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

Dear All,

Looks like a No holds barred article . Great..

A Sunder Rajan
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)



  1. Lt Gen PC Katoch, Sir with due respect and with the same obedience(then and now I have now for you and will have forever,because that is how you trained me),if the anomaly committee is sent to your establishment,will you allow JCOs and below to interact with them face to face leaving both of them alone and without your presence there.OR else you will speak on behalf of them.

    1. Gen Katoch, while in uniform, did not have the spine enough to do what Colonel Preetpal Singh Grewal has done now. He is now writing pages and pages of wisdom of compensate his gutlessness. As simple as that. Even now he has not picked up enough courage to state that this downgrdation of Defence started with the first Indian COAS voluntarily accepting a 30% cut in the pay of all Defence Officers.Status being a based on pay, the Indian Officer Coprs started with 30% lesser status vis a vis their civilian counter parts. And then as the Officer Corps went on degrading ORs, to the extend of debasing an infantry soldier with 3 years experience as an unskilled labourer, Babus went on gleefully paying them back in their own coin. As you sow so you reap.

  2. If they(civilians) downgrade the armed forces, let them enjoy the fruits one day.We are civilians first and then we became soldiers.Are they not matured enough?Why we should boil our blood?This is the land of Karma which will invariably remain the same

  3. Gen Katoch nice lines...but letters and write ups wont do now...its time for each one of us to stand up and count in most democratic manner in case we want our next generations in defence forces to respect us else things are going down the hills...its not a slide but mindless free fall....we all expect that Gen Katoch will bell the cat....and let me sir its not a cat ...its an elephant in disguise bulldozing every thing away with each passing moment. A life of disgrace is no life....While masses admire our forces...The Govt looks other way in complete arrogance and with unprecedented disdain and indifference. Do we belong to republic of India or have been thrust on this nation as refugees...This questions stares me in my face each day...WHATS about U all?

  4. Sometimes, when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry......Leila Sales, This Song Will Save Your Life.
    That's where you and me stand.

  5. We live, unfortunately in an ungrateful country.If the same valiant armed forces would have belonged to some other country, that lucky nation would have been proud of that and would have been seen very respectfully by the committee of nations.Where we stand ,the world knows.The systems are too corrupt and a large chunk of people are only busy stashing money abroad.A nation which respects and systematically supports black deeds and black money can never command any respect in the world and would be doomed for being kicked around by even the smallest and weakest of nations from time to time. At least, if the forces are making any wrong demands,please bring a white paper-but I seriously doubt any political party will ever do it-YAHAN HAMAM MEIN SAB NANGE HAIN.

  6. Facts and truth is stated without mincing ( eating) words.down to earth truth.Democratic Right of Liberty of thought and speech on truth when it hurts the Nation and National defence.
    I do agree a low level neta after having been defeated in democracy in democratic way is dictating and deciding ,issues and matters of national defence and related issues .
    Absolute veto power is being exercised by this Mafia of low level netas and babus with no holds bar.visible to any analyst and simple look at the way matters are being dragged and delayed by diverse methods ; where matters & issues could be resolved by direct deliberations with stake holders.All sorts of netas and babus only substituted .decisions of committees and commissions are made on data of falsehood & lies fed by Mafia of low level babus and netas. - but not the stakeholders,mily.
    Mily has to be assertive .can't be passive when visibly wrong.
    Crying ,Helplessness , begging or seeking mercy is not mily like.
    It is too much to remain passive and expect God to come to assistance.Every thing - all issues - all matters can be resolved & settled in few days by direct deliberations by top neta & mily ,duly assisted by advisers - not dictated by advisers without any accountability ( keeping brokers away ).