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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Abhinav replies and amplifies : join the debate

First of all, let me introduce Abhinav Kumar to you. He’s an IPS officer of the Uttrakhand cadre and a thinking cop for sure. Before joining the IPS, he was a journalist with India Today and readers would be happy to learn that he is BA (Hons), MA in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford. Well, all of you saw my rejoinder to Abhinav’s piece touching the military and I do also hope that you glanced through my introduction to my disagreement on his write up when I said that I had a liking for the work of his pen. My views were not at variance with him per se but with one aspect of his article dealing with protocol addressed by me here and here.

Abhinav has responded to the issue at hand. Before readers peruse his reply, I would like to point out that this is being initiated for a meaningful debate on the subject and I would not expect personal comments or remarks deprecating any particular service. Also as regular visitors would know, this blog gives utmost importance to the freedom of expression and personal opinion, hence both sides of the motion have to be equally respected and tolerated. Before I put across his letter for you, you may like to see his earlier work especially on the inherent superiority granted to the IAS by the 6th CPC, his insightful piece on our society and institutions with Nithari as the backdrop and on the life of a Police Constable. Never known to mince his words, the officer very bravely faced the tirade of some old school babus after his ibid article on the pay edge to the IAS was published. The show cause notice issued to him on the recommendations of the Department of Personnel and Training was however stayed by the Hon’ble High Court of Uttrakhand.

Here is what Abhinav has to say on the matter :

Dear Sir,

Read your latest post about my article with interest. Sir just a few more points for your kind consideration:

1. Is it the case that the Warrant of Precedence at the time of Independence should be held sacrosanct and held as the basis of determining relative pay and status for all times to come? You may like to look at other mature democracies and see how they accord pay and status amongst different public services. Or is it your case that India should use Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar as the template when deciding the status of the Armed Forces in civil society?

2. The steep pyramid in the armed forces and the high rates of attrition at each rank, are features that exist due to the internal logic of the Armed Forces. My point, which has been twisted completely out of context by participants on your blog, was that the sheer size of the officer cadre of the Armed Forces makes it next to impossible to make a meaningful comparison with the much smaller IAS/IPS cadres. I feel the step to create a separate pay commission for the Armed Forces is a welcome move. Objectively speaking in terms of total emoluments, our Armed Forces are far better paid than other public services. Do we need to pay them more to attract youngsters? Definitely, but this cannot be an open-ended commitment.

3. The Armed Forces as well as the Police Forces exist to preserve the external and internal security of the nation. They are of course proud symbols of national identity but surely national identity and the task of nation building are dependent on other important categories of public servants and professions, especially engineers, doctors, teachers, artists and even politicians. For all of us in uniform, pride in our respective institutions is essential for organizational effectiveness, but it cannot be based on contempt for other institutions that are just as essential to a healthy nation.

4. On the issue of corruption, sir I think all our public services, including the Armed Forces suffer grievously from the cancer of corruption. Corruption in the police is perhaps the most talked about because it is the most visible, but if you seriously believe that the Armed Forces are immune to this evil then I think you are disregarding the obvious. The common man is not directly affected by corruption in our Armed Forces, that does not mean it doesn't exist or that it does not harm our nation. And pointing this out does not make me any less patriotic as many respondents on your blog seem to suggest.

5. My piece in HT appeared in grossly truncated form and it may have amplified my observations on the Armed Forces unfairly. It was initially prompted by the criticism of the Ashok Chakra awards to deceased police officers by retired senior soldiers. Sir it is nobody's case that Karkare and company displayed the kind of physical courage that was showed by Major Somnath Sharma or Lt Khetrapal or Havaldar Abdul Hamid. However please consider the fact that there may be the possibility of different contexts to and definitions of bravery. In the national imagination, I grant partly a media creation, what happened in Mumbai starting 26/11 was also a battleground and Shri Karkare and others were the first casualties of that engagement and the entire nation mourned them as martyrs. They went to their deaths willingly despite lacking the training, the equipment and the orientation to properly face the situation. Civil Society does not question your professional wisdom and integrity when you tell us Officer X or Jawan Y earned the PVC. Please respect the emotional wisdom and affection of civil society when it chose to honour them. In the limited experience of us civilians they were heroes. I wept almost 10 years ago when I saw the body of Captain Vikram Batra and I wept this time around too. We in the police don't have a very glorious or inspiring history as our Armed Forces, but even we love and revere our martyrs. Please respect that if not as professional soldiers at least as gentlemen.

Warm Regards

Abhinav

The debate is open and your comments are welcome.

78 comments:

BC said...

Dear Sir,
It is high time that we as a sensible and educated members in the nation building should not crib about each other. Should not we respect each others profession? Every one is great in today's life, like we can not afford to give less importance to any of our body part.

Anonymous said...

Regarding corruption in the armed forces, no one can deny it exists, but on a much lower scale as compared to the Police where it is rampant, from the lowest constable to the top commissioners.In the the Army opprtunities for corruption are few and hence corruption is limited to a few who have opportunities.Even these few are dealt with severly while the Police go practically unpunished.Corruption among the police is institutionalized.The protruding paunches prevalent among rank and file of police are evidence of corruption.

Ramani said...

Dear Navdeep,
very very interesting Mr Abhinav's replies. He has himself accepted that beacause of varying sevoce conditions a meaningful comparison is not only dificult but should not be even attempted.
He says objectively speaking the armed foces are bette payed than most other public services.
Also in which othe service can one be courtmatialled for "yes" not saluting a senior OR "NOT" putting on a helmet
But in which other public service is one on duty all the 24 hours 7 days a week? So logically and Objectively one in the armed force service should be paid 3 times??
So comparisons are not only difficult but unwarranted.
Eveybody has a responsibility in his sphere of work and what matters is doing it sincerely.
Also we always talk of bravery after the event. But in my view it is the person who Prevents a tragedy who deserves more commendation.We hear of so many times that "Explosive devices have been defused" or that a train accident has been averted because of a watchful alert gangman.
It is they who are the unsung heros.
But all in all, I find Abhinav is more realistic and pragmatic.
At least he takes the time to analyse all these problems, so Kudos to him.

Anonymous said...

Refer para 4 of Ahinav's reply.I am in agreement with him. Corruption is indeed existant unfortunately in the Armed Forces in equal measure but this is hidden from public gaze because of obvious reasons. One reason is perhaps because the Officers in the Armed Forces during earlier days were from the Royalty - many of whom wouldn't even draw their salary....let alone even think of corruption.Today we have people from all sections of society as Officers - which may have merits and demerits...there could be a separate debate on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Sir,
A good rejoinder indeed. The comments would be justified if it serves a purpose or atleast maintains the sanctity of the spirit in which the words have been written. Every profession has a role to play and we can never disregard the conditions and liabilities that exist on paper viz. onground realities. Only request to Mr. Abhinav is that his powerful pen should not be used as a weapon by others to fight an unjust cause. an institution like Armed Forces cacnot be rebuilt if the basic character is lost to poor grades/ pays and above all.. PRIDE. Nation pays a small cost to keep its Officers and Men of Armed Forces pampered because it is the only service that does ask for safety and honour of Nation first and foremost.

dev said...

Dear Mr Abhinav kumar,

The things you are highlighting about defence forces and police are well known to each one of us as we all have that average intelligence.There is a stark contrast in your write ups ie one you delightfully got published in HT and one that is seen here.I don't know as to what particular intention you have in mind while pin pointing defence forces but one thing is sure that it is all unnecessary and most childish.There are many thousands of ills your own worthy department is plagued with and each citizen of this nation can write and shout a million words about those ills with conviction but tell me is it worth anything? there are no comparisons possible between defence forces,your department or any other department.Defence forces have a sacred duty to perform which they had been doing well so far and i am more than sanguine that they will keep doing that in future as well.The plague which has infected your department needs to be attended to by you and your worthy friends with a focussed attitude before you even think of calling other kettles black.Your article in HT was most snobbish,childish and unwarranted.You have no right to pass aspersions on defence forces when your own department rots beyond repair.Kindly concentrate on you department through action and not words and that will do you a lots of good.Kindly leave the defence forces alone as they are in much better and safe hands(your tirade notwithstanding).....If you respect others ....it is the respect which will fall back to you but if you use insulting pin pokers you know what you are likely to get.Let God give you some wisdom of which you seem quite deficient. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Firstly, we must appreciate Mr. Abhinav Kumar’s courage of conviction that he decided to get in touch with Navdeep & actually bother to reply.
And then coming to the issues he has raised, I think that the issue which he raised the last in his letter is the one which is the most important- the issue of bravery! When the soldiers & ex-soldiers commented upon the highest gallantry awards given to police officers, there was no disrespect intended to the supreme sacrifice made by these police officers. However, when it comes to honours and awards for bravery and that too Ashok Chakra (The highest in peace time!), no soldier would be able equate the exceptional valour of Late Tukaram Omble and Late Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan with Late ATS Chief Hemant Karkare and the police officers accompanying him. Though our hearts reach out to their families and friends, the soldiers see them as innocent casualties under the circumstances. I am sure there are different ways of recognizing the supreme sacrifice made by these officers.
The highest gallantry awards in the country still have an aura around them for the soldiers. Every year, a large number of soldiers lay down their lives in active hostilities. Though we feel for our comrades in arms, defence forces don’t go around recommending awards for all of them, definitely not Ashok Chakra. In fact, “Innocent casualties” never ever get any bravery awards! There is only one exception known but you can assess even that also in an article by Lt Gen Oberoi. He has gone to some length about what the soldiers felt about this issue and every word of the article is true- if you haven’t read it, you can assess it at http://www.xisf.in/NNPA20.asp?o=a

Coming to warrant of precedence, is there any rationale in the fact that every change in precedence always lowers the status of armed forces? What would you think if it happened to IPS cadre?

On the issue of corruption, it is better not to equate the defence organizations with the civil services. The armed forces draw their soldiers and officers from the society and hence we are not immune to the change of values in the society. Despite all the rigours of selection process and training, we do have our black sheep but defence forces go to some length to punish whoever is guilty irrespective of the rank and they make a public spectacle of it so that the guilty go through the humiliation too for bringing disrepute to the services. When did you last hear of any Civil Services Officer being punished for corruption? Does that mean that there is no corruption in the civil cadre? Far from it, corruption is such an integral part of the systems in civil that people get surprised when they see lack of it at any stage!!! The system doesn’t even spare the soldiers from their clutches. I personally have had to suffer at hands of policemen and clerks trying to get a job done which was their duty (Police verification, vehicle registration etc etc). Complaining to their officers of IAS/IPS cadres only drew stares of incredulity wondering what is wrong with this “fauji”- Can’t he spare a few hundred bucks & get on with life rather than interfering in their extremely important work? Don’t I know how the system works in civil? Fortunately, I still refuse to understand how things “work” in those offices!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Navdeep for this wonderful opportunity given to Abhinav to respond and clarify. A healthy debate in a dignified manner without any personal attacks would help us understand each other. I found his reply reasonable and mature. Any one who questions the bravery of the police officers and men slain in 26/11 is not in touch with reality. Comparisons with military bravery awardees is downright stupid. What a man does in a given situation is important - how can u compare one set of circumstances with another? As I had stated earlier, the fraternity of uniformed services-military, paramilitary and the police services have their respective roles and should not take pot-shots at each other. They have alwasys had respect for each other and this should continue. In my interaction with the paramilitary and police forces including state police I have always found them to be helpful and respectful to the Armed Forces. Also, whenever they have come to our units/formations and officers due regard has been given. So I do not understand this acrimony and the need to prove who is superior to whom? The personal attacks on Abhinav and on some other services on this forum only lower the values of this useful forum for the armed forces personnel to exchange their view and learn. Anon

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that mr Hemant Karkare was bold officer but that is not the only thing which qualifies u for Ashok chakra. Let our politicians not ride on appeasing policies to get Votes. Ashok chakra should be awarded only for exceptional bravery ,sacrifice and devotion for duty.if one just dies in a ambush he needs lot of sympathy and a assured support for his family.

Anonymous said...

Abhinav,
If your reply is any indicator of your calibre, I think , our bureaucracy would have benefitted had you been in IAS or IFS instead of IPS a system known for placing square peg in round hole. Your reply does not have much bearing with your so called article in HT.It appears that not many including you read this blog regularly, a fact evident from the calculated silence on a befitting reply posted by me soon after your article. Therefore I am not wasting any more of my time in replying you further and giving undue publicity to an insignificant irrelevant baseless arguments noticed in an odd corner of HT by an odd service officer.

Yogesh said...

Some people join Armed forces/police to serve nation and some join to earn fast bucks available in police/armed forces. We do have porous systems which allows such osteoporosis to take birth in eevry sphere of life including Armred forces, judiciary etc.
The biggest casualty of corruption is lack of professionalism. We may take pride in our civil/Defence forces ,but sheer lack of professionalism displayed by them over the past few years is condemnable.We do celebrate(rather exploit) the individual cases of heroism/bravery or hardships of individuals in defence/police forces ; but our poor response to improve upon systems remain a showpiece for our selfishness. We do not even have any proper system to reward even survivors of our brave sons. The "rest of gang" is quick to encash martyrdom of brave son but does not care for dignified treatment to their immediate kith/kins.It put our heads in shame.
I hope we will find systemic deficiencies and remove them . This introspection will result in better cooperation among all services and we will get persons who really takes pride in his service rather indulging in rancour.

Anonymous said...

Just stop paying salaries to all government servant and see who all still continue to serve. We will know truth about corruption then.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep Sir
1. Firstly kudos to you and Abhinav for opening up this debate.
2.On para 1 on issue of WOP , Mr Abhinav how will you feel if in future every successive instance , we reduce WOP of IPS vis a vis IAS nad other serives . JUST IMAGINE you will eat back your words.
2.On the issue of Abhinav feeling that our ARMED FORCES ARE BETTER PAID THAN other public services. I will like to ask him if that is the case why it is in the bottom of choices of our youngsters. In fact we are doing a great disservice to ntion in longterm by slowly but steadily deteriorating our standards in services. Why wards of neta and buraecrats not joining ARMED FORCES. you have the answer Mr Abhinav.Which other service has postings to so many places without civil society and amenities. Which other service put you on work 24X7 without any additional payment.You think we get quarters , Cone n see waiting period for jawans and men even in station like alahabd or patna it is about two years i.e almost half of the tenure. You think we get free ration liquor clothing , Ask any close relative of yours in services you will get toknow the fact. you think we get canteen facilities and good at half rate, buy stuff from it and you will get the truth . Thereare many false impressions about services , Facts are quite dufferent.
3.On para three I am in full agreement with Mr Abhinav on respect of each serices.
4.I have no issues on para 4 on Corruption . However world knows if you compare corruption in services vis a vis police it is ration of ratti to KG
5.My CONDOLENCES AND SYMPATY for family of karkare and other police officials , but you read the citation of ASHOK CHAKRA to karakre and others and facts will be out in open to any open minded person . Still they need to be given full honours but similar honour is not given in cases of high courage to many in society leave alone armed forces personnel because they do not belong to elite class of IPS.
6. I have only one humle request please dont degrade the last known strong pillar of our democracy THE ARMED FORCES , else we will not be there even to feel sorry.
Rajiv

Kaps said...

At the outset, Mr. Abhinav must be congratulated for coming clean. So far, it was the article in HT, which provided the only window into Mr. Abhinav Kumar's thinking. Thanks to Maj Navdeep for providing a low down on Mr. Abhinav; and as they say, in the hindsight, vision is always 2020; after reading in detail about views held by Mr. Abhinav and his admission that article in HT was truncated, it will be erroneous to think of him as a sword bearer of schism between AF and civil organizations.

Coming to his assertions it will be only proper to answer them the way they are posed, in point form.

1. It is indeed required to look at mature democracies for learning about how they function. But just learning about WOP and forgetting how they treat their Armed Forces will be a mistake. As far as WOP is concerned, isn't it being amended by civilians from time to time? Do Armed Forces have a say in WOP or for that matter in anything to do with National Policy? I do agree that a re-look is required at anything that is archaic and has lived past its utility. But it is not for any one of us to decide whether WOP is relevant today or not.

2. Yes, perhaps a separate pay commission for AF is the answer. Here too, I will not like to be overly optimistic as the final say regarding any recommendations made by a separate AF pay commission IS going to rest with the IAS. While there will always be a need to maintain a balance between country's paying power vis a vis recommendations, there also will be a need to guard against wilful degradation as we have seen in VI CPC.

3. I fully agree that there can be no contempt amongst any institutions of the state. But, the feeling has to be mutual. I was astounded at the venom being spewed against Armed Forces post VI CPC by a number of organizations. It gave me a feeling as if I was not an Indian and was not working to protect Indians.

4. The issue of corruption, I feel has been adequately dealt with by number of commentators.

5. The issue of award of AC and the subsequent blood letting is a direct consequence of friction between different arms of state. Mr. Abhinav, the amount of distrust and should I dare say animosity that exists between different arms post VI CPC is humongous. There is no denying that this monster needs to be killed quickly, but who is going to do it? There are well entrenched interests that do not want to see this monster buried. I would say that you have taken a good first step in grabbing the bull by the horns. It will be only logical to extend this action by further interactions and attempts to understand functioning of different pillars that make our India.

kulu said...

I completely agree with Navdeep when he says that this forum should be used only for healthy discussions. I do believe that the sensibilities of some police officers would have been hurt when aspersions were raised on the way AC's were awarded this time. However, one cannot deny the fact that govt should not have separate yardsticks of bravery for different services.
Needless to say, Mr Abhinav's response makes a very interesting reading. We need to give space to each other and coexist for the overall security of this country. No service is superior/ inferior to the other. Its high time we removed this mental block.

Anonymous said...

@abhinav...

1. yes Abhinav WOP at the time of independence should be amended, but not at the cost of down grading Armed Forces only each and every time.

2. yes corruption has made inroads into armed forces, but the Army Act is so strong that once caught u just cant escape see the recent case of an AirForce Offr who lost his service just because he didnt pay house tax on time. Can v expect something like this from others too.

3. if u feel so strongly that the news paper didnt publish the writeup in totality thereby twisting the facts ,then can we expect some rejoinder/clarification from ur side in the same news paper.

4. now i want to ask u a very simple question, since army unlike other services cannot do away with the dilution of rank structure due to peculier command and control requirements then " why the grades pays in armed forces should be based on yrs of service putin by the soldier and not the rank he wears. for example i ve put in over 12 yrs of commissioned service(training not included,otherwiseits 14yrs) , today my counterparts in IAS/IPS r in PB4 with GP of 8700 whereas post 6th cpc i m at GP OF 6600 in PB3 then pl tell me who is better paid.

5. ur profile says u r well educated and intelligent , so may i request u to write both sides of the story and not a biased one.

we all will go a mile extra in appreciating it

Anonymous said...

@Abhinav...

On Ashok Chakra's ..bravery awards r given for showing bravery and not on emotions going by ur logic in Kargil it self the govt should have given over 2000 awards as all soldiers faught even when th govt failed to give them now boots,snow scooter and even failed to give them a free hand to act against the enemy there by leading to more fatal casualty then it should have been.

Anonymous said...

If assignment of Ashok Chakra to Sri.Karkare is justified only for getting hit by a stry bullet while negligently crossing public road at a place bullets are flying further glorified by HE The Presudent's visit to his home ignoring Maj Sandheep, can anybody justify why every soldier in the Defence Forces hit by enemy bullets in close encounter cannot be awarded Ashok Chakra or PVC ?

Anonymous said...

Dear friends We as servants of Nation must have enough courage to see reality. The famous saying that military is a state witin state holds ground after 1000 years. Fine, their is corruption every where, does it justify corruption in Army as well. Really a poor way of sidelining the issue. We may be in one service today and our children may be in totally other. No one,even an Army officer, keep a guard who is corrupt irrespective of how corrupt he himself is. No country can survive with corruption in Defence. This by no means repeat no means is to justify corruption in other services BUT do we need an Army to justify corruption in comparision to any civil deppt even the police. When citizens point out the facts we need to look inward and see things as they should be seen not to defend the wrong. Secondly, it is an absolute wrong that Army has been going after corrupt officers/men. No absolutely not. It has been going after inconvinient corrupt officers while protecting convinient corrupt officers. Thirdly, please have a look at following systematical corrution levels-Huge golf courses run as oxygen parks through govt expenditue Chief playing there not bothering to ensure officers pay for it , CSD canteens run by militarymen though to be actually run by hired staff, Mil transport utilised for canteens though not allowed, educational institutions/schools run as profit centre and not zero profit basis,no open third party admission tests for recruitment for teachers in army schools, all lady wives serving there also claim medical aid and travel concession though not dependent,heavy misuse of government transport by officers and families, ration not enough for jawan in Langar but same is surplus even for a family of four for officers. Please remember that Army has a closed system and Army Act is there so things are not visible. My assessment is corruption in army is no less if not more. And our Army need to do somthing about it, if it really cares. I expect specific replies if so no rehtoric please, if my point is wrong i will be looking to withdraw withan apology. Regards

Aditya said...

Dear Mr. Kumar,

Thank you for your letter. It is an interesting insight into your point of view.

If I may be permitted to join the discourse as it stands so far, I would be pleased if you would permit one to address some of the issues.

Even before I begin, I will say that I know of you by your good reputation which precedes you, and I too, have enjoyed your articles in the past.

Regarding the issues raised by yourself in your missive to Navdeep:

1. Warrant of Precedence:

I would suggest, sir, that Indian democracy, such as it is, having survived the travails of 62 years of existence, is sufficiently mature, and requires no instruction on how to structure its table of precedence from "mature democracies".

This reactionary sentiment on my behalf apart, I would further suggest that the historic, political, and social situations obtaining in other nations, and those in India are dissimilar, and comparisons would be odious.

I would suggest that transplanting ideas from foreign climes without a second thought, and imposing them on the Indian rubric would be as unsuccessful as expecting coniferous trees to grow in the deserts of Rajasthan.

The obvious logic of not comparing apples and oranges apart, let me address the fallacies touted by some as gospel: we are treated to, for example, on several fora where persons purporting to be civilian government servants air their views, the claim that Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries in the US Federal Government take precedence over the American Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and what a pity it is that things are not the same here.

Alas, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Officials ranked as Under Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries in the United States are members of the political leadership, and essentially junior ministers in the US federal setup. Naturally, they will be superior in precedence over the CJCS. The same is true in India!

Of course, the US system of governance (a presidential one), is entirely different from ours, and as I say, we shouldnt read too much into it.

The 1947 warrant of precedence is, of course, not connected to the pre-independence one. As a cursory reading of the warrant shows, the political and judicial leadership is placed far above the highest civil or military government servant, unlike the pre independence warrant.

Indeed, we do our 62 years of uninterrupted democratic rule a disservice by suggesting that retaining the warrant which was thought to be appropriate at the time of independence to be somehow reducing us to the status of a Bangladesh, or a Pakistan.

If we have been free of military rule, it is because Indian society considers democracy to be the best choice, and being a part of our society, our citizen soldiers, the armed forces, are committed to serving under, and yes, protecting democratic rule in India.

By corollary, is the idea (bizarrely promulgated by some members of the establishment) that somehow lowering the military on the warrant of precedence will prevent a military coup not risible in the extreme?

Surely, if this is the way to prevent a military coup, any one of our less fortunate neighbours could have done it. I would submit, sir, that contrary to any such ideas, it is the nature of our armed forces, which are not interested in political power and pelf, which prevents occurrences such as those which plague our less fortunate neighbours.

Regrettably, the bureaucrats realm being that of the pen and paper, once one has attained sufficiently high rank, one can hoodwink one's self into thinking farcical things like one can prevent a coup by humiliating generals on a piece of parchment, rather than by providing a decent standard of defence administration. It is a testimony to the error inherent in our system, that a gentleman who was previously managing pisciculture in Nagaland one day, can tomorrow be managing defence acquisitions. It is not the fault of the individual. It is the error inherent in the system.

2. The steep pyramidical structure aside, I think the main complaint in the armed forces is that the 6th pay commission has meant in situ demotions for military officers in all ranks ranging from Captain (Indian Army) all the way up to Lieutenant General, vis a vis their peers in other services. Whereas the Lt. Col. was in the starting scale of 15100, under the 5th Central Pay commission, (higher than a director in the GoI), he is (for now) placed equivalent to a Deputy Secretary, and even if raised to the proposed PB4 with GP 8000, junior even to commandants of Central Police Orgs. This, taken with the fact that training periods are not taken into consideration in the armed forces as service considered for promotion and pension, is naturally apalling to most service members, who have dedicated themselves to a career in the armed forces. Consider, sir, the fact that at 14.5 years of service (incl. training), an army officer is a Lt. Col with PB3, GP 7600 (at present). Members of your own service are, at the same amount of time in service, in PB4, at GP8900. Equivalent to Brigadiers of the army. With 30 years of service. Who were equated with IAS officers with 30 years service, at independence.

Now, why is this relevant, you ask? I will say, that it is relevant because this sort of in situ demotion is of no advantage to anyone. Not to the national interest, either. It causes demoralisation, when this officer, with 30 years of service, is required to serve under an IPS IGP, with 16 years of post training service in a mixed organisation. This, combined with the fact that when the officer joined service (1970s), a brigadier was equivalent to the second highest police rank, is a blow. I make no bones about the fact that there is nothing wrong with the improvement brought about in IPS career prospects. It is just unfortunate that the armed forces have not benefited concurrently, and the effects of the resultant demoralisation are showing, and also being observed by our enemies.

3. There can be no arguing the fact that all services are essential for the well being of the nation. Nor that there should be no mudslinging. Unfortunately, to read the papers these days, and the sheer quanta of negative news leaks about the armed forces emanating therefrom, one doubts the likelihood of this dictum being taken too seriously in the corridors of power.

4. In the 1980s, a very senior and distinguished army officer was invited to speak at LBSNAA. He exhorted the trainees to adhere to high principles and clean living. He told the truth: corruption in the armed forces is not less than that in the civil services because soldiers are always honest, and civil servants are always crooks. They all come from the same population of people. It is because the armed forces have a much stronger oversight system, and thus less opportunities for corruption. And he gave them real advice, on how to build a career, should they wish, on honesty, despite a system which has been loaded in such a way that it ensures that public servants become venal and pliable.

If corruption exists in our armed forces, it is no surprise, as it exists in civil society and civil government structures at an even higher degree. Contrary to what one sees in movies, the solution is not more "upright men", it is an upright system, administered by upright men. Otherwise every white knight who makes his appearance will eventually end up being tarred with cynicism and venality.

Personally, I have great respect for our police force. They do a good job, despite the pulls and pressures of a hundred different power centers, despite long hours, and despite the semi-colonial system of administration under which they operate.

In the same vein, I have great respect for our armed forces. Putting myself in their shoes for even one moment, imagining climbing the frigid slopes of Kargil, with a murderous fire coming down from the heights, I cannot imagine how I, in their place, could have summoned the courage to damn the bullets, and lead an assault. I cannot, no, I cannot say that I could, with equanimity sit through an artillery barrage, without voiding my guts.

In the last, I think discussions in public fora have an impersonal and anonymous air, and too often they end with people saying all sorts of things.

The best tribute (despite all the foolish media hoop-la) to the men in uniform who perished in Mumbai, in my opinion, came at a regimental gathering I attended sometime after the event. The general presiding asked for a minutes silence, and said among general regrets for the loss of life in the city "we have lost also, 9 men in uniform. Policemen and army men. Comrades in arms. Let us remember these heroes, who died to protect those innocents who could not protect themselves".

Is it not unfortunate that this pay commission has created such a rift in the lute between our uniformed services? Who is the ultimate beneficiary?

Yours respectfully,

Aditya

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, One of the misconception of Army officers is that there is no other service which is 24*7 job. An absolute untruth. All government servants are on duty 24 hours. In fact the army organisations are designed for war situations and there is not enough work in peace. If some body says he is too busy in peace then God save us in war. The day to day demand on any civil service is much more than army. Our brothers need to go to any bank and see how much work anclerk does in 24 hours in comparision to a clerk in Army unit or as canteen jco.I ma sure there will be many army officers whose sons and daughters are in private job or police and will no that there job is no less demanding then army. Only few individuals may relax not all, that is true of army as well. An Army doctors log book can be compared with an Civil hospital doctor to se no of patients, or an EME jco for a MT of 20 vehicles can be compared with a similarly placed railway men or a mines men. It is no less credit to ensure same no of flights and trains 365 days than doing it in war for 10 days in 10 years. Yes you need to be brave to be an Army men, and that is why we respect them more than our parents.They are heros for common citizen. These may be inconvinient ones but these are facts for all to analyse not think that if i am today in army i should defend army, not righteousness. National values are much higher than organiations. Regards

Anonymous said...

Armed forces are not just to defend the country but also they act as temporary government machinery for any department which fails to perform its task in cases of emergencies. In fact they are a reserved complete machinery which can look after affairs of state whenever required by the government of the day. So think about armed forces as a tool which can fit anywhere but is not used generally so as not to corrode it. Gentlemen , please understand just one point - Defence service officers and men are suffering monetarily as compared to their counterparts. The proof is there for all to see. scooters/flats in housing societies and poor retired life as compared to big sedans/bunglaows and pampered retired life for civil servants. It is simply because they take crucial economic/policing decisions and hence get benefited in normal times. So, there is no comparison in the economic status of the two. There are no doubts in any ones mind on it and on top of it VI th pay commission has done the further damage.

Anonymous said...

The 'rejoinder' by Mr. Abhinav is fairly sober, objective & welcome. I, however, am not quite sure what he means when he says "The steep pyramid in the armed forces and the high rates of attrition at each rank, are features that exist due to the internal logic of the Armed Forces" This 'internal logic' is universally applicable across all the Armed Forces of this world, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
I agree that there is corruption in our Armed Forces. But the Armed Forces have a few things working for them. Firstly, there is Institunional zero tolerance for corruption. There is thus an in-house vigilance system, which is reasonably efficient, even though not perfect. Secondly, the punishment meted out to the erring person is swift & severe. That is where the Armed Forces score over the rest of the society.
I also agree with Mr. Abhinav that the Warrant of Precedence as existed in 1947 was not a holy writ. However, changing an established order, equations & equilibrium required transparent, well argued explanations. This would have diminished the hurt of downgrading.. That is one of the basic tenets of man-management & democracy. It is for Mr. Abhinav to determine if whatever has happened since the 3rd.PC conformed to it. If, today, a lot of military persons wonder about their place in the society, can you blame them?
Finally gallantry awards. Death of any countryman of ours through any violent actions should & would bring tears to our eyes. But we are talking of gallantry, which has a totally different connotation, going beyond death. That is why Gallantry awards are also awarded to people not necessarily dead. I am open to correction. But as far as I know, of all the gallantry awards given to the Allied Forces during the 2nd. World War, the overwhelming majority were for those engaged in offensive operations rather than in defensive ones. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time does not really fit into the definition of gallantry. And this is precisely what was wrong with the Indian Army's decison to agree to such an award to our Military attache in Kabul last year.
mbghosh

Anonymous said...

The 'rejoinder' by Mr. Abhinav is fairly sober, objective & welcome. I, however, am not quite sure what he means when he says "The steep pyramid in the armed forces and the high rates of attrition at each rank, are features that exist due to the internal logic of the Armed Forces" This 'internal logic' is universally applicable across all the Armed Forces of this world, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
I agree that there is corruption in our Armed Forces. But the Armed Forces have a few things working for them. Firstly, there is Institunional zero tolerance for corruption. There is thus an in-house vigilance system, which is reasonably efficient, even though not perfect. Secondly, the punishment meted out to the erring person is swift & severe. That is where the Armed Forces score over the rest of the society.
I also agree with Mr. Abhinav that the Warrant of Precedence as existed in 1947 was not a holy writ. However, changing an established order, equations & equilibrium required transparent, well argued explanations. This would have diminished the hurt of downgrading.. That is one of the basic tenets of man-management & democracy. It is for Mr. Abhinav to determine if whatever has happened since the 3rd.PC conformed to it. If, today, a lot of military persons wonder about their place in the society, can you blame them?
Finally gallantry awards. Death of any countryman of ours through any violent actions should & would bring tears to our eyes. But we are talking of gallantry, which has a totally different connotation, going beyond death. That is why Gallantry awards are also awarded to people not necessarily dead. I am open to correction. But as far as I know, of all the gallantry awards given to the Allied Forces during the 2nd. World War, the overwhelming majority were for those engaged in offensive operations rather than in defensive ones. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time does not really fit into the definition of gallantry. And this is precisely what was wrong with the Indian Army's decison to agree to such an award to our Military attache in Kabul last year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhinav,
With all due regards to your viewpoint, let me state that bravery cannot be defined by varying paradigms by different people. No one is casting any such aspersion on the Bombay Police personnel as of not being brave. However, unfortunately, the men whose awards are causing concern, did not get an oppourtunity to prove their mettle. So, the award does not have requisite rationale to be conferred.
To state that since you do not dispute the army's awards, so army officers shouldn't dispute yours, is either over simplification or an inability to frame a logical reply?
As far as corruption is concerned, while we may be able to roughly quantify corrupt officers in percentage terms, and a overwhelmingly large one at that, in one force, in the other it can be quantified in terms of numbers, and that to on your fingertips.
Your officer cadre needs to look inwards and resurrect its values. Tha Army needs to ensure it does not lose its.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate Mr Kumar's counter attack, but few questions are left unanswered!
(a)On what ground (maturity attained since independence), ranks or pay structure of armed forces personell is being degraded every time an opportunity comes to the concerned authorities.
(b)Comparison with Pakistan or Bangladesh has got no sense in it. Remember what Gen Sam Manekshaw said to Mrs Gandhi when she feared a coup. Even today if the forces plan else wise what can the Govt do? Dear Abhinav, ours is a much much wiser armed forces and we do not intend to think that.

Whether you agree with me or not is upto you but the fact remains that we are far from an ideal world where we should not have any armed forces. THE FORCES ARE TO BE NURTURED if you donot want another POK or 1965. I am a pass out of one of the best medical colleges, did my post graduation from there. the name you all know. When I compare the returns I get as compared to other people who had been a mediocre otherwise in their academics I feel disgruntled but on the otherhand I feel that the people whom I am serving are even higher for the fact that they are irreplaceable. Because of that one particular sepoy on the border, awake on duty I am here sleeping in peace. If you are not there in your chair the Govt will still run, if there is a rail roko, buses will still ply and someone else will take over but if a guard on defence makes a small mistake, it can create a disaster, which is why we must look after him as a top priority. (AMA)

Lt Col Johnson (Retd) said...

Dear Sir,
Although I appreciate Mr Abhinav for being candid in his rejoinder, I think he has been merely verbose without coming to the point.
The fact is- an act of gallantry to qualify for an Ashoka Chakra,it should have ample element of expemplary courage in the face of enemy and strong evidence of using this courage to overcome the situation putiing one's life in grave danger . As far as the Police officers who were awarded Ashoka Chakra,these elements were totally missing. They were caught unwares by the militants.They did not try to overcome the situation and did not even use their personal weapons. In fact they were killed as sitting ducks.
In the armed forces such incidents are routine in J&K and north east and hence a great amount of scrutiny is done before recommending any award. In Major Unnikrishnan's case, he, indeed displayed exemplary courage in tryting to overocome the situation and saved his buddy's life too after killing a few of the militants.
As per Mr Abhinav, since IAS and IPS are having smaller no of persons they should get higher pay band and status.This is not correct. Pay should be linked to the job content and the risk reward ratio.
When a civil dept fails they call the Armed forces for help. Armed forces have a higher degree of organisation and commitment and can effectivey control any situation of national importance.Be it floods,earthquake,Drought, Insurgency,natural calamities,Strikes by electricity boards/utilities/oil installations,Armed forces neve fails the nation.
Why should then the soldiers be inferior in pay to the IAS/IPS/civil services.


When an youngster chooses the civil services or the military services,both should be comparable and equal.
It is this equation of equality which has been disturbed by the pay commissions.In a democracy thse should be corrected

Disturbed Soldier said...

I feel differently from what Abhinav has to say. Para wise reply is as given in the succeeding paragraphs.

Para 1. First of all nobody has suggested that India should use Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar as the template when deciding the status of the Armed Forces in civil society.

One may certainly look at other mature democracies and see how they accord pay and status amongst different public services. But this should be done in totality, not selectively, as it suits, those hold the reins of power to suit their sense of right or wrong.

Yes, the Warrant of Precedence at the time of Independence, i.e after attaining independence should be held sacrosanct and held as the basis of determining relative pay and status for all times to come. When everything including the constitution is held sacrosanct there is no reason why only the Armed Forces have to be systematically targeted for dilution, insidiously. Of course the constitution has been amended numerous times, but that has been done only after parliamentary debate and more importantly in an open and transparent manner.


In a democracy there is absolutely no doubt that the armed forces are subordinate to the civilian political leadership elected by the people. Agreed, that the political leadership to function has to depend on the bureaucracy. But that does not mean that the junior most bureaucrats should be gradually made senior to the senior most armed forces officer.

Democracy does not mean that the armed forces have to be belittled at every opportunity.

Para 2 . The steep pyramid in the armed forces and the high rates of attrition at each rank, that exist is not due to the internal logic of the Armed Forces. It gives the impression that the armed forces can decide on their own, their cadre and rank structure. Every single increase in cadre, up gradation of rank has to be cleared by the MOD. Even scaling an additional pair of socks for the Jawan one has to go to the MOD. The govt can’t absolve itself by saying that it is the fault of the Armed forces. What has it done to ameliorate the situation? There is a shortage in the police forces, why can’t lateral absorption be done. Similarly, there is a crying need for ATC personnel in our country


In terms of total emoluments, the Armed Forces are definitely not better paid than other public services. Please total up the emoluments what an IAS/IPS/IRS/IFS gets from the time he joins the Govt till he retires at the age of sixty and what an armed forces officer gets when he retires at the age of 54.Abhinav being highly qualified in Economics can do the maths better and publish his findings in his next article.

Para 3.


Yes, nation building is dependent on other important categories of public servants and professions, especially engineers, doctors, teachers, artists and even politicians. By all means pay them more. But please ensure that some semblance of justice is done. If a IAS or Doctor or Professor reaches the apex scale with Grade pay of Rs 10,000/- in 13-15 yrs at least make sure that the armed forces officer makes it in 15-16 yrs. The point to remember is that our main grievance is against dilution in status and not pay. Please take away the MSP for the Officers only and give a GP of Rs 10,000 to Lt Cols and refix the GP for the other Officers. It will be revenue positive, in fact the Govt may save at least Rs 4000/- per officer.

Para 4 .

Yes some elements in the Armed Forces are corrupt. But the justice is swift and the punishment even swifter when caught. Please take a re look at the Tehelka episode and who got punished and who got away

Para 5 .

A gallantry award is given for conspicuous act of bravery. Emotional wisdom and affection of civil society have no role to play. Please give all the monetary compensation you want but don’t make a mockery of gallantry awards. You only have to compare the no of Ashok Chakras awarded up to 2008 and in the year 2009. I too cried seeing the news. Medals should not be handed out by the powers that be, to cover up their guilt of total failure of governance.

Ajay said...

WOP- The differences between IAS and IPS cadre over this issue is well known to all of us.Look upon the more matured democracy like the USA and learn how to deal with the Armed forces, why to look inwards towards our neighbors only.Mutual respect and regard for each other should not be lost sight of.

CORRUPTION- is to the system, how can you insulate people from the Armed Forces from this.Read the article in India Today a few years back to get a better insight.

AWARDS -If the emotional wisdom and affection is a criteria for various awards then it be understood that the same can be created by the media and then the sanctity of the award will stand to loose.
We need to behave in a more matured manner.

Anonymous said...

well done Abhinav.you are forthright in your views- as you have always been.I keep reading your articles in the Indian Express.As for my brother offrs-please for God;s sake learn to accept criticism and be sporting in letting others express their views.Also please know that lesser corruption in the forces is also due to lesser opportunities available-a serving Colonel

menon said...

1. The WoP is not sacrosanct. Agreed, but it is also not an unwritten code that there should be a decline in the status of the Military. Let us look at another developing Nation – the US. Gen Collin Powel was the Secretary of State. Can we think of one our Gens taking over as the Cabinet Secretary without the Bureaucrats raising a bogey of a possible Military coup? Most US presidents were Ex Military men but did the US have a military coup? KF Rustomji, has, in one of his articles explained why there is no need to fear a military take over in India. Stephen Cohen substantiates this while comparing the Indian Army to the Pakistan Army in his book ‘Red Coats to Olive Greens’. The WoP can always be maintained without being debased. It is only a disgruntled Military that is more susceptible to indiscipline and mutineering. In fact the events after the SCPC have not augured well for the morale or disciple of the Armed forces. Isn’t it obvious with the number of rebukes issued by the military? How many IPS or IAS officers or Civil servants hang around placement agencies after retirement to sustain themselves? Even a Group B officer has a far more comfortable retired life. What is the posting beat of an IAS/IPS officer within his state. 13 years in the field and then plum towns/cities?

2. The steep pyramid is a must. Today we have been in state of peace for the past 30 years. I am not talking of limited operations. In an all out war this base of the pyramid is the ‘cannon fodder’. One from this base runs and he will take with him another100. Now, it is up to the planners that be ascertain whether we will get ourselves into an all out war or keep fending of low intensity thrusts – which incidentally is being penny wise and pound foolish. This also ensures that not all and sundry make it to the top. Compare this to the structure of the perceived civil services. India has one of the lowest per capita ratios of Civil service administrators and the effect is seen in the poor administration which incidentally is also one of the root causes of insurgency. Has the Indian Central Civil Service cadre kept itself small to be able to be the elite? To thwart a pyramid structure the civil services have subjugated State Cadre personnel. When we talk of Civil services we erroneously refer to only the Central Civil Services and not the total Civil Services who are there to Administer but have unfortunately been divided into a Caste based society with the IAS assuming the brahminically superior status. This also supports their financial wile to push for better perks by surreptitiously narrowing financial burdens. I feel that a 13 year old Collector is too immature to handle a District of say 20 lakhs. In 1919 a Major was appointed the IG of Amritsar but now things have changed and so should the civil services. They must recruit more personnel. For e.g. each District should have at least one District administrative Officer (DAO) (IAS) per 100000 of population. Every five DAOs must have one Chief Administrative Officer (the presently designated Collector) with a minimum of 20 years service. This will ensure intimate Sate administration. Also the number of IPS officers must be increased to 1 per 10000. Now the pyramid structure will form in the civil services and will ensure that only the best make it to the top and that entry into civil services is not a ticket to incompetence. We will have better administrators on the top. Reforms should consider clubbing state and Union Civil services officers and only promote the deserving best.
3. The Armed forces and the Police exist to preserve external and internal security. Agreed. While the Armed forces have lived up to their role of protecting the territorial integrity, have the police forces done the same? I do not blame the Policemen for this. I understand the constraints they work under. It is high time the policeman is delinked from political puppet strings
4. Yes, corruption exists in the Armed forces and in the civil services. After all we are Indians. But the Armed forces man is bound by rigid laws and has to try harder to subvert the system. The Military man gets caught for Rs 50 whereas the Policeman gets caught for Rs 250 Crores and the IAS chaps for a multiple of that. But, no denying the fact that corruption exists. The Police should consider an Act swift and similar to the Army Act. Recently the SC upheld the dismissal of an IAF officer for default on property tax since it was unbecoming of an Officer. Imagine this in the civil services. A recent survey found that 33% of all the bribes paid go to the Policeman.
5. Now to Sh Karkare. I ask you – Did he really deserve it? Had Sh Omble been awarded the AC there would have been no murmurs. There has been no resentment for the martyred IPS officer awarded the KC while fighting Naxals. When such an act is awarded the AC there will be a lot of hullabaloo from men who have been through worse but have not even been considered. It is not only in Sh Karakare's case but also when the Govt thought of awarding the KC to the Brig and the IFS officer who were killed in the suicide attack in Kabul that there were a lot of disgruntled murmurs. Why did the MoH. Not award Sh Karkare the Presidents Police Medal for Gallantry? Is the award of this Medal so demeaning? Why has it become so important for the Police to seek an identity separate from itself? We have moved on after the Raj yet our Policemen pride themselves in wearing military badges of rank. This was okay when Military officers were deputed like the Major who took over the appointment of the IG police during the Jallianwala Bagh. Doesn’t it reek of colonial arrogance? Like the term ‘Collector’. Do we need a Collector (of what?) in Free India? Shouldn’t he just be the good old District Administrative Officers which typifies the role he is paid for?
We have to differentiate between the Police and the Military. Their basic training is different. The policeman shoots to deter whereas the Army man shoots to kill. Policing encompasses enforcement of the law of the land while the Army protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nation. The go betweens are the CPOs and the PMFs. They form the transition from Police to Military. The CPOs and PMFs are the auxiliary police and Military respectively.
5. Consider the Military vs. the Civil Services as a whole (State and Union ) and you will find that the Central Civil Services have got the open ended greenback programme while the Military has been given a raw deal

Anonymous said...

Dear sir ,
It is a matter of pride for a man/woman to serve the country in whatsoever capacity he/she can . At the same time , it is the duty of the nation to accordingly compensate the people doing so . When it comes to the Police and the Armed forces , certainly comparisions are made since very few people in India at least understand what the army/Navy/Air Force is all about . As far as due compensation for the Army Officers/Soldiers is concerned , an additional parameter as compared to a Policeman may be written down as below :

a) Long periods of seperation from Family in case of Army personel which is not the case for either Police or IAS .

b) More number of Army personnel die / have died defending the nation since Independence .

c) Army Officers have to follow orders to the peril of their death , which is not the case with IAS/IPS . Take the recent case in Chattisgarh where a large number of Police Officers refused duty in Naxal prone areas !! Pray tell their punishment ? in case they got any ? Still why should they be paid more ?

d) It is a truth that the politicians , Police and Criminals have formed a nexus in most states/Areas and as of today this triad is what is fuelling crime and feeding it !! So the result of the 6 CPC is understandable . It is a classic case of "I scratch your back , you scratch mine " !!

d) We should be thankful that the armed forces are NOT corrupt . Because if that were the case , Imagine what a corrupt Brigade / Divisional/ Corps commander could result into !! The loss of territory during war in such a case will range in order of a few Districts to probably Loss of Delhi in the last case!! But then corruption at levels of DGP do not have any implications similar to those of equivalent or even Lower Ranks in the army !! That is why Chanakya advised his king to pay his generals well !!

e) Additionally , As far as corruption goes , I do not agree that the degree of corruption in armed forces is also same as in Police/IAS . It needs to be noted that firstly , IAS/ Policemen are punished only in case they refuse to share the gains of corruption as per their laid down practices !! and so a very small number comes to notice !! and even then , they outnumber armed forces in numbers despite being 1/10th the size in cadre strength !! Look at most DGPs , they generally retire to huge mansions despite having a pay not more than a Lt General !!

f) The contribution of Army wives is grossly unreported . She selflessly works without any pay/Emoluments to improve the morale through participation in welfare activities , when she could very well pick up a job !! When we decide the compensation package for army officers , why is the contribution of the Army Wife not included ? which needs to be at least , if not more that 30 % salary of what her husband draws!!

g) The salary of a govt servant is decided assuming that he works for 5 days a week and that too 9 to 5 . Where is the compensation when the armed forces are at call 24 hrs a day , 7 days a week and no sundays or holidays ? These holidays themselves amount to 104 days ie 4 months additional pay !!


h) Morever , the salary for an IAS/IPS is pocket money !! since his earnings are much more than what he gets !! and this should be reflected in the pay package . In fact , I am sure that even if these civil servants/IPS officers are given Zero pay ,officially , the number of people aspiring for their job in the current scenario will not reduce since the perks more than make up for anything else !!



ps : In fact you may moderate what I will write now :

a) Is it wrong to say that postings in Police are bought . So a police station in a red light area goes for more money than in a clean neighborhood . and who takes the money for the posting ? The IPS officer sitting at the top !! and since every station has to meet extortion targets , who ends up paying bribes ? peole like you and me , the common man !!

b) Every police station in charge tries to persuade a complainant in case of theft to reduce the amount to be mentioned as loss . This is because he has to pass on a percentage of the crime to his boss !! Where will it end ?

Anonymous said...

@annony..at 12:31..

friend to ur comments i just want to say one thing army men come from the social fabric as u, not justifying anything.

but better, y dont u come on the chat box and ur doubts will be cleared once and for all.

here things r moderated so r slow.

Anonymous said...

Since Babus get paid more they should also be sent to fight in J&K and NE instead of being made to work in offices !!

Anonymous said...

A GOOD FORUM,to get to right inferences on these issues and related matters.
I am delighted,to see that debate/counters/comments are at higher levels of civinity,unlike what we see in parliament &state legislatures.I have been a visitor to British parliament and also keep watching US SENATE on TV channels-What a pleasure to see how diverse views and points are expressed without offending others ;and not loosing sight of the isues.Presently, I am at place with time diff of 12 hrs from IST and the time is obviously mid night to you .Further I am a veteran of 3 decades Mil svc through those years of Wars OF 1962,1965 &1971.
Congrats ! to both ABHINAV AND NAVDEEP.Many points are getting closer to facts and truth.

W O P and Salary(interlinked) ,...etc of IAS,ARMED FORCES ,IPS :-
Do compare and evaluate based on QRs,skills,resposibilities,risks,voluanteer to life of sacrifice and struggle in National interest,....etc and index for loss of freedom&certain FUN RIGHTS under ARMY ACT besides CrPC .It is NATIONAL DEFENCE and then Administration and Law&Order .As an Ex COAS said it is worth even ,pampering them to some degree looking at past history and present conditions . Suitable youth not coming forward to join officer cadre in AF is testimony to conditions of neglect and disparity .
SimPle acid test to the controversy ,my dear ABHINAV , with such background ;why did you not opt for IAFS,INDIAN ARMED FORCES SERVICE-in service to the Nation?
AS A SENIOR CITIZEN I WISH MORE BRAINS LIKE SANDEEP AND ABHINAV ARE IN IAFS.
When we refer corruption,we should compare the extent and degree of corruption in IAS, IPS . I do conceed there is corruption in certain higher echelons of AF and the cases are promptly dealt under ARMY ACT ; Whereas in IAS &IPS the cases carry on for decades nad ultimately no action .





and that is how

Anonymous said...

After going through the earlier work of Abhinav again, I can only thank Navdeep for introducing him to the most widely read blog in the defence commune. I already knew about him but. It is Navdeep’s generosity that he chose to reproduce Abhinav’s letter here for a balanced viewpoint. I’ve been following this blog for almost 8 months now and the beauty lies in its fairness. Otherwise had it been someone with a huge ego, he would never have posted it on the blog as a sequel to the difference of opinion with the same person who has now been shown in a fair light.

Navdeep, I find similarities between your work and Abhinav’s with a slight twist. While you have revolutionised the social fabric and the knowledge level of the entire defence services with a conciliatory approach, Abhinav has been fair in his earlier work to put out in public domain the ills that face the police today and how the IAS is emerging as the ‘brahmin’ in this caste system of various group A services although unlike you he has ruffled a few feathers. While your contribution is openly acknowledged in various fields in the Army, I’m sure Abhinav’s contribution would also be acknowledged but amongst the out of the box thinkers and not amongst the run of the mill bureaucrats. I have a suggestion : both of you should work together in some way and perhaps write a column together showing both sides of the story of the status issue concerning the services. Or at least come together in some forum, we need bright minds like you in all services, and you have one more thing in common, you are both young and still very much respected within the intelligentsia.

Navdeep my experience shows that you do not post comments in which you are praised but I request you to please let this one pass (like a few others) even if you want to edit it. The contribution of you and your family towards the armed forces would remain unmatched for all times to come and I have no hesitation in saying that. Let this be posted please - Having earned quite a few stars and being an old family friend should get me this much advantage.

JJ

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Abhinav
Bravery and emotions can not be mixed. Who would know it better than uniformed people like you. When these awards are decided by virtue of lobbying , well thigs are headed southwards. This is no secret that brave karkare and his party was not shortlisted for AC but for the intense lobbying by Maharashtra govt at the last minute got them AC.
Secondly, this is NOT a debate between army and police. Haven’t so many policemen been awarded AC for conspicuous bravery ( and was there any debate at all?)and don’t you notice in this blog itself that people have criticized govt decision to award Kirti Chakra to a senior army officer killed in a terrorist act.
Please smell the coffee Mr Abhinav and ask yourself in your heart whether this act qualified for AC or not. Our policemen/army soldiers are doing a great job and so many of them are sacrificing their lives. It is humiliating and demoralizing for those brave men that just by virtue of getting killed in the media glare gets you the Highest gallantry award.

deepak said...

dear abhinav,
we acknowledge and are indebted to the police force. But please refrain from comparing the corruption in police with army. It is like comparing the indian democarcy to democracy in pakistan.

The kind of award to the police officers was not just, though we all acknowledge their sacrifice.i was in tears seeing what happened to them.
If the award to them was justified then every soldier and police man who dies doing his duty must be honoured the same way. please accept the fact that, these awards were the compulsuions of a ineffective populist system that wants to cover up their follies by such acts.

SNP Shahi said...

Abhinav has amplified his views in a most scholarly manner where he has equated Army officers/men with all others in the field of corruption also. He has also very well authenticated his comments on corruption in the Army saying that we do not have public dealings so corruption in the army do not get highlighted.

May I request the learned officer to highlight for the benifit of all of us the following points:-

- What percentage of officers and men of the Army send their children to Good Schools in the country or outside due to monetary reasons as compared to percentage of all ranks in the police/civil services.

- What percentage of army men buy/construct flats/houses as compared to those in other services.

- What percentage of Officers/men go seeking jobs after retirement even at lower status/salary as compared to those Abhinav wants us to be compared to.

- What percentage of officers and men in the army seek premature retirement as compared to people in other services.

- What is the treatment meted out to those found corrupt in the Army? How many General rk officers have availed jail terms as compared to senior officers in other services.

Answer to all the above and many more such introspections will lead to realistic comparison of the levels of corruption between the Army and others who we are being compared with.

So far as status of the officers is concerned, at the time of independence or later, In a democracy there is no requirement of allocating greater status to the Army. However, should they be continuously degraded at successive stages post independence.

Rajababu said...

wow some comments eh!!

i do not want to be verbose since i am not gifted in the art of Gab nor weilded a pen in my previous avtars. i want to ask few questions to Abhinav and Navdeep:

Abhinav - What prompted u to join only the IPS and not services that too knowing well that its the second most corrupt service after IAS and contain poeple who to great lengths to bend their backs, supress the downtrodden, support the criminals,carry out fake encounters etc. did u join the cadre to enjoy the same perks. Dont be naive and innocent my dear freind. the classic case of a junior IPS officer like Nimbalkar(1998 recruit and already an SP of a district) speaks volumes of the level of corruption in IPS not forget the senior lots like pasricha, AN Roy, DN jadhav, BB mohanti,SS Virk etc.

though u may add a few servicemen whom i know, but the list is not endless as its in the IPS(Indian Payment Services or Indian Paisavasool Services)

Navdeep

I feel we in the services should not draw parallels to any of the other depts of the Govt as it would be an exercise in futility and create only animosity. The service conditions of various govt depts are different and cannot be compared/equated to across the board. so rather than asking for parity we should ask the govt to scrap the parity proposals totally. There is no point in comparing a IPS/school teacher/police constable with a jawan/subedar/officer as their roles are totally different. as long as there is mutual respect for each others profession there would be hardly any scope for friction. For that to happen we(both IPS & Services) must bury our inflated egos and one upmanship.

menon said...

Why is it that OTHER THAN THE ARMED FORCES NO OTHER GOVT.DEPT HAS TO ADVERTISE FOR PEOPLE TO JOIN WITH BUNKUM LIKE - 'BE THE BEST & DO YOU HAVE IT IN YOU'.

Incredibly Incredulous said...

First, a Warrant of Precedence is not sacrosanct but the logic behind promoting any one up the order and vice versa should be. If it is then nobody, least of all the Armed Forces, would quarrel with it. Challenge it, yes if it deserves it, but quarrel with it, No.

Second, the steep hierarchical pyramid is not based on an internal logic that is obscure. It is based on the necessity that there should be just one Platoon Cdr, One Company Cdr, One CO. Adding numbers at any of the levels will lead either to twin control centres with consequent confusion or worse, to conflicting orders as each Cdr will see things his/her way and pass orders. There is, and I have this on good authority when a certain junior DGP superseded 3 others, that there was heartburn and litigation. As for orders, suffice it to state that many a ADGP or DGP is placed in positions tenured by DCPs, even ACPs with resultant lack of proper use of the experience and knowledge of the ADsGP or DsGP.
Third, Armed Forces have the mandate to fight external threats and the police to most important prevent and then fight internal threats. Pride in uniform is when each fulfills its role completely and comprehensively. Armed Forces derision, if I may use that word, for the Police is because they neither prevent nor fight the internal threat despiet haveing the IB, SSB etc all manned by Police. Armed Forces are incredulous that they are called up on to maintain or restore situations called eponymously internal security. It invites comparison and pay differences because in a private firm one who does not do his work would be fired and one who did the work for the one who was fired would be rewarded.
Fourth, corruption in the Armed Forces is there but not to the extent that it hurts the nation, the Armed Forces,the common man. Witness the Lok Ayukta's finding - one SP caught with assets of more than 250 crores; many lesser ranked officers having assets more than 40 to 100 times their annual income. Give ten percent of the figure in the Lt Gens and equivalents or below that have such disproportionate assets and I swallow my Peak Cap.
Fifth, the Ashok Chakra was instituted for the Armed Forces or those on deputation to the Armed Forces. There is an equivalent award for the Police. I am not sure how much furore would have been there if that award was given to any Armed Forces personnel?

Anonymous said...

Take care of the undermentioned, most of the problems of armed forces oficers would resolve :

- Uniform retirement age

- Liberal exit policy with three months notice after initial engagement of a few years. In case of out break of hostilities officers may be recalled.

- Removal of permanently passed over system.

-Officers may opt to register for accomodation any where in India irrepective of place of posting.

digvijay said...

When it come to gallantry awards or gallantary there is no question of feeling or popularity , courage is courage where others dont dare they do, as a service as duty ,as training as instinct ,as drilled .This also leads to survival ,survival of the fittest .Person can be awarded for meritorious service by the medals ment for them . You should have seen the clapping on the occasion of the awards ceremony on 19 Mar 09, at Rashpati Bhavan .The appreciation & clapping would been very obious , no explanation required .

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Abhinav and others,

In fairness to the debate and its further extension I wish to make the following statements i.e.:

1. Can our Armed Forces be outsourced within the country ? Can similar thing be done to all other govt. services ?

2. Corruption is not only taking bribe but also dereliction of one's duty. e.g. taking a nap on the border post at night by a jawan for a few minutes and letting in whole lot of terrorists. And if just 20% of the jawans did it then what would be the outcome.

3. Responsibility and accountability for the Armed Forces and the rest of the services.

I'm leaving the rest to your imagination

I think the above 'll clear the doubts.

Annonymous

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhinav,
There have been lot of heartburns after the sixth pay commission report was reportedly approved.it was indeed a realisation of the fact that the Manu has been reborn. The armed forces have drawn the max flake for demanding what was denied to them by a bunch of bureocrats.Inspite of all the logical arguments in their favour the govt has stood tight on the issues. However the worst has been the critisism which the AF were bombarded with by so called civ society which otherwise in every form of its existance had stood by them always and everytime. Its indeed a moment of true realisation for every one who was till now decietfully decieved by one and all.The past around seven months when this issue was delivered by the UPA has been the worst for AFs since every one and but for none, have spoken in favour of rightful conception of this illigimate child by unholy intercourse between the babooes and politicians.It has shown us our right place in the society. The adding of insult to the injury has been initiated by generating a debate on the issue by many Abhinavs who may only be expresing their subconsicious grudges nurtured by them for too long a time. Why are they so joyously perturbed when we demand what was our rightful right. Why there has been no discusion about the lesser paid and lesser known services who have been beneficiariies of this sixth pay commission misadventur. I would request and request for good to my dear friensds in other services to realise the fact that the nation grows by contibution of everyone and if we want to build it we got be standing together, flocking together and smiling together. However the pay commsion has divided us and divided us badly. So gentlemen please realise the fact the by dawning a Khaki you have no right to criticise the OG and be a part of the community which is all out to disintegrate this nation. Plesae don't be a Brutus... of the present Genre.

menon said...

BTW there were about 40 ACs awarded post Independence TILL CIRCA 2008 and 11 in one go on 26th Jan 2009.
2009 must surely be a year of the veer sapoot or else the the nation was in peace sans terrorist attacks prior to 2008? J&K and the NE were just shams for our politicians.
OR is it the politicisation of even medals meant for extreme bravery that has been handed out for grabs.
I'm sure our war memorials must be rumbling with our UNKNOWN SOLDIERS turning in their graves. Maybe at this rate I might be able to buy myself an AC over the counter - oops I mean - below the table .

Anonymous said...

Annon@19/3 1113 Dear friend, i think u have no honest reply so u want to chat, Any way if u have a reply please put it in you language i will accept you honesty. If you want to chat u can do it face to face. I will be available. First reply to issue like a civilised person. Thanks

ak said...

dear sir,
mr abhinav is correct that the civil society has the right to honour any one as a martyr and glorify him and we in army are also taught since our trg days not to belittle anyone behind his back especially if he is no more amongst us for any reason.
the moot point in my view is however that
(a)can you denigrade your own army just to show that unlike our neighbours we have our army under civilian control and which will not speak out even on genuine issues.their martyrdom is not questioned, what is felt bad is that life given by the soldier is taken for granted as duty and not considered newsworthy and hence not enough to merit even a homage by the civil society.ask and you will be surprised how few are given gallantry awards compared to how many get injured fatally facing the terrorists.
(b)if asking questions about pay fixation is causing so much heartburn then imagine the the heartburn the serving and retired soldiers are feeling on being neglected only because they are neither a votebank nor part of decision making on their own pay anomalies.
(c)its more than six months but cda is unable to calculate the salary for offrs promoted to the next rank between 01 jan 2006 and sep 2008,has anyone questioned the cda about the cause of the delay.
(d)the retirees during this pd have yet to get they pension fixed ,has anybody thought why.
sir
it is nobody's case that the army is superior to the IAS/IPS OR anybody else but we do expect that the civil society does remember money is not everything but when a soldier goes to a school/college for his childs admission he does feel its lack of it.
amit

Anonymous said...

What is the aim of all this bickering? I do not find this debate intellectually stimulating, as it has got stuck on an issue of pay parity which is not going to be amended because of a sudden state of nirvana which may descend on our hierarchy!
Yes by and large, the participants are agitated and may be justified in their pain and anguish over being meted out stepmotherly treatment. But please remember ours is a govt for and by the bureaucracy and not for the people. You may consider this a little cynical, but this is a fact. The earlier we acknowledge it the better. We in the armed forces are not part of the decision making hierarchy and won't ever be there, because in our collective psyche as a nation, security concerns have always been relegated in the background. Jingoistic patriotism whenever we have had 62 debacle, 71 war, Kargil etc are not what a responsible mature nation resorts to.
We take no actions because we learn no lessons. So let us get over this nonsense, because it only leads to unnecessary heartburn and frustrations. Let us get focused on the job at hand, do it well. It is too much to expect our countrymen to remember the sacrifices of the soldiers.
For us, it is but to do and die , into the valley of death, rode the six hundred.

Anonymous said...

Why are we all so freaked out on this Mr Abhinav ? Like as if it makes a diff what he thinks !

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhinav,

I agree with the general theme of your argument, that bravery and patriotism is to be honoured and respected whether in Army, Police or elsewhere. Also that Warrant of precedence need not be sacrosanct, which we inherited from our erstwhile British masters. However, I do have the following to add

a) True, the WOP may be modified by the Govt of India. But , I guess you too would agree that it should be a deliberate and conscious decision by the government of India. Something like the committee which is being mooted by the govt to look into the relativity between armed forces Vs civilian officers. However, till date, all down gradations of army officer ranks have been,sadly, been done through the back door. ie, by progressively increasing the status of civil officers who were lower in grade;and not by any deliberate decision of the govt, to downgrade military officer's ranks as such. Sixth pay commission did it the other way around. They down graded the army ranks by a step vis a vis civilian officers. So, is it your case that the sixth central pay commission had any mandate to deliberately alter the status or Warrant of precedence or even pay parity/relativities? I would say, the Justice who headed the Commission took the drafts given by the civilian officers in his secratariat at face value and reached at the stated (dis)parities, by not counting Rank pay as part of pay, eventhough clear cut Govt. instructions existed, which were not revealed to the commission. ( Maj Navdeep's blog amply illlustrates the parity issues, so I am not venturing into it, now).

b) You have mentioned that the heirarchial nature of the military and high attrition rate for promotion to higher ranks is a military organizational requirement, and so army officers will have to live with the civil officers getting better promotion opportunities. I disagree slightly; I would rather put is this way: True, it is an Army requirement. But it is also the requirement of this nation to have a functional army, for which maintaining this hierarchical structure is important. So , it is for the govt to implement policies so that army officers too don't lose out vis a vis their civilian counter parts. Lateral entry into paramilitary was a welcome recommendation. But sadly, even that has been put on hold as of now.

c) Can you justify the logic for counting training period as service for IPS, but not for military? The logic given in the cpc report can not be justified in any case, as the Engg officers and Met officers of IAF, are anyway getting their training period counted as service.

d) It is again a functional requirement of the military ( and so a requirement of the Country) that the Generals who head the military should have served and led the army in field. So the requirement of having them to serve such long periods in the junior ranks of Lt, Capt,Major etc,for long years, before they could command units. Very different from the Police, where an IPS officer heads the basic unit of a police station as matter of training for a week or so during his probation only. He takes over as SP of a district in a matter of 5-6 years or so. Well, might work fine for Police, but can't for Army/Navy/IAF.We can not afford to have a General who is not well versed with actual fighting in the battle field. But that is as much a national requirement, as it is an organizational requirementt. So why should the military officer suffer monetarily/status wise when compared to the civil counterparts?

e) You should also understand that not all military officers are pure fighing arm guys, there are Engineers,Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals who are donning the military uniform, and doing their own professions. ( which IAS/IPS/IFS or any other service can not boast of). So Armed forces is more of a reflection of the civil society, and respect for all professions is prevalent in the services. Military guys having only contempt for all professionals and civilians is a myth and popular notion among the uninformed .
Lt Col Praveen.

menon said...

@ anon March 21, 2009 12:02 AM

Its not about getting freaked out. Abhinav is presenting the other point of view.
When we read the Indian papers we feel that the Pakis are out to get us but if we read the Paki Papers we would get the other view. Let us use our maloom to get the REAL PICTURE. And, this will give us the strength and confidence to fight for our rights without being shot down at the SL.
Our contributions would give us the meat to collate and stir up an intelligent reply to support our rights.
After the SCPC the IAS had pased an unwriiten dictat asking their officers not to respond. This would ensure that we come with counter arguments which would be shot down with ease. We, the AF officers were shooting our mouths off and they were reading and collating each word of our internal problems which they would put up to snowball our proposals. In fact what have the Bureaucrats played on to support their chikanery? Firstly they pitted the auxilliary services with the military and secondly they played up on our internal bickering. Have we ever tried the same viz. pitting the IAS against other State cadres and auxilliary services and thier internal All India Services bickering? No. Because we only want our point of view to be heard. Haven't you seen so many of our bloggers going on a tangent talking of a small and petty issues which gives the IAS the spoke to clog our wheels. Though Abhinav is NOT our enemy but haven't we been taught that we must know our enemy?
I feel more such posts from the other side must be put up here for discussions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

Understand GOI/DOP&T have issued orders months back to the effect that upto 20% of All India Services (AIS) officers in PB-3 can be granted annual increment @4 percent of pay in pay band plus grade pay. Can anyone enlighten whether the less fortunate ones can also hope to be extended this provision,as recommended by SCPC for PB-3 officers @ 3.5% and later upwardly revised by CoS to 4%, and if yes by when.

Thanx n regards, xyz

nitin said...

There is no bravery in getting killed by accident... Bravery is when you lay down you life whilst carrying out correct and appropriate actions professionally... The award is for holding up the best traditions of your craft and in the process giving the supreme sacrifice; and not just for losing you life

Anonymous said...

Comments of Abhinav are quite mature and even handed. However, I would like to highlight a few issues raised.
1. Yes, the WOP is not sacrosanct and has not been treated that way. Many inclusions and deletions have taken place over the years. It however appears that the Armed Forces have been the biggest losers.
2. If indeed Armed Forces were better paid than the other Govt Services, how come the manning levels at the unit level just does not seem to improve. I have seen the continuous drop since 1987 when I got commissioned. Why the IAS/IPS do not have deficiency in their ranks? The raising of additional NSG hubs post 26/11 incident is going to further stretch the already over stretched Army. The deficiency in the Armed Forces is not an internal problem, which certain people would like the nation to believe, but is a national problem with massive and serious implications for the nation if not tackled with pragmatism and without the baggage of political/inter service rivalry.
3. Bravery is not the personal property of uniformed personnel. It is a personality trait or situation generated. However, yardsticks for grant of bravery awards should be strictly adhered to and not tampered with for political expediency.
4. The IAS and your fratenity also would like the nation to believe that you are superior to the Armed Forces because of clearing a more difficult and competitive exam, a debatable issue at best. Even for a moment if we agree to this fallacious theory, then Why are the Armed Forces the ultimate weapon/panacea of the Govt?
I may have raised more questions than answered any, but that's the nature of the debate.
Devrishi Singhal

Anonymous said...

Dear Major Navdeep,
I saw your mail reproduced in Report My Signal recently.
Your introduction to Mr Abhinav Kumar has dispelled certain misgivings about him at least in my mind. Though IPS officers unlike their military counterparts are permitted to express their views in public and communicate freely with the press, I couldn't but wonder how Mr Abhinav Kumar could find time from his expectedly busy schedule, to churn out recent lengthy anti Defence services tirades in the media. I wonder if the time would not have been better spent attending to the clearly tense law and order situation all across the country?

That aside, I wish to respond to two points made by him.

Firstly is the issue of diluting valour. The discontent in the Defence community is not over whether Shri Karkare and numerous others got the highest gallantry awards, despite being Police Officers. It is about the ‘qualifying act’ that did not at any stage reflect valour- usual or outstanding/ conspicuous. The community of the ‘bravest of the brave’ cannot obviously be too large and great discretion is needed to put such people in that bracket. In one of the articles, in Garhwal Post I recall, Mr Abhinav Kumar has suggested that even media personnel covering the 26/11 needed to be awarded ( I hope he did not have the Ashok Chakra for each and every TV crew member in mind). I definitely find it ludicrous to say the least.

We in Defence forces rever the brave. Anywhere. Any nationality. Any profession or service . One person about whose bravery and qualifying act there could perhaps be no doubt, is Constable Oomble. The one who got into a hand to hand scuffle with Kasab, causing his capture, but paying for it with his life. Wow, what valour. His should rank as a ‘bravest of brave effort. And even if the act of ‘doing something’ despite being ‘poorly trained’ had to be rewarded to karkare and others , there are ample police medals that could be conferred. Why and How can it be the Highest gallantary award, for people dying in an ambush?

Doling out medals to serve Political and bureaucratic ‘expediency’ by diluting valour cannot be defended.

A word about the bureaucratic ‘expediency’. Call it ‘sibling rivalry’ or what you will, but the civil services have since independence persued an agenda of downplaying (downsizing) the Defence forces. Whether it was the gradual and continuous down slide of the ‘order of precedence’ or cloning and over utilization of the rank insignia by police or the creation of fresher ‘home ministry forces’ raised from time to time, or the ever changing and sneaked in changes in pay structure etc have all resulted from a mischievously introduced insecurity by the bureaucracy into the political mindset. Unmindful of the damage it has done to national security.

Mr Abhinav Kumar’s reference to our neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh etc is obviously to revive the paranoia of a coup by the Military. This bogey is actually responsible for major imbalances in the country’s administration. Nothing can be further from truth, than this one psychosis. India’s first C in C, General Cariappa in one of his first directions after assuming office had ordained that India’s military must stay apolitical. It is a tribute to the ethos of this very fine force that this has remained so till date. Notwithstanding this, there is no recognizable effort to utilize highly motivated, trained and disciplined manpower of the Defence forces into nation building activities/ employment after retirement, which is fairly early in their case. The corporate employs many military veterans trained in multifarious skills at exchequers expense, but unfortunately the nation does not fully utilize this potent force, which is a gross HRD failure. Defence veterans are expert problem solvers with extremely high administrative and numerous technical skills. They should be employed in the plethora of Government organizations, administration, police forces and PSUs.

Secondly, it is nobody’s case that one should play down the others role. Each service has a defined task, but the fact remains that the Defence forces constitute the ‘last argument of kings’. They are niche in any society, as they are in India. Unfortunately in India, they have to keep explaining this, and keep fighting for their rights. When any department/ organization fails, they step in. IF andWhen they ever fail, who else can possibly fill in? Why is this lost sight of? Its not a challenge. Its a warning. Insha Allah that day must not come. For if and when it does, those who have led to it would cleverly, politically / bureaucratically wiggle out of the years of neglect, of decades of cancerous decay and a blame game would start. It is in this light that one must view the downslide of 'precedence' of Defence personnel. There can be no rational to the downslide, and whereas it may be difficult to disagree with Mr Abhinav Kumar's question as to why things need to remain the same, it is equally difficult to fathom why the 'last argument of kings' needs gradual but definite downsliding? This despite NOT failing in whatever is tasked to it.



--
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi,

Anonymous said...

CIVIL - MILITARY RELATIONS – “SNIPERS, STAY AWAY” & “STOP SNIPING” !

Dear Sir,

This refers to your mail of 19 March, along with Shri Abhinav Kumar’s comments {on your blog about his articles in ‘Garhwal Post’ (22 February) and in ‘Hindustan Times’ (3 March)}.

As mine was the first response published (one page in ‘Garhwal Post’of 24 February), I thought I could perhaps add a few more words, here. (‘Hindustan Times’ did not publish my response to “Snipers Stay Away !”).

What Shri Abhinav Kumar has said so rationally and convincingly in his blog now, is in my opinion unexceptional and no reasonable person can disagree with most of it. It is self-evident that all the ‘limbs’ of the State must remain healthy, and function in concert and harmony for the well-being of our country; this harmony can exist only if all these organs of State have genuine esteem and mutual respect for each other, understand each other’s functional constraints/difficulties, culture and existential ethos. But as far as Indian Armed Forces are concerned, unfortunately, it is their perception that this mutuality of esteem and harmony has deliberately been/is being eroded over the years, and it is not the doing of the Armed Forces that the ‘status quo’ is being most purposefully upset, of late !

With this, I would say that Shri Abhinav Kumar’ opinion-piece in the ‘Garhwal Post’ was uncharacteristically (and disappointingly) provocative and abrasive, starting with it’s very title, and it would need a Gandhian to ‘turn the other cheek’ ! Soldiers (even those getting onto their 80s) are not Gandhians, by temperament or training, and hence my immediate riposte (!), on 24 February. But then, we all seem to be like-minded on the basics, and that is all to the good.

I must add that the issue of politicization of gallantry awards for 26/11 in Mumbai needed to be treated with sensitivity, delicacy, and a practical sense of timing; all this was certainly not apparent amongst our “instant commentariat” in end-January ! Certainly, bravery and a self-less sense of duty is not a monopoly of any organization or any particular set of people, and all Indians are capable of gallantry and entitled to it’s recognition. But norms must not be suborned by political expediency. On the other hand, one should have no doubt that fine officers like Karkare and Kamte (incidently, son of a course-mate and a Guardsman) acted and would have acted, with valour and staunchness, whatever circumstances they may have faced.

I would like to end up by saying that one would continue to look forward to read candid, honest and refreshingly articulated views of professionals like Shri Abbinav Kumar, at any time.

Yours sincerely,
Rajendra Prakash,
Dehradun.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,

Para wise reply to Abhinav's query:-

1. If the Warrant of Precedence at the time of Independence is not held sacrosanct then we would have to reconsider the salary of all IAS/ IPS which may result in their landing up in PB-1/ PB-2.
But with a matured democracy like ours these people are able to get away with all kind of non sense and get accommodated in PB-4.

2. Separate pay commission for armed force is indeed a welcome move. His point regarding open ended commitment does not warrant any comment.

3. Sadly it is only the Armed Forces which is committed to preserve the external and internal security of the nation. Same is not at all true for our police force. The Indian police force is a blot on this country as it is an epitome of corruption and inefficiency. It is a utterly distasteful to match them with our armed forces. Mr Abhinav may be good in writing letters but sadly his knowledge about our armed forces is superficial and shallow. Due to which he has made a blunder of even matching our Armed force with Indian Police.

4. On the issue of corruption he has rightly accepted that our police forces are neck deep in it. But as far as our Armed forces are concerned I beg to differ on the issue. With my over 20 yrs of experience in Indian Army I have still not come across any corrupt official. Though heard about few incidents through newspapers and other sources.

5. Lastly I too mourned and cried for one week on my father's death. Can he be recommended for Ashok Chakra?

Mr Abhinav high time for you to wake up and start focusing on improving your own department before comparing pay and allowances.

cheers.

Anonymous said...

REJOINDER TO MR ABHINAV KUMAR’S BLOG




The Warrant of Precedence fixed at the time of Independence was a bench mark. The question is, why should it be changed? Why has the need arisen now? Have the Armed Forces become less important? Has their efficiency and performance gone down? Have their sacrifices become less worthy and infrequent? Have the Armed Forces of India tried to usurp power necessitating their down gradation? Or have the other civil services become more important or produced result out of proportion to their assigned role and expectations? Before one decides to make changes one needs to answer these questions. The fact of the matter is, the bureaucracy has been gradually and in a systematic manner lowering the pay scales of the Servicemen deliberately, so as to lower them in the order of precedence. Why? and with whose permission? Or is it connivance?

The second issue is what is the basis for the Warrant of Precedence? Pay? Is it more fundamental than sacrifices, discipline, dedication and dependability of a service? Is the Warrant of Precedence meant to indicate to the people of the country as to who draws greater pay?

Why should a bureaucrat who has no special skills, training or expertise get the top pay bracket amongst All India Government Services and thus be ahead of other services in the order of precedence? What comparative sacrifices have they made during their service, to the country or to the people warranting them to draw the highest pay? Are we accepting his association, closeness and accessibility to the politician as the criteria for his status? Should we as a matured nation accept such a position? Why in the first place are we suffering these generic bureaucrats when specialists and much better qualified persons with greater experience are available in the country to run the Government? I have no doubt that Service Officers can any day run the Defence Ministry much better than the bureaucrats. Is this system of recruiting bureaucrats to run the administration of the country adopted at the time of independence sacrosanct? Is it because the change is being blocked?

The bureaucrat handles issues of pay scales of all the Government Services including his own. How can he decide on his own pay scales? By virtue of his position he places himself in an advantageous position with no rhyme or reason. This is not being fair to the rest of the work force and to the tax payer. Here we have a situation where the player of one of the teams has become a referee of the match with permission to shift the goal post at his will. Is it sacrosanct that he receives the highest pay scales and remains on top of the Warrant of Precedence? Shouldn’t a non IAS department or team handle the pay and status issues of the bureaucracy? A bureaucrat is no more than a staff officer to a Minister. He neither a leader nor a commander.

The next question is, why should the warrant of precedence be changed surreptitiously by the bureaucracy? Who should have the authority to lower or upgrade the Warrant of Precedence of a service? The bureaucracy? If such a position is acceptable, why not allow the constitution to be amended by the bureaucracy which too was drafted at the time of Independence?

Every individual who takes up a career does so to meet his needs both physical and psychological. Some join a service for income, some for fame, some for pleasure of carrying out research and thus serving the humanity etc. We in the Armed Forces have joined the service for its way of life, discipline and the honour and prestige which the country bestows on its soldiers compared to the others. No one, least of all the bureaucracy has the right to snatch it from us at their will and thus deny us the very basis of one’s entry into the Services.

The steep pyramid in the armed forces and the high rates of attrition at each rank, are features that exist not due to the internal logic of the Armed Forces but because of the need to maintain a young and a responsive force. Like in the Police, would it be alright to have a Major General each heading each of the branches in a divisional headquarters and an additional one working as the head of the fighting elements? Isn’t it a joke? Are we not subverting the system? Is this internal logic acceptable to any rational and thinking man?

The author has stated that the sheer size of the officer cadre of the Armed Forces makes it next to impossible to make a meaningful comparison with the much smaller IAS/IPS cadres. Is it the fault of the Officer Cadre? What is the rank wise officer man ratio in the services versus other services? If the country needs a large standing Army, the strength of the armed forces including the strength of the officer cadre will obviously go up. Incidentally, why are we comparing the pay scales of the Officers alone? What about the troops? Compare their income, service conditions, physical hardships, risks, family life, retirement age, problems of re - employment, pension and family pension with that of the other Government Services. Are we being fair to this component of our society?

Isn’t what Sam Manekshaw achieved in 1971 significant and decisive? Has our country ever achieved such a glory any time in the past or is there any possibility of such a victory in any foreseeable future? Is that any less than the services provided by the other services or individuals in this country? Did he not deserve the Bharat Ratna? Can one not spot the contempt in this straight forward issue? What message are we trying to send to the youth and people of this country?

The author has talked of corruption. Corruption may exist in the Defence Forces but I can say with total confidence that the extent of corruption in the services is much lower than in the other services. In fact I can say that the corruption in the Fighting Arms is almost negligible. One needs to serve in the services to understand what I am stating. The civil society from where the stock comes has changed and the change in the Armed Forces is but inevitable.

The sacrifices made by the Policemen in the Mumbai incident are no less than what the personnel of any other service in the country have ever made. The losses to the families of these men are no less either. No one questions the emotional wisdom and affection of civil society when it chose to honor them. The Services, specially the fighting arms are fully aware as to what it means to sacrifice one’s life in a situation like this. The question that has risen does not refer to the award per se but to the award of Ashok Chakra which is considered equivalent to Param Vir Chakra and is awarded after very careful scrutiny purely on the merit of bravery shown in fighting. These men could have been awarded a very special medal or decoration constituted for this very operation along with a monetary award. No one would have said a word. The result is, the value of these two decorations stand degraded and it would be a Herculean task for any commander to explain the non grant of such an award to a servicemen in similar circumstances which very often than not goes unreported in the services. How are the Police and other forces going to deny an Ashok Chakra to a person belonging to the Security Forces in the future under similar circumstances?

With Best Wishes and Regards,

Yours Sincerely,

Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retired)

harry said...

i hope our esteemed IPS officer reads the comments and try and understand them objectively

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Abhinav Kumar'

We are yet to receive your comments on straight statements by Anonymous@ March 20, 6:24pm.

Waiting for THE ENLIGHTENMENT.

Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Anon @21 Mar 9:02 PM,
I hope mr abhinav reads your comments with out any delay.
I appreciate your clarity of thoughts and frankness.

well said dude. keep it up.
Best wishes.

Rajababu said...

Rejoinder to what i wrote earlier,

Abhinav, u may be a good writer but all writer/journalists do not become good policemen. the way ur writing u surely look like some human rights activist.

so my advice to u stop bothering about services and parity issues. concentrate on police reforms instead.

Are u aware that in some news report by ur peers(journos) the Karnataka police HQs was over staffed with IPS offrs. It looks like nobody wants to go to rural areas to serve, but want to stay put in the cities only for reasons best known to them.

with so much cleanup actions required in house why are u bothered about others. set ur house in order first and then think about others

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

We have allowed people like Mr Abhinav to think that they are superior to GOD... Well that is what his writings reek of..

Anonymous said...

I want to make just one point for Mr Abhinav. If he thinks bravery awards are to be given based on emotions and public opinion then I feel he is grossly off the mark. Going by his standards every soldier who goes out on patrol or some other operation and falls to enemy bullets desrves to be given an Ashok Chakra. If they still insist on their fallacious and dangerous logic of handing out gallantary awards based on sob stories defence forces must dlink their system of awards and have entirely differen catagories of gallantary awards which are offerd to defence personnel based on sringent criteria in rare cases. Police officers are mere Babus in uniform and will not understand this logic and go on denegrating the gallantry awards. We must make a departure before the gallantry awards become mere gongs and start attracting redicule. It is beyond Mr Abhinav to understand this logic.

Anonymous said...

dear all,
greetings,
let's welcum abhi with open hands as a person from armed forces can be transferred to sister services with the sanction of the president and vice-versa. so to say that all evils can be transferred to less lucrative/less oppurtunity posts and dedicated souls be transferred to places where such openings will close automatically.
let's all join together to make a less corrupt world by actions not by mere words.
media should play a prominent role
to ensure free and safe transitions.

Anonymous said...

Section 21. Public Servant


The words "public servant" denote a person falling under any of the descriptions hereinafter following namely:-

1[* ****]

Second.- Every Commissioned Officer in the Military, 2[Naval or Air] Forces 3[4[* * *] of India];

gentlemen,
basically i want to stress that our Indian law has made defence and sister service ie IPS and IAS
as equals.By special provisions exercised the officers can be shifted,so why not to exercise this in catching corrupt officers and sending to kala pani!!!

menon said...

Abhinav, You have read the views of the Services & we expect you to get into a meaningful debate on the aspects discussed here.
This would help in removing any biase, if it exists.

Can we have your views on the points discussed here?

Anonymous said...

Ashoka chakra to police officers in 26/11 was a political chakra. Read the citation of these officers & you would realise that if they were in the Army, they wouldn't have even got a handshake from their superiors.Please donot politicise the Ashoka Chakras.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Abhinav seems to have gone into hibernation after writing a few articles, which unfortunately the Armed Forces officers cann't counter in media due to service constraints. I'm sure these rules will change with times as our democracy becomes more mature and stronger with the help of our countrymen , aided by the ever sacrificing Armed Forces.I request him to update himself professionally like The Armed Forces , lead his men like a true leader and do a stint in SAG of NSG alongwith others of IPS fraternity. This will help in allowing The Armed Forces to give due attention to their primary role, which has become all the more crucial in the present scenario.

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhinav,
Keep up the good work.I wish we had many more like you then these Babus wouldn't have ignored us for so many years. I am surprised if Indian Military cannot be like Pakistan's; our military could have atleast done a "BDR" to these faceless babus after such a humiliation in sixth CPC.
Look at their guts, they continue to measure military's patience!!!It's high time the Indian Army produces a "Musharaf" or there could be a BDR or in the worst case Indian military will be reduced to the level of private security.

Anonymous said...

Let us face truths as they come. The civilside gets what they want because of the favours done to politicians while in and out of power. just see the musical chair when the Govt changes. So far they had left the Army alone.Another roumer has it that what we see are first steps of a clever move to put the Army under the police and IAS for anti-naxal operations. The police had been wanting to get out of this for a long time.In this design they already have the support of of our many arm-chair soldiers and specialists in various univs and think tanks a-la-US style.As for bravery awards well he has to defend it somehow.It is just one of those things like the Rajyasabha seats. The difference between what the founding fathers wanted and what we see to-day.

menon said...

Abhinav. Nothing personal, but since you began this debate it is but natural that people expect you to respond. Your silence may give people the feeling that you have chickened out after shooting your mouth in a frenzy. After this Ashok Chakra awards 2009 episode there is a general feeling amongst service personnel that the Indian Policemen are not proud of their identity and need to piggy back upon the image of the Armed forces right from aping miltary uniforms to preffering military awards over duly constituted awards of,and for the Police. That self respect is missing which leads to poor morale and professional conduct.
Your views are respected but will hold better credibility if they stand up to an open debate.

birju said...

Bravo Mr Kumar! So now you want to co-opt the Services in observing the 'Omerta' Code being followed by the politicians, Bureaucrats and Policemen in the country! Is the aim to devalue one of the last honours and awards in the country that still carry some credibility-namely gallantry awards.

Well done!!!

Anonymous said...

Well I respect Mr Karkere and his collegues sacrifice. The only difference is awards gave a touch of nationalistic considerations. It was also covered by Srinivas jain of NDTV. Nevertheless any loss of life in the line of duty is truly worthy of 21 Gun salutes.The public is also wise enough to understand the grades of valour. Definitely Army soldiers die differently as compared to Navy/AF/Police.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

Friends, here is Abhinav's rejoinder on your comments :


Dear Sir,

It has been a little over a week since you kindly agreed to post my response on your blog. As I write this about 70 odd responses have been posted, I think mostly by officers from the Armed Forces, and a few of them have asked me to respond further. I am responding at some length even at the risk of repeating some of my points.

Some of the remarks posted by officers under the comfort of anonymity were disappointing. The Army Act is a poor excuse for not having the courage of your convictions to own up to your opinions. The officers who did this in my humble opinion are neither true to the military ethos nor show any attempt to seriously understand the predicament faced by police forces across the country. My writings have got me into trouble with the authorities too but as a public servant that is a small price to pay for joining the debate on issues of national interest.

Our police forces grew out of the Armed Forces of the British Raj. Not only this but for many years in the British Raj civil and police assignments were routinely given to Army officers who were to be eased out due to less than bright prospects in mainstream soldiering. This is a historical fact but we cannot be hostages to history and this legacy cannot form the basis of the attitude that an Army officer can do a better job of running civil administration which is more than evident in many responses on your blog.

Talking about my own profession the British saw the police merely as an accessory to the Armed Forces in maintaining their rule. The needs of criminal justice, prevention and detection of crime and public service were not a significant part of their scheme of things. And so at the time of Independence we had a police force that was little more than an ancillary gang of thugs for advancing the colonial imperative of which the Armed Forces were the prime guarantor. Turning a blind eye to brutality and petty corruption, suppressing professionalism by treating the police as poor cousins of the Armed Forces and encouraging a general sense of alienation from the common man were essential elements of this strategy. Despite 60 years of independence we have been unable to get rid of this legacy. Someone quoted an example of a Major being appointed as IG of Amritsar in the early years of the 20th century, that might have worked then, but to suggest that this would work now betrays both arrogance and ignorance of the professional aspects of policing in equal measure. The IPS must bear the primary responsibility for redressing the worst aspects of this legacy but we need a fair amount of understanding from the Armed Forces which judging from the tenor of many of the posts is not very likely in the present scenario.

The military sub culture lays emphasis on discipline, sacrifice, physical courage and a tightly knit espirit de corps that requires a deep rooted sense of exclusivity. But it is sad to see from the responses on your blog that this has also apparently led to a less than healthy sense of contempt and incomprehension for other professions. The values mentioned above are also important in the police sub culture but these have to be tempered in our case by the chaotic demands of democratic accountability. Police work today requires a whole range of intellectual and interpersonal skills over and above physical prowess. In the battlefield I would never be as brave or skilled as my counterparts in the Armed Forces, but place a police officer in front of a violent mob of a few thousand people with only a handful of men armed with obsolete weapons and lathis and this object of your contempt somehow delivers. I hope you appreciate that this too requires not merely courage, but also requires patience and presence of mind and a sense of empathy for the rage and frustrations of our fellow citizens, and which is why every day across the country 9 out of 10 times that mob goes home without a major incident. As a profession policing deserves respect and serious thought in its own right as much as medicine, law or soldiering. It is a key element of a criminal justice system and the rule of law, both essential to a democratic society. That it has been unable to do so in our country is a sad comment not merely on the IPS but on other institutions too such as the Armed Forces who have actively sought to belittle it.

Some of the respondents have talked about the fact how the Army is called to clean up the mess after every major calamity and still it is given a raw deal when it comes to Pay Commissions and the Warrant of Precedence. We in the police daily face the brunt of public anger for situations that are completely out of our control. There is a power shortage, burn the police chowki, there is a water shortage let's gherao the thana, there is unemployment let's block the highway, we want reservations for our caste, let's lynch a few cops. We in the police today are the lightening rod for all the public anger directed at the failures of the Indian state. So should we also adopt the attitude that we have no responsibility for attending to this mess? On one hand officers on your blog have been preaching the virtues of the Armed Forces in always responding to national crises as the defender of democracy and protector of the nation and on the other hand they seem to think it is a favour the Armed Forces are doing to civil society. The inherent contradiction and irony of this position is not acknowledged.


You are fortunate in the Armed Forces that your internal organization and administration is still largely insulated from our corrupt and dysfunctional democracy. We in the police, despite the best efforts of successive generations of dedicated IPS officers to gain professional autonomy, alas do not have that luxury and are expected to deliver sometimes with both hands tied. There is no peace time posting for us, where we can rest, regroup, provide much needed leave and training. In the worst governed parts of the country police officers have an average tenure of less than 6 months. The outcome of criminal investigations are openly determined by political considerations. The men and women who we may pursue and prosecute as criminals end up as public representatives who we have to protect and salute. Our training is neglected, our weapons and infrastructure are obsolete, our men are housed and clothed in wretched conditions. The IPS bears responsibility for this sad state of affairs but it is not a situation entirely of our own making or something we can redress on our own. Reform in the police is required on all fronts, especially on the issues of better performance, accountability and the sense of public service. Surely a key element of reform will have to be improving the living and working conditions of our police forces. But if better pay and working conditions for the men in khaki are always going to invite protests from our cousins in olive green then it is going to be a hopeless task. It is a separate matter that the plight of the jawan, whether in the armed Forces or in the police is now cynically used as a pawn by their respective elites to gain further privileges for themselves.

I respectfully disagree with the officers who claim that corruption in the Armed Forces is negligible or not a cause for concern. The recent controversy over the transfer of Gen Panag from the Northern Command is a case in point. It is not enough to say there is no corruption in the fighting arms and it is only the blokes in ASC or Ordnance who practice corruption. This is reflective of the caste system that is internally prevalent in the Armed Forces. Of course corruption in the Armed Forces is not directly at the expense of the common man and therefore it does not translate into a strong negative perception as it does in the case of the police. But as a few officers have accepted on your blog, it does exist, it is serious and it is just as detrimental to the national interest as corruption elsewhere.

This does not in any justify police corruption, nobody can deny that it exists, at the lower level it is all pervasive and at the higher levels it is a much more serious cause for concern. This is something I have extensively commented upon but if the argument is that because the police are corrupt they don't deserve better pay or working conditions is a vicious circle that we will have to break out of at some point.


With regard to the All India Services, our Founding Fathers had a clear vision for them to play an important role in the task of nation building. To the extent that Sardar Patel threatened to resign if the Constituent Assembly did not accept his position. Of course the IAS/IPS have fallen well short of the expectations but that to my mind creates a case for civil service reform and not civil service bashing. Please remember that even today the best of the IITs and IIMs aspire to end up in the civil services. Some youngsters may want to join the civil services today with the unscruplous motive of securing a big dowry and then embarking on a life long career in corruption. However to say all of us are like that is uncalled for. I am sad to see that our officers of the Armed Forces who responded on your blog have such little appreciation for the undeniable intellectual pedigree of the civil services. At any given time even the IAS and the IPS have 15-20% vacancies against their authorised strength. So to point to the shortage of officers in the Armed Forces as proof that they are no longer an attractive career for youngsters and therefore they must be given the status they enjoyed in 1947 is simply not valid.

On the issue of Lt Col and their equation with the DC and SP, I would reiterate that the basic unit of our governance is the district and the DC more so and the SP to a lesser extent share responsibility for it. The authority they wield and the responsibilities they have are in the present peacetime scenario are perhaps of greater relevance, for both better or worse, to the lives of a common citizen than a Lt Colonel. This ground reality will not change even if Lt Colonels were given the pay and allowances and protocol of the Cabinet Secretary. The point I am reiterating is that the Armed Forces have their own organizational requirements that dictate their pyramid and promotional avenues and to demand that civil services should be subject to the same is neither practical nor in the wider public interest. The Army may require at least 15-20 years experience before an officer is given independent command as a full colonel or equivalent. In the civilian setup the requirement is less in terms of no of years of service. But to argue that this means the civil services are not professional or less professional than the Armed Forces on this ground alone amounts to comparing apples and oranges. The responses on your blog show a shocking ignorance or indifference to the complexities and challenges of civil administration amongst our Armed Forces and this is neither good for the Armed Forces nor good for the nation.

Many respondents have rightly pointed out that the Armed Forces are the most respected institution in the country today. But this respect will not remain unchanged if the officers of the Armed Forces revel in mudslinging their civilian counterparts, or adopt trade union like tactics to push their demands, or do not show proper appreciation of the constraints in managing the evolution of a developing society within a democratic system. While my writings may have angered many serving and retired members of the Armed Forces, even though I never questioned either their patriotism or professionalism while the same courtesy has not been reciprocated, many common citizens have expressed agreement with my arguments. Perhaps now this unfortunate saga of the 6th CPC is behind us, all of us, soldier and civilian alike, can go back to our primary task of serving our country.

warm regards

Abhinav Kumar

Anonymous said...

Mr. Abhinav,
The parallels drawn by you are somehow unconvincing and un asked for. Firstly you only come up with the artical and then its you only who tries to say that the rage shown by Army officers is uncalled for.
I think your statements itself are contradictory and as brought out earlier also you should check your facts. If you check up then you will hardly find any B.Tech. student appearing in civil services exam. Its the students of M.tech. who appear in civil services exam and there is a reason to it. Taking admission in M.tech. gives them time and the money of scholarship to pursue their dream of civil services. So next time pls check up and then speak.
Another point I want to tell you is that the respect for the OG will not diminish by raising a point against hedonism of civil servants cos even today also if you go to public i.e. AAM JANTA you will have your answer that whom do they respect more.
Irony of this nation is that we have such meek and weak political system that our politicians have to agree to whatever the beaurucrats say cos they themselves have shady deals which these beaurucrats might disclose.
You should thank Armed Forces that we are still serving this nation of nincompoop politicians and corrupt beaurucrats. Wait for the day when this very AAM JANTA greets you with sandals and chappals