Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why Shall Soldiers Be Paid More Than Us; Babus Ask @IASAssociation #NDTV #FaujiVsBabu

Last week on NDTV in their program  "We The People" on subject of 7th Pay Commission covered with hashtag #FaujiVsBabu following arguments were put forth by Secy IAS Association and Mr Mathur; Ex Chairman of 7th Pay Commission:

1. As civilians serve for longer periods in terms of their service so they get more pay and pension compare to soldiers. In other words as soldiers serve less in terms of length of service and retire early they are paid less.

2. Indian Military is volunteer force. Soldiers know what will they get so why crib later if you are not paid as well as well civilians.

3. Mr Mathur Chairman argued as Military lives in their own world?

Before coming to these questions, let us understand first how the salary structure of civilians and soldiers are as a principle, fixed world wide by most of functioning democracies keeping in line with best HR practices.

In case of civilians;

International Labor Organisation (ILO) to which India is also a member, fixes basic worker's labour related standards and conventions. ILO has published various standards and conventions including for minimum wages and parity. These standards and conventions are equally applicable to private and govt workers including in organised and unorganized sectors.

So when govt constitutes a pay commission ILO standards and conventions become main terms of reference for negotiations between commission and trade unions. Four issues generally are discussed in length 1. Salaries as per working conditions from hardest to softest. 2. Minimum wages as per work conditions 3. Parity of salaries as per similar work profiles 4. Pension schemes under social security convention.

Please note that principles of parity and minimum wages which is so often spoken about comes out of ILO conventions. Please also note that ILO provisions are only applicable to workers and not the managers.

Once a base line of minimum wages as per work profile and parities are fixed then the salary structure of higher positions are worked out in terms of multiplication factors citing arguments of salaries in private sectors and practices as followed in various other countries. Now various officers associations negotiate with commission for their salaries. For example the salary of Cabinet Secretory shall be X times of a Govt Chowkidar.  Please note that for their salaries there are no international conventions. Associations negotiate based on best practices. Many times these associations build their arguments citing ILO conventions like Parity though the same is not applicable to them. The concept of similar grades and NFU for govt officers have been copied from ILO conventions on parity. The OROP extended to all services are also based on the convention of parity. Three additional increments given to IAS officers are also argued citing ILO convention of work conditions saying they carry additional responsibilities.

Please also note here that ILO conventions do not discriminate between govt workers and workers from private sector. That means the principles of minimum wages and parity are equally applicable to all workers irrespective of their backgrounds. As per ILO convention the minimum wages of workers from govt and private sectors shall be same. That means, if minimum wage of a worker from private sector is Rs 6500 per month then minimum wages of a worker in govt shall not be less Rs 6500 per month. But then how minimum wages for worker in govt sector has been fixed Rs 18000 per months which is almost 3 times more then a worker from private sector? It actually violates the ILO convention on parity and amounts to discrimination by the Indian govt.  It is nothing but a loot by govt employees, officers with connivance of corrupt politicians. 

Now let us come to pension of civilian workers. Under ILO conventions of social security, broadly there are two model of pensions followed world wide for civilians. 1. Assured pensions which are generally called "Pay As You Go". 2. Contributory pension schemes like present NPS for Govt employees. World wide most of the govts have switched from assured pension model of "Pay As You Go' to contributory NPS model as it is not possible for govts to create an assured pension model for all workers from govt and private sectors. India under the obligation of ILO convention on social security has switched from assured pension model to contributory model. But here again Indian Govt is cheating. NPS schemes of workers in private sector is not same as the NPS scheme of govt employees. Govt NPS scheme gives certain minimum assured returns whereas it is not so for NPS schemes of worker from private sector. Keeping in line with ILO conventions world wide most of the democratic govts have same NPS schemes for private and govt workers. 

India in fact is miserably failing in providing required minimum wages and social security schemes to her population but govt civil employees under blessings of corrupt politicians, are on looting spree.

In Case of Soldiers:

Like civilian workers there are no ILO standards for soldiers except a convention on child soldiers debarring it. It itself makes an exception and that is the main reason for most of democratic govt having separate pay commissions or boards for fixing soldiers compensation packages. In fact Indian Govt has no justification for clubbing soldiers in same pay commission of civilian employees as soldiers are out of umbrella of ILO conventions.

Due to peculiarity of jobs requirements of soldiers and their key role in keeping nations and democracies defended  generally following guiding principles are adopted:

1. Citizens  while volunteering  to become soldiers, give life time commitments to defend nations in form of active color service, reservists and stand by military veterans to be called for service in extreme emergencies therefore they require state commitment of life time support. Emergencies like in Iraq where military veterans of even 80 years are fighting ISIS.

2. Citizens while volunteering accept harsh working conditions like working under military laws and giving away their certain freedoms and fundamental rights. Even after retirement their choice to pick up jobs globally are restricted. Like an Indian soldier after retirement will not be able to join armies or companies of hostile nations. Sates therefore have to give life time support guarantees and its a sovereign commitment.

3. A soldier becomes progressively unproductive for intense battles after a certain age or as his age increases and has to be superannuated, therefore for all compensation packages soldiers color service till when he is retired, is considered as full service and deserves maximum benefits. For better understanding that means color service of soldier is equal to max permissible service length of the a civilian and when a soldiers is retired at younger age after his color service, his take home life time career compensation shall not be lesser than a civilian who retires after his full length of service with no reserve liabilities.  

4. Any service more then soldier's color services is an additional service to state and needs to be given additional rewards.  That is the reason there are provisions in many armies to give pension up to 100% like US army.

5.    In military as officers lead from the front at their younger ages and have same training and working conditions in battles or otherwise, therefore like soldiers they are also given the same benefit of  color service with additional rewards for their leadership and state executive roles. Any additional service more than color service of officers require additional compensations as they retire in their pyramidal hierarchy structure.

6.  Working conditions of the soldiers as a principle are considered many times harder than the hardest of the working standards as defined by ILO. Soldiers also carry a commitment to give their lives for nations which no civilian work condition demands. In case of a risk a civilian in his hardest of the job, he is supposed to stop working following all safety procedures and leave the place to safety in shortest possible time. In case of a soldier he has to overcome the risk and can not leave the post even if he has to give his life if ordered. Therefore solders deserve special reward like Military Service Pay which is excluded in his compensation packages for drawing a parity with compensation packages of civilian employees.

7. Considering giving a compulsive  life time sovereign support commitments to soldiers most of the nations who are under constant threat in any form give assured pensions to their solders under Pay As You Go model. Nations like Australia who have lesser direct threats have turned to NPS model of pension to soldiers but soldiers in these model are given additional incentives in form of additional state contribution in their NPS than the civilians. Like in Australia state contribution in NPS is double than civilians.

With above principle and state commitments in mind generally following method is adopted for fixing salaries and pension of soldiers:

1. A base model is created taking into consideration the color service of a soldier and his assured pensions thereafter to work out a parity with civilians in terms of life time career compensations.

2. Special military incentives are additional to above base model.

3.  Any additional benefit which is given to soldiers like special food at Siachen is additional cost to state and is not considered as part of the  soldiers compensation model.

4. For any service more than color service soldiers are given additional benefits.

With above model in place, the cost of the state to maintain a regular standing armies go extremely high forcing them to adopt strategies to cut cost but without compromising on above explained model. Some of the tools used are:

1. If govt gives assured jobs to soldiers till retirement ages as specified for civilians, then the his pension is adjusted against the salary. However if he leaves civil job his pensions is restored.

2.  Nations keep smaller standing armies with provisions of calling reservists and keeping forces like Territorial Armies which could be mobelised for war within 3-6 months for a short term threat.

3.   Nations design mobilizations plans by creating certain silent reserves like NCC, Civil defense force, military veterans or arming and training civilian population living close to borders etc for long term threats to win a war in 3-5 years time.

4. Nations create additional forces in form of PMF and Police Forces for using them in duties like internal securities, borders guards and civil disturbances. Using military resources on border guard duties or counter insurgency operatiosn  as India is doing on LOC or in disturbed areas, increases the cost of the state and reduces power punch of military.

5. Young retiring officers and soldiers are used as national assets and employed by state in other duties like disaster management etc.

6. Military soldiers are encouraged to start up businesses. Govt supports starts up in incubators to support in terms of providing training, funding, credential support, JVst etc. Let us not forget in India also military entrepreneurs like Lt Col K P Singh of DLF, Capt Gopinathan of Deccan Airways and many,  have contributed in national GDP growth.  .

Nations cut cost by adopting different methods but at no stage, states cheat their own soldiers of standing serving armies. Indian Govt is actually cheating soldiers violating all established principles, citing no reasons and paying soldiers life time compensation which after 7th pay commission is lesser than forest guards.

With having explained above let us come to the questions as raised by two very senior IAS officers and Ex Chairman of 7th Pay Commission in the NDTV  show "We The People".

First argument was, Civilians are paid more as they serve longer? Let us see the fact? 

1. ILO standards exclude soldiers as their jobs are many times harder than hardest of the working conditions as specified by ILO.

2. Democratic Govts have worked out certain parity norms and as per that shorter color service of soldiers is considered equal to maximum service length of hardest of civilian job say 33 years in India.

3. The above argument was also accepted by first Indian Govt  when they fixed 75% pension for soldiers and 50% for officers comparing 25% to 30% of the civilians.

4 As a practice if soldier retires before his color service, his pension dues are lesser. Most govt start paying pensions to soldiers after 7-11 years of their service. But same is less than what they get at the end of the color service. In fact Indian govt has been cheating soldiers by not paying pensions to soldiers who quit jobs before completion of color service.  Worst sufferer are short service commissioned officers.

With above facts in mind the argument put forth by secy IAS association actually doesn't stand any ground if seen considering full length of civil service being equal to colour service of soldiers.

Second argument was "Why did you join as soldiers if you knew you will be paid lesser?" 

1. The same argument is also applicable to civilians? If you are paid less later on or your pay is not increased in subsequent pay commission, do civilians have right to go on strike? Why civilians negotiate and demand pay rise?

2. It is fundamental right given by Indian constitution to demand fair payments for the work services given and soldiers also have it? If Govts worldwide consider soldiering as many time harder work than hardest of the work conditions as specified by ILO than soldiers have constitutional right to demand more life time compensation and rewards than civilians? To pay less let govt justify soldiering being softer job than softest of work conditions as specified by ILO? Why are babus not explaining it? i do not think our constitution gives authority to govt to cheat or defraud soldiers?

Third argument was, "They live in their own world"? 

Mr Mathur, (I will not not call him Justice as use of this title by him or govt is unconstitutional. Attention of babus are drawn to article 18 of the constitution) I do not understand what does it mean?

1. Do you mean that soldiers shall also warm up palms of politicians and babus to get favor as many business associations or corporate houses do?

2. Do you mean that military officers also lobby politicians, judges and top babus and bribe them?

3. Do you mean retd soldiers shall also  form associations and give bribes to get govt policies changed.

4. Do you mean that soldiers shall become politically active?

It appears Mr Mathur has punished soldiers to please Cong as soldiers voted Modi. let us not forget he was appointed by UPA Govt. The quality of report which he has submitted create doubt over his qualification to even become judge?

Mr Mathur soldiers are suppose to live in their own world till politicians and babus screw up situations and call for help from military? As per our constitution, soldiers become visible in certain conditions till extend of even declaring martial laws, till then they are suppose to live in their own world. Please do not incite military.

7th Pay Commission recommendations, as accepted by govt has shattered soldiers belief in govt and that surely is a dangerous situation as no soldier fights to risk his death unless he has pride in his work and uniform, unless he has trust in his govt, his military leadership, cause, weapon systems, logistics and assured safety of his own wife and children. Best of the armies melt away if any of these factors are weak. Let us not forget Indian soldier did leave their posts in 62 wars at few locations.

As General Malik said; At the end of the day, "it is political leadership of the nation which has to take a call". Nation has to decide whether she wants a professional military which can effectively deter wars and threats and win it if enemies make a wrong choice or Ghasi Ram ki Fauj paid lesser than forest guards. Political decisions influenced by corrupt babus with ulterior motives and infested with god like egos will lead to wrong decisions and surely result in nation paying heavy costs. In given security situation, in spite of nukes and plethora of missiles, India is still struggling to ensure an effective defense to her. Certain wrong decisions in relation to reward systems of soldiers giving them a feeling of inferiority and hurting their pride will prove to be disastrous to the moral of troops affecting their war fighting capabilities. After all it is men behind machines which matter most and India is yet to get a robotic army which could be controlled by babus sitting in AC offices in Delhi.

Let good sense prevail.