At your service, but how long?

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Anil Kaul

Anil Kaul urges the bureaucracy to accept that ‘One Rank One Pension’ is a just demand
Veterans, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood: Never. — Albert Camus

THE ENTIRE philosophy of handling the affairs of the armed forces and veterans needs an overhaul. By its attitude and deeds, the bureaucracy is ensuring that the atmosphere gets vitiated — once this happens, disaster can overtake the nation sooner than later. The trust of the nation — and the consideration soldiers deserve after the sacrifices they make with a smile — is missing. No amount of these half-hearted measures will be helpful unless this trust deficit is addressed and there is a total attitudinal change of the bureaucracy from ‘Squeeze the last ounce of blood of the soldier in times of emergency and once the job is done hang them’ should change to ‘Give the best to the soldiers as they are doing the most onerous duties for the nation’.
The soldier has to be made to believe that the entire nation is behind him to take care of him while he is ready to make supreme sacrifice. It must be done fast and before he starts asking: ‘Who am I sacrificing my life for? If this is their attitude then why should I sacrifice myself?’
To ensure that such a situation does not arise, there is an urgent requirement for grant of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) immediately. Thirty years is time long enough for anybody to wait for a basic problem.
Pension as defined by the Supreme Court is not pay but payment for services rendered. The OROP demand was authored way back in 1981 but remains unsolved. The definition of OROP has already been discussed in detail by the government and the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee headed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari and accepted as under:
The pre-1 January 2006 retirees got the same pensions as the post-1 January 2006 retirees by matching up the three factors that govern the pensions of ex-servicemen, i.e., the rank, the length of service and the trade (in case of all ranks below officer rank only). After this was effected, any future increases be automatically applied to old pensioners. The family, disability and dependents’ pensions are included for purposes of this definition. This, however, does not mean the grant of pensionary benefits such as DCRG and additional value of commutation pension.
This definition by no stretch of imagination includes annual increments in pensions as is given to serving soldiers. Not at all.
Notwithstanding the Rajya Sabha Committee Report being presented on 19 December 2011, is the general public aware that in 2013, a post-2006 retiree brigadier (equivalent deputy secretary) will get more pension than post-2006 retiree major generals (equivalent to a joint secretary). The protection clause for the Major Generals would have to be applied or Military Service Pay will have to be extended to Major Generals. This is the mess created by the Sixth Pay Commission. Now compare this with pre-2006 retirees. Pension of post-2012 retiree colonels (equivalent to a director), both time scale and selection grade, is Rs 35,841 whereas pre-2006 retiree major generals’ pension is Rs 26,700.You cannot have three-ranks juniors getting far more pension than the seniors. The OROP was asked for by defence personnel because ours is a rank-based hierarchy and our terms and conditions are unique and different from any other profession. As such, we want the same class of defence personnel is same rank and same years of service who are living today should get the same pension irrespective of the date of retirement and should continue to get same pension in perpetuity.
In their desperation to fool the unwary veterans, the bureaucrats had added the matter of annual increment in pension as per the serving soldiers to the award of OROP. This matter was being flaunted as the biggest stumbling block in grant of OROP.
EX-SERVICEMEN, IN fact, do not want annual increment in pensions as this is not right. The serving soldier gets his annual increment for additional year’s service: How can a pensioner claim the same for his retired service?
OROP means full parity with the latest rates of pension for past pensioners. Once granted, there are no increments till another revision by a Central Pay Commission or a Committee. A paper prepared by ex-servicemens’ organisations for the defence minister on OROP is available on demand. All those who wish to have its copy can be sent one on request. The most important is Chapter 5, which encapsulates all the lies that bureaucrats have been speaking over the past 30 years to scuttle OROP, together with the truth. This was given to the Koshiyari Committee also, which made good use of the information by exposing the lies of the bureaucrats and rejecting them with the contempt these deserved.
Successive governments in the past had claimed that OROP was untenable and the costs exhorbitant. 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 KM Chandrasekhar to review OROP issues. Interestingly, it was announced ahead of the parliamentary polls in Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand 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 junior commissioned officers and other ranks. The pension of such personnel who retired before 10 October 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 1 January, 2006 — including the 1997 group — will be substantially hiked to come close to those who retired after the cut-off date of 1 January 2006 (implementation date for the Sixth Pay Commission). This is not OROP but better defined as near parity. Implementation of one rank one pension will put a ‘financial burden’ of Rs 1,300 crore on the government, wrote a journalist.
Kaul, a retired officer, is the author of Better Dead Than Disabled. The views expressed here are personal.


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CBI arrests serving Brigadier in CSD scam

, by indianmilitaryveterans

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a serving Brigadier in the city, on charges of involvement in a corruption case for promoting goods of one specific agency to the Ministry of Defence’s Central Stores Department, also known as CSD, CBI sources said here on Tuesday.
With this, the number of arrests in the scandal has risen to five. CBI sources said the number of arrests is expected to increase, since only one middleman has been arrested so far.
The Central Stores Department’s annual supply is worth around Rs. 10,000 crore, as it serves 20 lakh retired and serving officers of the defence services in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Its head office is located in Mumbai. The officials and middlemen of M/s Sankalp arrested so far have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy and manipulating the demand of various CSD items in favour of the clients of M/s Sankalp.
Giving information on the recent arrest on Tuesday, a CBI press note stated, “Brigadier Shri Anuj Kainthla, Joint General Manager-I, had accepted Rs. 7.5 lakh from M/s. Sankalp, for taking a favourable decision at various stages, such as introduction of items, price revision, and issue of supply orders. During initial investigation, it is revealed that he invested the ill-gotten money in real estate at Panchkula.”
“CSD officials also favoured M/s. Sankalp at various stages, such as introduction of new items, price revision, delayed and excess supply, demand creation, artificial budget allocation, etc. In lieu of favour, M/s. Sankalp, through Shri Milind Govilkar, paid huge illegal gratification to several officials of CSD,” CBI said in its press release.
M/s Sankalp was found to have been flouting norms by acting as a marketing arm of many companies. It is against the policies laid down by CSD.
Brigadier Kainthla is a part of the purchasing committee which decides the quantum and the goods to be procured by the CSD for disbursal in its outlets throughout the country.
CBI had earlier arrested the Joint General Manager of CSD Head Office, Bikas Ranjan Daschaudhary; Director of M/s Sankalp Consumer Products Private Limited, Milind Govilkar; one Vilas Harer, and Manohar Vibhute, for allegedly conspiring and abetting with Mr. Govilkar from Mumbai and Pune.
All of them have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
CBI arrests serving Brigadier in CSD scam


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