CAG has objected to military having golf courses in the cantonments on its own land (class A land) and that golf is not a recognized game! Surely the military can use its vacant land in the manner it feels best and also the games its officers can and need play. It is military authorities concern and responsibility to ensure that their officers remain physically fit and mentally alert. The CAG may not know, but his better half would, who is an avid golfer and plays regularly at the Air force Golf Course, that there is a golf course in the President’s Estate in New Delhi.
The government (MoD) wants to gain control over units and formations private funds. Government created a department in the MoD for the Welfare of ex-servicemen with no one from the defence services on its staff. The attitude of the staff in this department towards the veteran is completely negative, bordering on hostility. At another level their Supreme Commander is in total denial of the painful experience of veterans returning their medals. Anomalies pertaining to defence personnel, dating back to 4th Central Pay Commission are still to be resolved: some two decades later!
The CAG may not know, but his better half would, who is an avid golfer and plays regularly at the Air force Golf Course, that there is a golf course in the Presidents Estate in New Delhi.
These are few cases out of the numerous where the military faces pinpricking and neglect. This constant and needless needling and driving the military against the wall will greatly de-motivate the serving and further dissuade those who may want to joint military’s officer cadre. The most negative image of the military as a career is reflected in the condition and the manner of treatment of veterans by the government. Unless this picture is drastically recast, all efforts at TV advertisements at great expense are a sheer waste of money. Authorities continue to remain divorced from reality and therefore, needs to come alive to the ground situation.
Such treatment, the inherent drawbacks and travails of military life bears heavily in selecting military as a career in India. Add to this the risk to life and limb. With very few promotions, which come rather late in service, and no provision for ‘non functional pay’, which is available to all class 1 central services, few suitable candidates want to opt for the military. Just about 0.02 get up to HAG and HAG Plus Pay Band while on the other hand almost hundred percent of their equivalents in the civil, make it to these pay bands. A government, with a bent of mind perpetually bent to downgrade the military in every possible way and the manner of treating the institution of the army chief and the veterans, does contribute immensely in making this service so very unattractive.
However here we are concerned with making the best of a bad situation and work out means and methods to redraw the contours of officer cadre so as to attract, whatever could be termed as suitable material with the lowest possible acceptable standard? There is the need to recast the officer cadre with much larger Short Service Commission officers. (SSC). This will not only, some what improve the career prospects of the regular cadre officers, but in the long run will be economical to the state and the army’s cutting edge will remain young and vibrant. The right material can only be drawn if this cadre is made really attractive.
This constant and needless needling and driving the military against the wall will greatly de-motivate the serving and further dissuade those who may want to joint militarys officer cadre.
The intake into the SSC should be between 17 to 19 years age and after a short spell of 6 months intensive training, serve for a period of 5 years. Since they are to serve for a short period, their standard at intake has to be rather high for them to fulfill tasks that are likely to be assigned to them and their subsequent assured rehabilitation. This should be done by taking 10 to 15 percent (after some entrance test) into the civil services, another 10 to 15 percent into the CPOs and around 10 percent offered regular commission. Another 10 to 15 percent should be given free education at IITs/IIMs/medical colleges (depending on suitability) with a stipend of minimum of Rs 30000/ per month and the balance admitted into military’s own professional colleges and given free education and stipend, much of which would get adjusted against gratuity.
It is through such incentives, particularly in the field of higher education, that the U.S. army is able to draw on the right material and keep the deficiency in its officer cadre in the military down to around 3 percent. These young officers, with their military background and training, when absorbed into various fields such as civil services/CPOs/business/ industry etc, will be able to bring about, in these fields, change for the better. Military life offers unique opportunities to a young officer to develop leadership skills, learn to innovate and operate and deliver under extreme stress. They also learn to live with risks to their lives and are well adapted in converting adversities into opportunities. Once such a scheme is implemented, nation will be able to draw benefit from this disciplined and dedicated pool of talent, while army’s shortages in the officer cadre will be made up to quite an extent.