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Monday, April 20, 2009

An IAF system worth emulating which can be put into motion for the Army and Navy too

The blog post “How can RTI Act be practically interlinked with welfare of defence personnel” generated some really interesting replies.

One of these really caught my eye :

“…In IAF we follow a different approach. When the letter is sent from the unit to the SP & DM, the same is also sent to the Air Force Provost Unit under whose jurisdiction the home address falls. The staff of Air Force Police makes a visit to the home address of the Air Warrior to know the actual facts and assist the family members to lodge the FIR and other formalities…”

The other two services can definitely emulate this. Whenever there is a police dispute-related problem at the home front of serving personnel, apart from letters to the local administration, some men from the nearest provost unit can visit the concerned thana or chowki in full military uniform and liaise with the police to get the issue sorted out at the earliest. Besides being a good morale booster, such a policy could definitely yield results since it would send the correct message to the local administration about our organisation intimately being involved and interested in looking after the welfare of our personnel. Also the stamp of the visit of ‘Military Police’ would give the necessary impact and force to the situation ultimately providing impetus towards resolution of the problem at hand. In case of non-resolution of the issue at the JCO/NCO level, an officer of the Provost unit can liaise with the SP / SSP of that particular district. Such a visit by CMP personnel would also help units analyse the gravity and legitimacy of the problems in question.

This is one thing which needs no change in policy. Provost units are inherently supposed to maintain close liaison with the Police and co-ordinate with the Police set-up as and when required. A simple letter from the Services Headquarters to set such an in-house policy in motion could work wonders for this very common predicament faced by our personnel who are posted far away from their places of residence.

It would be nice if readers could leave comments out of experience or otherwise on how to fine tune such a system to provide succour to our personnel facing such problems at home.

Also, whenever letters are endorsed to DCs and SPs about welfare of serving personnel, one copy should also be marked to the Zila Sainik Welfare Office / Zila Sainik Board. The District Sainik Welfare Officers have at their disposal the services of ‘welfare workers’ who are retired NCOs / JCOs of the services and whose duty is to co-ordinate with district authorities for the welfare of serving and retired personnel. In Punjab for instance, many-a-times the problems of defence personnel get sorted out by a proactive policy of making such ‘welfare workers’ visit and liaise with the local authorities for resolving issues concerning defence personnel.


BC said...

Excellent idea, Army must follow this. Authorities please take some initiative in this regard.

Col VT Venkatesh(Retd) said...

This is where ESM org , if org properly can take up this job & do it more effectively.
ESM org need to unite & take care of the problems of both serving & retired personnel.
The service may not be free.How ever no one will mind paying small sums for such a service.
All we need is unity & make effective use of technology to set up the system.
This will provide employment to many ESMs also

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Too good an idea. Amount spent in establishing such Provost Units will not be a waste. Due to vastness of work load it is doubtful whether the
Army will be able to do it or not. But it is not impossible. The DSS&A Board or Sanik Welfare Department of the State is absolutely a waste. At least in Kerala I find it essential to close them down and taken over by detachments of serving personnel akin to the AF Provost Unit. The men too on retirement copy the bad habits of civilian bureaucrates and turn more dificult to handle than others. But will our Army Generals ever think of it until they retire. As Maj Navdeep has hinted somewhere, our Generals and Servie HQs can defenitely improve the quality of our men and veterans. There is no need of blaming the bureaucrates and govenment for it. The digree of difficulties introuced in availng CSD and ECHS facilities is typical example.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,

The idea is good but seeing the size of IAF, in case of IA we are holding a very large strength and we need to augment the strength of our Mil police for this purpose.
But i think it is a viable idea.


Anonymous said...

Dont raise too many issues.These can be delayed till those more important issues are resolved.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Anony at 8.04 AM

What are these 'more important' issues for you ?

PB-4 ???

Sorry, this blog is meant for military benefits and issues and is not restricted to the 6th CPC.

Anonymous said...

It is a wonderful idea which can monitor grievances of def pers but airforce being small org it may be working .It is generally seen that one visit to any civil office bring no outcome as most of time either auth / concerned pers are away on leave /duty or committed in other issues. So most of visit by CMP may go waste. It will be more appropriate if we can have active Sainik Boards and local NCC units can detail some military pers in full uniform on such duties who can coordinate with CMP(min JCO +) who may be from Sub Area visiting once/twice in a month to Distt HQ and proper timebound feedback system is installed like RTI to monitor progress from Sainik Boards.Watch.

digvijay said...

Iam happy that you are reminding the the autorities that that there is always a scope for improvement . we outht to take our jobs with challenge , look frontiers that have not been explored .This is a good reminder though the army is aware of it .

Anonymous said...

Yes, a very good idea. No harm in plagiarizing a useful and worthwhile idea from a sister service! But it must be by CMP and not units like NCC if it is to be effective.

Why do we look to 'adjust'? Add this duty to the role of the CMP and don't hesitate to ask the Govt. to auth more CMP pers to the Corps. I feel it IS a valid requirement.

Kulu 65 said...

A brilliant idea and why not!
We have been thinking all this while that our organisational set-up is great and we can look after the welfare of our serving as well as retired personnel very effectively. Sorry to say that its a misconception.
We do need to look into this aspect of welfare more closely and find solution to ameliorate the condition of our men. Maj Navdeep's idea is great and our individual services should put an effective system into place. If Airforce can do it why not the Army and the Navy. Though it would be better, if we could pool in resources and have a combined tri services set up to look after this aspect.

Unknown said...

Col PC Dhanraj,VSM, CO Provost
MG & G Area, Colaba, Mumbai said...

All this is well said.. Let me tell you that nothing is impossible.. Military Police has sufficient strength and the where-withal to do this.. The only thing is that such info must be informed to the Military Police also while writing to the District Authorities so that we can do the needful.. In the last one year that I have been here I have been able to solve such problems for four such needing families of soldiers serving in remote areas.. I have noticed that visit by CMP pers to the civilian dignitaries and Police Officers have a lot of say and such visits never go waste.. I am saying this out of experience.. I sincerely hope this suggestion is taken cognizance of seriously by all concerned as it will be very helpful to our troops who are serving in far flung areas..

Cdr N S Chauhan said...

It is an excellent practice by IAF,which needs to be implemented by the other two Services.
City dwellers cannot imagine the impact such a visit by NP/MP will have on all concerned at the village level.
Man Navdeep needs to be congratulated on bringing this to the noitce of all concerned.

Anonymous said...

It is quite irritating to see that whenever a good idea is introduced, the first reaction of Army officers is that Army is too vast for the idea to be implemented. Now that we all know that Army is big, what's stopping us from thinking BIG?
There are quite a few ideas in Air Force worth are worth emulating- Separate accounts officers and logistics officers who hold those appointments for whole of their careers by virtue of their training in those branches. Army units can easily emulate these ideas rather than rotating the appointment of QM and accounts officers amongst various company/battery commanders or subalterns.
There are plenty of other ideas but let's see what happens to the one introduced by Navdeep. I am sure it'll not survive the first resistance level only- Army is too big for a good idea!!!;-)

medical specialist said...

In any field of work, the best quality of care is proportional to the knowledge of the practitioner

so u see IAF might be more intelligent thats why there systems are tuned up....but well army has stood the times being old and large..

i guess for any thing to happen big ideas should be appreciated and if possible should be implemented in phases. Initially in Div / Area level who already have pro units.

And Navdeep is right I do see lot of negativity in Army esp in youngsters and in older lot i see resistance to change.

Anonymous said...

dear sir,
why dont you write a book. "How to handle mil issues" by Maj Navdeep. I am telling you you will get good money also,the book will sell like hot cake. we can always gift such books to our policy maker if they are falling short of ideas instead of wasting time in trivial issues. give a thought!

Anonymous said...

brilliant idea...
however navy stations are located only in hand full of places with majority of units located in south india... on the contrary, perssonal enlisted in navy are predominantly from north... so if this system could be integrated amongst all three services, it would be more fruitful. Ex;- if a naval sailor in north india has a problem at his home town,provost of nearest air/ army unit may involve. similarly if army person has a problem in a station where there is only naval unit, naval provost may involve... Any leagal hassals in implementing this idea?Awaiting respons before i suggest in proper forum in my service...

C2H5OH said...

1.The army being the 'bigger' organization has an advantage.It can reach any corner of the country!Its not 'too big'- The US Army is bigger & they do look after their own. Its a matter of attitude. 2. Surely the NCC units too can be used. Just task a group of 'C'certificate cadets with solving a problem before they can earn their certificates. The problem may get solved & the cadets get to know the meaning of the line 'Do you have it in you?' !!

pawan said...

Dear bloggers
Maj navdeep has drawn the attention towards a definite solution to existing problem. Officers and Tps must be apprised of this and any effort in sharing information with nearest provost/ any defence unit for rendering assistance must be welcomed by all. It is better than sitting and cribbing in sitting rooms and offices.

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Though in normal cource, the units can defenitely seek mutual services within Army, Navy and Air Force Pro Units, issue of an SOP on following lines from the service HQs will be ideal
1. Units directly approach the civil departments
2. If the issue is not resolved, use RTI
3. With the information so obtained forward the case to the nearest Pro Unit
4. If not resolved, the Pro unit should project the case to the Formation HQs to bring it in the Civil-Defence Liason meeting /Cell to resole it at Formation Commander/Chief Secretary level

When the civil department come to know of this channel, they will defenitely resolve the problem at the intitial stage itself

Samy said...

@ col NR Kurup

Though i fully admit the that we should have a SOP and get it implemented too. But problem is the authority to conclude the SOP would take its own sweet time to prepare a one if they do agree to prepare ONE. Thats the flaw in our system. And we are more lethargic than the civil baboos in such aspects


Col Rajinder Singh (Retd) said...

This system is already there in the Army. If the concerned Station HQ is informed by the unit, the Adm Comdt concerned is supposed to take all actions to assist the Soldier/ESM. Perhaps this is not well known and there is a need to apprise all concerned through official letters and media.

Anonymous said...

Navdeep Sir,

Pls comment on the views of the anony writer of your previous blog (reproduced below):

Dear Navdeep,

Kindly educate us on the issues pertaining to Col TS as brought out by anony 19 apr/10:11 pm.

For a change, this vital issue will take away the focus of the bloggers from pb 4 which in any case has been sorted out. The delay in implementation is causing negativity in some of the desperates.

Please also witre on implementation of uniform retirement age for all officers. I strongly beleive that no sooner the uniformity in retirement is brought out we would be heading for time scale Maj Gen rank and abolishing of permanently passed over system. This in turn would redress major grievance of service officers pertaining to parity with civilian Gp A officers.


April 20, 2009 10:42 PM


Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Col Rajinder Singh,
What is enumeratted in Maj Navdeep's blog is entirely different from what is prevelent in the so called Station HQs. Can you please quote a single incidence where the Adm Comd of a Sta HQ has sent the JCO of the Pro Unit to resolve an issue an suggested in the blog ?

Anonymous said...

This will be real SEVA THATHA SAHAYATA.

AviaScorp said...

Samy and Col Kurup Sir,

Talking is good, but let us do something about it while we can.

I command one of the units of IAF and my first 'Action' was to take a print out of Maj Navdeep's 'Education' about using RIT to our advantage for welfare of our pers. The copies of this printout were circulated to ALL the units co-located with my Unit with a copy to my Comd HQ for formulating a policy. A week after forwarding the letter, I am told, an "Official" policy on the subject will be issued shortly.

The 'Authority' for making an SOP for using the 'provost' facility of all three services, in my mind, would be the HQ IDS (Aren't they the one to deal with Tri-Services' Matter.

Well, to begin with, I am pushing out an official letter (through my HQ) for this issue to be sorted out by IDS.

I am not just hopeful. I am positive, something will come out of it.

These are 'our' defence services. If, as officers, WE don't do something about issues plaguing us, I am sure, no one from outside is going to come and clean the system for us. We HAVE to do it ourselves.

Col Kurup sir, I really appreciate the effort put in by you to solve the problems of those 'four' families while you could. Isn't that what wearing a 'uniform' is all about.

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Dear Mickey,
God Bless you. If all the service officers make 25% of the efforts taken by you, we might not have been mute witness to Jantar Mantar episode. I sincerely wish to ask those Generals as to what they had done while they were in service. You may not believe me. I had to struggle hard using Right to Information Act(BEFOE THE CIC) against an Army Officer MD., ECHS for the atrocities introduced by him in ECHS. I won. He is removed or he has left the ECHS, MD post. I do not wish to take credit. But I had succeeded in improving ECHS here exactly the way I fought for. The benefits are seen spilled over to all as seen in the recent ECHS Bullettin. (This was after my retirement)

While in service my pattern of working was more or less the same as yours. While in service I had observed that certain State Govt. give Municipal Tax exemptions to soldier's own house. A case was initiated to Kerala State government and had persued for some time even when I was posted out to another unit. Later I lost track. Someone else also might have been persueing it. Around 2004 I was surprised to see that my initiative has succeeded and Kerala Government has sanctioned Municipal Tax Exemption to Soldier's one house.

What I was driving home is that a little bit of effort by all serving offices towards ex-servicemen/soldier's welfare can yield unnblelievable result. You yourself might be a benefactor of your own works.

Anonymous said...

Is any Naval Officer hearing

Col Rajinder Singh (Retd) said...

Dear Col Kurup Well I have done this several times as Adm Comdt of a Station while in service. In fact I had instituted a system of a retd army officer per district that came under the perview of this station. This officer was required to report matters wherein ESM requiring any assistance in terms of ECHS registration as also cases of distress amongst the retired soldiers and any other assistance wherein it was felt that the station could help. I assure you the system worked wonderfully.

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

Dear Col Rajinder Singh,
Those are odd silver linings. But what is envisaged in this blog is little different. This is about an SOP to deal a cituation where a seving soldier is confronting certain problems in his home town and the civil administration is not bothered due to their concept of insignificance of a solidier. The above method as followed by the IAF will ensure that the civil administration help the soldier to sort out his domestic problems like land encroachment, harassement to family members by vested interest using the services of corrrupt public servants etc., etc.

Unknown said...

Dear All,

Its an excellent idea, which IAF has adopted. Col Venkatesh has an appropriate take on this issue. Our ESM are required to be org in meticulous manner to address these issues. It can be done district wise on the skeletal lines of NDMA org, wherein a Chairman can be nominated under whom various managers should function to address specific issues.
However, this kind of approach would require certain monetary support which needs to be well carved out from the defence budget itself.


sphinx said...

for once i find IAF has done something better than the Army.