Saturday, October 1, 2016
Lt Gen PC Katoch-Dateline 28 Sep 16-On the Denigration of Military and and the Denial on Dues to the Soldiers
Looks like a No holds barred article . Great..
A Sunder Rajan
Lt GENERAL P.C.KATOCH
Wednesday, September 28,2016
NEW DELHI: The manner in which the military is being denigrated and soldiers denied their dues, makes some wonder whether mercenaries have been hired to defend India. But that can hardly be true because mercenaries are highly paid, for example, in Afghanistan mercenaries working for the west easily earn equivalent of Rs 5-6 lakhs per month.
Besides, mercenaries are hardly subject to regulations of the military and can indulge in all types of what can mildly be described as individually self-satisfying activities; best not elaborated here. Post the Uri attack, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has vaguely said that “mistakes have been made” which can be interpreted any which way.
Parrikar would have be in a better position to assess the situation if he had sent his Defence Secretary and other bureaucrats to sleep a few nights on posts along the Line of Control (including Uri) and the Line of Actual Control. But then he is no George Fernandes who sent Ministry of Defence bureaucrats to the Siachen Base Camp. And he also realizes that the mafia fixed George in the ‘Coffingate’scam which was proved false just recently, years after his passing away.
From the military that defends India, an army Colonel (Preetpal Singh Grewal) recently petitioned the Punjab & Haryana High Court pointing out amongst other things: one, while Government constituted Anomalies Committees to look into the 7th Central Pay Commission recommendations,these committees are granting hearings to civil employees, their associations and the civil establishment and not to defence personnel or even the defence services or establishment which ironically constitute the highest number of employees and pensioners;
2. no information at all was given to defence services about the institution of the committee – military became aware of them through media reports;
3. the Committee had held several meetings with civil employees;
4. four, since there is a bar on military employees forming associations, the system should be more sensitive in hearing views of defence personnel;
5. five, not granting any opportunity to hear or interact with official defence establishment is against the principles of natural justice as ruled by Constitutional Courts, and;
6..six, even the Standing Committee on Welfare of Ex-servicemen which was ordered to hold meetings every three months by none less than the Defence Minister has not even held a single meeting thereby undermining political authority by lower officials.
So the said Court has issued notice to the Central Government and has also directed that in the meantime the Anomaly Committee shall take into account the views on anomalies affecting defence personnel.
Should the above not be a matter of shame for the government that the military is being treated in this manner? Why should a military officer have to knock on the doors of the judiciary for what should be the fair function of the government unless there is a diabolical design to do down the military.
If there really is a case of revenge against the military by someone who suffered a scintillating electoral defeat against a veteran military opponent, as is being profusely discussed on social media, such a convoluted feeling of revenge certainly shouldn’t be applied against the entire military.
The Defence Minister appears to be in the same position as his predecessor A.K.Antony who had famously quipped, “My hands are tied”.
Who ties the hands of the Defence Minister of India? Isn’t that the reason despite scores and scores of petitions against the department of ex-servicemen (DESW) it continues to be manned by cynic bureaucrats who take sadistic pleasure in denying dues to military widows and even war wounded and disabled, forcing them into prolonged litigation they can ill-afford.
The Defence Minister has simply turned a deaf ear to the demand for military representation in the DESW. Similarly, he has not made any move whatsoever to induct military professionals into the MoD other than the charade of posting a former CISC as the advisor while the Defence Secretary runs riot with his power without accountability over the military; charged with defence of India (not the Defence Minister) under Government of India’s Allocation of Rules (AOB) and Transaction of Business (TOB), 1961.
Recently, a lady has been asking on the internet why the military is so worked up despite the One Rank One Pension (OROP) sanctioned after decades. She is probably unaware that only part OROP has been sanctioned by design (someone’s revenge, jealousy, cynicism, whatever) and the one-man Reddy Commission continues performing its circus in 19 cities (on government expense – defence?) with recruited scribes describing him “military friendly.” This despite the fact that the definition of OROP is not even a term of reference of his commission and his opening narrative at various places is that the ‘government doesn’t have much money”.
Not to talk of first time when peacefully protesting veterans were lathi charged – an incident watched by serving soldiers in horror. And what about the 7th Central Pay Commission that lowers the military below all civil services, be it the IAS, civil defence officials, the central armed police forces, police etc?
And then the Defence Minister tells the Service Chiefs to implement the grossly lopsided 7th CPC immediately with the customary political lie that anomalies will be looked into – can he meet his eye in the mirror after doing nothing to address anomalies of earlier CPCs? Of course his ‘hands are tied’. But if you think the above mentioned court order by the Punjab & Haryana High Court will make any difference, you got to think twice.
In 2010, Smt Pushpavanti (widow of a military man) approached the Supreme Court (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 291 of 2010) praying for better pension than the pittance she was being paid. The MoD fielded the then Attorney General of India and then Solicitor General of India to defend itself. After a stinging rebuke, the SC Bench gave temporary relief also constituting an Armed Forces Grievance Redress Commission, plus orders to take instructions from the government for setting up a separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces. It was a fleeting hope because the SC recalled its order shortly thereafter.
All this while the J&K State administration has collapsed in the Valley and the police run away with the Army tasked to re-establish the rule of law; the administration sitting cozily surrounded by heavy security – does it remind you of the brigade attack in Aizwal many decades back where even air had to be used? Meanwhile the tango of avenging the Uri attack continues amidst clapping under hallucinations of the US declaring Pakistan a terrorist state, while we haven’t shown adequate guts to declare Pakistan as such ourselves.
There is no dearth of money for all government employees including the civilian defence employees. Now don’t question why the PMO has not stepped in and how long this denigration of the military will continue? Why not ponder over ‘which country’ wants a strong India – yes the analysis may be appalling?
Presidents in the past have acknowledged that the military is the last bastion in India. So for all those not wanting a strong India, why not hollow the military from within? From where the motivation is coming for this and what are the motivators – readers can guess.
But hey don’t lose heart completely; the DRDO has just announced they are working on bringing a smile to the soldier’s face and boost his morale in conjunction with the IITs albeit the plan for this is yet to be worked out. No, they don’t know that morale is a function of command and perhaps don’t have designs to command the military. But then isn’t the military under the command of the bureaucracy – a concept unique to India?
(Lt General P.C.Katoch(retired) is a veteran of the Indian Army)
(SOURCE- VIA GP E-MAIL)