Sunday, November 16, 2008

LiveFist Column: Preamble, Gamble, Scramble

Sharad Y Savur (Retd)
Former AOC-in-C

Let’s start with the Preamble. Many of us have perused the following and most of the Armed Forces (serving, retired, wise, foolish, knowledgeable and ignorant) have got it engraved in their hearts and minds after the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) made a mockery of a Govt constituted 6th Central Pay Commission and a fool of the GoI. The website reads that “Government constituted the Sixth Central Pay Commission vide Resolution No. 5/2/2006-E.III (A) dated October 5, 2006”. Its Terms of Reference were:

A. To examine the principles, the date of effect thereof that should govern the structure of pay, allowances and other facilities/benefits whether in cash or in kind to the following categories of employees -- Central Government employees -– industrial and non-industrial; Personnel belonging to the All India Services; Personnel belonging to the Defence Forces; Personnel of the Union Territories; Officers and employees of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department; and Members of the regulatory bodies (excluding the RBI) set up under Acts of Parliament.

B. To transform the Central Government Organisations into modern, professional and citizen-friendly entities that is dedicated to the service of the people.

C. To work out a comprehensive pay package for the categories of Central Government employees mentioned at (A) above that is suitably linked to promoting efficiency, productivity and economy through rationalization of structures, organizations, systems and processes within the Government, with a view to leveraging economy, accountability, responsibility, transparency, assimilation of technology and discipline.

D. To harmonize the functioning of the Central Government Organisations with the demands of the emerging global economic scenario. This would also take in account, among other relevant factors, the totality of benefits available to the employees, need of rationalization and simplification, thereof, the prevailing pay structure and retirement benefits available under the Central Public Sector Undertakings, the economic conditions in the country, the need to observe fiscal prudence in the management of the economy, the resources of the Central Government and the demands thereon on account of economic and social development, defence, national security and the global economic scenario, and the impact upon the finances of the States if the recommendations are adopted by the States.

E. To examine the principles which should govern the structure of pension, death-cum-retirement gratuity, family pension and other terminal or recurring benefits having financial implications to the present and former Central Government employees appointed before January 1, 2004.

F. To make recommendations with respect to the general principles,financial parameters and conditions which should govern payment of bonus and the desirability and feasibility of introducing Productivity Linked Incentive Scheme in place of the existing ad hoc bonus scheme in various Departments and to recommend specific formulae for determining the productivity index and other related parameters.

G. To examine desirability and the need to sanction any interim relief till the time the recommendations of the Commission are made and accepted by the Government.

An Additional Terms of Reference through a subsequent Resolution No.5/2/2006-E.III.(A) dated 8th August, 2007, the terms of reference were to include the officers and employees of the Supreme Court.

Came March 2008 and the SCPC (or 6th CPC) published its recommendations. Two things happened – the 6th CPC wound up and its Secretary became the Secretary in the Min of Finance. Presumably, the Gamble.

It was known that the recommendations of the 6th CPC would be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for processing. Again two things happened – the Cab Secy, a busy man even otherwise, delegated the work to a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) and the Govt got busy ensuring its own longevity by seeking to push through the Indo-US nuclear deal, making political deals of its own. Presumably, the omnipresent Secretary in the avatar of the Secretary, Expenditure sensed her opportunity. The scene - she already knows what is in the 600 odd pages report of the 6th CPC. So, the CoS entrusts the entire work to her.

Presumably, she knew that most Secretaries have enough in their hands (no pun) and on their minds than to peruse those pages. She also must have presumed that as long as P4 ( power, pelf, prestige and position) of the IAS was enhanced, there would be no questions asked and all signatures would be appended on the dotted lines.

Presumably, the gamble is that those slighted/downgraded would either be too busy fighting the insurgents or the terrorists (on behalf of the Central Police Organisations (CPOs) or undoing the negligence of the IAS in that cutely worded expression ‘aid to civil power’ (please note the terms coined by the IAS).

Presumably but unfortunately, the CoS, even the Secretary Expenditure, forgot something important. It was only in the days of the British Raj that Commissions in the Armed Forces were sold to those who could pay or bestowed on those whom the British favoured. It was not some professional organization – trained, responsible and accountable. CoS also forgot that the soldiers, sailors and airmen today are signifiethercantly better educated than they were 50 years ago. CoS also forgot, presumably in their blinkered pursuit of power at any cost, that the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force always cooperate with each other in times of war. And this was war – of principles, for fairplay, for justice.

The gamble back-fired. Now, the Scramble.

The Govt won its battle in Parliament and the PM needed to blow his trumpet. Someone might have told him that showing the victory sign to TV cameras outside Parliament House was not adequate (“Sir, more than half of India cannot and does not own a TV set”). So from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Dr Manmohan Singh announced, amongst other things, that the recommendations of the Pay Commission have been approved by the Govt.

Maybe his PS was not aware of the facts. Semantics or grammatical or factual error that remains uncorrected till date is that the Govt approved the recommendations of the CoS. Technically, the recommendations of the 6th CPC were not accepted because many were overturned by the CoS. Many out there in the ether world must be muttering to themselves – we knew that this guy was an idiot, now does he have to prove it? But today’s mountain waves in the cybersphere (that’s not Bushism) prove me right!

If the Govt wanted the amendments recommended by the CoS to be incorporated then it should have re-convened the 6th CPC and asked it to re-examine and amend the recommendations. But the 6th CPC was wound up. So the nation has something but it is a hybrid – some recommendations of the 6th CPC and the rest changes made by the CoS to benefit themselves at the cost of everyone else – IPS, CPOs, IDAS, MES, AFHQS et al.

Which brings me to two questions – how can the recommendations of a legally constituted and gazetted 6th CPC be overturned or amended by the CoS? Can you imagine the Supreme Court’s judgment being amended by prison authorities?

The Armed Forces protested, but they did not stage a coup. That had been already done by the IAS led bureaucracy when a Cabinet Secretary, a super-bureaucrat, was set up in the 1970s, (but that and other things in another blog post).

Some learned and erudite gentleman, made editorial observations that appeared to draw inspiration from these rumours. He used the example of setting up war memorials as his respect for the Armed Forces. How ironical that a living issue was compared to dead heroes! How much is being done for war widows, their children, even disabled veterans could have been a better example and even my cynical heart would have missed a beat.

In their true role as the guardians of the Sovereignty of India’s borders, seas and skies, the Armed Forces paid yet another tribute to the Father of the Nation (the supreme apostle of non-violence, non-cooperation and protestor on behalf of the oppressed) who lost his life for the Nation. The Chiefs of the Armed Forces (embodiment of violence?) took lessons from Mahatma Gandhi.

The Armed Forces Chiefs followed the chain of command and communications in expressing their opinions substantiated with proof backed by lucid and logical arguments. They informed the Raksha Mantri. He took up their case.

To believe that RM was either incompetent (as that editor made it out to be) or ignorant is to write the ridiculous. AK Antony is trusted enough to discipline errant Congressmen and women. So would he, as RM, have acquiesced to what the Chiefs were doing if they were wrong?

Temporarily blinded by their “brilliance” and bereft of that invincibility in the glare of TV cameras, the bureaucracy now scrambles to save itself in the way it knows how. It spreads rumours or inspired leaks that the Chiefs had disobeyed the Govt.

How and what did the Chiefs disobey? MoD had not released orders for implementing the recommendations of the CoS and not even the recommendations of the 6th CPC. So what were the Chiefs disobeying? Have they not read that there are sections in the Armed Forces Acts that one can represent against illegal orders? Did the IAS expect the Armed Forces to believe that the CoS recommendations are those of the 6th CPC?

Are the Central Police Organizations (CPOs) really casting their lines and fishing in troubled waters? Or is that another Nathism? The Armed Forces don’t say that the IAS got this, so give us the same. The Armed Forces say loudly, clearly “DON’T OVERTURN THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 6th CPC AND SUPPLANT IT WITH Nathism”. Jai Hind.

(Air Marshal Savur retired in 2006 as AOC-in-C, Southern Air Command. A decorated transport pilot, Air Marshal Savur has flown several VIPs, including former PMs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He now lives and works near Bangalore.)


Ajith said...

With you Sir.
Wonderful summing up of the whole issue.

Anonymous said...

After the Preamble, Gamble, and Srcamble they require the Dumbell.
The govt must sack Chandrashekhar immediately.

Joseph said...

I had commented in another blog that we Indians love to insult others and enjoy the others pain. In the scramble there has been a stampede and people have been trampled. But watch out she still stands by "over my dead body" statement. So she and her group would love to see these insults continuing.

Anonymous said...

Aage bhi jaane na tu, peeche bhi jaane na tu,

jo bhi hai bas yahi ek pal hai...

Yehi waqt hai kar le poori aarzoo

Anonymous said...

...ava unna 'mahane'-nu koopidarathu sari thaan....enna....avalukku nee mahan mathiri thaan irukke....avalum...big fatty...un amma mathiri thaan irukka....but ammavoda mahan eppadi padukkalaam and pannalaam pa?.......

Anonymous said...

Savur saar, brilliant article I would say...u perfectly put together all the points, accusations & facts together....we need more articles like this ,to bring out the reality & ensure justice to our armed forces.

Anonymous said...

Yes Sir, good one.

Anonymous said...

good one sir,clears a lot of mist regarding the the govt must step in for some action in the right direction!!

Anonymous said...


An excellent summing up of the entire episode; so neat and incisive, we are proud of you.

Sir, let this only be a precursor to many more to come.

Anonymous said...

If 'over my dead body stands',then as we have been listening to the rest of her rants and raves ,lets listen to his also and give her the pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Go-over-men ttttttttt

Anonymous said...

your shitty blog and the post deserves no comments. We would rather read the press releases where there are no stories. Are you a journalist or a PR person.

A K Antony

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful write-up. Sir, hats off to your razor sharp analysis, Now we have got the meat for the PIL, if the Nathism wins, unfortunately.

Sir, one doubt, is our political bigwigs so naive and fickle minded, an issue of this magnitude should be at the mercy of that lady; certainly there is something more than meeting the eye. Mr AROOR, please enlarge it

Anonymous said...

The Chiefs are in fools paradise - the kind LeT sods claim just before meeting their maker. Remember 'main toh jannat jaa raha hoon'
This is what the Govt listens to:

Thousands of customs officials struck work on Tuesday and took to the streets against the delay in their promotions, in what can set back government’s already difficult task to realise the revenue target. Customs and central excise officials from across the country gathered at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Tuesday, to march up to barricades raised at Parliament Street police station.

The protest comes even as income tax officials, another revenue gathering arm, have already resorted to a ‘go slow’ to insist on removal of pay anomalies and for better prospects of promotion

Here's the full article

ranjit said...

Excellent summarisation of events as they occured chronologically.
Many other good articles also appeared in the various other bolgs, but the sad part is they appear and remain on the blogs which are read and commented upon mostly by armed forces personals only. These articles should appear in the public domain. As majority of people of this country donot access these blogs, they are really not aware of the nefarious designs of these bureaucrats. General population of India favours clean and honest dealings. They hold armed forces in high esteem,and specially so if corrupt bureaucracy is playing a mischief. Believe me, normal public donot know the details and extent of the fraud. Somehow, bring all this in public domain ( i.e. national dailies, 24*7 news channels, weeklies etc ) and watch the fun. People of this country will fight for your rights without you uttering a single word thereafter. Otherwise also this is an election season and these politicians can dump anyone ( including bureaucrats through whom they are playing a cat and mouse game, specially FM, as per information, otherwise the concerned lady would have not been taking such stupid librties )to save their chairs if public opinion seems to be sleeping out of their hands.
Admirer of the armed forces.
Jai Hind.

IndianACE said...

@ all,
We must now also visit Air Mshl Savur's own blog for the most enlightning set of blogposts in these times of anonymouses


I hope we all comment with due respect to the soldier-scholar.

Anonymous said...

I am a serving officer.
I do not think its a good idea for a former C-in-C to comment on babucrap.
We should trust the present Chiefs to handle it quietly as possible. If they can't...well then take it on the chin.

Anonymous said...

Nice one!!

Truth Hurts said...

Dear anonymous serving officer,

I might not agree with what you write but would be enlightened to know where I have prevented the Chiefs from handling "it".

I am not a former C-in-C, that term faded when the British left. I am a retired air marshal who was appointed a AOC-in-C.

There is nothing to take on the chin when the other side strikes below the belt.

You have stated what you wanted and I respect you for that. I wish you had the courage to put your true name instead of hiding behind that 'anonymous'.

Jai Hind

Air Mshl (retd) Savur

Anonymous said...

@ Truth hurts

Dear Sir

Please Don't read too much in to the comments of the 'serving officer'. He seems to be a fake. Real soldier never thinks about going down before the battle is begun.

Ignore him and continue your good work, sir

sudeep said...

hats off to you sir for the update.

Anonymous said...

Air Marshal Svur Sir

Each and every officer of the Def Forces with you. Keep up the good work. You are working for saving the forces and in turn the nation. Warm Regards

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv,
Do not worry about the nasty comments of your well wishers...some of them from your own community..

Good jouralistic presentations, I can see...but not quite confirming to Inverted Pyramid....

Hmmmm....I can do some editing....Ha Ha ha...

Good job buddy.... Keep it up...

Lt Col (Retd) AM Khan the GRINDER said...

Going by the language of the fellow(anonymous serving officer)it does not appear to be a fake. So, it may not be a good idea to question his courage or intentions. To me, it seems his point of view is influenced by the high esteem he holds the former AOC-in-C (army cdr's are still sometimes referred, though wrongly, as c-in-c).

@Air Mshl Savur
Incisive write up
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Air Marshal Savur
I hope you are putting across your points to other media houses
and SERVICE HQS also
As we are hardly seeeing anything moving on ground
The crisp and in deptth analysis of yours is worthy to be known by one and all

IndianACE said...

@Serving Officer,

I see this as a comment by a self-serving officer.

Anonymous said...

Why cant this insicive article be picked up by media who are feeding us with trash day and night.

Anonymous said...

If I am not driving a point home too forcefully, Just wish to inform the serving officer that he too must express his opinions.

But don't be a servile officer.

And why ESM - why not Armed Forces Veterans?

abcd said...
Pl. read this and the Hindu article .
cabinet secretary syas"But still I think we did a pretty good job,” he said." and before that“It is very difficult when people feel that this chap has got more than me…that feeling is there. So, to maintain that kind of balance…. it is very difficult,” he said.
"The Cabinet Secretary said when the armed forces raised the issue of pay parity, the Committee of Secretaries took up it immediately and deliberated on how to find a solution to it for the satisfaction of the defence personnel.

“When the armed forces raised the issue, we sat together at the official level with Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister (P M Nair) and decided that the best thing would be to request the higher level.

“So we requested the External Affairs Minister because he was both Defence and Finance Minister earlier and could consult Defence Minister and Finance Minister and give his views,” he said." --
Point No. 1 - it was serv ices who requested for a Panle of ministers to go thro' the anomalies. Mr. Cabinet Secretary syas they decided.
2. He goes on to say they decied and requested External Min Shri Pranab Mukherjee to head th ecommittee!!
STRANGE!! - Secretaries (Cabinet and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister ) Decide which minister will chair the committee???

Anonymous said...

It is as good as Chandru saying that He apponted Paranab Da on the Committee and asked him to find a solution......

Hillarious .....Chandru have some guts and you are in deep stupor....

Hail Bara Babu ( the way IAS have guts to call him Constitutional authority in Wikipedia article on IAS..)

Anonymous said...

A good view of sequence of events/activity with critical analysis.This amply demonstrates how the people of this country made to believe falsehood by abusing resources of media,PR,lies propagated through leaks ....etc . If possible take printout and send these to all those involed .
They should at least know that public have seen their guilt.It is only matter of time to deal with them.

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nataraj said...

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