Saturday, September 27, 2008

Govt buys time, sets up panel to address pay commission irregularities

As a retired expert said on Headlines Today a short while ago, the government's decision to set up a three-member panel to resolve "all outstanding issues" over the 6th Pay Commission before Diwali seems principally an exercise to buy time. This isn't the first Committee that's been set up since the 6th Pay Commission recommendations were first made public earlier this year, so the general hoopla about a victory for the armed forces may not be warranted yet. I suppose "cautious optimism", one of those boring stock-analyst phrases, would apply in the circumstances. The panel, headed by Pranab Mukherjee does have to submit its recommendations by the end of October, and they're under instructions directly from the Congress chief.

Secondly, it is election time, let's not forget -- not the sort of time you want to push the disenchantment of over a million beings cleanly into the realm of all out mutiny. That would be disastrous, unless of course everyone universally recognises that the impact that the pay commission has had since March on the faith of the armed forces, has been one long, meticulously stretched out disaster. In one sense, the damage will remain even if the government buckles and makes a blanket acceptance of all outstanding demands. Words like discipline, honour, prestige have been abused into nothingness these last few months, the armed forces dehumanized to the extent of being portrayed as hard-hearted, vacuous, elitists who won't be happy with anything.

What the government has ensured beyond any reasonable doubt, is that the armed forces cannot function under the present bureaucratic system -- and they will not.

The three service chiefs did splendidly by making a calculated risk of defying gazzetted government orders -- at least for a bit. It made its point forcefully and without looking like an act of open, dangerous insolence. And it has also shown to the rank and file that their chiefs are no push-overs. They may have been failed infintely by the government over decades, but these three chiefs -- neither of them especially known for locking horns with the government -- have proved that fiddling with the livelihoods of their men and women is taking things too damn far.

Will Pranab Mukherjee deliver the goods, and stem this deeply troubling aloofness by the government to armed forces concerns? Maybe, maybe not. This is the one chance the government has to make things right. Like everyone in the armed forces quietly knows, there is no such thing is a second chance.

Meanwhile, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta is in Leh today on a visit to the forward areas. In his interactions with troops on our frontlines, he will be assuring them that the Chiefs of Staff Committee is mounting persistent pressure on the government to accede to its from the 6th Pay Commission.

Photo ©Copyright Shiv Aroor / Livefist / Pranab Mukherjee and Gen JJ Singh at Op Desert Strike in Pokhran in 2005

19 comments :

chandrabhan said...

Shiv,
My grandfather used to say the battle of India's soul will begin when the humiliation of defence forces will start as we are not a nation that values security and are complacent by nature.
I guess he was right, we are pushing our institutions of strategic importance to the brink. Sad but true...

Shiv Aroor said...

chandrabhan: that's true. it's a humiliation that's been on for a while now. this is just bringing it down to the proverbial dollars and cents. and that's why it's so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

If you have seen the movie "a Wednesday" Naseer as the Stupid common man remarks that " we are resilient by force not by choice". What does this government intend to convey by this damaging exercise. Are we to assume that along with Internal security now we are going to see inaction on our external security. What ever has happened so far is absolutely shocking and if this is the way our armed forces are going to be treated then we do not require ISI's or Al Qaida or terrorists to shock us. Our governemnt is good enough.

Anonymous said...

Mr Mukherjee needs to take his mandate a tad ahead and recommend a statutory provision for including a representative of the Armed Forces as one of the members of the future Pay Commissions.I am hopeful that the ex-RM will give full due to his ex-'part of ship'(navalese for 'area of responsibility'!).Ironically,for once not having a CDS has helped-all the three chiefs in unison over a human resource policy issue present a sufficiently daunting spectre to the political leadership.Lets hope sanity prevails and the genuine demands are fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

i am quite surprised none of the political parties have issued any statement on this entire issue. normally they don't leave any stone unturned in embarrassing the govt. this clearly shows that since we r not vote banks nobody is bothered about us. therefore we all have to learn a big lesson from this whole episode and plan for future. with so much of pressure being mounted by our chiefs, this time the govt/IAS may succumb but in future they will try to come back strongly. we also need to chart out our future plan of action. following comes to my mind as of now, u all may like to improvise/add: -
1. take active participation in elections and all of us should vote at the place of our postings, commanding officers should ensure
2. nobody is the bigger expert on defence matters than the senior generals/admirals/marshals. they should become advisors to govt and replace these babus in mod in a phased manner. we should fight tooth and nail for this. even the national security advisor should be a service officer.
3. we should be more assertive in putting up our demands and should not accept shabby treatment. for example, when the issue of frisking of service chiefs came up, the same was not taken up very strongly.
4. improve facilities for ourselves, like 100% accommodation should be ensured. do not accept the excuse that the sanctioned strength is less than the actual strength. these cases should be pursued actively at mod by service headquarters.
5. we need to accept that our social image has gone down because of our own behaviour in public. common man does not respect a fauji any more because some of us behave rudely in public. our behaviour should be immaculate. but that does not mean we should tolerate non sense.
6. we need to streamline our own systems and be more matured in outlook so that there is overall growth of the services. for example, it took us sixty years to amend 1450 kms wala ltc rule. 5th pay commission authorised personnel with basic pay 12500 (not sure of exact figure) to fly on official duties but we ourselves did not extend it to our majors and equivalents.
7. there should be formal/informal interaction between the various ranks in the three services. for example a motorcycle expedition from army unit to air force unit and so on. this will build tri services camaraderie.
8. we should learn to handle the media effectively in our favour.

we all should put on thinking caps and plan out future and seniors should take the responsibilty of implementing them. otherwise.... we are already facing it....

chandrabhan said...

Shiv, friends,
Frisking of Service chiefs was something that hurt me most. While these goons in khadi can easily get away without getting checked to any location with all their illgotten wealth.
Sadly Gen JJ Singh did not take any step to convey his displeasure(may be he was looking at being a governer). We have completely destroyed the fabric of whatever semblance of sanity we had.
I agree , armed forces should exercise their right to vote and CO's should make sure of that. exert pressure on the village panchayats thru retired POBOR to takr this up with the representatives.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv,
One of the comments on Navdeep's blog.Any comments?
A WORD OF CAUTION BEFORE WE GET IN CELEBRATION MOOD.
1.The committee constituted to look into the matter has the villain of SCPC drama as member.
2.The Bengali accented English of Dada will not match Harvardised convincing power of PC.
3.Our RM is too docile to take on both of them.
If this entire Exercise is just for face saving,then let them do another round of drama.If this boils down to getting into nuts and bolts then Armed Forces must insist for representation,otherwise Baboos will again play tricks and take these old men for a ride.
GIVE THIS A THOUGHT.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv,
One of the comments on Navdeep's blog.Any comments?
A WORD OF CAUTION BEFORE WE GET IN CELEBRATION MOOD.
1.The committee constituted to look into the matter has the villain of SCPC drama as member.
2.The Bengali accented English of Dada will not match Harvardised convincing power of PC.
3.Our RM is too docile to take on both of them.
If this entire Exercise is just for face saving,then let them do another round of drama.If this boils down to getting into nuts and bolts then Armed Forces must insist for representation,otherwise Baboos will again play tricks and take these old men for a ride.
GIVE THIS A THOUGHT.

Anonymous said...

AK Anthony is a weak rascal. he does not have the nerve to stand up to pc and pranab. my impression is that anthony is a clean guy, but pc and pranab are dirty bastards, corrupt to the core and fully in election mode now. they do not want to waste time worrying about the armed forces. to hell with these babus and politicians who have completely pissed on the great saying jai jawan jai kisan. i would like to appeal to all our jawans to rise up and bring down this government. let us have anarchy. after tasting impotent democracy for so long, i am sure indians are ready for some autocratic rule.

chandrabhan said...

Common Guys,
a rebellion is not what i support. we should not breach the faith of people on the last working, disciplined organ of this democracy.
There are other ways to put pressure... essentiallly ballot - thru retired ranks( which is a large number and have substantial influence in the villages they hail from). All forums - pseudo -secularists/ anglicised like NDTV/ CNN IBN types to put pressure.
Use all media newsprint to put newspaper ads appealing to people about the discrimination tht is happening. I am willing to contribute

nk said...

Shiv & others,

Nicely written. These faujis are only asking what is due to them. The babus have been progressivly downgrading these faujis in the warrent of precedence. In the original warrent when constitution was formed three chiefs were placed at position 3 now they are lower than 13. Armed forces have been accepting this shabby treatment without ever questionig the babus. When it comes to finding solution to problems natural (Tsunami, earth quake etc) or man made (riots, floods in Bihar due to inefficiency of babus), you call in army but when it comes to eating the pie then faujis are forgotten. the fight by men in fatigue is more for equivalance and less for money. money is only incidental. Its high time govt wakes up and takes corrective action before irrepairable damage is done. Mr Singh please wake up because neighbours are watching very egerly. Don't play into the hands of pakistani agents sitting in MoF.

Anonymous said...

to everyone

our motherfucker finance minister
does nothing, can't even control inflation ,these people think soldiers as slaves

he increased president's pay to more than one lakh for what

Anonymous said...

in mahabharata when pushed to corner pandavas did launch a total offensive...i do agree that rebellion is not required at this juncture but standing up for our rights is perfectly ok... i don't understand what is the logic behind not giving arrears of military service pay (msp)... it seems as if the hardships of military life will come into effect from 01 sep 08... we should also ask for overtime (is there a reason why we can't ask)... nau se paanch kee duty karenge thats it... let it be bihar floods, tsunami close up on duty at 9 and secure at 5... thats what these babus do... and we don't get paid for dying... why should we die... but then there is something wrong with our training (pun intended)... we are taught "service before self", "death before dishonour" and blah blah...hum baaz nahi aayenge...

Anonymous said...

After reading the comments posted by a number of well meaning individuals, I conclude that the essence of the problem is the 'babus' not understanding the role of the 'Armed Forces' in the larger scheme of things. India is at the doorstep of greatness. Our economy is doing well and our economic might is being recognised by the world. At this juncture it is very important for the powers that be in our country to realise that as the country grows in stature in the world U need a strong and efficient military to back ur political decision and diplomatic efforts. We have to go forward as a country : the politicians, the babus, the people and the Armed Forces. The 'babus' or IAS have every right to feel good about themselves as I equate them to the Managers of the country and they must be given due credit. Everyone knows how difficult it is to get into IAS (much much more than the Armed Forces: infact very few joining the forces), and once in they do have a feeling that life is made!However, they should not think that rest of the country is their feifdom. Their attitude towards their customers i.e. the people of India must be changed. Their perception of the Armed forces as the Sentry at the gate must also change. maybe this can be achieved if the IAS lot spend two weeks at the borders during their initial training. The forces must ensure they get a taste of the 'real' stuff and not chai, samosa and rum! Hope the news channels/net can take up a public debate on this subject of national security and what needs to be done to improve the attractiveness of the Armed forces to today's youth. the netizens of India may please rise to the occassion to start this debate/movement... A serving naval officer

chandrabhan said...

Shiv & Friends,
I for one am not downgrading anyone's achievement but as my friend just posted that babus shd be rewarded like managers. I have been both, currently I am a manager. To be rewarded your past performance record is checked - On that front 95% of Babus will flunk( in case u are not aware Mumbai chief commissioner - Johny Josef rated his babus and only one of them scored more that4.5. It means all of them failed. What is current situation of relief delivery system, welfare system, transportation system, medical system, education system and so many others.
Please send these babus to compulsory 3 months deputation to border and see if they survive. In case people are not aware then let me tell you, any babu can go on a leave for as long as he wants and come back at the ranks equivalent to the number of years he has been in service. After rot learning some stupid and inane subjects that have no relation to administration/managing these guys have screwed up. We must cut bureaucracy by 40% in next one year to start with. So many of my frnds quit this nonsense as they did not want to lick their political masters. babus and politicians - this nexus must be broken. whole bueauracracy is compromised

Anonymous said...

Another comparative study of 'perks and privileges' has revealed that our so called Armed Forces are the only government servants who are not authorized a "Paternity Leave". This is very amazing because a 'babu' who keeps his family with him in the echelons of power during his entire career gets additional Paternity Leave to take care of his pregnant wife while the soldiers, some of whom may hardly be able to meet their wife during her entire pregnancy period due to their harsh postings, are yet again discriminated against.


How far will the nation push its soldiers to the corner before he retaliates???

manju said...

Dear Shiv and others.

pretty nice and juicy ones to be read here. well done shiv, u r known for this. ideally u shud join the India TV or Aaj Tak (I heard about ur controversial letter by the Naval Chief on Headlines Today, and the earlier fiasco of Army chief undermining the Govt in USI Lecture). for once avoid talking about something u do not know.

I think Gen GD Bakshi (on Zee News) and Admiral Sushil on NDTV summed up the issues involved. while u from your myopic vision can only see money, they saw a broader canvas that is the pride, status and procedures. there is nothing dangerous (again u can only think as i said earlier Aaj Tak or India TV) in this whole thing. it is important to understand the issue in a matured manner without any assumptions(u r not dealing with the security guard of ur society). the only danger i can think of from the fallout is that less & less ppl will be willing to join the forces and the existing ones will leave more faster. rest out armed forces are quite matured and considerably more educated when it comes to seeing the issues in broader perspective.

an advice for u specifically and the others writing about the forces in general. remember these are not armed forces of J&K or North East, but yours too. so when u write about it do not look at personal glory from degrading an organisation which is truly your last frontier.

If u have read the famous book "Da Vinci Code" try to understand why the hero even after finding concrete proof that the successor of christ was a female did not disclose it to the world. it would break the faith of the world.
apply the same principle to reporting about the Armed Forces.

the entire issue is of marginalisation of the Armed forces by the bureaucracy not money. some ppl argue it is govt policy. i would ask all of them to read "Yes Minister" which is played in each ministry every day. army has started questioning the actions of these bureaucrats which leads to the armed forces getting deployed for minor issues and cleaning up the mess. army fighting in J&K is fighting with hands tied behing their back. they are accountable for things that take place there but do not have the powers to correct them. crores of funds are being spent in J&K where is this amount going?? so while army is doing its task commendably it is asked to continue doing it (the bureaucracy says, u do ur job, and don't bother about ours). so an insurgency which could have been nipped in the bud continued for over 20 years claiming thousands of soldiers for the fault of the bureaucracy.

the main issue is this, either make the army decision maker in affairs where it is involved, or let it give feedback and seek decision directly from the decision maker, why have layers in between in the form of babus.
imagine the chaos for increasing the pays of armed forces or increasing the posts in the higher ranks, but when it came to increasing the posts for IPS or IAS (recently 48 additional posts were created) it was done without any problems.

also when it came to sideways placement, why did the govt stop only at the para military forces why not police or other administrative services. well these are their personal fiefdom and induction of soldiers in these services will disturb their equation and limit their freedom for obfuscation in case of problems.

Anonymous said...

A take over of the country by the Army is the only choice. At least the flood affected people of Bihar are all for it. Actually it is surprising how deep and pervasive this opinion is among the rural areas

FUTURE NSA said...

Dear Shiv, Manju and friends.

I agree with manju quite a bit.most serious crisis is going to be a shortfall as armed forces would not remain a lucrative career.

emotionally speaking of armed forces taking over the coutry is an extrimist idea opposed to growth.well there will be reduction in corruption and few departments would function well especially to do with security issues.but what about other aspects.economic growth? are there amartya sens in the army? well you could hire or appoint advisors? but what guarentee you would succeed? similarly in other fields as well.

the only point of apathy is nobody undersatnds the intangibles of the army.the senior officers some how not to show themselves as weeklinks have not been projecting problems in the right manner.(leave aside the fact of personal vested interests)

thirdly see the strategist's perspective!!! chanakya said the best way to win a war is without fighting it... so ... diplomacy? foreign policy? they all are working well...and to keep others deterred they have fluffy muscles of rambo(nuclear capability/potent armed forces) to show... only if they knew the exact power of the muscles...adversaries too know this... but they see its the fight of economies not by killing few thousand people or capturing few hundred square miles...

you have 100 billion dollars you can raise 20 squadrons of airfoce tomorrow... so what i am trying to say is its all about money ...govt and bureucrats have understood it and so is their indifferent attitude.even if we were to win/loose a war there would be a cease fire due to international pressure.

but the fact remains- one still needs to have an effective ,professional armed forces who have to perform routine duties and guard boarders and look after security issues.the point has to be driven to the head of the govt is that a weak but rich guy is vulnerable like kuwait vs iraq. strength of armed forces is not in high technology but its men.more than the weapon its his motivation which will bring laurels... who can do that.. i think the ministers are not well informed on these psychological issues... SHIV i think you can do it as people have started to look at you like hot potato who has been bringing controversies on... good job... my compliments... well get it edited some times as certain times its just one side of the story.. god speed