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Standing Committee on Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA): Some positive noises

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Indian Military Veterans
The Meeting of the Standing Committee on Voluntary Agencies is a regular feature under the aegis of the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW). The positive outlook of the DoPPW has been discussed on this blog earlier, here and here.

This time, the meeting was chaired by Minister of State, Dr Jitendra Singh. It is quite heartening to note that there were some very positive vibes from the Minister and the overall set-up regarding welfare of military veterans. Amongst others, the meeting was also attended by Col HN Handa, the President of DIWAVE (Disabled War Veterans, India) and Gp Capt Sethi of the AFA.

When brought to the knowledge of the Minister that unlike DoPPW, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) did not hold any consultations with stakeholders and decided most issues unilaterally, the Minister directed the DESW representative to inform the Secretary DESW to hold regular consultative meetings with veterans and be more proactive.

When the Defence Accounts Department informed that according to them, out of 18.5 lac pre-2006 defence pensioners, fresh PPOs had been issued for 14.11 pensioners, the Minister was apprised that the figures seemed incorrect.

The Defence Accounts Department was also advised to increase the frequency of Lok Adalats in smaller cities.

The DESW representative was also questioned about the non-issuance of orders for some pending pensionary matters wherein disability pensionary anomalies of civilian pensioners emanating out of the 5th Pay Commission that had been resolved in early 2000s for them have still not been resolved for military pensioners. And this despite the fact that the DoPPW had written way back in 2010 to the DESW asking them to rectify the anomalies. On this, the representative of the DESW said that the draft letter had already been sent to the competent authority for approval and the orders were expected soon.

Most departments have a dedicated day for resolving grievances of pensioners and also have a dedicated officer dealing with such issues. On a request for the same, the DESW had replied to the DoPPW that PCDA(P) was the nodal authority for defence pensioners and they could visit the said office in Allahabad. The DESW expressed its inability to fix a day and time in the DESW for this purpose and stated that the Secretary DESW had been meeting representatives of veterans quite frequently to redress grievances. On this the veterans informed the Minister that it was not acceptable for veterans to visit Allahabad for resolution of their issues and that neither the Secretary calls veterans for any meetings nor was the Department proactive in resolving issues or communicating the progress of the same.

It was also informed that the proposal for enhancement of disability and war injury benefits based on fitment tables rather than minimum of pay bands was also under consideration.

On being informed that the DESW had closed the case concerning the demand of enhanced family pensionary benefits to widows of war disabled soldiers, the Minister directed that the file would not be closed. DIWAVE also demanded that they be consulted before taking decisions on such matters.

Thanks to Col Handa, Gp Capt Sethi and all other veterans for putting across the points concerning military veterans to the Minister of State.

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90% of damaged LoC fence repaired

, by indianmilitaryveterans

Indian Military Veterans

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 13
Away from the relief and rescue efforts being carried out by the armed forces in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, Army troops have managed to repair most of the damaged fence along the 749 km-long Line of Control (LoC).
Almost 10 km of fence, largely in the Akhnoor sector, had been washed away or buried under mudslides in the floods that followed heavy rain since the start of this month. More than 90 per cent of this has been re-erected, sources said.
The work to repair the fence is being carried under heavy security with gun-toting troops keeping guard against any intruders.
Restoring the fence along the LoC and also along the 198 km-long international border is the top-most priority, officials said. The Border Security Force (BSF) is deployed along the international border. The fence is a 10 ft-high obstacle of iron girders with coils of barbed wire strung across and it acts as a first obstacle for intruders from PoK.
Almost simultaneously, work is on to repair bunkers, observation posts and shelters used by troops. Some of these had been flooded and were filled with muddy waters forcing evacuation of troops of the Army and BSF with helicopters.
Sources said there were radio intercepts that terrorists based in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) will try and enter Kashmir using the gaps in the fence hoping that the Army’s guard is down. August, September and October are traditionally seen as peak months for infiltrators.
A few IAF and Army Aviation helicopters have reportedly been hit by stones thrown by people, which could have been incited by separatists. Some of the stones hit the copters as there are small “dents” on the body frame. This can turn serious incase the stone is sucked in by the engines or it hits the rotor blades. The copter can drop like a stone killing the crew and those being rescued.

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