Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stung MoD ‘ keen’ to resolve veterans’ woes


By Shiv Aroor and Jugal R. Purohit in New Delhi
AGGRIEVED ex- servicemen and war widows, who have been demanding from the Ministry of Defence ( MoD) fair implementation of the Supreme Court order concerning their pay and pension, may finally get relief. Top sources in the ministry said that they would soon take “ significant steps” to resolve the conflict.
“ The defence minister is extremely concerned at the reports alleging mistreatment of veterans, and towards settling it he has asked the Defence Secretary R. K. Mathur to study the matter and take immediate steps,” a top official said.
It was also informed that the newlyappointed defence secretary will form a team and ensure total compliance with regards to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s order on the Rank Pay case. “ Defence minister will, most probably in July, convene a meeting with all the veterans’ organisations involved in this subject to personally understand and act,” the official said.
As facts stand, the MoD had been allowed till May 31 to complete the payment of arrears and pensions to over 45,000 officers who were the affected parties in the Rank Pay case. Despite seeking facts from the MoD’s public relations wing, the Directorate of Public Relations ( DPR) and the Department of Ex- Servicemen Welfare ( ESW), there was no reply on the subject. Notwithstanding the olive branch extended to it, the veteran community is not taking things at face value.
Air Marshal ( Retd) S. Y. Savur of the Retired Defence Officers Association ( RDOA) said, “ My personal take is that Antony is being misled by his bureaucrats about the way in which the MoD is appearing in the courts and how dangerously it can backfire.” Another RDOA colleague of his, Lt- Col.
( Retd) B. K. Sharma reacted by saying, “ MoD is very late. They were to first pay in November 2012, then in February and then court gave them till May to pay to all beneficiaries, i. e nine months after the court order. Even today the part payment has not been made completely. So we are not inclined to take their words very seriously.
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