Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Slowly move the wheels.........

George Bernard Shaw is quoted to have said, “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”

*        *        *        *        *

Let me start by assuring readers of this post that I am a Confirmed Chronic Cynic. Readers, intelligent ones at that, know that a cynic is one who knows the cost of everything (well, almost) but the value of nothing. So, please let this scroll across your mind as you read and you might be objective in your criticism and suggestions (which are the aims of this piece) …….

My impression, after a chat with Comdt CDM a few weeks ago,  was that the seminar of 05 Mar 14 was more by way of stimulating an intelligent debate, learning first hand the benefits and pitfalls of past presentations to Pay Commissions, recording them for posterity, and by being less dogmatic about who lost and by how much. 

Separately, I was also told by “sources” that a prominent member of the 6th CPC is still upset by the tone & tenor of Armed Forces presentations/presenters and, therefore, did not wish to attend the seminar. The loss is of the audience and the Armed Forces, for we might have gained a better insight from the “man in the ring.” 

Now that 7 CPC has sent an epistle and a questionnaire “seeking the considered views of all stakeholders is enclosed. The response of your Ministry to this Questionnaire is sought. I shall be grateful if the replies are furnished to the Commission on or before 10th May, 2014, so as to enable the Commission to take them into account as part of its examination of the issues that it is mandated to address. The reply may be sent to Post Box No. 4599, Hauz Khas P.O, New Delhi 110 016, and in the case of email to” 

The Bureaucracy

We, Armed Forces personnel too often, if not always, compare/base our “profit and loss” statements post every CPC vis-à-vis mainly the IAS, which is “the bureaucracy” to most of us. David Gilmour wrote in his book titled ‘The Ruling Caste’ that the bureaucracy is “more obsessed with status and promotion,” though it may be of little consolation to the “status first” promoters of the Armed Forces.

Any affirmation, if two more were needed, of the bureaucracy destroying the myth of their efficiency and self-sacrificial esprit-de-corps are (1) the number of retired Secretaries selected on extended tenures as Advisers to PM, FM etc (and none, thank God, so far, to the RM) and (2) the selective implementation of the Non-Functional Upgradation – upgraded with cash payout the because some one else, more deserving perhaps, in the same batch had been promoted two years earlier and started to earn more. There is always the self-righteous justification that everyone who has to be given NFU has to meet some stringent (?) criteria but who decides whether they really do? That there isn’t a single protest that I have read of, on the World Wide Web, is proof of the pudding of my statement!  

But with a higher percentage, compared to the Armed Forces, rising to the level of Addl Secy, what was the need for NFU? Was it to offset the MSP? Something like NFU as financial comfort and consolation for inability to match some one else’s merit; MSP for risking one’s own life (and being kicked around too) and not because someone else has risked/is risking his/her life to defend the Nation’s sovereignty and integrity!  

Many CPCs’ include a statement in their preamble that an edge must be maintained for the IAS, because it has always been so (the “precedent syndrome”?) Is it, “the problem was that ICS officers were expected to be experts in everything but were trained to be experts in nothing” (ibid, page 113).

Is it any different today? Just three examples –

Read the file notings of DS (E.III.A, MoF/DoE) and his interpretive query about confining the benefits of the Apex Court’s order in IA No. 9 of 2010 to similarly situated officers of the Army because in his reading “only Army officers appear to be the litigants.” How is it he, the expert, not comprehend that Rank Pay was a matter that affected officers of all three Services?   Even Lord Curzon, if he were to be resurrected would be “astonished by a system in which proposals circulated the departments and returned to their starting point many months later, garnished with an array of minutes from Secretaries and under-secretaries who revelled in dialectics and had perfected the art of ‘the put down” (ibid page 214).

Retired Secretaries (Sarvashri Rangarajan, Shome etc) are appointed as Advisers to the Govt. Does that mean that the IAS incumbents headed by the Cabinet Secretary, tacitly acknowledge that there is comparative lack of intellectual capacity and expertise in the incumbents that compels the Govt to recall retired IAS officers? Why isn’t the IAS association protesting the employment of these Advisers, like it did when IAS officers of Andhra Pradesh were called in for questioning by CBI in the Jaganmohan Reddy case?
Retired DsGP have been appointed advisers (like for anti-naxal role in Jharkhand) but what about the resultant question mark on competency/capability on the incumbent DGP and his officers?

Is the bureaucracy, to quote Gilmour, “reconciled to a dominant race which holds all high offices in its hands and treats others with patronising kindness, professing to teach them everything,” (ibid page 17)? Or may be the bureaucracy has taken, very seriously, the words of Lord Mayo “that we are all (British) gentlemen engaged in the magnificent work of governing an inferior race,” (ibid, page 19) and are trying to teach the lesser children of the bureaucratic God something!

It is blindingly obvious that “usurpation of authority without concomitant acceptance of responsibility” is the motto of the bureaucracy for “they might have had the ‘paper knowledge’ of a particular subject but seldom had the practical experience” (ibid, page 215).  

On the other hand, even after the only debacle faced by the Armed Forces (in 1962), how many former Chiefs of the Armed Forces have been appointed advisers to the RM? Or are the incumbents worthy of their appointments (though there is a different school of thought that always sees the dark cloud and not the silver lining!)     

The Mission of Armed Forces

The primary mission of the Armed Forces, which comprises Officers and Other Ranks (since there are severe objections to the term PBOR), is that the Indian Armed Forces is to ensure national security and unity, defending the nation from external aggression and threats, and maintaining peace and security within its borders. They conduct humanitarian rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances, and can also be requisitioned by the government to cope with internal threats.   

But does that give us the right or self-righteous not to look at ourselves first, having sacrificed lives, limbs, blood, sweat, and tears?

Status or Parity?

Now let us turn to the lament that the IAS is eroding the status of, and parity with, the Armed Forces and we are ready to cut off our noses (remove ranks of Lt Col and Brig) to achieve parity. Time has a harsh answer to this continuing bewailing of one’s fate. It is called mockery.

Armed Forces leadership can change this negative mind-set by being clear-headed and utilising the distinct and nationally well-respected ethos, comparative integrity and honesty, to place genuine requirements before the Government or the 7 CPC. Veterans may have many suggestions but the genuine ones need to be separated from the self-serving.

Indian Armed Forces have won all wars (and lost one thanks to we know who), it is because of our strength of character, bravery, and initiative. Let us not dishonour the Victoria Cross, George Cross, PVC, MVC, VrC and other gallantry award winners by stopping pitying ourselves. If Armed Forces hierarchy stands up for the legitimate, environment dictated rights and remunerations, nobody can deny them unless they wish to place themselves at risk.

Even acidic op editorials by a Chief Editor whose major contribution to the Armed Forces, by his own admission, is building a war memorial in Chandigarh, did not stop the three Chiefs from stand up for justice just about half a decade ago. Making one’s emotion laden views heard, or read or talked about is one thing; proposing sensible solutions is altogether in a higher (and rational) plane.

Promotions, Steep Pyramidal Structure and other things

Having had the benefit of reading many disgruntled opinions and views, on many blogs and the ubiquitous Chatroll, against those who were promoted (a minority) by those who were not (the majority), I draw attention to Gilmour again about the age-old malady, “Promotions inevitably caused bitterness amongst people who did not get what they felt they deserved. There were charges of favouritism and vindictiveness against senior officers on account of their selection,” (ibid page 219). Many of those affected appear not to realise that post-1962 mass inductions were “a decision that eased the immediate…problem but quickly led to a promotion block for those recruited subsequently” (ibid, page 221).

And, as for those with the recurring chorus "No one can help the Armed Forces, if we were/are like this," let up stop bemoaning our (sad?) fate and do something fast, strong, and positive. Exaggerated self-pity becomes a façade for personal advancement. Many of us have steadily declined to become humbugs and hypocrites. Some of us have proceeded to the next stage of self-legitimising and become those who will brook no resistance to the self-promotion of our own sense of injustice.

Look at the upper echelons of the Army’s officer cadre [Source: CDM - De-linking of Pay Scales from Ranks]:  Lt Gens – 90; Maj Gens 295 (or about 32% promoted to Lt Gen); Brig – 1117 (or 37% promoted to Maj Gen); Cols 4762 (or 23% promoted to Brig); Lt Col 9996 (or approximately 50% promoted to Col). The ratio in the Navy and Air Force is hardly different. The promotion policy in the Armed Forces, including for the COAS or equivalent requires three names to be put up (or 33% chances of promotion).     

There are only 43 lieutenant generals on active duty in the U.S. Army (strength about 11 lakhs). Fewer than one-half percent (<0.5%) of commissioned officers make it to the top three ranks (source:

Compare with the table provided for the IPS [Source: CDM - De-linking of Pay Scales from Ranks]:  DGP – 54; ADGP – 202 (or 25% promoted to DGP); IG – 499 (or 50% promoted to ADGP); DIG – 496 (or 99.9% promoted to IG); and SP – 1328 (or 25% promoted to DIG).

Is there a suggestion that there should be more in the ranks of Brig/Maj Gen and Lt Gen (and equivalents)? Making for fatter (no allusion to the girth lines), softer (ditto) and, older (with related ailments) Armed Forces to get rid of the ‘pyramidal’ problem? 

In a recent meeting called by a Veteran for ‘strategising’ about what we should place before the PARC (to my cynical mind, an unlikely event), I was aghast to hear a just retired two star officer bemoan that he had 16 superseded officers in his Sub-area HQ, who clocked in their attendance and took off for the golf course. I asked the General why he did not use his Command & Control to discipline those 16. I was told, “Sir, you know how it is. They don’t listen!” I told him that when I was promoted to take over as CO of Air HQ Comn Sqn, there were 17 officers who were senior to me, including the senior-most who was 10 courses my senior. They knew their responsibilities and accountability and I knew mine. And we flew VVIPs and VIPs all over the country with none of the seniors pushing off to play golf after reporting for work!
What, if some one can enlighten my feeble mind, is the solution to the ‘steep pyramid’ problem? I may be looking in the wrong places, because I have yet to come across a solution to the steep pyramid that will not dilute the responsibilities or cause more of the abstract ‘command & control’ problems. Elsewhere I have posted the Bagga Commission/AVSC recommendations and debate, which spurs the comment of an anonymous US official, “We just have to keep doing what we are doing and hope it takes us somewhere.” But what if it leads to a place that no one wants to go? Could the Services, in 20:20 hindsight have had the wisdom of the Navy in not implementing the recommendations?

Or would votaries of the “get rid of the steep pyramidal problem” suggest that Lt Gens, Maj Gens and Brigs execute the charter of duties one rank lower (and dent the WoP some more?); Or maybe, as in utopia, bring down the retirement ages by 2 years for a third of the Lt Gens, Maj Gens and Brigs so younger officers will replace them?    

While we are fixated with officers, let us not forget the Other Ranks. To start with, take a look at their terms of service, their service conditions, their promotion prospects, ACP notwithstanding. When was the last cadre review done? 2009! Five years ago?

The status of JCOs, NCOs, and soldiers has declined. Assistants in AFHQ services are placed in the grade pay of Rs 4600, which is equal to a Subedar, whereas till 6th pay commission, their pay scales were below that of a Nb Sub. It is a known but discreetly neglected fact that all JCOs in Indian army are group B gazetted officers, and by placing an Asst, which is a non-gazetted civilian post above that of a JCO in Indian Army, we are seeing the first stage of the erosion of the Other Ranks.

Why do the Other Ranks have three Groups and different pay scales between X Group  Rs 1400 extra) and Y & Z Groups? Officers of the Arms and Services have the same pay scales, except for AMC, ADC, and RVC? One may trot out that the entry qualifications are different for different groups but then aren’t there Engineers and post-graduates (in Meteorology etc) in the Officer Corps who do not have separate pay scales?    

Finally & In Conclusion

OK, I am ready with the Kevlar body suit and armour! My brains, and other organs or what is left of them, have been promised to the nearest CH!!

E & O E

At the risk of being shot at (and not having a 56” chest!), here are my opinions/suggestions/recommendations for those intelligent minds in the Veterans community.

I - Warrant of Precedence (WoP), Status and all that

I regret (or should I be proud?) to admit that the cynicism (and its corollary ‘name dropping’) is due to seeing, meeting, and flying Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Defence Ministers etc for well over a decade. So I should have recused myself from expressing an opinion but a cynic is one who knows the cost of……

Personally, I feel that "WoP” or “status" is an issue of who sits closest to the Supreme Commander on 26 Jan and 29 Jan and (is in the frame before the contingent commander shouts “saamne dekh") or to the PM at the Red Fort on 15 Aug.

In the WoP 1937 for India there was just the Viceroy and then the members of his Council. There was a different WoP in the UK, where the Viceroy was not No.1. Therefore, bemoaning “Dropping down the WoP” does not appear to have taken into consideration that No. 2, 3 and 4 are Vice President, PM and Deputy PM/Foreign head of Government followed by the Governors, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of the states, Lt Governors, Ministers of State with independent charge, and Ministers of State etc (not necessarily in that order) before the Chiefs figure.  

II - Steep Pyramidal Structure

Unlike the civil services, where medical fitness is not mandatory either for carrying out  duties nor age-related slowing of the body (and mind) a constraint, the Armed Forces need to place medical fitness as close as possible to rational thinking, initiative and innovativeness.

So what do the Armed Forces do with those with the slowing body and increasing ailments except to retire personnel at lower ages though they are, by civilian standards of work, adequately fit?

Will flattening the pyramid (or flat organisation, as I hear it is called) help? If so, how? Today, having implemented the Bagga Committee recommendations and subsequent AVSC implementation, are the Armed Forces better off? Leaner, meaner, younger?

To me, a chronic cynic, it appears that ranks in the Army and Air Force have been diluted with adverse consequences because of below-par number of inductions. Soon the pyramid will flatten itself into a sheet because more officers, and their uncles, standard of performance notwithstanding, will have to be promoted to fill in those Bagga/AVSC vacancies! The day isn’t far off when top Armed Forces officers take to the AFT or Courts to be appointed Army Cdr equivalents and Chiefs just like DGPs are doing in many states!    

While fixated with the Officers cadre, are we forgetting that the other ranks did not benefit from any Bagga Committee or AVSC? That many PBOR (in the Air Force, at least) now take between 20 and 24 years to achieve a Warrant rank (equivalent of a Nb Sub) in many non-technical trades? Don’t they have a pyramidal structure that needs some attention (and drastic surgery?)   

Amalgamate the different groups in the Other Ranks into one with a common basic compensation package. Add allowances for qualifications required for different technical qualifications or higher educational qualifications (i.e, JCOs in the Army Education Corps etc).  

What the Armed Forces direly need is a cadre review by a professional “no-stakes” organisation to decide on what should be the optimal command and control structure and commensurate manpower. For that, there are two pre-requisites – The Government spelling out the National Aim and consequently the Ministry of Defence clearly enunciating the Military aim. A speaker at the recent CDM seminar bemoaned that fact that we have neither! The RM’s Op Directive is not enough.  

III - Separation of Command & Control aspects from Personal Remuneration

Keep ranks for command and control requirements only; same as the bureaucracy has its hierarchy of US, DS, Director, DG (if required), JS, Addl Secy, Spl Secy, and Secy.

If the intention is to have lean, mean, and young Armed Forces, then first make an objective assessment of how the military aim would be met and how much manpower would be required. Review the charter of duties of all designations from Army Cdr & PSO downwards to give respect to the rank of the officer. Remember, by eliminating ranks like Lt Col and Brig because there is no parity, one only tends to devalue/dilute the ranks of Col and Maj Gen. I know from personal example. As a newly commissioned officer, I was detailed for Orderly Officer duties which were earlier carried out by the Warrant Ranks. Later on Sqn Ldr carried out Base ops duties, assigned earlier to Fg Offrs and Flt Lts.  

IV – Pay, Allowances, and Perquisites (Personal Remuneration Package)

Delink rank from Personal Remuneration Package.
Separate remuneration scales or pay bands from ranks and link it to years of service.
For the same numbers years of service an Armed Forces officer would get the same pay and allowances and perquisites as IAS/IPS/Gp 'A' officer.

For the same numbers years of service an Armed Forces Other Ranks would get the same pay and allowances and perquisites as Gp 'B' civilians.
Calculate the new CPC pay by the following formula: -
Basic Pay as on 31 Dec 2015 x cost inflation index (CII) of 2015 divided by cost inflation index of 2006 (year of CPC)
i.e Rs 40000 x CII of 2015 say 1110 = Rs 44400000 divided by 519 = Rs 85540.13 rounded off to next 10 rupees i.e Rs 85550
Grade Pay and MRP (Military Risk Pay) be increased in the above manner.
MoF may consider announcing the CII on 01 Apr of each year so that increments could be linked to the CII and paid in the financial year, facilitating better income tax collection.
Note: Please see added element of Performance Incentive for Select List promotees from Col and above as differentiator below.
V – Pension

Pension norms for Armed Forces officers will be the same as for IAS/IPS/Gp ‘A’ Services.

Pension norms for Other Ranks will be the same as for civilian Gp ‘B’ services.

VI - Performance Incentive for Select/Selection List Promotees

To ensure that ‘time scale’ increment does not detract from desired minimum performance, institute a Performance Incentive (PI) of 15% of the Basic pay for officers placed in Select(ion) List by Promotion Boards and promoted. Minimum performance required to earn PI would be assessed for each Selection List promotion by Promotion Boards. Payment of PI (at 15% of the Basic pay drawn) should be automatic from the date of being found fit for those selected.

Anomalies in the PI scheme or any allegations of wrong assessment could be appealed to and placed before the Anomalies Resolution Committee comprising the COAS/ equivalent, one Army Cdr/equivalent, and AG/PSO/equivalent for resolution.    

VII - Anomalies Resolution Board (ARB)

If a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) can decide matters concerning the IAS/IPS/Gp ‘A’ services and alleviate the resentment and inter-cadre grievances, why not Armed Forces officers in MoD in decision making levels will mitigate the prevailing resentment that they are ignored and discriminated against? If meaningful changes do not happen, resentment builds up (as it has now) and the present adverse media reports are proof enough. Inclusion of Armed Forces personnel at decision making levels of the MoD is a matter of national self-interest as well as justice.

So, MoD, instead of referring each and every anomaly to the CoS, should constitute an Anomalies Resolution Board, like the Railways Board, for conflict resolution. ARB would comprise Defence Secretary as Chairperson, the three Vice Chiefs as fulltime members, Secretary ESW, FA (DS), the Legal Adviser (Defence) and DGAFMS (for disability benefit related appeals) as ex-officio members utilising the CoSC secretariat for the paperwork.

ARB would meet once a month to

Consider issues placed before it and review progress on past decisions. In any case all issues should be resolved within three months from the date an issue has been raised. For example, on the NFU, MoD replies to an RTI application that the information cannot be disclosed under Section 8 of the RTI Act 2005 because the matter is still under consideration and four years have lapsed!

          Exchange information/notes to improve the Civil-Military discourse.

The decision of the ARB can be challenged only in a High Court or the Supreme Court.

VIII - Litigation & Costs thereof

Many cases are being filed by the MoD or Service HQ against decisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal, High Courts, and Supreme Court. A directive (since withdrawn and awaiting disclosure from DESW despite being paid additional charges of photocopying 3 months ago!) that Service HQ must file appeals etc appeared to “save the Public Exchequer” by keeping the Govt’s law officers “more” employed!

It must be made mandatory that, for all cases to be filed against orders of AFT/High Courts/Supreme Court, a legal certificate of fitness to file by at least the Legal Adviser (Defence) be obtained and placed before the ARB for final decision.

Cost of filing cases contradicting the advice of the LA (Def) or ARB and losing the cases must be paid by the official who initiated the move to file the case despite advice to the contrary. If a serving/Veteran petitioner/respondent pays costs for frivolous litigation, why not the irresponsible Govt officer?    

IX - Permanent Risk Related Allowances/Pay

Risk related allowance pay for Armed Forces would be for duties such as CI Ops, Flying risk, Submarine, High Seas, and MARCOS etc. This would have exemption from income tax just as insurance is tax-exempted etc. Increases may be proportional to the increase of CII in base year (2015) to the current year

X - Temporary Risk Related Allowances/Pay (TRAP)

Armed Forces units being tasked over and above their peace time duties with CI Ops, Spl Ops, anti-piracy duties, posting to high altitudes above 4000 metres AMSL, Aid to Civil power in Law & Order situations, etc be paid TRAP for the duration the units/personnel are tasked on these duties.
XI - Cost of Living Compensation (CLC)

Instead of an annual increment, all Armed Forces personnel as well as civilian employees and pensioners should be paid a Cost of Living Compensation (CLC) equal to the increase in the cost inflation index. The rate of inflation intimated by RBI would be the benchmark.

XII - Ordinary Pension

Ordinary pension be increased to the following percentages of last pay drawn: -

Age of Pensioner
(i) Non-fulfilment of Govt’s assurance on lateral Absorption,

(ii) Continuing liabilities of Children’s education, accn etc

XIII - Family Pension

Family pension is reduced from the prevailing 50% of last pay drawn of the pensioner on the mistaken belief that death of the pensioner reduces the expenditure of the family by 20%.

In actual fact, the expenditure increases because the family/widow has to pay the same local taxes and levies as well as pay for services of a driver (at Rs 300 for 4 hours being the minimum), handy-man etc, for chores that the pensioner performed before death.

Further, the pension of a pensioner is not reduced by 20% when his/her spouse passes away. Therefore, family pension be paid at rates indicated above.

XIV - Disability Pension

Broad banding of disability benefits is implemented.

Appeal against decisions of Disability Medical Boards may be arbitrated by/appealed to ARB for resolution. 

XV - Transfer Benefits

Personnel may be allowed one month’s remuneration as disturbance pay in addition to payment of actual costs of the transportation of household effects, including pets and vehicles. Production of bills be made mandatory (and in contradiction to what CDM proposes).

XVI - Leave Travel Benefits (LTB)

All personnel and families may be permitted LTB three times a year to their recorded place of permanent residence or a place at a lesser distance. The cost may be compensated on production of air/rail tickets. Air travel may be permitted by any airline subject to the fare not exceeding the fare(s) levied by Air India.

XVII – Institutionalised system of lateral Absorption
Institutionalise a system of lateral absorption across all levels. If a Lt Gen can be appointed to AFTs or head some study cell, or for that matter ex- bureaucrats and Chiefs go as Governors/Lt Governors/Ambassadors/High Commissioners/Advisers to Ministries (which anyway have a plethora of Secretary level officers) , why cannot a jawan  or JCO or Officer be absorbed in a Govt or PSU job?

XVIII - Re-employment in Government jobs

The Govt of India (GoI) assured the Armed Forces, in its approval of the recommendations of the 6th CPC, of lateral absorption of able personnel. The GoI reneged on its assurance stating that the Home Ministry has objections as if the Ministry is a different entity from the GoI. Those who opted for lateral absorption but did not get it due to such appalling decisions should be paid the last pay drawn as pension till the age of superannuation of the post for which he/she was eligible.

There should be no reduction in pension of Armed Forces Veterans on re-employment in govt jobs similar to other Central Government All India Services like the IAS not having this.

XIX   - Reduction of Wastage of Public Expenditure

Often payment of legitimate dues, even after clear orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in favour of Armed Forces appellants, serving or Veterans, are challenged/appealed against by MoD, citing the cost to the State Exchequer.

Do other large central organizations like Railways have such a dual monstrosity placed over them to carry out accounts and audit? Finance Commissioner is a member of the Railway Board but is under the Ministry of Finance and the Railway Board is directly responsible to the Railways Minister.

If Air Force and Navy can function on their own why can not the same structure be implemented in Army with prorated additional manpower?

There is one aspect that we some how need to highlight and that is the proliferation of a monster called the Defence Accounts Department, which started with a few CDAs to a humungous organization is now so full of PCsDA and CsDA. In late 1960s and early 1970s (when the Armed Forces were full strength) with CGDA as the head, following was the set up:
  • Army
    • CDA (O)
    • CDA (Pensions)
    • CDA (Western Command) at Meerut which shifted to Chandimandir  sometime in late 90s
    • CDA (Central command that Included Eastern Command) – later bifurcated
    • JCDA (Funds)
    • CDA (OR) which had under it PAOs (DCDA/ACDA Level) at training centres
    • Local Audit of units was done by LAOs who reported to CDA Commands
  • DCDA (Air Force)
  • CDA (Navy)
Let me illustrate with just one example.

Information (about 1000 pages) provided under the RTI Act 2005 by MoD, MoF/DoE and CGDA in just the Rank pay cases (Maj A K Dhanapalan Vs. UoI and later in UoI vs. Lt Col N K Nair & others) revealed that the laying down of an accounts policy and audit system of the Armed Forces is done by the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), after a polite demur to its Competent Authority – the Financial Adviser (Defence Services) who sits in South Block, next to the MoD.

This Secretary, Defence/Finance–cum-Financial Adviser, Defence Services (FADS) in MoD is supposedly the “boss” of the CGDA. Under this Secretary-cum FADS there are several Addl FADS and hierarchy, whose role appears to be just acting as a liaison office between MoD, MoF/DoE, and CGDA.

In the Rank Pay matter, the CGDA operated as the policy maker as well as audit authority, as inferred by the photocopies of notings on files. Preparation of the DGL and norms for implementation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders in the Rank Pay case, as disclosed by CGDA in 255 pages of information, was dictated by CGDA and ‘rubber stamped’ by the Secy, Def/Fin or FADS. Not the other way around!

Every subsequent appeal/challenge to the Rank Pay cases filed by respondents/petitioners against UoI, and photocopies of notings thereof, contains nothing on policy or procedures by FADS but are replete with voluminous arguments by CGDA and supported by MoF/DoE, with just a minute/signature of the FADS or a JS/Addl DS.

The MoF/DoE even castigated the MoD (and obviously FADS) in its note dated 05 July 13 for not even preparing a draft reference of the matter to the Ld Attorney General for his opinion but forwarding the reference dated March 13 by the CGDA without a comment.

It is therefore recommended that either the post of Secy Def/Fin-FADS and the attached paraphernalia or the CGDA be abolished to save the Public Exchequer of hundreds of crores of rupees, which could be used for modernisation of the Armed Forces.   

*        *        *        *        *        *

No comments:

Post a Comment