MINUTES OF CORE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 11 JULY 2018 AT 143 VAYUPURI, SECUNDERABAD
The following members were present :-
- Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd) – President
- Cmde Sudheer Parakala (Rtd) – Vice President
- Col (Dr) GB Sethi (Rtd) – General Secretary
- Lt Col G Parvathesam (Rtd) – Treasurer
- Gp Capt CRR Sastry (Rtd) – Joint Secretary
- H/ Capt B Joseph (Rtd) – Joint Secretary
- Col MK Veeramani (Rtd) – President, Charity Division
- H/ Capt MN Reddy (Rtd) – President, Telengana
- Col MJ Ganapathy (Rtd) – Member
- Lt Col VS Ramana Reddy (Rtd) – Member
The President welcomed all and thanked them for coming to attend the Core Committee meeting.
Points from General Secretary
Confederation of ESM Associations: General Secretary wanted to know the progress on forming of Confederation of ESM organizations as proposed by Col TN Raman (Rtd) of Chennai. The President rang up Col TN Raman of Chennai and asked him the outcome of the meeting on 08 July 2018 which was planned to be held in Chennai to discuss the modalities of formation of Confederation of ESM Associations. Briefly Col TN Raman informed what all transpired on that day. He said that by tomorrow i.e. 12 Jul 2048, he will send the Minutes of the meeting to HQ TSEWA.
Cmde Sudheer Parakala, Vice President explained that the aim of the Confederation is to open channel of communication with Ministry of Defence and bring to their notice the grievances of veterans and single ladies. There is no point to go on war path with the Government of the day, irrespective of the political party in power. Therefore the Confederation need not have another set of office bearers and hence there is no need to get it registered. The moment such a registration takes place the status of individual ESM Associations and HQ Confederation becomes subordinate and master which no ESM Association will accept. The aim is to assemble few members of ESM Association not exceeding say 10 to represent the 24.50 lakh ESMs for discussion with Hon’ble Raksha Matri or Rajya Raksha Mantri.
At this stage the General Secretary asked if recognized ESM Associations like IESL, IAF Association, Navy Foundation do not want un-recognised but pan India Associations like TSEWA or IESM then what should be our stand.
Cmde Sudheer Parakala replied that if the recognized ESM Association do not want to join the Confederation then few pan India ESM Associations like TSEWA, IESM, Poorva Sainik Sewa Parishad etc to take initiative and form the Confederation. He further elaborated that he does NOT envisage any situation where recognized ESM Associations would oppose the non – recognized ESM Associations in the Confederation as aim is to negotiate with Ministry of Defence to project our grievances. He further volunteered to re-draft the Approach paper sent by Col TN Raman, after studying the minutes of meeting conducted in Chennai on 08 Jul 2018.
Gp Capt CRR Sastry opined that since recognized ESM Associations get funds from Ministry of Defence they would not be firm and forthcoming in projecting the grievances of ESM fraternity. Therefore the non- recognized ESM Association with no axe to grind will be able to project the grievances of veterans more forcefully. He expressed doubt whether the Confederation, howsoever noble and good in theory, is feasible looking at past experience. He cautioned that such Confederation should lay down what are its aims & objectives, structure, status of ESM Associations with HQ if it is essential so that the individuality and identity of ESM Associations is not compromised or reduced, method of functioning of Confederation, conflict resolution with competing demand of ESM Associations. He was very firm when he expressed that TSEWA has its own aims and objectives. There is therefore no scope for TSEWA to either owe allegiance to any other ESM association or accept leadership of any other ESM association howsoever large its membership base is. Therefore he argued that TSEWA should only join such confederation where all are associations are treated as equal and no directives can be issued to any member of such confederation by any HQ. He agreed with Cmde Sudheer Parakala that the purpose of this Confederation is only to bring few major ESM Associations in the beginning to carry out negotiations with the Government of the day and nothing else. Every ESM association should be able to function as per its aims and objectives.
Col MJ Ganapathy suggested that every State and UT has large number of ESM Associations. It is better to have confederation of ESM Association at each State and UT level and then form Confederation at National level.
The President informed that Lt Gen Satish Bahri, former MGO and from 1st Course JSW in right earnest in 2008 or near about formed Alliance of ESM Associations with similar objective. The problem with such an organization was that over period of time, office bearers of some ESM Associations, attracted by the glamour of such an apex organization wanted to become bosses and overrule good suggestions offered by ESM Associations. Some office bearers had personal agenda and with bloated ego do not treat all ESM Associations as equals. Therefore the formation of Confederation of ESM Associations though desirable has a number of problems associated with it which needs to discussed in great detail and resolved at the earliest. Some common minimum programme as to what should be our priority areas in our negotiations with Ministry of Defence have to be worked out. The suggestion of Col MJ Ganapathy is same as that of Col Ajit Singh Rana to have state level confederations. At this stage Cmde Sudheer Parakala informed that Tamilnadu is the first state which created such a confederation.
But General Secretary suggested that unless the Confederation takes some shape by Sep 2018 no useful purpose will be served as elections are likely to take place thereafter. The ruling party in all probability not to lose vote bank of veterans and single ladies may grant us some benefits which they denied since they came to power. Therefore getting State Confederations may not be feasible in such a short time frame. In case few major ESM Associations want to become members of Confederation then TSEWA should be able to have inaugural session in Secunderabad by Oct 2018. Expenditure on such a meeting is an investment to get some sort of unity amongst thousands of ESM Associations.
All agreed that Cmde Sudheer Parakala should redraft the Approach paper of Col TN Raman. The General Secretary suggested that we all should make all out efforts to form Confederation by Sep 2018 and TSEWA should be the host for the inaugural meeting of Confederation by Oct 2018 in Secunderabad to prepare road map for its functioning. In any case TSEWA has Brig SKS Rana, VSM, Col Ajit Singh Rana in Gurgaon and Brig R Vinayak, VSM in Bhopal to represent TSEWA in meetings with hon’ble Raksha Mantri or RRM in future as part of Confederation.
Communication with Members of TSEWA: General Secretary raised the point of ease of communication with members of TSEWA. Cmde Sudheer Parakala suggested using bulk SMS providers who can send single SMS to many members with or without a smart phone at a nominal amount. There should be a Non-Disclosure clause that the provider will not share the database with anyone else. Since long messages cannot be sent by SMS, it is better to just give the points in short and ask the members to go to the TSEWA Blog at www.tsewa.org and see for more details of the subjects covered. It was suggested to get details from RSI, which is sending Bulk SMSs, and preferably use BSNL our office already has a BSNL connection. Treasurer volunteered to take up the task with RSI, Secunderabad and he was requested him to fix the bulk SMS facility at the earliest.
Refund of Initial Payment made by Pre – 1996 Members of ECHS: The General Secretary wanted to know the stand of TSEWA on the refund of initial payment made to ECHS to become members by those who retired prior to 1996. Even though it was clarified that all Officers who retired in 1996 or prior to that period are not required to make any payment as membership for them is free, yet many not knowing this facility deposited the membership fee. He himself paid Rs 18,000 in 2003 and got ECHS card 16 kb for himself and his dependents. It is understood ECHS is asking for such members to produce MRO or details of demand draft if refund is to be made to them. After 15 years it is not possible for members to give such proof of payment. Mere fact that they do possess 16 kb card and the applications submitted 15 years back is good enough proof.
Gp Capt CRR Sastry advised General Secretary to send a representation to MD, ECHS stating that he retired prior to 1996 hence he is eligible to get membership free. Yet he paid Rs 18,000 through MRO but receipt is not held by him after lapse of 15 years. Therefore the Central Organisation of ECHS should not insist on production of proof of payment. Since he and his dependents based on his application in 2003 paid the membership fee and gave all his personal details gave him 16 kb ECHS cards, that itself is an adequate proof. Therefore MD, ECHS must make arrangement to refund the membership fee paid without any more proof as his Central Organisation has all the details with them including the application form, postal address, e-mail id, mobile no or land line. Once the reply is received from MD, ECHS to the contrary and then only TSEWA should then file the case in AFT.
AFT – 7: Grant of Special Family Pension to Single Ladies whose Husbands Died in Harness (Service): General Secretary brought out that Col MPS Bhatia, coordinator for AFT – 7 (Special Family Pension to widows whose husbands died in service) had spoken to him a couple of days back. Col MPS Bhatia said that he was informed by Brig SKS Rana, VSM who had extensive discussions, with our advocate in AFT that this case cannot be filed as Class Action suit.The reason was death in service might have occurred in different conditions though they had all died in service. Therefore such petitioners have to now become individual petitioner.
Gp Capt CRR Sastry suggested that TSEWA cannot at this belated stage should ask the individual petitioners to approach our advocate in AFT Delhi directly. Even if TSEWA has to subsidize the additional fees to be paid, it must be done to protect good image of our organization. The ladies reposed faith in TSEWA and we cannot abandon them at this stage.
General Secretary concurred with general view that TSEWA will support the single ladies to file individual petitions with our advocate in AFT Delhi. If our advocate in AFT Delhi insists on additional documentation it may lead to some delay which cannot be avoided. Since the time the ladies joined the AFT – 7 case from all over India, three of them have already passed away. Therefore TSEWA should not delay this case any further.
The President though felt that Class Action suit is right one as death where occurred should not be the criterion, yet he agreed that the matter be left to judgment of Brig SKS Rana, VSM. He also informed that Smt Kumari Nettimi wife of Sqn Ldr Nettimi who joined this case as first petitioner, seeing the delay in filing the case in AFT Delhi, she on her own filed an individual case in AFT Chennai. The President then spoke to Smt Kumari Nettimi and found out that the case is filed in Circuit bench Secunderabad of AFT Chennai and her advocate informed her that all arguments were over. She expects the judgment is likely to be delivered any time now. On request of the President, she agreed to send one copy of judgment to HQ TSEWA as and when it is made public.
Refund of Excess Pension Received by Non – Medical Officer and his Widow not Getting her Ordinary Family Pension: The General Secretary brought out that one lady wife of an officer from 7 CAV spoke to him and informed him that her husband who was an Armoured Corps officer from 7 CAV, on retirement was paid pension by Canara Bank as if he was an AMC officer with NPA. The officer had not brought this to the knowledge of the Bank, that he is being over paid. On his untimely death, now the Bank is not giving her Ordinary Family Pension unless she clears outstanding overpayment of Rs 8 lakhs.
The President said that non commencement of family pension to the lady is unacceptable whatever may be the reason once the death certificate is submitted, she had joint bank account with the bank for pension when her husband was alive and her name is same as in PPO with the bank. The mistake in overpayment of pension was committed by the bank which should have ensured that he is GD officer and not a medical officer, as would be clearly mentioned in the PPO. The stand of the bank not to pay her family pension on the specious ground that her deceased husband was over paid is totally unethical. The officer when he was alive did not ask for overpayment though he is morally responsible to ensure he gets correct pension and it is duty as an officer to inform the bank of overpayment. Now that the officer is no more the bank cannot insist that the over payment made to her deceased husband be refunded. The overpayment is not an estate which his wife has inherited.
The President further gave the example of commutation. All pensioners who opt for commutation are given a huge amount at the time of retirement as terminal benefit. The Government of India made rule that the commuted amount has to be refunded to the Government in 180 EMIs (15 years). The commutation is given to the officer and wife has no role in it though she may benefit from that amount. Therefore the Government in their magnanimity to help the widows who lose their husbands and have to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up the children exempted them from payment of balance EMIs. The commutation was given to the officer and he alone is responsible for re-payment and not his wife if the officer dies before completing 15 years of re-payment. Therefore on similar lines, the widow is not expected to pay the excess pension paid to her husband when he was alive. Once the pensioner dies all cases against him or her stand abated as the pensioner is not alive to defend him or her. This is the law of the land in most democracies. The President opined that if the lady goes to AFT, she will win the case hands down.
This case was deliberated by all at length. The final outcome of long deliberations though there is merit in the argument of the President, it is better for the lady to inform the bank that since her husband is not 67 at the time of death, she is entitled for enhanced rate of Ordinary Family Pension. Therefore the bank can deduct one third of her pension and remit her balance two thirds every month into the joint pension account. Thereafter, if she wishes to file the case in AFT that she was coerced to agree to pay overpayment under duress by the bank, the President felt that she is bound to win the case. General Secretary said that he will advise her accordingly.
Problems of Pensioners: General Secretary informed that Col Madhusudan Nair of Kerala had sent 5 Cases regarding some problem in the pension of single ladies. This was handed over to Gp Capt CRR Sastry and after going through the details, he should advise them accordingly.
Action to be taken by Cmde Sudheer Parakala, Treasurer, General Secretary, Gp Capt CRR Sastry, Brig SKS Rana VSM
Points from Lt Col G Parvathesam,Treasurer
The Treasurer informed that he had spoken to our Chartered Accountant and action is in hand to file the third IT Return by 15 Jul 2018. He also said that there are not many financial transactions in this financial year. Our Tally software updating has also been and payment for upgrading was made to the company.
Some out station members who came for the AGM have not given their bills. So the final accounting has not been done. He said that once he receives all bills he will be able to inform the committee as to what was the expenditure on Executive meeting held on 23 Jun and 3rd AGM held on 24 Jun 2018.
Action to be taken by Treasurer
Points from Col MK Veeramani, President, Charity Division
Col MK Veeramani informed that since the cheques for the 7 charity cases were ready, he spoke to Col Raghbir Singh, President, TSEWA, Punjab and told him that the cheques would be sent directly to bank accounts of the concerned individuals. Col Raghbir suggested that the cheques be sent to him and that he would go to the houses of the 7 persons along with the Village Sarpanch, hand over the cheques, take photos of the same, get receipts from them and he will send the same to us. This was agreed. His gesture was appreciated by all. Treasurer has sent the seven cheques to Col Raghbir Singh.
Col MK Veeramani said that Ms Sandhya to whom we gave financial help first, spoke to him and asked for financial help again, since she has been selected to do BCA in a college. Col MK Veeramani told her to give an application to TSEWA asking for financial help as also a copy of the College Brochure of BCA, and a letter from the college about the fees for the 3 years of BCA. He also asked her to enclose the mark sheet she got in her Intermediate final exam. He told her that depending upon the availability of funds, her case will be considered.
He also told that 2 more cases have been finalized. The total amount sanctioned in this FY is Rs 1.65 lakhs. Since there is hardly any money under budget head charity in TSEWA, he told that no more cases will be cleared till we get some more donations from members and non-members. He said that since funds availability was low, Charity Division will clear cases accordingly. In any case no applications are pending with the Charity Division.
Action to be taken by Charity Division
Points from Cmde Sudheer Parakala, Vice- President
Cmde Sudheer Parakala suggested that TSEWA should do Flag Hoisting on 26 Jan and 15 Aug every year. This suggestion was welcomed by all, and General Secretary was requested to do the needful in this regard.
Action to be taken by General Secretary
Points from H/ Capt B Joseph, Joint Secretary
Capt B Joseph informed that Raising day of 2 Engr Regt wherein he worked as Head Clerk and Hony Capt M Narasimha Reddy was Sub Maj is planned to be celebrated at Meerut. He said that if the EC gives sanction he and Capt MN Reddy will go, distribute the application forms of TSEWA to get some members into TSEWA. He requested for 3 AC train fare and other incidental expenses to be met by TSEWA. He also said that from Sep 2018 onwards he will not go to Bengaluru; but Col Srikantha Seshadri will conduct the awareness camps at MEG & Centre, Bengaluru. Since Hony Capt B Joseph had some other engagement, he was not available for any further discussion. No decision therefore could be taken on the request to reimburse expenditure on travel to attend the Unit Raising Day.
Points from The President
HQTSEWA Google Mail Group: The President informed that as per the decision of Executive Committee of 23 Jun 2018, he had sent invitation to join the hqtsewa Google Mail Group to Executive Committee members, active Presidents of TSEWA at all levels (States, Zones, Districts), Administrators of TSEWA Blog, TSEWA Web Site and Core Committee members. The total number in this restricted mail group is 41. 39 have already joined the mail group which will facilitate these 39 members to send mails within the new Google Mail Group.
ECHS: He also informed that Col Srikantha Seshadri has sent a detailed e – mail addressed to Min of Def & MD ECHS of various problems being faced by members of ECHS in getting medical treatment and medicines from Local Authorised Chemist (ALC) and further improving services of ECHS. The President sent the mail of Col Srikantha for further improvement and for information.
Direct Entry JCOs into Army: The President explained about the proposal of Army for introduction of Direct Entry JCOs. He gave out the pros and cons of this system.
Article: The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans requested for submission of a suitable article to be published in their Souvenir.
Rank Pay Arrears: He informed that Col Randhir Sethi had sent an e mail about filing a case on Rank Pay Arrears. This point was explained by the President commencing from Maj AK Dhanapalan filing the case in Kerala High Court till the contempt petition was filed by RDOA. When this case of remittance of Rank Pay arrears has already been settled by 2014 and most of the Officers serving in the period Jan 1986 to Dec 2005 were paid less basic pay by deducting rank pay from total emoluments. Most of the Officers received their rank pay arrears by 2014. Those who did not give their bank account, postal address, e-mail id and mobile no or land line no are not given their rank pay arrears. PCDA (O) Pune put up the Due – Drawn Statement showing how the rank pay arrears have been worked out. All those who found the data was wrong took up the case for revision of their rank pay arrears and the same was promptly done by PCDA (O) Pune. Finally The President opined that no useful purpose will be served at this belated stage by re-opening the case which is already settled. It is not worthwhile to file any case in AFT unless we have solid grounds where injustice is done. If any member wants to join such proposed case, the best course for them is to approach RDOA who spearheaded the rank pay case right upto Hon’ble Supreme Court.
There being no other points, The President thanked all and the meeting ended.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)