Monday, August 23, 2010

Be fair to Defence Forces

My dear Brigadier Kamboj,
I am attaching herewith a letter published by Mail Today in today's paper (22 Aug 2010, Page 32). Click in the following link to see the paper.The unpublished part of the letter cab be seen in the next page.
Brigadier V Mahalingam.

THE CHAIRMAN of the empowered group of ministers, S Jaipal Reddy, has written a letter to the defence ministry seeking waiver of Rs 11 crore due to them for the services rendered in connection with the Commonwealth Games. The army has been singled out for providing free services while crores of rupees are being spent and a large part of it allegedly squandered.
Why doesn’t the government seek similar free service from other government employees or those of the public sector undertakings? To say the least, the army’s discipline is being exploited by the political class and the bureaucracy.
The defence services are called out, be it for floods, earthquakes, elections in troubled areas such as J& K, or any other crisis including the self- created ones such as the Commonwealth Games. The government, on the other hand, is on a one- way street refusing to listen to their legitimate grievances.
This frustrates these very soldiers and the military veterans who are made to run around and approach the courts to provide them justice. Even after the highest court of the land had ordered the government to clear the rank pay dues, an anomaly created at the time of fourth pay commission, that is over two decades ago, the government has decided to go back to the Supreme Court to deny them their dues. Incidentally, the rank pay had been arbitrarily denied so as to keep their pay below that of equivalent bureaucrats.
A large number of officers and their widows who are entitled for these dues have died. The Government is perhaps waiting for the rest also to pass away before agreeing to pay their dues. The One Rank One Pension demand of the veterans backed by various parliamentary committees and very senior leaders has remained a non starter.
Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retd)
Zamindars of the bygone era gave a few measures of paddy to their workers and extracted all types of services from him or her. The zamingari system has ended but it appears that the Zamindar mentality of our politicians and bureaucracy is still fresh in their minds. Otherwise how else can one explain their demand for free services? It is time that the Job description, job content and the number of hours of working per week in respect of the soldiers are clearly enunciated and they paid additional remuneration for additional work they are forced to do beyond their legitimate duty as in the case of overtime being paid to other Government employees.

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