Tuesday, 4 March 2014

MEETING WITH THE HON'BLE RAKSHA MANTRI SHRI AK ANTONY ON 01 MAR 2014

GENERAL 

A Delegation of the Association led by Lt Col Inderjit Singh, Chairman and comprising Capt.  Chatter Singh, Vice Chairman, Brig Bhagwan Singh, Secretary General, Lt Col HR Ruhil, Gen Secy, Lt Nar Singh Das, Gen Secy, Sub Maj Nahar Singh, Secy, Sub Sadhu Singh, Member met the Hon'ble Sh AK Antony today 01 Mar 2014 at his residence. The purpose of the meeting was to first thank him for the grant of OROP and also apprise him  about the problems that may arise while implementing the Govt's decision.
 
Last Minute Panic

We were given an appointment by Shri AK Antony to meet him on 01 Mar at 7:30 pm. At about 5:00 pm we got a call that the Meeting will be held at 7:00 pm instead as the Minister has been summoned for another meeting. We rescheduled the plan in such a manner that we could be there much before schedule and set out accordingly. While on the way we got another call saying that he has been called for the all important meeting earlier than scheduled, but doesn't want to go until he had met us and asked if we could rush. We rushed and got there quickly. 
 
It was indeed kind of the RM to be waiting for us at the door with the car all ready to take him away for the other meeting. Before any thing else the Chairman presented the Hon'ble RM with a bunch of THIRTY TWO RED ROSES. He told the RM that each Rose depicted  every year of struggle for OROP. All these Roses had been put together in a bunch for HAPPY FLOWERY ENDING. After the presentation sweets were distributed to mark  the happy occasion. 
 

Discussions in Next Meeting

Shri Antony was waiting for us at the door. He was kind to brief us about what he had done, which besides OROP included Disability and Family pensions. He desired that we leave our papers with his Secy. He also told us that we would soon meet in office and discuss in details our suggestions. We left three letters with his Secy. These are given below. We would welcome any more suggestions/points if we have omitted anything. That could be taken up as part of discussions when we meet him next week.

More after the next meeting with him.
Warm regards,
Lt Col Inderjit  Singh
Chairman, AIEWA

Mob 09811007629

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THREE LETTERS HANDED OVER TO THE HON'BLE RM ON 01 MAR  14

LETTER NO 1
 
I had written a thanks giving mail in which I did not mention your contributions for the OROP. It was because I could not   at short notice find enough words to express our gratitude for the colossal role you played in seeing it through.

I have been working for this cause for the past over 32 years now. I must today tell you that no Defence Minister of the past had ever taken up this matter as strongly as you did in Jun 2012 with the Hon'ble PM. I will not be saying any thing wrong if I said that no future Defense Minister will ever be able to outdo your commitment either. We the entire community of Veterans Salute you with all the reverie at our command. We are indeed grateful.

In the regular meetings you kindly granted to me to understand our problems, the key word " BRIDGING THE GAP " was never in doubt. The anxiety was about 'when'. Now that the gap has been finally bridged, we are happy that an honest and upright man like you have been able to keep his word.

You have very kindly helped us in putting this demand away, which is great by itself. We have however a long way yet to go..Time has now come to ensure that such a situation never develops again. Towards that end I have already made comprehensive suggestions to you from time  to time, which may kindly be implemented. We shall ever remain grateful.

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LETTER NO 2


Thank you very much for bridging the Gap of past and present Veterans pensions by granting us OROP on 17 Feb. A long standing and most legitimate demand of 32 years has finally  been solved by the leadership by accepting the principle of OROP. The entire community of Veterans are indeed grateful. There are however some Doubting Thomasses and elements belonging to the opposition calling this Historic Step an election gimmick which would be thrown out as soon as  these are over.

Military Briefing

We are indeed happy and delighted to read about the briefing that you recently did of the Military brass reassuring them about the allocation of additional funds and seriousness of the leadership to put this matter in the past forever. Our grateful thanks to you.

Prevent Shortchanging

My humble submission is that initial role of the leadership has been played very deftly. Now the most difficult stage of its honest and true implementation through a Govt Notification commences. Such decisions have been taken by the benign Congress leadership many times in the past as well. All these decisions were shortchanged by craftily worded Notifications issued by the hostile bureaucracy. They have been stonewalling the acceptance of this submission for the past 32 years, they are not going to easily let it happen now.

Implementation  Committee

This is what we need to prevent this time. To ensure that the Veterans and even more than that the leadership is not let down this time, we appeal to you to kindly   appoint immediately a proper Implementation Committee for OROP, in which besides the bureaucracy we have the representatives of the Veterans and Services as members. Our representation on it is the key element of this Committee and may please be conceded for the sake of good for all.

The Committee should be directed to work out the Notification within the time frame laid down by you, so that it is implemented before the Elections are announced.

This alone will put the entire effort in its proper perspective neutralizing all the adverse propaganda effects of the hostile elements.  We look forward to immediate and positive steps announced towards this end.


Essential Points

You have very rightly given directions to cover the Family and Disability pensions in this exercise. There are however a few more matters that need to be covered.

These are as follows:-

a) Majors  affected by the AV Committee report. They need to be equated to a time scaled Lt Col's pension.
b) Lt Cols Selection Grade affected by the AV Committee  Report. There is no scale in  Sixth CPC for this Rank. The  job that they did is being done by a full Colonel. Appropriately they should be equated to full Colonel to meet the definition of OROP.
c) Reservists Pensions. This is a diminishing strength as we do not have men going on reserve any more. The Fifth CPC equated them with a normal Jawan and gave them the same pension. The Sixth CPC denied them this privilege. They should all be given the same pension as a sepoy with  17 years service.
d) There was a long standing demand for giving Hony Naib Sub the same pension as the present one is drawing. This does not need any special effort as it would be covered by OROP in the normal course.
e) The removal of 33 years conditionality for grant of 50% as pension should  be ensured even though it should happen with the OROP implementation automatically.
f)  The Definition of OROP being talked about is not comprehensive and complete. There is a third factor of the Group in which the JCOs and ORs serve that governs the pension. This must be  taken care of and the entitlements worked out properly.

We admire you and thank you very much for  the promptitude with which the Notification  advising Service Headquarters to file appeals against AFT judgements in favor of Veterans without reference in six matters was withdrawn. We are sure the desired promptitude in this all important  matter of OROP would not be lacking.


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LETTER NO 3

Your HISTORIC statement, "There isn't the remotest chance of a military coup in the country," came as a waft of fresh thinking of the Leadership and a realization that will bury for all times this canard of the bureaucracy.
 
Trust Deficit
 
This single lie was responsible for the denial of rightful dues and place in the Society for the soldier. Now that it has been unceremoniously buried we hope that rational decisions will be taken to ensure that never again do we have a situation where  there is mistrust between the Soldier and the Leadership. In other words the unfortunate TRUST DEFICIT becomes a thing of the past.

Now is the time to strengthen this bond by concrete action. Now is the time to work on unbiased opinions and do the right by the soldier. Towards this end, the first thing that is required is  the implementation of the Court orders about Rank Pay case in letter and spirit.
 
Essential Instruments
 
The next step should be to establish instruments through which we can get our feelings/ opinions to reach up to the leadership uncensored. These are-
 
a) set up Standing  Committee of Voluntary Associations (SCOVA) in the MOD on the same lines as the Ministry for Pensions for our Institutionalized Interaction with the leadership on regular basis;
b) the Ex servicemen Welfare  Department in the MOD be staffed and run by the serving and retired soldiers;
c) the Armed Forces be given representation in the MOD at every decision making level. Armed Forces are the only uniformed service denied that privilege and trust. How tragic    and sad for the Nation and the leadership?
d) establish a Veterans Resettlement Commission with full powers to look after their affairs.
 
Once these are in place, all problems will be  attended to and resolved by mutual consultation to the entire satisfaction of all, without the leadership having to worry.

We look forward to an early action.

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