Monday, August 16, 2010

Open letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister

Brig K.G.Behl (Retd)
President Dehradun Ex- Services League.
8A, Nemi Road, Dalanwala,
Dehradun- 248001.
No.KGB/DESL/A/9 dated 05 August 2010

Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir,
As India grows in the comity of Nations, there is a pride in every Indian in the achievements that our countrymen have attained in various fields. However, despite the fact that we are amongst the fastest growing economies in the World, we continue to have the highest incidence of poverty and corruption. Corruption is not only a reflection of misuse of funds but it is a misuse of power, position and arrogant personal self aggrandizement. These people in positions of power are not only eroding the institutions that make a nation but are creating Marxists/ Maoists/ terrorists etc who are getting themselves organized into big disintegrating forces who are not even scared of Defence Forces due to lot of discontentment generated there also, by these power hungry Politicians/ Bureaucrats.

Govt. Orders are not being faithfully implemented by MOD and anomalies pointed out by competent people are either being ignored or swept under the carpet. MOD needs to be reoriented and told to act as per rules and not as per their whims and fancies. Surprisingly, no one is hauled up by Ministers for not taking actions or distorting orders, though the cases are self explanatory and need no other assistance, legal or otherwise.

I am taking liberty to write this open letter to you so that you may wake up and open the eyes of those, who after committing mistakes sit down and close their eyes like pigeons and refuse to open those thinking that the impending dangers will automatically ward of, without realizing that there is no escape. Secondly, they will not allow this letter to reach you, unless it is made open, through Media and Press.

It is surprising that they have been allowed to mishandle even the Institution of Defence Forces Personnel, who today comprise the largest body of Nationalists. The MOD is consistently maltreating the Armed Forces personnel and their genuine issues relating to Pay, Pension and welfare matters have either been swept under the carpet or called sub-judice, when actually they are not so, creating a large discontentment. The issues of the status and anomalies of the various Pay Commissions, especially since the 4th Pay Commission(1986) have been dealt with in such a cavalier fashion that today there is utter despair and discontentment amongst the Armed Forces personnel. These are the guys who are prompting Defence Forces to become corrupt by adopting ways and means shown by them, to amass money in making purchases and delaying matters – as are being used by them in Defence purchases. Innocent Defence Personnel fall prey in their laid down traps and suffer. It needs to be stopped forthwith by transferring coterie of staff positioned there for years together. Surprisingly, such controversial letters they do not sign such letters themselves but fire from others shoulders.

It is happening because of absence of Armed Forces personnel at the decision making level, be it at the Pay Commissions, Govt. Defence committees or within the MOD, to pursue agenda and represent correct facts. This needs to be implemented forthwith like USA and other countries where Defence Officers are inducted in MOD and other committees/ commissions, so that their problems could be projected correctly and justice could be done to them.

As a disciplined body, Defence Personnel have represented their just grievances through petitions, Parliamentary questions, letters to the Hon’ble President of India, your esteemed office and other dignified avenues but each one of those have been snowballed by the MOD bureaucracy. There is a perception that the MOD is unwilling to accept mistakes or errors of judgment and continue to ride on the premise that an acceptance of their mistake would be a sacrilegious act of succumbing to the Armed Forces. As a result they have come up with half baked solutions that have only aggravated the trust deficit amongst the MOD and the Armed Forces personnel. It is humane to make mistakes or err but Divine to accept and remove those errors. But it appears that the MOD does not believe in this dictum and never amend their orders, even when found wrong even by the Supreme Court of India. They are prepared to spend money in forming committees, fighting cases in Courts or giving more costly half baked solutions, rather than accepting their mistake gracefully and setting the matters right.

Sir, they do not know the importance of Rank in Defence Forces, and are treating it like any other commodity which can be compensated by money. Sitting in offices and scaling everything in terms of money alone, is spoiling the whole structure of Defence Forces where the tradition is to obey orders of seniors in rank and go out and fight the enemy at the cost of their lives. This aspect they can never realize unless there is ‘conscription’ i.e. compulsorily spending some time serving in Defence Forces. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, you can seriously think of introducing it in view of growing indiscipline, lawlessness, regionalism and Naxalite/ Maoist/ terrorist activities in some parts of the country. For youth NCC be made compulsory in all schools and colleges.

The issue of the Rank Pay granted by the 4th Pay Commission in 1986, that has been upheld by the Supreme Court on 8 March 2010, a clear case of injustice, is back in the wilderness with the MOD appeal against it, just to waste time, needs to be withdrawn from court and immediately implemented. The anomalies raised in 5th and 6th CPC which are very practical, be immediately implemented. There are a number of cases where they have allowed payments to some individuals who raised those but though as per rules they are denying others the same benefits. Once a mistake has been detected it should automatically be rectified in all similar cases without asking by other affected persons. It is pity that no such action is being taken to benefit other affected persons.

The issue of a separate Pay Commission approved by your office has yet to see the light of the day. It is need of the hour today and not when the damage is done after a decade, when new Pay is set up as per routine.

Hon’ble PM Sir, the list can go on but some of the glaring omissions have been explained in the enclosed Annexure Click me. I would like to beseech you to please consider the following suggestions to set our house in order as the first small step:
  • Set up a Commission comprising of 30% serving defence personnel, 30% retired defence personnel and 30% MOD bureaucracy and the remaining 10% from other experts on Pay/ pension matters, all under the Chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge to examine and resolve all matters relating to defence personnel in a time bound manner, including One Rank One Pension issue which is not as big a financial or administrative issue as projected by the MOD. This is a classic case of bureaucratic myopia which the MOD suffers from. The details of a simple attainment and implementation of the One Rank One Pension issue is explained in the enclosed Annexure.
  • Well established rulings, viz. the 4th Pay Commission order by the Supreme Court to be implemented immediately and MOD personnel attempting delaying tactics to be either disciplined or transferred.
  • Order conscription as a compulsory need for all bureaucracy as well as personnel aspiring for political offices to bring about a semblance of nation building and pride in the nation. NCC be made compulsory for all youths.

    May I request you, the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir, to take immediate remedial steps to address the above for the good of the Nation.
    With best wishes and highest regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    (K.G.Behl ) Bsc. Engr(Svy),AMIS,FRGS,MCA,MCSI
    Brig (Retd)
    President Dehradun Ex –Services League

    Dr Manmohan Singh
    Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
    7 Race Course Road
    New Delhi 110 011

    Copy to:
    Smt. Sonia Gandhi
    President, All Indian National Congress
    and Chairperson UPA
    No.1, Safdarjung Road,
    New Delhi 110001

    Shri AK Antony
    Hon’ble Minister of Defence
    Ministry of Defence
    Room No 104, South Block
    New Delhi 110 011

    Shri Pranab Mukherji
    Hon’ble Minister of Finance
    Room No 134, North Block
    New Delhi 110 011

    Shri P.Chidambaram
    Hon’ble Minister of Home
    19, Safdarjung Road.
    New Delhi 110026

    Smt. Sushma Swaraj
    Hon’ble Leader of the Opposition
    Lok Sabha Chamber
    New Delhi 110001
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