Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SCPC: Black Diwali for our Jawans

Translated Version of the Article published by the popular Tamil Daily Dina Malar

First time in the History of Free India, the Chiefs of all the three Defence Services have decided to reject the Recommendations of the Sixth CPC. The Defence Minister Sri AK Anthony has also expressed his concern about the Recommendations of the Sixth CPC. After 60 years of Independence, it is the first time the Armed Forces have exhibited such a reaction.

As per our Constitution, the Armed Forces are to function under the Civil Govt. As some very senior retired Officers from the Services put it, this Civil Govt means the elected representatives of the people. But, over a period of time, the IAS Officers have managed to bring the Govt under their influence & started with a systematic programme of degrading the status of the personnel of the Armed Forces. For example there are about 54,770 Officers in the three Services at present. Out of which, nearly 18,950 Officers are of the rank of Lt Cols, who are considered as the back bone of the Services, since they personally lead the troops in actions. They have been pulled down to Pay Band 3 (Rs 15,600-39,100). On the other hand, the equivalent ranked officers in the civil were pushed up to Pay Band -4 (Rs 37,400-67,000). This degradation of status is not acceptable to the Armed Forces. Similarly, the DGPs of States have been elevated to a higher status & pay than the Lt Gens.

As per the earlier orders, the PBOR were getting a pension of 70% of their pay. This has been reduced to 50%. In addition, 90% of our PBOR retire in the age group of 36-38. This is the period when their domestic liabilities are at the peak. Despite the repeated requests no action has been taken to provide them with alternative employment till they attain the age of 60 years. One Rank One Pension (OROP) has not been implemented, although it has been approved by a Parliamentary Committee in principle.

Officers of the Armed Forces feel that certain irrational & hasty decisions taken by the Govt create embarrassments. The Civil Officer killed in Kandahar in a bomb blast by the terrorists has been awarded ‘Kirthi Chakra’, the highest bravery award of the Armed Forces. In our country hundreds of Army Personnel sacrifice their lives to such attacks by the terrorists without even a mention. Similarly, a Combined Defence Headquarters has been created, but, for the past 7 years no Chief of CDS has been appointed. They feel that it is deliberately being delayed since the Defence Secretary feels that his importance may get eroded. There are so many instances like these where it may be evident that the IAS cadre is bent upon degrading the status of the Armed Forces.

The biggest grievance of the Armed Forces is that the Society & the Govt remembers them only in times of war & calamities. Otherwise they never even bother about them. They forget that the Integrity, Freedom, Development & Security of our Nation is mainly due to the discipline, secularism & selfless service rendered by the Armed Forces.

In any Welfare Committees or measures taken on behalf of ESM, there is no participation of the ESM. At the State level, the Secretary ESM Welfare is an IAS Officer. The same story is repeated in the Centre also. Even in the ESM Commission announced by the Centre recently, the representation of the ESM is marginal & dominated by the IAS & individuals from the civil walk of life.

There may be apprehension in the minds of some, as to whether this united protest by the three Chiefs is a prelude to some revolt by the Armed Forces. Our Armed Forces are beyond such thoughts, since every one of them has taken oath of allegiance to our constitution & they will fight to defend the same with their lives. The action taken by the Chiefs is only to up hold the justice due to the Armed Forces. We can be sure that our Prime Minister will definitely intervene to render justice.

By Col TN Raman (Retd)

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