In a developing economy, rapid industrialization and a country well on the road to prosperity, preference for government jobs tends to decline. This has not happened in India so far due to a number of reasons. One, government jobs offer unmatched security of employment, two, seniority overrides merit, three, mediocrity prospers, promotions are plentiful and finally, there is much rent to be collected with minimum risk. Government employees have still not shed the colonial era hang-ups of being masters and not public servants: ego and false notions of status persists.
Within the ambit of government jobs, military has lost most of its shine, because hardly any of the pluses of government jobs apply to this service. Economically well-placed democracies offer many incentives and perks to make military service attractive and somewhat competitive with other job avenues, so as to draw on the right material. As opposed to this, in India, sustained attempts have been made to make this service more and more unattractive, by disadvantaging it in every possible way. Even after spending much money on T V advertisements and lowering of intake standards (in recently held promotion tests 80 percent of officers failed in Part B and D examinations) military has not been able to fill its huge deficiencies in the officer cadre (approximately 24 percent.)
Even after spending much money on T V advertisements and lowering of intake standards (in recently held promotion tests 80 percent of officers failed in Part B and D examinations) military has not been able to fill its huge deficiencies in the officer cadre (approximately 24 percent.)
As country’s economy further improves, less suitable candidates will come forward to join the military but instead will be attracted to lucrative jobs from a wide range of other options, where the intelligent and the more ambitious can realize their full potential. This relegation of military as a profession, which bears on the quality of intake into officer cadre, will eventually impact our ability to face future security challenges: internal and external. Merely modernizing and upgrading equipment and weapons systems, building defence infrastructure etc, will be of little avail, if those who have to strategize and exploit to the optimum their potential, lead troops into battle, do not measure up to future demands of national security.
Much before the Second World War, American government wanted to prune down the defence expenditure by cutting down the strength of officer cadre by 12000. Speaking before the Senate, General Douglas MacArthur, the greatest general in American history said, “ If you want to cut every thing out of the National Defence Act, the least element should be the officer Corps. If you have to discharge every soldier, if you have to do away with every thing else, I would still professionally advise you to keep those 12000 officers. They are the mainspring of the whole mechanism; each one of them would be worth a thousand men at the beginning of a war. They are the only ones who take this heterogeneous mass and make it homogeneous group. ”Incidentally Indian army is short of 12000 or so officers.
Persistently down grading of the military by the government and taking pot shots at it by all and sundry, is considered fair game. If the Army Chief talks of good governance, some MPs, which included later day defence minister, want him sacked. (This was when quarter of a million of his troops was deployed to ensure minimum governance in many parts of the country.) If the service chiefs stands up for their officers and troops against the vagaries of the 6th Pay Commission and the Committee of Secretaries, as a compulsively moral obligation and command commitment, an editor-in-chief of a national newspaper wants them sacked. Yes sacked and no less! For these so called liberals and their warped and constricted understanding of democracy, the civilian control of the military only means, ‘not to reason why, –!’
Persistently down grading of the military by the government and taking pot shots at it by all and sundry, is considered fair game.
When asked whether Indian Army can do a ‘Geronimo’ (elimination of Osama-bin-laden) the Army Chief, says yes, (without naming target/country) the press and a whole lot of others are at his throat. Raising the issue of his date of birth in public, leaking to the media that government has over-ruled his visit to attend the biennial conference of Pacific Armies Chiefs does deliver grievous blows to the institution of the Chief. This periodic targeting the chief greatly irks the serving and veterans. When the home secretary makes a statement, almost sabotaging Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan, there is not a whisper in the media or the government! We do have some strange notions of an Army Chief’s functioning in the Indian democracy. On the other hand consider this.
When British government decided to send troops for the invasion of Iraq, Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of Defence Staff of U.K demanded an unequivocal statement from the government that the invasion was lawful, without it, Boyce felt, his troops could lay themselves open to charges of war crimes. Figure an Indian army chief demanding anything even remotely close to such a requirement and do visualize the storm it would generate and send many an editor into a tail spin, in the name of civilian control over the military in our special democracy! It is not only the military’s chief who can be easily targeted, but the military as an institution is fair game to hunt. Sample only a few.
It is surely not militarys job to run colleges for other than its own wards, whose education suffers due to extreme turbulence in their schooling.
Due to periodic transfers, children’s education suffers immensely. To overcome this drawback, military started own schools and a number of professional colleges. Now the Honb’le Supreme Court has ruled that admission into military’s professional colleges be opened to civilian children too. Why then should the military run such colleges! It is surely not military’s job to run colleges for other than its own wards, whose education suffers due to extreme turbulence in their schooling.