Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 1
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has directed all wings of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) by February 15 on the steps or initiatives taken by them on the recommendations of a committee of experts constituted to help improve service conditions of armed forces personnel.
The directions were issued a few days ago, sources in the MoD said. The 5-member committee had presented its report to Parrikar on November 24 last.
The 509-page report contains as many as 75 recommendations that touch upon various aspects of pension and service matters, discipline and vigilance, promotion issues, military justice reform, issues concerning civil employees and areas of potential disputes and litigation.
The committee was constituted on the directions of the defence minister and was claimed to be the first ever exercise aimed at strengthening institutional mechanisms related to grievance redressal. It explores upon administrative, legal, psychological and even social aspects of military life.
Prominent among the committee’s recommendations is greater personal interaction and opportunity of hearing in the system of formal complaints and petitions so as to give a better role to human interaction rather than the one-way noting sheet method and to assist in providing outlet and catharsis to individuals related to their grievances.
An innovative aspect propagated greater constructive usage of social media, including initiation of blogs by senior commanders, to promote an interactive process with the rank and file. A face-to-face ‘collegiate’ system of decision-making in various aspects rather than the file circulation method as been suggested along with more transparency in matters related to promotions and confidential reports.
Recommendations on military justice reform include steps that can be taken without any legislative change such as introduction of permanent infrastructure for Courts Martial at specified stations to reduce ad hocism and reduction of command influence.
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