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Monday, 7 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 07 Sep 2015

Day after, PM says premature retirees also entitled to OROP
Modi slams UPA regime for scheme delay, ‘misleading’ veterans
Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 6
A day after the government announced “one rank, one pension” for veterans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought to set the record straight, saying soldiers who retired prematurely or those injured or disabled in the line of duty would be entitled to benefits under the scheme. The PM took on the previous governments for unprecedented delay in its implementation and “misleading” the fraternity on early retirement benefits.

The Prime Minister, while addressing a “Gati Pragati” rally here, said 90 per cent of the force comprised soldiers who worked in junior positions, fought on the frontline and retired after putting in 15 to 20 years of service. “Some feel they will not be entitled to the benefits. But we believe they are the first ones who should get this benefit. Our decision was inspired by their love for the nation.”

Modi, who arrived here from Delhi in a Metro after unveiling the link on the Badarpur-Mujesar section, justified the delay in the announcement of OROP.

“It wasn’t easy. The previous government had given an estimate of Rs 500 crore, while we expected it could go up to Rs 700 crore. But as we went deeper into studying the implication, we realised it needed Rs 8,000-10,000 crore,” he explained in his address. The Prime Minister said those responsible for the delay in OROP’s implementation had no business to question the government and that the government was willing to implement the scheme at the cost of other projects.

“For 40 years, it was hanging fire and they could not work out a solution. I’m only responsible from May 26, 2014, after our government took over,” he said, taking a dig at the previous Congress-led UPA government.

He recalled kicking off his campaign as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate from Haryana by addressing ex-servicemen in Rewari and said he had now returned to the state after fulfilling his commitment. The PM said there were certain apprehensions about the commission set up by the government. “The commission is purely to address any shortcoming the scheme may have,” he explained.

A delegation of ex-servicemen met the Prime Minister to express their gratitude for OROP. Citing development as the panacea for all challenges, including unemployment and poverty, Modi said the country could not be run by merely playing politics (“rajneeti”) but required a nationalist policy (“rashtra neeti”). “Our government is working on the single-point agenda of ushering in development — making roads, laying rail tracks, providing better education, improved facilities among others. That is all our country needs.

I wish all this had happened in the past 60 years and we could have taken it forward but there is so much that needs to be done,” Modi emphasised, adding a

home for every Indian by 2022 would be a befitting celebration to mark 75 years of the country’s Independence.

Modi did not announce any new project for Haryana but he said the metro rail connectivity would be extended up to Ballabhgarh.

On global economic meltdown, Modi said his government’s planning had helped India weather the storm. He reiterated his “strong connect” with Haryana saying the state was his “second home”. “I keep coming back for the love you gave me. I vow to repay it with interest by way of bringing in development,” he said. He praised Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for being “unmatched when it came to working hard”. The state, better known for female foeticide, had changed its complexion and was now associated with “Beti bachao, beti padhao” programme.

“Metro’s arrival in Faridabad will prove to be an economic driver, bringing weekend tourists and jobs. With Faridabad making it to the list of ‘smart cities’, the challenge is far from over. Every citizen will have to partner in making it ‘smart’ and pledge to keeping it clean,” said Modi.

Khattar recounted his government’s achievements saying the Kundli-Manesar-Palpal expressway was back on track while the state had unveiled an all-new industrial policy which had stirred investors’ interest in Haryana.
Ex-servicemen end fast, but will continue protest
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified on “one rank, one pension”, protesting veterans today ended their hunger strike but refused to call off their ongoing protest over unanswered questions and lack of clarity.

The veterans plan a rally on September 12 at Jantar Mantar and have made it clear that protests will continue till the government brings out an order clarifying the four key points left out in Saturday’s announcement by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Fourteen veterans ended their fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar by accepting “kara prasad” prepared at a gurdwara this afternoon.

Major General Satbir Singh (retd) of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) said: “The hunger strike is off, but the protests will continue till the government order is issued on premature retirement cases and equalisation of pension after every two years and not five”.

Parrikar had on Saturday said those who had opted for VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) would not get OROP. But the armed forces do not have the concept of VRS or “golden handshake” like banks or public sector undertaking where a person seeking VRS gets a handsome lump-sum amount.

Almost 50 per cent of the forces — officers and jawans — take premature retirement after putting in their minimum qualifying service. In doing so, they help keep the force younger.

Not giving OROP to them would have defeated the purpose and also created a serious man management crisis for the forces, which need “young blood” to fight.

The Kargil Review Committee and the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee have suggested reduction in the age of commanding officers (COs).

A CO generally takes charge of an Army battalion, IAF squadron or a leading Navy warship around the age of 38 years. In the past decade, this profile has been lowered from the previous 40-41 years of age. From Colonel upwards i.e. Brigadier and above, the pyramid is quite steep. Just 3 per cent of the officer strength is of the rank of Brigadier or equals in the IAF and Navy.

No more than 30 per cent officers in the rank of Colonel get selected as Brigadier or equals in the IAF or Navy.

An officer generally becomes a Brigadier between 44 and 46 years of age, depending upon the arm of force he is associated with. In such a scenario, the government encourages premature retirement of officers after 20 years of service — or by the time they are 42-43 years of age.
Truce violations to figure at meeting of BSF, Pak Rangers
New Delhi, September 6
Ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including sniper attacks, infiltration, intrusion in the Rann of Kutch and smuggling, are among the key issues India is expected to raise with Pakistan during the five-day DG-level talks between their border guarding forces from September 9.

A 16-member delegation headed by Pakistan Rangers’ Director General (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki is expected to travel to the Attari-Wagah border crossing in Punjab on September 8 and later fly down from Amritsar to participate in the talks here with the Border Security Force (BSF) from September 9 to 13, officials said.

The Indian delegation with as many members will be led by BSF chief Devendra Kumar Pathak. The Indian agenda for the talks has put extra stress on the “most important” issue of breach of ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir that has led to loss of lives of civilians and troops and “unprovoked” firing by the Rangers along the IB, they said. The Indian side will also take up the issue of “no response” by the other side when the BSF waves the “white flag”, which is used to indicate stopping of fire and meeting of on-ground commanders of the two sides.

The BSF will also take up the issue of intrusion in the “Harami Nullah” area of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, smuggling of contraband from across the border and illegal movement of suspects up to the zero line along the IB in order to facilitate illegal activities.

Issues of infiltration from across the border and the use of sniper weapons to target troops manning border posts will also be raised. Last month, Pakistan had sent confirmation and agenda for these DG-level talks despite it calling off the meeting of the NSAs of the two countries a fortnight ago after India made it clear that Kashmiri separatist leaders would not be allowed to meet Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz during his visit here. — PTI
’65 war ace to give Vir Chakra to unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Fifty years after he was decorated for gallantry in aerial combat during the India-Pakistan war, an IAF fighter pilot has decided to donate to his squadron the Vir Chakra that he was awarded for shooting down a Pakistani Sabre and chasing away another.

Flight Lieutenant Alfred Tyrone Cooke has come from Australia, where he is now settled, to hand over his medal to No.14 Squadron at Ambala tomorrow — the same day in 1965 that saw him in combat.

There have been many instances in the past where armed forces’ officers have donated their awards, uniforms or other artefacts to their units, which are displayed in the officers’ mess or the quarter guard as a source of inspiration.

On September 7, 1965, when the Kalaikunda airfield was under attack by six Pakistani Sabre aircraft, Flt Lt Cooke, who was leading two aircraft on a combat air patrol, immediately engaged the enemy. Outmanoeuvring the Sabres, he pressed home his attack and shot down one aircraft which disintegrated in midair. Subsequently, he manoeuvred behind another enemy aircraft, but by then he had no ammunition left. However, he kept the enemy on the run and the remaining enemy aircraft fled in confusion. Popularly called The Bulls, 14 Squadron too has an interesting history. Over 60 years old, it was the last IAF outfit to operate the Spitfires and the first to get the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft, which it now operates. In between it operated the Vampire and the Hunter.

It has spent a considerable time in the eastern sector, from where it fought the 1965 and 1971 wars, and also had the unusual opportunity briefly operating from the captured Pakistani base of Jessore during the final stages of the Bangladesh campaign.
Pakistan borders 'well-guarded', says Pak army chief on Defence Day
Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif said on Sunday that the nation's borders are well-guarded, adding that the enemy (India) secretly attacked Pakistan 50 years ago and was responded befittingly.

According to the Pakistan Today, Sharif's message came on the occasion of Defence Day which was read out by Corps Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Nasir Janjua at the Youm-e-Shuhuda event.

Sharif also said that the operation Zarb-e-Azb will achieve its targets soon. He also said that the operation had crippled the terrorists, adding that Pakistan is battling with terrorism for the past 13 years. A full dress rehearsal for the golden jubilee of Defence Day was performed in General Head Quarters, Rawalpindi on Saturday, Dunya News reported.

The rehearsal was attended in huge numbers by the soldiers who fought in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the families of the martyrs of the war and other important citizens.
Even as OROP protests continue, defence chiefs want DACP-like scheme for military officers
In his letter, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha has asked the defence minister Manohar Parrikar to give the DACP to armed forces doctors but also similar pay scales to all other military officers.
Even as the agitation over One Rank One Pension shows no sign of abating, the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, has written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asking that all military officers be given a Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP)-like scheme.

This would mean assured pay of joint secretary at 20 years of service to all military officers, irrespective of the number of vacancies at that level.

Written on behalf of the three defence chiefs, Raha’s letter of August 25 to Parrikar preempts a coming hearing on the Supreme Court’s order of 2013 to the government to grant the DACP to all armed forces doctors. That order has not been implemented by the Defence Ministry so far.
Recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, the DACP is currently applicable to the technical services — doctors, dentists and scientists — of the government of India. Under the DACP, a doctor is supposed to get functional grade pay of Rs 8,700 (equivalent to a director or colonel) at 13 years, and a non-functional grade pay of Rs 10,000 (joint secretary scale) at 20 years of service. The DACP was promulgated in October 2008 for all the doctors in Central government service, including the Defence Ministry, but the armed forces chose not to implement it.

The defence services have been opposed to grant of the DACP for their doctors unless a similar scheme is implemented for all armed forces officers. In its submission to the Armed Forces Tribunal on December 16, 2014, the Defence Ministry had cited a COSC note which said that granting the DACP only to doctors “would lead to resentment and would not be in the security interests of the nation”.

Despite losing the case in the Armed Forces Tribunal, as well as a special leave petition and an appeal in the Supreme Court, the Defence Ministry has not cleared the DACP for uniformed doctors. The ministry’s current appeal is scheduled for hearing on September 15.

Earlier, the attorney general and solicitor general had also advised the Defence Ministry to implement the Supreme Court’s order, saying any further challenge was likely to be quashed by the apex court.

In his letter, Raha has asked the defence minister to give the DACP to armed forces doctors but also similar pay scales to all other military officers. Else, ACM Raha says, it will cause “stratification of the officer cadre, based on differentials in Grade Pay with consequent Command and Control ramifications.”
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OROP: Govt did not amend draft despite veterans' plea a day before, say ex-army chiefs
Two former army chiefs have sounded a note of caution over various provisions of One Rank One Pension (OROP) announced by the government on Saturday, with Gen (rtd) VP Malik opposing the decision to exclude those opting to retire early from the benefits. Former Army chief General Deepak Kapoor termed the announcement as a "substantial step" taken by the Narendra Modi government but said other issues which were worrying the veterans are a "cause of concern".

"The Modi government has taken a substantial step in terms of finally declaring OROP. In principal, accepting this entire concept, they have to be lauded. But a number of other issues which are worrying the veterans are a cause of concern. It would have been better if those issues too could have been addressed. For the sources to say that about 98 per cent of aspirations have been met, may not be fully correct," he said.

Ex-servicemen, pressing for OROP for nearly four decades, today won a partial victory with the government announcing that it would implement it. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that OROP, that implies uniform pension for armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with a same length of service, would be implemented from July 1, 2014 on the basis of calender year 2013. Gen(retd) Malik noted that earlier the government was offering the base year as 2006 and there were other conditions which were not acceptable to ex-servicemen and said that he had hoped that the dispute will be resolved "amicably and gracefully" by both sides and there would be peace. "Unfortunately, I do not agree with the kind of methodology which has been adopted in announcing this and the manner in which it has been announced, there is a lack of clarity and transparency which should have been avoided," he said.

Malik said it "intrigues" him as to why premature retirees have not been included in the OROP. "The first thing which really intrigues me is the premature retirees not being in OROP. Officer start retiring after 20 years and most of them take premature retirement when they realise that they are unable to go up in the armed forces. If they have already finished their pensionable service, why should not they be in the ambit of OROP?" he asked.

Malik also questioned the logic behind the Defence Minister's meeting with ex-servicemen yesterday when the announcement was made through a "script". "Yesterday there was a leak from Defence Ministry and even I knew what government was going to offer. After that the defence minister called the people who were on agitation to his office. "He heard them and yet when the announcement was made, it was read out from a script which probably might have been prepared two days earlier. Where was the need to call these people hear them and yet do nothing about it," Malik said.

The General (retd) said that the demand for OROP had been accepted by all political parties, Parliament and the present government has announced it over and over again and there was a hope that the agitation on the street will stop. "But that has not happened. The methodology that has been adopted could have been much more better. It could have inspired much more trust between each other. A clarification should have been given. That has been missing," he said.

Malik also did not agree with the government's announcement of setting up a one man judicial commission to look into the issue. "I do not agree with one man commission. We must have a proper commission or a committee in which you have experienced people who have served in the army. "Otherwise, as I said this elementary question of premature retirement it is totally alimentary. We do not want such mistake to occur. Not one man commission but a 4-5 man commission in which you have representative from armed forces," he said.
Pakistan marks Defence Day in memory of war with India
Lahore: Pakistan on Sunday marked the golden jubilee of Defence Day in memory of the martyrs in the Indo-Pak war in 1965.It was on September 6, 1965, that, after skirmishes that took place between April and September that year between the hostile neighbours.The 1965 war was the first battle fought post independence.

The 17-day-war caused thousands of causalities on both sides and saw the biggest tank battle since World War II.Although the hostilities ended after a ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and USA, both India and Pakistan have claimed victory in the bloody war.

Celebrations for Defence Day started with a 31 gun salute in the federal capital and 21 gun salute in provincial capitals.

After Fajr (early morning) prayers, special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of the nation. Sirens were sounded at 9:29 am to herald a nation-wide one-minute silence to pay homage to soldiers who lost their lives in 1965-war.

The national anthem was aired on all broadcasting networks in the country.A Change of Guard ceremony was held at the mausoleum of founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Contingents of cadets of Pakistan Air Force Academy Risalpur took over the guard duties at the mausoleum.Air vice Marshal Asim Zaheer was the chief guest on the occasion.

Later, representatives of three armed services laid floral wreath at the tomb and offered prayers.Roads and buildings were awash with Pakistani flags and posters of the armed forces, and a series of events, walks, rallies are scheduled to be organized by both government and private organizations.

Pakistan Army arranged a display of their latest weapons including missiles, tanks, guns army aviation, fighter jets, helicopters and many other equipment used by Pakistan Army Engineering Corps.

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