Friday, January 13, 2017

Is It Only Question of Watery Daal and Burnt Roti of BSF or There are Certain Fundamental Issues at Its Core Threating National Security?

Two videos of BSF & CRPF constables complaining about poor food quality, living conditions and salaries have gone viral in social media compelling PMO to ask details of the case. If, it was not the social media making massive number of people reacting, these two acts would have been ignored. If seen in eyes of discipline of forces, both acts violate established rules of forces and need actions against these constables. However the issues raised by them may also not be ignored and is surely a subject of investigations. 

Prompt reaction of PMO and Home Minister without waiting for report and actions of senior officers and also disclosing it to press under pressure from public actually undermines disciplined atmosphere of CAPF and is surely not advisable. It encourages indiscipline and makes jobs of senior officers to control constables more difficult. Political leadership needs to learn art of managing public pressure and not destroy the functioning of CAPF and autonomy of chain of superior officers. 
Nevertheless govt surely needs to investigate certain key issues discreetly without making it an issue of public debate. 

The issue showcases the tip of undercurrent of frustration which prevails among CAPF. An avoidable social media outburst by constables needs a comprehensive looks rather than just taking it as a question of Daal and Roti and discipline in forces? 

1. Are the entitlements adequate to meet the calorie requirements of constables in field conditions?

2. Are the cooking conditions hygienic and method of cooking adequate to make food tasty and palatable?  

3. Are the procurement and supply systems adequate? 

4. Are there sufficient procedure to check the quality and cooking conditions by officers? 

5. Is there corruption and officers are engaged in selling rations as alleged? 

6. Are the living conditions of troops in field areas hygienic and they have adequate and suitably comfortable arrangements for their beds, toilets, bathing and clean drinking water? 

7. Do the posts have adequate man days available to look after their administration as well as carry out required operations effectively?

8. In addition to manning, do the posts have required additional lightening and security support system like electronic surveillance and barbed wired perimeter fencing to make posts effectively secured?  

9. Is the chain of command responsive and have adequate authority and financial empowerment to tackle any problem which may arise in due course of duty?

10. Are the officers adequately engaged with constables? 

11. Most serious of all. Why did in spite of existence for such  long time they fail to manage an effective system?

Certain other stress factors adding into the fuel of frustration which led to above embarrassing outburst surely cannot be ruled out.  
The above outburst has also generated an unpleasant, unjustified and unpalatable debate of parity with army soldiers. It is very unfortunate and alarming that prolonged deployment of army in CI ops which is actually their secondary role to be undertaken only in extreme emergency and for short durations, has degraded status of army to be misperceived as police force. Use of army type uniform by CAPF, which is illegal in eyes of law, has also strengthened above wrong perception.

Primary role of army and terms and conditions of their job profile is totally different than CAPF.  Military is master of national sovereignty under its civilian supreme commander; President and governed by international conventions. It operates in geo-strategic space of foreign lands. Military is an essential enabling tool of national foreign policy and engages itself in military diplomacy and war to impose national will if required. Whereas CAPF operate within national boundaries or under military frontlines in wars under military (In war battle front lines are working boundaries). 

Nevertheless, principles of natural justice demand, that in same working conditions the compensation allowances shall be same but while doing so the principle of average career compensation cannot be ignored. Military is already fighting its case with govt and has been demanding certain principles, formula, benchmarks and standards for govt compensation structure for various services. 

After 1973, when 3rd pay commission changed the well established principles of govt salary structure as decided by first govt under PM Nehru, the problem erupted. Just to reward IAS, subsequent pay commissions have been making the govt pay structures more and more complex. It has resulted into creation of totally unprofessional, unjustified and unbalanced govt administrative cadre and compensation structures creating problems for all. Pay commissions  have only rewarded IAS.

Situation is alarming when it is noted that each arm of govt which is in position of decision making is, rewarding itself without caring about justice. MPs and MLAs have given themselves totally unjustified compensation structures. Politicians even for a single hour in parliament or assembly disrupting proceedings, reward themselves a life time OROP based pension whereas short service commissioned officers in army even after serving nation for 10 years don’t get pension. Politicians are also taking the excuse of security threat to reward them life time govt accommodation, transport and massive security cover at cost of public money. In addition, govts are constituting, various awards and pensions to grant certain additional pensions to politicians and their other key loyalists. 

Judges are not behind. In addition to their fat salaries and pensions for delivering pathetic justice system, they have rewarded themselves servants even after retirements. People wait for justice for decades and face huge corruption in courts but judges must loot govt treasuries. 

Pay commissions have become tools in hands of IAS to reward themselves.  They have ensured that every IAS officer even being most corrupt and inefficient retires from highest grade and pension with OROP. Many unwanted organisations have been created by them to create more perks and benefits. Even after retirement if they face corruption cases, their unions make sure that govt is forced to protect them. Other officers of other govt cadres are not behind IAS. On excuse of parity their unions have ensured grant of NFU to themselves even if they are not promoted. 

In last 70 years govt after govts, have failed to assure minimum wages and social security for masses but shameless and unjustified loot of public money by public servants is continuing.  Today a situation exists where in just to reward politicians, judges and IAS, GOI is spending approximately Rs 60000 crores public money per annum extra on sustaining the govt structure which actually delivers bad governance and inefficient administration. It could be more if a detailed investigation is done.

In eyes of law all these classes are public servants but in line with best HR practices as established and followed worldwide, there exist no principles, formula and justification of cadre and compensation structures for various govt services.  Whosoever is in decision making loots best. Who so ever can lobby best gets next best loot. Disciplined services; like Military, Para Military and CAPF (bulk of them coming from rural areas and middle and lower income groups), are silenced in name of discipline and managing threat to democracy and left with simmering discomfort and anger. On top of that some try to manage this anger cunningly creating divide among them. 

Anarchy exists. No one seems to be in control. But can this anger which has a possibility of exploding be left unattended? If govt or civil administration or CAPF collapse, country can still survive to revive under military but if military structure collapses nation cannot live even for a single day. India lives in the most dangerous and volatile region of the world. 

Considering the alarming situation of shameless loot there is surely a need for expert and honest interventions. There is need for a law to fix basic principles of cadre structure and compensations for various public services. Based on these law then actual salaries, pensions, allowances and perks can be fixed keeping in mind the minimum wages of common civilian worker and provision of social security for masses. Judges and IAS surely lack expertise to recommend such structure and laws and they also have vested interests. There is therefore need for creation of a committee of parliament and committee of independent civilian experts on working our best possible govt administrative organization and compensation structure. The following procedure shall be followed:

1. Committees of independent experts constituted with best in the world shall recommend over all govt administrative structure, various cadre strengths, basic principles of compensations for all public servants including politicians and judges, and formula for calculating minimum wages of civilian worker and social security of masses. Compensation structures of the public servants shall be connected with the minimum wages and social security of masses. 

2. Compensation structure of military, para military and CAPF shall be based on established principles.

3. The concept of average career compensation and average compensation index to draw parity shall be taken as terms of reference.

4. The committee of civilian experts then shall submit its report to Committee of Parliament which shall then take views of military, para military, CAPF, various cadre and trade unions and again refer it back to committee of independent expert for their views. No direct interaction between independent expert committee and various unions shall be allowed. Views of Chief Justice shall also be taken. The committee shall also take public opinion. 

5. Expert Committee of parliament then shall submit the report to Govt which in turn then draft out a law and present it in parliament for debate and passing it as law for consent of president. 

6. Based on this law various pay commissions (one each for politicians, judges, military, CAPF and civil public servants) shall then recommend cadre and salary structures only once. 

7. The laws shall then be reviewed every 25 years. Within these 25 years compensation structures shall automatically adjust based on given principles and formulas. 

Unless the fundamental principles of natural justice and law are followed, such complexities affecting the functioning of govt will continue. When millions sleep in the country hungry without jobs and shelter, bad governance is emerging as security threat to a nation of billion people. Unless the govt machinery has well oiled administration and forces no executive decision can be implemented effectively. Public servants cannot continue rewarding themselves when masses do not have minimum assured wages and social security. 

People make nation. Nation is not for public servants. Public servants must serve people. If they fail and continue looting as it is happening now, then please remember the words of Krishna “ Hey Arjun! Asat ki to satta nahee hai aur sat ka abhave nahee hai” ( injustice has no right over sovereignty of justice and sovereign justice based on truth surely exist. Its matter of time, when revolution by masses, will defeat injustice. Its fundamental principle of concept of Kala (time) which always moves in direction of truth and can be ignored only on peril of the nation. 

Time is friend of none. It is cruel and ruthless and brings destruction if truth doesn’t prevail. India has been formed on principle of Satya Mev Jayatey. Let truth be victorious. Let good sense prevail among those who are looting this country risking her very survival. Before it is too late wake up and act. 

One more point in addition, apparently it seems, as now the govt is in process of deciding allowances, at least the video of CRPF constable looks instigated and motivated and possibility of officers involvement cannot be ruled out. If true, it amounts to serious breach of discipline and govt must take note of it.