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Monday, 7 March 2016

International Women’s Day

Indian Military Veterans
International Women’s Day

08th March-2016




Army Organises Mega Ex Servicemen Rally at Pathankot

Indian Military Veterans

A Mega ESM Rally was organized by Pathankot Sub Area under the aegis of Rising Star Corps on 5th March 2016. The rally was attended by approximately 6500 Veterans and 100 Veer Naris hailing from Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Pathankot and Kangra districts. The rally was addressed by Lt Gen KJ Singh, GOC-in-C Western Command who reassured the Veterans and War Widows that they shall always remain inseparable members of the Armed Forces fraternity.
i20163501The rally was held in close coordination with the State Administration and Rajya Sainik Boards. The focus of the rally was to resolve anomalies in disbursement of pension, land and legal cases being confronted by the Veterans and War Widows. A number of stalls from various welfare agencies and organisations of the army and civil administration were set up at the venue. A medical team, fully equipped with modern equipment and medicines, was also in place. An ‘Employment Fair’ for advising kith and kin of Veterans and War Widows on employment avenues was another attraction.
i20163502
The rally was a major step forward for ameliorating the day to day problems of the Veterans and Veer Naris. It gave a platform to the War Widows to express their concerns directly to the concerned officials. The Western Army Commander presented mobility equipment to handicapped veterans and besides honouring the war widows, he also felicitated gallantry award winners among the veterans.
Col Rohan Anand, SM
PRO (Army)

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PM NARENDRA MODI FORMS TASK FORCE TO RATIONALISE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT STAFF

Indian Military Veterans



            NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted a five-member task force to rationalise central government staff and ensure their maximum optimisation.

            The task force will be headed by Establishment Officer and Additional Secretary in Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) Rajiv Kumar and it will submit its report next month, officials said today.

            The prime minister has approved the proposal to constitute a task force to examine the issues of rationalisation and optimisation of human resource in various ministries to align them with financial resources and focus areas of the government, they said.
            Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said rationalisation of staff is of paramount importance for good governance.

            PM Narendra Modi Forms Task Force To Rationalise Central Government Staff

            “This decision has been taken keeping in line with the Modi government’s commitment of maximum governance and minimum government. We are also considering restructuring existing tribunals, autonomous bodies and central public sector undertakings to ensure better optimisation of human resource,” he told news agency PTI in New Delhi.

            The task force has two joint secretaries from Cabinet Secretariat, one each from the DoPT and Department of Expenditure as members, the officials said.

            In his Budget speech for 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said a task force has been constituted for rationalisation of human resources in various ministries.

            “A comprehensive review and rationalisation of autonomous bodies is also underway,” he had said.

            As per its Terms of Reference (ToR), the task force will take stock and recommend measures to optimise senior positions in the Government of India, covering the posts in the secretariat and outside the secretariat including Chief Vigilance Officers – who act as a distant arm of Central Vigilance Commission to check corruption, various autonomous bodies, regulatory bodies, attached and subordinate offices.
It will also review roles and requirements of these posts, including eligibility criteria and recommend measures to achieve synergy and convergence of purposes and resources, the ToR said.
            The task force will review the processes involved in filling these posts and recommend rationalisation and is required “to examine and incorporate global best practices in this regard”, it said.

            There are about 50 lakh central government employees working in various ministries.
Source: NDTV 

Struggle Over 7th Pay Commission between armed forces & govt.

Indian Military Veterans
Struggle Over 7th Pay Commission

In what has given a fresh impetus to distrust between the armed forces and the government an RTI has come to fore further exacerbating the ongoing agitation over implementation of one rank one pension policy.

“We thought it was the pay commission that was selling us short, but this RTI actually revealed it was the Ministry of Defence officials,” said an officer at army headquarters, requesting not to be named.

In their presentations to the pay commission the three services raised a number of issues, but when the pay commission sought the defence ministry’s comments and recommendation, the ministry negated most of the demands of the services, the officer said.


On the issue of pay to Lt Colonels and Colonels, a major cause of concern among the armed forces, the defence ministry said in its reply to RTI application, “The basis of this demand i.e. merger of rank pay in basic pay was examined in a detailed matter by the Pranab Mukherjee committee report and the same was not accepted hence the case is not supported.”

Similarly, on the demand for equal work for armed forces personnel and civilians working side by side, the ministry said the concept of equal pay and equal work in this case is not feasible since the service conditions and the nature of job of services personnel and defence civilians are totally different.

On the issue of parity between civilians and central armed police forces, the ministry said that the army being a fighting force has its own command and control functions in its hierarchy and hence no comparison can be made with the civilians.

The ministry’s views, when read alongside the recommendations of the pay commission, do little to win the confidence of the armed forces, a senior army officer said, especially since the hardship allowances, disability allowances and basic pay scales of Colonels and Brigadiers have been reduced as compared to their counterparts in IAS, IPS and other allied services.

“I will have young officers and men fighting heavily armed terrorists in counter-insurgency areas and getting 5,000-10,000 rupees for their risk, while a bureaucrat posted at Guwahati will get five times for his hardship,” the officer said.

The anomalies of the Sixth Pay commission have been left unaddressed by the Seventh Pay Commission to further disadvantage of the armed forces, he said.

Read at: Economic Times

Cental Government decides to withdraw tax on Provident Fund

Indian Military Veterans



"Prime Minister has recommended the Finance Minister to stop the tax on the PF withdrawals, and to conduct a thorough study on this."


Centre decides to withdraw tax on Provident Fund

News have surfaced that the Prime Minister has instructed the Finance Minister to put a hold on the proposed plan to impose taxes on PF withdrawals. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to make an official announcement in this regard shortly.

Employee unions all over the country have been vehemently opposing the proposed tax on the withdrawals made on the most important savings of a worker, from the moment the announcement was made. Most employees depend on their provident fund savings to meet some of the most important expenses of their lives, like medical, marriages, building a house, etc. The decision to impose tax on these withdrawals was condemned by all.

Jaitley had announced a tax on 60 percent of the Employee Provident Fund, and Public Provident Fund. The government has now said that they had planned to impose tax only on the PF Interest. But, there was strong opposition for this too. Demands were made to withdraw this tax.

According to information available, Jaitley had informed at the meeting of the MPs that the Prime Minister will have to decide on this. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has recommended the Finance Minister to stop the tax on the PF withdrawals, and to conduct a thorough study on this. Arun Jaitley is expected to take the required action after consulting with the officials of his ministry. The Prime Minister’s intervention has restored the peace of mind of more than 60 lakh Government employees.

Exemption from Income TAX

Indian Military Veterans

15 Habits that Damage Our Healthy Kidneys

Indian Military Veterans
It's hard to notice when we do our kidneys harm. Even if 80% damaged, kidneys can still do their job, and so we rarely realize they're on their last leg. Often, even common daily habits can cause your kidneys continual damage, and when you finally discover something's wrong, it's too late. 
 
Our kidneys are incredible organs that work very hard. By themselves, they absorb minerals and nutrients, produce hormones, act as a filter for toxins in our blood, produce our urine and maintain a normal acid to alkaline ratio. We cannot live without our kidneys functioning properly. The Chinese, for example, have looked at the kidneys as a site of essential life force for centuries.
kidney
 
If you're serious about looking after yourself, then taking care of your kidneys should be one of your primary concerns. If you want to make sure your kidneys thrive and continue to serve you in the coming years ahead, here's a helpful list of habits you should definitely avoid:
 
1. Drinking Soda
A study conducted on employees working at Osaka University in Japan found that drinking 2 or more soda drinks a day (either diet or regular) may well be connected to a higher risk of kidney disease. The study included 12,000 people, and those who drank larger quantities of soda were found to have protein in their urine, which is one of the first signs of kidney damage. However, early detection can reverse the disease with proper treatment.
 
2. A Deficiency in Vitamin B6
The healthy function of our kidneys also depends on a healthy diet, especially one that contains certain nutrients. According to a study carried out at the University of Maryland, a vitamin B6 deficiency increases the risk of the formation of kidney stones. For healthy kidney function, a person should have at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 in their food every day. The best sources for this vitamin are fish, beef liver, potatoes, starchy vegetables, chickpeas and non-citrus fruits. 
 
 
3. Smoking
Perhaps not surprisingly, smoking has been linked to atherosclerosis - the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels - which influences the blood supply going to all the major organs, including the kidneys. According to a study published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, just smoking 2 cigarettes a day is enough to double the number of endothelial cells (the cells that line our blood vessel walls) present in your bloodstream. This is a sign of arterial damage. 
 
In addition, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology references a number of different studies conducted in the last decade that link smoking to decreased kidney function. 


 
4. Lack of Exercise
Another good way of protecting your kidneys is to get some exercise. A comprehensive study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that postmenopausal women who exercised had a striking 31% less risk of developing kidney stones.
 
5. Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium is what helps our body to properly absorb and assimilate calcium. If we don't get enough magnesium, we get overloaded in calcium and, once again, develop kidney stones. To prevent this from happening, add some leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts or beans to your diet. Another good source of magnesium is fresh avocados.
 

6. Disrupted Sleep
I just love a good night's sleep and, as it turns out, so do my kidneys. According to Science Daily, a chronic disruption in our sleep can cause kidney disease. According to Dr. Michael Sole, Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto, kidney tissues get renewed during the night while we're sleeping, so when we can't sleep without constant interruptions, our kidneys suffer direct damage.

 
7. Not Drinking Enough Water
One of the most important things for our kidneys is for them to get hydrated enough to perform their functions. If we don't get enough water in our system, toxins start accumulating in our blood because there isn't enough fluid to take them through the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day. An easy way to check if you're drinking enough is to make sure your urine is a light color or clear. If it's dark, you're not drinking enough. You can check the color of your urine with this helpful guide.
 
8. Not Emptying Your Bladder Fast Enough
When you hear the call to pee, you should listen to it. Obviously, we're not always in the right situation to pee right when the need arises, but if you 'hold it in' on a regular basis, it will increase the pressure of urine on your kidneys, which can lead to renal failure or incontinence. 
 
9. Having Too Much Sodium in Our Diet
Salt is an important nutrient, but it can cause a disaster when taken in excessive amounts. Over-consumption of sodium will raise your blood pressure and put a lot of strain on your kidneys. We recommend limiting yourselves to no more than 5.8 grams (0.2 ounces) of salt per day. So put down that salt shaker!
10. Consuming Too Much Caffeine
We usually drink more caffeine than we think we do. It's in coffee, tea, soft drinks and sodas - before you know it, your body is full of caffeine, which causes your blood pressure to shoot through the roof, and your kidneys to suffer damage.
 
 
11. Abusing Pain-Killers
Many of us have a daily routine of taking medications. When we suffer from pain, our first reaction is usually to swallow a pill. They do help the pain, but you should think twice before taking too many. All pharmaceutical drugs have side effects, and many of them cause kidney or liver damage. Check out some natural painkillers you can find or make at home. That said, some drugs SHOULD be taken, which brings us to my next point...
 
12. Not Taking Certain Drugs You Need
If you suffer from high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes, two very common conditions these days, you will probably also suffer kidney damage. Don't leave these conditions untreated - take your daily meds to reduce your blood pressure and control your insulin levels. Without them, you're almost guaranteed to suffer kidney damage.
 
13. Consuming Too Much Protein
According to a study conducted at Harvard University, an overdose of protein in our diet can cause our kidneys damage. When we digest protein, our body produces a byproduct - ammonia. Ammonia is a toxin that your already hardworking kidneys need to neutralize. This means that the more protein we consume, the harder we make our kidneys work, which can eventually lead to kidney failure.
 
14. Not Treating Common Infections
Sometimes, we all get lazy and ignore a simple cold or a flu, which can push our body to the brink of exhaustion. Studies have shown, however, that people who do not rest or treat their infections often end up with kidney disease.
 
 
15. Consuming Too Much Alcohol
Now this is a no-brainer. The toxins in alcohol not only damage the liver, like many believe, but they are also something your kidneys simply hate to deal with. According to Kidney Health Australia and the American Kidney Fund, one good way of avoiding kidney failure is drinking alcohol in moderation.

External observers mooted in military promotion boards

Indian Military Veterans
This is carrying the concept of civilian control to ridiculous limits but probably inevitable considering all that has happened in the last few years (without a protest by the chiefs):
a)   Take-over of the CSD by the MOD
b)  Insertion of a “financial controller” in the HQ of CinCs.
c)   Curtailment of financial powers of military officers for local purchase, including COs of hospitals for essential medicines.
What next? Civilian observers/referees during military tactical exercises? Very much in the realm of possibility with the present lot of senior officers.
Only God can save the services.
Perhaps an answer lies in the second article by Mrinal Suman - although it is slanted towards the Army.
But as the author asks, can the chiefs bite the bullet???
CHG


External observers mooted in military promotion boards
Man Aman Singh Chhina
04 March 2016
Chandigarh
[While the Defence Ministry wanted to make a civilian officer member of the promotion board, the suggestion has not been accepted by a panel of experts]

In a move to address complaints of lack of transparency in promotion boards in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, the Ministry of Defence is working to install independent observers in these selection boards who would either be civilian officers or from one of the sister services.
While the Defence Ministry wanted to make a civilian officer member of the promotion board, which comprises entirely military officers, the suggestion has not been accepted by a panel of experts that looked into the matter of opaqueness in military promotion procedures.
The Defence Ministry was of the the view that concerns have been expressed by officers of the defence services that a closed-door system of conducting selection boards leads to dissatisfaction and lack of transparency giving rise to doubts and also rumour-mongering at times.
The ministry asked the committee to ensure the presence of a senior civilian officer, either from the MoD or the DoPT to become a member of the military promotion board.
The committee, which recently submitted its report to the Defence Minister, did not agree to having civilian members of selection boards.
However, it has recommended that a minimum of two observers in selection boards must be compulsorily from outside the service,  that is either from the sister services or civilians.
The MoD has now sought action taken report on the recommendations of the panel.
“The observers must truthfully pen down their observations on board proceedings without influence, fear or favour,” the panel says. It added that besides ensuring greater transparency, this would also ensure more faith in a closed door system of selection.
“There should be no reason for any objection on this arrangement, since, as projected, if all correct practices and procedures are being followed in all boards, then such methods of more transparency should be rather welcomed to dispel all doubts of the environment,” the report said.
The committee has also said that members of military selection boards, especially for the first selection grade rank of Lt Colonel and equivalent, where the number of officers being considered is quite high, should spend more time deliberating over profiles and at least an extra day should be added for undertaking the above. Profiles of officers may not be rushed through, it said.
The panel has also said that the promotion board results must always be declassified within the prescribed time frame so as to obviate any perception of wrongdoing amongst the officers. It added that delays almost always result in drawing of adverse inference against the establishment.
The experts report has frowned upon the verbal ‘commentary’ undertaken during promotion board proceedings on the profiles of officers under consideration saying that this has the propensity to influence the board members wherein certain aspects of a person’s career can be overplayed while certain can be underplayed leading to subjectivity. The panel said that this feature that can be easily done away with since it has the ability to influence or subconsciously influence the board members result in slanted opinions.
The MoD has also brought out that a common apprehension expressed in most complaints made to it by military officers is that low marks, inconsistent with the overall profile, have been awarded in “Value Judgement” (subjective part of the board) and the same issue is also raised before Courts and Tribunals.

Analysis of Union Budget 2016-17: Kudos to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for sticking to the fiscal deficit target

Indian Military Veterans


However, the Union Budget does precious little to change sentiment about the corporate earnings environment


Despite accounting for higher government salaries (7th Pay Commission) and not increasing taxes sharply, FM Jaitley stuck to the 3.5% fiscal deficit target (as a proportion of FY17 GDP). The net government borrowing target of Rs 4.25t was significantly below expectations. BNPP chief economist Richard Iley opines, and we agree, that RBI could reward this with a rate cut in the near term.
Rural and infrastructure spending remain key focus areas
The increase in capex outlay (plan + non-plan) in the budget was a trifling 3.9%. However, if one takes a holistic view of infrastructure spending —including provisions of the railway budget and some joint centre-state programmes (e.g. PMGSY road projects)—the total increase in key areas of infrastructure spending is projected to be in excess of 23%. Together with projected rural spending growth of 10%, this underscores the government’s twin targets of rural demand support and investment acceleration.
Some of the tax proposals will likely disappoint the market
Principal disappointments were the imposition of a Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) of 10% for dividend income of Rs 1 m and above, and increased Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on sale of stock options to 0.05% from 0.017%.
Assumptions are credible on the whole, but some aggressive elements remain
Assumption of 11% nominal GDP growth in FY17 and an 11.7% increase in tax revenue appear credible to us. However, the assumption of Rs 500 bn non-tax revenue from telecom spectrum auctions and Rs 565 bn from divestments appear aggressive and could upset the fiscal arithmetic towards end-FY17e.
Beneficiaries: wholesale-funded FIs, real estate, downstream oil, cement
A low government borrowing programme leads to the possibility of a rate cut, which is obviously positive for wholesale-funded institutions. Second-tier mortgage companies (e.g. LICHF) and cement manufacturers could benefit from a boost to low-cost housing. Non imposition of DDT on REITs benefits a select few property companies (DLF, Prestige). Rural-focused companies (e.g. M&M) benefit from higher rural spending.
Losers: telecom, auto, upstream oil and jewellery sectors
Service tax on spectrum will make telecom spectrum trading expensive. Luxury tax on vehicles priced above R1m impacts M&M and Maruti negatively. Ad valorem cess (20%) on domestic crude oil was much higher than the market expected—impacting the upstream oil sector negatively.
India’s underperformance may continue in the near term; H216e appears better
India has underperformed AxJ in 2016 YTD, correcting from its super-premium valuations, and the budget does precious little to change sentiment about the corporate earnings environment. Investment acceleration and rural demand recovery might come through, but possibly no earlier than 2H16, in our view. The longer-term stability of India remains intact, however, due to benign commodity prices and continuing fiscal discipline, potentially leading to further monetary easing.
Fiscal discipline is encouraging; growth focus somewhat low-key
The FY17 budget had raised hopes of growth-supportive measures and rural stimulus, possibly even at the cost of fiscal discipline. In the end, FM Jaitley stuck to the promised fiscal deficit target and provided the necessary rural stimulus, but the hopes of acceleration in capital expenditure were somewhat dashed, with a trifling 3.9% budgeted increase in total capex. Including the railway budget and central enterprises, the total capex outlay wasn’t so disappointing (23% increase over FY16 RE), but implementation of railway capex disappointed severely in FY16— and the FY17 capex target will have to be monitored closely against actual progress.
In the final analysis, what the FM didn’t do became more important than what he did. An increase in service tax and re-imposition of long-term capital gains tax on equity investments were widely anticipated. The budget delivered neither. On the other hand, it disappointed the market with a 10% tax on dividends (in excess of R1m) in the hands of the recipient.
Key highlights
(i) The government reiterated its fiscal consolidation path with a fiscal deficit of 3.9% of GDP in FY16, 3.5% in FY17 and 3% in each of FY18 and FY19. Sticking to the earlier communicated target of 3.5% in FY17 is likely to go down well with the RBI. In particular, sticking to this fiscal discipline in a year of higher government salary payments (7th Pay Commission and OROP) is creditable, despite some aggressive assumptions.
(ii) A lower revenue deficit in FY16 and further reduction of 20bp in FY17 are commendable.
(iii) Increased expenditure in the rural (10%) and infrastructure & energy sectors (35%) is encouraging. Enhanced rural expenditure comprises allocation to NREGA (12% higher), agriculture and irrigation (110% higher).
(iv) Incentives in low-cost housing came in the form of income tax deductions for additional interest of R50,000 pa on loans<Rs 3.5m for first time home-buyers, and MAT for profits on constructing smaller units. Tax deductions on house rent were increased to Rs 60,000 from Rs 24,000, where HRA is not provided by the employer.
(v) Allocation for recapitalisation of PSU banks (Rs 250 bn in FY17) was a disappointment. The market was expecting at least Rs 300 bn-350 bn. Given the worrisome asset quality of PSU banks and their large capital requirement, Rs 250 bn could prove inadequate.
(vi) Tax of 10% in the hands of dividend recipients above R1m. It’s not yet clear whether holding companies receiving dividends from subsidiary companies would be subject to this tax. But on the whole this is a retrograde double taxation measure, and likely to be taken negatively by the market.
(vii) Newly imposed Infrastructure Cess (1-4%) and 0.5% Krishi Kalyan Cess (Farmers’ Welfare Cess) on all taxable services disappointed somewhat, but are clearly better outcomes than the widely anticipated 1.5% hike in service tax.
(viii) A 10-15% increase in tobacco excise duty was a disappointment.
(ix) General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) will be implemented from 1 April 2017—in line with the previous announcement in 2015. On the whole, we think questions about the ‘investment boosting’ capability of the budget will linger. But, sticking to the fiscal deficit target in a year of sharp expenditure increases is creditable.
Largely credible assumptions, but some doubts remain
Sticking to a 3.5% fiscal deficit target while accounting for higher salary expenses and at the same time not hiking taxes significantly necessitated some awkward trade-offs and some aggressive assumptions, though most of the revenue assumptions seem to us reasonably credible.
Likely market impact: correction near term
India is the second worst performing market (after China) in 2016 YTD. This is somewhat surprising, given the relative resilience of the Indian economy to the prominent economic headwinds of today–Chinese slowdown and RMB volatility, commodity price collapse and the risks to global banks’ balance sheets. However, India’s valuation premium explains in part the recent underperformance. In early 2015, India’s premium to AxJ was egregious. Now it appears relatively benign, but still significantly higher than the long-term average. On top of that, India has suffered one of its worst ever episodes of earnings downgrades over past one to two quarters.

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