Recently an inspired news- item appeared in the Press (obviously at the instance of the IAS bureaucracy) ridiculing the Service Chiefs’ claim not to deflate the parity of the Army officials vis-a-vis the civil servants. The Army’s request is more than genuine. One fails to understand the IAS lobby’s blatant partisanship. The late Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukerjee, one of the best of the lot, described the IAS as an anachronism in post- 1947 Independent India and recommended its abolition and substitution by expert technocrats as in the rest of the world.
I am surprised at the bureaucracy’s partisan, one- sided criticism of the Army. It ignores the harsh reality like the non- family period being half of their service period. This partiality may be due to what is called in journalist jargon “ debt to repay” for some special scoop having been passed on to the paper (nothing wrong of course in a free Press — the only objection is why make the Army the whipping boy).
It is still more surprising that the Army’s case is being deflated deliberately by ignoring the shocking facts disclosed, namely that all DGPs (which are state-related posts) are placed above the Lieutenant General. By what reasoning is the demand to put the Generals in the same grade as the civilian DGP described as spurious?
More serious, Lieutenant Colonel had earlier the same pay as IAS Director (an officer between Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary). But the revised scale now gives IAS Director Rs 14,000 more and even a non-IAS Director Rs 11,000 more than Lieutenant-Colonel.
Is the Army demand to keep the parity as earlier fanciful? Will the government have a second look at the claim of the Army which has genuineness written all over? Let us not forget that in our feudal setup, hierarchy sometimes carries more weight. That is why sometimes a Deputy Secretary would carry more clout than a university professor. Will the Centre ignore the babus and give the Army its well deserved pay and rank?
Justice RAJINDAR SACHAR (Retd), New Delhi
Why this bias against the Army?
Indeed, for a soldier, it’s not money alone but izzat that counts and which spurs him to face the enemy’s bullet! Amazingly, soldiery that was always held in high esteem in India has been downgraded. This despite an acute shortage of 13,000 defence officers in the past 10 years! Ironically, no politician or bureaucrat has ever thought about this and its consequences on national security.
For the armed forces to retain their traditional values of devotion and sacrifice, the Centre should restore their dignity and rank and look after their interests properly. When confronted with a similar situation, Second World War veteran Gen Omar Bradley of the US Army aptly said: “Inferior inducements bring second-rate men. Second-rate men bring second-best security. In war, there is no prize for the runner-up.”
Brig Govind Singh Khimta (Retd)