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
DIAV is headed by a Brigadier rk offr called Brig DIAV. It comprises of four operating sections, each headed by a Colonel rk offr. The sections are:-
· Policy and Outreach Section.
· Pension and Entitlement Section.
· Rehablitation and Welfare.
Skilling and Transition Section.
Policy and Outreach Section: This section is the lead section and acts as the nerve centre of the new directorate. This section will also be wholly responsible for the conception and management of the Veterans E-lobby established in the DIAVHeaded by a director level officer, the section is the first port of call for all veterans, widows and wards. The section is organised into three functional desks. These are:
· The Monitoring and Policy Desk
· The Veterans Outreach Desk;
· The IT section ,Data Management & Web Portal Desk.
The section is also tasked to operate the Indian Army Veterans outreach app all related IT matters and any other portals or links that the organization might be asked to field in the future.
Pensions & Entitlement Section: This section is the bulwark of the directorate and is responsible for all functions pertaining to pensions and entitlements, including sanction, disbursal, and related legal redress and correction. The section maintains 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. This section has also taken on the functions of CPGRAMS that was earlier handled by the Personnel Services Directorate at Army HQ. The section maintains contact and liaise with the other branches of defence forces related to Veterans affairs and on all policy and entitlement related matters that are of concern to the veteran fraternity Pension and Entitlement cases of Veterans are acknowledged and monitored till logical conclusion of cases by concerned agencies. Due to proactive follow up by DIAV a No of long outstanding complex cases were resolved and arrears of pension has been released and credited to the accounts of various pensioners.
Rehabilitation and Welfare Section : Release of Ex Gratia and Welfare Grants to beneficiaries of both Battle Casualties (BCs) and Physical Casualties (PCs) is provided by this section. Welfare grants and various schemes are responsibities of this section .
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.
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.