Mr Prime Minister, Why Are You Vacillating?
Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi in The Citizen
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
CHANDIGARH: The OROP saga continues. Even though for the nth time
the government has accepted that OROP is a justified demand of the
Indian Military, it is still vacillating in issuing the
implementation order. The announcement made by the Defence Minister
in a press conference on 5
September still remains just an announcement.
Thereafter too, many functionaries of the government, especially the
Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have repeatedly stated that
OROP is accepted, but why is there is no movement towards
implementation. The protesting veterans have unequivocally stated
that the diluted version is not acceptable, as both the present and
the previous governments and indeed even the Parliament have
accepted it in totality.
then, this important demand seems to be hanging in the air, as the
government has taken
‘Maun Vrat’ on the issue, while the veteran’s leadership has stated
that OROP with caveats is not
acceptable, as they are after thoughts inserted by the bureaucracy
to delay and deny a justifiable demand. This deadlock must end as
this unnecessary confrontation is neither good for the government
nor for the Indian Military. One does not need to be a space
scientist to also add that it is adversely affecting the security of
veterans have repeatedly stated that the following are the areas of
dissonance that need to be
removed; an implementation letter issued; and this unnecessary
hiatus brought to an end:
Inserting ‘VRS’, an obvious red herring, by vested interests needs
to be removed forthwith, as this is inapplicable to the military.
Subsequently, both the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have
publicly stated that those who had taken pre-mature retirement (a
legitimate action) are covered by OROP.
So, why is there hesitancy in promulgating it?
During negotiations, government representatives had confirmed that
the base year would be 2013-14. So, why was it changed to a vague
terminology? Another red herring by the same wily functionaries!
Annual equalization is necessary so that at nostage does a senior
person starts getting less emoluments. This is a core issue and is
in consonance with the Supreme Court judgment. The
government’s offer of equalization after five years on the grounds
of administrative difficulties is laughable in this electronic era.
Government’s suggestion of appointing a one-judge commission is
obviously for further delaying
implementation. If the legitimate projected demands are accepted, no
commission or committee of any type is needed.
Another red herring is the so-called ‘average pay scales’, when it
was already decided that “top of the pay scales” would apply.
OROP must not be linked to any contrary insertions in future pay
commissions, as the whole
concept hinges on and has been accepted as an action in
perpetuity.The above points are hardly impossible demands, as it is
made out to be. The problem is ‘attitude’, nothing else.
apparent that the bureaucrats are bent on taking both the political
leadership as well as the
military for a royal ride and in the bargain have tried to show to
the public that the veterans are
being greedy. The entire delay in implementing OROP is on account of
the unnecessary and motivated brouhaha about draining the treasury,
when crores are being promised/spent on election gimmicks. It is sad
that even leaders of stature, like the Prime Minister, as well as
defence and finance ministers have fallen in this obvious
bureaucratic trap. They must think independently and ensure that
promises made in the run-up to the elections and subsequently are
leaders, whether kings and emperors of a previous era, or elected
representatives of the people
today, have always understood the dire need to secure the frontiers
of the nation against external
aggression. That is the reason for having militaries; bureaucrats
and diplomats do not fight – only
soldiers do. Our political leaders must understand the need to have
a modernized, satisfied and happy military for securing the state,
which is of paramount importance.
earlier times, it was a matter of good governance that this
important instrument of the state was
accorded the highest status, usually just below the state
leadership. This norm continues in all countries.
However, in our country, a continuing and deliberate policy of
downgrading the military continues. This is a post-Independence
phenomenon, the roots of which lie in the rise of an ignorant
political class, which a wily bureaucracy exploited to its
advantage. This combination has seems to have reached a nadir now
and unless drastic measures are taken and urgently, there is grave
danger of the nation losing both its security and sovereignty.Such a
grave tragedy could have occurred much
earlier, but India has such a highly dedicated and loyal military,
steeped in traditions of valour and
sacrifice that the Indian Military, despite all the negatives thrown
in its way persevered and served
the nation with professionalism, competence and élan.
was the rapid response by the Indian Military that saved the day
when the Pakistani marauders attacked J&K within two months of our
Independence in October 1947, when the military was in the midst of
being divided between India and Pakistan. Thereafter, every war that
was forced on India was tackled with resolve despite indifferent and
at times timid political leadership and poor equipment. The war of
1971 was the most glorious chapter that the Indian Military wrote in
blood and then in 1999, despite unnecessary curbs imposed on the
military during the Kargil War, the sacrifices of the Indian
Military brought the nation victory against overwhelming odds.
However, while the military was
doing its duty diligently, scheming file-pushers were continuing
with their policy of running down the
military, both in status and in monetary terms. Such a situation
could not last forever as even the most
disciplined individual or group reaches a point after which the
break occurs. It is my conviction that such a point has nearly been
reached. Hence, the need for immediate resolution of this
Indian Military has many grouses, all legitimate, but the most
recent and the most emotive is the
issue of OROP that concerns every soldier, sailor and airmen,
whether serving or retired. The recent
vacillation and pussyfooting by the government is exacerbating the
problem. Apparently, the political
leadership is getting wrong and motivated advice. Unless the
leadership stops listening to its self-
centered and myopic advisers, a catastrophe is waiting to happen.
The nation’s leaders, intellectuals
and well-meaning citizens need to weigh all aspects with maturity
and seriousness and resolve this issue by thinking and acting as
statesmen and not mere political leaders. It is patently wrong to
think that like trade unions the veterans have hiked their demands
and they would finally accept some kind of a negotiated settlement.
Those who understand the military mind know that this is not so, but
apparently those advising the political leadership are unable to see
anything beyond their noses!
sure that the government has received the reports of the recent Ekta
Rally and the
overwhelming response it has received from all military persons,
despite unnecessary and stupid
curbs by naïve administrators. If the leadership wants to continue
acting like ostriches, it will find
itself wringing its hands when the balloon goes up.
Please believe me that the thread that tethers the balloon is so
worn out now that it has nearly
reached its breaking point. Let me end this epistle with what
William Shakespeare had stated, which continues to be as relevant
today as it was then.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood,
leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound
in shallows and in miseries”