New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) Army chief General Dalbir Singh on Thursday stressed the need to strengthen the institutional framework for providing care and support to army veterans.
The army chief, addressing a function in Delhi Cantt where he inaugurated a directorate for army veterans, said: “More needs to be done at the last mile, which will follow consequent to the raising of the new directorate.”
On the occasion, the army also observed the first-ever ‘Veterans Day’.
The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans will provide a “wide range of veteran care and support services, as also a single point of contact, or redress, to the veterans, widows and wards residing across the country”, said an official statement.
The army chief described the directorate as the “first step” towards creating a coherent veteran care and support structure in India.
The day marks retirement from active service by India’s two most well known military leaders — Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, OBE, and Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, MC, in 1953 and 1973, respectively.
Building on the existing framework of Army Headquarter’s Veterans Cell, the directorate is organised into four verticals, namely Policy and Outreach, Pension and Entitlements, Benefits and Services and Career Transition Planning Sections.
Each vertical will be headed by a director-level officer fully versed in veteran matters and duly assisted by a mix of serving and retired officers.
It has fielded a Veterans E-Lobby and Services Complex comprising of a range of disciplines.
Key highlights include the establishment of e-banking services by principal pension bankers, the State Bank of India or Punjab National Bank.
Besides, the National Skill Development Corporation and Artificial Limb Centre Manufacturing Company Kanpur, too, have opened consultancy services at the new complex.
General Dalbir Singh released the inaugural issue of ‘SAMMAAN magazine’ focussing on the role of veterans in nation building. Several well known military and civilian writers have contributed their views and opinions on this important topic.
The event also witnessed the launch of Phase 2 and 3 of the Indian Army Veterans Web Portal.
Former chiefs, senior serving and retired officers, widows and disabled soldiers and members of the wider veteran fraternity were present on the occasion.