The endeavour is not to dwell upon One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. The National Ethos and the standards of managing the armed forces personnel by the government and the polity demands introspection to pave way for the future perspectives. Ostensibly the National Security can be at stake, not far from now, if the prevailing methodologies are permitted to prosper.
The distribution of moral charecteroligical types is the same in military systems as is in the civil systems from which they originate. But the military training at all levels and induction into the systems of military life, values and traditions systematically make a metamorphosis. in their philosophy, psychology, mental structure and character, for good.
In our appointment as soldiers we cannot afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. Danger is central to combat. In the present scenario the morale and pride of a soldier rest severely with the government and politicians, unfortunately.
In fact, that the reality of soldiers being treated as Cannon Fodders come even to the ex-services personnel (ESP) conduited through those in uniform. This is a source for severe discontentment for both.
The plentiful complaints, petitions and court cases which seldom enjoy a public attention or even exposure, are, to the searching eyes a source of disgust and disenchantment for the military community.
The easily and overtly available illustrations, to which it would not be hard to add many more, are ample enough to justify the construed assertion of the civilian set up, by volition, not only to degrade the armed forces but also ploy to cause financial afflictions. The indisputable evidence to this is the case of rank pay granted to officers, post 1971 war.
We always believed and trusted the government. So much so, when the salary statement was received we used to just glance at the amount credited to the bank. Fools we were; a very belated revelation. In nutshell the government used to credit rank pay to all officers and debit the same amount every month. An incredible mode of cheating the soldiers who trusted the system! After prolonged litigation the government was finally directed to pay back the dues. The case is still not over. A clear cut example of unimaginable cheating.
Was not this a willful act? Yes, undoubtedly it was. A single individual in the civilian set up would not have been able to accomplish this. The numbers and size of the group who conducted this malfeasant action should have been dealt with by the government. But then, how can it be, since they were partners in the infamy operation.
Will it not be true that any simple evaluation of the subject will undoubtedly reveal a contrived progression towards a preconceived conclusion that the armed forces do not deserve these, for reasons obscure?
ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP)
The procrastination in the implementation of OROP, like many more such indulgences, by those in power was as cunning in its conception. It is not difficult to construe from the track of events on OROP that the defense forces is isolated from the process of decision making.
There is a selectively hostile approach to the OROP which demanded highest discreteness, by virtue of its sensitivity on the morale of troops in uniform and out of it and on the institution of territorial defense of the nation. We should not forget that it is these poor soldiers that India owes its safety from invasions over the years or say decades.
Considering the financial Implications, it is simple arithmetics. Procrastinations cause swelling of dues. And to show these as huge financial implications is not only fatuous but also a crime. Arithmetics is foreign to IIT and to the Finance Minister!
PRIME MINISTER AND DEFENSE MINISTER
The despicable utterance by the Defence Minister that the armed forces have suffered diminution of respect since they have not fought wars for decades are contemptuous. His ignorance related to wars is ignominious. To conjecture that he must have meant a war of 1971 magnitude could be the best alternative. Fathomless poor Defence Minister!!. In any case does he portray that this incredible duty of waging a war to earn respect is to be accomplished by the government or by the armed forces? Left to the armed forces it can well be organised! Any how the Defence Minister protected his interests against his own unreasonable conduct. However, the expression lacked tact and fact.
Science is pure logic. Defence Minister is an IIM product. It is inconceivable that he can defy logic. We can only reproach him with perfidy. Or is it that, these are exhumed from the depth of ignominy.
The attitudes, methodologies adopted, an occasional subservient posture, abominable lack of future perspectives, all picturise absence of military relevant judicial orientation. Warrants pity.
The soldiers have been tutored, at the behest of the ministry to refrain from asking unsavory questions on OROP, service conditions etc when the PM or Defence Minister visit them on difficult terrains. Can this actually mute them? No. These are actually engulfed in producing transitory results, fearful of personal failures.
It is worthy here to emphasise the hollowness of the promises the PM catapults occasionally. But then, why? Of late the PM and Defence Minister are guardedly silent. Where speech is a must silence is guilt.
The credo given to the Gentlemen Cadets prior to their pipping ceremony in the Chetwode Hall in the IMA - “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.” “The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come second.” “ Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.
Conceptually all the three chiefs inevitably, emotionally and ethically have to honour the second dictum (The accomplition of the first dictum cannot be without gracing the second) for those they are in command and those that they commanded, if they are traditional soldiers.
There definitely is a clear dynamics of responsibility towards those who retired (Ex-Service Personnel - ESP) from the chiefs who are the future ESP, which go along with other committed responsibilities. Those who shed the paludamentum, if they visit those who are on RHS, it will only reveal that they nurture the philosophy of Chetwode Hall, since it is expected to be engrained in their blood.
The forgoing factors prove profoundly instructive and may reveal to us that the most fundamental diversities exist between theory and practice of welfare of ESP by the Chiefs themselves, who would be one of those miserable ones, soon. If that be so, the supercilious responsibility of the Chiefs should not be permitted to distribute such discomforts to them to which they are not entitled to, even by fate.
A chief must unhesitatingly accept the consequences of the differences with the government and for the sake of principle either resign or accept dismissal in a disciplined manner. And till all anomalies are not sorted out no one should accept the chair of the chief. This act is neither indiscipline nor calumny.
The abrasion caused by the willful delinquency in caring for the dutiful and legitimate welfare measures of those in uniform and out of it will undoubtedly show unsavory manifestations from within the military and without, to the chagrin of the entire nation. Who will be accountable for it?
The methodologies adopted so far are akin to those of political gimmicks, to pound the soldiers and ESP to submission. The evils of this arrangement are palpable. The character and text contained in the services rendered to ESP are despicable and not free from the appearance of dubious motives.
The overt demonstration of an infectious unwillingness to make decisions in favour of the armed forces warrants a check for the sake of the prognosis of national security. There are well established national obligations towards the armed forces. To betray these will be calamitous as evidenced by history.
The doings so far have been sacrilege to the military institutions. Laceration of the fundamental norm or ethos of the military systems demands stern actions to ensure that the morale of the troops is not decrepitated. The present attitudes and policies will be a monumental failure. If not appropriately mended the fame of military precision in training of troops and waging wars will soon be living on borrowed time. Sustaining an efficient armed forces is a very costly and inevitable game. The management dragon of ROI (return on investment) is irrelevant to its existence.
There are two ESP as ministers in the cabinet; one was a Chief of the Army. The other one held a senior rank before he turned to be an ESP. It is with grief that his apparition was recalcitrant on the issue of OROP. Well, their mute stance is intriguing.
Finally, electronic media being what it is , even very complex surgeries are being performed remotely from too far away. In this scenario it is worthwhile to compel the Defence Minister, the Defence Secretary with some of his stooges and some tough guys from the finance ministry to serve from Siachen for at least three continuous months in a year. There will be no functional impediments since the communication systems and IT can support them without failure. Well, if it fails they also are accountable to it. A worthwhile practical training or the so called ON THE JOB TRAINING without any haze !!!
— Col R K NAIR (Retd)
Alangad P.O, Alwaye – 683511