Friday, September 5, 2014

OROP – diminutive in deeper malaise : by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch, IDR, Net Edition

30 Aug , 2014
There is plenty hoopla about OROP and with reason – some angered, some amused, some complacent. Articles have appeared that veterans are disappointed and are losing faith in the government. Some write that since Uttrakhand had large number of military veterans, they chose to vote for opposition parties in assembly elections and that trend will likely continue. Reporters and cross section of the public ask what has happened that announcements about OROP by two successive governments have yielded nothing so far. So what exactly is happening?
…if an IAS officer becomes Joint Secretary in 17 years of service the officers of Organised Group A Service will start drawing the salary of Joint Secretary in maximum of 19 years of service and similarly that of Additional Secretary / Lt Gen in 30 and 32 years respectively
One thing is quite certain that the BJP by far has been the political party that favours the military the most. It is no secret that during the Kargil Conflict it was the BJP that raised the grant to the next of kin of a martyr from Rupees 2 Lakh to Rupees 20 Lakhs in one go. Had it been Congress in power, raising the grant by 20 paise would have perhaps taken 20 years. Therefore with the majority BLP government in power, observers are all the more puzzled what is happening about OROP. Government has announced they are committed to honour the commitment but that is what UPA II kept singing with Anthony leading the choir.
An analysis would tell you that OROP is drowning in a much deeper malaise, whose history runs back decades. It is on record that post Independence Nehru wanted to disband the army and on being asked how the country would be defended had responded that he had the police. Now why would Nehru have such view who otherwise was hailed as a statesman is puzzling unless he was following an agenda of his actual ancestry discounting the pseudonym Nehru adopted by his father. It is well known he had a disdain for the military and treated them no more than ‘necessary evil.
The second nut in the jigsaw came in the form of VK Krishna Menon, the worst Defence Minister India has had to-date. He not only kept the military, particularly army, starved of basic equipment but initiated the arms mafia in MoD by masterminding the infamous jeep scandal; short-circuiting the laid down procedure for imports and signing the deal in personal capacity while High Commissioner in London prior to taking up assignment of Defence Minister, imported jeeps at triple the actual price, procured less jeeps than number contracted and pocketed huge profits. Whether Nehru shared the booty is unknown but Nehru did not reprimand Krishan Menon for this blatant corruption. Both Nehru and Krishna Menon abhorred military advice and initiated violation of the institutional integrity of the military by thrusting Kaul an ASC officer as the commander of the vital Corps facing the Chinese in NEFA.
What happened thereafter is history but the fact remains that the nation and the military were ridiculed to put it mildly and Krishna Menon who should have been castrated for bringing such shame to the country was rewarded with a road named after him in the capital, replete with his statue that is garlanded annually on his birthday.
This language too was not changed in the ‘Rules of Business’ so that the top bureaucrat of MoD would become the mighty Skeletor while the Defence Minister could remain free for making money for the political party in power…
The above circus was keenly observed and analyzed by the bureaucracy in the MoD, and though sans any military sense, deduced that there was much profit in continuing with this arrangement. If they could continue to rule the roost (forget military issues) and make profits like the jeep scandal, what better situation? The involvement of the political hierarchy would make the polity hostage to the bureaucracy, latter knowing all secrets, which aside from money making would secure equally or more lucrative post retirement assignments. The only caution required was to keep the military at bay. Luckily, no one noticed that the ‘Rules of Business’ adopted from the British mentioned the Services Headquarters as “Attached Offices”. So not changing this gave the handle to not only keep the military away but also absolve MoD of whatever happened in the Services.
In British India, the Defence Secretary was charged with the defence of the country because their Defence Secretary was also the Defence Minister. This language too was not changed in the ‘Rules of Business’ so that the top bureaucrat of MoD would become the mighty Skeletor while the Defence Minister could remain free for making money for the political party in power, in synch with the arms mafia masterminded by the bureaucracy in tandem with other tentacles in PMO, DRDO-DPSUs-OF and abroad. Little wonder why our defence indigenization is so pathetic and despite the 1995 Dr Abdul Kalam headed Review Committee laying down the target of 70 percent indigenization by 2014, 19 years later we are still importing over 70 percent defence equipment – no inquiry for lapses, no blame apportioned, no heads rolled.
It was a beautiful blueprint that was readily accepted by Nehru and his lineage that followed (pseudonym Gandhi) – military kept away, arms mafia flourishing, money in billions of dollars. Whether the ‘actual’ ancestral lineage led the way to an anti-India agenda can be conjectured but then giving up 38,000 sq kms with “not a blade of grass”, gifting Fishtails to China, arbitrary imposition of Article 370 in J&K without reference to Home Minister Sardar Patel; perpetrators’ of rigging 1987 J&K elections that set in motion an insurgency to Pakistan’s advantage going scot free; inaction on subsequent ethnic cleansing in J&K rendering 3,50,000 Hindus refugees in their own country; deliberate enactment of the infamous IMDT Act in Assam and institutionalized illegal immigration from Bangladesh (made legal by providing Indian identity on crossing over to India) that changed the demography of not only the northeast but even the NCR, arming and training Bodos, criminalizing Punjab politics, move to vacate Siachen are events that can hardly be accredited to ambivalence.
But the most damaging part was the deliberate campaign launched to keep the military ‘subdued’ by not only keeping them underequipped but through hitting at their status, pay and allowances, and vilification. If all this sounds outlandish, then readers may wish to answer the following quiz:-
In which country would you find that the military is kept outside strategic decision making and continues without a national Security Strategy for 68 years?
  • In which country would you find the MoD appealing and taking to court the War Widows and War Disabled denying them their emoluments and dragging them into prolonged legal battles, knowing full well some of them can’t even afford such litigation or would simply give up?
  • In which country would you find a former Vice Chief of Army Staff who had lost a leg in actual battle as a young major fight a legal battle for years post retirement just to get his disability pension?
  • In which country would you find a woman heading the Government’s Department of Ex-Service Welfare (DESW) reveling in denying emoluments of War Widows? Is she and ISI agent?
  • In which country would you find the Government’s Department of Ex-Service Welfare crammed with bureaucrats without a single veteran posted to it.
  • In which country would you find generalist bureaucrats sans professional military knowledge ruling the roost in MoD for years?
  • In which country would you have a swollen headed woman in MoD who says no officer lower than Brigadier rank should ring her up?
  • In which country would you find that the military is kept outside strategic decision making and continues without a national Security Strategy for 68 years?
  • In which country would you find Services Headquarters made “Attached Offices” other than a colony of a foreign power?
  • In which country would you find military personnel deliberately lowered in order of precedence year after year?
  • In which country would you find the pay and allowances of the military being brought lower than sister government services?
  • In which country would you have a DRDO directly under MoD but doesn’t bother to take MoD sanction for most projects wasting crores of rupees?
  • In which country would you find that despite consistent demands, the military is deliberately not represented in the various Pay Commissions?
  • In which country would you find military veterans fasting in the country’s capital and returning their medals and gallantry awards in disgust?
  • In which country would you find that when military veterans go to the President to return their medals with petitions written in blood, the so called Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (appointed by the political party in power) can’t muster courage to meet them?
  • In which country would you find a RRM peeking out of his cocoon to say “it is unbecoming of veterans to protest” and hide his face without meeting the veterans or finding out what their grievances are?
  • In which country would you find the MoD refusing to implement directions of the Supreme Court of the country with regard to pay and allowances of military personnel?
  • In which country would you find a former Defence Secretary and his cronies summoned in Contempt of Court by the Supreme Court of the country for not honouring its directions with respect to pay and allowances of military personnel?
  • In which country would you find that despite scores of defence scams, no bureaucrat has ever been questioned, leave aside being convicted? Wasn’t Krishan Kant the Defence Secretary during the Eurocopter and Westland Helicopter scam? Wasn’t Arvind Joshi the JS (G) and JS (Air) during the Hawk trainer deal? Didn’t Haschke’s diary lists out the appointments bribed in MoD but lid has been put on the case?
  • In which country would you a find a two cent journalist (one amongst the group branded “intellectual prostitutes” by John Swinston of New York Times) briefed to publish a false story of an attempted military coup?1

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch ​(Veteran- Special Forces, Indian Army​)


  1. Sir, Thankyou very much for such and eye-opening article and I am sure the answer to all the questions is INDIA. I am confused as to whether this is a loss for the country or the VICTORY of the Indian Bureaucrats with British Mentality. Can any of the past and present Bureaucrats ( I call them the VIRTUAL LORDS left behind by the ruling Britishers to complete the Britishers job of ruining and looting India) have an answer to these questions. We hope that the new Government of India musters some courage to fulfil the election time promise repeatedly announced at various occasions. Jai Hind.

  2. Bureaucrats are cursed for entire common, poor and Indian Armed Forces including for the Nations destroyed or kill them one by one

  3. already written one minute before

  4. I don't understand why PM,FM who also hold the office of the defence minister look into the OROP issue with their own conscience rather than bowing the heads down to hear from the MOD officials. I accept the government can't be run without the help of official machinery.But at the same time they should not bulge under their knees to adopt and implement the welfare to the affected people of the nation of any community.I request PM & FM to have clear vision in this issue accept their conscience try to come forward to brake all the obstacles stand between the issue and come out with fruitful decision which would bring happy to all the veterans and their families.

  5. All the points brought out by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (Veteran-Special Forces Indian Army) are the true jist of the misdeeds of the post independent politicians to treat the armed forces as unwanted and as second rate.Military has no say anywhere.Military is being treated on the pattern of British rulers,which should have ceased on 15/08/1947.But sorry to say they continued on the same lines to their advantage.Can they deny any point brought out by the Gen?

  6. Now Chairman Maj Gen should meet PM Modi immediately OROP to implement quickly.

  7. Now the FM is RM also.But there is no progress regarding the implementation of OROP. The present bureaucrats in Defence and Finance as well as in DESW are now not agreeing with the definition of OROP and length of service, the previous govt agreed in principle.It is the political will of the present govt is to be blamed ,not the bureaucrats only.

  8. 9 servicemen were washed away in fash floods in J & K on the very first day of rescue operations. Theirs families will have to fight a very long battle to get their rightful dues. Even then some babu sitting in some airconditioned comfort will say the washed away servicemen r not battle casualities but only peacetime deaths while on duty or that they cannot be given higher compensation or that they r only missing and not declared dead or that for the compensation to family of a missing person 7 years wait is there etc etc. And 30 years from today the surviving heroes will be returning their J & K Service medals to then President to protest agnst the Govt's inaction to sanction OROP!

  9. Lets wait for more 2 weeks and see whether they implement OROP or not .
    If not , they we DEFENSE should show the present govt the power of us . If they could win the election by taking our votes ,,,so we can also change the govt ...because limit has been crossed . people on chair thinks we defense personals are just BOTS with rifle ......

  10. Sir any update about OROP... please reply