Col Ashok K Singh has forwarded me a brief of an organisation conceptualised by him, the ‘Indian Veterans for Democracy’.
According to Col Singh, the IVD is an organisation formed to enable participation of military veterans in the political system of our nation and that too without being affiliated to any political party.
Full details on the concept and the mission are available on the IVD facebook page which can be accessed by clicking here.
The organisation has also prepared a detailed awareness note on the election manifestoes of various political parties and their promises to veterans. The organisation can be contacted at veteransfordemocracy [at] gmail [dot] com
Some of the areas where the organisation plans to work on are being reproduced below verbatim, without amendment, for the benefit of the readers of the blog :-
1. Carry out constitutional amendments to include ‘Resettlement and Welfare of Military Veterans’ in the concurrent list of VII Schedule of the Constitution. Presently our constitution is silent on it. The subject is not even mentioned making it the duty of the state to re-settle veterans which is the norm in most of the democratic countries. The passing of such acts and rules will make it an obligatory constitutional responsibility of the state (both at centre and state) to ensure resettlement and job security to all ranks of veterans, war widows and depends.
2. Bring required provisions for management of ‘War and Peace’ and all other related subjects as mentioned in the first list of the VII Schedule of the constitution. Presently there are no such provisions in our constitution leaving it totally to the executive of the state without any provision for parliamentary interference. Ours is the parliamentary democracy where it reigns supreme. Leaving a subject like war (where in very survival of the state may be jeopardised) totally to the executive without any control of parliament is just too dangerous a situation. US and other democracies have such provisions. Such provisions will strengthen the democracy and bring better management of war and defence of India.
3. Accordingly pass military veteran resettlement and welfare act and rules (on similar lines as USA, UK and other countries) and implement it at centre and state levels to ensure job and settlement assurance to all ex-servicemen including short service commission and woman officers, disabled and homeless soldiers, war widows and dependents. Include provisions for considering military persons at par with central and state employee for giving jobs to their dependents in case of deaths. Such acts and rules are there in all democracies of the world.
4. Amend Govt Business Rules accordingly and bring the subject under Ministry of Personnel and Human Resources Development. Place DGR under Ministry of HRD with concurrent relationship with Minster of Corporate Affairs as MOD is not capable enough to plan and implement such schemes effectively.
5. Better would be to have an independent ministry as is the convention in most of the democracies and if not possible than create national and state commissions for military veterans on the lines of Minority or SC/ST commission at centre and states both.
6. Promulgate Short Services Commissioned and Woman Officers Acts and Rules. The same shall include their assured resettlement and welfare provisions.
7. In terms of Articles 309-313 of the constitution, promulgate ‘All India Defence Services Acts and Rules’ on the lines of Civil Services and All India Services Acts and Rules. Presently these provisions are in form of regulation (DSR) which have been issued by the ministry of Defence and leave lots of scope of misinterpretation causing sufferings. Such sensitive issues needs to be put in form of Acts and Rules in terms of Article 312 and 313 of our constitution with proper parliament sanctions. Such lateral absorption will also save lots of govt financial liabilities by correspondingly reducing civil intake in such vacancies.
8. To keep the armed forces young and fighting fit, soldiers (including officers) retire at early age or are encouraged to take pre-mature retirements. In this case, it is the duty of the state to assure job to veterans up to the age of 60 like in the case of civil employees. Give job security to all serving Officers (regular and short service), JCOs and soldiers from all three services who retire before 60 years of age, by assured lateral entry into All India Services, Central Services, central and state govt services, railways, ordinance factories and PSUs in according to their length of service (equating with length of service of all civil jobs) and position. The same is the convention in most of democracies including US and UK.
9. Bring a separate pay commission for armed forces and also give pension based on the principle of “One Rank One Pension”.
10. Provide incentives to PSUs and corporates to encourage them to give employment to military veterans. Certain appointments in certain sensitive areas like telcom, transport, highways and defence industries by law to be occupied by ex-defence staff.
11. Provide incentives in Govt contracts to corporates who have formed consortiums and JVs with military owned private companies.
12. Provide suitable relaxations (in terms of BG, EMDs, experience and size of company) for company owned by military veterans to help them bid in govt tenders.
13. Make suitable amendments in company laws to encourage companies to have military veterans as independent directors.
14. Provide invectives to military veterans owned companies in Govt procurement policies.
15. Provide sufficient loans on marginal interests with relaxed security and repayment terms for military veterans to start business. Suitable incubators be created to help veteran in starting the business. All military held venture be IT free for first 7 years from the start of the date of the project or 12 years from the date of retirements.\
16. Create veterans homes all across country for those who are left alone and helpless.
17 Create strong education and training support system in India and abroad (may be credit base as in US army) for serving officers and soldiers. All military training and education be given due education recognition (Post Graduate. Graduate, Diploma/ certificate)