Monday, November 12, 2012
Chairman IESM meets the Defence Minister
I had a meeting with the Defence Minister today. The gist of points discussed follows. These were also handed over in the form of a written note.
1. OROP Vs Sanction of Rs 2300 Cr for Pension Enhancement. While stressing the fact that OROP has still not been given as such, and that for officers it is merely a correction of an anomaly, I thanked him for his support in getting the pension enhancement for which the government has sanctioned the amount. Notably, this is the second pension enhancement during the tenure of the present Defence Minister. He confirmed that he has already cleared the file and the case is in progress with the DOPT and efforts are being made to clear it soon.
2. Rank Pay. The Minister confirmed that the case is being pushed through to release the arrears at the earliest.
3. Family Pension Enhancement. We had been pushing this case for long and I expressed gratitude for his intervention in seeing it through. He remarked that he has told all in the Ministry that the credit for this goes entirely to me for my dogged pursuit of the issue. (It may be known that we had taken some widows to his office that made personal appeals; later in a social gathering last month he light-heartedly commented that I had brought families to his office and ‘gheraoed’ him). Thanking him I pointed out that I may be the visible face but it is the IESM that deserves credit for spearheading the case of family pension.
4. Family Pension for Widows of Sepoys. While on family pension I pointed out that as learnt the families of all widows of Naiks to Maj Gen were going to get enhancement. However, the widows of Sepoys are being denied the same. I mentioned my apprehension that since no one is retiring as a Sepoy after 1.1.2006, the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee may not have realised the omission. He promised to have the issue looked into.
5. OROP. The minister has been often saying that they cannot sanction OROP in one go but they will keep bridging the gap between old and new pensioners gradually. I asked him if there was any timeline when the final plank on this bridge would be put. There was no firm reply.
6. Court Cases. I underscored the point that many veterans have been compelled to seek and obtain redress through the courts. A strong feeling therefore is gaining ground where the veterans are having more faith in the courts vis-à-vis the govt, which is not a happy development. While acknowledging the point he also said happily the number of court cases is coming down.
7. ECHS. In view of the inordinate delay in clearance of bills some good hospitals are shying away from getting empanelled. There are reports of some hospitals inflating the bills. The MoD, therefore, rightly insists on scrutinizing the bills before clearing payment. On the other hand the hospitals complain that the Ministry is using this as a pretext to delay payment, including in some cases demanding a ‘cut’. In all this the veteran suffers. While some inflation of bills must inevitably be happening, its extent could not exceed 15-20% at a maximum. To ensure that the scheme does not suffer from default, it is suggested that 50% of the billed amount must be cleared immediately under the powers of the MD ECHS. Any over-billing then can be adjusted in the remaining 50% of the claimed amount. The minister agreed to have the proposal examined on file.
8. Veterans’ Course of Action. I emphasized that in view of OROP not having been sanctioned, we will continue with our struggle.
Wishing all veterans and their families a very happy Diwali.
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Dear Gen Kadyan
Please do not get carried away by Antony's sweet words. I cannot think of a bigger fraud than him. He has run away to Delhi after cheating the people here on his promise, as the CM, on self financing professional colleges!
You are right Col Ravindran....
But do not attach any significance to the contents of the message. This is an exercise, just for the fulfillment of the General's own MEGALOMANIA!
More accurate and detailed information could have been obtained by sending a Subedar Sahib to have tea with a CGO or an Under Secretary of the MoD.
Conveying the threat to the RM that the IESM will launch an agitation if OROP is not granted, brings back to me the memory of an incident, of yester-years.
In the then OPS COMMAND, of the IAF at Palam, the Station Routine Order of a day carried an entry......" All Air Force Personnel will wear helmets when driving two-wheelers. Defaulters will be punished severely"
The AOC-IN-C at that time, Air Vice Marshal PC LAL saw the entry; drew a circle around the entry in BOLD, using his red ink pen, with the following comments.... and sent it back to the SOA.
"PLEASE DO NOT THREATEN ANY ONE. TAKE ACTION"
Same is applicable in the instant case. We have given this threat any number of times to the RM, even to Ms Sonia G, and the Prime Minister, the President of India, our Supreme Commander ....or for that matter to whosoever would listen to us!
Where is the need to waste words.....Act if you can?
Wish for God Speed
Gp Capt KP Sharma
So true, Gp Capt Sharma!
Words....words.....and more words.......
.......the case is "in progress" with the DOPT......"efforts are being made"........ the case "is being pushed through" .....promised to have the issue "looked into"......the gap between old and new pensioners "gradually".....There was "no firm reply". .... agreed to have "the proposal examined" on file .....
........and lastly, your exalted Honour...... in view of OROP not having been sanctioned, we will continue with our struggle.....for the next 30-40 years, and even beyond, if necessary......... Amen, and copy to all concerned!
With due apologies to all for their efforts being made....and, I do not think there is any 'megalomania' involved seeing the results, however feeble, coming up, I feel we are being taken for a ride, and we shall continue to go for the ride till the time we complement our words with some ACTION....but, can we? Will we? Alas, WHEN?
Cheers, all round, till then!
Colonel Ronnie Burjor Mistry