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP) by the retired armed forces personnel.

"The Petitions Committee of Rajya Sabha submitted a report to Parliament recommending the government to implement OROP in defence forces and constitute a separate commission to determine the pay, allowance and pension of the defence personnel," said a release from Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Under the OROP, retired defence personnel are demanding that all ex-servicemen should get similar pension for putting in equal years of service and retiring at the same rank irrespective of their date of retirement.

At present, the pension depends on the pay commission under which they have retired.
Implement one rank, one pension: Par panel to govt

The Petitions Committee was constituted following a petition co-filed by Chandrasekhar for grant of OROP to retired armed defence personnel and tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha on December 19.

In its report, the Rajya Sabha Petitions Committee said the financial liability of Rs 1,300 crores is not very big amount to deny the parity in pension, the release said.

The Committee rejected Finance Ministry's apprehension of that acceptance of the demand for equal pension to personnel of equal rank and equal length of service will trigger similar request from other government employees.

The Committee pointed out that "terms and conditions of defence personnel and civil servants are vastly different and said the demand of armed forces personnel demand for OROP was unresolved due to bureaucratic apathy".

The Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions is headed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari (BJP).
PTI

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‘Army Chief age row taught lessons’

, by indianmilitaryveterans


Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 17
Defence Minister AK Antony said today that lessons had been learnt from the age issue of Army Chief Gen VK Singh and added that “India cannot afford another such controversy”.

Speaking to the mediapersons on the sidelines of a defence function, he said, “We have learnt lessons from it. We are going to ask everybody in the Armed forces to strictly reconcile different documents so that this kind of conflict of does not happen in future.”

“It is not a personal matter. It happened unfortunately and it is over now. Do not raise the issue in the country’s interest,” he told the media.

When asked if there was any strain in the ties between the Defence Ministry and the Army, Antony said, "This is a closed chapter now. There is no strain.”

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Now ECHS has its own website

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Now ECHS has its own website. All Veterans please visit http://echs.gov.in/

It includes e Mail ids of Region Centres and Tele numbers of ECHS functionaries. There is also a click on for Claim status. This should be a Great help.

Its really a GREAT site. DO visit. You will find answers to all your queries. Cheers. And lots of Good Health.

With Warm Regards,
KS Ramaswamy
Captaion (Retd)

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Supreme Court interprets Section 122 of the Army Act

, by indianmilitaryveterans

In a yet another judgement on the subject, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has quashed the directions for assembly of a General Court Martial (GCM) against an officer and has also set aside the judgement of the Lucknow Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal which had dismissed the said officer’s petition.

The officer was accused of irregularities in procurement of stores for a Central Ordnance Depot. The Commanding Officer hearing the charge had initially dismissed the charges under Rule 22 of the Army Rules as not having been proved, however the order was not accepted by the competent authority which directed recording of additional summary of evidence. Again it was found by the Commanding Officer that none of the charges stood. Yet again, setting aside the findings of the CO, the competent authority directed that the officer be tried by a GCM. The offence came to the knowledge of the authority competent to convene the Court Martial in May 2007 while the final orders convening the Court Martial were passed by the said authority in August 2010.

The Court Martial was convened but challenged on limitation under Section 122 by the accused officer. The plea was accepted by the Court Martial. However, the convening authority once again set aside the findings and directed the Court Martial to proceed with the trial. The AFT also ultimately upheld the decision to convene the Court Martial based on earlier judgements of the Supreme Court in the cases of VN Singh and JS Sekhon.

The SC has however distinguished the said judgements and has held in a detailed judgement rendered yesterday (15 Feb 2012) that in those cases the dispute was as to who was the competent authority to order the Court Martial, which was not the controversy in the case at hand and hence the GCM was clearly barred by limitation.

The Court in its judgement has also observed the light punishment handed to other accused in the same case including a non-recordable censure awarded to a Major General.
Source : Indian Military Service benifits & Issues

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Black money: Swiss Embassy contradicts CBI chief, calls his statement 'uncorroborated'

, by indianmilitaryveterans

New Delhi: Three days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that Indians are the largest depositors in Swiss banks, Switzerland today contradicted that stand, calling it "uncorroborated".

CBI Director Ambar Pratap Singh had, on Monday, said that Indians had stashed away an estimated 500 billion dollars in black money in foreign banks. The maximum outflow of illegal funds was to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and British Virgin Islands, he had said.

But the Swiss Embassy today, in an unusual step, issued a statement saying, "It wishes to make a clarification in view of unsubstantiated media reports that have been recently published about Switzerland and Swiss Banks."

But, the release, which did not mention the CBI chief's statement, said that Switzerland is not a tax haven.

"There have been several speculations about the amount of wealth held by Indians in Swiss Banks...Such estimates and statistics lack of evidence and are uncorroborated," the statement said.

While there have been various estimates of Indian black money stashed abroad, the statement by the CBI Director was significant in that, for the first time someone in authority in the country had come out with an estimate.
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Army HQ restructuring gets under way

, by indianmilitaryveterans

The two Deputy Chiefs of Army Staff have been given new responsibilities to lessen the burden of the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, the general who runs the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army [ Images ] on a day-to-day basis, reports Nitin Gokhale.


Amid the unfortunate controversy over the current Chief of the Army Staff, General V K Singh's age issue, the restructuring process at army headquarters under the new transformation plan has quietly begun to roll out at South Block.

Under the new plan, the two Deputy Chiefs of Army Staff (DCOAS) have been given new and specific responsibilities to lessen the burden of the Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS), the general who virtually runs the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army on a day-to-day basis.

The implementation of the first phase of this transformation has gathered speed with the appointment of Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali as the new Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (Information Systems & Training) on Monday.

The other Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Policy and Services), Lieutenant General Narinder Singh had taken over late last year.

Although Army HQ has had two deputy chiefs looking after various functions for some years, a new and clear demarcation of responsibilities entrusted to them is aimed at streamlining the functioning and speed up decision-making processes at the apex level.

So while Lieutenant General Halgali will be responsible for Military Training, Signals (communication), Information Systems (automation), Staff duties (UN Missions etc), Rashtriya Rifles, Territorial Army and Defence Service Corps (the security guards at select military installations and campuses), Lieutenant General Narinder Singh will look after Procurement, Financial Planning, Perspective Planning and various 'line' directorates like Armoured Corps, Artillery, Mech Infantry etc.

This arrangement is designed to somewhat ease the burden on the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General S K Singh.

The Vice Chief of Army Staff has to not only give crucial decisions relating to day-today operational matters, but has to also liaise with the defence ministry and attend several high-level meetings with other functionaries from different ministries.

The streamlined hierarchy is likely to give little more time and space for the Vice Chief of Army Staff to function more efficiently.

In the Indian system, the Chief of Army Staff has traditionally been giving broad policy direction for others to implement his ideas and concepts.

Lieutenant General Halgali, who came into the limelight after he blew the whistle on the Sukna land issue when he was Chief of Staff at HQ 33 Corps as a major general, was scheduled to take over as Deputy Chief last November, but an adverse administrative remark on his record during the Sukna issue delayed his taking over the post by three months.

Lieutenant General Halgali was Director General, Military Training before taking over as Deputy Chief on Monday.

As Chief of Staff at 33 Corps HQ in North Bengal, he had resisted attempts by then Corps Commander Lieutenant General P K Rath and then Military Secretary Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash to issue a no-objection certificate for a transferring a piece of land adjacent to the Corps HQ to a business consortium for establishing a branch of the famous Mayo College.

Both Lieutenant General Rath and Lieutenant General Prakash have been indicted in the case by an army court martial. Lieutenant General Halgali had initially received an administrative rap for not reporting the matter expeditiously, but has now been cleared of all charges since it later emerged that he had prevented the attempt by his seniors to allow the group of businessman and the two generals to take advantage of loopholes in the system.

As Deputy Chief, Lieutenant General Halgali will be in office for nearly a year and three months to take forward the process of transformation both at the Army HQ level and down the line.

Conceptualised in 2010 after a two-year study by a group of top generals under the current army chief, General V K Singh when he was the Eastern Army commander, the transformation aims to turn the lumbering Indian Army into 'an agile, lethal, versatile and networked force, which is capability-based to meet future challenges.'

In a couple of interviews with me, General V K Singh has said the transformation must be 360 degrees and 'enhance operational capability through reorganisation, restructuring, force development and relocation.'

The concept is based on 13 transformation studies. These range from ways to consolidate strike capabilities and 'flatten' HQs, to 'synergising' all resources. Some of the Indian Army's new transformative concepts are already being 'test-bedded.'

Nitin Gokhale is the Defence Editor, NDTV.
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Full faith in Army Chief: Antony

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Full faith in Army Chief: Antony
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 13
The government appears to have put the controversy over the Army Chief’s age behind with Defence Minister AK Antony today stating that he has full confidence in Gen V K Singh.

"The government has confidence in the present chief and that was conveyed in the Supreme Court also. Everything is clear and we have confidence in him," Antony told reporters when asked if Gen Singh has offered to resign after the apex court verdict.
Antony was speaking on the sidelines of a function organised by IDSA - a defence and strategic think-tank - here.

The Defence Minister’s remarks came on the day Gen Singh began a visit to Britain, the first by an Indian Army Chief since 2008. The Supreme Court held on February 10 that government's decision on Singh's date of birth as May 10, 1950, will apply to his service matters, forcing him to withdraw his plea contending that he was born a year later.

"I am very happy this controversy is over. It is my request to all my colleagues and all of you (the media) to please close this chapter and work together to strengthen national security," Antony said. After the Army Chief withdrew his petition, there has been intense media speculation that he would quit. But now the remarks by the Defence Minister indicate that Gen Singh is unlikely to step down.

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Ex-Indian army men demand pension office in Butwal

, by indianmilitaryveterans

KATHMANDU, JAN 22 -
Thousands of ex-Indian army men living in the western and far western regions of Nepal have demanded that a Pension Paying Office (PPO) be set up in Butwal.

“We have been forced to travel to Kathmandu only to receive pension as we have no such office here. It is really a painful affair for some of the pensioners who are above 85 years old,” said a pensioner requesting anonymity. “We have been waiting for almost eight years for a PPO in Butwal, but no progress has been made so far,” he added.

The Indian team mostly visits the city at the interval of six months to distribute pension. Of the around 124,000 ex-Indian army, paramilitary and civilian pensioners in Nepal, around 40,000 are living in Butwal and adjoining areas. Currently, two PPOs—based in Pokhara and Dharan—and 22 soldier boards are distributing pensions to the Indian army pensioners across the country.

Nepal government had agreed to provide land for the PPO in Butwal in 2004. However, two government entities—Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence—have been blaming each other for not cooperating to set up the office.

“The nature of the proposed PPO in Butwal is like a permanent office and the government had allocated more than 8 bighas of land in Butwal municipality. But it has become a political issue now,” said a senior government official. He said that they also need an approval from the Forest Ministry as some part of the land allocated to the PPO is covered by forest.

The issue was also raised as a prime agenda during the 22nd annual welfare meeting of the Indian Army Ex-servicemen Welfare Organisation in Nepal held in Kathmandu on Sunday. The meeting was attended by Defence Secretary Navin Kumar Ghimire and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jyanta Prasad, among others.

Addressing the demand forwarded by the ex-servicemen in the program, Defence Secretary Ghimire said the issue will be addressed after discussion with concerned government authorities.
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Schemes for benefit of ex-servicemen

, by indianmilitaryveterans

The State government is providing several schemes for the benefit of ex servicemen and their widows, said District Sainik Welfare Officer G. Satyanandam.
Under the Prime Minister Self Employment Scheme, the government will provide loans ranging between Rs.5 lakh and Rs.25 lakh from banks.
The government will give 25 to 35 per cent subsidy on the loan and the beneficiaries should bear five per cent of the investment cost.

‘Paavala vaddi'
The government was giving ‘paavala vaddi' (25 paise interest) loans to ex-servicemen for the last two years. Beneficiaries intending to do agriculture, launch Small Scale Industries can get Rs.5 lakh loan at 25 paise interest.

Interested retired Army, Navy and Airforce staff are requested to avail the opportunities, said Mr.Satyanandam.
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Cancelled telecom licenses: Impact on consumers, economy

, by indianmilitaryveterans

New Delhi:  India is the world's second-largest telecom market in terms of subscribers - it has 900 million subscribers. So far, the telecom sector has been crowded with more than a dozen players. Call rates in India among the lowest in the world.
Now that the Supreme Court has cancelled 122 licenses, here is a quick look at the likely impact.
EFFECT ON TELECOM SECTOR
Verdict to shake up India's fragmented telecom market
To lead to consolidation in the telecom sector
Non-serious, weak players will be weeded out
Spectrum to be linked to market prices and auctioned
Established players like Bharti, Vodafone, and Idea to benefit
Policy uncertainty for the telecom sector as the judgement is studied and evaluated
EFFECT ON CONSUMERS
Telecom rates to go up in long run as spectrum will be auctioned

EFFECT ON ECONOMY
Auction of spectrum will lead to another financial windfall for government
2G telecom auction may help plug government's fiscal deficit
May further dampen business climate and investor sentiment
Bad news for foreign investors in telecom, may further impact FDI
Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/cancelled-telecom-licenses-impact-on-consumers-economy-172617&cp

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Amarinder promises one rank, one pension to ex-servicemen

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Amarinder promises one rank, one pension to ex-servicemen

MEHALKALAN: With Punjab going to polls on January 30, state Congress President Amarinder Singh on Sunday promised to ex-servicemen that he will ensure that the one rank one pension scheme was introduced.

He said, he had already taken up the matter with the Central Government and hoped it will be implemented soon.
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For fast-greying India, PM okays Senior Citizens Council

, by indianmilitaryveterans

For fast-greying India, PM okays Senior Citizens Council
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, February 1
With India’s senior citizen population set to cross the estimated 100-million mark in 2013, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today approved the constitution of the National Council for Senior Citizens to advise the Centre and state governments on issues related to the welfare of this segment.

The council, an offshoot of the 1999 National Policy for Older Persons, which has failed to make much impact on ground, is expected to help the governments implement policies, programmes and legislative measures related to old persons. The PM’s approval comes at a time when evidence is mounting of the elderly being clearly unaware of their rights and entitlements under the law.

A recent survey conducted by HelpAge India revealed that only 18 per cent of the 60-plus people had heard of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, and 11 per cent knew of the 13-year-old National Policy on Older Persons. The survey also found that 55 pc of the older persons still had remittances from children as the major source of income followed by 35 per cent who depended on pensions. Hardly any evidence of constructive engagement of the old came to the fore though proof of their abuse was ample, with daughters-in-law being named as the principal abusers by 63.4 pc elderly.

The newly approved council will be headed by the Social Justice Minister and promises to promote physical and financial security, health and productive living of the elderly. The council would be anchored in the Social Justice Ministry which had proposed it.

The move will determine how well India can use its fast greying population. Projections for 1996-2016 made by the Technical Group on Population Projections have already said that the 60-plus population will cross the 100-million mark in 2013. Projections beyond 2016 made by the United Nations say that India will have 198 million persons over 60 years in 2030 and 326 million in 2050.

In fact, the 25-year period between 1991 and 2016 will witness an increase of 55.4 million 60-plus persons which is nearly the same as the entire population of old persons in 1991.

Further, close to six-tenths of the population in the age group of 60 to 69 years can be expected to be in reasonably good physical and mental health, free of serious disability and capable of leading an active life while one third of the population aged from 70 to 79 years can be expected to be fit. This means avenues have to be made available to engage them constructively.

growing OLD
India’s old population count set to cross 100-million mark by 2013
Men outnumber women in India even after 60 yrs of age
The trend to continue in 2016 when India will house estimated 57 million males and 56 million females over 60 years
Six-tenths of the population aged between 60 and 69 years will be fit to engage actively
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Army Chief to get new Military Adviser

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Army Chief to get new Military Adviser
New Delhi, Jan 23, (PTI) :


A top adviser has been replaced by Army Chief General V K Singh.

Brigadier A K Singh will take over from Brigadier S T Upasani as the Military Adviser to the Army Chief, who gives suggestion to him on key matters related to the Service, sources said here today.

They said Brig Singh from the Punjab Regiment, will take charge from Brig Upasani, who is now scheduled to proceed on a higher command course, in a few weeks.

Gen Singh filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the government's rejection of his claim on his date of birth.

He says his date of birth is May 10, 1951 as per his matriculation certificate but the Defence
Ministry recently rejected his contention, arguing that his date of birth entered in some Army records was May 10,1950.

As per the government decision, he will retire on May 31 this year but if his contention is upheld, he will get a tenure till March 2013.

In his own petition, the Army Chief has contended that he was treated by the government in a manner which reflects total lack of procedure and principles of natural justice in deciding his age.
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Army to probe Pune brawl

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Army to probe Pune brawl
Mumbai: Feb 1, 2012,DHNS:

A Court of Inquiry has been ordered by the army to ferret out details of a brawl between two officers and policemen late Tuesday and the subsequent clash between military police and Pune civil police.

By late Wednesday evening both the army and civil police were busy trying to slap cases against each other of assaulting public servants on duty.

According to a defence official, two traffic cops including a woman constable stopped two
young army officers from College of Military Engineering (CME) Capt V Advait and Lt A B Pandit, riding a motorbike, while they were trying to cross Sambhaji Bridge.

The contention of army officials was that both officers were unaware of the fact that two-wheelers were not allowed on the bridge as there was no prominent signpost proclaiming the traffic order.

“Even though the army officers introduced themselves and stated that they were unaware of the rule, the woman constable snatched the ignition key from the bike while her male companion started abusing Capt Advait demanding that they pay the fine,” according army officials.

Captain Advait in his statement said that while he had agreed to pay the fine, “the male constable kept on with his rant and tried to rough him up, stating that he was also once roughed up in cantonment area for not wearing a helmet.” Preliminary investigations reveal that the constable as well as the army officer made calls to their respective seniors and mates.

At the police station, even as police were trying to frame charges against Capt Advait and Lt. Pandit, Corps of Military Police (CMP) along with the CME seniors stormed in and soon a free for all ensued.

While the police claimed that CMP soldiers smashed and roughed up several policemen in the station, the army officials said that the law-enforcing agency tipped off media persons to gain a sympathetic news coverage.

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Retrospective increase in ECHS rates challenged

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Retrospective increase in ECHS rates challenged
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Claiming to have taken up the cudgels on behalf of personnel of lower ranks, two retired Lieutenant-Generals from the Tricity have challenged the “unilateral and forced” retrospective increase in the one-time subscription rates of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) by the Defence Ministry.

In September 2010, the rates of ECHS subscription were increased by 3-8 times, depending upon the category, of the earlier rates. While the rate for the lowest rank of Sepoy was increased from Rs 1,800 to Rs 15,000, that of General ranks was increased from Rs 18,000 to Rs 60,000.

The ministry made the new rates retrospectively applicable from June 2009 and forcibly recovered the differential from the pensions of affected retirees. Not only the personnel retiring after September 2010 but also those who had retired even before and had already become ECHS members by paying the subscription were imposed with the new rates.

Taking up the petition, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal comprising NP Gupta and Lt Gen HS Panag today issued a notice to the Defence Ministry.

The petitioners have contended that the new rates could only have been imposed prospectively. They have cited the example of the Central Government Health Scheme applicable to civilian employees wherein rates were increased prospectively and that too after giving an opportunity to non-members to join at old rates. In case of the defence services, new rates have been imposed even on old members who had already paid the life-time subscription.

The petitioners have also claimed that their move is not to claim monetary benefits but is based on principle and is in the interest of personnel of lower ranks who have no say in such unilateral decisions. The petitioners have also stated that the increase in rates may have been justified in the light of increased pay, allowances and running costs, but the same could not have been done retrospectively.
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Indian Military Veterans: Antony blames Army, Gen Singh agrees

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Indian Military Veterans: Antony blames Army, Gen Singh agrees

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Antony blames Army, Gen Singh agrees

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Age Row
Antony blames Army, Gen Singh agrees
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 31
Just days ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the petition filed by Army Chief General VK Singh, who is seeking a correction in his date of birth, Defence Minister AK Antony today squarely blamed the Army for the whole mess. The General agreed with him and said the administrative branch of the Army is responsible for his age row.
In his first detailed comments on the raging issue, Antony said the controversy erupted because the Army kept two sets of his (Singh’s) date of birth for 36 years, maintaining there was no civil-military confrontation.
He suggested that the government had no role to play in the whole issue as this discrepancy was first noticed in 2006 by the Army headquarters and reconciled at that level then and later in 2008 by two respective chiefs. “For 36 years, the government was not in the picture. The two branches of the same institution maintained two dates of birth,” the Defence Minister told reporters on sidelines of an awards function here.
Antony also made it clear yet again that the Supreme Court verdict on the controversy surrounding the Army Chief’s date of birth will be final. “Let's wait for the Supreme Court decision. That will be final and nobody can question that," he said.
At a separate function, the Army Chief said the Defence Minister was ‘right’ in noting that the Army was responsible for the entire controversy.
When asked to comment on the Antony's statement and that if the 'original sin' on the issue was committed within the force, Singh said: “Absolutely, it is within the Army. After 36 years, you suddenly decide to come up with an issue. There is something wrong with it.”
Gen Singh, however, rejected suggestions that there has been a delay on part of the Army to respond to the Defence Ministry's latest letter on his age issue, saying everything does not happen "with the press of a button". The General also gave assurance to fellow officers that the problem of varying DoB in records will not recur ever in the future. “There was some problem in coordination between the branch that keeps all the service records and other branches. Now a system has been put in place to resolve it," he said.

The Army has two sets of records related to General Singh's dates of birth leading to the controversy and forcing the Army Chief to move the apex court to resolve the issue. The Adjutant General Branch, the official record keeper in the Army, maintains the General’s date of birth as May 10, 1951; in the Military Secretary Branch, the Army Chief’s date of birth is May 10, 1950.

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Indian Army’s dignity in danger

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Indeed the battle had begun between Army and government in the Supreme Court of India. Certainly, this smears the dignity and pride of the institution. Since independence this will be the first time when the apex court will take the decision in the matter of army.

The controversy over date of birth (DOB) of Army Chief has become a matter of joke for the world. This has emerged with a passel of rumours. Chauthi Duniya has already done a wide investigation on this issue. Six months from now we mustered all the elements and reached a plausible conclusion that General V.K Singh’s DOB is 10th of May 1951. However, the government is prodding the Army Chief by claiming that his DOB is 10th of May 1950.

Why the government is appearing to be incorrigible over this issue? Despite the fact that three former Chief Justice of India have given their opinion in favour of General V.K Singh. Infelicitously, government is trying to prove its own point, lurking the controversy.There is a rumour that General V.K Singh himself raised this issue. On the other hand media is trying to show that he wanted to change his DOB. The truth is far from these manipulations.

Since 36 years Army Chief’s DOB was mentioned as 10 May 1951 in every document and postings. Obtrusively, the illegal grabbing of Army’s land was in the headlines. What irked more was the mushrooming illegal construction and nexus between Army officials and land mafias. Later former military secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash was found guilty by an Army Court in Sukna land scam. He was among the prominent advisors of the then Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor. General V.K Singh gave his report on Sukna land scam.

Sadly, General Deepak Kapoor did not take any action. When V.K Singh came to power he committed to end the nexus of mafias and army officials that led to various scams, bribery and misappropriations. He went by hammer and tongs to curb the massive corruption within the system. Apparently, the controversy over his DOB emerged when Avadesh Prakash came under dock.

This controversy was ignited by Secretary Branch of Military that too after 36 years of his long service to Army. Until then his DOB was considered as May 10, 1951. Who has the responsibility of keeping the records of army officials? Why the government did not give significance to Adjutant Branch records? Which record is considered official?

There are few who opine that in NDA form he mentioned his DOB as 10 May 1950. Truth is when he joined NDA he was just 15 year old. Legally matriculation certificate is considered as proof of DOB. Notably, DOB mentioned in high school certificate is 10, May 1951. His high school certificate was submitted to NDA after three years as it used to take ample time to get certificates of schools and colleges during those days. Later his DOB was changed to 10 may 1951. In the year 1997 Adjutant General branch gave in written that his DOB is 10 May 1951.

Before this controversy came to light the then Army Chief Deepak Kapoor pressurized General V.K Singh to write an agreement letter or else action could be taken against him. Consequently, he wrote letter to Chief of Army staff. The Chief of Army staff kept that letter and did not reply. General Deepak Kapoor proffered him to correct his DOB once he comes to the post. General V.K Singh came back silently. Now government is using that letter as a proof.

There are several reasons behind government’s indignation. Indian army used to have Tatra trucks that are used as all terrain vehicles to mount guided missile launchers and haul heavy artillery. It also uses these vehicles to transport personnel’s, supplies, tanks, ammunition, bailey bridges and the like. The last order of these trucks came in February 2010. But there were misappropriation in its purchase and Gen VK Singh denied this deal. At the time when Bharat Earth Movers limited got contract for supply of these trucks the strings of Indian army was with general Deepak Kapoor.

According the rules every year Army Chief is supposed to sign on this deal. But due to bribery and violation of rules General V.K Singh did not sign on it. As per law the purchasing of Tatra trucks should take place directly from company. But BEML did this purchasing from Tatra Sipox (UK) limited. The company that makes equipments is Tatra Sipox,a.s, of Slovakia.

The defense procurement guidelines clearly say all purchases should be made only from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). But BEML, nodal production agency for the family of Tatra trucks, has been dealing with Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd, which is neither the OEM nor a subsidiary of the OEM.

This racket has been in operation since 1997. While Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd was incorporated in 1994 in Britain with Jozef Majsky and Venus Projects Ltd as shareholders, Tatra Sipox a s came into being only in 1998, according to an extract of the business register available on the official website of Slovakia’s justice ministry.This means in 1997 BEML signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the subsidiary of a company that did not even exist.

Further, since its birth, the shareholding pattern of Tatra Sipox (UK) has changed many times but never has the Slovakian company held even a single share. As per the annual returns filed by Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd with Britain’s registrar of companies (ROC), the firm was incorporated on June 23, 1994, as “manufacturer’s agent”. Ironically, when BEML signed the MoU with Tatra Sipox (UK) in 1997.

According to V.R.S Natrajan Chairman of BEML, Vectra group has ownership right of TATRA Sipox UK . Majority of shares of Tetra Czech Company are with VECTRA group.

Now the question arises, is the reason behind pressure on Army chief to leave the post is because he did not sign on Tatra deal? Was BEML importing second hand trucks? Has the manufacturing plant of Slovakia been shut? Who is Ravinder Rishi? Why is he getting defense deals? If government does not answer this sequel of questions it will be proved that Mafia and officials have conspired to remove Army chief.

Moreover, General V.K Singh came up with a plan for modernization of Army that is lying with Defense Ministry. During this he took several actions that created troubles for Arms dealers and mediators. A deal was signed with Singapore Technology; the rifle of this company was tested. Gen V.K Singh mentioned in his report that standard of rifles is not appropriate.

The history clamours that during arms deal a lot of bribery and misappropriation took place. General Singh wanted to bring transparency in the purchasing. Since he became Army chief not even a single scam has erupted. Not only old scams were solved but he took help of agencies in Adarsh scam.

It is quite absurd to see that on one hand government connotes Army chief as a liar and on the other deals with him to make him an ambassador of a country or Governor of a State. Besides, he is also warned to be removed from his post if he reaches the court.

Certainly, this issue is not worth ignoring. It portends the danger in the future. A true soldier should always be ready to fight for cause. Gen Singh must go to court to serve dignity of this institution or else this country will be run by mafias and hooligans. Probably, if he does not another innocent person will face the similar fate. On the brighter side, it is quite optimistic to see him stand firm and fighting for the dignity of the institution.
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