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Why this bias against the Army?

Recently an inspired news-item appeared in the Press (obviously at the instance of the IAS bureaucracy) ridiculing the Service Chiefs’ claim not to deflate the parity of the Army officials vis-a-vis the civil servants. The Army’s request is more than genuine. One fails to understand the IAS lobby’s blatant partisanship. The late Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukerjee, one of the best of the lot, described the IAS as an anachronism in post-1947 Independent India and recommended its abolition and substitution by expert technocrats as in the rest of the world.

I am surprised at the bureaucracy’s partisan, one-sided criticism of the Army. It ignores the harsh reality like the non-family period being half of their service period. This partiality may be due to what is called in journalist jargon “ debt to repay” for some special scoop having been passed on to the paper (nothing wrong of course in a free Press — the only objection is why make the Army the whipping boy).


It is still more surprising that the Army’s case is being deflated deliberately by ignoring the shocking facts disclosed, namely that all DGPs (which are state-related posts) are placed above the Lieutenant-General. By what reasoning is the demand to put the Generals in the same grade as the civilian DGP described as spurious?

More serious, Lieutenant-Colonel had earlier the same pay as IAS Director (an officer between Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary). But the revised scale now gives IAS Director Rs 14,000 more and even a non-IAS Director Rs 11,000 more than Lieutenant-Colonel.

Is the Army demand to keep the parity as earlier fanciful? Will the government have a second look at the claim of the Army which has genuineness written all over? Let us not forget that in our feudal setup, hierarchy sometimes carries more weight. That is why sometimes a Deputy Secretary would carry more clout than a university professor. Will the Centre ignore the babus and give the Army its well deserved pay and rank?

Justice RAJINDAR SACHAR (retd), New Delhi


Indeed, for a soldier, it’s not money alone but izzat that counts and which spurs him to face the enemy’s bullet! Amazingly, soldiery that was always held in high esteem in India has been downgraded. This despite an acute shortage of 13,000 defence officers in the past 10 years! Ironically, no politician or bureaucrat has ever thought about this and its consequences on national security.

For the armed forces to retain their traditional values of devotion and sacrifice, the Centre should restore their dignity and rank and look after their interests properly. When confronted with a similar situation, Second World War veteran Gen Omar Bradley of the US Army aptly said: “Inferior inducements bring second-rate men. Second-rate men bring second-best security. In war, there is no prize for the runner-up.”

Brig GOVIND SINGH KHIMTA (retd), Shimla


Being married to a defence officer for the last 26 years, I can well understand the anguish of officers against the civil servants’ single-minded design to gradually undermine the honor and status of defence officers.

Placing Lieutenant-Generals and Lieutenant-Colonels below IAS, IPS and paramilitary officers, who were hitherto drawing lesser pay than them respectively, exposes the unholy politician-bureaucrat-police nexus. No wonder, very few youngsters are opting to join forces as a career. Who wants to get posted at god-forsaken places and face the bullet, knowing full well that those whom they are protecting care two hoots about them?

Lieutenant-Colonels and equivalents are the cutting edge of the forces. It is time the government woke up and removed the disparity in their pay. Resentment is brewing and will reach unmanageable proportions if their grievances are not addressed immediately.

RAMA, Chandigarh


I very much appreciate the initiative of the three Service Chiefs in bringing to the Centre’s attention the injustice done to the defence officers by the Sixth Pay Commission. Clearly, there is virtually no comparison at all between the defence officers and the civil servants. The politicians and the bureaucrats have been doing gross injustice to the defence officers all along.

In the national interest, the UPA government would do well to protect the status and dignity of the defence officers. Any action aimed at downgrading them will only demoralise the defence officers which will not be in the country’s interests.


Raj’s fiat totally unacceptable

Raj Thackeray’s fiat on Marathi signboards in Mumbai is too much. Regionalism is blocking Indian democracy and hindering the economic development. Every citizen has a right to speak and use any language anywhere in India. Force is unthinkable in a democratic setup.

There is nothing wrong in using the regional language of the state as most people speak and use it. However, making it compulsory, that too, by force or even by legislation, is most illogical and absurd and totally unacceptable.

It is sad that in Indian politics, regionalism is taking the front seat at the cost of national interest and this is a dangerous trend. There should a compulsory test for all candidates contesting elections and holding public offices at all levels to pass the teachings and principles of nationality and national interest for the growth and success of Indian democracy.



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