Monday, April 12, 2010

Governance or a fake democracy?

I sent the enclosed letter to the Home Minister on 8 Apr 10 by fax and by courier. It has taken a different tack from what Gen NS malik has taken but, ultimately the question of leadership, governance and movement of ex service men into PMF are issues that the government must take immediate action on. I am not sending it to a paper as it will not see light of the day.
Lt Gen SK Bhari (Retd)
1st JSW Course, Former MGO

It was a long time ago, possibly 20 years, that I last wrote a letter to you. You were MOS in the same ministry and I was MGO in Army HQ. It was as a consequence of a meeting you had called in MOD, to discuss the supply of small arms to the police forces which were in their 3rd/4th qtr of life! I had explained to you that life of only artillery and tank guns is measured in quarters of life and small arms are only checked if the prescribed gauges pass through them or not.

This time I am writing about a much more serious matter. You being one of the few “proactive ministers” who has brought about substantive changes in whatever charges have been given to you, I am taking the liberty of writing on a matter which concerns us all.

The trigger for this letter has been the recent statement to the press by the Home Secretary, wherein he stated that a number of ex servicemen (ESM) are helping train the Maoists. The country is facing a very serious challenge from these destructive elements and the fact that a segment (ESM) whose loyalty to the nation is seldom questioned, is helping a rebellious force needs to be viewed with great concern. I remember in the early`60s a retired JCO, Nb Sub Pan Singh, had played havoc in the Chambal ravine area as he had created his own gang of dacoits. The reason for his going that way was that he had been deprived of a piece of his land by some powerful landlord and despite his pleas to the persons responsible for governance, nobody helped him. I am sure these alleged ESM must also be nursing a similar grouse.

Mr Minister, GOVERNANCE in the country has become the biggest casualty in the last 40 years or so. Unless some serious and concerted effort is made there will be many more Pan Singhs and ESM waiting to join Maoists or other anti national groups. Shouldn’t we all sit up and do something about it?

I joined the corporate sector soon after my retirement and saw things which I had been largely isolated from, in my 38 years of army service. Be it the IAS officers in the NOIDA Authority, or in the UP government, sales tax , income tax, excise, labour officers, minor judiciary or the electricity departments – everyone was on the take! If you resisted, they could bring your business to a halt and make you lose much more than what they demanded. Worse is that there was no one you could turn to. I am surprised that the corporate sector has not started their own vigilante force to get out of the clutches of a corrupt bureaucracy. Trouble is that they are a divided lot as some are able to bribe their way through and make huge profits while denying the government a large portion of its tax dues.

Unfortunately law abiding people are being dealt with a double whammy. Firstly, they are not allowed to go about their businesses without let or hindrance and secondly, law breakers are permitted to avoid paying their taxes make illegitimate profits and deny their workers a fair living wage in connivance with the guardians of the law.

What the police does or does not do is an open secret, as is evident from the daily newspapers. It is also a major contributor to misgovernance in the country and accretion to the ranks of law breakers. A simple case in point. Why is there total anarchy on our roads? The enforcers are totally bereft of any knowledge about road rules and etiquette, permit encroachments on the roads so, how can they prevent road rage which is becoming a major law & order problem and chaos on the highways.

Have you noticed that as the country is descending into lawlessness the state governments are turning more and more to ESM to train their policemen to manage their responsibilities. Is it not ironic that the same police officers who have been letting their hapless constabulary get slaughtered by the Maoists, have been resisting the induction of ESM in their ranks as they claim that they have a different `culture’. Reality is that the ESM will disturb their `give and take’ culture.

The recently launched Op GREEN HORN is in reality being run by green horns. 86 policemen being killed in two days and not a single officer killed or punished for not leading his subordinates is too much of a joke. There is speculation that eventually the Army will be called in, as per SOP. Army officers and men will get killed and the Ashok Chakras will be collected by police officers wearing a lot of brass and sitting behind huge desks. Surely some more DGP vacancies will be created and another force raised to accommodate them!

The government has to take a stand if it does not want the nation to reach the same anarchic state as some of our neighbours. Instead of constantly rewarding non-performers, for our country’s sake please use the same firm and well thought out measures against them, that you are using against the Maoists. We need a similar cleansing of this cancer in our vitals.

The 6th Pay Commission has been hijacked by the civil servants, despite their poor record in governance (except a very small minority), at the cost of the Defence Services. By denying them and the ESM their legitimate dues you are preparing grounds for swelling the ranks of other unlawful entities. The solution is in our hands we only have to take action and nip corruption at its roots and not let a minority of the government servants milk and destroy the country. I have said it in so many words to the PM but he is not inclined to listen. Possibly, because he does not want to take any stern action against his erstwhile colleagues! I am sincerely hoping that you will stop the drift before it is too late. As a concerned believer in INDIA I hope you will take prompt action to stem this rot any further.

Mr P Chidambaram
Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs
Government Of India
North Block
New Delhi 110011

File photo of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing a conference in New Delhi. PTI Photo

Puducherry, Apr 10 (PTI) Home Minister P Chidambaram said today said earmarking Rs 1,47,000 crore for India's defence budget was "absolutely necessary and inevitable" as neighbours like Pakistan did not have a friendly attitude towards the country.

"Had the neighbouring countries been stable, peaceful and were oriented in a friendly manner towards India, our allocation of such a big fund for defence in the budget would not have arisen," he said at a meeting organised by Puducherry PCC as part of the 125th year celebrations of party formation.

Referring to internal security, Chidambaram said the budget for the current fiscal is expected to be Rs 40,000 crores to address the requirements of para military forces and the police.
Hefty allocation for defence is necessary: Chidambaram

Comment: Many Politicians forget the 1962 China war! What Home Minister needs to remember is that the success of Para Military Foces depends on the Jawans on ground led by frontline Officers and not the high tech gagetry as recommended by the Secretary Home Ministry. One needs to be cautious and judicious before going on a spending spree. Morale of troops is important to that extent the PMF need to trained and looked after. Maoists are looting PMF weapons and also procuring them with impunity. Can we not plug the loop holes by curtailing their finances and monitoring the porous borders?

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