Military & Aerospace

Socio Economic Transformation: Through Ex-Servicemen
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Issue Vol. 31.2 Apr-Jun 2016 | Date : 26 Aug , 2016

Ex-servicemen are ‘role models’ of ethical leadership with ingrained morals and value systems focused on ‘Duty, Honour and Country’ contributing to society and nation building in substantial proportion with a great sense of commitment towards multi-faceted progression and excellence in all spheres of activities. Perhaps the first step in this direction is to identify the cardinal segment of the rural economy, which has so far not attracted adequate attraction of the policymakers but which deserves focus in the new government strategy.

The latest Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme has ranked India 135 in a list of 187 countries…

The contemporary world presents a transformed scenario of a human society undergoing a rapid transition in terms of role and expectations. For the emerging nation states and powers, the principal task is to plan and achieve rapid economic development so that the trajectory of high, inclusive growth can be achieved and poverty can be rapidly ameliorated.1 The objective is to create an economic and social order based on equality of opportunity, full employment and provision of adequate means of livelihood. It is multi- dimensional task, encompassing an extensive range of activities, viz economic, social, technical and cultural.

From the days of Independence till the opening of the economy in 1991, the government both at the Union and State levels were guided by the socialist ideals of the Constitution and played a major role in the funding and execution of all major development programmes and projects in many key areas of the economy. In terms of social stratification of the people, success could not be achieved because of the deteriorating law and order situation, corruption, spiralling price index, criminalistion of politics, poor ethical and social norms and degeneration of our value system.

The latest Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme has ranked India 135 in a list of 187 countries, with 21.9 per cent of 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line or having income of less than $1.25 a day.

Governance, in contemporary usage, goes beyond how government institutions function…

With a large exodus of the rural youth towards the cities (census report of 2011 indicates that the level of urbanisation has increased from 27.81 per cent in 2001 to 31.6 per cent in 2011, while the proportion of rural population has declined from 72.19 per cent to 68.84 per cent in 2011) the only credible and educated workforce available in the villages, apart from the uneducated farmers, are the retired personnel of the armed forces who can be the common pivotal link in this whole socio economic transformation, given their sense of commitment and facing challenges towards attainment of enunciated objectives.

The threat is further enhanced by the degenerate functioning of the civil administration governance implosion and falling apart of the policing mechanisms. There are numerous productive measures that can be taken to improve governance. Focusing on evaluated outcomes, rather than internal procedures would help, as would delegation of responsibilities. The retired officers of the Armed Forces are yet another experienced and highly motivated resource pool available in the civil society, within the existing civil structure. Dovetailing them into the planning and monitoring process of the various government schemes will pay substantively rich dividends.

Neo-Liberalism in India

Economic liberalisation and opening the economy for capitalism culminated to the neo-Liberalisation economic model in India, where the ‘rational self interests’, which are at very high stake in the multicultural setting within the state, society and people, are gradually moving from a critical to stable equilibrium. According to the economic census 2013, rural India is far more enterprising than the urban areas, as it counts for 61.3 per cent of the country’s industrial units compared to just 38.7 per cent in towns and cities. However, what is pertinent to note is that both in rural and urban areas, the part time labour (unorganised) is employed in greater proportions than full time labour.

According to the economic census 2013, rural India is far more enterprising than the urban areas…

The expansion in self-employed enterprises and non-agricultural opportunities and introduction of new rural enterprises indicate the potential productive capacity of huge pool of surplus resources and labour, upon which an alternative rural development model can be built. In this model the ex-servicemen can make positive contributions.

Efficient Governance Towards Transformational Holistic Growth

Governance, in contemporary usage, goes beyond how government institutions function. It is seen in terms of partnerships and cooperation between governments, corporate sector and civil society. The United Nations definition of governance includes specifically the effective cooperation between the government and the non-government actors to bring about solutions that are mutually beneficial.2 This inclusive process is based on shared interests, where each partner contributes according to their respective resources, strengths and areas of expertise.

The core principles that govern the restructuring can be first, separation of policy making functions from execution; second, coordinated implementation3; third, flatter structures – reducing the number of levels and encouraging team work4; and fourth, well defined accountability.

Transformational Leadership and Holistic Growth

The core issue that has been identified is not the lack of planning, but a planned ‘road map’ for implementation of the thought process. The lack of ‘transformational leadership’ is evident in the fields of public education system, health care, water management (only 18.7 per cent of villages have safe water supply while 51.1 per cent depends on wells, tanks and other sources, 32 of the villages do not have any water supply) and electricity services (some 400 million people have zero access to electricity) and delayed infrastructure projects. The officers of armed forces who retire between 45-58 years of age have a vast experience in the tenets of transformational leadership and are rightly suited to head/part of the monitoring/execution agencies towards greater accountability in accomplishment of envisaged objectives.

The Gujarat model of SOSAS, ridiculed by the scholars as a ‘crony capitalist’ model, is fast emerging as a systemic economic development model…

‘Transformational leadership’ is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers5 into leaders. Enacted in its authentic form, transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of the followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to the mission and collective identity of the organisation; being a ‘role model’ for followers that inspires them; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers, so the leader can align followers with tasks that optimise their performance. History is full of instances where individuals have transformed the course of future of nations, with their own style of charismatic leadership. Examples are many, both in the economic and military domain, viz Nelson Mandella, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, General D. Eisenhower, to name a few.

The leaders in the armed forces are the true epitome of ethical leadership as they lead their men with a conscience in the most difficult and life threatening conditions; by motivating them and getting the best out of their command in the inhospitable and unfavourable conditions. However, it is an irony of our ‘great nation’ that these patriotic and dedicated men in uniform are not being co-opted in society and nation building as part of policy instrumentation for overall growth oriented development, once they get superannuated from their respective services.

Transformational Movements For Establishing Societal Organisation Structure and Administrative Setup (SOSAS) in post-Independence India

In order to bring about transformation in administrative, social and governance system within the country, a number of movements have been initiated since Independence viz, Acharya Vinova Bhave`s ‘Bhoodan Movement’, Jayprakash Narayan`s ‘Total Revolution’ and the more recent Anna Hazare’s ‘Anti Corruption Movement’. All these leaders tried to transform the Indian society; however, their efforts could not reach a conclusive end, as each of these models had endemic limitations to address total sustainable societal transformation6.

It is an irony of our ‘great nation’ that these patriotic and dedicated men in uniform are not being co-opted in society and nation building…

SOSAS at the State Level

Apart from the transformational movements, there have been instances of successful growth models in few of the Indian States, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat being the frontrunners. Although the Gujarat model is essentially based on the economic reforms launched at all India level, it incorporates several modifications introduced by the Government of Gujarat in the context of the state’s socio-economic and cultural conditions, as well as the ruling party’s political ideology under the dynamic leadership of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Gujarat has, unlike many other states, followed the classical model of transition from agricultural development7 to industry-led development before transforming into an economy dominated by the service sector. In the last decade, the state has seen an exceptionally large flow of industrial, especially large infrastructural investment, both by the private sector and the government. The Gujarat model of SOSAS, ridiculed by the scholars as a ‘crony capitalist’ model, is fast emerging as a systemic economic development model.

Ex-servicemen Enabled a New SOSAS: A Paradigm Shift

The SOSAS recommends a strategic structure at national level as ‘National Level Strategic Planning Commission’ (NLSPC) and at the operational level, as ‘Rural Areas Progressively Integrated Development (RAPID)’.

National level strategic planning commission (NLSPC)

In order to ensure continuous all pervasive improvement of the systems towards holistic multi-spectral high trajectory growth, a number of innovative measures are required to be taken by the country for strengthening its strategic planning process and moving them in the direction of a sustainable pragmatic development strategy. This entails identification, coordination and continuous improvement of mechanisms that help towards balancing the economic, social and environmental concerns of multiple stakeholders.

Figure 1. Essential Components of a Strategic Planning Commission

The following steps8 apply in full to strategy development tasks:

  • Establish or strengthen a ‘secretariat’ or ‘coordinating body’ acceptable to stakeholders, with sufficient authority and resources to coordinate.
  • Establish or strengthen a ‘steering committee’ with a broad balance of representation from government, the private sector and civil society.
  • Seek or improve political commitment to the strategy preparation and implementation process from the highest level as well as all other levels.
  • Secure or confirm a legislative mandate for the operational strategy for different sectors.
  • Identify the stakeholders9 that will own the preparation and implementation of an integrated sustainable development strategy, and encourage discussion of their roles.
  • Ensure broad based ownership by key ministries and agencies, civil society and the private sector.
  • Mobilise the required resources, identify, secure and allocate in a timely and accountable manner, the required skills, management and financial resources.
  • Define and seek agreement on the roles of stakeholders – private sector, civil society, national and local government and the Secretariat.
  • Develop coherence and coordination between strategy frameworks at all levels from international to local, between and within sectors.
  • Establish and promote a schedule or broad based calendar for the strategy process- determine activities, responsibilities, capabilities and resources needed and their timings.
  • Promote the strategy as a unified concept. Possibly publish a ‘prospectus’ for the strategy outlining all the above.
  • Establish or improve provisions for regular analysis, debate, communication, planning, implementation, monitoring and review; to ensure that all stakeholders are optimally employed as part of the strategy. These processes are the ‘heart’ of the strategy.

Table 1. Checklist of Key Stakeholder Groups in a National Sustainable Development Strategy

Potency of Ex-servicemen

Indian Armed Forces have won worldwide appreciation for their valour, indomitable spirit, invincibility and fortitude in the front. During World War I and II, over one million and 2.5 million Indian troops served overseas, in Asia – Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong; Middle East – Iran, Iraq and Syria; Europe – Greece, Italy, Crete and Cyprus; North Africa and East Africa.

Figure 2. Contextual Factors Affecting New Forms Of Governance (Ref: Anttiroika V. and Bailey S.J., Innovations in Public Governance, IOS Press, New York, 2011, P.6.)

To honour the supreme sacrifice of Indian soldiers, 18 Victoria Crosses (VCs) in the First World War and 30 in the Second World War were bestowed on them. The achievements of the Indian Armed Forces in varying roles since independence i.e. guarding our own frontiers, rendering overseas military assistance to neighbouring countries or other nations as part of United Nations Forces, maintenance of internal security and aid to civil power in civil disturbances and in national calamities, has always been a matter of immense pride for all of us in the country. The spectacular achievements have been possible due to their qualities of leadership, discipline , integrity , responsibility and above all a quest to excel always and every time.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitely10 on August 19, 2014, while addressing the Director General Resettlement (DGR) Corporate Conclave 2014 in New Delhi, stated that the corporate sector should utilise the services of ex-servicemen to meet their requirements of trained, experienced, talented and disciplined manpower. Therefore, perceivably there exists a credible force, both at the grassroots (retired jawans) as well as the highest level (retired defence officers) which can be a major contributor towards a holistic and transformational growth from village to the state level.

Ex-Servicemen: A Reservoir of Trained and Experienced Human Resource

There are approximately 60,000 personnel released annually from the three services. Age-wise availability of skilled manpower is as under:

Figure 3. Age Group Wise Availability of Skilled Manpower

Figure 4. Educational Qualification of Personnel Retired in the Period 2005 to 2014

.

Figure 5. Service Experience of Army Personnel Retired in the Period (2005-2014)

Existing Utilisation of Ex-Servicemen (ESM)

At present, the Ex-servicemen11 are being employed in the following manner:

  • Reservation In Central Government Jobs (10 per cent in Gp ‘C’ Posts, 4.5 per cent for Disabled & Widows, 20 per cent in Gp ‘D’ Posts, 10 per cent Posts up to Asst Commandant in Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF); 100 per cent in DSC and Public Sector Units and Nationalised Banks, 14.5 per cent in Gp ‘C’ posts and 24.5 per cent in Gp ‘D’ posts.
  • Priority in government jobs for group ‘A’ and ‘B’.
  • Jobs in Corporate and Private Sector.
  • Lateral absorption in Central Paramilitary forces (CPMF).
  • Self employment schemes.

Dynamics of Ex-servicemen

Employing ex-servicemen will be more economical for the government, as compared to fresh recruitment…

Ensuring full utilisation of its resources, particularly the ex-servicemen (till the age of 60) will result in optimal exploitation of the talent and capabilities of this trained and disciplined force towards the overall growth of the country, resulting in an inclusive growth as per the vision of our political leaders. Utilisation of the services of our ex-soldiers has multiple advantages, under which, firstly, it will exponentially raise the morale of Indian soldiers, secondly, both the private and public sectors can benefit by absorbing a skilled and disciplined workforce and thirdly, employing ex-servicemen is more economical for the government, as compared to fresh recruitment as they are paid only the difference between the entitled emoluments of the job and the pension being drawn by them.

The community involvement in rural development will result in better decision making, more durable actions, promotion of concept of self help, community development and empowerment and better capacity building. With the leadership crisis in the villages, it is time that the potent workforce of our ex-servicemen (Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs)/ Jawans) be incorporated into the mainstream development projects, or rather they should take on the mantle to ensure comprehensive growth of the rural areas, with help from the society as well as from the government.

About 80 per cent of the ex-servicemen of the rank of JCOs and Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) post retirement are settled in the villages. Investments incurred in the specialised training of the ex-servicemen, while in service, should not be allowed to go waste or be under utilised. It requires some time and money to make a man culturally rich to enable him to understand the importance of perseverance, discipline, sincerity to work and honesty in one’s dealings. Therefore, the training acquired in the Army, both technical and moral, should not be allowed to go waste, but optimised towards progressively creating ‘smart villages’ in the entire country.

Satyendra Kishore in his potency of ex-servicemen12 states the following:

India should take a clue from the tax credit mechanism that was available in the US for employers who hired veterans (ex-servicemen)…

  • The country has 22.5 lakh defence pensioners and the number increases by about 60,000 each year and less than 50 per cent are being engaged in the growth story of this great nation.
  • Government Sector (Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)/Ministries/Departments/Banks/PSUs) should be the largest employer, however less than 20 per cent jobs earmarked for the ESM are actually getting utilised.
  • Only nine states (including UTs) provide any sort of reservation for the gazetted posts. The experience of the mid and high ranking officers of the armed forces is not optimised in execution and implementation of the vision of the nation, which must be recognised by the government.
  • The bulk of reservation is in Gp ‘C’ and ‘D’, whereas Gp ‘D’ category has been abolished with effect from the Sixth Pay Commission.
  • There is no ‘central data bank’ on the number of personnel superannuating, their capabilities/ expertise and corresponding link with the industry so as to ensure automatic absorption, as also follow the dictum of ‘Right man for the right job’.
  • Neither is there any instrumentation of policy on the subject matter, nor any direction from the Government of India to ensure lateral absorption and seamless integration of this pool of talented, laborious and disciplined workforce.
  • It can be observed that the above problems are primarily because there is no existing law/ bill/ act like ESM Empowerment Legislation and ESM Empowerment Act existing, which formalizes the involvement of ESM in the nation building and to include them both towards the national policies and programmes execution, as well as governance levels. There is therefore, the need to get a bill passed in the Parliament, which could address this critical issue.

Table 2. Scope for Incorporating Ex-Servicemen in Socio-Economic Transformation

Impetus By The Government

It can be observed, even after creation of SOSAS and RAPID structures, only limited number of ex-servicemen can be purposefully utilised, hence additional initiatives from the government would be required as follows:

•   Employment in Government Sectors: Exploiting the technical expertise and capabilities of the retiring personnel of the armed forces by employing them in the following government sectors:

•   Employment with Ministry of Defence (MoD): The MoD is a major employer of the civilian workforce. Absorption of ex-servicemen in such organisations will increase overall synergy, reduce defence expenditure and increase the satisfaction levels of the ex-servicemen.

Ex-Servicemen are present across the length and breadth of the country…

•  Tax Concessions to India Inc.: India should take a clue from the tax credit mechanism that was available in the US for employers who hired veterans (ex-servicemen).13 For a corporate employer in the US, the tax credit can be as high as $9,660 for every qualified veteran hired. A similar model could be adopted by the Finance Ministry to provide tax concessions to companies that hire retired or ex-servicemen based on their skill requirements.

•  Self-employment Schemes: The Department of Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare offers a host of self-employment schemes, but the demand which exists is far more than the availability. The government needs to create a climate which brings together industry as the franchisor, ex-serviceman as the franchisee and MoD as the facilitator, with the ultimate aim of forging a win-win partnership, which unambiguously boosts the national economy.

•  Raising of Environmental Battalions: The ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyan’ and ‘Ganga Rejuvenation Plan’ are today national missions which can be best implemented by raising the environment battalions, staffed and manned by the ex-Servicemen from the eco-battalions.

•   Exploiting pan-India presence: Ex-Servicemen are present across the length and breadth of the country. They are, therefore, the best candidates when it comes to pan-India requirements. With the government planning to construct the SEZs and associated infrastructure in terms of highways to connect these, there exists a scope to have a Welcom-Spot at every 50 or 100 km which are hubs for refreshment, refueling, repair, ATM services, where the ex-Servicemen provide the nucleus of the staff. This is an example of just one of the many such opportunities that exist.

India needs to pursue its national interest and address all visualised challenges with a well-measured, multi-pronged growth strategy…

Conclusion

In her quest to become a regional/ global power, India needs to pursue its national interest and address all visualised challenges with a well-measured, multi-pronged growth strategy. A nation can only achieve a holistic growth, if it addresses two issues; one, in terms of all sectors or segments which need to be brought into the folds of vibrant economy; and two, in terms of enabling sections of the population, whom the growth process has bypassed, to fully engage themselves with the development process. All those involved in the development of the Indian economy, banks, cooperatives, development finance institutions, NGOs and administrators, will have to rethink their own strategies in response to the new emphasis being given on holistic growth.

Ex-servicemen are ‘role models’ of ethical leadership with ingrained morals and value systems focused on ‘Duty, Honour and Country’ contributing to society and nation building in substantial proportion with a great sense of commitment towards multi-faceted progression and excellence in all spheres of activities. Perhaps the first step in this direction is to identify the cardinal segment of the rural economy, which has so far not attracted adequate attraction of the policymakers but which deserves focus in the new government strategy.

Notes

  1. Jumani USha, Empowering Society: An Analysis of Business, Government and Social Development Approaches to Empowerment, New Delhi, Foundation Books, 2006, pp. 3-13.
  2. United Nations, Human Development Report, New York, 2004, p.103.
  3. Mark Turner and David Hulme, Governance, Administration and Development, London, MacMillan Press, 1997, p. 24.
  4. Schinder Harmut, ‘Participatory Governance for Poverty Reduction’, Journal of International Development, 1999, pp. 221-234.
  5. Kotlyar I and Karakowsky L., ‘Falling Over Ourselves to Follow the Leader’, Journal of Leadership & Organisational studies, Vol. 14, 2007, pp. 38-47.
  6. Priyankan Goswami, ‘Indian Democracy, Where Anna Hazare Failed’, Times of Assam, December 13, 2011.
  7. Hirway Indira and Amrita Shah, Growth or Development: Which way Gujarat is going? OUP, New Delhi, 2014.
  8. Dalal Clayton and Bass D. B., Sustainable Development Strategies: A Resource Book, Earthscan Canada, 2002, pp-78-80.
  9. ibid, pp.85-92.
  10. Economic Times, Business Standard, April 20, 2014.
  11. Ministry of Defence, Directorate General Resettlement, New Delhi, May 2015.
  12. Satyendra Kishore, Re-Settlement of Ex-Servicemen in India, Problems, Patterns and Prospects, Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi, 1991, pp.22-26.
  13. Kably Lubna, ‘Tax Breaks to Hire an Army of Veterans’, Economic Times, September 8, 2014.
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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen SK Gadeock and Col Nishant Sharma

Lt Gen S.K Gadeock, Commandant, Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington is a research scholar in the discipline of ex-servicemen’s transformational leadership potency. Col Nishant Sharma is Directing Staff, DSSC. scholar in the discipline of ex-servicemen’s transformational leadership potency.

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