The Veterans Cell was raised in April, 2013 as a single window for the redressal of veterans’ issues and aspirations at Army HQ level. Since then, its role and charter has expanded considerably, to include matters beyond the usual pension and welfare related issues. It does not only interact with the line directorates and welfare societies at the AG Branch, but also with other directorates, state governments, skilling agencies and placement partners across the country. These enhanced functions required the scaling up of the Army Veterans Cell into the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) at the AG Branch. It now functions directly under the Adjutant General, thereby according the required importance to the management of Veteran affairs in the Indian Army.
Structure and Salient Characteristics: DIAV
The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) comprise of four operating sections. These are as follows:
- Policy and Outreach Section: This section shall be the lead section and shall act as the nerve centre of the new directorate. Headed by a director level officer, the section will be the first port of call for all veterans, widows and wards. The section is organised into three functional desks. These are:
- The Monitoring Desk;
- The Veterans Outreach Desk;
- The Data Management & Web Portal Desk.
The section is also tasked to operate the Indian Army Veterans Web Portal and any other portals or links that the organization might be asked to field in the future.
- Pensions & Entitlement Section: This section shall be the bulwark of the directorate and will be responsible for all functions pertaining to pensions and entitlements, including sanction, disbursal, and related legal redress and correction. The section will maintain close liaison with the Manpower Planning & Personnel Services Directorate at AG Branch, as also the Record Offices and PCDA (O) & PCDA (P) to provide the necessary advice and assistance to veterans, widows and disabled soldiers. In due course, this section will also take on the functions of CPGRAMS that are presently being handled by the Personnel Services Directorate at Army HQ. The section will also host the databases of the Manpower Planning Directorate on a shared basis to provide real time information on personnel records to the retired fraternity.
- Benefits & Welfare Section: This section shall be responsible for grievance management relating to all services deemed admissible to a veteran post-retirement, including medical, education, housing, re-employment insurance related issues, etc. The section will maintain contact and liaise with the AWPO, AWHO, AWES, AGI and ECHS on all policy and delivery related matters that are of concern to the veteran fraternity. This section will also be wholly responsible for the conception and management of the Veterans E-lobby established in the DIAV.
- Skilling and Transition Section: This section is spearheading the Skilling initiative undertaken by the Indian Army in collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship through National Skill Development (NSDC) to facilitate suitable 2nd career options for prospective retirees. All Regt Centres are currently conducting Skill training by NSDC accredited trainers. DIAV has been instrumental in skilling more than 20,000 prospective retires in 2017. Concurrently NSDC aligned courses are also being made available to the army spouses & wards at the numerous Army Skill Training Centres (ASTCs) coming up at various Cantts and mil stns with opportunity to either pick up a job or commence home entrepreneurship. National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) certificates are awarded to all successful candidates undergoing skill courses at Regt Centres and ASTCs that have recognition across the country.
- Support at Veterans E-Lobby The Veterans E-lobby is a unique facility that is currently in the process of being set up at the DIAV. Once it is up and running, it will offer a range of advisory services to the veterans, widows, disabled soldiers and wards.
- Banking Services: Banking advice and services relating to pension matters. The SBI and PNB Service Centres have already been incorporated and they have fielded top class banking advice and facilities for the veteran fraternity.
- Disability Care & Support Services: A multi-brand facility has been established to showcase new products for disabled soldiers at the E-lobby. Currently these include HONDA MOTORS and ALIMCO, which have been active in this field. New partners are being identified to provide quality disability care and support products to our veteran community.
- NSDC Skilling Services: A National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) backed Liaison Office is being established at the E-lobby. This office will field Liaison Officers / Consultants from a range of NSDC Sector Skill Councils for advising institutions and individuals about the possible opportunities for skill development, assessment and certification.
- Widow Care & Support Services: A Widows Care and Support Office is proposed to be established at the E-lobby, in due course. This office will provide professional consultancy to the widows and wards, as per their needs. This office will collaborate with the AWWA at the functional level.
- Financial Advisory Services: The DIAV shall also field professional financial advisory services at the E-lobby in due course. The consultants shall render advice to the veterans and widows on various financial products and opportunities, to ensure the viability and security of any personal investments.
- Miscellaneous Services: DIAV has also catered for intra-cantonment transport services as a welfare measure for veterans. DIAV van (8 seater) picks up and drops veterans from designated points around the cantonment, in accordance with standing routes and time schedules.
The Veterans Cell, now DIAV, has extended its reach in several ways since its raising five years ago. Some data points below are indicate the achievements of the Veterans Cell.
- Resolved 23,370 out of 30,484 grievances in various formats during FY 2017-18 respectively.
- Disbursed approximately Rs 509.90 crores to 1,24,766 beneficiaries since inception and Rs 42.43 crores to 7,010 beneficiaries in FY 2017-18 respectively.
- Provided policy advice and support to approx 24 EXSM rallies across the country.
- Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO) and its nodes have provided 12000 jobs countrywide during the last year.
Veterans Outreach Android Based Mobile App
Veterans Outreach Mobile App (Android based) was launched on 07 Dec 16 by Chief of the Army Staff with an aim to provide a platform for the veteran community to connect directly to the redressal agencies for their grievances. Mobile app can be downloaded from Google Play Store free of cost on your mobile. The app has been upgraded in Dec 17 with a vibrant interface and additional features for better facilities. Major features of the App are given below:-
- Ask a Question
- Locator Services
- Pension Calculator
- Know Your Pension
- Skill & Development
- Find Course-mate
- Related Website Links