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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something which we should definitely debate : Disarming Charm by Karan Thapar

The following appears in the Hindustan Times, an advisory note by Karan Thapar. Before moving to Mr Thapar's write-up, I would like to say something. While I do not want to be judgemental or take sides, I think he is right to an extent, but we need to debate this. I sincerely believe that rather than seeking ‘special’ indulgence, we should on the contrary seek ‘equal treatment’. We should instead ask the political executive to be treated equally with All India Services as far as status, pay and career progression is concerned. Time is witness to this reality that rather than respect for an institution, too many concessions without a proper logical reasoning breed scorn and jealousy. Already, to deny the services their well deserved dues, nitpickers have been harping on the free rations and subsidised liquor without fully realising the concept behind these, and if we go ahead for full Income Tax exemption too, the effect on the public psyche, in my humble opinion, could in fact be counter-productive. IT exemption while posted in a properly defined criterion such as CI / CT Ops, wars and war like operations would be a much better idea than across the board exemption. But this is my personal opinion of course and readers may have a different take on this.

Disarming Charm

Karan Thapar

Shorn of its high-flown rhetoric and grand-sounding convictions, a manifesto is simply a set of promises a political party makes to the electorate, hoping to secure its vote. In that sense, it’s a political compact. Put a shade more crudely, it’s a deal or a bargain. Which is why most people accept that manifestos can get away with almost any promise and few people worry about their character, range or practicality. In fact, most doubt such promises will be implemented and, thus, tend to ignore manifestos altogether. And that includes politicians. Mayawati, for instance, doesn’t bother with a ‘manifesto’.

The BJP manifesto, however, has made a few commitments that deserve serious attention. At first sight they’re novel and enticing. They could make a substantial difference. But dig a little deeper and you might find they are also disturbing. They raise questions of principle that the party does not seem to have addressed.

I’m talking of the following promise: “all personnel of the Army, Air Force and Navy, as also paramilitary forces, will be exempt from paying income tax on their salaries and perquisites”. Alongside the badly-needed commitment to one-rank-one-pension, a separate Pay Commission for the services and incentive-based steps to make a career in the defence forces more exciting as a way of overcoming the officer shortfall — which I, for one, endorse and applaud — this will be widely welcomed by all serving soldiers and several retired ones. For many it could determine how they vote.

But is this particular promise justified? As far as I can tell no one seems to be asking that question. Let me raise a series of issues and then leave you to come to your own conclusion.

First, on what grounds should the defence and paramilitary services be treated as a unique category of the population to be exempted from income tax? If you argue that they perform a special function that calls for special tax treatment, what about doctors or nurses or teachers? If you anchor it to the fact that they risk their lives to protect ours, then the truth is that’s not the case right through their career. So, should tax only be exempt when they’re at war or fighting insurgency?

Second, in a poor democracy like India, where it’s said that 80 per cent of the people live on 20 rupees a day, it’s an article of faith that those who can afford to pay a fair tax have a moral duty to do so. You could argue that the famous slogan from the American War of Independence — ‘no taxation without representation’ — applies the other way around as well. Therefore, should any section of the people be deliberately excused from this moral duty?

Third, is it fitting that generals who earn Rs 60,000 a month or more, with access to DID rations and supplies at special prices, be exempt from tax whilst civilians who earn Rs 30,000 and have to buy food and supplies at market prices be required to pay tax?

Fourth, if soldiers and paramilitary personnel are exempt from tax then why not policemen? After all, they are the first line of security and the guardians of law and order for the ordinary citizen. Is it right to exclude them? Police officers are bound to say no.

However, my concern with the BJP’s promise to exempt all defence and paramilitary personnel from income tax goes beyond such issues of principle. I’m also worried about its consequences.

If implemented, might this not provoke a measure of resentment against its beneficiaries? So far — and with justification — our soldiers are held in enormous esteem by every Indian. Indeed, the Army is particularly beloved. But might that not be diluted by jealousy or resentment of unfair favours?

It’s not for me to advise the defence services, yet, if in their position, I would politely but firmly refuse this offer. Soldiers, I believe, should never accept discrimination — neither against themselves nor in their favour. As true Indians, they stand with the rest of us in support of justice and fair play.

69 comments:

supra_n35 said...

WHILE WHAT MR. KARAN THAPER HAS SAID IS CORRECT TO SOME EXTENT, WHAT WAS HE DOING WHEN COMMITTEE OF SECRETARIES DISCRIMINATED ARMED FORCES OFFICERS AFTER SIXTH PAY COMMISSION?
HE SHOULD HAVE RAISED HIS VOICE THEN.

manav musings said...

Mr Thapar is a Army Brat.
He is a balanced writer and if my memory serves me correctly he has always taken pains to project defence in correct light.
he is right.
I would like not to pay IT.
But is it right? Put your hand on your heart and ask this Question-- WHAT IS MY CTC (Last C is country)
It is much higher than it shows up on paper.
OROP has been promised by all political parties but they shy away when in power, because they know that its implementation will open many floodgates of similar demand.
THE COUNTRY IS SITTING ON PENSION BOMB. PRESENTLY IT HAS BEEN HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC VIEW. BUT FOR HOW LONG?
OROP IT SEEMS WILL REMAIN A MIRAGE ONLY. MARK MY WORDS

vikki said...

I totally agree with the comments of Karan Tahapar.

BJP did not raise a voice, when they had Maj Gens and Lt Gens in their ranks, duirng the peak of chaos. Come election time BJP wants to use the simmering discontent in the armed forces to its advantage.

Its highly oppotunistic of BJP, though smartly it has realised that here is a vote bank waiting to be tapped.

I would still believe that congress is a better bet for country so what they have gutless leaders, whose orders are not follwed by IAS (PMs orders not followed by anyone).

BJP has been too far away from the power for long and i believe they would be intrested in filling their coffers as is the wont of our political class.

Col VT Venkatesh(Retd) said...

According to my calculations the IT exemption of Army would involve an outgo of around 200 crores (excluding Navy & AF)
This is not a big amount.How ever what would be prudent is to simultaneously cut down on establishment costs including reduction in the number of senior ranks.I think an ex is already underway to have more Short commissioned officers.Extending the concept there could only be 40 % regular officers & 60 % SS officers.Also raise more TA Bns & reduce regular units like RR bns.
A similar ex may be carried out for other Organizations too.
If such an action is undertaken no one will grudge IT exemption for the Services.
Frankly I feel BJP has already planned such an action & not revealing it now for obvious reasons.
We need to read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
What karan said may sound correct to people who have little or no knowledge about Armed Forces. We have different laws,rights, obligations, working conditions, moral code and ethos. And inspite of all this writer thinks that we are part of same society. If the life in Armed Force is so comfortable why dont we bring the ordinance of compulsory short service of 5 yrs by all govt employees before they join their respective organisations. This way they too can enjoy free rations, CSD and tax benefits. And at the end of 5 yrs those wanting to enjoy the perks for longer time may permanently get absorbed in the defence forces. I think it is the responsibility of all of us to guard our nation from external aggression and internal disorder. Now can some one ask Karan if he is willing to close his continuously open trap and join the highly pampered and elite organisation. To begin with he can be absorbed at least in TA.
best wishes
cheers

dev said...

Question is not whether defence personnel accept this concession(if ever it happens..my doubts notwithstanding).....It is more to do with the policy of the government.It is no big deal to exempt Defence forces and para military forces from paying taxes on their salaries but fact of the matter is that in a democracy where political bosses have given so much subsidy,concessions and reservations that it will add to the vows of this country.Thanks Mr Thaper...your advise is worth taking and in that Defence forces will never burden this nation because they are the saviors and not the looters.But for God's sake speak to this Government about demoralization of ranks and files through 6th pay commission's deliberate anomalies and subsequent delaying tactics of shrewd babus who have taken the establishment for a ride.Please stop worrying about the future Mr Thapar......Get the PRESENT corrected else a much bigger damage to the principles and ethos of our Defence forces is in pipeline.....? The very essence and fabric of our proud forces stands abused today and you are busy talking future.....very strange Mr Thapar?

Selvaraj said...

Well I must say that all govt servants must be exempted from IT but accordingly reduce their salary proportionately.What is the point in having so many extra IT officials to monitor the income tax recovery when it could be adjusted at the time of fixing salary thus saving expenses related to the IT recovery.

Anonymous said...

The defence forces are one of centre pillar of country's foundation. They equally contribute in nation building with their sweat and sacrifices but being non productive in nature donot contribute economically directly. In present set up of Taxes we proudly say that we also pay Income Tax and are entitled for all decision making. What happens if we conceder ourself unique and pay no IT . It will create big divide with civil society where ultimately we have to go to live. As direct attack on any locality is suicidal , same goes here. Our society can give unlimited love, affection and indirect perks/ allces to defence forces but when it comes to special treatment at the cost of others, It will be suicidal. It will open up Pandora box of worms. Firstly evereone will demand and get at later date. Secondly it will affect country’s GDP. So right action will be to scrap direct taxes for all and raise indirect taxes like fringe benefit tax, service tax(There are no free lunches. Country needs money to function). In vote politics we should ask for our rights not special treatment and nobody should dare to break centre pillar by undermining us.Watch

Anonymous said...

I support Karan's views. We should gladly pay whatever is payable to the Goverment like all our countrymen. We should not ask for any charity. At the same time we should seek whatever is legitimately due to us and convince the powers that be to give us whatsoever should rightfully be given to us.

Mangusta said...

I'll go ahead of Thapar.

The BJP's 'no taxes for Armed Forces' is stupid.

Fairness and selflessness are, after all, the values that warriors are sworn to protect. It are these values that we cherish that are protecting the Indian People. Certainly not the jingoism of these 'manifestos'.

However, what the lot of us would like to know, is, whether there is any will in the political leadership to punish those responsible for the present fracas? So, while calling for excusing taxes of soldiers is stupid, using a retired SC judge Srikrishna in heaping scorn on the Officer Corps is criminal. What has been done about that? Somebody must be accountable - we are not Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Devil (BJP) and the deep sea (INC)?! The unprecedented resentment in the Officer Corps is bound to spread to the rank and file. Its only natural for political animals to take advantage of it.

@Supra_n35
I think there is more at stake than our hurt egos. What could poor Thapar do? It is the present Chief's responsibility to adequately stir the political executive out of its stupor - not inane prattle on excuses given by the Cab Secy such as 'notings come from non-IAS junior clerks' or a sudden new found enthusiasm for voting by servicemen. The Chief's have only to put their foot down on what is fair. You don't require votes for that - only character.

@Navdeep. Is there any move forward on the 'terms of reference' for the High Powered Committee?

Col NR Kurup (Retd) said...

I think like our politicians, Mr.Karan Tahper also could not understand what the Defence Forces were pleading all these years,especially in recent months. We want parity of treatment. We do not want anything special to us; but only special to the conditions. Whoever is subjected to that condition should get the concession attached to that. Not in incometax alone; but in everything. We do not want any Siachin allowance for Defence; but Siachin should carry an allowance. Whoever serve there - Defence Forces or Police or IAS or IPS or Politicians or even a Railway employ should get the
Siachin/High altitude allowance if posted . So is the working hours, conditions of service, liable to be discharged from service at the age of 40, curtailment of fundamental rights, compulsion to face bullets etc., etc., Similarly if found absent from duty places at the specified time should be liable for getting arrestted and even imprisoned after Summary trial. Instead of specifying Defence Services, specify the concessions like, Siachin/High altitude allowaance, disturbance allowance, Rundamental Rights Curtailment allowances, free ration, free medical treatment, incometax exemption, canteen services etc., attached to specified types of hazards. For Eg., If an IAS Officer or an LDC when ordered to be put in a service condition to be ready to move out to fight a war,throught his service, he should be entitled free ration, canteen service etc., etc., including income-tax exemption instead of specifying only the Defence Forces will be entitled such facilities. This is called parity of treatement which we were pleading. Hope Mr.Thaper understand the issue.

Anonymous said...

I am in 100% aggreement with Mr Thapar.There is no justification in granting IT exemption to a senior military officer serving in Delhi or Chandigarh or Bangalore drawing a salary of 80 to 90 thousand a month with several perks while a lower level civilian getting 30 K amonth with minimal perks is made to pay IT. Such a charity is not acceptable. Of course BJP is doing it for their own selfish interests and not because of their love for us. Please remember that.By the way I am also a retired military officer and I would never fall for such cheap gimmicks while casting my vote.

Anonymous said...

Mr Karan indeed you have been one of the journalists who at least took up the cause of the armed forces when they were in need. Hence keeping all these credentials in mind i would not like to out rightly contend your opinion but would like to bring the following facts before you:-

(a) It is a known fact that the AF have been short changed for good ( that’s what it seems like for time being) but a larger section of the media remained silent on the issue.

(b) The most elitist i.e. the IAS and IPS have been busy showering goodies on themselves in the form of free electricity (Case of bureaucrats of Delhi) and additional 25% pay hike for serving (actually it is not serving) in NE, but media never highlighted all these and remained a mere spectator. What made you not write about the similar division and discomfort caused by these monologue self centric decisions of bureaucracy.

(c) The elitist again have come out with another ruling that their kids will be authorized free education up till 12 standards. Why have you not thought about such a decision which is already drawing lot of flake from public? But they care two hoots about all that.

(d) Also the pay commission was meant to upgrade the existing scales to new scales by a similar factor. However the CoS went beyond these guidelines and grudgingly short changed the armed forces. When an officer in the armed forces enjoyed a higher pay scale in the fifth pay commission than how did he find himself in a lower pay band vis-a-vis the same people after the sixth pay commission? Its a sham that the country only stands united over the dead bodies of the fallen soldiers but a living serving soldier is not the countries need. Even some media houses are offering soaps such as free obituaries for dead soldiers but the same media houses are the pioneers to declare the services chiefs as union leaders when they convey to the nation that injustice is being done to them. This article too reflects that the citizens are far too concerned about AF and too analytical about their welfare too.

(e) If simple manifesto which you yourself have contended to be more of ritual than a commitment can make you so emotional then I think it should be equally emotional an affair for the nation and the media if not more to disown (When AF are in need) the same very people whom you wanted to carry on your shoulders when they were there for you ready to lay their lives to rest for “your cause”.

However you showed your promptness and started analyzing a manifesto before even the chickens could hatch. There is a saying that" Villages are yet to settle, however beggars are already showing their presence”. So please wait, do not start contending before formation/conception. Trust us we are not looters like self styled ruler but are committed and dedicated citizens of our Nation. We don’t cook our chapattis on pyre of masses. You can lay your apprehension to rest.

Anonymous said...

well said karan thapar.however eqality should be across the board.how is it that a PMF offr with 15 yrs service gets PB 4 with GP 8700 and I with 25 yrs am still in PB 3
( add 3 yrs of NDA and 1 of IMA) .also exemption of IT to those deployed in CI/fd is a very good idea as we must remember that they are running two establishments.IT exemption for all across the board is not desirable.

ak said...

dear sir,
i believe mr thapar is voicing what many civilians believe.
i remember reading somewhere that when pandit nehru came to office after india's independence and saw the army chiefs office in the same block he asked the army hq to be moved out as army had not supported the independence struggle.
he believed that army was not needed in light of non aligned movement, and we all know what happened gradually that culminated in 62.
army is remembered only in war but you have to remember that we don,t
have a alladin ka chirag that can create a well knit high morale fighting fit army that will appear and vanquish the enemy and fade away the next day.
you have to cultivate or develop an institution where the loyalty
and pride is such that a jawan or officer willingly goes into fightin
even with odds of 9 to 1 in treacherous terrain and train himself for all his life for 10-12 days of war.
i think mr thapar you are right we in the army should not ask for anything but be thankful for whatever crumbs are given to us and listen to all the petty nitpickings of free this and free that, afterall our motto is
"to do or die ,don't ask why"
jai hind

Anonymous said...

@ Mr Karan...

1. I agree Tax exemption could be a problem. But looking at it in isolation is not good.
2. I want to draw ur kind attention on the following facts:-

a) What do u think is the expenditure burden on an army man when he is posted in fd and his family is at a different location and parents at third location. How many times a 30 thousand income civilian faces this.I FEEL ALL SERVICES SERVING IN FD AREA B EXEMPTED TAX.


b) Why have you not raised the issue of OROP and Correct GRADE PAY, if u really r trying to do fair reporting/discussion, y only tax exemption?

c) Why tax free 25% of basic b given to IAS/IPS serving in NE and not to others,who r actually doing the job on grnd.

d) Y r u not objecting to caste/creed/religion based reservations, is that ok?

e) Y r u not raising the issue of RAW DEAL TO DEF FORCES BY 6TH CPC?

IN NUT SHELL WHAT I M TRYING TO SAY IS THAT IF IN INDIAN POLITICS EVERYTHING IS BASED ON OFFERING INCENTIVES BASED ON VARIOUS REASONS(vote bank) THEN Y R U SEEKING MORALE HIGH GROUND FROM ARMED FORCES WHEN EVEN FOR THEIR FAIR DEMANDS THEY R BEEN OVERLOOKED,HUMILATED AND SHORTCHANGED TIME AND AGAIN by the govt and people of india r not even wanting to understand it??

ISNT IT UNFIAR...

lokesh said...

I think a good solution shall be to make anyone desirous of a govt job IAS/IPS/PUB SECTOR/BANKS/PMF any service paid for from govt coffers .. t serve a minimum of 5-8 yrs service in the armed forces ... where they will learn management skills ... then may take a 2-3 yrs study leave depending upon which cadre he/she chooses after the tenure in the services .
Details can be worked out ... it will sort out pension issues ... as an indl leaving the AF may enter public sector ...till 60 yrs and then take appropriate pension.
It shall make the army younger .. resolve shortages in the lower end of the pyramid ...

Anonymous said...

WELL MR THAPAR'S VIEW POINT CANNOT BE IGNORED, HOWEVER WHAT ARMED FORCES HAVE UNDERGONE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE VI CPC, AREN'T WE ALREADY VICTIMS OF JEALOUSY AND DISCRIMINATION AT THE HANDS OF BABUS? THEY ARE AND WILL ALWAYS RMAIN JEALOUS OF ARMED FORCES BECAUSE WE DELIVER - SOMETHING THEY ARE NOT USED TO. SO DOES THAT MEAN THAT WE STOP DOING OUR JOB WELL BECAUSE THEN WE WILL BE VICTIMS OF JEALOUSY. AND BY THE WAY WHO IS GOING TO BE LEALOUS OF ARMED FORCES IF WE GET IT EXEMPTION? ONLY THOSE CENTRAL GOVT SERVICES WHICH DO NOT GET THIS PRIVILEDGE. COMMON MAN WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD SERVICES IN HIGH ESTEEM AS LONG AS WE DELIVER AND HE FEELS SECURE WITH WE AT THE BORDERS - IT EXEMPTION OR NO EXEMPTION. AND WHAT PARITY ARE WE EXPECTING FROM THE BABUS WHO HAVE BEEN SLOWLY BUT VERY VERY SURELY ENSURING THAT OUR STATUS KEEPS GOING DOWN IN COMPARISON TO THEM. THERE ARE OFFICERS OF ALL RANKS POSTED TO MOST DIFFICULT AREAS OF THE COUNTRY AND I AM QUIET SURPRISED AT THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE SERVICE CONDITIONS SHOWN BY KARAN INSPITE OF BEING FROM ARMY BACKGROUND. PLEASE DO NOT LOOK AT GENERALS POSTED AT DELHI. THERE ARE ENOUGH COMMANDING FIELD FORCES IN THE REMOTE AND HIGHLY ACTIVE AND INSUGENCY PRONE AREAS. I THINK THE FORCES ARE SERVING AN DIFERENT (READ DIFFICULT) CONDITIONS AS COMPARED TO BABUS (NO MATTER WHAT HIS PAY IS - IN ANY CASE HE IS NOT LIVING OFF IT!) AND WE SHOULD BE TREATED ACCORDINGLY. WE DO NOT NEED PARITY BUT SPECIAL STATUS WHICH HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER CENTRAL GOVT SERVICE. DO NOT FORGET - INDIA IS INDIA BECAUSE OF DEFENCE FORCES; IF NOT FOR US THERE ENOUGH FORCES BEING APPLIED FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE MOTHERLAND TO ENSURE ITS DISINTEGRATION.

Anonymous said...

I think the whole gamut is just too premature. Even before the chicken has been bought we have started debating who will eat its golden eggs.
I think most of us have felt that paltry increases in the pay packet are worthless because nearly 1/3 is always taken away by IT.
Now that some party has dared to voice our concerns I am shocked to see so many nay sayers.All those who are basking in the pay increase after 12 years will soon be again asking for DSOP Fund withdrawls . So kindly donot kill the harbinger of good things to expect(not assured).
I am a serving army offr.

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

This post is drawing out the suppressed feelings. May I request you to extract it and send to Mr.Karan Thaper lest he make such prejuiced comments at least in future. It will be appropriate to remind him to read " Ardhasasthra " where Koutilya tells Chandra Gupth "OH KING ! DON'T MAKE THE SOLDIERS ASK FOR THEIR WAGES. " But our KINGS ensure that they keep us engaged all the time begging them not to reduce our wages further.

dev said...

Dear Mr Thapar your grudge against Generals is absolutely absurd and a mockery.A general undergoes so much of screening in his career to be there where he happens to be today.An IAS gets much bigger cakes immediately after passing out from massauri.Have you seen those palatial houses allotted to ADCs and DCs where 10000 poor people can dwell and take solace.You have nothing to say about these people who not only lead a luxurious life in this all POOR country where 50% population does not get proper food.We all have the brains and the skills to say things intelligently to impress a handfuls who understand the cunning language we speak to impress others but HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE of the destitute and deprived who are in majority.Have you ever thought truthful and honest thoughts and uttered them the way they appeared in your soul....No Mr Thaper you speak English to impress the elite and handful of audience because you enjoy doing that.But are you satisfied with the kind of position you take on most matters coming across in your life.Can you put your hand on your heart and vouch that you had been and are a honest person and that you fear God? Please let me know your answer and i will be too eager to debate this issue with you in any forum.Please for God sake stop grudging things.A package of 10 lacs to a general(a DGM in a software company gets the package of around 25 Lac PA)isn't a shame from any standards.But then you are a half politician and a tactful journalist and will thus find a well articulated reply to my this rejoinder...but will you be able to convince your soul ever is a million dollar stuff! God bles you my dear friend.

Viru said...

I totally agree that IT exemption should be refused by Armed Forces but only if complete parity is given with the civilian counter parts.Also, all risk related allowances should be tax free. U don't pay taxes on money u get for putting your life on line.

colmukesh said...

Yes Karan is correct, a soldier must stand-up against discrimination. IT exemption across the board amounts to discrimination in a POOR democracy. Field Allowances, Uniform up-keep allowance and Transport allowance is already exempt from IT. We still rank among the first 5% of service class and must discharge our responibilities towards the society and suggest that 50 % of income should be exempted from IT when one is compelled to maintain two establishments due to excegencies of services and NOT for personnel reasons, similarly supeannuated defence personnel should be categorised as senior citizens at the age of 55 years against the usual age of 65 years for IT under IT Act due to peculiar service conditions

deprived said...

The tax free income needs to be seen along with the new tax rates promised by the bjp for all and for woman.If a tax sop to army is causing concern to thappar than why the tax concession to a woman goes without criticism.I ASK THAPAR ' IS ARMY ALONE LEFT OUT AS A PUNCHING BAG FOR YOU .WHY ARE YOU NOT AGAINST ADDITIONAL NON TAXABLE LIMIT GIVEN TO WOMAN AND MORE PROMISED BY BJP'.Thapar it is easy to make comment against concessions to army as they are olive greens and difficult to raise your same concern against concessions given to fairer sex.

Anonymous said...

Karan thapar is wrong in his analysis regarding the need to give this tax concession.The need as outlined in bjp manifesto is to make 'DEFENCE FORCES ATRACTIVE.is there any thing to suggest that this need is not there today.You r unable to provide pb4 to lt cols though approved by the govt.Next i come to the actual fact.civil govy officials ,police officers never look towards their salary throughout their life.Teachers,doctors in cities have potential to earn additional income thogh given non practising allowoce.This capacity to have a second source of income is denied to defence officer.hence the proposal of bjp is justified to KEEP DEFENCE SERVICE ATRACTIVE AS YOU CAN NOT PAY THEM MORE AS LEARNT FROM DENIAL OF PB4 TO LT COLS CASE

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Deprived 1726

Though I may not agree with Karan Thapar completely, your comparison with women is not correct.

The Constitution of India itself provides that preferential treatment to women shall not be hit by the prohibition of right to equality. Hence sops to Women are Constitutional but may not be so for other strata. There are other ways of granting sops with a sound logical and legal backing.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Corruptiion at every level in civilian jobs is well known and by the time a constable or a clerk in IT deparment will be 5 times richer than a middle management officer in forces.BJP'S PROPOSAL TO GIVE ARMED FORCES TAX FREE INCOME IS A TACIT ACCEPTANCE OF THIS FACT

Ramani said...

Well well well!So now it is the so called exemption of IncomeTax is it?

Give a man( or is it a Dog) a bad name and then hang him!
We didn't ask for IT exemption.We have only been asking for our legitimate dues.Like OROP.because the value of the pension you get is getting eroded in time.Of course
the IAS mandarins have ensured that they get same pension as their counterpart.
How many people are aware of the fact that due to nonavailability of accomodation,when you hire the same,the reimbursement of rent and furniture etc is charged IncomeTax.
Legitimate expense is treated as "income".is this fair?
Giving more and then charging Income tax is the same as IT exemption.
Anyways we only want to be treated equally and fairly with due epect and parity.Is that asking too much Mr Karan Thapar.

Anonymous said...

I am giving below the comments by another veteran, Col Shivraj.
'Dear Mr Editor,
I am glad that Karan Thapar ( son of a defence person) has endorsed and applauded the promises made to the Defence personnel by the BJP in their election manifesto. ( Disarming Charm - 12 April, 2009 by Karan Thapar ). But as a good journalist, he has initiated a debate to increase the readership of HT. Through this response, I wish to enlighten the entire citizens of India, that on joining the Defence Forces, one loses his / her fundamental rights under the Constitution of India, in that , the serving Defence personnel cannot form associations / unions like other services can do. There is no forum where the Defence personnel can be represented to formulate their points of view. Hence, the Defence forces can not be equated or considered parallel to any other service. All the points raised by Karan are thus null and void.
As true Indians,we stand with the rest of the country in support of justice and fair play both in war and peace.'

mp said...

Dear Karan,
I am in agreement with annony at 12.04 PM. Being a General's Son you would have seen only the brighter side of the Army.Since that time a lot has changed.Kindly make yourself abreast of these changes by going on the ground and not by merely taking a briefing from your elite AF's friends, you meet so often at some elite club or (Taj or Shereton), which a soldier can only dream of or might be called upon to defend in case of a 26/11 situation. Also check whether all our neighbours (Srilanka, Mynanmar, Pakistan, Bangla Desh etc)are giving tax free salaries to their soldiers or not. They are all economically backward as compared to us. You can also make a comparison with few richer nations like Canada, Australia etc. Having done so you may like to rewrite your article.

Anonymous said...

Wow! All these comments in half a day. Navdeep, you have really put a cat amongst the pigeons with this article from Karan Thapar.

I think the only thing most of the followers of this blog want is restoration of parity to at least pre-6th CPC levels. I wonder if Mr. Karan Thapar will write even one word about that. I do remember how eloquently he wrote about and appreciated the treatment his mother received at R&R hospital (A retired Chief's wife). It almost brought tears to my eyes.

Now will he write ever so eloquently once again about the ill treatment Defence Forces received in 6th CPC?

Anonymous said...

I think Mr Karan Thapar suffers from a deep rooted inferiority complex. He grudges the forces presumably because of the way his dad was treated after the 62 debacle.
Shooting ourselves in the foot has been a favorite pasttime of the forces. lets not be 'more loyal than the king' type of people anymore.
if the king(bjp) giveth, then we should humbly accept thee. just follow the examples of ias, ministers, mp etc - do they ever go through pangs of guilt when they give themselves unjustifiable perks etc - no.
so my friends, stop being holier than thou, and vote for the party which has promised something atleast, and enjoy the special treatment, till it lasts.
as it is we have been crying hoarse everyday for last six months over the unjust treatment meted out to us.
armymen - we are indead a strange class, whew
Maverick

P.Jagannathan said...

Dear Sir,
your view and comments on Mr karan Thaper views are excellent and it proves if we defence people want to be some way different,it should be our thoughts should be above all and it should be fully justified and in favor of Nation.There are few other related valued points are to be discussed publicly and this forum will emerge as one suitable platform in due course of discussions.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE WITH THE ISSUE RAISED BY MR THAPAR. THE MATTER REQUIRES TO BE DEBATED AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION. BJP HAS A ELECTORAL PLAN AND NOTHING BEYOND THAT. I AM OF THE FIRM BELIEF THAT NO PARTY IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT PREVAILS IN OUR COUNTRY CAN IMPLEMENT THIS. LOOK AT THE PB4 FOR LT COLS ISSUE. INSPITE OF THE PM, WHO IS ALSO THE FIN MIN,HAVING APPROVED IT, IS STUCK IN THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE BECAUSE THE IAS FRATERNITY WHICH DID NOT LIKE THE IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE ARE COMING UP WITH ALL KINDS OF EXCUSES AS TO HOW THE ORDER CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED. THE POLITICAL MASTERS ARE JUST WATCHING IT HELPLESSLY OR ARE THEY SCARED OF THE IAS WHOM THEY DO NOT WANT TO ANTAGONISE DURING ELECTION TIME. CAN THIS IT EXEMPTION THING REALISTICALLY BE IMPLEMENTED GIVEN THE PRESENT MINDSET? I THINK NOT. WHETHER IT IS CORRECT OR NOT IS A LATER ISSUE.

Anonymous said...

i had to write this i am shocked to read that some army persons are opposing the income tax exemption given by the bjp for god sake at least get united on some front an old saying in army army --- itself this is the reason why nobody is bothered about you .you think you are very intelligent and for any thing you have to give different view at least some one is talking about you please support in toto other wise you will have none to support you ever

GOSPEL said...

I am in full agreement with Karan's hardtalk on taxation.The fact however remains that the country needs to pay for its security after all we all form part of the same society and we left behind a few blue chip ambitions to safeguard the boundaries of this nation and without us the boast of a growing economic superpower will remain shallow.However we form part of the same community which is involved in nation building. President Kalam said that if every Indian paid a rupee this country would prosper beyond the barriers of our own emancipation.A meaningful manifesto should have given the izzat a soldier yearns for.It could be in terms of a no questions asked admission procedure for our wards in schools,a first priority in housing schemes across the country, domicile status of the state in which our wards study class XIIth and in parent state,reservation in trains irrespective of waiting list status,and waiver on service tax,VAT and edu cess to name a few. However I dont think any party ever goes into any indepth analysis for each strata of society.Surprisingly no manifesto speaks of implementing AVSC I in totality which indeed would have helped in lateral absorption of our men.If these issues were highlighted no one would have raised an eyebrow to pay tax but the bottomline remains I will prefer to pay tax rather than give a North/South block babu the oppurtunity to say I am thriving on tax payers money.

Anonymous said...

pL SEND THIS CHAP THAPAR TO ANY FD AREA (NON FAMILY STATION)FOR A MONTH. HE WILL CHANGE HIS VIEWS AND START RECOMMENDING MORE ALLOWANCES. hE SHOULD KEEP HIMSELF TO INTERVIEWING THE BEAUTIES AND BEASTS. kEEP OFF THE ARMED FORCES WILL BE THE LINE.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with what is written by Mr Thaper I strongly feel we must do some soul searching while asking more favours from the govt as regards to paying of taxes. Every one in the nation is contributing toward safty of this country whether defense services, para mil or public/private sector as they all interlinked. The fact that other are doing well, we exists. Lockers are needed to ppl who have treasure to safe guard. Infact we are there to safe guard their legacy and for which we may ask any price. Paying taxes to build the nation has got no connection with exemption of tax. we are the citizen first then the defense officers. lets not ask to much such that we are not able to face our own people.

Anonymous said...

I think Karan is right. Let us do away with the seperate perks. Let us equate ourselves with All India Civil Services. 25% addl for postings to the NE and Fd Areas. 40% addl for posting to HAUCA, telephone attendant from Capt upwards. Collector type Bunglow from 12th year of service. No Bashas - 100% accomodation. Service vehicle for private use, bribe allowance (to compensate for Bribes recived by other civil servants).
No posting outside the State which you are posted or opt for and after 10 years no field posting. JS grade after 16 years. PG education from Harvard/Yale after 5 years. Any move beyond first place of posting will be deputation and will entail deputation allowance. Service upto 60 years. No supersession - will keep getting considered for promotion after last 5 ACRs are reviewed. Personal Security officers after 5 years of service in lieu of sahayak.
IF this is not possible then we bloody well will get OROP and the correct grade. The military is changing and BABUJI DON'T MESS WITH US.

dev said...

Karan Thapar ji please do not lowewr the standard of defence forces.I had liked you and thought you to be a balanced person but sorry you have proved to be one of those eager to be in lime light things.Please stop thinking and treating on men and women in uniform to be less intelligent and smart than any other stupid in this country.Defence forces have very capable people who can put any brain to shame but their ethos and sense of duty does not allow them to think bad of our dear nation else how dare thse sick babus treat our forces with disdain? They need a kick up there where it hurts most and YOU a son of a defence officer adding fuel to the fire? What a sad story Mr Thapar.Please be a humane.

Anonymous said...

What has Mr Karan Thapar to say on the systematic lowering of status by bureaucrats since independence. He is quick to find lacuna in things favouring the Armed forces what about his voice when the armed forces are being discriminated against.

Yogander Singh said...

I believe that Mr Karan Thapar is one of the genuine supporters of the Armed froces and his article must be taken with due seriousness. I have made an attempt to answer him at http://yogibhadani.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

A civ will remain a civ even if he's an 'Army Brat". A fauji doesn't have the same basic liberties as the so called 'common' man. That's why a case for 'special' treatment ! If whats been meted out to the fauj in the last 60+ yrs is special treatment, GOD SAVE US ALL !!!

Anonymous said...

. It would be better if he keeps silent for some time on this issue.
WHY NOT WAIT AND SEE RATHER THAN RAISING A SUSPICION AT THE START OF THE RACE.
PLEASE SHUTUP KARAN.

Anonymous said...

I must agree with Anonymous@9:45 PM. Whenever someone wants to indulge in Armed Forces bashing, the first things mentioned are CSD and cheaper liquor.

I am a fauji. I recently attended a party for about 30 couples thrown by an IAS officer. Forget the Old Monk that folks seem to grudge us. Black Label and Chivas were the basic stuff being served. Follow that up with five-star catering and Remy Martin as a night cap and I had no clue as to how mine host could afford it in his pay band.

Let us get real and compare the perks that the armed forces get with those enjoyed (authorised or otherwise) by their counterparts in the civil services and the private sector. An officer with over 15 years in the service of the nation has, to get an AC installed in his office, to put up a fraud SOC to get around the SADS.

Mr Thapar, before you talk, pick up a rifle and man a post in a field area. If, as I suspect is true, you are unwilling to do that, at least get real in what you write.

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that Karan is indirectly currying for some favours from present regime like that of ind exp person,Gupta.
Most comments aginst the article of Karan have covered various pts.

Now,Let Karan comment on existing provision of income-tax employees getting a percentage of those booties that are fecilitated by informers......etc.By the same analogy AF should get a percentage of conquered land,captured Arms &amn or value of it......etc ; Before he comes to some proposed ,imaginary and non-existant provision.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anony of Apr 12 9.47pm.
Its sad that in our country we hardly value the services of the armed forces.
Having served in this elite organisation for 20 years plus and having moved to the corporate has made me realise the fact.
The loyalty,committment,hardships and pangs of seperation from the family that the men in OG,white and blue happily undergo is taken for granted.I have heard some arguments by our own seniors- its your own choice and no one forced you into it.
Therefore its taken as a premise that ours is a voluntary service and we shouldnt be cribbing for what we are getting.
I only hope the treatment being metted out,doesnt result in a flare up and untoward incidents as witnessed in Bangladesh recently.
The governments in the past and recent times have always been reactive to the issues of the nations defence.
Having served most of my tenures in field , gave me the opportunity to see the quality of governance of these areas - which the IAS is responsible to execute . I have found it to be a total sham and mockery of democracy.The passion and committment shown by the armed forces in addressing local issues through Op Sadhbhavna and its success ,has to be seen and emulated by our brethern in the IAS.
Frankly we cannot expect anyone to take up our fight- it has to be us.
God helps those who help themselves.
Karan Thapar certainly is not the right candidate to represent our case.

gentle said...

When it comes to the ethics ,we the defense services are expected to set the example for others to follow.But having said so ,one would tend to ask the other professionals including Mr Thapar,how honest they are in paying their share of IT to the Govt.I wonder ,how would the amount attributable to exemption of IT to the services stand in comparison to the amount evaded in IT revenue by the rest of the country including the politicians.
There are the so called creamy layers among the reservation classes ,who have made hay under the so called suppressed class category, which we all have lumped ,yet when it comes to such offer to services which wont be unbearable loss to the exchequer ,we are reminded to set an example by turning down such offer by a [political party calling it as an exterior motive to gain votes from the services!
I would rather call it HYPOCRISY by the likes of Mr Thapar.
Wg Cdr (Retd) Sushil Kumar Sudan

Anonymous said...

This morality thing is all Bunk. IAS/IPS officers indulge in shameless graft and we say that they are Civil servants so it is but Natural for him to be immoral. But - when an army man commits an itsy witsy teenie weenie goof up like even not paying his property tax on time he is chucked out of service.
Then we have pseudos like Prashant K Singh a.k.a Pragmatic who feels that the decay of the country is when an army man is involved in decision making and gabbles from glossy journals from the West to substantiate his pervert claims of being the saviour of National Interest. He conveniently gets selective amnesia when talking of Generals retired inducted into the core decision making govt. bodies of Developed Countries .
60 years of misrule by a handful of nincompoops reminds me of the famous WWII quote : Never have so many owed so much to so few. For the Indian Administrative Services the saying has been modified to: "Never before have so few owed so much to so many" For the All India Civil Services incompetance is an exception and not a rule. This miniscule bunch of brigands have bled the country for the past 60 years. They have placed the Armed forces on a gun powder keg.
The spark is awaited.
It can even be a shoe.

We must bring out the flagrant use of govt. assets for personal comforts by the All Incompetant Civil Sevices (India). Why have the Central Civil Services? We as Military men must ask why State recruited Cadre officers cannot be moved to the centre on deputation on an as required basis. Why have this brahminical caste of the IAS/IPS while all other civil servants are untouchables. Why cant a BSF officer ever think of becoming a Director IB.? Why can't an Assam State cadres civil Servant become the Home Secretary? Why can't an IDAS officer become the Def Secretary? If a TDP/SP/AIDMK/AGP or an Italian candidate can become the PM then why can't the State Cadre Civil Services officer become the Secretary Home or Cabinet Secretary. Why reinvent the caste system in the Govt. machinery. The political Party that puts the IAS/IPS on the pedestal should be asked why they promote caste based govt. functioning?

KB said...

"ours not to reason why....
ours but to do n die....
into the valley of death...
rode the six hundred...."

lets not forget that we are soldiers. lets do our bit. let someone else decide. lets not ourselves become babus.

remem what manstein said when given the option to go against hitler? "prussian field marshalls dont revolt" even though he knew germany will lose n hitler is wrong, yet he did his duty. he also never asked for it exemption etc etc

remem wat bhishma pitamah did when faced with the lord krishna himself in the opposing front? he fought as a warrior...doing his duty... evn though he wud have loved not to fight a war he was sure was unuust. he too never asked for it exemption n other perks... lol

i myself wud like to follow such men as above - manstein et al. rather than heeding the advice of men like thapar...armchair theorists.

Yogander Singh said...

Income Tax and the Soldier

BJP in its Manifesto for the Parliamentary Elections 2009 has promised to exempt the Armed Forces and Para-militaries from paying income tax, if the party is voted to power. This has ignited a debate in the informed circles about the legality and ethics of the promise. This paper attempts to examine the rationale of income tax and its applicability on soldiers on the basis of ethics.

Income Tax (IT) is defines by Encyclopedia Britannica as `Levy imposed by public authority on the incomes of persons or corporations within its jurisdiction.’ It was initially introduced in Britain to finance Napoleonic Wars from the income of private enterprise who till then did not contributed to the National Endeavour in a legally defined manner. Ethics of the personal income taxation is based on the premise that one’s income is the best single index of one’s ability to contribute to the support of the country and is scaled as per their paying capacity which differ as the financial circumstances differ.

Both the history and principle on which the IT is based are essentially meant to harness the income which accrues from private enterprise in a capitalistic economy. Hence it follows that those in the service of state should not pay income tax because their pay is in any case decided by the government and they are paid only for their labour (service rendered). So legally and ethically speaking if a civil servant was being paid only for his labour, he would not be liable to pay IT. However the civil servant in India is not only paid for is labour but also gets certain benefits which fall under the category of welfare. `An Indian Civil Servant receives free health care, housing facilities, transport fares, etc. Also, there is the added assurance of job security since one is employed by the government see here. RK Puram is civil servant haven in Delhi. A civil servant posted to North East can retain a house (or get HRA) in Delhi to compensate for the hardship. There are many more such benefits and last but not the least a pension scheme. These benefits are far in excess of social safety net available to common citizen. This is the ethical basis for levying IT on civil servant. I had no intention of showing civil servant in poor light but sad fact is that in India soldier’s rights are hyphenated to privilege of civil servant.

Now let us take the case of a soldier. But, someone would say, the soldier is also getting benefits like housing, rations and military service pay. That is true. More important is to understand the reason for a particular `facility’. The soldiers are housed in military bases, not so much as a welfare measure but to ensure their availability for training and employment. They are given rations so as to ensure high level of physical fitness. This is akin to players being given incentives and diet money..

In India pay of soldier is decided by drawing some kind of comparison with other government employees. While the norms for deciding this comparability are not known but successive pay commissions have taken a police constable as nearest equal of soldier while deciding his (soldier’s) pay. This comparison is totally odious because the conditions of service faced by a soldier are completely alien to other civil services including police and I dare say, PMF. Let me highlight just four facts. First the average retirement age of soldier is 37 years, while that of police/ PMF constable retires at 58 years of age. On account of having served 21 years longer than the soldier, the police constable earns Rs. 28 Lacs more. The disparity becomes even more when we take lifetime earnings of the two. Second, the rules governing conduct of a soldier are infinitely stricter than policemen. Third, task profile of a soldier, in terms of its intensity and quality, is of entirely different order as compared to Police/PMF constable even in same area. Just study counter terrorist operations in J&K or NE and 26/11 in Mumbai where the SAG (totally manned by the Army men) operated at a different level then the local police or the profile of anti-naxal operations. Fourthly, the soldier faces maximum turbulence in life on account of having to change career more than once and for being further away (psychologically) from his native place. They are given military service pay to `partially’ compensate for vagaries of military service. Hence it is but fair that IT must not be levied on the soldier’s income, especially when he is employed on combat duties. That is while he is serving in field areas and not while he is posted to `peace’ areas or performing essentially sheltered duties in field areas. This step would also make the army and especially combat arms a wee bit more attractive for the right material.

Accepting legal and ethical validity of exempting the soldier from tax many a country have exempted their soldiers from paying taxes. Just to cite a few examples. In the USA the soldiers are exempt from federal taxes while serving in combat zone see here. In the USA till as late as year 1922 all incomes of a soldier were exempt from tax and in continuation of the legacy all soldiers who are posted to units located within the State of Minnesota are exempt from all state taxes see here . Similarly UK government pays a bonus to all soldiers deployed for combat to compensate for the income tax paid by the soldier see here .

To me fear of resentment amongst the civil populace seems quite misplaced because the people at large have never opposed compensatory steps to reduce the hardships of army life.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Mr thapar's post on this issue makes interesting reading.That was Mr thapar's opinion,but what amused me was some of the mails posted on this blog,stating that the forces are being treated specially in case there is an exemption to incometax.I have been a regular at this blog and have seen some guys out here being apologetic about the facilities we get.Most of us believe that the country has no money to pay us and hence are happy with what we get.We are cuckolded in this blanket of what we perceive as fair game that we sometimes accept injustices and do not even take what good that comes our way.


Compare this with the civilians.The PSU guys hold the country to ransom and the govt gives them a hike OVER AND ABOVE WHAT WAS RECOMMENDED FOR THEM.I have not heard or seen any PSU officer saying that it has been unfair to others.they all take it happily when the privileges come to them.

We in the forces are special and hence need to be treated specially.The nation cares two hoots for us.THIS IS THE FACT,THE VERY BITTER FACT.The civilians outside do not treat us with any reverence as Mr Thapar feels.He might be holding the army in a high esteem but not the others.Many a time,being a service officer works to your disadvantage and the outsiders just say "YEH ARMY WAALE ya YEH NAVY WAALE or whatever.Not a single one among the civilian fraternity stood up for you when you were discriminated against.

Coming to what Mr thapar has written about the "fairness",Mr thapar,the doctors get their own NPA and other privilieges,the police whose cause you advocate so vociferously anyway earn at least 10 times more through corruption.

Mr thapar,you say we should not be exempt from income tax.We are special Mr thapar in ways more than one.To start with,unlike the doctors who can go on strike and hold you to ransom we do not do that.Even the damn police has associations.Why should the police have associations,Mr thapar?If u feel military and police can be equated then let them do what we do,we have no qualms about extending all our privileges to anyone who abides by the restrictions and carry out all the duties that is entrusted on us.

Mr thapar,you have written that article with the best of intentions.But some of the worst mistakes are done with the best of intentions.I find it totally nauseating to see someone whose only claim to fame is being the son of a high ranking soldier,who has no idea about what he is speaking speak for me.If you disagree,i suggest you join the army for a couple of days.else i would rather you say thank you and walk away.

As for those "faujis" who feel they need no CHARITY,i say do not be STUPID.the nation does not care for u.why should u be so bothered about the "ECONOMY" of nation????????Who are you to take care of the "NATION'S ECONOMY"??????????MANMOHAN SINGH?????????what pension bomb are you talking about????IF YOU GUYS ARE SO IDEALISTIC,GO AND JOIN A CHURCH........We in the forces are in the habit of getting flogged every time and if we do not get flogged like a donkey,we cannot live in peace.if some one tells the donkey to rest for the day,it feels uneasy,for it wants the daily quote of flogging.

This is exactly wht's happening to us.BJP has promised something in the manifesto.HOW CAN WE PREJUDGE WETHER,THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR WORDS OR NOT,UNLESS THEY ARE GIVEN A CHANCE?our mentality is like"haan,yaar they are all alike,even congress promised the same,the country can anyway not afford this much,so why vote???

All i can say is stop being weak.Do not let ur so called moral values stop from standing up for what's right.For only cowards do this.

For those guys who still feel I AM wrong,YOU MAY HAVE JOINED THE ARMY FOR PRIDE,GLORY AND PRESTIGE.I JOINED THE ARMY FOR MONEY........AFTER ALL,EACH JOINS FOR WHAT THE LACK.........

wake up guys,look around.do not be fooled by the guptas and thapars pf the world........vote that's the only way out

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

What Karan has written may have some theoritical moral high ground but has more of a rejoinder against one perticular Political Party. It was followed by his debate on CNBC wherein Gen Choudhary, Gen Kadyaan and Mr Praksh Singh, ex IPS had participated.
Karan Thapar is a well known "Sarkaari" and this article coming from him is no surprise. Where was he when the entire AF personnel were raising hue and cry aginst gross injustice done to them.
Has he ever seen the quality and quantity of $1.25 meal provided at the canteens of US and UK Armed Forces in peace stations and free rations in field. Compare it to free rations provided to the Indian soldiers and officers and his head would hang in shame. So far the AF are concerned, the rations,clothing, equipment and weaponary has not progressed beyond first world war. These people want the soldiers to be kept at World War I standards including Pay and Allowances.

That is not fair.

If IT excemptions are granted to gallantry award winners, battle casulties and officers on active service, which is very reasonable, then what is left is a miniscule portion of officers. So why not give it to all.

In US election, Soldier's welfare is part of every election menifesto and for all parties. Why is Karan raiaisng hue and cry??

Anonymous said...

Dear friends some time it strikes me that our countryment love their Army only due to ignorance. The justification that since Civil services are corrupt,Armymen should be exempted from tax, is to say least shameful for the bogger, i will not call him armymen. My request is that can anybody post the name of one officer who has deposited the surlpus ration back to store instead of making familiy members eat? Secondly do we know the no of officers who claim concession form for serving wives. Sounds mean on me but THIS is a corruption of higher order than of a policemen on road since it emanates from the selfproclaimed honest. Armymen's enviornment is somewhat different, not the intent?. Nothing to be pround of, either for armymen or countrymen. BJP is also neither- donot fall in trap, an armymen is first a countrymen and must pay all taxes. Any honest men will resist the free favours being showered on him, if it is so.It is an inside enemy's trap. GOD bless u and me all.

A B Mehta said...

Let us not make our selves a superior class. Col Kurup has properly put that what is needed is compensation for difficult, dangerous, away from family, casualties prone, long hours of work, readiness to go on duty anytime and such conditions. We want status, honour, looking after during and after service, honour to our dead bretheren, housing and other facilities in peace stations, educational support for our children when we are away and so on. Let our pay be commensurate with our above conditions and disciplined and mostly honest life. WE do not want parity fights all the time. WE are from defence forces they are from civil services. What they get is their business. What we get should be higher not lower than them year to year so that young are ready to choose the defence service and derive benefit from the disciplined service while the national security is looked after by satisfied and eager persons in uniform. IT exemption is like reservation for various classes. Let us not start another class war.
Gp Capt A B Mehta(Retd)

Santa Singh said...

please don't ruin the taste of my hard earned whiskey.

Subsidised implies that someone else, ie GoI, has borne part of the cost of my Peter Scot. reality is, the central govt has agreed to forgo the levy of central excise on it. not so the govt of the state where i serve and buy it. so, i pay the manufacturer what he considers is the fair price, i pay the state govt what it considers to be the appropriate tax. I DO NOT jolly well make someone else pay for it !

i get FREE rations. that is why you see me buying milk, atta, rice, pulses, condiments, salt, sugar, vegetables, bread, eggs, occasionally chicken/mutton, all from the local market, like any other citizen of this country.

so, please, don't ruin the taste of my whiskey, i beg of you.

havaihakim said...

I must remind those harbingers of the national economy and reminding us time and again of the poor state of indian economy, take a peep into the swiss accounts and you bet, we wouldnt find even traces of your existence.

Stop feeling guilty for everything. This is the least that the indian populace can dole out for the sacrifice of our soldiers which remains discreet from the public glare.

Or else, be ready to see breeds of incompetent fools moving along our borders, as the cream is floating on some other 'shake'.

Anonymous said...

Sachin Tendulkar with pots of money gets tax exemption for his Nth imported vehicle because he won a match (did he ??) for the country.

Numerous authors, playwriters etc. get tax exemption for their 'intellectual' (rather inspired) work.

Poor 'fauji' fighting CIOps / natural calamities / somalian pirates (please exclude the 'kendravarti type faujis') have to pay income tax!!!

Isn't there a paradox ????

Anonymous said...

Dear Gp Capt Mehta,

Sir,
I have the following to submit for ur consideration.You have said that we should pay our taxes and that exemption of income tax would lead to another class war.

Sir has the exemption of 72000 cr of agricultural loan lead to a class war?has the grant of extra miles for IAS officers in delhi by Ms dixit lead to a class war?has the grant of oevertime to many employees in various organisations lead to a class war by the defence?has the grant of bonuses to railway and telecom employees lead to a class war?has the grant of of additional pay and perks to PSU employees that you do not enjoy lead to a class war?

We in the defence,if we are granted something that is overdue,it is treated as a privilege while if the IAS and others enjoy the same,it is their right,is it?????

Sir,if you are actually Gp Capt Mehta(retd) then I now know why we have been shortchanged by politicians and babus alike over the years,the brunt of which is being borne by us,the youngsters who are serving now......

........one suggestion for you,,,as and when the OROP comes thru plz let me know and donate the money to me,,,,,for unlike people like you who are the self styled paragons of virtue,we need the money and need in bad..

,,,,,Maj navdeep,sorry for being pesonal,but plz do post this comment,if it's even slightly okay.

Anonymous said...

anonymous @4:41 PM on 13 Apr 09,

Firstly i do not know if u are in the forces or an imposter from the MES,

If u r an army man,u need to be given a blanket parade,if u r an imposter,u need to be congratulated for being good at maligning the forces.

U have commented on Officers not returning rations and stated that they are corrupt,just because of this one thing.My goodness,are u from india or from some other galaxy????????

THE CORRUPTION IN THE CIVIL SERVICES IS SO MUCH THAT IT'S NO MORE TERMED CORRUPTION,IT'S CALLED SIDE BUSINESS.EVERY TOM,DICK AND HARRY EVERY WHERE IS CORRUPT AND TO THE CORE.....IN THE ARMY CORRUPTION EXISTS,BUT IS JUST AND EXEMPTION WHILST IN THE CIVIL SERVICES IT'S JUST THE RULE.

AND U WANT TO CALL THE ARMED FORCES CORRUPT????????????NEVER TRAVELED BY A TRAIN,HAVE YOU?NEVER BEEN TO A POLICE STATION,I PRESUME????????ELSE YOU WOULD NOT EB SO BLIND TO THE ROT THE INDIAN SOCIETY IS IN................

AND ONE MORE THING,,,,,,,,,IF U DO NOT WANT THE TAX EXEMPTION,,,,,,,,,DO LET ME KNOW,,,,,,,,,I WILL TAKE THE MONEY THAT IS DUE TO YOU.........FOR I SLOG DAY IN AND DAY OUT AND HENCE I THINK I DESERVE MUCH MORE THAT WHAT IS DUE TO ME.............MAY BE YOU DO NOT THINK SO FOR U HAVE NEVER WORKED HARD.......TRY IT,,,,WORKING HARD DOES GIVE YOU THE SATISFACTION THAT YOUR SOUL NEEDS,,,,,,,,,,,JUST TRY IT FOR A DAY FOR A CHANGE

A B Mehta said...

Anymous who wrote at 12.08 0n 14 Apr has the right to disagree with me. At no stage I have said that we should not get what is due and for which we are figting. My comments are in response to IT exemption and things like that. Let us judge all decisions of the Govt dispassionately and not always compare them with our need of money and extra is always welcome. I retired at 925 pm and am now getting 30000. As far as OROP I can safely say that if at all it is given then all would have to be covered and I do not think any Govt can pay millions of pensioners at the current rate. Disparities will always remain.
Gp Capt A B Mehta(Retd)

Anonymous said...

Dear Gp Capt Mehta sir,

I am the anonymous that u were referring to.I am sorry for the outburst but it's really disgusting to see that we are not able to be united on even a single issue.

As I see it,if we ourselves think we are undeserving,who will think we deserve anything?I am reminded of the days when the free ration issue was being debated on.Some bright spark came up with the path breaking suggestion that we should not be given free ration as it was below the dignity of Officers to collect ration.They wanted a fixed amount of money instead keeping with their status.

The then navy chief(they seem to have sense more that the other services)Adm periera stated that as times pass,the ammount they were getting would not compensate for the inflation and remarked that "YOU CANNOT EAT STATUS AND PRIDE"......................lucky that he prevailed...........

In the services,we are inculcated certain values which we stand stead fast by.Unfortunately,this has proved to be our bane.In this new era,moral values are changing.We need to revamp the way we think.The definition of good as we see it,has done us only harm.........when ever we have raised our voices for what is right,we have the Shekhar Guptas and the pragmatic euphonys of the world telling us"hey guys,U are being bad boys,you just ought to shut up and listen"........HOW IRONIC FOR THE GUYS LIKE Mr GUPTA are so well off that he considers Oberoi his second home(u can check the relevant editorial he wrote when Oberoi was under attack)and have no shame or forethought about what he says..........Same with Mr Thapar...........The armed forces are different and we cannot be compared to the other civil services.
Wether the Govt can afford to do something or not is not for us to think........If they can write off 72000 crores,,,,,it's all about one thing.......WILL.we need start giving Govt reasons to not give something to us...............................RENUNCIATION AND SACRIFICE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING THAT IS EN CARVED IN THE FAUJI'S PSYCHE....BUT THIS IDEA OF SACRIFICING CAN ONLY BE PUT TO PRACTICE IF WE HAVE SOMETHING TO CALL OURS IN TEH FIRST PLACE.........HENCE,LET'S NOT SACRIFICE OUR GOODIES,LET US GIVE A CHANCE TO SOME ONE ELSE TO DO THAT........This is what a second generation fauji feels........

........Once again Sir,I apologise if I have hurt your feelings,,,,,,,,I do come across such sentiments as yours closer home too!!!!!!!!!!

Santa Singh said...

Having said what i had to say on the subject of my Peter Scot, i must caution our more effervescent brethren.
Do you really believe that the gentlemen promising to exempt faujis from I Tax will actually do so ?
do you really believe in your hearts that this is anything other than a poll promise ?
and that the gentleman who is suddenly so solicitous of your welfare, is anything other than a seasoned politician ?
that having been said, there is certainly no harm in shedding the baggage and playing the great game for all it is worth.
so go ahead, promise to vote, do vote for who you feel will benefit you (everyone does it), extract your pound of flesh, but remember, in politics, as in international relations, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
remember 1962, and the animals who caused it.

SD Hegde-Commander said...

I am soldier and I agree that I shoul pay taxes. But exemptions can be given to specific risk realated allowances. The tax exemption may work against the defence forces as we may loose the goowill of general public. But why is Karan Thapar writing any article when we are openely degraded in every pay commision?

Anonymous said...

Mr Thaper

I have a question for you. your father was such a great soldier. Did you not feel like following the honourable profession of your father. Or did he disuade you. Or did you felt sick at the treatment this society gave to your distinguished soldier father. Another one. You say we all are love by all Indians ( thanks all Indians) . Now will your son join this most loved profession. Now you will start talking about freedom of choice and liberty and all that but do remember that this liberty is stoutly denied to the soldiers of the world largest democracy so that the liberty of citizen may be safeguarded.

Anonymous said...

Mr Thapar is not worried about the selfesteem of the soldiers going down if something is given to them. He has been paid to write this by people who are alarme that if this is taken seriuosly by soldiers it might result in a huge swing in the polls. we never had him loosing his sleep when soldiers have been humilated by all and sundry for so many years. Going by his logic to further increase our esteem in public we should forgo our rations, the military service pay, the field concessions and even a percent of our pay to please our countrymen. If we do it we will become real darlings of the Indian society which likes suckers.

Anonymous said...

The introductory brief on Mr Karan Thapar at wikipedia is reproduced :Karaṇ Thāpar (Hindi: करन थापर), born on 5th November, 1955 in Srinagar, India, is one of India's noted television commentators and interviewers. He is the youngest child of General P.N. Thapar and Mrs. Bimla Thapar. His nephew, the gay and race activist, Siddharth Deva, lives in Oxford.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Thapar,

1. Please see other side of the coin also. Why are our fundamental rights abrogated, to what ever extent? Why our soldiers and officers to be punished for small mistakes so severely when all others keep smiling having committed the same crime/offence? Remember Maj Gen Chaudhry -Tehalka scam and many more? Why are we ruled under so severe Army Act while continuing to be subjected to other Acts of the country? Why do our soldiers and officers remain on 24 hrs duty when our civilian bretheren say it is time for me to go and leave theri offices/workplaces open with fans and lights on while some of their superiors keep sitting in the office and gasping at their subordinates departure? Why we are deprived of casting our votes so often while staying in the confines of the contonments? Why do we have to take permission/leave for going out of the station on holidays also? Why are we subjected to lose our memory and part of life span by forced to serve in extreme conditions like glaciers, High altitude areas, staying in damp bunkers and at times eating grass?
Why our children subjected to change schools so often to the detriment of their growth and education? Why are parents keep suffering and die without we being by their side even despite wanting to be with them? Why our soldiers and officers seek job outside to the detriment of their prestige even after retirement? Why are we not in a position to buy a flat even with complete savings of our service where as police constables also construct house for themselves by the time they complete ten years in service? Have you seen the rations we officers/soldiers get and eat? How many doctors/others pay the income tax they are actually supposed to be paying? Why do they continue to do own practice while still getting paid by the government?

2. Despite so many differences you want the army people to compare themselves equally with their bretheren in civil? Exemption of Income tax will bring some amount in their kitty which they can use for buying a flat, sending their children to a boarding school or go to some place on a tour with their family which they can seldom afford.

3. Life is not a bed of roses in the army, Mr Thapar, which probably you have forgotten. It is a continuation of sacrifices, deprivations and agony even after retirement and may be till the end.
Exemption of Income Tax, which may or may not come, can not compensate the sacrifices.

4. Please reconcile.


SNP Shahi

Harry said...

Is Right to vote a fundamental right for all citizen. We in Army were issuing order asking the men in uniform to vote, but on the D day the time available for men to vote was 1500 to 1600 h that too they preferred to have a nap. We are asking for betterment of pay, allowances, privileged and parity with civilian counterparts but when it comes to exercise our franchise in national elections we have lacked. I would request out top brass siting in Delhi who are formulating our future to look into this and at least in the remaining two phases give a opportunity to all men in cantonments to vote.....
A offender who failed to exercise his right to vote in MHOW!!!!!!