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Saturday, July 11, 2015
Trust the IAS/IDAS babus to obfuscate even the simplest issues.
Dear Mr Defence Minister,
We learn that our friends in the IAS and IDAS have not given up on stalling the OROP issue. Reliable sources tell us that they are insisting that pension should be based on rank and service in the rank and not on total years of service ie not as defined in the Koshyiari Committee Report. Surely the collective wisdom of the Committee Members must have considered all the pros and cons before penning down the definition of OROP. Because, it follows the pactice in vogue since the 4th CPC. The FM had touched on this proposal among others during our recent meeting, but because of our strong opposition he did not pursue it further. I will now explain the pitfalls of this hair brained proposal put forward by our 'friends', who have no idea as to how the defence services function. I will try and explain it by taking examples from the Army with which I served for 38 years (when we used to serve till 58 years only). I am sure the same are applicable to the Navy and the Air Force also.
Promotion to a rank is based on many variables eg there are different rates of progression depending on the arm or service to which an individual belongs. An infantry officer may be promoted faster than an armoured corps officer, while a gunner during a certain period, may be faster than both. It all depends on the number of vacancies and the number of officers cleared in the selection board, unlike the civil services who get promoted without let or hindrance as selection for them is a formality. Even JCOs and OR face a similar situation. A group of men enlisted on the same day in say, the Rajput, Mahar or the Sikh regiments may not be promoted to the next rank on the same day, as it depends on the rate of selection in each of these regiments. Even in the same regiment, say Rajputs, individual battalions like 4 Rajput & 5 Rajput have different rates of promotion, depending on the selection rate and the vacancies available in the unit, and not in the Rajput Regiment as a whole. Many an officer and JCO/OR has gone home even though approved for promotion, because no vacancy was available. It must be realised by the people suggesting the above mentioned option that soldiers have to work as a team in war and cannot be moved around from one unit to another because of a vacancy available in an another unit, even though it may be from the Rajput group.
One also has to think of certain categories who are enrolled as Hav or Naib Subedar because of special qualifications and may remain in the same rank till he retires eg Religious Teacher. Will you give him more pension than another JCO who retires as a Nb Sub with similar service? Obviously the Babu is trying to use the civilian template for soldiers when they are as different as chalk and cheese.
The civil servant must realise that every Jawan wants to become the Subedar Major of his battalion and an officer aspires to be the CO of the unit he was commissioned in. We cannot be shifted around like chattel just because you get a few rupees more somewhere else. The inherent loyalty of the soldier to his unit has to be respected and nurtured, as even though he is fighting for the nation his immediate concern is to guard the 'izzat' of his unit above all all else. Then come his comrades, whom he must not let down. I know that when I was in the Para Brigade, my infantry course mates became majors a year before me but it was considered par for the course. I also know of a major in a battalion, who was approved for promotion to Lt Col, but refused a vacancy in another para unit and waited for nearly an year to pick up his rank in his own para unit. With the new proposal he would be a loser as he has served lesser number of years in that rank before he retires. Unlike the civil services if one man becomes a joint secretary every one in that batch clamours for his appointment as JS. He is pushing files where he is and will do the same in the other place, whether he knows the job or not, as he is unconcerned where he goes as long he gets his additional pay. Now of course with NFU, whether he is suitable for the new appointment or not or he is taking on more responsibility or not, he gets upgraded to it. Scariest situation is when he can and does draw pay of the new appointment in his old post! The government happily pays them all and not a murmur is raised. The article in the Times of India, 9/7/15 ,"Wages of Privilege" by Mr Raghu Dayal glaringly brings out how the bureaucracy has bloated itself despite recommendations of two pay commissions to cut it down to size.
For the armed forces the other imponderable is when terms and conditions change. When superannuation age was increased to 60 yrs from 58, officers automatically served two extra years. So the batch of officers serving during that period and possibly a couple of batches following them, benefited. Then there was a change when the rank of Lt Col became a time scale one, instead of a selection grade one. Now a Maj gets promoted to Lt Col after 13 years service, so the old selection grade Lt Cols who were promoted between 15 & 19 years will be losers for no fault of theirs. Moreover they commanded units in that rank and so were definitely superior to time scale Lt Cols. In fact old selection grade Lt Cols should get the pension of present day Cols as they shouldered similar responsibilities. The CDA(P) & PAOs are normally not able to pay pensions as per entitlements, wonder how they will be able to work out the service in his last rank for lakhs of ESM whose retirement letters only show their last rank and total service and not the years served in that rank. We feel it is only another effort to obfuscate matters and delay the clearance of OROP.
Sir, may I request you to take a command decision and clear the file as our "friends" will keep on making more suggestions to "help" us.
With warm regards
Lt Gen SK Bahri PVSM (Retd)
A3/502 World Spa East Sector 30/41 Gurgaon 122001 Tele 0124 4143180/181 Mob +91 981000 2800