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    India spends more on defence infra, less on men & maintenance: Study

    Vijay Mohan
    Tribune News Service
    Chandigarh, November 21
    India is at the top among 10 major countries in terms percentage of expenditure on procurement of military equipment and development of defence infrastructure of the total defence spending, but is at the bottom of the list as far as expenditure on operations and maintenance is concerned. The position regarding expenditure on defence personnel is also on the lower side.
    While the imminent pay hike for the armed forces, as for all other central government employees, is good news on the personal front, higher pay scales come at the cost of funds for operations and maintenance.
    This has been the finding of a study conducted for the Seventh Pay Commission by New Delhi-based think tank, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. The countries with which India has been compared include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia, China and Pakistan.
    In 2007, India had been placed in the ninth spot in terms of expenditure on personnel and in 2012 it moved up to the sixth spot. On the operations and maintenance front, it was in the ninth place in 2007 and slipped to the 10th in 2012.
    “In India, expenditure on personnel as a percentage of total defence spending witnessed a sharp increase from 27.55 per cent in 2007 to 41.12 per cent in 2012, reflecting the impact of the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission. The conclusion that increased expenditure on personnel has been at the expense of operational and maintenance expenditure, which declined from 25.21 per cent in 2007 to 15.26 per cent in 2012, is inescapable,” the Commission’s report states.

    Changing priorities

    In 2007, India was placed in ninth spot in terms of expenditure on personnel (with 27.55% of defence budget) and in 2012 (41.12%) it moved up to the sixth spot

    On the operations and maintenance front, it was in the ninth place in 2007 (25.21% of defence budget) and slipped to the 10th in 2012 (15.26%)

    Over 4% hike in upper class Rly fares from today

    New Delhi, November 14
    Railway fares for travel in the upper class categories will go up from tomorrow as a service tax levy of 14% and a Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5% become effective.

    A Railway Ministry circular says fares will go up by 4.35% for First Class and all AC Classes from November 15. There was a notification by the government for imposing a Swachh Bharat cess on all taxable services on November 6.
    “Service tax of 14% and Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5% are chargeable on 30% total passenger fare equivalent equivalent to 4.35% of the total fare on first class and all AC fares,” the circular said. However, the service tax will not be applicable for tickets issued before November 15. The levy will not be applicable for general and sleeper class travel. — PTI

    Kejriwal calls govt’s OROP order farce, backs veterans

    Arakkonam/New Delhi, Nov 13

    The OROP row escalated today with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar terming attempts by veterans to burn medals as an insult to the nation and asked the protesting ex-servicemen to prove there was no political motive behind their stir even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal voiced support to them.
    “If I say something, it will become an allegation. Let them prove that it is not political,” Parrikar told reporters in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu when asked if he saw a political link to continuing agitation despite the government’s response and notification on “one rank, one pension” (OROP) scheme.
    He said the medals were a recognition of the nation for the sacrifice done by the armed forces. “Burning and returning them is an insult to the nation and the defence forces,’ Parrikar said.
    His comments came on a day when Kejriwal visited the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar wearing a cap and T-shirt with OROP slogans.
    He asked the Centre to implement OROP for the veterans in its “true spirit” rejecting its recent notification in this regard.
    Kejriwal, who spoke to the media near the makeshift stage of the protesting veterans, however, he did not address the gathering as he was asked not to make any “political statement” by Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who is spearheading the movement.
    “The government notification is a farce because it is not in its true spirit. Please don’t fool the veterans. Implement OROP as per its definition. They are not begging but asking for their rights. It is unfortunate that the country’s soldiers are fighting for their rights on the streets,” Kejriwal said.
    The Chief Minister also tweeted his support for the ex- servicemen saying all their demands are “logical” and that the BJP-led Centre has been “unjust” to them. “Centre shud immediately accept their demands.”
    The protesting ex-servicemen had earlier met Kejriwal and briefed him about the “shortcomings” in the OROP notification. — PTI

    OROP: Retired Armymen surrender medals in Ambala

    Our Correspondent
    Ambala, November 10

    Nearly 30 ex-servicemen unhappy with the Centre’s OROP (one rank, one pension) notification reached the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office here today to return their medals.
    Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Shakti Singh, who was present in the DC’s office, asked them to keep their medals with them as it would be an insult of them if these were kept in the office. Since the ex-servicemen were adamants on surrendering their medals, the SDM asked them to deposit the medals with the Zila Sainik Board.
    Subedar (retd) Attar Singh said Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar had misled the Army personnel.
    “The main demands have not been accepted in the notification and it is not acceptable to ex-servicemen. According to the notification, Army personnel who took premature retirement are not qualified for the one rank, one pension,” he said.

    Govt issues OROP notification, ex-servicemen not impressed

    Tribune News Service
    New Delhi, November 7
    The Centre tonight issued a notification implementing ‘one rank one pension’ scheme for the retired armed forces personnel, but the ex-servicemen said it was not acceptable to them.
    The notification comes a few days after some decorated veterans threatened to return their medals next week in protest against delay in OROP implementation.
    Ministry of Defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said pension would be revised every five years. The protesting ex-servicemen had demanded a revision every two years. The pension of the past pensioners would be re-fixed on the basis of the benefits being given to retirees of the calendar year 2013. The scheme will be effective from July 1, 2014.
    The pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners on the basis of the average of minimum and maximum pension of personnel retiring in 2013 in the same rank and with the same length of service. The pension of those drawing above the average will be protected.
    The arrears will be paid in four equal half-yearly installments. However, all family pensioners, including those getting special/liberalised pension, and gallantry awardees shall be paid arrears in one installment. The government has also decided to appoint a judicial committee to look into the anomalies, if any, which would submit its report in six months.
    The issue of giving pension to those opting for premature retirement (PMR) has been settled, though it could have long-term repercussions. The notification says those opting to quit on their own request in the future would not be entitled to the scheme benefits. This shall be effective prospectively, meaning officers and jawans who took PMR in the past shall be benefitted but those opting for PMR now onwards would be excluded. It also means there will be fewer PMR applications, which may strain the existing housing and infrastructure as officers were likely to stay on.
    Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, a body spearheading the OROP stir, said the notification “would not be acceptable”.

    IAF: Ready for two-front war Chief: Capable of striking Pak targets

    IAF: Ready for two-front war
    BS Dhanoa, Air Chief Marshal

    New Delhi, October 5

    Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa today said there was a low possibility of a two-front war even as he sounded a note of caution that Chinese forces were present in the Chumbi valley. The Indian Air Force Chief went on to assure that the force had the ability to strike targets in Pakistan.At a press conference ahead of Air Force Day (October 8), the IAF Chief was asked about the safety of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons and whether the IAF would be able to disarm Islamabad of its nuclear assets, if necessary.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)“We have a draft nuclear doctrine. It is answered in that — what happens when the enemy decides to use nuclear weapons on us. As far as the IAF is concerned, it has the ability to locate, fix and strike and that is not only for tactical nuclear weapons but for other targets across the border (as well),” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.On the presence of Chinese troops in the Chumbi valley, he said: “Their (Chinese) forces are still deployed in the Chumbi valley. We expect these forces to withdraw as exercises get over.”The valley lies east of Sikkim and was the site of the 74-day military standoff between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China at Doklam plateau. The Tribune had reported that the PLA was maintaining a few hundred troops west of the Torsa nullah at Doklam and its troop numbers were around 10,000 spread across the regions abutting eastern and northern Sikkim. India has two divisions (12,000 men in each)  complete with tanks in these areas.On a two-front war, he said the IAF had an alternative plan to fight such a war with the existing fighter jets.“We need 42 squadrons for a full spectrum of operations. But it does not mean we cannot fight a two-front war with the existing strength. We have Plan B,” the IAF Chief said.He said politically they had never fought a two-front war. On if the threat of a two-front war was lower than assumed, he said: “In the present geo-strategic scenario, the possibility of a two-front war is low. However, the intention of the enemy can change overnight.” Two-front war is a military nomenclature for simultaneous war with neighbours, Pakistan and China. He said additions were being made to the fighter fleet and by 2032, they would have the mandated strength. At present, the IAF has 33 squadrons and 10 of those are listed to be phased out. — TNS

    ‘Full squadron strength by 2032’“There is a plan by the government to induct fighters and by 2032, we will have authorised strength. But with the numbers that we have, we are capable of carrying out operations anytime.” BS Dhanoa, Air Chief Marshal

    3 women pilots set to fly military jets

    • The first three women fighter pilots of the country — Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh — are set to script history next month when they will fly military jets after a strenuous three-week training. PTI

    SGPC to set up Saragarhi gallery

    SGPC to set up Saragarhi gallery
    Saragarhi Sarai in Amritsar. Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Amritsar, August 30

    The SGPC has decided to set up a memorial gallery in the holy city that will be dedicated to the Sikh soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country.SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said the special gallery would be opened in the Saragarhi Niwas, an addition to the inns being operated by the apex body near the Golden Temple.Saragarhi Foundation president Gurinderpal Singh Josan, secretaries Manjit Singh and Kanwaljit Singh Josan today held a meeting with Badungar. The gallery would be inaugurated on September 10. Gurmat programmes have been scheduled on September 12 at Gurdwara Bajidpur in Ferozepur.The Battle of Saragarhi is considered to be one of the greatest last stands in the history. As many as 21 soldiers of the 36 Sikh Regiment fought against 10,000 Afghan soldiers and killed more than 600 before perishing to enemy bullets. The battle took place September 12, 1897 in Tirah region of North-West Frontier Province, now in Pakistan. Saragarhi was a post that connected British India forts of Lockhart and Gulistan on the border areas of Afghanistan.Badungar said even as the story of Saragarhi is a part of school curriculum in countries like France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, but it was pity that the Indian government never spared a thought of it.“It is a disappointment that our young generation is unaware of their bravery. Our endeavour was to apprise the youth about it. We will also install a special model measuring 6X3 foot depicting this historic battle. The gallery would have pictures and portraits of Sikh soldiers and other relevant material related to the battle,” he said.

    Functioning of CSD outlets Lt Gen Raj Kadiyan,Chairman writes to COAS




    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd)



    Telephone:    09811226676


    Vet/CSD/2017                                                                                      26 Aug 2017



    General Bipin Rawat, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM
    Chief of the Army Staff                                         
    Integrated HQ of Ministry of Defence (Army)

    South Block, New Delhi-110011

    Functioning of CSD outlets


    1. This is to bring to your notice the problems being faced by the veterans with respect to the unit run canteens. As learnt through interaction with canteen managers, there are presently three limitations imposed on the canteens. These are:
    1. The limit laid on the individual canteen cards. These are in terms of financial limit for groceries and in terms of units in liquor.
    1. There is also a monthly limit on how much a URC can buy in a month. This is in contradiction of (a) above. Based on the dependency, Gurgaon canteen for example, should be buying goods worth Rs 7 Crore every month to meet the demands of all veterans. However, his monthly purchase limit has been pegged at Rs 2 Crore. This leads to shortages and of late it is not unusual to see empty shelves in the canteen.
    1. Restriction on URCs of buying only once a month from the depot. This causes three problems. Firstly, the URC must have enough funds to buy the monthly quota in one go. Secondly, it leads to a storage problem, particularly for URCs functioning from small spaces. Thirdly, there is almost unmanageable rush of buying on the day following the date of collection.
    1. It is recommended that optimally, collection of stores from the depots should be allowed thrice in a month.
    1. It is learnt there is also a (new) requirement to get the canteen demands countersigned by a ‘brigade commander’. This is likely to cause an administrative delay in case of URCs located in remote areas far away from a formation commanded a Brigadier. This may kindly be reviewed, more so, since we have experienced veterans managing the canteens.

    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan

    After 33 years, Op Bluestar Major wins ‘battle of honour’

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, August 29

    For 33 years an Army Major who was recommended for the Ashoka Chakra — the highest peacetime gallantry award — for his actions during Operation Bluestar, was forced to fight a different battle to redeem his honour after he was “wrongly” convicted for retaining some electronic item recovered during anti-terrorist operations.The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has held that the officer’s trial by the then General Officer Commanding of the Amritsar-based 15 Infantry Division was not only without jurisdiction and not in conformity with law, but also based on unfounded facts on account of total lack of evidence.In its order passed a few days ago, the Tribunal’s Bench, comprising Justice DP Singh and Air Marshal Anil Chopra, has directed the central government to pay a compensation of Rs10 lakh to the officer, Maj KA Singh. The Bench also directed that the officer will be promoted notionally to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and shall be deemed to have retired from this rank at the age of 51 years after completing the required period of service for the purpose of payment of arrears of salary, post-retirement dues and for all other consequential benefits.The officer was posted as a Company Commander with an infantry battalion during the operations, when troops recovered four electronic items — a colour TV, VCR, deck and a three-in-one. The troops requested that these items be kept with the unit as souvenirs and the request was acceded by the commanding officer.Following an anonymous complaint, searches were conducted in the residence of some unit officers and a court of inquiry was ordered, which held five officers, including the commanding officer and the petitioner, blameworthy for the illegal detention of the items. This included a Captain being blamed for illegally retaining a Webley .38 revolver.Pointing out that the recovery and possession of the electronic items was the combined decision of all officers and they were collectively responsible for their retention, the Bench observed that the items were not recovered from the house of the petitioner but from another officer and the petitioner seems to have no major role in retaining them.“No punishment has been awarded to others by appropriate trial. Rather, the officers involved in the matter have been promoted to the higher posts, whose names came to light during Summary Inquiry as well as Summary of Evidence,” the Bench observed. “There appears to be gross injustice done to the petitioner’s career. He has been made a scapegoat, who suffered because of incorrect decision and wrong committed by the then commanding officer,” the Bench ruled.Charge against Major KA Singh

    • Major KA Singh, who was recommended for the Ashoka Chakra, was ‘wrongly’ convicted of retaining some electronic item recovered during anti-terrorist operations
    • He was posted as a Company Commander with an infantry battalion during the operations, when troops recovered four electronic items — a colour TV, VCR, deck and a three-in-one
    • Searches were conducted at the residence of some unit officers and a court of inquiry was ordered, which held five officers, including him, blameworthy for illegal detention of the items
    • The Bench said the items were not recovered from the petitioner’s house but from another officer and he seemed to have no major role in retaining them

    What Doklam videos say about China

    eijing finds it hard to exert soft power because of its tendency to treat neighbours with disdain

    By now, you’ll have seen the disturbing film clip of Indian and Chinese soldiers attacking each other with fists and rocks near Pangong Lake, in Ladakh. Such scuffles are, we’re told, not unusual along the India-China border, but since civilians never get to see them, it doesn’t crease our brows. My own first reaction on seeing it was relief that neither side used any of the lethal arms at its disposal, which ensured that the encounter didn’t escalate from a street brawl. But on subsequent viewings, it was hard not to feel a frisson of primal fear at the sight of two nuclear-armed militaries coming to blows.

    But in the hubbub created by that video, you may have missed another, in which Beijing attempted to use words where kicks and stones have failed. Last week, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua released a bizarre video in which a woman staffer, aided by a couple of colleagues, claims India has committed “seven sins” in its two-month standoff with China over Doklam. The video is unabashedly racist in its depiction of Indians, and patronizing toward Bhutanese.

    If the video was intended to shock and offend, all it did was mildly amuse. On social media, Indians chuckled at Xinhua’s attempt to dress up a Chinese man as an “Indian” by giving him a Sikh turban and the kind of fake beard you’d use in a skit for a 5-year-old’s birthday party. You have to wonder why the agency wasn’t able to hire a South Asian actor — a friendly Pakistani, perhaps? Also unintentionally funny was the woman staffer’s inexplicable ersatz American accent, complete with California slang.

    That the attempt fell flat is unsurprising: political humor is rare in China, where laughing at the ruling elite can be injurious to a comedian’s career, not to mention said comedian’s health and freedom. It’s hard to make fun of other governments when you’re not allowed to make jokes about your own. And it would too much to expect rapier sarcasm, or subtle ANYTHING, from so blunt an instrument of official propaganda as Xinhua.

    (To show our fellow journalists —yes, Xinhua does employ some — how it’s done, Hindustan Times asked comedienne Vasu Primlani to respond to the video. Rather than spoil it with a mundane description, I invite you to watch the video on our Facebook page. No fake beards were used.)

    But what, apart from its clumsiness, is one to make of the Xinhua video? It suggests Beijing wants to speak directly to Indians, over the heads of their political leaders, on the issue of Doklam. This is an interesting approach, even it was spoiled by the sheer ham-fistedness of the first effort.

    The second was a slight improvement. On Monday, Xinhua released another video on the topic of Doklam, this time minus the overt racism, and with a tone that, by Beijing’s standards of bluster, is almost conciliatory. A male staffer (conspicuously unshorn by faux facial hair) suggests that India and China are both ancient civilizations, and “not born rivals.” But he cannot resist the customary fingerwagging about the need for India to be “sober” and guard against “strategic myopia.”

    At this rate of progress, it will be a long time, before Delhi need worry about the effectiveness of Beijing’s propaganda directed at ordinary Indians. As any number of Sinologists have pointed out, the Chinese government struggles to exert any kind of soft power in the world, and especially in Asia. This is not because of its authoritarian nature: the Soviet Union was able to win friends, especially in the developing world, despite being a totalitarian state. Nor is it because the Delhi demonizes Beijing: for one thing, the Indian government has been quite restrained, and for another, the United States was able to project soft power in India even when Indira Gandhi portrayed it as a foe.

    The videos show the problem lies with the Chinese government, and its default posture of condescension toward its neighbours. Even when seeking to speak directly to Indians, Beijing succumbs to its propensity to hector and harangue — and winds up making a laughingstock of itself with its target audience.

    Meanwhile, even as we giggle about fake beards, there’s real reason for the world to worry about what’s going on the India-China border. If frontier fisticuffs are indeed a quotidian part of the lives of the soldiers there, then their restraint is the more remarkable for it. But to indefinitely count on their continence would be irresponsible of their political masters.