NEW DELHI: Forced charity can pinch. Indian army, the world’s second largest, experienced this pinch when they recently came to know of the cutting of a day’s salary. They later found that Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag didn’t consider it necessary to issue a note informing army’s officials before deducting their salaries and presenting the collected amount of `100 Crore for the Prime Minister’s relief fund.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on behalf of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army on Thursday donated a cheque of over `100 crore to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund after forgoing their one-day salary at the traditional ‘At Home’ at the Army House on the occasion of 76th Army Day. However, the prime minister was not even aware of it.
The Indian army played a major role in the relief and rescue operation in last year’s flood in Jammu and Kashmir by rescuing over 2 lakh stranded people in an operation which lasted for two weeks. The issue has now raised a controversy on the social media, as army officials are claiming that they were not informed about their salary cut and it was not made ‘voluntary’. Caught unaware of the chief’s arbitrary decision, some of the top army officials are even planning to file RTIs to the army headquarters to find out under whose orders the salary cut is being done.
Sources told the Sunday Standard that instructions were issued from the office of the Adjutant General who handles service matter of army, to the Controller of Defiance Account to do the salary cut of one day of every army personnel. With this order, one day salary of the month January will be deducted to the relief fund. When contacted for the Army’s version, sources said that army regularly contributes for natural calamity and will continue to do so. “Army followed procedures and rules and this is not the first time, we are doing it,” army sources said. This time, donation was for the Jammu and Kashmir flood relief fund. But, the army officials were surprised with the timing of the donation. It was after six months of the disaster.
“It Can Happen Only In India....!!!! On the occasion of Army Day our Chief Of Army Staff presents a Cheque worth ` 100 Crores to the Prime Minister as PM Releif Fund. The money has been generated by cutting One Day Salary of everybody working in the Indian Army. What an Irony .... Our war widows struggle for their day to day living... Our jawans are not able to afford good education for their Children... and here we become so large hearted to donate money to the politicians... Did the COAS take our permission before doing this...??? When did he start having rights on our hard earned Money...??? Has any Civilian / Politician ever donated his salary for us..? It is time we raise our voice and stop this nonsense before it becomes precedence. Why should we pay for their future Goals,” an official said on WhatsApp.
And he is not the only one, annoyed with it. “Our jawans, who battle under hostile weather conditions with poorly equipped weapons and armory, and his family, survives on the salary. If you are deducting his salary, it has to be voluntary. One cannot do it arbitrarily,” another official said. Even three months back, the Indian air force had also made donation of ` 8.43 crore to the PM Relief fund through donation of a day’s salary of its over 1.7 lakh officers and med deployed across the country. The IAF headquarters had taken consent of its officials before going for the salary cut.