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Centre must restore pay parity

We are shocked to read Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar’s statement that it would be difficult for the government to give pay parity to the defence forces (Nov 24). Instead of appreciating the genuine demands put up by the three Service Chiefs and ex-servicemen, he has chosen to throw a red herring in the case.

What is preventing the government from rectifying the anomalies created by the sixth pay panel report? The defence forces must get their status and emoluments that existed in 1947 restored.

The pension orders issued on Nov 14 are nowhere near their demands. Instead of granting One Rank One Pension, the Centre has ordered One Rank Many Pensions. It has created many classes in one class which is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as observed by the Supreme Court on Sept 9, 2008 in the case of Major Generals. The Centre has created a very difficult situation: a Havildar will get less pension than a Sepoy and a Lieutenant General will get less pension than a Colonel! The Centre should act fast and correct all the serious anomalies immediately.

Maj-Gen SATBIR SINGH (retd), Gurgaon


Though the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have assured the Service Chiefs that the anomalies projected in the sixth pay panel report will be addressed to the satisfaction of the armed forces, little has been done. The Cabinet Secretary’s statement comes as a rude shock.

With the general elections a few months away and the ruling coalition busy in preparing for the same, the pay parity issue may be left to the next government to decide. If so, the morale of the armed forces will take a severe beating.

Wg-Cdr J.S. BHALLA (retd), Chandigarh

Fighting force

An IAF helicopter carrying electronic voting machines, election officials and BSF personnel was, during take off, fired at with automatic weapons from close range by the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh. This resulted in the killing of an IAF flight engineer Sergeant Mustafa Ali (Nov 15). Our hearts go out in profound sympathy to the martyred airman and his family.

Besides trying to disrupt elections in the state, the Naxalites also wanted to tarnish the image of a fighting force. The attack betrays negligence on the part of those deputed to look after the security of the helipad. 

Obviously, the responsibility for providing the inner protective cover to the area should have been invested with the IAF authorities. We cannot let armed goons in the country make our military look like a sitting duck to be targeted at will with impunity. That is totally unacceptable.

Wg-Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

Revenge, never part of our heritage

As a proud Indian, sensitive to our traditional values, I wonder how the leadership of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar is becoming increasingly insensitive to the ancient injunction — Sarva Dharm Sambhav.

Are there no thieves, convicts, murderers, traitors amongst all communities? What was the shopkeeper’s religion who had reportedly sold two samosas to a Dutch tourist for Rs 10,000? How many kings invited foreign rulers to assist them in waging war on neighbouring kingdoms?

Revenge was never part of our heritage. The Almighty is just and benign; not vengeful. Of course each of us has to bear the consequences of our respective karma. But that is due to our own deeds. It is not divine reward or punishment.

Real issues facing the country like economic development, health, hygiene, corruption seem to be at best peripheral. We aspire to be a leading power in the comity of nations, but where are we heading? We seem to be fast descending into mobocracy! I am despondent, though still optimistic.


Family pension

The Haryana government has granted family pension for eligible unmarried daughters of pensioners, beyond 25 years of age. This follows the long-pending demand for family pension to unmarried daughters on par with widow and divorced daughters of pensioners on the GoI’s pattern.

This formula should be applied to unmarried daughters of defence personnel also. As per the Army pension rules, the following members of family are eligible for family pension: wife, mother, father (as per nominee), daughter (18 years), son (21 years). However, married girls and boys are ineligible. The Defence Ministry has to clear this proposal.

The widow (daughter of the Army personnel) will continue to get family pension even if she gets remarried to the brother of the deceased husband. However, this should be stopped from the date of her remarriage to a person other than the real brother of the deceased personnel.

M. L. BATURA, Karnal

Dearth of radars

Surprisingly, owing to an acute shortage of radars, there are glaring gaps in the country’s air surveillance. The Centre has failed to provide necessary equipment to the forces. A detailed CAG report has pointed out that the present air defence system operating on the 1976 model needs to be improved upon. At present, India is facing a 47 per cent shortage of radars required to detect aircraft. The IAF is also not meeting the prescribed watch hours to keep external surveillance.

Even the Navy is handicapped by the shortage of submarines. It has an aging fleet. The missile firing capabilities on three submarines are functioning at sub-optional levels. Even the re-fit activity is not sufficient. The government must shed its nonchalance and act in earnest.

O.P. COWSHIK, Kurukshetra

Identity politics

S. Nihal Singh has done a brilliant article on the theme, “Identity politics: Signals from Maharashtra, Bihar”, focusing attention on a growing bane. If this disturbing trend is not checked, it may soon engulf the country.

Looking at the ominous signals emanating from the affected states, the consequences will be disastrous for the polity. Let the powers that be heed the signals sooner than later.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)



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