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Relief for ex-servicemen

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi:
After years of struggle, some relief has finally come for 12 lakh ex-servicemen on Monday when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced rationalising the pension benefits of retired jawans and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) in accordance with their “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) demand.
Despite demands from ex-servicemen, successive governments in the past had claimed that OROP was untenable and meeting it would cost a bomb. The anomaly was created by the Fifth and Sixth Pay Commissions. The Congress had promised OROP in its poll manifesto in 2004. However, the UPA government rejected the OROP demand in December 2008, after which ex-servicemen returned their gallantry medals to the President and made open overtures towards the BJP. Following protracted protests, a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar to review the OROP issues. Interestingly, it was announced ahead of the Parliamentary polls in Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan, which contribute  thousands of soldiers to the three services.
On the basis of the panel’s suggestion, the Centre has now agreed to substantially hike the pension of Personnel Below the Officer Rank (PBOR) and JCOs.
The pension of PBOR and JCOs who retired before October 10, 1997, (implementation date for the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations) will be brought at par with the pension of those retired after that date.
The pension of those retired before January 1, 2006 –– including the 1997 group –– will  be substantially hiked to come close to those who retired after the cut-off date of January 1, 2006 (implementation date for the Sixth Pay Commission).
Once realised, the new pension scheme will lead to creation of two groups of pensioners in the armed forces with January 1, 2006, serving as the cut off date.
“This is not OROP. Those who retired after January 1, 2006, will get higher pension. The government has just bridged a gap for the JCOs and PBORs,” Maj Gen Satbir Singh, vice chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told Deccan Herald. Both decisions would be implemented from July 1, 2009, resulting in enhanced pension for more than 12 lakh jawans and JCOs.
Relief for ex-servicemen

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AC, first class rail fares may rise from July

, by indianmilitaryveterans

AC, first class rail fares may rise from July
New Delhi: Railway passenger fares in all Air Conditioned classes and first class may rise by 3.6 per cent from July 1 as there are little indications that Finance Ministry would extend service tax exemption to Railways beyond this month.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry conceded that the fare hike looks imminent as Railways could ill-afford to absorb the additional burden of Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 6,000 crore given its financial condition.
The sources said Railway Minister Mukul Roy had written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last week requesting exemption for Railways from paying service tax, but the request has gone unheeded so far.
While the Railway Board is believed to be finalising the modalities for increase in fares, they said a fresh request was made by the Board on Tuesday to the Finance Ministry for a review.
The hike would put an additional burden on travellers on AC classes. Fares in AC-I and AC-II was increased by about 20 per cent in this year's Rail Budget.
Service tax on passenger travel and freight was introduced in the general budget for 2009-10, but was kept on hold due to the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition.
The exemption has been extended since then on quarterly basis but this time the Finance Ministry has decided to exclude freight charges and AC rail travel from the negative list, which gets service tax exemption.
With freight and passenger fares enjoying a 70 per cent subsidy, the impact on the increase in freight charges and fares of First Class and AC-I, AC-II and AC-III will be 3.6 per cent.
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A letter by Lt Gen Raj Kadyan Chairman IESM

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Dear Veterans,
A letter written by Lt Gen Raj Kadyan Chairman IESM is enclosed for your information and wide circulation please.
Jai Hind
**********
Dear Colleagues,
I met the Defence Minister today to discuss progress of some ongoing cases. Issues covered ensue.
OROP
He repeated the by-now-well-known government stand that OROP cannot be given in one go for fear of evoking a similar demand from civilian employees and that we are gradually moving towards narrowing the gap. I clarified that we have no objection to the term OROP being changed for record purposes by some other term like ‘military service pension’ as long the old and new pensioners are equated. I cited the example of the Military Service Pay that was granted exclusively for defence forces and there was not a whimper from others.
Widows’ Pension Enhancement
I stressed that after the Defence Minister confirmed over four months ago that he had cleared the proposal, the file is still on the bureaucratic circuit and that this does no good to the credibility of the high office. I gave my interpretation that it was part of the same Cabinet Secretary’s Committee report where the widows had been erroneously left out and hence it should not need any fresh financial approval. He said it would. I nudged him to take up the matter with the Finance Minister and he made a note.
The Defence Minister clarified that he has already had an official meeting with the three Services and that they would send a comprehensive proposal (including ESM problems). He would then take it personally to the PM soon after the Parliamentary session gets over on 20 May 2012. By that time the new budget would also be in effect.
Miscellaneous Points
Not unexpectedly, the discussion became wide ranging. Some points that could be of interest are:
• Reducing government doggedness in pursuing court cases involving serving personnel and the veterans that the government loses at lower courts. He reiterated his already having issued directions that each case be examined on merit.
• Need to control the bureaucracy that enjoys unbridled power with no accountability. Having cited concrete examples from history I repeated the term I had coined in a TV debate on 30 March, “We are a democracy ruled by the bureaucracy”.

Best regards,
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Chairman IESM
262, Sector - 17A
Gurgaon - 122 001

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Colonel held for recruitment scam in NDA

, by indianmilitaryveterans

An army officer of the rank of Colonel along with five civilians was arrested by anti-corruption bureau of the CBI on Saturday for allegedly receiving bribe from candidates during recruitment drive at National Defence Academy. The Colonel is deployed as staff officer to commandant of NDA, Lt Gen Jatinder Singh.
Besides Col Kulbir Singh (45), others arrested are Balkishan Charan Lal Kanojia (35), Vishnu Prasad Sharma (42), Ramesh Dilip Gaikwad (32), Dattaraya Eknath Shitkal (52) and his cousin Manoj Maruti Shitkal (32). The civilians are local residents.
The CBI has registered a case under the relevant sections of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Acting on a tip off, CBI officials raided 14 places in Pune, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Sonepat, and recovered huge cash, which was allegedly taken by officials and their touts for recruiting subordinate staff like cook, gardener, library and laboratory attendants, cadet orderly and lower division clerks.
During the CBI raids, huge cash and documents like leaked question papers and list of candidates were seized.
As per the complainant, examination for recruitinglower division clerk, others was held on June 15. During investigation it was revealed that suspects entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government and obtain illegal gratification from job aspirants for which the Colonel misused his position.
“Singh and Kanojia asked the candidates to only sign the answer sheets and leave them blank which could be filled in with correct answers by suspects so that the candidates could be recuited by the NDA.”
The team by Rajpal Singh, deputy superintendent of police (CBI-ACB), informed the court that, “the arrested persons are in possession of lists of persons who were to be appointed on account of gratification obtained from them. They also have fake answer sheets of such candidates.”
On Sunday, the six accused were produced before the court of special judge DR Mahajan who remanded them to police custody till July 2. Special public prosecutors of CBI Vivek Saxena and Ayub Pathan said the CBI has recovered cash to the tune to Rs83 lakh from Singh’s house and Rs92 lakh from other suspects.
Meanwhile, NDA has said that it has not received any official communication from the CBI on this issue. NDA maintained that Col Singh was detained by CBI when he was in Mumbai and was being questioned for certain irregularities during the recruitment of lower division clerks and Group C employees.
NDA has made it clear that it has not received any complaint about the recruitment process but was investigating the chain of events that led to detainment of Col Singh.
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