Agniveer: A military veteran’s detailed argument towards Agnipath scheme – Half 1

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

The theatrics within the media briefing on Tour of Responsibility (ToD) on June 14 on the Nationwide Media Centre had been amusing. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh regarded smug watching the visibly uncomfortable Service Chiefs studying out ready statements. The Military Chief even had the written solutions to the questions requested by the viewers. He additionally spoke final although the Military will get the utmost import from ToD. 

Rajnath appeared sanguine with the ToD set to overwhelm the navy; he would stay in-charge whilst ‘Marg Darshak’ after 2024. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar didn’t utter a phrase or took questions together with his tenure prolonged, increasing bureaucratic empire, and having pushed by means of ToD in full measure as a substitute of the pilot venture it was imagined to be.  Lieutenant Common Anil Puri from DMA saved flashing photographs of life within the Armed Forces (well-known to youth and media) to provide credence to what he offered.       

Requested whether or not six-month coaching could be sufficient for ToD, the Naval Chief responded that ToD inductees could be educated on one ship for 2 years and one other ship for 2 years. The opposite two Chiefs thought it greatest to stay mum. Replying to a different query, the Military Chief confirmed that each one Military models would have manpower on an all India foundation. When requested if this implies the regimental system within the Military will end, he mentioned it could go however not instantly.

The federal government’s intention is to kill the Military’s regimental system, which is the bedrock of combating arms and comradeship; ‘Naam, Namak aur Nishan; to be sacrificed by means of virulent utility  of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. So what is going to fastened class regiments like say Rajput Regiment, Gorkha Regiment, Sikh Regiment be referred to as? Will they be allotted numbers with police-ization of the Military or be renamed like ‘Savarkar Regiment’, ‘Mangal Pandey Regiment’, ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyay Regiment’ as being mentioned on whatsapp?

Was this PR train required with the media already flooded with laudatory articles giving full particulars of the scheme primarily based on handouts given by the federal government and the Military to ‘choose’ writers – veterans included? Satirically, these 2-3 star veterans praised the paltry ToD bundle whereas having fun with their very own pension and perks. The identical stooges had helped cowl up the PLA intrusions in Ladakh throughout 2020.

Previous the ToD announcement was deafening noises concerning the monumental defence pension finances, which have flooded the media as soon as once more after the anti-ToD youth protests following the media briefing on Jun 14. However these crying about defence pensions intentionally don’t question   expenditure on the Group ‘A’ providers and civilian-defence staff, questions like:

·        They’ve a lot quicker promotions and are granted the  non-functional upgradation (NFU) allowance. All of them retire within the HAG/HAG+ grade, having fun with One Rank, One Pension (OROP) thereafter.

·        The above, mixed with all serving until about 60 years of age, expenditure on them is big (serving and retired) which is saved underneath wraps.

·        Anout 45% of the defence pension invoice nonetheless goes to civilian-defence staff.

·        These coming underneath the Nationwide Pension Scheme (NPS) would get 15% extra pay whereas in service and a bundle on retirement, which is excess of what troopers earn in service as a result of they retire a few years earlier.

·        Every of the seven lakh serving civilian-defence staff is 5 instances costlier than his/her uniformed counterpart.

·        Even civilians from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on attachment with the Minister of Defence (MoD) are paid from the defence finances (pay and pension) – why?   

Regardless of periodic authorities bulletins of no dearth of funds for the navy, defence budgets have continued to stay unfavourable in precise phrases until China delivered the kick in 2020. Decreased defence budgets enabled the mafia to yell extra about defence pensions obfuscating the expenditure on civilian-defence staff, as defined above. The Group ‘A’ providers, civilian defence staff and CAPF get far more cash serving for longer intervals.  However the authorities enjoys troopers combating in inhospitable areas, dealing with dangers and begging to take care of his household, educate his youngsters and struggling to fend for himself in his previous age.

Within the case of OROP for the Armed Forces, the promise to revise OROP yearly was buried by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley saying all the pieces mentioned within the run as much as elections shouldn’t be fulfilled. Report of the government-appointed one-man Justice Reddy Fee on OROP has been intentionally put within the freezer. As for the federal government’s promise to revise the pensions from July 2019, MoD has once more sought extra time, which can proceed until eternity.

How was ToD initiated?

In his article ‘Tour of Responsibility – A Unhealthy Concept Whose Time Has Come’, Commander KP Sanjeev Kumar, former navy experimental take a look at pilot, wrote that if the Indian Military and the MoD has its means, ToD will grow to be a actuality quickly. He explains why ToD is a “unhealthy thought” however what he mentioned concerning the Military and MoD is 100% true.

How Common Bipin Rawat turned Military Chief after which CDS, what actually are the CDS and DMA and why Military  recruitment was stopped two years in the past has been defined in these columns earlier (https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/cds-the-bonded-hombre/2553329/). Rawat was the primary Military Chief to be awarded PVSM for ‘providers’ rendered as Chief.

Common MM Naravane took over as Military Chief from Rawat on December 31, 2019, with Rawat transferring as CDS. The ‘idea paper’ for ToD was ready in-house by the Military in December 2019, which was then forwarded to DMA. It made no point out of expenditure on civil-defence staff and comparability with different civilian and police providers. Was the paper initiated on the behest of the paperwork? Was Rawat trying past the CDS (minister within the Centre or Uttrakhand preceded by an envoy/governor submit?) with Naravane endearing himself to the federal government as effectively?

In 2020, media studies emerged that ToD shall be tried out within the Military on experimental foundation, simultaneous to Narawane expounding the virtues of ToD  (https://youtu.be/GpLGY78tC5Y). Rawat needed ToD to be the ‘solely’ supply of entry for troopers however Naravane needed a pilot venture for less than 100 officers and 1000 troopers, which was the paper forwarded. However then the DMA, a part of MoD) took over and the Finance Minister was overjoyed seeing the chance to execute ToD large-scale, and the identical made the one recruitment coverage for troopers. .

Isn’t India a wealthy  nation given the freebies showered by all political events, cash splurged to purchase votes and lawmakers, as additionally the huge expenditure on day by day propaganda which may dwarf the Joe Biden administration’s propaganda equipment in America. Has anybody taken a take a look at the expenditure in civilian-manned authorities organizations, together with defence-related DRDO and DPSUs – their pay, pensions and perks? What about CAPF, their energy, pay, allowances and pensions? Why is barely the navy being focused and inside that the Military?

However this isn’t the primary time that the Military hierarchy has let the service down for selling themselves. There was criticism over NFU having been just lately granted to CRPF, not the Armed Forces. However some years again, Military Headquarters wrote to MoD that NFU shouldn’t be given to Military personnel. The logic given by the then Adjutant Common was that people not  promoted however getting larger pay would cease working (sic), as if they might not be sacked. It’s a completely different subject that somebody in that navy hierarchy was eyeing the submit of Vice Chancellor of the Indian Nationwide Defence College (INDU), basis stone for which was laid by the then prime minister on Might 23, 2013 at Gurgaon (Haryana). However the subsequent authorities had different plans.    

Above are simply two examples out of many. Additionally, how the Military shoots itself within the foot may be gauged from the article written by Main Navdeep Sigh a decade in the past. There are different situations of the Military’s naiveté. Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, when serving as Naval Chief, had proposed to the MoD establishing a joint construction for Particular Forces of all of the three providers. MoD requested feedback from the Air Pressure and the Military. IAF replied they don’t have any Particular Forces – ‘Garuds’ got here into being years later. However the Military’s DGMO responded by saying, “We don’t visualize trans-border employment of Particular Forces”.

The Nationwide Safety Guards (NSG) was supplied to the Military up to now however Military declined saying anti-hijack shouldn’t be their forte. However Military continues to supply manpower to NSG (in lots of situations working underneath law enforcement officials) for the sake of additional regimental posts regardless of the CCS notice (underneath which NSG was established in September 22, 1986) particularly stating that Military is to supply  manpower to NSG just for first 10 years – until September 1996.

Above is barely a small glimpse of the wheels inside wheels within the system. Half II and the concluding half will take a more in-depth take a look at ToD.

(The creator is an Indian Military veteranViews expressed are private and don’t mirror the official place or coverage of Monetary Categorical On-line. Reproducing this content material with out permission is prohibited).

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