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Getting out of bureaucratic stranglehold?

Officers of the armed forces are neither considered at par with Group A (Class 1 ) officers nor with officers of the paramilitary forces (Lt General Harwant Singh’s “Unfair to armed forces”, Aug 6). The bureaucracy has invented a lame alibi to deny the armed forces the non-functional upgradation (NFU) granted to the paramilitary forces and group A officers ipso facto.

For instance a Group A or paramilitary force officer would get the Join Secretary level pay scale two years after an IAS officer gets it and all IAS officers and others having the benefit of NFU reach this position after 22 years and 24 years respectively. 100 per cent of the civil and para-military officers get it. But in the case of armed forces only 3-4 per cent officers of the rank of Maj General, Air Vice Marshal and Rear Admiral get it after 34 years of service.

As per the Sixth Pay Commission, Grade Pay paid to an officer is the determining factor of seniority in the pecking order in the government hierarchy and it is very painful to find that the armed forces have been given lower grade pay. Taking into account the deep discontent in the armed forces, in 2008 the Prime Minister ordered a high-powered committee to do justice to the armed forces. Strangely, the bureaucracy cocked a snook at the highest political orders with impunity.  Now a committee of secretaries (all IAS officers) has been directed to submit its report by August 8 and this committee has not included any representative from the armed forces as a member of this committee despite the demand made by the three Service Chiefs.

Can the armed forces and ex-servicemen hope to get free of the bureaucratic stranglehold?  During the term of George Fernandes as Defence Minister, the bureaucracy stood like a rock in opposing the purchase of snowboots and other modern equipment for the troops waging a heroic struggle and fight in Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battleground . Fernandes packed off the bureaucrats to Siachen and everything fell in order with their objections vanishing in thin air.

These kind of steps alone can put a stop to the skullduggery of the bureaucracy which does not realise that 82 per cent army personnel retire at the age of 37 years and 12 percent retire at the age of 52-54 years having staked their life and family interests for national honour.



It is not a mere complaint but a hard fact that the recommendations of the successive central pay commissions have totally went to the disadvantage of the defence personnel. The issue of ‘one rank one pension’ should have been settled long ago on the basis of the recommendation of the 5th pay commission which allows a civil pensioner to draw pension not less than 50% of the basic salary of the present incumbent irrespective of his year of retirement. The writer is right in pointing out that civil servants at the helm of affairs hardly know the difference between ‘cam shaft and crank shaft’.

A Hindi couplet is apt in this context: ‘Kabhi Kabhi to hum ne apne dil ko yoon bharmaayaa hai, jin baton ko khud naa samjhe, auron ka samjhaayaa hai’ (sometimes we take false pride in explaining things to others which we ourselves do not know).

Non-inclusion of a professionally competent person in the committee thus will prove as a lame-duck exercise.


Scandals in Haryana

Politics in general and that of Haryana in particular seem to be getting eclipsed with sex scandals with alarming frequency (editorial ‘’ Company Hooda keeps ‘’, August 7). As if Chander Mohan-Anuradha Bali scandal was not enough to blacken the face of Haryana politics, now Gopal Kanda case has added further grist to the sex scandal mill of Haryana’s politics. And now the news of the death of Fiza, aka Anuradha Bali, has come at a time when the cauldron of Kanda scandal is at the boiling point.

Why persons with credentials like that of Kanda are included in the cabinet remains an issue. Kanda seems to possess no other qualification except money power. Has money power become stronger than democracy in India? The recent happenings in various states go to prove this point. Staying in the saddle has become more important for political parties than the quality of persons or groups whose help is sought to form the government. It is high time to explore solutions to avoid under- compulsion compromises with malevolent elements.

Er L R SHARMA, Sundernagar

Nucleus of growth

To cope with unplanned urban growth, the villages must be developed so that villagers do not feel the need to migrate to towns and cities for want of better infrastructure and better facilities.

Since all the villages cannot be developed in one go due to financial constraints, so a big and centrally located village be selected in every development block and systematically developed. Haphazard growth should be banned in the beginning itself to avoid filthy slums and strict action should be taken against violators.

Villages should be linked with tehsil and district headquarters by roads. A spacious complex should be constructed to house the offices of smaller officials like Naib-Tehsildar. An authority (like a municipality) be created to make all arrangements of basic amenities and sanitation. Sufficient funds should be provided for the purpose. After the development of the centrally located village in a block, at least four villages one in each direction should be taken up for development one by one.

PREM K GUPTA, Kurukshetra 

Influenced by teacher’s aura

Getting job as a teacher is different from being a good teacher which involves a lot of rigors (editorial “Basic learning first”, August 7). But the endeavor is worth it. So far as the government policy of selection of teachers at the school level is concerned, it selects people with fragmented personalities as teachers. Results are obvious.

In the first place this contradiction should go. Let us select a cadre which is constituted of “teachers” only and nobody else by removing all contradictions in the selection criterion. The rest would take care of itself. It is the “words and aura” of the teacher more than the “written word” that influence receptive young minds deeply.

Secondly, status of the classroom should be clearly defined irrespective of an educational institution in the government or the private sector as another measure to achieve a better outcome.




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