Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: RETIRED VETERAN SOLDIERS SAILORS AIRMEN – FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED – THE MYTH OF EX SERVICEMEN WELFARE.
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Article is also posted below for your convenience:
THE MYTH OF EX SERVICEMEN WELFARE
VETERANS ARE A FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED LOT
When you are in active service, in the army, navy or air force, you are expected to carry out all orders promptly and execute all actions with speed and despatch and do your work in an efficient and proficient manner with initiative and ingenuity.
However the same reciprocity is not shown to you by those meant to serve you, especially after you retire.
One of the biggest myths being propagated is that ex-servicemen are well “looked after”.
It has been my personal experience that this is not so.
The fact is that once you retire you are forgotten by the service.
No one cares about you and you are on your own.
Let me give you an example.
A lady rang me up a few minutes ago. She is a civilian employee who works in the Navy Office in Mumbai. She had worked with me around 10 years ago in Mumbai when I was in the Navy.
She told me that there was a Supreme Court Judgement recently on Rank Pay in the Major Dhanapalan case, and, maybe, I was entitled to a hike in pension and some arrears of rank pay (she had heard about this on the office grapevine when her friends from the Naval Pay Office were discussing this).
She told me that they were saying that all officers who were in service in 1986 were entitled to this increase in pension.
She said that everyone was applying to Naval Pay Office and that I should also apply.
I was totally clueless.
I had received no communication from the Naval Pay Office regarding this and neither had my Bank (the Pension Disbursing Authority) told me anything in this matter. I have not received any communication from an other ex servicemen welfare agency either.
I retired just a few years ago and all my current contact details are available with the Naval Pay Office and all Ex Servicemen Welfare Agencies.
I have given more than 33 years of my life for the Navy.
Don’t you think that I deserve the courtesy of a letter, or at least a simple email or a telephone call.
Why do the “authorities” want to make me run from pillar to post, obtaining and filling multiple forms, getting signatures, submitting them and then endlessly wait for my due?
These days the Government is encouraging Direct Cash Transfers.
Yes, DIRECT CASH TRANSFER is the new mantra of the Government and I do not know why the Navy is not implementing this.
All my service records and bank details are available with the Naval Pay Office and concerned account offices.
Why can’t the money due to me be directly transferred into my bank account?
I just don’t understand why the navy is sticking to archaic paperwork procedures when the whole world has moved on to Information Technology and Electronic Cash Transactions?
Why can’t the navy make efficient and proper use of Information Technology to make life easier for ex-servicemen?
I was an officer in the navy.
I am well educated and I live in a big city with reasonable resources.
If I am feeling clueless and hapless, just try to imagine the state of a veteran soldier, sailor or airman living in a remote village.
It is terrible that hapless veteran ex-servicemen are being made to run from pillar to post to get their dues.
Most ex-servicemen are senior citizens, many in advanced old age suffering from various ailments, and they have given the best years of their lives to the nation performing their tough duties with loyalty, sincerity and alacrity.
Gratitude demands that veteran ex-servicemen be treated in a better manner.
Whether it is Pension Problems, ECHS Medical Treatment, CSD Canteen Facilities or other Ex-Servicemen Benefits, I think there is a vast scope for improvement in delivery.
I trust the powers-that-be will reflect on this and we will see some positive action.
Meanwhile, if someone from Naval Pay Office is reading this, I hope that I will get my enhanced pension dues in my Bank Account by DIRECT CASH TRANSFER
It has become a fashion to blame “civilian babus” for all ills of ex-servicemen.
I would like to point out that the lady who took the trouble of finding out my phone number and calling me up to inform me about this pension issue is a “civilian babu” and no one in uniform has yet shown the courtesy to communicate with me or inform me by letter, email or phone so far!
They say that “charity begins at home”.
First, the uniformed services must look after their own ex-servicemen and demonstrate genuine care for the veterans. Only then it is justified to have expectations from civilian babus.