MINUTES OF MEETING OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, TSEWA ON 25TH MARCH 2018 AT 143 VAYUPURI, SECUNDERABAD
The following members were present:
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Retd) – President
Cmde Sudhir Parakala (Retd) – Vice President
Brig SKS Rana, VSM(Retd) – President Legal Division
Brig R Vinayak, VSM (Retd) – President MP
Col Dr GB Sethi (Retd) – General Secretary
Col AS Rana (Retd) – President North Zone
Col S Srikantha (Retd) – President Karnataka
Col G Parvathesam(Retd) – Treasurer
Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Retd) – Joint Secretary
Hony Capt B Joseph (Retd) – Joint Secretary
Hony Capt MN Reddy (Retd) – President Telangana
Hony Flg Offr AV Reddy (Retd) – Vice President Designate
Sub KV Subba Rao (Retd) – President Coastal AP
Hav Harish Asthana(Retd) – President UP
JWO Milan Das (Retd) – CPENGRAMS
CPO(Mech) Jugbir Singh (Retd) – Member Designate
Item No 1. Proposal of Sgt VM Mohan for Skill Development of Children of Martyrs and ESM (taken up with the permission of the chair)
Veteran Sgt VM Mohan, a reputed businessman of twin Cities was introduced to the house and his proposal for associating with TSEWA was taken up as the first item of the meeting. He expressed his desire to dedicate a very substantial portion of his wealth (about Rs 1 Crore) for the welfare of Children of Martyrs and ESM by development of a specific skill sets that provide them gainful employment. He clarified that his trust will start the Institution for Skill Development and TSEWA was requested to identify and nominate the beneficiaries from ESM Community. The NEC agreed to consider the proposal.
Item No 2. Ratification of Minutes of NEC Meeting of 3rd December 2017.
The minutes of last NEC Meeting were deemed to have been read and were ratified without any observation.
Item No 3. Status of Legal cases
The General Secretary informed that TSEWA in the last three years has initiated 49 legal cases. Cases were filed in AFT Delhi since Sep 2015. TSEWA won three cases of broad banding. 14 cases are in progress in AFT Delhi (hearings are completed and judgment is reserved to be announced in seriatim in some cases in AFT Delhi and in balance hearings are in progress),19 cases are awaiting filing with President Legal Division, 6 cases are under scrutiny at HQ TSEWA and 7 cases were dropped due to change of rules or poor response. In the first two cases of Broad banding of disabled soldier, we got about Rs 10 crores as arrears to our members.
There after Brig SKS Rana, VSM made a detailed presentation about the progress of each of the legal cases. Since a large number of cases are awaiting filing at his end, he requested further cases be sent only on his specific clearance. Brig Rana also recommended that batch size should be further reduced to 50 to facilitate speedy disposal, each case to be filed service wise for officers i.e. Army, Navy and IAF. For JCOs /OR preferably it should be Record Office wise. He emphasised that we should make all efforts to eliminate the perception that TSEWA is quick to initiate a case and collect legal fee but dithers when it comes to getting speedy disposal. The NEC agreed to his proposals. No more cases will be filed in AFT Delhi nor environment will be sensitized till we are in a position to file case with least amount of delay.
Item No 4. Membership Drive
The General Secretary informed that we have enrolled about 8500 members as on date and the membership is fast growing mainly due to legal cases and awareness camps.
Item No 5. Mandatory attendance of out station members in NEC Meetings
The General Secretary said that with the inclusion of considerable number of out station members in NEC, attending of all NEC meetings by all out station members poses considerable strain on many of our members who are senior Citizens. Therefore he felt that out station members may make all efforts to attend the NEC Meetings held in June and December of each year. However the members who are living close by i.e. Bengaluru, Bhopal, Tadepaligudem (West Godavari Dist), Mumbai are requested to make it convenient to attend all four quarterly NEC meetings. For other outstation members, attendance at NEC meeting in March and September is optional due to distances involved and commitments to fulfil. All NEC members are most welcome to attend all four quarterly meetings if time permits them. As per AP Registration of Societies Act 2003, Executive Committee is to meet once a quarter.
Item No 6. Recognition of TSEWA by Min of Personnel Pensions& Public Grievances, Govt of India.
The General Secretary informed that TSEWA has responded to the letter issued by MoPP&PG calling Association of Pensioners to apply for grant. (Our letter dt 28/12/2017 refers). No reply was received on the subject. However a recent letter of MoD has prescribed a host of conditions for recognition – main conditions being One lakh members and only one bank account. The NEC debated on “One Bank Account” only and authorised the General Secretary and Treasurer to close all bank accounts except one and transfer the balances into the single account that is kept active. The Treasurer said that he will take the advice of the Chartered Accountant (our Auditor) about the modalities and take action at a suitable time not later than 30 September 2018.
Item No 7. Awareness Camps – Their utility and continuance
The President informed that in the initial days on raising of TSEWA in Jun 2015, districts in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with heavy ESM concentration were selected for awareness camps and some success was achieved. Similar camps were held in Tamilnadu, Orissa, Karnataka, UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Mumbai and Goa. During these camps we do not aggressively drive for enrolling members but aim was to prove that TSEWA Membership will add value to the ESM or Family Pensioners through Class Action Legal suits at very low legal fees in AFTs and guidance to solve individual problems. Further the active members of local ESM Associations are assured that there will be no conflict if their members join TSEWA as members. Consequently we do not see any membership enrolment directly due to awareness camp which is just the first step in expanding the foot print of TSEWA in a particular area.
Awareness Programmes in Punjab and Lucknow.
Col Ajit Singh Rana recounted the details of the Camp held at Bhogpur on 13 Mar 2018 and Gharshankar on 15 Mar 2018 in which 700 and 250 ESM/Family Pensioners respectively attended. They were educated on a wide range of topics like service pension, various types of family pensions, disability pension and war injury pension, OROP, 7th CPC, action on death of ESM, dual family pension, Broad banding benefit to disabled soldiers, getting date of birth of wife endorsed in PPO etc. Individual cases of grievances were examined and taken up for action to resolve them. Families who are living in penury or in distressed condition are visited personally to study their condition to ascertain what assistance can be given by TSEWA. Col Raghubir Singh President Punjab was requested to forward the details with his recommendations to Charity Division. Zilla Sainik Welfare officer, Jalandhar Dist and Col Veterans Jalandhar Sub Area appraised TSEWA about their activities to provide succour to ESM. The awareness camps held at Bhogpur and Gharshankar were a grand success.
Awareness Programme at Lucknow. Brig SKS Rana, VSM briefed the NEC about the awareness programme held at Lucknow on 18 Mar 2018 and about 300 ESMs and family pensioners attended. Note worthy fact is that almost half the ESM who attended were retired officers. We visited Brig Amulya Mohan, Director RSB, UP and Col Veterans in Madhya UP Sub Area, Lucknow who briefed us about their work. The ESMs and family pensioners who attended the camp were educated on a wide range of topics like service pension, disability pension and family pension etc. Individual cases of difficulties were examined and taken up for action to resolve them. Col DR Singh organised the meeting for examining individual problems and also a dinner at MB Club which was attended by about 50 active ESMs. The awareness camp held at Lucknow is a grand success.
Item No 8. Charitable Activities
Cmde Sudheer Parakala, Vice-President briefed the NEC on the Charitable activities carried out by TSEWA and said that 44 beneficiaries were given the assistance to a tune of Rs 8,46,114, during financial year 2017 – 18.
Item No 9. Financial State of TSEWA.
The treasurer briefed the NEC about the financial position of TSEWA. Since the figures are unaudited, they are not being reflected in the Minutes. However it is evident that the financial state of TSEWA is healthy. Treasurer further said Tour Report of each awareness programme should be attached as supporting document for the bills that pertain to the awareness programme and a prior sanction of NEC for the camp with approximate amount of expenditure should be accorded.
Item No 10. Including few advocates as our legal counsels in AFT Chandigarh and Lucknow.
TSEWA have interacted with both senior and reputed Advocates and discussed the possibility of their acting as our advocates in AFT Bench at Chandigarh and Lucknow. Since they agreed to do so with some conditions the NEC approved their engagement as our advocates according to terms and conditions laid down for existing advocates. They requested their names be not published as it is against code of ethics of Bar council of India. Hence their names are not being shown in these Minutes of Meeting.
Item No 11. Upgradation of ECHS Cards after Uploading of Fresh Application
The President briefed the NEC about the new ECHS card and huge difficulties that are already being faced by 54 lakh members s especially those residing in rural and remote areas. The members also raised doubts about the data security and the need for sharing details of Bank Account and providing scanned signature. It was felt that ECHS should provide new cards to the existing members without any payment based on the data already held with them and additional linkages if required can be done at the time of activation. The possibility of representation to MOD on the subject was also considered but since the decision was already made by the Ministry and taken up for implementation, it was felt that filing an application before AFT or a Public Interest Litigation before Supreme Court appeared to be the more prudent course of action. The NEC approved the proposal of initiating a legal action in the name of TSEWA and authorised Brig SKS Rana, VSM, President, Legal Division to file Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Hon’ble Supreme Court. To defray legal cost involved in PIL, members of TSEWA are to be requested to send voluntary contribution.
Item No 12. Hon’ble SC Judgment on Majors (Pre 1996 retirees) case for Pension of Lt Col.
Brig SKS Rana, VSM stated that the recent judgment of the Apex court in the case of Pre – 1996 Majors not to get pension of Lt Col needs to be reviewed by a larger bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court is of utmost importance to TSEWA as the outcome of our legal cases of Capts and Majors (AFT 12 to 14) who are Pre1996 retirees to get same pension as post – 1996 retirees before AFT Delhi depends upon this. NEC agreed to this assessment and authorised Brig SKS Rana, VSM to take suitable action on priority.
Item No 13. Induction of Col DR Singh, Col Harshvardhan Singh, Col Veeramani and CPO Jugbir Singh as Members of NEC
The President recommended the induction of above named four members of TSEWA who have displayed their commitment to support the activities of TSEWA as members of the National Executive Committee (NEC). He said this is required to strengthen their position in their activities of TSEWA in the area of their operation. The NEC approved their induction and welcomed them into NEC. It also ratified the appointment of Hony Flg Offr AV Reddy as Vice President. Their appointments are subject to the approval of General Body of TSEWA and their tenure is co- terminus with that of the present National Executive Committee i.e. Jun 2021. It authorised the General Secretary to do all acts in the matter.
Item No 14. Proposal for Publishing a TSEWA News Letter
Gp Capt CRR Sastry, Joint Secretary, proposed that a News letter of TSEWA be published at suitable intervals to provide a forum for two way communication between TSEWA and its members. He made a detailed presentation in the matter and recommended to the NEC to approve the proposal. NEC having deliberated the matter approved the publication of News letter and nominated Gp Capt CRR Sastry to act as Coordinator for compiling the News Letter. It was also decided that the first issue will be released formally in the AGM to be held in the month of June 2018 for which about 300 hard copies will be printed. After the release, the soft copy of the newsletter will be sent by email to all members who have email id and the same will be hosted on TSEWA Blog, Web site and WhatsApp sites. It also authorised the General Secretary to do all acts necessary and incur expenditure for publication of the News Letter. The actual expenditure incurred for the first issue and estimated cost for subsequent issues will be considered in the next NEC meeting for approval.
Item No 15. Assistance for persons in Penury and TSEWA Policy on Crowd Funding
The General Secretary mentioned that TSEWA identified and brought prominence to the plight of Capt Vijendra Singh Gurung. This story was picked up by a Crowd Funding agency which reportedly collected a large sum as donations for the officer living as destitute. It appeared as if TSEWA has initiated the Crowd funding campaign and a perception that TSEWA has collected a very huge sum in the name of Capt VS Gurung. Brig SKS Rana, VSM said that persons who bring sad plight on themselves by imprudent living and reckless behaviour should not be supported by TSEWA. Treasurer said that we should not accept donations for a single beneficiary into our account as tax implications may arise. Gp Capt CRR Sastry mentioned that mere penury that results from a very large family and a meagre pension may not be a fit case for sustained assistance from TSEWA. After considerable discussion in the matter, it was decided that TSEWA should not permit Crowd funding for beneficiaries in its name directly or indirectly. The only action we can initiate after finding a beneficiary to be genuinely in need of assistance from TSEWA is to make grant of a small amount in one lumpsum or in monthly remittances to the bank account of the beneficiary. In case any member expresses his wish to donate he should be requested to make a direct remittance to the bank account of the beneficiary. When a local functionary of TSEWA finds a person of Armed Forces affiliation living in abject conditions, thorough investigation must be carried out to establish both – the affiliation to armed forces as well as the fact of penury. The facts must be reported to TSEWA Hqrs before any grant is made to the beneficiary on behalf of TSEWA. However, there is no objection if a grant is made in personal capacity.
There being no further points the meeting came to an end at 1800 hrs on 25 Mar 2018.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)