Sunday, September 25, 2016

WILL THE HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF - 7TH CPC & ARMED FORCES - BY BRIG ANIL GUPTA

Ever since the Seventh Pay Commission report has been made public there has been a sense of great resentment and let down in the armed forces community.

While the veterans were battling for justified grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) the men in uniform were hopeful that the impending pay commission report will deliver justice to them and will set right the unsettled anomalies of the fourth, fifth and sixth pay commissions as promised by their political masters.

The battle hardened soldiers were not only surprised by the bomb shell delivered by Mr Mathur Chairman of the Seventh Pay Commission but were also highly demoralised. Having learnt from the previous experience of the Indian Air Force, the three service chiefs immediately swung into action to not only douse the simmering fire amongst the rank and file but also to plan a joint strategy to address the Govt.

The seventh pay commission not only failed to resolve the pending anomalies of the previous pay commissions but added further salt to the injury by equating the status of the Armed Forces of India with that of the Central Armed police Forces. It is a pity that the bureaucrats in our country fail to draw the distinction between the Armed Forces and the Police Forces. The Pay Commission also went beyond its charter and has tried to tinker with the terms and conditions of service of the rank and file of the Armed Forces. The armed forces were harmed both monetarily as well as status/protocol.

Much has already been written in the media on the subject. The basis of the report is a study carried out by Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, a strategic think-tank, comparing the pay of Indian Armed Forces with that of certain foreign armies of developed countries. The competence of IDSA to carry out such a study is questionable. Moreover, why only the armed forces have been singled out for such a comparison and why not other services like IAS, IFS, Forest, Railways, IPS to name a few?

The answer is simple; the study was motivated and designed to reduce the salary, perks and status of the armed forces.

But what worries the soldiers is the possibility of history repeating itself.

Though every pay commission since 1973 has been unfair to the armed forces major resentment surfaced after the announcement of the sixth pay commission report in 2008. It led to a major showdown between the three service chiefs and politico-bureaucratic establishment. The services requested the then Govt to appoint their representative in the Committee of Secretaries appointed by the Govt to look into the various anomalies in the 6th CPC report that were brought to the notice of the Govt.

The request of the Service Chiefs was based on the logic that 30% (nearly 1/3rd) of the central government employees affected by the pay commission belonged to the three services.

The request was not granted but an assurance was given that their concerns would be addressed with sympathy and without prejudice. In keeping with the apolitical stance of the Armed Forces the service chiefs conceded but were taken aghast when the report of the committee was announced after approval of the Govt. The services found that not only were their major grievances not addressed three more glaring discrepancies were introduced in the final Cabinet notification.

The three service chiefs not only felt let down in front of the forces they commanded but also badly humiliated. They took up the matter separately with the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister and conveyed the concerns of the Armed Forces. But they learnt to their dismay that real villain was none else than their own Ministry of Defence (MOD) which presented a very weak case without relevant supporting documents to the PMO and Finance Ministry.

Incidentally, this was worse than the aftermath of 5th Pay Commission ten year earlier when the armed forces pointed out 48 anomalies out of which only eight had been resolved during the decade preceding announcement of 6th Pay Commission Award. Fortunately, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, a no non-sense officer, was the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee then. He convinced his other two colleagues to delay the implementation of flawed 6th CPC Report in the Armed Forces. Accordingly, the decision was communicated by the respective service headquarters to their rank and file through a signal message. The message was received with great jubilation by the subordinate units which sent jitters to the politico-bureaucratic nexus as well as received adverse comments from certain quarters in the media.

It was Nitin Gokhale who came in open support of the service chiefs and wrote, “If the said signal, as the communication is called in military parlance, is defiance, then no military chief will ever be able to give assurances to, and take, his men in confidence. Anyone who has dealt with the armed forces will tell you that there is not an iota of truth in the canard that is being spread about the three Chiefs ‘defying’ the civil authorities. Yes, they questioned the bureaucracy’s attempts to wittingly or unwittingly introduce pay and status disparities between the armed forces and their civilian counterparts. Yes they took the matter to Prime Minister but in no way did they defy the government.”

The bold stand taken by the three Chiefs had the desired result and the Prime Minister appointed a group of ministers to resolve the grievances of the armed forces. A couple of main points were immediately settled and the services accepted the implementation of 6th CPC. But true to its traditions the MOD continued to play the spoilsport and number of unresolved anomalies were referred to the 7th CPC. As mentioned earlier 7th CPC report rather than assuaging the hurt feelings of the armed forces has further aggravated the anger and resentment.

The continued apathy of the bureaucracy towards men in uniform is perplexing.

World over Armed Forces are considered as the last bastion of a nation and are always held at a different pedestal but in our country under the garb of ensuring civil supremacy the politico-bureaucratic nexus has been working against the interests of the armed forces.

The soldiers are remembered and honoured at the time of crisis but forgotten soon thereafter. It is the sheer sense of patriotism which continues to motivate the armed forces personnel to continue to shed their blood for Bharat Mata despite the neglect they suffer at the hands of politico-bureaucratic authorities.

Knowing fully well that the armed forces are unhappy with the treatment meted to them by the 7th CPC, effort is being made through the media to spread lies.

The latest attempt is an article in a leading national daily titled “Our service chiefs may earn more than US generals.” It states that for the first time, the Indian Army Chief and his counterparts in the IAF and Navy will draw more salary than the top general and equivalent in the US based on purchasing power parity (PPP) terms when the 7th CPC report is implemented. PPP based comparison is misleading and flawed.

Also, how can the pay of officers of two different armies having different terms & conditions of service be compared? Moreover, the figures quoted in the article were exaggerated as was evident from another news item published a few days later by Asian Age titled “Indian service chiefs earn less than top US general reveals new data.”

Such articles are aimed at creating confusion among the rank and file and create distrust among the officers and other rank.

No nation, more so India, can afford to have disgruntled armed forces. It is thus necessary that the history is not made to repeat itself by prudent political intervention at this stage and all genuine grievances of the armed forces are addressed sympathetically and without prejudice before approving the flawed report of 7th CPC.

The Prime Minister needs to intervene to ensure that the justice is done to the armed forces and the trend of widening rift in civil-military relations is halted without further delay.

There is a murmur already doing the rounds among the rank and file that if history repeats itself who will don the mantle of Admiral Sureesh Mehta this time?

(The author is a Jammu based political commentator, columnist, security and strategic analyst.)

(Source- http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/will-history-repeat/ / via e-mail from Chander Prakash,Vet)

22 comments:

  1. Brig Gupta your words will fall on deaf years...i am sanguine if you are not. This nation is in shambles today and degrade by each passing day against our wish because we dearly love this nation. We are degrading fast to dungeons.

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  2. Untill Mr. PM snatch away Finance Dept from that Nobel aspirant A Jaitely, AFs may not be awarded their rightful dues. He will make the soldiers march on empty stomach one day! He still stands by the corrupts.

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  3. We who proudly acclaim Chanakya as our esteemed ancestor of the golden age of India forget his advice easily when it comes to the soldier,they are forcing the disciplined soldier to behave like a civilian and god save the country if it becomes real,

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  4. Now proposed DA is 1%. Pl purchase Shelters for URI BASE CAMP for with that. No need that DA.

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    1. I am being an EXSM,I am not willing and I shall not give up my DA.Name a minister including MODI,whether he would donate a month's salary ?What happened to the defence budget?.Are they Bankrupt?What happened to Vijay Mallyas property?

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  5. yes chances are ripe. predicting a stand off also as if the 7 cpc may hang without being implemented for armed forces.

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  6. The problem lies in the fact that the decision making in most important cases is left to the bureaucrats who are, without an iota of doubt, cunning, short-sighted, outright dishonest and having vested interests but too smart for the stupid, inefficient politicians to always have their way. And the uninformed defence services have historical and current reasons to never trust these Babus. If corrective steps are not taken now to undo the wrong being done to the services, a point of no return may be breached and both bureaucracy and political leadership will never have the trust of the services. The damage will be permanent.

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  7. Deaf ears!. When every voice joins, can anyone ignore? Where is the sensible fighting spirit gone in the forces?

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  8. Sir, all the PBOR animolities are ignored, their status has been downgraded by the officers community. whenever officers cadre or pay Nd allowances are not at par with IAS or IPS, officers community takes the name of soldiers, where is the justification. By a veteran jco of armed forces

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  9. Sir, all the PBOR animolities are ignored, their status has been downgraded by the officers community. whenever officers cadre or pay Nd allowances are not at par with IAS or IPS, officers community takes the name of soldiers, where is the justification. By a veteran jco of armed forces

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  10. In the past, while presenting a valuable case to maintain the morale of the serving soldiers, many senior veterans advised the authorities on care of the veterans and restore the IJJAT of the soldiers. Scores of these letters and articles in the media went into deaf ears and dirt bins. As long as the political bosses are influenced by the defense budget cash milkers, the bureaucrats nothing drastic will happen to the existing status of the Armed Forces. For these political bosses in power, their party, its glory and party funding comes before the nation and its security. For every government in power, the present and the past these bureaucrats are the saviors on this front. So, goes your cry for justice, it is a far cry; a wasted effort.

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  11. It is indeed bad and sad and of course the reason why India despite many advantages remains a week and corrupt nation.The only thing, now the serving pers can do is to resign in mass and what the ESM can do is to convert their moment to a violent one. In any case the Govt is doing that in dealing with us, it has organised baton charging by the Police and having succeeded in that has now rubbed more salt by using a motivated judge to reduce our salaries and increase that of others.ONLY GOD can save this nation unless bureaucrats are kicked hard and proper,but due to corruption nexus politicians will never do it

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  12. "Widespread & almost total Demoralisation & Disgruntlement in All ranks of the Armed Forces due 7CPC"
    The Service Chiefs have to forcefully bring this to notice of the PM & the Parliament.The Indian public also must be made aware of this,outlining the direct threat it poses to National Security.
    Since the Def Secy is responsible for Defence of India he may be officially intimated.
    In the recent meeting with the PM the the Chiefs should have bluntly raised this issue,protocol notwithstanding, as it affects our response capability to Uri incident.

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  13. Let one thing be very clear..this nation belongs as much to the officers and jawans of the armed forces as it does to the politician & beauracrat. Who has given the right to these netas and their Babus to control the destiny of our nation, without their being held accountable for their failures. If it is the Constitution which says so, than it needs to be changed. Everyone in this nation has equal rights..and if the Constitution places some restrictions on the fundamental rights of the people of the armed forces, than they have to be adequately compensated for having to live with these restrictions. The ruling class cannot be allowed to take the fauji for a ride. Why are these netas and babus not being held accountable and punished for failing to provide proper administration in the country..for projects being bogged down by delays and cost overruns..for making false promises during elections..We also need to question our generals on the ills prevailing in the services---people with connection managing postings and staying long at places of their choice, going on foreign junkets, getting undeserved awards, etc, etc. Why is the number of pot bellied people growing in the armed forces, Why our hospitals are brimming with people with ailments. What is being done to ensure that servicemen maintain proper dignity and conduct not only in interaction amongst themselves but also with outsiders. Why are we accepting lowering of our standards and status at every forum without so much as a whimper. Why are we letting civilians take the benefits of our canteens. Why have we accepted that this exclusive right of csd facilities for the fauji now allowed to others who have working conditions just like any civilian govt.deptt, like drdo, Cda, etc. Why have these Babus and defence accounts deptt people been given memberships in our exclusive defense clubs. These are all issues which are of concern because they have certainly played a big role in the present status of armed forces people. It is important to understand that we would have to fight for our rights, within the framework of the existing rules, and should not expect the netas and Babus to give us anything. All these are issues which need serious attention of the govt and the highest defence echelons.

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  14. Those officers who can survive without further service in the Army should resign if really they feel discriminated. Many JCOs/ORs will follow them. Army and veterans are being ill treated by this govt.

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  15. Now they have planned to pay 1%da wef 01jul.ha ha ha ha add more salt to our wounds

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  16. Try to keep our house in a ship shape rather than blaming others msp what so u mean by that why indifference there basic accepted according to ranks but these is utter nonsense even MNS gets msp double than jawans ... Is this a joke ? It is in our country this could happen then shut up and take what u get. Even Orop hijacked totally ,started Orop movement for those early retired jawans but what happens even the top brass who resettled in hefty perks enjoys better Orop.

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  17. जिस कि लाठी उसकी भेन्श.कोई शक?

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  18. Where is our Def Secy?He should have been at the forefront
    working out our options/responses to Uri, since he is responsible for defence of India !!Since he has not been visible anywhere in any forum/meeting/media on the issue,it appears that he has gone underground immediatly after MOD forced the media to give the false news that 7CPC has been accepted & being implemented by Armed forces.Why this happened without approval of RM needs to be investigated. Is there a foreign hand in this to demoralise the armed forces via large nos of Babus on their payroll ??

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    1. Pakistan in their national news papers claim that the Indian Forces are reeling with low morale. But, on the other hand none of our leaders claimed the this news to be false. Only the veterans and Service personnel refuted this new.

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  19. Sir kindly note whatever Jawans got in prop or 7cpc is peanut.This pay commission is for civilian and officers only.

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  20. DOES INDIA DESERVE A DEMORALIZED MILITARY
    If the writings and opinions expressed in various media including social ones, by men “IN” and “OUT” of uniform is any pointer, the correct inference arising out of such would be, that there is a great amount of despair, disenchantment and discontentment in our fighting forces.
    These cannot be termed as emotional outpouring by some individuals of no consequences nor the disappointment arising out of non implementation of some legitimate demand of the Defence personnel. The root is deeper and involves more grave issues.
    There was a time in India when men in uniform were accorded highest esteem. The C in C was designated 2nd in warrant of precedence, next to the Viceroy, the representative of the sovereign. Of course, system of our government changed from Monarchial to democracy and the office of Viceroy naturally got replaced with that of President of the Republic and the whole warrant of precedence underwent thorough change. Status of Chiefs of 3 wings of defence got relegated to 12th position below that of Attorney General/Cabinet Secretary. To give back them the appropriate status they must be elevated to 7th place (central cabinet Ministers) along with 7A which is Bharat Ratna Awardees. Chiefs may be reassigned the position as 7A and BR awardees 7B. Let us imagine a ceremonial situation where Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, Bharat Ratna, also a Hon. Group Captain of Air Force, is an invitee along with Chiefs of Services and Five Star Generals, Marshal of Air Force or Equivalent in other two wings how embarrassing it would be to place them below Sachin?
    Elevating them to the higher status as mentioned earlier will help restore some lost importance to the position. The responsibility of the defence is much greater than secretaries and Lt Governors. The very existence of the nation is dependent on the loyalty and efficiency of the fighting forces and in that context it is only deserving that warrant commensurate with responsibility is assigned to them.
    No one will disagree that the status of Defence is systematically downgraded over the period. There are over 400 officers of Lt.Gen. Rank officers in police as against 80 or a little more in military. A IPS probationer after a period of about 2 years is granted the status of Lt.Col who has to put up more than 12 years of service to get that rank. The 7 CPC has further placed the defence below even forest service. The result is the present widespread frustration in the rank and file of the forces.
    Adding insult to injury is the apathetic attitude adopted by the Babus of MoD to genuine grievances of the veterans below officers level which constitute the majority of ex servicemen community. For example even court orders granting relief and monetary benefits to them remain unexecuted. Dilution of OROP is one such issue and Delinking of 33 years service for full pension remains unresolved even 6 months after it was effected to civilians in defence service !!. There is no justification for these neglect.
    In the Military History of the world there had never been instances of former and serving Chiefs of Services writing and complaining to the Government about the ill treatment meted out to defence services. If the plethora of articles from retired top brasses like VCOAS , G o C and down to sepoys do not wake the Babus up to the reality and make them act on war footing to resurrect the military to its lost pride and self respect it may be too late to do anything and the whole responsibility will lie with them. The urgency of action takes more serious proportion especially in the context of heightened security threat to the nation and warmongering in the neighboring country.
    A demoralized military will be a defeated military, even before the war begins.

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