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Soldiers’ morale would be affected if disability pension is cut: Ex-servicemen

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New Delhi, Oct 10 : The defence ministry has uploaded a draft notification on its website on the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission, which when it comes into effect, will significantly reduce the disability pension for soldiers.

Ex-servicemen say it would affect the morale of soldiers, coming at a time when tensions continue on the border with Pakistan.

Defence ministry officials were unwilling to officially comment on the matter, with one saying the matter was being taken up with the anomalies committee.

Retired Major General Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, questioned the need to publish such a notification which “downgrades the institution of armed forces”.

The notification mentions changing the present percentage-based disability pension system to a slab based system, which will significantly reduce the amount of pension.

According to the pay panel’s recommendation, for 100 percent disability, an officer would get Rs. 27,000 per month, those in the ranks of Subedar Major to Naib Subedar would receive Rs. 17,000 while havildar and below would get Rs. 12,000.

At present a soldier who gets 100 percent disability is entitled to a pension equal to the last drawn salary plus 50 per cent as ‘service component’.

Defence ministry officials said the notification had not yet been published in the Gazette of India, which would have brought the decision into effect.

The changes, if notified in their current form, would come into effect retrospectively, from January 1, 2016.

The draft notification shows the government’s response to the pay commission’s recommendation as “accepted”. A defence ministry official, unwilling to be named, said this reflected only the status of cabinet approval.

“It is a draft notification, not a final order,” he said. Any anomaly can be corrected after a draft is published, he added.

No time frame for the notification becoming official has been given.

Satbir Singh who has been spearheading the movement for One Rank One Pension questioned the government’s acceptance of the recommendations.

“It is downgrading the institution of armed forces. Why are there slabs for soldiers and percentage for civil employees?” Singh questioned.

“Why should a civil employee of same level get more salary than an armed force personnel?” he asked An additional secretary, he said, got more salary with some 22 years of service, while a Lieutenant General got almost half after 33 years.

He said if civil servants decide about salaries of armed forces, “this is what you would get” He suggested that a separate committee should decide salaries of armed forces.

“These mistakes can cost the nation. It will bring down the morale of the soldiers,” he said.

The armed forces have raised the issue of several ‘anomalies’ in the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission which Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has promised to resolve.

The defence ministry has already made a presentation to the chairman of the anomalies committee, according to officials.

Retired Brigadier S. K. Chatterji meanwhile said that the notification was not a final order.

“It is a draft notification, not an executive order. That may not be government’s stand in the end,” he said.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had last week said that the defence minister had assured the armed forces that their interest would be taken care of, adding that the forces were satisfied with the assurance.

Disaster

‘Situation going out of control’: SC seeks Covid report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

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Coronavirus India

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a status report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Assam on steps taken to control the spread of coronavirus infection, news agency PTI reported. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

“Things have worsened in Delhi especially in November. You file a status report on what steps have been taken,”the court told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was appearing for the Delhi government. The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said that all efforts shall be made by the Centre and the states to mitigate the situation and to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While fresh cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline — or remain stagnant — in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh have been seeing a significant rise in active cases.

Amid the surge in a few states, the Centre on Sunday dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to help them tackle the spread of the disease. A few days ago, similar teams were sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh as well.

Part of the reason for the surge in cases in these states could be attributed to low adherence of physical distancing norms during the festival season, especially since it came after a prolonged phase of relative stability, which could have given rise to complacency amongst the public.

On Monday, India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 91 lakh with 44,059 coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 85,62,641. The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the thirteenth consecutive day. There are 4,43,486 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 4.85 per cent of the total caseload.

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Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi passes away

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tarun gogoi

Former Assam Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi passed away Monday. He was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction.

The three-time chief minister of Assam, Gogoi had a political career spanning over 50 years in which he assumed varied positions within the Congress party, central government as well as Assam’s state administration.

Born on April 1, 1936 into an ethnic Assamese Tai-Ahom family at Rangajan Tea Estate located in erstwhile Sivasagar district, now Jorhat district of Assam.His father, Dr Kamaleshwar Gogoi was a medical practitioner at the tea estate while his mother, Usha Gogoi, was known for her collection of poetry –– Hiyar Samahar.

Gogoi did his primary education at the No.26 Rangajan Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya before moving to Jorhat Madrassa School, Bholaguri High School located near Badulipar Tea Estate and finally Jorhat Government High School from where he passed the HSLC Examination. Completing his graduation from Jagannath Barooah College, he did his LLB from Gauhati University, Assam.

With his first stint as member of Parliament starting in 1971, he went on to be elected to the Lok Sabha a total of six times. He also served as the joint secretary of All India congress Committee in 1976 and president of Assam’s Pradesh Congress Committee from 1986-91.

During Narasimha Rao’s tenure (1991-95) as the Prime Minister, Gogoi served in the Union cabinet as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Food and Food Processing Industry.

Gogoi led the Congress to a record three consecutive electoral victories in Assam in 2001, 2006 and 2011, and served as the chief minister of the state for 15 years (2001-2016), thus becoming the longest-serving chief minister of the state.

In 2016 Assembly elections in Assam, though the BJP along with its allies defeated the Congress government, Gogoi managed to win from Titabar Assembly constituency.

In August this year, Gogoi was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 and was discharged after recovery. However, he was again rushed to GMCH on November 2 with post-COVID complications and was on non-invasive ventilation (NIV). He was put on invasive ventilation on Saturday night as his condition deteriorated.

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PM Modi inaugurates Multi Storeyed flats for Members of Parliament

17th Lok Sabha has already taken many historical decisions

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Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Multi Storeyed flats for Members of Parliament through video conference, today. These flats are located at Dr B D Marg in New Delhi. Eight old bungalows, which were more than 80 years old, have been redeveloped to construct 76 flats.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said Green Building norms have been incorporated in this Multi Storeyed flats for the Members of Parliament. He hoped that these new flats will keep all the residents and the MPs safe and sound.

He said accommodation for the Members of Parliament has been a long standing problem but it is now solved. He said decades old problems don’t end by avoiding them, but by finding solutions. He listed many such projects in Delhi which were incomplete for many years were taken up by this government and finished before the scheduled time.

He said during the time of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the discussion of Ambedkar National Memorial started, it was built by this government after a long wait of 23 years. He said, the new building of the Central Information Commission, the War Memorial near India Gate and the National Police Memorial were built by this government which were pending for a long time.

The Prime Minister remarked that all the MPs have taken care of both the products and the process in the productivity of Parliament and have attained a new height in this direction. He praised the Lok Sabha Speaker for his stewardship of the house in a productive and procedurally sound way.

He expressed happiness that Parliament proceedings continued even during the pandemic, with new regulations and several precautionary measures. He added that both houses worked even on weekends for ensuring smooth proceedings in the Monsoon Session.

He said as the age of 16-18 years is very important for the youth, we have completed the term of the 16th Lok Sabha with the 2019 election and this period has been historically significant for the progress and development of the country. He added that the term of the 17th Lok Sabha has started in 2019 and the decisions taken during this period in this Lok Sabha already, the Lok Sabha has undertaken some historic decisions.

He expressed confidence that the next (18th) Lok Sabha will also play a very important role in taking the country forward into the new decade.

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