Friday, February 25, 2011

Rank Pay and OROP - Obfuscated by Bureaucrats

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Rank Pay Maj To Brigs
Last year I had written to Mr Moily on 16 May 10, asking him as to why the govt was contesting the SC order of 8 Mar 10 when his declared policy was to reduce litigation by the govt. When he did not reply for about four weeks I wrote a letter Mrs Sonia Gandhi on 14 Jun 10 -Justice For Services, attached below- asking her why the government was shirking its obligation to pay an amount to officers who had been defrauded by it.

Today, lo and behold, I received a reply from the JS (Pension) in reference to my letter to Mrs Gandhi, scanned copy attached above. The letter makes me laugh as it is the usual bureaucratic attempt to obfuscate the issue. The same way this government is trying to mislead the country on the various scams plaguing the country.

I plan replying this letter through the RM with a copy to the JS and Mrs Gandhi. Telling them that we are not thumb sucking babes who can be fooled by babuisms. I would request you all to give me ammunition to answer this typical babu's foolishness.
Lt Gen SK Bahri PVSM (Retd)
1st JSW Course, Former MGO

Justice And The Armed Forces: A Mirage
I am writing to you about a subject which is becoming a rather touchy one both with the Government and the defence services, including the ex servicemen. The UPA II has just finished patting itself on its back for what it has done during the past 12 months. But one area where it has faltered is the redressal of grievances of serving and retired soldiers of the three defence services.

The Services have been depended upon by the Nation for guarding it against both, external aggression and internal disorder. They have acquitted themselves well each time and have earned the respect of the nation. It is one organisation, which is looked upon in horror by the Nation if a misdemeanour by one of its members, is detected. Such aberrations not only make headlines but even the Services handle them like cancer, which need to be excised promptly.

Can any other government wing be compared with the defence services? The morning newspaper seems incomplete if there is no news about a few lapses in one of the government’s arms eg., corruption, custodial killing, crores of intelligence funds meant for fighting Maoists being siphoned off by DGPs , selling land at throwaway prices to cronies, excise duty being evaded, continued rape of a subordinate’s wife, children being molested by people who are supposed to protect them and civil servants amassing wealth beyond their known sources of income. I could not believe when the press informed us that in Burail Jail in Punjab, there is a barrack only for convicted policemen!! (The only jail where a special barrack may be reserved for Indian soldiers must be in Pakistan!!) The world organisations have recently graded our civil services as the most inefficient. But we cannot do anything about it.

The above is known to the Aam Admi, whose patience is running out. We should be prepared for the worst, as he knows what he deserves. We have created a Frankenstein in the form of the Maoist menace due to totally inadequate governance and, another monster is in the making. I guess the armed forces will be drafted once again, as they are being planned to deal with Frankenstein.

But what is the morale and thinking of the soldiers? The PM will get reassuring reports from the Service Chiefs, as they cannot say otherwise. But believe me, Mrs Gandhi, there is a feeling amongst the soldiers that while they are protecting a beautiful nation, it is being eaten away internally by termites. Will they be asked to jeopardise their lives once again to remedy a self-created problem? They feel used and are resentful. The reasons are not too far to see, if one has the intention to see.

After the 8 Mar 2010 judgement of the Supreme Court in favour of Defence Officers (who had been denied the benefit of Rank Pay in the 6th Pay Commission while fixing their emoluments), to set right a patently obvious fraud perpetrated on them by the bureaucracy, the government has filed an appeal against the implementation of the judgement. I then sent the attached email on 16 May 2010 to the Law Minister, Mr Veerappa Moily telling him that the action of the Government is against his own statement that the government should not be a persistent litigant. I, as is customary in todays government offices, have not received an acknowledgement so far. So it is possibly lying in the wastepaper basket next to his table or censored by his OSD, the bureaucratic representative who acts as the self appointed filter of “bad news” from the “master”!

The soldiers, serving and retired, are a disillusioned lot. After your assurance in Amritsar, inclusion in the Congress manifesto, declaration by the President in her opening speech to Parliament, statement of the Finance Minister in the Budget speech and the proclamation by the PM from the ramparts of Red Fort, One Rank One Pension (OROP) remains a mirage. Rubbing salt in the wounds, directions of the highest court in the land are being contested, only because they are in favour of soldiers. (The bureaucracy had also appealed repeatedly against the judgement of the Supreme Court in favour of Maj Gens in 2008). Imagine a Committee of Secretaries met to consider the Judgement and within a week (a record of sorts!) decided to appeal against it, as it was financially unviable. Can a fraud detected by the Supreme Court be wished away due to its financial cost? Do you think the soldiers will swallow all this, and accept it happily? If your advisors say so then they are the same who have landed our Country in this sorry state of affairs, be it in the North East or in the 400 odd districts, with many more on the verge of joining them, affected by Maoism. They are the ones who are putting the fear in the politicians that the Defence Forces will take over the country if they are not kept under their thumb. A disastrous presumption.

For the country’s sake, please do not push the soldiers over the precipice and make them behave like our huge police force, which wants a bribe for registering a FIR or a bureaucrat who does the same for putting his signatures on a piece of paper. Mrs Gandhi please look after the soldier, he is ironically defenceless in his own country.

Mrs Sonia Gandhi
Chairperson UPA
10 Janpath
New Delhi 110001

Sordid affairs- Bureaucrats Rule the Roost
Very simply, we are reaching a point of no return," says a critic. "It is up to the political leadership to decide if India is to be a just society or force its citizens to be party to crime."

Lack of accountability and patronage of corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen have made the Indian bureaucracy a law unto itself. History says the Indian bureaucracy owes its origin to the colonial period when the British rule did not trust its Indian subjects and made rules for each eventuality. To create and administer such a regulatory regime, they created an all-pervasive bureaucracy that has survived even to today in all of its forms.

Transparency International, a global watchdog body, ranked India at a lowest rung out of the 102 countries in its Corruption Perception Index, while the World Economic Forum ranked India top among 49 countries surveyed. One recent study by the Center for Media Studies, New Delhi, on corruption in urban services reveals that "Over half of those who avail the services of the most frequently-visited public departments of government in the country have had first hand experience of greasing palms at least once". It is this pervasiveness that has forced many to charge that bureaucrats have "created such a steel frame around them that even the might of the state can't dismantle it".

It isn't that the Indian civil service has assumed new powers. Rather, post-liberalization government officers have realized that their decisions can make others rich. Their logic: If greedy Indian businessmen can evade taxes, influence policies and make money through devious means, why should not the government officer who moves their files get a share of the booty?

It didn't come as much of a surprise therefore, when a recent secret survey conducted by a government agency found that over 200 very senior secretary-level government officials have joined, either as full-time executives or as board members, companies with whom they had done official business in the last 10 years. ISRO heads the sample...

Can Dr Manmohan Singh dismantle the Citadel of Corruption perpetuated by Government Officials or remain a silent spectator- will the task of eliminating corruption remain a distant dream?
Govt will do everything to clean public life: PM

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