Sunday, 31 August 2014

Credit Where It Is Due

Dear General Bahri,

          Some kind souls like Report My Signal, IESM & my good friend Brig (retd) Vijay Raheja forwarded your emailed & published narrative of the meeting with Chairman CoSC & CAS on 27 Aug 14. I was instantly riveted by the mention of my name. Hence this clarification as I wish to place the whole process and the ESM behind the meetings with 7 CPC in the correct perspective.

          After some others attended and decided to drop out, our group in Bangalore, which met with the 7 CPC on 24 Aug 14 and were requested to, and met again on 25 Aug 14, comprised the following, in the order of importance in my perception:-

(1) Col S Rajan, whose exemplary skill and persistence ensured periodical & preparatory meetings long before we became aware of the visit of 7 CPC to Bangalore. He drove himself, figuratively and literally, to ensure that we would get a hearing – and I am not sure we applied as per the procedure to be heard.

(2) RADM Alan O’Leary, whose knowledge and experience with the 6th CPC came in so extensively to prepare for the kind of probing questions, remarks and asides that we might encounter and must prepare to provide logical, succinct and precise replies with stress on certain words and phrases that would remain in the minds of the Commission.

(3) Lt Gen P G Kamat, whose experience as the Commandant of the Air War College as well as his field experience provided an invaluable insight on matter military vis-à-vis civil services.

(4) Col Srikantha Seshadri, who is waging a somewhat lone battle for improvement in the quality of care and treatment provided by ECHS and in the process gaining and sharing knowledge of what older Veterans and their families really need as health care, and

(5) Self, with some experience in matters of procuring as much information as possible through application of the RTI Act, 2005 so that all of us become aware of the facts as they exist in the files of the MoD, CGDA and MoF in the labyrinthine corridors of Sena Bhawan, South Block, HQ building of CGDA and the North Block.

By consensus, we decided that none of us would adopt any high sounding term such as Chairman or President or some such. We felt that, in that manner, there would be a free flow of information and thoughts as well as suggestions with concomitant freedom to either improve them with knowledge or documented facts or junk them.      

We were helped by some friends who provided certain inputs for us to have a well-rounded strategy, which is what we adopted in the meetings with the 7 CPC. But, as usual, like some smarter person in the room inserts a surprise, Col Rajan did and, in the words, quoted of course, of Shri Vivek Rae, he was silenced by presentation of more facts and the process that enabled provision of a certain benefit to officers of the Armed Forces.

Having achieved our aim, the group is now formally disbanded but informally in touch with each other till we read the 7 CPC report and the Govt Resolution to see whether we made any impact, and if so how much, or how less.

          My intention of writing this piece is to place on record that nothing would have been achieved or a second hearing opportunity provided, unless we were coherent, logical and convincing. I am sure I do not deserve the fulsome mention you so kindly made, for the Chairman CoSC & CAS is well aware of my “poking my nose into MoD etc files” as someone else mentioned, whether as a compliment (my perception) or otherwise. 

Thank you for your patience in reading this.

S Y Savur

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