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Sunday, July 27, 2014

NDTV’s “The Buck Stops Here” from Kargil: How our soldiers are treated by the system!

You may want to squeeze out some time to watch this important panel discussion on NDTV's “The Buck Stops Here” with Barkha Dutt, live from Kargil.

The Central theme of the discussion was the treatment meted out by the system to our military veterans, especially our disabled and war disabled soldiers.

The panelists were Former Vice Chief Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Former Defence Secretary Mr Ajay Prasad, NDTV’s Senior Editor (Defence) Mr Nitin Gokhale, Member of Parliament Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Maj Navdeep Singh, Advocate Punjab & Haryana High Court.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rank Pay: Positive development, new letter and fresh monetary benefits

As was discussed on this blog on 16 September 2013 with reference to the rank pay controversy (See this and this), the Attorney General had supported some of the issues raised by the Defence Services on which there was a difference of opinion with the Ministry of Defence on interpretation of the decision of the Supreme Court. 

Taking into account the legal advice tendered by the then Attorney General, the Ministry has today issued a fresh letter on the rank pay issue which is to be read in conjunction with the earlier letter.

The Ministry has also agreed that the reduction/deduction of rank pay from the fixation during 5th Central Pay Commission was also incorrect and that the fixation would be rectified for the period of 01st January 1996 and beyond too.

The letter can be downloaded by clicking here. 

Thanks to the ones who relentlessly fought the battle, including RDOA and the Pay Commission Cells of the three services.

Lots more to do....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New letter on ex-servicemen status for boarded out recruits

This is in relation to this earlier post of 23 March 2013 on the subject of grant of ex-serviceman status to boarded-out recruits in receipt of disability pension.

The Government, by way of a clarification had only granted the said status to recruits boarded out after 01 Feb 2006, which in my opinion was incongruous and to which my objection was recorded in the following terms in the earlier post:

“...Though the subject has been clarified in the above terms, in my opinion, boarded out recruits in receipt of disability pension would ipso facto be included in the pre-existing definitions in force prior to 01 Feb 2006 too since unlike officer trainees, recruits are entitled to pay and disability pensionary benefits as applicable to regular Sepoys and are also under the purview of the Army Act and hence cannot treated differently than others. Even otherwise, the MoD clarification issued on 01 Feb 2006 did not contain any cut-off date for the applicability of the clarification which has now been superimposed through back-door...”

Thankfully, the Ministry of Defence has now issued a clarification in consistent with the view as above that boarded-out recruits in receipt of disability pension shall be treated as ex-servicemen irrespective of the date of discharge.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bringing to the knowledge of the top what is happening at the bottom

The Prime Minister, on occasions more than one, has made his pain felt at the litigation initiated by the Ministry of Defence against disabled soldiers in the Supreme Court. The issue also forms a part of the manifesto of the ruling party.

The ruthlessness of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) of the Ministry of Defence is bewildering, and it is also a cause of concern that the Three Services Headquarters have not protested this sadism strongly enough in the recent past.

It is thus very clear that the Prime Minister, and also the current Defence Minister, who in all probability are very busy in the upcoming budget, are unaware that it is business as usual for junior functionaries of the DESW and that the said department and Govt lawyers in the Supreme Court are continuing with their tirade against disabled soldiers and other pensioners.

It is however heartening to note that people have taken a lead in informing the political executive of this malaise and one such letter written to the Prime Minister can be accessed by clicking here.

It is the duty of all of us to ensure that the sentiments of old and infirm pensioners, both civilian as well as military, and of disabled soldiers and military widows, are brought to the knowledge of the Prime Minister and the concerned Ministers, so that the dubious intentions of junior functionaries of the Govt are not allowed to override law, equity and justice or even to contravene the opinion expressed by the Prime Minister.

The issue has been covered in the press too:

The Hindu

The Tribune

The Hindustan Times