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Sunday, 28 September 2008

From Today's Papers - 28 Sep

Panel on pay in forces, arrears to be paid soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 27
In an attempt to address the resentment of the armed forces over lowering of their status vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts by the Sixth Pay Commission, the Government today formed a committee of three ministers headed by Union external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to look into the matter.

Soon after the government announced the formation of the panel, it said ad hoc payment of arrears would be made at the earliest.

The government has found merit in the demands of the forces, said a top-ranking official. The financial burden of meeting these demands was being worked out. To restore parity will cost about Rs 400 crore said sources.

It was expected that the ministerial committee, with Union finance minister P Chidambaram and defence minister AK. Antony as its members, will work to remove the anomalies before the end of next month. The matter will then be referred to the Prime Minister, who despite being abroad gave instructions to form a committee. The armed forces had petitioned the PM saying that the issue should not be handed over to the anomalies committee but be dealt at the political level.

The government has asked the three service chiefs to notify the pay panel within their respective forces by Monday.

Armed Forces personnel to get ad-hoc arrears at the earliest

20:21 IST

Keeping in view that the re-fixation of pay and allowances and consequent calculation of arrears may take some time, the government has decided to make ad-hoc payment of arrears for the current year to all ranks of the Services at the earliest. The proposal received the sanction of the President today. The amount so paid will be adjusted against the final computation of arrears on the revised pay scales. It may be recalled that 40% of the arrears are to be paid in cash in the year 2008-2009 and the remaining 60% in the year 2009-2010.The rates will be as follows:


For Regular Officers-Ad-hoc Amount (Rs.)

For MNS Officers-Ad-hoc Amount (Rs.)











Lt Col/Equivalent









Maj Gen/Equivalent



Lt Gen/Equivalent











Nb Sub/Equivalent




Sub Major/Equivalent


Hony Commissioned Officer

As per Rank on 01.01.2006

The above-mentioned amount would be admissible with reference to the substantive rank held as on 01.01.2006. Payment of the above ad-hoc amounts will be made only to those personnel who were in Service as on 01.01.2006 and continue to be in Service thereafter. The ranks held by the personnel as on 01.01.2006 would be reckoned for drawing the arrears. The concerned paying authorities may deduct income tax as per normal rules at the time of final computation of arrears payable during the current financial year.

Military pay hike: Govt sets up panel
The government has finally responded to Army's continued displeasure over the pay hike.

It has decided to form 3-member committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The committee will also have Defence Minister AK Anthony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as its members.

The proposed committee will look into the grievances of the Armed Forces related to the remuneration being offered to them in the Sixth Pay Commission.

The decision was taken after PM was consulted in the US on the issue.

All pending issues of Army on pay hikes will be addressed and resolved latest by October end.

All service headquarters - Army, Navy and Air Force - will issue notification on Monday to hand out the revised payscale according to the Sixth Pay Commission.

Anomalies in defence pay scales will be rectified: Antony
27 Sep, 2008, 1329 hrs IST, IANS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Anomalies in pay scales for defence personnel in the Sixth Pay Commission will be sorted out soon, and the armed forces "will celebrate Diwali" by collecting their new salaries, Defence Minister AK Antony promised here on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters here, Antony rubbished news reports that the Indian armed forces personnel would observe the forthcoming festival of lights on Oct 28 as 'Black Diwali' over the newly announced pay scales.

"Who told you such things? Such a thing is not going to happen. When the Pay Commission came out with new pay scales, I agree there were some anomalies for the armed forces personnel. But don't worry. We will sort out all such issues and they will celebrate Diwali by collecting their new pay scales," Antony said.

The defence minister earlier met armed forces veterans and also distributed specially made scooters to disabled soldiers.

He said the first step to gender equality in the defence forces was taken on Friday when he signed the orders for granting permanent commission for women in certain categories.

"This is only the first step, and slowly we will open up," said Antony.

He was peeved when reporters asked him whether the move would allow women to compete with men in the armed forces.

"I have been defence minister for nearly two years and I have come here several times, but not a single person here asked me when I would open the defence forces for women. Now when I have signed the order, you find fault with me. Please don't be in a hurry," he said tersely.

He declined to answer questions on whether he proposed to open up the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy to women.

"We are planning to open one more institute for training of people in the armed forces. The details are being worked out," said Antony.

He said that the Russian defence minister was arriving in India Sunday and he would meet the visitor Monday.

Final analysis
The war against terror can only be won if the integrity principle is at its core, argues N.V.Subramanian.

26 September 2008: To overcome terrorism, pre-emption must be honest, intelligent and ruthless; post-terror investigations must be conducted with unswerving integrity; and final convictions must be based on full applications of laws so that nobody guilty is spared while the innocent are let off. In practice, some or several of these principles are betrayed, not just in India, but in the United States as well, in the UK, and in continental Europe, particularly in countries allied with the US war against terror. But nevertheless, in the Indian context, these principles are sound, and existential pressures and political storms must not be allowed to sway them.

While there is no gainsaid that the political, social and religious environment must never be so allowed to radicalize that terrorism takes root, that environment is no longer in exclusive management of any state, least of all India, which faces triple pressures of post 9/11 international terrorism, terrorism from Pakistan which employs it as state policy, and now, home-grown terrorism. In the event, pre-empting terrorism has to be the first thrust of the state, and human intelligence-gathering ranks number one in the pre-emptive steps, followed by technical intelligence-gathering. What is learnt from foreign sources, directly and through intelligence agencies, also feed this stream, although their dependability has to be assessed as other intelligence from other sources.

For pre-empting terrorism, intelligence agencies have to be first rate, with unique skills to gather, analyze and quickly disseminate intelligence. In the UK especially but also to an extent in the US, there have been tremendous upgradations in this direction, and they have been dealt in detail by this writer earlier on this website. The point is, agencies must be dedicated to pre-empting terrorism, accountable for failure, and they must not be distracted by demands for spying on political rivals, troublesome or corrupt cabinet ministers, and so forth. The selection of intelligence leadership must be solely on merit, even if the seniority principle has to be foregone sometimes. All intelligence generated has to be actionable, and all action emanating from it, either leading to encounter deaths, or to arrests, must stand the fierce and unrelenting scrutiny of the adversarial judiciary. Indeed, there might be a case to bring police under the prosecution, especially in view of the growing mistrust of police investigations.

But pre-empting terrorism will only succeed if there is consensus against terrorism, and so-called victim communities understand and accept that, in the final analysis, it is best not to attempt to impede the run of the writ of the state. The state's writ will run, indeed surge through, once integrity in the pre-empting process is established. It means no false encounters, absolutely justified arrests. If integrity is established, communities will come together against terrorists, as happened in Punjab and in the mid-Nineties in Jammu and Kashmir. And if beat policing is systematically enforced, commencing from the metropolises, the generation of actionable intelligence will be tremendous, and penetration of terrorist organizations will become possible.

Many of the principles of honest pre-emptive action against terrorism apply to post-terrorism investigations. It never helps to kill non-terrorists in fake encounters (even non-terrorists who may be criminals and extortionists) and advance fraudulent claims of having solved previous terrorism incidents. It bolsters terrorists' morale that the state has limited investigative skills or lacks the perseverance and doggedness for it. The state acquires a false sense of security while terrorist modules remain intact for future expansion and foreign collaboration and obviously bigger terrorist attacks. And, inevitably, word is out of innocent or non-terrorist deaths. True and definitive sources of actionable intelligence dry up, and it enfeebles the state's capabilities of pre-empting terrorism. A highly publicized case of a false encounter can set back the state's capacity against terrorism by as much as a full Lok Sabha term.

Finally, convictions must be rule-based, as they are in India. But an anti-terror law presents a bit of a grey problem. Does it serve as a deterrent? Not in itself, but in being able to arm a state to investigate or pre-empt terrorism by any and all legitimate means. If an anti-terrorism law is used to pursue legitimate terrorist targets, and there is an established history of no or little abuse, then a consensus gradually builds to strengthen the law, and then it becomes a deterrent of sorts. If there is abuse, the law will eventually become a political casualty. The operative principle, therefore, is integrity of pre-emptive action, integrity of investigation, and integrity of prosecution. Only on this can a workable and successful anti-terrorism strategy be based.

N.V.Subramanian is Editor, Har-Anand has published his new second novel, Courtesan of Storms.

Please visit N.V.Subramanian's blog

Russian defence minister arrives today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 27
Long-standing Indo-Russian ties will be renewed for the first time in the post nuclear deal scenario as Russian defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov arrives tomorrow for a three-day visit to ink important deals with Indian defence minister A.K. Antony.

The Russian delegation will meet Indian defence officials led by defence minister A.K. Antony. This will be an important meeting of India-Russia inter-government commission on military and technical cooperation. One of the key issues will be the deal for Admiral Gorshkov, besides signing of various agreements, defence ministry officials said. India had bought the aircraft carrier, rechristened it as INS Vikramaditya and paid $1.5 billion in 2004. However, Russia has been demanding an additional $1.2 billion, citing escalating costs for completing the refit and delivering the ship to Indian Navy.

Other things include jointly developing the fifth generation fighter aircraft and T-90 tanks technology transfer, sources said. It is expected that some finalising will be done on an agreement for transfer of technology (ToT) for building T-90 tanks in India, the sources added. India is keen to build more and more tanks at it its plants here.

Babus vs netas
Civil Services need a total overhaul
by Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd)

What the US Presidential candidate Senator Barak Obama said about the bureaucracy in the United States is equally true of bureaucracy in India. The 20th century steel frame of Indian Administrative Service has rusted and is presently out of sync with the progressive 21st century era.

A dedicated and dynamic bureaucracy sensitive to changing times is necessary for good governance. But that has not been the case. The bureaucracy has not been able to remodel itself in tune with the people-friendly environment of post-independent democratic India. It continues to be uppish, overbearing, intimidating and inhibits common man’s access to it.

In this age of globalisation and liberalisation, it has failed to rise to the occasion. It is no more a question of revenue administration or law and order maintenance; the bureaucrat is now required to come to grips with the socio-economic and socio-political, people-friendly environment.

Worse, the well meaning government policies are stalled or delayed unduly merely because the bureaucracy views them differently. It wields authority without responsibility, goes unpunished for its lapses and has become indecisive, inefficient and largely corrupt. Yet, it remains all powerful and domineering. Its upward mobility irrespective its performance remains unaffected.

BBC serial Yes Minister telecast a few years ago reflected befittingly not only the state of the British bureaucracy but also of its successor in India. How clever bureaucrats can manipulate the unsuspecting, half-witted politicians was amazing indeed. Despite 60 long years, the bureaucracy has not been able to shed its pre-independence persona as the masters of society.

Power and pelf are the sole criterion that induces them all including the doctors and the engineers to join the bureaucracy even belatedly. It’s not service before self but self before service that seems to motivate them all.

Obviously, there is an urgent need for expeditious reforms in the civil services. Entry terms and conditions, pre-induction training, continuity training whilst in service and the appraisal system, all need to be reviewed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a former bureaucrat, took the initiative in this regard. The Second Administrative Reform Commission headed by M. Veerappa Moily has been examining various aspects of reform since August 2005.

It is mulling over some very far-reaching and path breaking reforms in the bureaucracy. Since change is always resisted, the bureaucracy is bound to raise its voice against these recommendations, but it is for the government to show its will for reforms. Since the Prime Minister has been very keen to rein in the bureaucracy for better governance for some time now, he should show his resolve by implementing the ARC recommendations without dithering.

Though some committees like the P.C. Hota Committee on civil services reforms have made some well-meaning recommendations, successive governments have not followed up. The Hota committee came out with a slew of recommendations, including lowering of minimum and maximum ages at the entry point, with a view to inducting clean, unadulterated and fresh minds into the service. But it continues to gather dust in the coffers of the Cabinet Secretary. The reasons are obvious: the ministers come and go whilst the bureaucrats stay put in their seats.

The advantage of lowering the entry age is that the young mind is malleable and can be moulded as desired. Requisite value system and attributes like honesty, integrity and sense of responsibility can all be gradually inculcated. But as the age advances, a person develops a personality of his own, a fixed mindset and moral value criteria.

He is then all set as a bureaucrat to achieve his pre-conceived ideas and vision which may not be in consonance with what is needed of him in the service. Proper indoctrination and tailoring of mind is essential to produce the future administrators who will be in harmony with the present-day environment.

Apparently, the Moily Commission is considering some path-breaking reforms. There are proposals for early recruitment at the 10+2 stage on the pattern of the National Defence Academy. The French administrators are also recruited young for training at Ecole Nationale d’Administration.

The boys in the age group of 16 ½ to 19 years, with 10+2 academic qualification are inducted into National Defence Academy for a three-year BA/BSc degree course, followed by another two years at respective army, navy and air force academies for specialised training before being commissioned as officers. In the case of the armed forces, the government had even gone a step further by establishing Sainik Schools all over the country to act as feeders to NDA.

By putting young 10+2 candidates through a 5-year course before passing them out as full-fledged administrators, we may be able to have a bureaucracy that would be responsive to the needs of the time. As in the case of the armed forces, the first three years could be devoted to academics and character building, followed by two years of specialised training in areas like public administration, finance, business management, industrial relations,disaster management et al.

Simultaneously, adequate emphasis on character building must continue right through the five-year training period. Any one failing to come up to the expected level of performance or the core value criteria must be weeded out at the end of each semester, as is done in the armed forces training institutions.

These recommendations are bound to be resented by the bureaucracy, for these require it to function in accordance with the people-friendly ethos to which it is not used to, besides placing a heavy premium on efficiency, decisiveness and accountability. If there is genuine political will, bureaucratic resentment notwithstanding, implementation can be ensured to a requisite degree.

Normally, the success of any government programme depends upon the bureaucracy itself. Hence, its cooperation will have to be ensured. Senior bureaucrats who are responsible for policy implementation will have to be co-opted in this effort. Even an internal participative debate can be held and views taken note of. The aim is to pick up the best brains that the country offers.

For effective implementation of the scheme, proper infrastructure will have to be created, on the lines of the National Defence Academy (for composite three-year training), Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy (for respective two-year specialised training). The present training system at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie, is too inadequate to produce multi-skilled modern administrators required to function in a democratic environment. Political interference must stop, if we want upright and honest bureaucrats in the service of the nation.

Today’s bureaucrat is unable to stand up against an unscrupulous politician for fear of retribution at his hands. Loyalty links, caste clout and carrot dangling for post-retirement lucrative assignments are unethical though purpose serving weapons in the hands of the politicians that bend the civil servant to abide by the wishes of his political boss.

Since the politician has to also depend upon the bureaucrat, both have leant to live in harmony with each other. Unless this nexus is broken and the politician debarred from manipulating the bureaucrat, the state of affairs in general and corruption in particular will remain unaffected.

Kurukshetra to release in early October
Mohanlal's much-anticipated Kurukshetra will be released on the first of October, according latest reports. The film, produced by Major Ravi, is based on the low intensity Kargil war between India and Pakistan.

The film will have its release in 70 centres all across Kerala. As Kurukshetra is based on the Kargil war it needed clearance from the Defence Ministry which was obtained last week. The film is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly-awaited films and apart from Mohanlal, it features a large number of well-known artists as supporting cast. Shot completely in the locations of Kargil, Leh and nearby regions, the film is expected to portray a realistic picture of the war and is hoped to bring in good collections.

Major Ravi is a former Indian army officer and recipient of the President"s medal. After spending nearly two decades in the army, he became a consultant for war-based movies and has worked with the likes of Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Santoshi and Mani Ratnam. After making a few children"s films, he ventured into feature films with Keerthichakra (featuring Mohanlal), a multilingual movie about Kashmir militancy. After Kurukshetra, Major Ravi is said to be contemplating a movie based on the Kandahar plane hijack which will feature Mohanlal and Kamal Hassan together for the first time.

Another GOK

There is no monument dedicated to the memory of a committee. ~Lester J. Pourciau

From one of the news reports today:

It [the government] has decided to form 3-member committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The committee will also have Defence Minister AK Anthony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as its members.

The proposed committee will look into the grievances of the Armed Forces related to the remuneration being offered to them in the Sixth Pay Commission. The decision was taken after PM was consulted in the US on the issue. All pending issues of Army on pay hikes will be addressed and resolved latest by October end.

All service headquarters - Army, Navy and Air Force - will issue notification on Monday to hand out the revised payscale according to the Sixth Pay Commission.[NDTV]

A few random observations.

#1- Has the government succeeded in buying time by instituting this committee? Not completely true, because the committee has to resolve all issues by the end of October. If Shiv Aroor is to be believed, this was done at the direct orders of the Congress party chief, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

#2 - The government has succeeded in defusing the main bargaining chip of the services, the pay notification. It was a dodgy issue and the media terminology of a “Black Diwali for soldiers” had the potential of snowballing into a bigger crisis.

#3 - The Committee has three members, among whom the views of two are already known. The third minister and the head of the committee is a former defence minister and a former finance minister (way back in the 1980s). Pranob Da is a master of ceremonies, oops committees, in this government. At the last count, he was heading over 20 GoMs and Committees. His last big committee assignment was with the Left on the Indo-US nuclear deal and despite all the smiling photo-ops, he did not move a bit from the government’s stance. He is a hard nut to crack and has handled much tougher bargainers than Antony and party. In the end, the secretarial staff to this committee will not be made of service members but the civil servants.

#4 - The services had asked for a political intervention, after voting with their feet against a bureaucratic hearing. This is the political mechanism devised by the government, rather than discussing the grievances in the cabinet. In his autobiography, Journeys through Babudom and Netaland: Governance in India, former Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian recounts the discussion over the Vth pay commission in the Union cabinet. Mr. Chidambaram happened to be the Finance minister even then and despite his voluble objections, the cabinet (Paswan, Mulayam etc.) overruled all his protestations.

#5 - If the services succeed fully in getting their way through, the fallouts will still be there to be borne by the services in the future. More importantly, if their demands are not met (fully or partially) by this committee of ministers, then what? These are the democratically elected leaders of this country and what can the services or their chiefs do then. That is still too far in the future to speculate upon or fret about.

It is difficult to indulge in crystal ball gazing at this moment about the outcome of this mechanism. What will it be? GOK!

NB - Shiv has just put up the list of ad-hoc arrears to be paid to service officers next month. It has been approved by the President today. Check the list here.

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  1. Hi Aggi,
    Damn nice blog. blogging is a serious business. I was impressed by your blog site and must compliment you for the same. Hope you keep it up.

  2. sorry - incomplete message. Please leave your details on my mail - it is there in my blog site. I will try to keep in touch.



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