Monday, August 30, 2010

IESM: Bolster strategies for Pension Parity

Dear All,
Sitting 7 seas away from homeland, I have been reading with great enthusiasm all the e-mails circulated through RMS blog as also watching the news about IESM Rally on the Times-Now TV Channel here besides reading news in The Tribune & HT e-papers. Somehow I missed the the Discussion on DD ( Not Available here ) and Times Now and thus do not know much about the various views articulated by Members taking part in the discussion, except the ones mentioned in the various e-mails circulated through blog. Though I am not well familiar with the ground realities, it is a great morale boosting news that our senior most Veteran, Marshal of The Air Arjun Singh has emphatically supported our cause, the Leader of Opposition has once again raised the issue of OROP in the Rajya Sabha and that Brig Singh Deo has assured that he will look into the insidious facts being spread by Capt Dawar & Co. It is also heartening to see & read the change in the perception of ESM, Media ad the General Public about our cause. Also it is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that our Rally was an astounding success, in spite of various handicaps like logistics problems of assembling ESM from far off places, financial constraints, lack of empathy shown by some of our estranged brethren of some splinter ESM Orgs ( who only believe in self aggrandizement ) et al. It was undoubtedly a laudable show by IESM. Needless to stress that the entire credit goes to meticulously organised & managed arrangements and the untiring efforts put in by our Core Group for organising it, especially by Gens Kadyan & Satbir and unstinted support rendered by other members of the team, notwithstanding the various ibid handicaps. Even the media did its bit this time, specifically Times-Now. All said and done, so far so good.

In retrospect, now let us bare our hearts and take a candid stock of events leading to the present state of consternation, as is obvious from indignation shown in some of the e-mails by our ESM and consider where we stand. The statement of RM in the Parliament in unequivocal /unambiguous terms that “OROP is not under consideration “ in his reply to a question in the Parliament recently, goes to show that all our efforts so far have not been able to bend the mentality of the unrepentant UPA Govt, in spite of oblique assurances by Smt Sonia Gandhi at her Rally in Chandigarh, by the President in her address to the opening joint session of the Parliament, by the PM in his address to the nation on Independence day from the ramparts of Red Fort and others. Obviously, all that was a sham. Intransigence appears to be writ large on the faces of our Netas in the Govt. Govt appears to be in a state of insomnia and our entreaties have borne negligible fruit amounting to naught. Barring half hearted limited benefits bestowed upon the JCOs (am I right?), NCOs and OR in the revised emoluments structure doled out after lot of pressure by the Chiefs and the ESM Orgs, the Govt has been adamant NOT to accept the plea for grant of OROP. So, it looks that our ostrich like mentality of sticking to our present concept of our peaceful and covert strategy has not shown tangible results, as we anticipated in the beginning. However, it will be wrong on my part to state the strategy adopted by our Core Group (i.e. Peaceful Gentlemanly sit- in Rallies, Return of Medals, writing to the President, PM & RM etc ) has been a failure. We have certainly and undoubtedly gone miles ahead in our movement and achieved some meaningful results. The mere fact that The Hon’ble President (our Supreme Cdr) was compelled to included OROP demand in her address to the Parliament, the partial improvement in the pensions of JCOs, NCOs & OR and the fact that some of the Senior Political Leaders hob-nobbling with us during the run up to last general election and highlighting our demand in various fora besides the bonhomie and awakening our Movement has created amongst ESM of all hues, is in itself a much vaunted achievement, though much less than what we had expected. But how long can we go on like this? But as it looks, I do not visualise OROP coming through in our life's time and is likely to remain indefinitely elusive like the Yeti, if we continue to adopt the present strategy.

So at the end of the day, as I feel, that we find ourselves in a predicament as regards our strategy to achieve our aim of OROP. Even repeated recommendations by “All Party Parliament Committees on Defence” and rebuke by the Supreme Court, High Courts and now by the AFTs have had no effect on the Govt as regards OROP demand and the judgements pronounced so far. For our morbid Govt it appears to have become an enigmatic issue. Also as we all know the bureaucracy is a big impediment to our cause and more or less a thorn in the welfare of ESM and hence of zilch help to us. My personal view, as I expressed in some of my e-mails in yrs 2008-09, has always been that in our country the culture of peaceful non-violent agitation does not bear fruit. Take for example the case of reservation of jobs for SCs/STs/OBCs etc, it was only when “ Mandal “ happened the successive Govts relented, started giving it a thought and became pro-active ( of course, the political parties had their own axe to grind in that also, since they wanted take advantage of vote bank by granting reservation concession to these categories ). Similarly Col Bainsla’s aggressive Movement in Rajasthan ….., Farmers aggressive Movement in UP et al could only bring in the desired results. My intention of mentioning all this is not to adopt the theory propounded by Bolsheviks & Mao but to emphasize that we have to re-consider our strategy if we wish our demand for OROP to succeed sooner. I am of the firm view that “Jab Tak Bacha Rota Nahin, Maa Usey Doodh Nahin Deti“, meaning till we literally create a kind of ruckus, the Govt is not likely to pay much heed to our demand of OROP and concede easily to benefits pronounced in Courts/ AFT judgements. The Govts at the Centre (NDA, UPA as also earlier ones) did not show humane approach to our pain and with the current lot of powers that be, our strategy which has not caused any significant dent in their mentality, ipso facto amounts to hitting our head against stone wall. Thus, we have to consider modifying our strategy to a proactive, a bit aggressive and overt agitation. By aggressive agitation, I certainly do not mean that our agitation should be rowdy or violent or use foul language in slogans or resort to vandalism or resort to undignified coercive means or our stalwarts should deliver inflammatory and provocative speeches and so on, as done by the political parties and their leaders & farmers agitations etc. We could surely design suitable placards and rig up decent but pricking slogans e.g. “Jai Jawan, Jai Hindustan“, “Ham Ne Apni Jawani Ki Desh Ke Liye Qurbaan, Ab Aap Hamara Karo Dhiyan“, etc.

I do appreciate that it is going to be long drawn and arduous Battle (or is it War?). Let us review our strategy and work out suitable aggressive and proactive methodology for future course of agitation. Few of my humble suggestions are as under:
  • As suggested in an earlier e-mail of mine that if all ESM orgs at Village, Block, Taluka, Tehsil , Distt Level and State level, keep a constant (and repeated) pressure on their respective elected MLAs & MPs both orally and in writing regarding OROP and other welfare measures like family pensions disparities, ECH Clinics & CSD outlets demands etc and keep on prodding them to take up these with the respective CMs, it will go a long way in achieving our goals. To help these orgs, IESM HQ may give them a suitable basic draft (both in English & Hindi or other local languages) giving glaring anomalies/ essential facts & figures (since some of them may not be aware of the exact details and may quote incorrect facts & figures), which they should include in their memorandum and present the same to these MLAs & MPs whenever they (ESM) meet them (ie MLAs/ MPs). If this has been done already, fine; but if it has not been done, it should be done now onwards. It is also suggested that whenever, they present such a memorandum, they should endorse a copy to IESM HQ. They should insist upon their MLAs /MPs to take up their representations with their respective CMs. They should also be advised to follow through their memorandum because most often, these MLAs/ MPs just consign such Memoranda to their trash baskets soon after receiving these. A follow up by these orgs and a feed back to IESM HQ, will go a long way in upward movement of out battle through state CMs to the Central Govt.
  • Unlike the last Rally, future Rallies should be held during fair weather ( neither rainy nor too hot or too cold) so as not to cause inconvenience either to outsiders ESMs attending the Rally at Delhi or to the organisers.
  • To me it looks inconceivable to arrange a massive gathering (say of about a Lakhs or above) at Delhi, obviously due not only to financial constraints but also due to logistics. One suggested way out is to gather as many ESM as possible at Delhi (the target could be in the range of at least above 10,000, inclusive of ladies) and hold simultaneous Rallies at respective State Capitals. The ESM Cells at the State Capitals could also take Delegations to the respective CMs and present Memorandum of OROP and other demand and later on follow through, keeping in mind that these Memoranda should be in conformity with the ones being preseted at Delhi by the Core Group. Depositing of Medals may, however, continue to be done centrally at Delhi.
  • We could highlight at future Rallies that the contention of Govt that it is not financially possible to grant OROP due to paucity of funds is incorrect. If the Govt can waive off Farmers' Loans to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores or more and enhance salaries and perks of MPs by more that 300%, there is no reason why OROP, which is likely to burden the country by comparatively a fraction of the aforesaid amount, cannot be granted.

    Apparently I have made my comments a bit lengthy. So, it is desirable that I stop here.I have penned these as they came to mind and have tried to express my feelings which may appear a bit disjointed at times and some of which may not be palatable to of some of our stalwarts. Also I might appear a bit pessimistic in my views, though I personally feel I am not. If felt so, kindly pardon me.
    With warm regards & best wishes for success of our Movement. God be with all of us. Amen!
    Bhupal Singh, Veteran
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