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Today, there are two narratives which dominate any discussion about the Army. The first narrative is about corruption in the Army, of how officers are not looking after the needs of our soldiers, and the mistreatment of the sahayak. We might shake our heads and say that this is a campaign by uninformed people, primarily for TRP ratings. However, it can’t be ignored because some respected people in society are also questioning the state of the Army. An eminent academician recently wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister asking him to clean the rot in the Army.

There is a second, strong pro-Army narrative. It is seductive because it vociferously slams anything which questions the Army and, therefore, could appeal to some of us. But this narrative is equally harmful because it sometimes comes with political overtones, a position which the Army has deliberately avoided for good reasons. It also drags us into unnecessary controversy of whether we are attempting to camouflage our mistakes. We are the Army of the nation and have never claimed to be above scrutiny.

As officers, past and present, it has now become important to convey the true picture of the Army. Why do I appeal only to the officers? Samuel Huntington, in his famous work The Soldier and the State, wrote, “The enlisted men subordinate to the officer corps are part of the organizational bureaucracy but not of the professional bureaucracy. The enlisted personnel have neither the intellectual skills nor the professional responsibility of the officer corps.” Written in 1957, this statement is today considered very controversial as it appears to downplay the role of soldiers, but there are shades of truth in it. I know I am opening myself to being accused of having a colonial mindset, but I think this needs to be clearly said.

The character and the ethos of the Indian Army is largely dependent on the officer corps. The soldiers have an important task but officers are the leaders, and the ethos they display will determine how the nation views the Army.

There is an insidious campaign about a fracture in officer-soldier relationship. There are whispers about how soldiers are being ignored in the OROP (One Rank, One Pension) and Seventh Pay Commission, and officers are only concerned about their own emoluments. The ‘sahayak’ issue is too well known to warrant any explanation. We all need to come together to fight this extremely dangerous trend. The strength of the Indian Army lies in the relationship between the officers and men. Any talk of a breakdown in this area will only help our enemies. I do not say this to paper over the difficulties but because I firmly believe that there is no real problem in the extremely strong bond that currently exists between officers and men. Videos of a few disgruntled soldiers does not weaken that bond. Let us all collectively convey that in every forum.

We also have to close ranks and present a united picture. Social media groups are abuzz with messages criticising senior leadership and the arms-services divide. This issue needs to be tackled on priority. We have to be able to resolve matters within the organisation without people resorting to appealing to courts and the Armed Forces Tribunal. An organisation like the Army which genuinely cares for its men, should not be seen as pitted against them in court. I believe that a transparent approach addressing concerns and aspirations of all sections of the Army is not difficult to find. I am aware that our Chief is seriously looking at these issues.

Let us all come together — serving and retired. There is little point in looking at the society and saying that the Army will only mirror these standards. We have our own ethos and values. Shashi Tharoor, in India, From Midnight to the Millennium, writes, “the best of India can only be preserved by insulating the army from the pressures of the worst of India”.

We belong to one of the finest institutions in India. Today, when it is under increasing scrutiny, let us all work to uphold its honour and dignity. We owe it to the organisation we serve.

(The author retired as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, which had launched the surgical strikes against terror camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Views are personal)

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Shifting your pension account from the present Bank to the Bank of your choice: The Steps are given below

For information of those who may be contemplating changing their Pension Accounts, given below is the sequence, given by a veteran who has just finished the procedure and has now fully understood through hindsight, after personally witnessing what happened at each stage.

(a) The pensioner writes a simple one-page letter to his own branch, stating:

Dear Sir,

Sub: Pension Account No. xxxxxxxxxxx

I wish to start receiving my pension at XYZ Bank, (give new bank’s name and address) with immediate effect.

I have opened a joint SB Account No. xxx with my spouse at that branch for this purpose. Please transfer my pension to my new bank.”

Notes:

(1) No copies need to be sent to anyone else nor any enclosures are required with the above letter. I had enclosed copies of my PPOs and endorsed copies of the entire package to PCDA (P), HDFC Bank and Central Pension Processing Centre of SBI. This was later proved to be a waste because none of these agencies took any action on the letter or the copies. Nor was any action needed on their part at that stage.

(2) Your bank most probably will not know what to do with your letter. You have to tell them that they need to convey your request to the Central Pension Processing Centre (CPPC) of your bank, and forward your application to them.

(3) It may be noted that the pension disbursing branches do not have any documents such as PPOs, joint photos etc. with them. These are all now retained at the CPPCs of each bank.

(b) The CPPC will forward your request back to your bank along with all the PPOs and connected documents, which they initially received from PCDA(P) at the time of first grant of pension when you retired from service.

(c) Your Bank will now send the entire bundle to your new bank with a request to take necessary action to credit the pension to the pensioner’s account. Please ensure that your old bank sends the Last Pension Certificate along with these documents.

(d) On receipt of documents, your new bank will send the same to their CPPC.

(e) Your new bank’s CPPC will examine the papers and may ask for additional undertakings, indemnities etc, as per their protocol. In my case HDFC Bank’s CPPC (not the branch) knew exactly what they
wanted.

(f) Your bank’s CPPC will process the papers (mainly to coordinate book transactions and heads of expenditure between treasury and the bank) and then credit your pension directly to your new bank account along with arrears accrued after the last pension was paid to you by the old bank. This takes about 2-3 weeks.

(g) Though not written anywhere, it is highly advisable to intimate PCDA(P) regarding change of your bankers so that all future PPOs, corrigenda, increments, revisions and DA intimations etc are sent by
them to your new pension bankers.

(h) This is also a good opportunity to send the Lifetime Arrears Certificate to your new bankers, CDA(P), AG’S Br etc.

(i) Please ensure that the account opened at the new bank is a joint account and has a nominee recorded on it.

(j) Please also complete the formalities of internet banking operation for the new account, and get it linked to other accounts, if any, at the new branch.

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NEW DELHI: An Army jawan who had figured in a sting operation by a news website criticising the 'sahayak' (orderly) system last month was found dead in mysterious conditions in an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra on Thursday. Roy Mathew, a gunner, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room. Doctors said 33-year-old Mathew, whose body was decomposed, might have died three days ago.

Police sources said Mathew, who had served the Army for around 13 years, was among several jawans in Deolali seen in the video which featured soldiers walking dogs of officers and taking their children to school. The sting operation had sparked an uproar against the British-era sahayak system

Mathew, who had been missing from his artillery unit since February 25, was facing an inquiry after the sting operation was posted online, sources said.

It is being probed if Mathew, who was attached for 'buddy duties' with a Colonel rank officer posted as an additional officer at the Artillery Centre in Deolali, had felt tortured or harassed after appearing in the video," said a police source, adding that after the video was widely circulated on various social media platforms, Mathew was questioned by several officials.

The source said Mathew had run away from the unit on February 25 and had remained missing since. "He had come under huge pressure," the source added. On being contacted, the Army, however, said Mathew had gone "AWOL (absent without official leave)" within 24 hours of the video being aired on February 24.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

The exam centres where the tests were cancelled include Kamptee, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kirkee.

Thane Police conducted raids & arrested 18 people from Maharashtra and Goa.

The exams were held for a number of posts including soldier clerk & soldier tradesman in 52 centres

NEW DELHI: The Army on Sunday countermanded examinations at six centres in western India following an alleged leak of question papers.

The examination centres where the tests were cancelled include Kamptee, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kirkee, Army sources said.

The examination papers of the Army Recruitment Board were allegedly leaked+ , following which the Thane Police's Crime Branch conducted raids and arrested 18 people from Maharashtra and Goa.

The examinations were held for a number of posts including soldier clerk and strongman and soldier tradesman in 52 centres across the country.

The sources said Army has ordered an internal enquiry and further action will be taken based on the findings, adding that tests at more centres are likely to be countermanded.

Sources said prior to the exam, the Army had told police and intelligence agencies to ensure that a fair exam is held.

Leak of question papers of Army Exam ? How do they keep National secrets ?

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HYDERABAD: Alleging that around 2,000 acres of land that was allocated to ex-servicemen at Jawahar Nagar in the city has been grabbed by private persons and political leaders, the Telangana Ex-Servicemen Association has decided to take to the city streets demanding allocation of housing plots.

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare of India Against Corruption movement has consented to lead the protest, said president A Rangaiah Goud of the association. We would meet Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to submit a representation seeking his direction to distribute the land to ex-servicemen, he added.“

The British had purchased 5,977 acres of land from farmers at Jawahar Nagar and used the place for anti-tank firing range. Before leaving the country, they handed it over to the Military Estate Office of Secunderabad stating that the land must be allocated to ex-servicemen,” Goud said.“

After retirement, we want to protect the remaining land belonging to the ex-servicemen. We demand the governments to distribute at least 250 square yards plots to us. Around 50,000 ex-servicemen are living in the city without proper facilities,” KM Padmanabhan (retired Naik) said.

Dr G Shanker, retired as Sergeant from Indian Air Force, said that they met Anna Hazare and sought his solidarity for the protests. “Initially, we requested the government to allot land for constructing houses. If it fails, around 20,000 ex-servicemen and their family members will lay siege to Chief Minister’s camp office. We tried to get an appointment with the CM but failed,” Shanker alleged.

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BATHINDA: An Indian Air Force (IAF) corporal posted at Bhisiana air base, near Bathinda, was killed and his body hacked to pieces by a colleague and his kin over his alleged affair with the latter's wife. The victim, Vipan Shukla, 27, belonged to Gonda in UP.

Sergeant Sulesh Kumar, also from UP, his wife and brother-in-law killed the corporal on the night of February 8, however, the murder came to light on Tuesday with the discovery of Shukla's body from the residence of the sergeant. This led to the arrest of Kumar and his wife Anuradha Patel, but the latter's brother, Shashi Bhushan, who is in the merchant navy, is still at large. Bhushan had come to meet his sister when the crime was committed.

Giving details of the crime, Bathinda SSP Swapan Sharma said on Tuesday evening that after Corporal Shukla's wife Kumkum lodged a complaint at Balluana police post on February 9 about her husband going missing, they began investigating. When the police were searching the family accommodations at the airbase, the sniffer dogs led them to the sergeant's house, from where the police recovered the corporal's body parts packed in 16 plastic bags from an almirah and refrigerator in the house.

The SSP said that Shukla was posted at Bhisiana in 2014 but came here without his wife. He soon got involved with the sergeant's wife and she became pregnant. As per sources, when she asked him to marry her, he refused as he was already married. In December 2016, Shukla's wife began staying in Bhisiana. Anuradha was then forced to tell her husband about her affair, said cops.

An angry Kumar then began plotting Shukla's murder. After he was allotted another residential quarter, he called Shukla to his house on February 8 and asked him to lend a hand with the packing. He, along with his wife and brother-in-law, then allegedly killed Shukla with a sharp-edged weapon and stuffed the body into an iron trunk. When the family shifted to their new accommodation on February 19, they cut the body into pieces and packed these into 16 bags and hid them.

The SSP said a case of murder and destruction of evidence has been registered against the trio. He said though Anuradha has been booked along with her husband and brother, her role in the crime is being investigated.

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Pakistan army claims to have killed some 135 terrorists and rounded up some 350 civilians post the suicide bombing of the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh that killed some 83 Sufi Muslims. Of the first 100 killed, the army claims it was done within 24 hours of the terrorist attack. Khwaja Asif says that Hafiz Saeed is a threat to the country, which is laughable considering the red carpet he has been provided past decades, akin to other radical mullah-terrorists like Masood Azhar. But even if the American pressure mounts, whether the army will permit Hafiz Saeed to be sacrificed like Jalaluddin Haqqani appears impossible given his relevance to the ISI in perpetuating proxy war both in India and Afghanistan including directing Islamic State attacks in Afghanistan; Afghanistan has officially told Pakistan Hafiz Saeed, former LeT chief is directing ISIS operations in Afghanistan as reported by Voice of America. On the other hand, Hafiz Saeed’s disappearance may be even faked by Pakistan to appease the US.

Masood Azhar naturally is being treated as national treasure with his outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) linked with the Taliban and the Islamic State. But if Hafiz Saeed has been directing Islamic State attacks in Afghanistan, why would the Pakistan army not use him to direct terror attacks in Sindh and Balochistan for reasons not very difficult to guess? But coming to the 135 ‘terrorists’ killed by the Pakistan army and the continuing drive that would increase the count, how many of them are actually terrorists is anybody’s guess. However, surely the idiom “zebra can’t change its stripes” is well known and remains relevant to the Pakistan army. Given the past record of Pakistani army and its policy since Zia-ul-Haq of ruthlessly promulgating hardcore radicalism, they would not only could have organised and abetted the above terror attack but would use the opportunity to target and kill those civilians/terrorists who are of no ‘use’ to the army and/or are opposed to Pakistan’s ‘deep state’?

Naturally, there is not a murmur of dissent against above doings of the Pakistani army. The journos learned it the hard way by opening their mouth of the army’s genocide in Balochistan and the truth of the aerial and artillery bombardments in north Waziristan as part of Operation Zarb-e-Azb; they were simply wiped out or vanished. Even Nadia Rahman, Pakistani supporter of Amnesty International cautiously said, “The authorities have a responsibility to protect people’s lives but must do so while adhering to international law", which too may have cost her dearly. But the most significant part is not a single squeak from the self-styled human rights activists in India; not one politician, not one journo, not one self-styled activist. Contrast this with the furore over a simple statement by General Bipin Rawat, Indian Army Chief that stone pelters hindering operations of security forces will be treated as anti-national and will be dealt with accordingly. Adverse comments by J&K politicians are natural because those speaking do not want the situation to normalise with the money they are raking in or are in league with the separatists and/or their cross-border benefactors. But then you have a bunch of others headed by the Congress brigade who are beating their chests on the statement by General Rawat. It is not surprising when during a TV debate in early 2014, the Congress spokesperson stated that “Nationalism is NOT Relevant to India”. So, you have politicians without any conscience who want to rule the country.

From time to time, you find politicians stating that soldiers joining the army are meant to die anyway or that soldiers join army only for money. Obviously, the terms nam, nishan aur izzat are alien to this species. A weekly magazine cover shows photographs of an army officer with the caption ‘Officer And A Rogue’. Is the aim to deride the army and portray this is what army officers are? But then even politicians holding ministerial births have had a go at deriding the army.

The limit was crossed recently by Prashant Paricharak, MLA from Solapur (Maharashtra) who insulted our army soldiers by saying jawans are on borders for years yet how their wives give birth to babies. It is doubtful if the Supreme Court would take suo moto cognizance of such going ons but we definitely need a law to make such fellows do compulsory military service under the army in insurgency areas or on the border. Similar should be the treatment to those sympathising with stone-pelters obstructing army operations. India needs to be cleansed of these critters as part of ‘Swachh Bharat’. Coming winter is going to be much harsher in J&K with stone-pelters using Molotov cocktails instead of stones, as reported in British media. It is the next stage of ISI’s intifada in J&K. It should be made very clear that those who insult the army, insult the nation and those who speak for terrorist supporters or terrorists are clearly anti-national.

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NEW DELHI: Digital India takes a backseat in the Indian army as almost a year after the world’s third largest army went online for recruitment with much fanfare, thousands of aspirants applying for the 49th batch of short service commission course for officers were left stranded as they were unable to file their application online due to technical error on the website.

Running against the time, as two days are left for the last date of filing application, candidates wrote to the army chief’s official social media page to post their grievance but were left unanswered.

Last month, the Recruitment Directorate came out with an advertisement seeking application under short service commission for technical and non-technical positions in JAG (judge advocate general) branch. The last date for filing online application is February 22.

Though officials claim a technical error in the website and efforts are on to rectify it, panicked aspirants decided to approach the Army chief’s social media platform.

“The site is not working... unable to fill form for last 20 days,’’ wrote one of the applicants. Candidates even called the Recruitment Directorate in Delhi but did not get a satisfactory response.

“There is a critical issue with the website. Many of my friends have tried 30 times for the last seven days to apply for 40th SSC entry," wrote another candidate.

In July 2015, the Army shifted to online mode of recruitment by launching a dedicated website www.joinindianarmy.nic.In making it compulsory for the aspirants, seeking jobs in the armed forces, to register online in a bid to tackle huge crowds at its recruitment rallies. The website received 40,000 hits within first 24 hours of its launch

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Mumbai: Noted playback singer Anuradha Paudwal has decided to extend financial support to the families of five martyred soldiers.

The singer, through Suryodaya Foundation which she is a part of, is planning to give Rs 50,000 to the families on February 18, when she will be felicitated by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao for her outstanding contribution in the field of music and social service.

"We are going to felicitate five families of martyrs and give Rs 50,000 per family. This is a small step from our side but we want to extend our support, in whatever way we can," Anuradha told PTI.

Apart from this, the 64-year-old singer, who recently got the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, hopes that the government comes up with a scheme where there is reservation for army children.

"There are a few things I want to do for the army. One is to request that all the universities should have some reservation for army children. They give up their lives for people who they have never met," she said.

"At least they should feel their families are cared for. The government has issued full support for them but there is no co-ordination. There has to be a bridge," she said.

For this, Anuradha met some retired Army personnel and discussed the idea, which, she says, was welcomed by the veterans.
The "Aashiqui" singer is involved in other social issues also, including in Maharashtra's Nandurbar district where she says she is working to solve issues of electricity and malnutrition.

"People who have achieved something in life are realising that we need to do something. Celebrities should come forward for causes like these and good thing is they do. Times are changing. We all must contribute something," she said.

Paudwal, 64, is a National award-winning singer, who has sung in Bollywood movies like "Aashiqui", "Ram Lakhan", "Saajan" and "Dil", besides having an array of devotional songs, bhajans, mantras, & stotras to her credit.

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The country has witnessed a massive tragedy occurred to our soldiers who were guarding our boarders in the snow covered mountainous terrains of J&K due to sudden falling of avalanches.

Our heart soul is with bereaved families of the deceased soldiers. It is the duty of the Govt to release the immediate relief to those families & look after them for the rest of their life. The Department Ex-servicemen welfare should ensure that their problems are settled judiciously without any delay.

If one of the 7th CPC personal had either witnessed or foreseen such hard ship of soldiers whether in peace or in War, they would not have recommended the amount of Rs.5200/- as Military service pay( MSP) to soldiers comparing to Nurses who are granted Rs.10800 & officers who are granted 15500/-.

It is relevant to note here that MSP was introduced by 6th CPC to compensate the soldiers in comparison with the pay scales of their counter parts in civil for the dissimilar hardship & danger to their life in peace & war. It was also for the nature of 24 hours of duty performed by them unlike their counterparts in civil. It was also for the forfeiture of their fundamental rights during their service tenure, deprivation of comforts & amenities denied to them. I had an opportunity to serve in a forward area which happened to be a desert, where only officers had toilet facilities & all others were deprived of such basic amenities.

The olden name to Ex-soldiers were Azad Fauji (Released soldier) . It denotes that he was confined without freedom for defending the borders of our nation. This is a self sacrifice committed by our young generation in their youth full days to protect the country when their counter parts in civil were enjoying the colourful life outside with all amenities & comforts.

The main purpose of this write up is to high light that War & nature do not differentiate between officers, Soldiers & Nurses. Since this element of pay (MSP) which is unique in nature, being the compensation for extreme hardship due to service conditions should be equal to all in the defense forces from Sepoy to General. While we do not like to use the recent tragedy to pursue our demand for equal MSP but it should be an eye opener for the Govt at this juncture to re-look in this grievance.

We hope that the BJP Govt under the leadership of Hon Prime Minister Sri.Narendra Modi ji will rise up to the occasion & declare equal MSP to enhance the morale of all soldiers without further delay.

JAI HIND

MBC MENON

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Page 1 of 13

Do you think sahayak / buddy system is misused by Defence Officers?

No, disagree - 9.2%
Yes, Strongly agree - 85.5%
No Comments - 2.6%

Total votes: 76
The voting for this poll has ended

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