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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Naysayers, please relax on the Panel of Experts on Defence Matters!

Some disinformation is floating around on the Committee of Experts constituted by the Raksha Mantri. I would like to clear the haze on some issues.

Some myths and their replies:

That the panel has been setup to divert attention from OROP

Totally incorrect. The formation of the panel was first discussed by the Raksha Matri in February, much before the current scenario, and the orders have been issued in July. The two are totally separate issues and do not overlap. The Committee would not be touching upon OROP at all.

That it is an attempt to appease and silence the voices of those who are its Members

Far from the truth. If this is the level of trust expressed for the Members of the Committee, then it is not only unfortunate but it is also clear that persons making such loose statements are not aware of our conviction and sincerity. Also, I think I should make it clear to everyone that all Members are functioning in a purely honorary capacity without any monetary gain and that too after squeezing out time from their respective professions with the aim of service to the society in mind.

The Committee would be handling grievances of soldiers and veterans

Untrue. The Committee is not mandated with such an unwieldy task. The Committee is not supposed to look into individual grievances but is supposed to suggest ways and means to decrease litigation involving the Ministry of Defence as well as the Defence Services and also to increase the level of trust and goodwill amongst the stakeholders in this regard by suggesting broad institutional and progressive changes to the system of redressal of grievances. The Committee would be looking into pending cases related to service matters and pensions and ways to minimize litigation so that the officialdom can focus on areas of core governance.

The panel is recommendatory and its recommendations may never see the light of the day

It is true that the report is recommendatory. All such commissions, expert panels and committees are recommendatory. But keeping in view the fact that it has been constituted by the Raksha Mantri himself and in line with the PM’s focus on governance, it is certainly not going to be an empty formality. Almost all major policy decisions concerning the nation are taken by way of reports of experts and panel inputs. Moreover, it is quite surprising to hear some minority voices of pessimism which say that though it is a good move, it would not be able to achieve its aim. So what should be done? Should such a proactive move taken for the first time since independence be aborted just because a minority feels it would serve no purpose? I would only emphatically like to say that it is much better to have a body of experts viewing these issues with a sharp spotlight so as to iron out the creases than having nothing at all. Also I must place on record that the there has been no pressure on us from any quarter related to our functioning and we are lucky to have such a situation wherein we have been tasked by the apex level of governance to work in a free and independent manner with full support of the political executive without fear or favour.

So naysayers, please relax. The move is in the right direction and a very progressive initiative of the Minister with his full personal involvement under the aegis of the Prime Minister. Let us not spread negativity till the flowers fully bloom. 


Trilochan said...

Thank you for clearing all the doubts and best of luck. Please keep up the good work.

AnalyseThis said...

The cynicism of a lot of people is driven by their experiences or what they have heard, this can hardly be wished away.

While the focus on litigation is relevant, the real issue in respect of veterans is whether the System can reach a level of continuous engagement with them. In this respect, each and every grievance needs to be recorded in a transparent manner with an auditable trail of action taken and feedback to the user. There are many E-governance initiatives which need to be adapted to the veterans environment to provide them a Single Point of Engagement. The Committee would do well to not only suggest measures but dwell on how the existing institutional systems can be re-structured. An important issue to address would be to properly resource the state level Sainik Welfare organisation and integrate them with the DESW at the level of systems, databases etc.

In respect of litigation itself, it would be useful for the above mentioned system itself to have a properly structured and searchable database of case law that veterans, veterans organisations and decision makers in the Services and the Ministry can refer to.

Unknown said...

Respected maj navdeep & d p Singh sirs,long back when the hon.DM called both of you along with col handa sahib this was in pipeline.my request to you sir,donot heed people who donot understand what maj navdeep stands for,the ignoramuses who haven't read any thing you wrote,sir all the best in your new role and humbly request you to put it across that 50% disability pension of rs 1755/ is a pittance for loss of a limb to a soldier

Anonymous said...

Respected Navdeep Sir, (Since it is your blog I am addressing to you only)

"Something is better than nothing" is a phrase which I request to be understood by the minority voices but..
Sir, you are really doing a NOBLE job to this fraternity which may or may not be acknowledged by any one/some one ( may be out of ignorance) but still fact remains same.

Hope this committee will look into in service as well as after service factors and give it recommendations .....

R S Sekhon said...

Dear Navdeep,People talking and casting doubts about the committee formed by the RM,are ignorant about the yeoman's service you are doing for the veterans and serving soldiers. There is no parallel to this. Please carry on regardless.

Lt Col G K Mohan Rao said...

Congrats Maj Navdeep. I feel if MOD included a retd IAS officer who worked in MOD could have given inputs from administrative side also and thus could have been a wholesome committee.

Tej Bakhshi said...

Well spoken, Navdeep. Just keep the chin up and continue to serve the Services as you have done over the years. Very few, if any, have invested the kind of time and energy in this very noble cause as you have done. We are proud, indeed grateful for your efforts and consideration. Wish you the best in your endeavours and God speed.

Anonymous said...

A Welcome move by the Defence Minister.
Things will certainly improve with sincere
efforts of people like Maj Navdeep.

Maj-Gen V. K. Khanna said...

Dear Major Navdip

The government seems to be filing appeal in all cases involving service personnel where the decision is contrary to their stand. It looks like a prestige issue with the MOD. Poor servicemen who have to spend money for litigation from their meager savings are left high and dry.

I have a suggestion that for all such cases there should be a high powered committee comprising RM, Law Minister and Attorney General to decide whether there should be an appeal against AFT decisions. Only in very rare cases should there be an appeal

Second issue is important that all AFT and SC decisions should be implemented promptly. A committee of senior officials should ensure compliance with reasons for delay if any that should be put up to RM every month. There should be no requirement for contempt of court

Please take up these issues in your committee deliberations

Kind regards

Maj-Gen VK Khanna

PBOR said...

कुछ तो लोग कहेंगें, लोगो का काम है कहना / छोड़ो बेकार की बातों में कँहि बीट ना जाई रैना.

sarvesh rai, new delhi said...

Dear Navdeep

We have full faith in all the members. Do your best, its just that the def community has been neglected so much that they cant think of any good

Wg Cdr Sarvesh Rai

uk anand said...

Dear Major Navdeep,
Would you like inputs from the community at large towards an fine initiative?
I must also implore to everybody that rather than being cynical and looking at the whole thing with distrust, it would be in the best interest of the fraternity to introspect and honestly contribute to efforts of the committee. We all can positively contribute by making them aware about problems and solutions with live examples so that a holistic view of all issues at hand can be taken. Practical solutions to these problems can only be arrived at in a coordinated manner by being and bringing onboard all stakeholders.

Bharat Chevur said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Forget the Naysayers. Just go ahead and do what you have been tasked to do. We are aware of your capabilities and dedication. We are sure that all Faujis will benefit from this Committee.
Jai Hind
Bharat Chevur

Unknown said...

Dear Maj Navdeep Sir,

Firstly, I am absolutely with RS Sekhon Sir's comments dt 23rd July .......& hence, assure full support by veterans who have full Faith in you & other members.

Its a well deserved move by RM to form this Panel & appoint you as member. Sir, the second issue highlighted by Maj Gen VK Khanna needs to be pushed by you/Panel. Please also inform us as to when this Panel would start the office & how a common veteran can approach you.

At the end I wish you all the best for another Nobel jod you have undertaken & May God Bless you Sir.

Maj Lalit Kant Baghel (Retd)

Manohar said...

Your optimistic view certainly will keep the pessimists to silence. With you and DP Singh in this committee will be useful to reduce those unnecessary court cases to minimum. I wish you all the best.

Unknown said...

dear sir, its in the nature of cynicism pervading the armed forces today with respect to the sincerity of the govt towards its forces and veterans that such innuendoes are being floated and such rumours finding support. wht to think if the hon pm can announce 50000 crores without any concrete plans due to polls but cant make mind and decision over a piddly 8000 crores for his own veterans
dont mind the rumours , they r pent up frustration and disbelief if the system is going to ever b sincere

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep, I req the committe should review the procedure for getting advance permission to grant family pension for life to disabled son/daughter of service personnel after the demise of pensioner and spouse. since the present orders is procedure oriented rather than user friendly. personnel below officer rank will be severly affected if they are in old age/residing at farflung places9 [if they are having disabled children]and also all old age pensioners

Pankaj said...

how can we send you our suggestions

RSS said...

The PCDA is not paying the Pension of the Last Rank Held to several pre-2006 JCOs and NCOs despite removal of the stipulation of 10 months' service for pension vide GOI letter No.B/39013/AG/PS-4 (a & c)/131/A/D (Pen/sers) dated 9th of February 2001 (Annexure A2) w.e.f 01 January 1996. There was no change even after the 6CPC since the clause was modified by letters issued by the PCDA at different times. There are several instances of winning of the cases from ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL REGIONAL BENCHES and principal Bench Delhi by the affected soldiers who had served from 03 to 09 months in their Last Rank (such as AFT Kochi's decision on O.A.No. 20 of 2012 WEDNESDAY on 20 March 2013).
Kindly extend your help on this point since it is one of the several causes of litigations and sufferings by the soldiers.
Thanks & best regards,
JWO Ram Singh Sahni (Ex), IAF