Date: 29 Mar 2012


Dated : 22 March 2012 PRESS RELEASE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ SAINIK AUR SANGHARSH- 22 Mar 2012\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 1. Developments of past few months have attracted national attention to the alarmingly dismal state of civil military relations. This deterioration and mistrust is however not a recent development but the result of a constant downslide since independence. In national security interests it is vital that this be checked. Aware that the Fourth Estate has not only the potential but also the motivation for this important transformation, we Veterans feel that some important but little known irritants in these relations need to be highlighted to the media, to carry this message to the citizenry. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 2. It is emphasized that while we understand and fully respect Civil Supremacy over the Military, we distinguish that this “Supremacy “refers to the Legislative and not to the Civil Services/Bureaucracy to which it is sometime mistakenly and arrogantly ascribed intriguingly- by the latter. It is this interpretive aberration that has brought the civil military relations to their nadir. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 3. Ironically the Ministry of Defence, chartered to ensure appropriate equipping, suitable manning, high morale and effective functioning of defence forces, is perceived as being obstructive, due to their lack of empathy to the latter’s needs, which many attribute to Bureaucrats’ lack of operational expertise and accountability. An all pervasive ‘We’ versus ‘They’ chasm exists between the ‘fighting force’ that is asked to and has successively and successfully delivered on all tasks, AND the Bureaucracy, that perceptually does everything to obstruct the former. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 4. To a layman the deterioration of Civil Military relations may appear to be over some conflictive issues in the past, but in reality the Military has almost no contribution to have led to it. Having optimally performed all the time, every time, in peace as in War, unquestionably and despite shortages in manpower and equipment, it is unfortunate that the decline is the consequence of some mysterious and at times seemingly petty/vengeful actions by the MoD.Some glaring irritants are given below. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ a. Grant of One Rank One Pension. Despite appealing to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces- the President of India, on eight occasions in the past forty months, the demand for OROP has not been met by the Govt. To express our deep anguish and resentment, Defence veterans have already deposited over 22000 Gallantry and Distinguished Service Medals and submitted memorandum signed in blood by over one lakh fifty thousand defence veterans, to the President. We have written numerous letters and had meetings with PM, RM and others, but the OROP remains elusive. Recently the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions examined the issue of grant of OROP in totality, in response, to a Petition submitted by Shri Rajeev Chandrashekhar, MP. The Petition Committee, with representation from many political parties, examined all stake holders including representatives of Ministries of Defence, Finance and various organizations and departments. The Report of the Committee (soft copy attached) tabled in the RajyaSabha on 19 Dec 2011unanimously and strongly recommends the grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) to all defence pensioners and family pensioners. It now awaits legislative processing and implementation. On behalf of over Twenty Lakh Ex Servicemen and 4 Lakh widows, the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) appeals your assistance in getting OROP implemented. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ b. Denial of Enhanced Pensionary Benefits to Widows. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ i. There are approximately four lakh Service widows in India, most living in far flung remote areas. Nearly all depend on their pension for sustenance. The Sixth Pay Commission report recommended enhancement in their pension too as was the case for other defence pensioners. ii. Following protests by the Ex Servicemen over some anomalies in the 6th CPC Report, the Government constituted a committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to re-examine the issue of defence pensioners. Based on the recommendation of this committee, while pension of Junior Commissioned officers and lower ranks was increased through government notification dated 08 March 2010, shockingly the pension of widows was not enhanced. In fact the widows are the neediest, and their being left out is a big disappointment to the entire Ex Servicemen community. iii. When two appeals to the government failed in seeking redress, a delegation of IESM including widows met RM on 14 Nov 2011. The RM assured and later confirmed to the Chairman IESM that he had cleared the file for the enhancement of pension to the widows and sent to the Finance Ministry. iv. Four months have passed since then but the pension of widows has not yet been enhanced. This needs to be enhanced earliest, with retrospective effect. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ c. Lowering of Warrant of Precedence and Interse’ Status. It is normal Management practice to reward performance, but surprisingly despite performing well both in Peace and War, at times even exceeding national expectations, the Defence Services Ranks have steadily been brought down in the Warrant of Precedence (WoP) and relative inter-service equations. d. Ill-conceived Merger of Military and Civilian Pay and Pensions by 3rd CPC. Till mid-seventies, Defence Veterans enjoyed an edge in pension over their civilian counterparts (They received 75% of last pay drawn as pension, while civilians got 33%). The 3rd Central Pay Commission brought the two at par – 50% of last pay drawn. This in effect lowered the incentive that the military earlier held out -at one stroke this ill-conceived step brought monetary parity, unmindful of the functional differences, job content and even the fact that the Defence personnel lose their constitutional fundamental rights while in service. e. Non Implementation of Judicial Orders by Government. The predictable pattern of the MOD, firstly denying to faujis, enhancements/ upgrades granted by the legislative (the civil masters), forcing them to go to the courts, then appealing against ALL court decisions favoring Veterans, till all avenues of justice are exhausted, before reluctantly issuing anomaly infested instructions, all but denying the award when contempt proceedings are threatened, whereby a fresh battle starts for the aggrieved veteran, causes serious suspicion about the MoD. f. AFT Without Teeth. To reduce pressure on courts, Armed Forces Tribunal was created in 2009 on the lines of Civil Administrative Tribunal. However, mischievously denied powers of Civil contempt, these Tribunal lack teeth and most of their rulings go unimplemented. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ g. Non Functional Upgrades (NFU). The 6th CPC introduced the concept of Non Functional Upgrades for Civilian Group A officers of Government of India. Shockingly it leaves out Defence Officers. This introduces newer ‘functional’ problems in joint functioning. Any Group A officer with 19 years would automatically draw pay of a Joint Secretary (most civil services officers become JS by around 16 years’ service. And those who don’t, would gain parity in salary through NFUs). That way at retirement everyone would be in the HAG, ensuring Fixed Pension. Surprisingly in arguing against OROP the Bureaucracy has been insisting that everyone would then ask for it. AND here, ‘everyone’ already seems to have it!! h. Voting at Station of Posting. While Defence personnel lose out on many Fundamental rights, their right to vote remains unhindered. Unfortunately Election Commissions’ failure to carry out enumeration of units and including them in the Voters’ list at station of posting, denies the servicemen their right to vote at the place they are normally resident of. Postal Ballot, a phenomenon designed for overseas service is wrongly now applied to Defence personnel even while serving within India. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ i. Wasting Trained Manpower. That the Defence Services are the largest pool of trained, motivated, patriotic, adaptable and self-actualized manpower resource in the country is well acknowledged. Sadly this large resource, trained at great expense to the citizenry is allowed to fritter away prematurely, when Defence Services personnel retire at far younger age than their civilian counterparts, due to the operational desirability of keeping the Armed Forces young. The inability to profitably utilize them by lateral absorption into administrative, police services or PSUs is a gross national HRD failure. It causes extreme hardship to Ex Servicemen, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ who need to start a second career when their family responsibilities are largest. By contrast the Serviceman loses several tens of lacs financially, in comparison to his counterparts in Administrative/ Police forces, by the time of retirement age.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 5. Sadly such maltreatment has resulted in Defence Services becoming one of the least preferred career options. Reason enough for national concern. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ With Regards, Jai Hind\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Yours Sincerely, Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM Vice Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570 Email: ================================================ 000000000