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Monday, August 24, 2009

Battle lost?

The battle waged to get a permanent commission by women in the armed forces might end in disillusionment for them. Crushing all their hopes, minister of state for defence MM Pallam Raju on Thursday candidly stated serving women are not eligible for the commission. 


Representative photo

"Defence minister has already expressed his keenness to grant the permanent commission to women officers and the proposal has already been accepted. But only future officers will be able to avail the benefit. There will not be any retrospective effect," said the minister attending a seminar on revamping internal security of the country. 

His satement has disappointed women officers. "We give the best years of our lives to serve the country and at the end we find ourselves nowhere. We feel cheated by the Army" said an officer, on condition of anonymity.

Twenty-one women army officers moved a petition before the Delhi High Court seeking permanent commission.

Court had asked the government to come up with at least a "clear proposal" till the next hearing on the case, which was scheduled for today.

However, it has been postponed in the absence of one of the high court judges who was listening the arguments.

Scamster Maj Gen gets kidnapped; safe, says army

Maj Gen Anil Swaroop facing court of inquiry for Rs 100 cr scam in purchasing army equipments

The Noida police got an earth shattering call on Friday.

"A Major General rank officer of the Indian army has been kidnapped," they were told.


The building where Major Gen Swaroop used to stay in Sector 44, Noida

A police team rushed to the Sector 44 house of the army official but the family told them that Maj Gen (retd) Anil Swaroop has gone to Hardwar for some personal work.

Maj Gen Swaroop is facing a Court of Inquiry (CoI) for his involvement in the Rs 100 cr scam in purchase of equipments for army during his tenure as Additional Director General, Technical Store in Jabalpur during 2006-2008.

"We checked the matter thoroughly and there was nothing wrong. We later got to know that the officer is accused in some big scam in army," a senior Noida police official said.

He also informed that the Military Police officers visited Maj Gen Swaroop's residence the previous night in connection with the same case. "Probably he was questioned by military officials in connection to the scam. His wife also confessed that the military police have visited them thrice in the week."

But as soon as the news of a senior retired military officer being 'kidnapping' from Noida leaked, the Army Headquarter in Delhi came out with a clarification. "He is safe and well within our reach. Neither he has been kidnapped nor he is absconding," said an MoD official on condition of anonymity.

Though Indian Army is tightlipped about the actual nature of the scam, sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that Maj Gen Swaroop is accused of financial misappropriation in the purchase of basic military equipments and other things.
 
The officer also added that according to CoI report he is the only accused in the case. "Summary of Evidences would be produced in military court which will take final decision. He is among the very few high ranking officers to have undergone the process which can result into General Court Martial (GCM)," said the officer.

The case was detected soon after Maj Gen Anil Swaroop retired on July 31.

First ‘made in India’ T-90 tank rolls out


Chennai: India on Monday rolled out its first indigenously manufactured T-90 Bhishma tank. Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju flagged off the tank at the rolling out ceremony held at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, near Chennai.

The T-90 tank has been produced under license from Russia. The localised licensed production of the Russian made tanks started in 2008 after India resolved the stalemate over the transfer of technology of the tanks.

India had signed a deal with Russia to supply 310 T-90s in 2001. Of these, 186 were assembled from kits at the Heavy Vehicles Factory. Later on, an agreement was also signed for the licensed production of another 1,000 T-90s.


This, however, was delayed due to Russia’s reluctance to transfer technology, prompting India to purchase another 300 tanks from the country last year.

The Indian Army is also slated to conduct competitive trials between the T-90 and MBT Arjun tanks from October.

"The Army will complete training its personnel on the MBT Arjun by September. So, we can start the trials by October," officials said.

The T-90 tank incorporates several new technologies in terms of mobility, protection, fighting capabilities, safety and communication.

IIT faculty give HRD ministry till Sept 4 on pay dispute

The faculty from various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have set a limit of September 4 for the Union human resource development ministry to respond to their pay demands, failing which they said they will intensify their protest by boycott of classes and resignation from administrative positions.

The teaching staff at all IITs are demanding a better pay structure than the one which was recently approved for them.

The decision was taken at a meeting today at the IIT here and a memorandum was given in this regard to a deputy secretary in the HRD ministry who was present, said M Thenmozhi, president, All India IIT Faculty Federation. Directors from across the IITs participated in today’s meeting, she added.

“The classes will continue till September 4. If the ministry has not responded, we will start our protest,” said Thenmozhi. The executive committee of the All India Faculty Federation also met to plan further schedules of protest. But the mentoring of new IITs by the established ones will not be held back, as it will affect them severely, according to a professor of the IIT here.

The faculty of all IITs took a day’s mass casual leave on August 21 as a first mark of protest. According to the new pay scheme, IIT Directors get Rs 80, 000 a month and the professors with Rs 55,000. The earlier revision for IIT staff was in 1999.

Read the previous post : http://soldierscorner.blogspot.com/2009/08/6th-cpc-iit-iims-whats-matter.html

1995 batch IPS Officers to be DIG

This is the official list of IPS officers of 1995 batch empanelled to hold DIG and equivalent level posts under the Government of India - Mssrs David Lalrinsanga - AGMU, Devesh Chandra Srivastava - AGMU, Ravinder Singh Yadav - AGMU, Madhup Kumar Tiwari - AGMU, Zorammawia - AGMU, I D Shukla - AGMU, Munna Prasad Gupta - AM, A Y V Krishna - AM, R S Praveen Kumar - AP, Rajiv Kumar Meena - AP, Atul Singh - AP, Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat - AP, Veerisetty Venkata Srinivasa Rao - AP, Swati Lakra - AP, Sushil Mansing Khopde - BH, Jag Mohan - BH, Pradeep Gupta - CH, D J Patel - GJ, B S Jebalia - GJ, R B Brahmbhat - GJ, Raju Bhargava - GJ, Shiv Pal Singh Verma - HP, Ganesh Dutt Bhargava - HP, Venugopal N - HP, Satinder Pal Singh - HP, Subhash Yadav - HY, Chakkirala Sambasiva Rao - HY, Charu Bali - HY, Sandeep Khirwar - HY, Sanjay A Lathkar - JH, Pankaj Kumar Darad - JK, Shiv Darshan Singh - JK, Rajesh Kumar - JK, Tsewang Namgiyal Kalon - JK, Satish Ramaji Khandare - JK, S Suresh - KL, M R Ajith Kumar - KL, R S Harihar - KTK, Syed Ulfath Hussain - KTK, Amrit Paul - KTK, Arun Jeji Chakravarthy - KTK, Umesh Kumar - KTK, Niket Kaushik - MH, D G Rao - MH, A D Shinde - MH, V K Chaubey - MH, P S Salunkhe - MH, S K Tarwade - MH, R G Kadam - MH, Naval Bajaj - MH, Amitesh Kumar - MH, A Sai Manohar - MP, Chanchal Shekhar - MP, Yogesh Deshmukh - MP, Jai Deep Prasad - MP, K P Venkateshwar Rao - MP, Meenakshi Sharma - MP, Bishwanath Deb Barma - MT, Puneet Rastogi - MT, Thugbemo Lotha - NL, Jong Pongnungsang - NL, L Singsit - NL, Padmakar S Ranipse - OR, S K Priyadarshi - OR, Santosh Bala - OR, Radha Kishan Sharma - OR, Ritu Arora - OR, Gollapalli Nageswara Rao - PB, Kapil Dev - PB, Pramod Ban - PB, Mohd Faiyaz Farooqui - PB, Amit Prasad - PB, Gautam Cheema - PB, Surinder Singh - PB, Tejinderpal Singh - PB, Biju George Joseph K - RJ, Prashakha Mathur - RJ, Smita Khare - RJ, Vinayak Vineet - SK, V A Ravikumar - TN, S Nallasivam - TN, M Ramasubramani - TN, S N Seshasai - TN, S Davidson Devasirvatham - TN, Sandeep Mittal - TN, Bala Naga Devi - TN, P V Krishna Prasad - UK, Deepam Seth - UP, Ravi Kumar Lokku - UP, Anupam Kulshreshtha - UP, Ashok Mutha Jain - UP, Alok Singh - UP, Rajkumar RN Kuril - UP, Amrendra Kumar Sengar - UP, Vijay Bhatia - UP, Ashok Kumar Singh - UP, Jawed Shamim - WB, Ajay Mukund Ranade - WB, Anil Kumar - WB, R Sivakumar - WB, Satya Sankar Panda - WB, Shailendra Pratap Singh - UP and Daljit Singh Chaudhary - UP.

Text of the IPS Association's letter to the Prime Minister

Respected Sir,

With reference to the above subject a meeting of the Jharkhand chapter of the Indian Police Service Association was convened on 2nd April, 2008. The members felt hurt and humiliated by the unfair recommendations of the 6th Pay Revision Commission and were of the unanimous opinion that the matter should be brought to your kind notice with a request to take immediate action to undo the gross injustice meted out to the police. In our view, the recommendations of the VI Central Pay Commission reflect a surprising lack of appreciation of the role of the Indian Police in general and the Indian Police Service in particular.

You are fully aware that Jharkhand is at the forefront of a face-off with Left Wing Extremism- a problem that you had yourself identified as the 'single biggest' threat to national security while addressing the National Conference of Chief Minister's on Internal Security on 20th September 2007. While tackling such threats to internal security are so high on the national agenda, it is a matter of great surprise that the VIth Pay Commission in its report, has given little or no credence to internal security management as a critical National-level, State-level and local-level input of governance. It does not take more than common sense to perceive that the threats to internal security are perhaps more recurrent and damaging today than actual threats of aggression from external enemies. One can only conjecture as to why the entire report never mentions the issues of internal security while it seems to have opened its blinkers enough to appreciate the role of the armed forces in the external security of the country. Is the police, which is engaged day in & day-out in the internal security management of this country, doing a job that is not worth even a mention? Have things come to such a pass that the Indian Police Service has been reduced, from the prime managerial cadre that protects the country from within to an inconsequential All India Service? Will this be the fate of a service that is at the forefront of the fight against the diverse challenges to internal security- be it left-wing extremism, terrorism in all its manifestations, divisive forces of communalism, casteism et al? The VIth CPC has summarily, we daresay almost with some sort of a vengeance, disregarded the role, if not the very raison d'être of the police and especially its leadership- the IPS- as a service!! The entire police community of Jharkhand (indeed the entire country, going by the reactions we are receiving from other states) feels that if these recommendations are implemented it will go down in history as the biggest injustice meted out to the police service and is bound to be perceived as systemic ungratefulness for a service that has given its blood, sweat and tears to hold this country together. If there is any doubt on this count, a list of IPS martyrs (in tandem with the thousands of policemen from the subordinate ranks) over the years may help put this in perspective:

List of Martyr IPS officers as on April 1st, 2008

18,914 policemen have died from 1989 to 2007 (averaging nearly a thousand per year in a sample period of less than 20 years). The following is a list of IPS officers who lost their lives while serving the nation:

G. S. Arya – 1950 - UP

L. B. Sewa - 1958 - A&M

K. Panchapagesan – 1974 - UT

A.S. Atwal - 1964 - Punjab [ Images ]

V. K. Mehta - 1971 - WB

A. K. Arora - 1984 - Rajasthan

A. S. Brar - 1979 - Punjab

K. R. S. Gill - 1982 - Punjab

Sital Dass - 1976 - Punjab

Vandana Malik - 1987 - M/T

Gobind Ram - 1975 - Punjab

Daulat Singh - 1976 - A&M

R. P. Verma - 1974 - Bihar

Ajit Singh - 1968 - Punjab

K.S. Vyas - 1974 - AP

G. Paradesi Naidu - 1987 - AP

Ved Prakash - 1989 - Nagaland

Raman Prakash - 1990 - Gujarat

R.N. Hopingson - 1992 - M/T

Ravi Kant Singh - 1987 - A & M

C. Umesh Chandra - 1990 - AP

Ajay Kumar Singh - 1995 - Bihar

K.C. Surendra Babu - 1997 - Bihar

A.P. Thang Thuam - 1979 - M/T

Mohammad Amin Bhat - 1990 - J&K

P. K. Lohia - 1993 - Assam

Jaswinder Singh - 1990 - Orissa

Sir, allow us to ask this question: Can you identify any other civil service where its leadership cadre and along with each and every rank they lead ( and their families too) have to factor-in the ultimate sacrifice- death on duty- as an integral part of the service condition? Yet the VIth Pay Commission in its wisdom has decided to downgrade this service in a way that seems to suggest that among all the possible service contexts the job of managing internal security threats is the least important!

Given the above perspective and after duly careful consideration and analysis of the VIth CPC Report, the General Body Meeting of the IPS Association- Jharkhand Chapter notes the following with grave concern:-

A. THE INJUSTICE METED OUT TO THE POLICE CONSTABULARY AS THE MAINSTAY OF THE POLICE FORCE AND ITS CUTTING EDGE

The CPC has been eloquent in recognizing the role of constables in performing cutting edge duties and has proposed a hike in his current pay scale from Rs.3050-4590 to Rs.3200-4900. It has resulted in a meager gain of Rs.100 in grade pay and Rs.20-40 in band pay. A constable has been equated with a postman, railway mail guard and notice server and provided the same pay band and grade pay, completely ignoring the arduous nature of job and the risks involved in the job of a constable.

A police constable, under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Penal Code, has the powers to stop and search person or premises; to arrest anyone under reasonable suspicion of his having committed an offence; to interrogate; to use force to disperse and even use force to refrain a person from evading arrest, even to the extent of causing death, in certain circumstances. A police constable has the power to impact upon any person's life and liberty.

Apart from the negative powers of restraining people, a constable is also required, inter alia, as part of his duty, to use immense amount of discretion, make quick and at times life saving decisions, act as a counselor, work as a judge to appreciate facts during an enquiry, be a doctor to be able to provide first aid to victims, be a scientist to be able to appreciate forensic evidence, be a lawyer to be able to weigh evidence against law, be a rescuer during disasters. He is required to be proficient in various soft skills like team building, communication and counseling, and also master the hard skills of weapon handling, swimming, firing, handling explosives, arresting offenders, sometimes dangerous, officer survival, riot handling and conducting raids. He is a judge, interrogator, psychologist, doctor, scientist, lawyer, counselor, athlete, shooter, fighter and rescuer, all rolled in one. A constable is trained in all these knowledge and skill set. What this means in effect is that these policemen at the level of interfacing with the community day in and day out have to take decisions and exercise discretion. A South African study on policing finds that among cutting edge services if one service has to exercise maximum range of discretion at the cutting edge it is the police. The individual (unsupervised) police subordinate is perpetually called upon to make decisions and impact the lives of the ordinary citizen on behalf of the government.

The odious comparison to a postman, railway mail guard etc is incomprehensible and incapable of attracting suitably strong willed and motivated youth to face the extreme professional hazards on a daily basis and to acquire necessary skills for the same. What is so irrational about according perquisites to the policemen on par with their brethren in the military services? There is not a single criterion on which the average police constable does not match or indeed score over his military counterpart- the celebrated 'army jawan'- whether it be the hours of work, the working conditions, deprivation from family life, continuous stress and probability of serious injury and death. Why deny this silent army its due- is it because it stays silent despite all injustices meted? Sir, the jawan-in-khaki is also equally worthy of your attention and largesse and this country cannot afford to leave them with a sense of unfair treatment. May we remind the country that often more jawans-in-khakhi have to sacrifice their lives in one year than the combined armed forces casualties in the one decade. It is only in times of external conflict that the probability of casualties in the armed forces shoots up. But for the khaki-clad jawan death is a possibility round the corner- every moment, every day, 24X7. No wonder, there is no let up in the numbers of police martyrs, year after year after year. Given the step-motherly treatment envisaged by the VIth Pay Commission will they not be entitled to ask- "What for and for whom are we sacrificing our lives"?

B. 'EDGE' FOR THE IAS OVER OTHER SERVICES/IPS

1. In Chapter 3.2, Page 166, the CPC has discussed the edge for IAS. This thesis, soundly debunked by the Fourth Central Pay Commission, pervades the recommendations made by the CPC. It proposes to extend and limit this edge to the IAS in Senior Time Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Non Functional Selection Grade. In Para 3.2.7, the Commission has rationalized this 'edge' being 'traditionally enjoyed' by the said service over other All India Services and Central Services on the ground that IAS officers:

* Hold important Field level posts

* In the initial stages, they work in small places

* Face frequent transfers

* Have to stand up to intense pulls and pressures

* Require higher pay scales to attract the best talent

2. It is apparent that the commission has not shown even elementary appreciation and understanding of the role and conditions of field officers of the IPS. A quick survey of the conditions, the frequency of transfers, the day to day pressures faced by the field formations like SPs and DIsG would have given a fair idea of the almost superhuman capabilities to sustain diverse pressures that a typical police officer is expected to have. Thus, it is important to note that the conditions that the commission speaks about for the IAS apply in a much greater degree to the IPS Officers. Besides, the IPS Officers face the following challenges unique only to their service:-

* Threat to life ( ref: Martyrs List above)

* Long and irregular working hours

* Working on holidays ( even the law enjoins that a policeman has to be on duty always)

* Disruption of family life

* Highest degree of stress

3. It is noteworthy that not only the IAS but also the Indian Foreign Service enjoys the same edge without ever having to suffer any of the conditions stated by the CPC. No rational has been given in the CPC report.

4. It is obvious that if there is a case for edge at all, the IPS should have an edge over any other service in the country. The IPS did, in fact, enjoy an edge in the 14th to 18th year of service till a very recent amendment to the IAS Pay Rules.

5. Indeed, a reading of the report suggests that the Commission contradicts its own arguments about attracting the best talent by giving the so called monetary "edge". Kindly sample the following two paragraphs from the CPC (regarding justification for edge to IAS and demand for high pay at entry level by Group A respectively) in the report that squarely contradict each other!

Para 3.2.7. The role of IAS is still very important in the overall scheme of governance. They have an important coordinating, multi-functional and integrating role in the administrative framework with wide experience of working across various levels in diverse areas in Government. They hold important field level posts at the district level and at the cutting edge at the start of their careers with critical decision making and crisis management responsibilities. The leadership function, the strategic, coordinating and integrative role at this level requires the best talent available. The existing position would, therefore, need to be maintained. It will ensure that IAS officers near the beginning of their career are given slightly higher remuneration vis-à-vis other services and act as an incentive for the brightest candidates to enter this service.

Para 3.3.16. The demand to have higher pay for the entry grade in the Organized Services has considerable merit. It is a fact that there is a need to have a higher entry grade to attract the best talent available in the country for joining the premier Civil Services. Accordingly the Commission is recommending a higher starting pay for the Junior Time Scale of Organized Group A Services and the All-India Services. However, the contention that higher pay scales are essential to attract the best talent for these posts is not totally convincing. The Government job provides many other benefits apart from challenges and opportunities which cannot be strictly measured in pure monetary terms. During the course of the oral evidence, the Commission also heard Directors of some important National Training Academies and Staff Colleges where young directly recruited and also promotee officers are trained before they actually assume their responsibilities. All the Heads of Training Academies unanimously stated that the Services were still attracting the best and brightest of the youngsters as direct recruits, albeit the age of entry had increased due to the present recruitment policy of the Government.

It would appear from a reading of the above that the Pay Commission has chosen to be 'convinced' differently for different services.

6. The apparent contradictions in the CPC report continue in the other parts. Even as it justifies a limited edge to the IAS till the selection grade only, it in fact extends this edge to a much greater extent from the fourteenth year of service onwards. The comparative chart at Annexure-I clearly establishes the edge of IAS at all stages from 4th year onwards. An extract of the chart is reproduced below for convenience.

It is obvious that contrary to its own report and argument, the edge is even more acute from the Super Time Scale of IAS and DIG rank of IPS, i.e., from 14th year onwards. It is only after completion of thirty six years of service that an IPS officer can hope to catch up with his counterpart in the IAS in terms of the total of band pay and grade pay- that too if he ends up as DG of a CPMF and not a State! This too will happen only if the IPS officer gets the ranks of IG, ADG and DG on the very first day that he becomes eligible for promotion i.e. 1st January of the 18th, 26th and 30th year of his service respectively. Delay in promotion at any stage during this phase of the career of an IPS officer would effectively eliminate any chance of reaching the highest level of the pay band. Needless to say that such an ideal situation exists neither in the Central Police Organizations nor in the States. The age of 24 years at the time of joining required to reach the Rs.80,000/- mark is also rare and it can be safely concluded that no IPS officer serving in the States will retire at salary of Rs.80,000/-. Even by conservative estimates, the total difference in pay including just the band pay and the grade pay over a career spanning 36 years would be at least Rs.21,99,480/- which, if compounded annually @ 8%, is a whopping sum of Rs.72,21,010/-. This difference shall be in crores if the impact of other allowances like DA and HRA are taken in to account. It is also noteworthy that about 250 posts (approx. three batches) of Secretary to Govt. of India level are available for IAS officers while only about a dozen such posts (approx one-tenth of one batch) are available for IPS officers. So much for the minor edge!

C. THE CASE FOR ABOLITION OF THE REDUNDANT POST OF DIG

The CPC has recommended retention of the post of DIG on the specious argument that the post is required for deputation to CPMFs where it is a functional requirement but contradicts itself by proposing to stop completely the deputation of IPS officers to the posts of DIG in CPMFs by reserving them for their own cadres. The CPC has also proposed to reduce the percentage of deputation of IPS officers to CPMFs in IG rank from 66% to 50%, thereby reducing hugely the deputation avenues for IPS officers. The CPC has failed to suggest ways and means to meet the 40% deputation quota for IPS officers effectively rendering the IPS a provincial service rather than an All India Service.

The CPC has placed the earlier lower pay scale Rs.14300-450-22400 in the proposed PB4 band while placing the earlier pay scale of Rs.16400-450-20000 (of DIG) in PB3 which is grossly unfair to the IPS.

D. THE CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGE OF PAY BANDS AND GRADE PAY

Presently, the various issues of precedence, housing etc. are governed by the date of entry in to a pay scale. With the introduction of the pay band and grade pay system, the IPS officers would suffer in all such matters throughout their career.

The CPC has recommended that whenever any IAS officer of a particular batch is posted in the Centre in pay bands PB-3 or PB-4, grant of higher pay scale on non-functional basis should be given by the Government to the officers belonging to batches of organized Group A services that are senior by two years or more. The higher pay should be given to such Group A officers irrespective of the availability of vacancies in that pay band. Keeping DIG at the inferior PB-3 pay band will lead to great discrimination as an IPS officer at that level will not get the advantage of this recommendation. Surprisingly, the IPS has been denied even this benefit.

The officers of Central Secretariat Service are now eligible for grade pay of Rs.9000/- during the 16th year of service (which the IAS officer attains in 14th year of service) while the IPS officers are eligible for the same on completion of 18 years forcing the IPS to trail even the Group B services of GOI.

E. THE INJUSTICE TO THE POST OF DG OF THE STATE

The post of Director General of Police has been hit the hardest after that of DIG. The DG could earlier draw the same pay as the Secretary to the Govt. of India after three years of service in DG's pay scale. It shall now take him a minimum of six years; an unlikely event in view of the age profile. Moreover, the DG drawing the pay of Rs.26,000/- on 01.01.2006 is proposed to be fixed at Rs.71,270/- (Rs.58,270+13,000) while his counterpart drawing the same pay is proposed to be fixed at Rs.80,000/- leaving a huge margin of Rs.8,730/- in addition to other proportionate benefits. No rationale has been given for not placing the State DGP in the Apex Scale. Ironically, it is the state DGP who shoulders the responsibility of maintaining Law & Order, fighting terrorism, insurgency and the ever increasing crime.

The number of such 'Apex' (Rs 80,000 fixed) posts in GOI which an IAS officer can occupy is 206, which is 200-300% their annual recruitment. Similarly, there are 26 such 'Apex' posts for the IFS officers, which is at least 200% its annual intake. While there are only 5 such 'Apex' posts for the IPS, which is only 7% of its annual intake. Now, the few others, who could have got to this Apex Grade by sheer length of their service, shall not be able to get there.

The Commissions bias against the IPS is reflected in the fact that while it has recommended that "The government should consider upgrading member CBDT presently in the scale of Rs 24050-26000 to the revised apex pay band of Rs 80000 (fixed);" it did not find it fit to recommend the same for the DG's of police of the States. On the contrary the scale has been downgraded to that of Addl Secy., GOI.

It may be worth mentioning that if the Pay Commissions report is accepted Chief Secretary Sikkim shall get 80,000, while DG UP shall only get Rs 72,270 at the end of his pay band (PB-4).

F. OUR CONSIDERED DEMANDS

In view of the above observations, the General Body of the IPS Association- Jharkhand Chapter unanimously resolves to urge the appropriate authorities for the following:-

1. The grade pay of constable should be increased to Rs.2400/- and those of Head Constable, ASI, SI and Inspector should also be suitably increased and all benefits should match with those of the Armed Forces.

2. There is absolutely no case for any edge to any service over the IPS and hence absolute parity at all levels may be ensured.

3. All pay bands and grade pay should be exactly the same for all the All India Services at all stages of career.

4. The existing pay scale of DIG (Rs.16400-450-20000) should be placed in the proposed pay band PB4 with grade pay of Rs.9000/-

5. The eligibility period for the post of DIG should remain 14 years.

6. Subject to the acceptance of the last two proposals, an officer in grade pay PB4 may be known as IG in the 16th year of service.

7. Deputation to the posts of DIG and IG in the CPMFs should be retained at the current level.

8. IPS officers should be granted the corresponding grade pay as soon as they become eligible for the same.

9. The eligibility for IPS officers for the grade pay of Rs.11000/- and Rs.13000/- should be 25 years and 30 years of service respectively at par with the IAS officers.

10. State DGP should be fixed in Apex Scale.

G. EPILOGUE: IT'S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT PAY AS ABOUT THE DIGNITY OF THE SERVICE

Sir, we would hasten to add that this representation is not so much about getting pay parity/enhanced pays as about dignity of the service. As a service we want to be given the acknowledgement and respect that is due to us in terms of the sensitive and critical nature of our work in the context of nation building and preservation of the national fabric. Fortunately or unfortunately pay is the most visible systemic acknowledgement of the value of a service. It is the apparent indication of the dignity and status accorded to the service as such. Like any other service we expected this Pay commission to set the role of police in the right perspective. Unfortunately, it has failed to do so. From the subordinate ranks up to the leadership (IPS) level the khaki has been given a blatantly unfair deal.

Sir we are more than conscious that we cannot only demand but we have to deliver. We will be the first to admit that the country deserves a better police system. It is worth noting that it took a few IPS officers to file a PIL in the Supreme Court to implement the police reforms. Even these reforms have not been properly implemented despite a groundswell of support for most of its recommendations/rulings by the apex court of this country.

Sir, this is an SOS call to you to by the members of the police service to step in and take the call for nothing but fairness of treatment and just acknowledgement of our role in keeping this country together. Policing is a most visible and vital tool of good governance. In a scenario where its very role is negated and where its self-respect is hurt the quality of cutting edge governance is bound to suffer.

Trends in Military Leadership

“The sense of grievance among armed forces that the civilian bureaucracy has short-changed it and this is reflected in the hierarchy laid down in the pay commission is both sad and dangerous. If allowed to fester it will undermine not just the self-system of the armed forces, but it will engender a sense of rivalry and bitterness between the civil and military wings of the government.” Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Pune 13 October, 08.
The editorial goes on “The argument of the top brass in uniform that it is more a matter of honour rather than that of money underscores their sense of being discriminated against.” In elaboration it suggests that while as the norm in our country is for the armed forces to report to civil authority, a norm meticulously followed by the services all these years, civil authority cannot be substituted by civil service authority, which the armed forces see as humiliating. It is this confrontationist situation that needs the intervention of the political leadership.
Political leadership in our country is vote-bank-oriented and civil-service-dependent. It has had little awareness of space for the armed forces views and feeling, a cultural baggage to a fault. Armed forces are no vote bank. A large number of them in any case do note vote, they are busy getting on with their job wherever they are, disposed all over the country for from their constituencies, with little time and patience for postal ballot and electoral issues. And what help and service the servicemen can provide to nurture the kinds of politicians and policies our diversity and governance have spawned? The present confrontationist situation has come about because the intake in leadership echelon has gone into an alarming decline, premature retirements on an alarming ascent, and the top brass repeatedly showing hours from the south block in the ears of the government. The government offered a few sops through the deafeningly silent civil services-sixth pay commission, committee of secretaries and now group of ministers. What the GOM does is yet to be seen, as at the time writing. If increase in pay was one sop (it cannot be called an incentive yet), increase in the number of ranks (colonel to general officers) was another. These were lopped off by devaluing and reducing rank status vis-à-vis civil services personal, that touched the raw serve of the serviceman’s sense of honor and recognition as well. It also carried the certain conflict in role-play.
One needs to quote Samuel Huntington (The Soldier And The State) if only because no Indian intellectual or researcher has thought it fit to dwell on soldier-state-society relationship in our country with its own peculiar politico-socio-economic milieu. He writes “The motivations of the officer are a technical love for his skill and the sense of social obligation to utilize this skill for the benefit of society. Society on the other hand, can only assure this motivation if it offers its officers continuing and sufficient pay while on active duty and when retired.” In this situation if the society-the government - does not ensure this pay aspect then who is to do it? And if nobody is doing it in a sufficient manner why blame the services leadership for projecting and insisting on it? Our Constitution denies the services the right to form or join unions, indulge in dharna , strikes, public demonstrations, communicate to the press, write books or articles without services clearance etc. In the present instance it is the armed forces top leadership which has (projected the demand directly to the government it is serving and has access to - the one legitimate quarter and the only access-.) Its fault seen in many eyes is its determined insistence on converting sops into equitable incentives with rightful status, honour and recognition the servicemen deserve, the types of responsibilities they carry and effectively operate in the command and control structure the government puts in the sphere of national security, both external and internal.
The whole gamut of pay, status and honour have come to the fore for attracting intake in the armed forces (leave aside high class intake) and retain it for the maximum period of usefulness. Traditional attitude towards the soldier is that he is a second-rate, mentally and intellectually inferior. Physical strength has always counted for more than intelligence and intellectual strength, despite the iconic example of David against Goliath.) In Morris Janowitze’s words: “A liberal ideology –holds that since war is essentially destructive, the best minds are attracted to more positive endeavors. The impression exists among educators that the intellectual level of those entering the military profession via the service academies reflected the adequate effective and adequate minimum standards rather than any extensive concentration of students at the upper end of the intelligence continuum.” (”The professional Soldier”), further in the same book he refers to a study of US Army lieutenants “which suggests that the brighter ones resign as soon as they complete their obligatory service , while those less well equipped remain ,thus military against finding the brighter people in the upper echelons of the military hierarchy.”
In this eminent psychological study of military leader (”Psychology of Military Incompetence”) Norman Dixon says that intellectual ability has not always counted for very much in training for generalship; that academic requirements of the (military academics) are not wholly relevant to those actually required for competent generalship; and that denigration of progressive thinkers and powering score on men who challenged existing practices must surely have tended to stiffle any exercise of the intellect who wanted to get on, and deterred the gifted from ever seeking a military career. He goes on to add “Of the psychological problems which beset military officers few exceed in severity those associated with leadership. In this respect they are required to fulfill incompatible roles. They are expected to show initiative, yet remain hemmed in by regulation. They must be aggressive, yet never insubordinate. They must be assiduous in cating for their men, yet maintain on enormous social distance. They must know everything about everything yet never appear intellectual. The fact remains that a deliberate cult of anti-intellectualism has characterized the armed services.”
This and others like increasing consumerist attitude, big and quick money, and the huge pay packets and perks offered by the corporate, MNCs etc. are some of the main reasons for the declining intake, no doubt. McNamara rightly says; “Brains are like hearts, they go where they are appropriated.” In such a situation how are the services and the society going to change the thinking? What should they be doing towards: -
  • Identifying intellectual and intelligence contents required in military leadership?
  • Fostering, nurturing, encouraging and improving them in the military leadership?
  • Retaining and optimally utilizing talent, intellect and expertise obtaining in military leaders?
Basically, it adds up to intelligence (ability to gain and apply knowledge and skills), intellect (power of using mind to reason and understand) and practice of putting both to optimal use that brings a level of satisfaction to the leadership.
That leads to the need of reviewing selection content and methods. The present selection system has been clinically analyzed by Maj Gen Suman in an earlier IDR issue. Such a review is also necessary for the content and methods of training officers progressively all through their service. Intelligence has to be fertile and sharp, while it is intellect, which puts it to good use, necessitating the presence of one and potential and scope for the other. Candidates from varying backgrounds and thinking, ideas and motives appear for selection and initial training. Employment considerations, family traditions, starry ideas of patriotism, serving the nation and suchlike, financial inducements, glamour and many others play their part in attracting or forcing candidates, who do not always have a clear enough understanding of what exactly in retail is required in their persona in order to get selected. Many low and slow starters turn into high fliers later, and vice-versa. Selection content and methods need to reduce the hit-and-miss chances in selection, by fine-tuning it through well thought out identification of requirements, attitudes, psychological make-up and mental horizon. Today’s combat scenario needs not only fighters but also administrators, managers, teachers, thinkers and technical experts, all conversant with combat demands and dangers, uncertainties and fatigue, and all having their mixes of intelligence and intellect, brain and brown, aggression and self-control.
Soon after entry the first agenda would be naturally to bring the background influences, attitudes, motives, thinking etc. on to the common denominator, namely, the aspect of soldiering, its content, nature, ethos, demands and characteristics, so as to subordinate individual predilections to the main theme. Excessive emphasis on drill, bull, obsessive orderliness, blind obedience and confirmity beyond rationality destroy individuality. Pontification on tradition, discipline, immunization to fear by group and mechanical, automatic actions, though necessary to an extent, drive towards attempt to homogenize individuality and destroy the thinking faculty, so essential in developing courage and innovativeness. In our training repertoire there is little emphasis on instruction regarding what professionalism is, what characterizes military profession, what it entails, what parts drill and tradition, discipline and obedience physical toughness and intellectual strength aggressiveness and self-control play and to what extent. Penchant for drill, strict obedience, unthinking conformity and strangle hold of tradition are all authoritarian ingredients that tie down leaders and help perhaps survival. But survival is not the goal of soldierly action; it is to win- a positive, active, aggressive action, and therefore needing sufficient room for ideas, innovative approach, out-of-box thinking and individuality. Our present system, an authoritarian, rigid, conventional, stifling one needs to create scope for individuality thinking, initiative, ideas and intellectual content, difficult though it is to loosen its authoritarian grip (of minimum basic survival demand and survival instinct). It is this authoritarianism-high on drill-bull and low on intellectual and initiative-that deters and put off those who have and want to use their brain.
The army itself also is a culprit. It seems to be deeply and senselessly embedded in routine, drill, waiting inordinately for something to happen or attending to small thing with fastidious meticulousness, wasting enormous energy and time, obsessed with no-mistake syndrome and keeping everybody on the hook all the time, be it in peace or wartime. No-mistake syndrome spawns over supervision, which, in turn, starts the disease of the senior doing his juniors job. The syndrome itself is fecundated by the desire to please his superior and create good impression.
Armed Forces are identified with dealing with violence, killing, destroying etc., for which they have to be ready to sacrifice, imbibe strict discipline, develop unquestioning loyalty and obedience and so on with less than necessary analysis of why these traits are required. Nevertheless these become the bottom line, with stress on the “minimum” and the “hazardous”. One wonders at this exclusive emphasis on the minimalist approach. Aren’t there other larger, maximal, aspirational lines above it? if so why don’t they find urention and emphasis? They don’t because they do not seem have been identified, developed and practiced as military service ethos, management imperative and military culture in the rush of meeting the bottom line. Military recruitment advertisements flaunt “can you do it” placards. Do what? Join and stick on to military service? In what expectation? To achieve what, satisfy what? With what avenues available? The above challenge is titilltive of human manliness, a matter becoming less relevant as women too have been entering the profession. Even “challenge” needs replacement by promises of “opportunity, awareness and scope” for the candidate to inspire, motivate and attract him to the profession to realize and enjoy his potential and pursuit. It needs necessary scope for intelligence, excellence and intellectual content, apart from financial recompense for attracting entry into the profession and falling in live with the conditions and restriction imposed by it.
Now what about motivation to continue in service? Financial incentives serve the purpose up to an extent and no further. Thereafter it is job satisfaction, sense of honour, status and pursuit of personal excellence. That is what the service chiefs have highlighted too. Job satisfaction is possible only if ideas, innovative sprit, constructive criticism, frank opinion and exercise of expertise and chosen skills are allowed necessary space, tolerance and understanding; if these are encouraged and sustained and permitted to develop and be practised. More than a thousand officers are wanting to leave the army, nearly ten thousand officer vacancies exist, with hundreds of entry vacancies in the academy going undersubscribed. The existing environment, works ethics and restriction under the garirs of discipline, obedience, tradition and so on deny job satisfaction because of senseless waste of time in adhering to form rather than substance; because of depriving officers of private time and scope for personal pursuits; because of organizational and its higher leadership failure to help subordinates widen their mental, intellectual horizons and pursue their personal inclinations in these spheres. In its holy mantra of “career profile” the system appears to prepare pegs to fit into all kind of geometrical holes. For example engineer officers gathering MES expertise are transferred in their contributive years into general staff. So is it for Border Roads. Those attuned to long years of command experience are thrust into senior staff appointments and vise-versa, an invitation to disaster. Preparing officers at their contributive stage in career as jacks of all trades generates a lot of job disillusionment.
Job satisfaction entails providing opportunity and scope to the officer to develop skill and expertise, and then to put them to practice in his service, particularly when he reaches professional adulthood and contributive period of his career. It has a close relationship with intellectual bent as well as desire for pursuit of personal excellence. Intellectual pursuit does not mean gathering doctorates in science, arts and literature, (though they help to an extent). It means providing berth for a vision, a look- beyond and relating his professional undertaking with other human activities-scientific, social, economic, administrative and many others-. It is in this development that throws up a vision that the armed forces are pretty thin. There is no “vision paper” for officers career, contribution and conduct. Large number of officers want private time, personal study, break from long periods of office routine and escape from over supervision. They want to pursue their interest, hobbies, inclinations, and also contribute to the profession. They listen to what Bertrand Russel says “The performance of public duty is not the whole of what makes a good life, there is also the pursuit of private excellence.” It will be of interest to study the part played by vision (more an exception in the leadership than professionally fostered) in The crossing of the Meghna, and lack of it (a general condition of leadership) in the 1962 NEFA debade. Srilanka episode of 1987-90 was probably an example of intellectual weakness and misplaced vision, which resulted in that “march of folly” (Barbara tuchman’s monumental work).
For the first time in sixty years the matter of serviceman’s view has come to a head. The government and the society have to tackle the financial aspect of soldiers incentive, as is rather firmly being insisted upon by the service chiefs. How far the government and the society tolerate the service chief’s pressure in accommodating their demands, and how for the service chiefs stretch their persistence need to be watched. That is likely to lay the first foundation stone of a healthy convention between civil-military relations, if only the politician throws out his apprehension of a military coup. This foundation will also have to include the unique content of the serviceman’s demand for due status, honour and recognition. Secondly, both the government and the services, the latter in particular, need to make room for the serviceman’s job satisfaction and intellectual development. There is a need to review the identification of requirements in the entry candidates, method of breaking him in for professional imperatives, followed by educating him on intellectual plane, and employing him in an optimal manner that gives him job satisfaction and a sense of contribution, in order to retain him in service and add qualitatively to the military leadership content.
By and large the soldier and the ex-soldier have been progressively devalued and given low priority in the public eye, the government and, much more regrettably, the civil administrative machinery at the state and district levels. In some northen states the soldier continues to remain in their eye, but in the rest of the country he is neglected. Particularly so in matters of revenue, litigation, property and legal cases, where he has to remain away for long periods. Soldier Boards in most states are helpless, powerless, inadequately staffed. Civil officials-DCs, secretaries and ministers have little interest in their functioning, with little or no communication between them for years together, leave aside interaction. This state of affairs has to change. Soldier needs to be at par with other concerns of civil administration, with a couple of concessions, namely those of being heard quickly and disposed off quickly and reducing the legal wrangles he has to go through while he is immersed in the exigencies of service, while paying a heavy price on his return to the ex-serviceman’s status.

When Commanders become Bureaucrates

In late 1980s, an Engineer Regiment was asked to move to high altitude area as part of normal turn over of units. The regiment put in its demand for high altitude clothing for the troops well in time. However, the case got mired in bureaucratic wrangles between the Command Headquarters and the Army Headquarters. The regiment had to move without the said clothing. Unfortunately, the area received early snowfall, the regiment got trapped en route and suffered heavy casualties - both fatal and frostbite. Subsequent enquiries revealed total apathy and indifference by the military officers involved in releasing snow clothing. They got embroiled in petty squabbles and showed no urgency or concern for the troops.
maj-gen-mrinal-sumanIn another case, disagreement between the two senior military officers over the number of backup batteries required made expensive imported equipment lie unutilized, while the troops suffered. In yet another case, a senior commander ordered that every military person wanting to visit Hussainiwala must obtain a pass from the Divisional Headquarters located at Ferozepur at a distance of nearly 30 km. It served no purpose at all as no military man could possibly be denied permission. There was no need and justification for the said order. It caused immense difficulties to all visitors. It was a classic case of bureaucratic mindset. There are numerous such instances.
One of the commonest complaints heard from the troops is regarding the functioning of senior military officers posted at higher headquarters. It is a general refrain that they tend to be more bureaucratic than the career bureaucrats and become totally insensitive to ground realities. For them, procedures and rules take precedence over troops’ requirements, howsoever urgent they may be. According to general perception, commanders-turned-bureaucrats do more damage than good while occupying critical appointments at decision making level at higher headquarters.
Bureaucrats
On 21 April 2008, on Civil Services Day, the Indian Prime Minister exhorted the civil services to ‘break their stereotype image as non-performers’. “The most important challenge is to instill confidence in our people that our civil services are fair, honest, as well as efficient,” he added. Over the years, bureaucracy has come to be associated with inertia, status quo and apathy. This may not be a very fair description of their functioning but it does indicate a general loss of confidence in their competence to deliver.
Emergence of bureaucracy can be attributed to societal need to have a sound and skilled organisation whose members possess specialised expertise and provide certainty, continuity and unity in a methodical, anonymous, impersonal and independent manner. German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) called bureaucracy as the most technically proficient form of organisation. A bureaucrat takes pride in being systematic and meticulous.
However, over a period of time, rigid adherences to rules, regulations, systems and procedures gained ascendancy over every other trait. In a way, the whole functioning became captive of regulations, conventions and precedence. Every proposal came to be examined as per the precedence. Invariably the initiator had to quote previous instances to say how it was done the previous time. Overabundance of files provided long lasting memory to bureaucracy. It made the bureaucracy live in the past rather than be futuristic and progressive. Gradually, it became an uncongenial, faceless and soulless system without any welfare orientation.
Maintenance of status-quo and abhorrence for change have become common traits now. Every bureaucrat is wary of infusion of newer ideas and techniques, lest his own qualifications and competence may become irrelevant. He is fully aware of his inability to keep pace with progressive techniques of governance and hence tends to stall reforms. Every bureaucrat is highly sensitive to any threat to his authority. However, in order to safeguard his own career interests, he involves maximum number of functionaries in decision making. Invariably, all acts of commission and omission are attributed to ’systemic failure’ rather than apportioning blame. Bureaucracy thrives on organizational parochialism. Acceptance of own mistakes and fallibility is yet to acculturate the system.
In the absence of any quantifiable and measurable performance matrix, promotions are decided on the basis of adherence to procedures and ability to swim with the system without causing any ripples. Seniority and not merit becomes the primary criterion for advancement in career. Non-performance is preferred to initiative. It is often said that a fresh IAS appointee, if put in deep freeze and taken out after 15 years will be a Joint Secretary. Moreover, he will be regarded highly as he would have taken no decisions and rocked no boat.
 Commanders
Military, on the other hand, is a purely mission oriented organisation. As accomplishment of mission is totally dependent on the performance of the men under command, a military leader assumes the role of mobiliser and channeliser of human effort. Initially, a military leader gets command of his troops through official mandate. However, his standing and ability to gain obedience depends entirely on the credibility he establishes through his personal conduct and competence.
1Military command thus, entails two dimensions - achievement of assigned objective and welfare of troops under command. He cannot fail in his task as it may have an adverse effect on the very security of the nation. Simultaneously, he cannot ignore well being of his men. Dealing with human beings with their complex apprehensions, concerns and aspirations calls for extreme empathy and loyalty. Command implies close contact with troops and awareness of their needs. A commander becomes responsible not only to his superiors but also to his troops who place their trust in him. Trust is the expectancy that the followers can rely on a commander’s competence, impartiality and sincerity. As a commander has to face his followers, he cannot seek anonymity and hide behind faceless files.
Transition from Commander to Bureaucrat
As seen above, whereas a bureaucrat is a faceless and remote entity, a commander is in direct contact with his troops. Therefore, traits required for the two are totally different.  Many military officers, when in command of troops, earn reputation for being go-getters and achievers. They deride bureaucratic delays and want higher authorities to be more prompt in decision making. But when posted to higher appointments, they become more bureaucratic than the career bureaucrats. The switch over is amazingly swift.
Some of the commonly recognised factors that contribute to the conversion of psyche, approach and conduct of commanders are discussed below:-
Prolonged Absence from Direct Command of Troops. Command of troops is tough, challenging and risky. Many officers are wary of command tenures as they fear exposure of their incompetence. They prefer to play safe by doing minimum mandatory terms and revert to higher headquarters in good peace stations. Prolonged absence from command of troops makes them lose touch with ground realities and they become mere file pushers.
Bureaucratic Culture is Infectious. By its very nature of laid back, safe and process-centric functioning, bureaucratic culture is highly infectious. Even highly enthusiastic officers get disillusioned in no time when they find cases moving at a snail’s pace despite their best efforts. Initially they feel frustrated but soon adopt the same culture. Innovative ways are found to ‘put a case in orbit’ by seeking comments of all and sundry to defer taking any definite action.
Upgradation of Appointments. With a view to improve promotional prospects of officers, a large number of appointments have been upgraded. The command structure of the field forces could not be disturbed. Thus, all higher headquarters have become highly bloated and overstaffed. This has resulted in emergence of multiple tiers in decision making and bureaucratized functioning. As every link in the chain wants to remain in the loop and retain its relevance, urgency becomes inconsequential.
Zero Error Syndromes. “It is better not to take a decision and play safe rather than take one and risk one’s career,” is the common refrain. Non-acceptance of mistakes committed by subordinates has created an environment of treading warily even in trivial matters. Penchant for playing safe is thus, one of the significant triggers for bureaucratization.   
Change in Role Definition. Unfortunately, many officers have a tendency to redefine their role when posted out of command of troops. They feel that their new assignment of managing resources is distinctly different and they disassociate themselves totally from command functions. Change of hat causes change of outlook and mind-set. 
Coping with the Malaise
Bureaucrats have been defined differently by different dictionaries. The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy says that the term bureaucrat is often used negatively to describe a petty, narrow-minded person. It is perhaps an extreme and unfair description. According to another dictionary, he is an official who works by fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment. However, a bureaucrat is generally defined as an official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
There is no doubt the armed forces suffer when its own commanders turn bureaucrats. Worse, as always happens with the newly converted, they become more fanatic adherents of the adopted genre. The services are used to career bureaucrats’ way of indifferent functioning and have come to accept it. But, when service officers adopt the same approach, they cause immense despair as troops feel let down. Such officers are considered insincere to their troops and are commonly equated with political defectors.
It is generally agreed that the malaise cannot be fully eradicated as it pertains to human character and conduct. However, the following steps can be initiated to minimize its prevalence:-
Prolonged staff tenures should be avoided. Command and staff tenures should be equitably balanced out.
There should be more delegation of powers to cut out red-tapism.
Decision making should be encouraged by backing subordinates if things go wrong.
A system should be put in place to oversee and curtail proclivity for deferring positive action. If required, appropriate attributes should be added in annual confidential reports.
One of the special features of a service officer’s training is to prepare him to take quick decisions and to initiate definite action to implement them. During the floods of 1971, Gomti was threatening to inundate the town of Lucknow. Noticing an ominous breach, the Army Commander ordered that a cement loaded military truck be driven into the breach to plug it. The town was thus saved from flood devastation. Military command is all about accomplishing assigned mission.
A military commander has to be capable of exploiting all fleeting opportunities in battle. He can do that only if he is trained for quick decision-making and prompt action. Vacillation and excessive adherence to procedure make him lose focus. A commander with bureaucratic mindset is a liability to the services as he tends to drift into a mode of indecisiveness and inactivity. Raison d’être of military leadership is mission accomplishment while ensuring welfare of troops under command. Every thing else is of peripheral importance.

Source : Indian Defence Review

Let’s get rid of babudom

The Union Minister for Administrative Reforms and Personnel recently admitted that “there is a perception that the Indian bureaucracy is inefficient and corrupt. If we are not able to provide for inclusive growth and maintain regional and social balance in the country, it may lead to conflicts which may shake the very foundations of our federal polity and our nation”. He also added that India’s performance on UNDP’s Human Development Index remains “abysmal”. India still ranks 132 out of 179 countries.

The present Law Minister had headed the Administrative Reforms Commission and submitted his recommendations to improve the administration. The Minister for Personnel has said, “It is not possible to implement all recommendations of the commission because of different reasons.” He wanted these recommendations to be deliberated and debated.

We have the world’s most unique system. First we set up commissions or committees of eminent people and then the same people, who felt that they had picked up the most competent people for the job, are also asked to examine their reports, then assess whether they should be accepted or not. Often bureaucrats, who are responsible for the mess get to decide whether the measures are acceptable or not.

In our country we have given so much power to the bureaucracy that its efforts are directed at making the possible into impossible. Any change which takes away the authority of the bureaucracy and whittles down its powers is resisted. Every law that is passed means more power for the bureaucracy and expansion of the Inspector Raj.

More than five years ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured Indian industry that a high-level standing committee with representatives from industry and the Government would review all existing industrial laws and, if required, amend them to end the tyranny of Inspector Raj. The rules and regulations, he said, would be made “more transparent and simple. The attempt would be to, as far as possible, not leave issues to personal interpretation and to ensure that discretionary power is not misused”. Five years later, things stand where they were five years ago.

The demands for ending Inspector Raj have fallen on deaf ears because of our powerful bureaucracy and incompetent political leadership. Heavens would not fall if the private sector were to be trusted with self-certification. For bureaucrats, the ultimate outcome does not matter. It is the procedure, which spawns corruption, that is important.

It is not that today all regulations are complied with, which is the actual duty of the inspectors of various departments, whose number at present ranges from 35 to 65 depending upon the enterprise in which you are engaged in. Their job is to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. Since most of the inspectors have become extortionists, the private sector rightly wants the Government to end Inspector Raj.

Despite brave statements, India has not done away with the licence-permit-quota raj. It is for this reason that domestic entrepreneurs and foreign investors fulminate against the bureaucratic obstacles race they have to run for months and years before they can get necessary sanctions.

Some checks are essential to enforce minimum standards. It will be best to outsource the same, give the option to the private sector to have its own system of doing so. It has been done in regard to pollution — you can get a certificate for your car at selected petrol stations.

The purpose of having inspectors is to ensure that establishments conform to rules and regulations framed to safeguard public interest. What is expected is the diligent performance of duties by Government functionaries, something that still remains an illusion.

According to Transparency International, India is the 83rd most corrupt country in the world, with 34 marks out of hundred. We are caught in a Catch-22 situation. We need some checks and balances to put things right, as it cannot be said that everybody in the private sector is a paragon of virtue. After all, some of entrepreneurs are as guilty as Government Inspectors as they seek to take short cuts and avoid strict compliance with rules and laws. The only solution seems to be to make all changes self-executing and self-certifying. It is a fact that as degree of discretion increases, so does bureaucratic delay, expenses and corruption.

Tragically, instead of downsizing the bureaucracy, the trend is to increase its presence. Even retired bureaucrats find a slot in some department or the other. In Government service, there is no accountability if you do not do your job. Unless performance is linked to job retention, there is no way the bureaucracy will perform There is only a microscopic minority which is putting in all the hard work, due to which Government continues to function. Unless honest upright bureaucrats are protected, encouraged and recognised, the country will remain where it is — full of corruption, sloth and inefficiency.

BJP for screening of paramilitary recruits

Guwahati, August 23
The harsh reality of banned militant groups in insurgency ravaged Manipur having managed to plant their cadres in the state’s paramilitary police forces had once again to be faced after the Imphal police arrested a constable of the 2nd India Reserve Battalion (IRB) for lobbing a grenade at a hospital in the Thangal Bazar area in the heart of Imphal last Friday.

The opposition BJP today demanded a special commission be set up to screen credentials of personnel of the IRB and Manipur Rifles to purge these organisations of “men planted” by militant outfits, who they said had “taken advantage of the rampant corruption” in the recruitment process.
An Imphal court yesterday ordered the remand of the IRB constable, P Munna Singh, who was accused of throwing a grenade at the behest of a militant outfit, Kangleipak Communist Party (military council), to eight days’ police custody.
According to SSP (Imphal West district) L Kailun, during interrogation the IRB constable confessed he had lobbed the grenade that he claimed was supplied to him by the outfit. He added he had taken Rs 5,000 for the “job”. Three people were injured in the grenade blasts.

6 jawans of Gorkha Rifles booked

Katihar (Bihar), August 23
The police has registered an FIR was on Sunday against six jawans of Gorkha Rifles who, in an inebriated condition, allegedly misbehaved with the passengers and TTE in Delhi-bound North East Express.

The jawans, who had boarded the sleeper coach of the train at Guwahati railway junction, misbehaved with the TTE when he asked them not to trouble the passengers. Katihar Government Railway Poice (GRP) booked the jawans after a medical examination. — PTI

BSF to focus on optimising deployments along border

Gandhinagar, Aug 23 (PTI) Director General of Border Security Force Raman Srivastava today said their focus this year will be on optimising deployments and introducing latest technology to help prevent infiltration along the borders.

"Along the Indo-Pak border we have Haraminala and Sir Creek area which are absolutely inhospitable terrain, where there is no growth at all. It is very difficult for anyone or anything to survive in that area," Srivastava, who was on his maiden visit to the Gujarat Frontier, told mediapersons here.

"It is a marshy, swampy land in one part and dry desert in other. We are not able to access this area during certain periods of the year because we do not have the appropriate vehicles," he said.

PC meets king of Bhutan over border, security

THIMPHU, 23 AUG: Home minister Mr P Chidambaram, on a four-day visit to Bhutan, has held talks with the country's top leaders including the King and Prime Minister on a wide range of issues including border management, security and checking militant activities.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyal granted an audience to Mr Chidambaram at his Tashichhodzong Palace yesterday after being escorted in the traditional Chipdrel ceremony. The talks are believed to have revolved around issues of bilateral and common interest.
Mr Chidambaram later called on Prime Minister Mr Jigmi Y Thinley and home and cultural affairs minister Mr Minjur Dorji and discussed with them several issues like border management, security and checking militant activities.
The minister also met former king Jigme Singye Wangchuk. He also visited places of historical and cultural interest.PTI

Naxal attack: Injured cop dies, bandh call in 5 states

PATNA, 23 AUG: With another policeman succumbing to injuries, the toll in the Naxal attack on a police patrol here mounted to five today, even as the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a job to the kin of each victim. Maoists had attacked a police patrol with bombs and bullets in Jamui district last night while they were returning to the police station after routine patrolling in the areas, notorious for Maoist activities. The body of a Naxalite was also recovered from the spot of yesterday's ambush with police claiming that several other extremists may have been killed in the encounter that broke out after the attack. “One more Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Jamui,” ADG (headquarters) Mr Neelmani said. Meanwhile, police have launched a massive combing operation in the areas to nab the fleeing Maoists involved in last night's attack. Police officials said the operation was being jointly carried out by the police in Bihar and neighbouring Jharkhand with the CRPF and STF (Special Task Force) jawans assisting them. The attack has come as a rude shock to the state administration which was rather concentrating on fighting the twin problem of drought and floods at the same time. The Bihar government has declared famine in 26 districts out of total 38 but at least six districts in north Bihar are currently in the grip of floods and the flood situation in Darbhanga is really grim.
The Maoists have given a call for two-day bandh from tomorrow in Bihar and four other neighbouring states in protest against the arrest of two of their comrades by the Bihar police. The duo were reportedly arrested near Patna on 19 August while they were travelling in a train.
Chhattisgarh police clueless in Raipur blast case
A day after a little known group triggered a powerful blast right in front of the ruling BJP’s headquarters in the city, police are yet to ascertain who was behind it. SNS & PTI

CRPF note warns of N-E division plot

A confidential report sent by a security agency to the Centre says insurgent groups supported by Bangladesh were working on a long-term plan to create a separate homeland for Muslims in the North-Eastern region.

Intelligence reports have already pointed out that such groups are already coming up with posters and banners demanding homeland in areas dominated by the Muslims, mostly from suspected Bangladeshis.

After effecting a significant change in the demographic profile of a number of districts in the North-East by facilitating illegal infiltration of Bangladeshis, the insurgent outfits in the region are now working on a long-term agenda for creating an exclusive homeland for Muslims.

A confidential report from a key para-military force fighting insurgency in the North-East to the Union Home Ministry has classified insurgency in the region into three categories -- ethnic/extortionist, terrorist and secessionist groups.

The secessionists, according to the CRPF report, essentially comprise Islamic fundamental groups who also provide logistics support to the ethnic and terrorist groups in order to strengthen its influence in the region. “The insurgency situation in the North-East is dominated by what can be termed sub-national aspirations of groups within existing territorial divisions,” states the report, adding that the rest of the insurgent groups have ethnic aspirations.

Concerns about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the North-East were raised by many Chief Ministers at the CMs' conference on security, which was recently held in Delhi. Expressing fears over the increasing influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into his State, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said. “The decadal population growth rate between 1991 and 2001 as recorded in the 2001 census was 64.41 per cent — the highest in the country. Further, it is striking that the number of masjids and madrasas has increased from 27 to 28 in 2007 and 2008 in the State.”

Rio added, “During the same period (1991-2001), several areas in Dimapur and Wokha districts bordering Assam recorded exceptionally high rates of population growth. It is a fact that the silent and unchecked influx of illegal migrants in the district has played a crucial role in this abnormal growth and is slowly resulting in a change in the demographic profile of the inhabitants in certain parts of the State.”

Rio further said that such demographic changes required urgent attention as they would add to the tensions already prevailing in a volatile insurgency situation. The Nagaland CM also expressed apprehension over the involvement of Muslims in the NSCN (IM) for extortion and the community's involvement with HuJI and other terror groups.

“There is strong possibility of Islamic extremists establishing ‘sleeper cells’ in Nagaland by taking advantage of their contacts inside the State. Another possible scenario is that these Islamic extremist elements may either develop differences with the NSCN (IM) and form a rogue terrorist group or set up a new organisation with links to other Muslim extremist groups to further their own agenda,” the Nagaland CM had told the conference chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Similar apprehensions were also raised by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu, Tripura CM Manik Sarkar and Meghalaya CM DD Lapang.

As per the report by the Central Reserve Police Force, the number of insurgent groups in the North-East has surpassed the total number of such outfits at the national level and Islamists have infiltrated most of the groups.

With 43 active outfits in the small State of Manipur, it has exceeded the figures of active insurgent outfits reported for secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

While Assam has 38 active insurgent groups, Tripura has 32 similar organisations.

While both Meghalaya and Mizoram have six outfits each, Nagaland has four and Arunachal Pradesh has one insurgent group. In Manipur, Assam and Tripura, the terrorist groups have outnumbered the districts, highlights the report.

Inputs with the Centre also suggest that the groups have serious differences in terms of ideological positions, but there are various levels of operational understanding between them. The two main Naga outfits coordinate among various outfits in the region. The NSCN (K) has a functional understanding with ULFA and UNLF and the NSCN (IM) has similar arrangement with the PLA, ULFA and operational understanding with National Democratic Front of Bodoland and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and NLFT. Most of these arrangements are for logistics such as training, movement, arms procurement and not direct operational intervention.

Despite the overall decline in insurgent activities, the spatial spread has not revealed any significant change. Active insurgent outfits -- like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Liberation Army (PLA), Isaac-Muivah and Khaplang factions of Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) and National Liberation Front of Tripura -- represent the maximum levels of violent insurgent activities.

The year 2008 witnessed more violent incidents and deaths than the preceding year. According to the data available, 480 civilians and 742 insurgents were killed in 1,646 violent incidents in the North-East. Fifty-three security force personnel were killed in action and more than 1,000 arms were recovered from various terror groups.

In 2007, the region witnessed 1,490 violent incidents, in which 498 civilians and 503 insurgents were killed. During the period, 79 security personnel were also killed.

However, the number of bomb blasts decreased to 45 from a significant 83 explosions in 2007.

TROUBLE BREWING


  • Insurgent groups supported by Bangladesh working on a long-term plan to create a separate homeland for Muslims in the North-East



  • Such groups coming up with posters and banners demanding homeland in Muslim-dominated areas



  • Insurgency in the region classified into three categories — ethnic/extortionist, terrorist and secessionist groups



  • The secessionists essentially comprise Islamic fundamental groups and provide logistics support to the ethnic and terrorist groups



  • With 43 such groups active in Manipur only, the figure of active insurgent outfits reported for secessionist activities is higher than in Jammu and Kashmir

  • India's Feeling Frisky


    When officials of America's Continental Airlines recently frisked India's former President APJ Abdul Kalam, it touched a raw nerve. The airline belatedly was forced to deliver a formal apology last week in the middle of a furor that has been building ever since Kalam was patted down on April 21 on his way to the United States.

    It isn't the first time that a bigwig, referred to in Indian security parlance as a Very Very Important Person (VVIP), has been bodily searched, kicking off a fuss. And in fact, there are lingering suspicions that a bodily search for a VVIP may be more than just a quest for explosives. It has sometimes been used to cock a country-to-country snook.

    Despite protests by Indian security men, Kalam was made to take off his footwear and belt and physically checked in New Delhi before he could embark on his journey. He is regarded as a national hero for developing missiles and other weapons and led India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998. He was named the country's president and held the position until 2007. Nonetheless, he was forced to join millions of travelers including children, cripples and elderly grey-haired ladies who have been forced to do so by bored security personnel ever since the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, was tackled on an American Airlines flight in December 2001 for attempting vainly to destroy the craft by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes.

    Although Kalam, known for his down-to-earth demeanor, went through the security process without much ado, an uproar followed in India's Parliament, including demands that the American carrier be banned from flying into the country. India's civil aviation minister called on the prime minister to brief him while a police report was lodged to investigate the matter. Demands have been made that in response to such overbearing behavior by an American carrier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to India, should be put through security checks.

    In the past, New Delhi reacted angrily to then-federal defense minister George Fernandes being searched (he had to take off his shoes and socks) by US security officials in a post-September 11, 2001, security check. Fernandes, known for his anti-US tirades, was apparently "disrobed", according to former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, not once but twice. Talbott, in a book chronicling the events, says Fernandes was angered by the incidents.

    Last year, New Delhi took offense when Russian security officials insisted on searching Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was on a visit to the country. In Mukherjee's case, it appeared that Moscow wanted to convey its unhappiness with New Delhi's newfound bonhomie with the US that translated into more defense deals and the civilian nuclear pact. A feel-up was considered one way of conveying the irritation as Moscow does know a bit about Indian politicians' aversion to being body searched.

    There have been plenty of domestic affronts to the thin-skinned as well. In the recent past, an offended junior minister Anand Sharma created a furor by arguing with officials at the New Delhi airport and eventually got the rule book changed to exclude him from being searched for bombs.


    Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of India's Parliament, is also known to be particularly squeamish about being searched by airport security officials. He cancelled a trip to London, to follow up on a similar instance in 2005 to Sydney, even as frenzied diplomatic efforts by the Indian High Commission for an exemption failed.

    The British Foreign office was clear about international security guidelines that "only Heads of States are exempted." However, Chatterjee was equally adamant, explaining that he cancelled the trip "because it involves the honor of the constitutional office".

    In 2005 Chatterjee canceled his visit to Australia following a verbal war of words in the media. He also has had big problems with his wife being required to walk through a scanner while traveling within India.

    Most ordinary citizens know about the rigors of security checks, including a physical rub-down, in times when terrorism is at an ugliest. However, some seek to be above this process, given its perceived damage to their importance and image.

    Even as foreign security drills are more difficult to tamper with, the list of those eligible to forgo domestic airport checks has been drastically amended to suit individual interests in the game of political patronage, where outward show of power matters a bit.

    In the 1980s, there were only five exemptions: president, vice president, prime minister, chief justice of the Supreme Court, speaker of the Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament) and state governors. Today it includes cabinet ministers, ministers of state, bureaucrats and sundry others with access to the powers-that-be.

    Yet, there was some sympathy late last year when it came to the fore that India's military chiefs are by statute required to be frisked at domestic airports. This was considered a reflection of the unflattering status of the defense forces in India's civilian democratic setup, unlike in a country such as Pakistan.

    On paper, the heads of the three armed forces, navy, air force and army, were supposed to be treated like civilians and required to be searched by security personnel before they could board a passenger flight despite the fact that the service chiefs are otherwise responsible for the security of the nation, protect the borders against incursions, command the second-largest army in the world and its sophisticated arsenal.

    While nobody argues for the overbearing primacy of the military in civil society, what pinched was the list of exemptions that had been granted.

    It was an irony that a private businessman, Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, and husband of Priyanka Gandhi, was exempt, as were some senior bureaucrats outranked by the service chiefs.

    Following a bit of media furor, defense minister A K Antony took up the matter with the federal civil aviation ministry at the behest of the three service chiefs who had previously written a letter requesting an exemption.


    Initially, the aviation ministry refused Antony's proposal, reasoning that other authorities, mostly civil servants who head ministries and are referred to as secretaries, would voice similar demands. The list now stands amended and the generals do not have to line up even if on paper.

    The near obsession about freedom from airport frisking, however, is just at the tip of the exemptions and perks that are sought by India's power holders who still carry a colonial mindset and see themselves as above the law for the common rabble.

    One hot tag is threat perception, especially from known terror groups such as al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Toiba. The highest Z-plus category accompanies the star label, VVIP. There is always a rush of supposedly important people wanting to include themselves in a higher risk category that entitles them to personal commandos (referred to as Black Cats due their attire and skill) and escort vehicles. The commandos mostly function as bouncers fending off private citizens, while the red-beacon, siren-fitted escort vehicles specialize in jumping traffic lights and shooing away nearby vehicles. Anybody driving in Delhi can vouch for this nuisance done in the name of ``security.''

    Another sought after perquisite is allotments at the prime New Delhi bungalow area which are always very reluctantly vacated. If a minister or political leader dies, families insist (taking even legal recourse) on converting the accommodation into a memorial or museum, while continuing to occupy the same. Former Members of Parliament, ministers, retired officials have had to be physically evicted along with belongings. Bureaucrats are in a constant wrangle for dual postings to retain official apartments in the national capital.

    Indeed, this power list can go on. But not being patted down remains a high priority. Even if a humble Kalam did not mind, there are others who do.

    It is a question of high prestige, after all.

    Competition heats up for New Delhi's largest defense deal


    Six aerospace companies, backed by their respective governments, are in intense competition for what could be the last great post-Cold War prize-- selling India US$12 billion worth of combat jets.

    Each is seeking to outdo each other using every means possible including allegations of stealing bid data from the government and getting heads of state to plead their case. What happens off the flight line is best left to the imagination.

    The purchase, which is to include 126 advanced fighters with an option for 60-odd more, is hugely significant for a variety of reasons, and not just for India, particularly in the light of widespread commentary over recent weeks that China is determined to be the world's sole superpower after America, and doesn't want that status to be upset by a strong and democratic India backed by the US and Europe. China's is increasingly irritated by India's growing links with the US, culminating in the US decision last year to allow India access to nuclear technology after banning it for a decade.

    The planes are a crucial element of India's defense modernization efforts to counter threats from not only from China but from its traditional rival Pakistan, which is supported by China. India projects spending more than US$50 billion by 2012 to build an immediate strike force. In a report last year, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said the country had already spent US$10.5 billion on military imports over the last three years, putting it among the largest arms importers in the developing world. Imports alone are expected to reach US$30 billion by 2012.

    Whether Russian or US companies, for instance, get the contract would also determine if India's shift in defense posture away from the old Soviet bloc is complete.

    Beyond that, however, the purchase is a chance for India to determine whether it can grow out of the spectacular, endemic corruption in military procurement that has dogged its military and its politicians for decades. It was corruption in the purchase of 155 mm howitzers, in which bribes may have run as high as Rs650 million (US$13.4 million at current rates) that led directly to the defeat of then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the ruling Indian National Congress Party in 1989 elections.

    Nor has the pace of scandal abated much. In June, the sleaze-ridden system was hit by a major scandal that resulted in the arrest of the chairman of the state-controlled Ordnance Factory Board and the banning of seven major domestic and international companies including ones from Singapore, Poland and Israel. Similarly, Defense Minister George Fernandes was forced to step down in 2001 after an Indian website released a secretly-filmed video implicating senior officials in corrupt arms deals, energizing opposition parties to call for the entire government to quit.

    With the winding down of the Cold War, the market for hugely expensive, technologically advanced Mach-2 fighter jets has contracted mightily. That has left Lockheed Martin, Boeing (American), Dassault's Rafale (French), Gripen (Sweden), MiG (Russian) and Eurofighter Typhoon (a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish companies) vying for what may be one of the world's last great defense contracts. They each began presenting their fighter jets for flight testing by the Indian Air Force this month. Only a single manufacturer will survive.

    India's projected new fighter fleet, universally called the MRCA fleet – multi-role combat aircraft – is designed to replace its long-obsolescent MiG-21 interceptors and fit between the more powerful Russian Sukhoi-30MKIs and its low-end indigenous Tejas LCA lightweight fighters.

    Fully aware that it is calling the shots in a fiercely competitive market, India has been insisting that along with the hardware, technology should also be transferred. An offsets clause amounting to 50 percent of the transaction will require the winning foreign firms to invest a portion of the contract value in India's domestic defense industry, either via tieups or independent enterprise.


    Competition Heats Up

    Upfront, each bidder is looking to sweeten the deal. Lockheed has offered India an upgraded F-16 which is claimed to be a ‘complete new aircraft' catering specifically to India's requirements, possibly including advanced AESA radars allowing simultaneous tracking and destruction of ground and air threats. Washington has allowed them to be installed in F-16s being sold to the UAE. Lockheed has also offered to share the technology of its advanced Patriot interceptor missiles. India has been experimenting with interceptor missiles to thwart perceived threats from Pakistan.

    Boeing is also been keen to ramp up its India connection and build defense networks. In the biggest-ever deal for a state run defense unit, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed a US$1 billion decade-long manufacturing outsourcing pact with Boeing. Under the agreement, HAL will manufacture subsystems for Boeing's range of fighter planes such as F-15s, F-18 Super Hornets and Apache Helicopters.

    Moscow too has been building pressure for its MIG line in a somewhat different style, given its long standing and deep defense relations with India. Russia has opposed India's bid to make operational its first foreign military airbase at Ayni, Tajikistan. India has already been trying to deal with Russia's delays and cost increases over refitting the second-hand Kiev-class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, purchased in 2004 and renamed the INS Vikramaditya, which won't enter service before 2012. . Trouble has also erupted in the Rs 8.5 billion upgrading of six Kilo-class submarines. The message from the Kremlin is that there will continue to be problems unless there are positive indications about the MRCA contract.

    Although defense analysts increasingly see the fighter jet contract as boiling down to Russia versus the US, European firms believe they are still in the contest.

    French aviation major Dassault has offered to supply 40 new generation Rafale fighters to New Delhi on a fast-track basis and as an interim arrangement. Sweden's Saab Gripen has offered India full transfer of technology along with integration of state of the art weapons systems across the world for its aircraft JAS-39. Eurojet, which powers the Eurofighter Typhoon, a-contender for the MRCA deal, offered its expertise to HAL for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.

    In order not to upset long-standing relationships with European consortiums, India has been handing out key contracts such as US$2.2 billion to the French consortium Thales and Dassault to upgrade its 51 Mirage 2000 fighters to Mirage 2000-9 standards.

    Backdoor Action

    Each fighter jet is thus being aggressively backed by respective governments, even as the lobbying efforts reach a fever pitch. There is also plenty of indication of the behind-the-scenes action in the MRCA deal as well which does not look very healthy.

    For example, Lockheed is facing allegations against its India CEO, a former top State Department official, Douglas A Hartwick, for possession of two folders comprising classified information relating to Indian defense procurement. Reports say that the folders somehow made their way to the Lockheed corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Apparently the federal defense ministry has been aware of the pilfered documents since January 2009 and has been trying to ascertain how the folders got to Lockheed and whether ethical norms had been breached. Hartwick, who had served two assignments for seven years in India, made a rather hurried exit from the country.

    Lockheed has maintained that all is aboveboard and it does not possess any such documents. Richard Kirkland, President Lockheed Martin South Asia operations in a telephone interview with an Indian news agency, denied the existence of such documents, though he said that in 2009 the company did write to the defense ministry to understand defense procurement policy procedures.

    Although Kirkland maintained that Hartwick's removal was routine transfer and not initiated by the Indian government, the reality seems otherwise as Hartwick's exit was quick with ‘barely enough time to pack', according to one observer, with no replacement.

    Sensing an opportunity to discredit Lockheed, Dassault has charged the American company with violating procurement guidelines and wants the company disqualified.

    Dassault, however, has had its own problems. It was reported that the company had been eliminated from the fighter bid because it hadn't fulfilled technical requirements in the Indian tender. A phone call from French President Nikolas Sarkozy to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later, however, retrieved the situation for Dassault.


    Fact File

    Lockheed F-16 (US): Lockheed's “Block 70” would offer an upgraded version of the F-16E Block 60 “Desert Falcon” currently serving with the UAE. It is equipped with the widest multi-role capability among lightweight fighters, proven avionics and weapon systems and compatibility with potential allies in Asia and the Middle East who also fly F-16s.

    Lockheed, however, may have difficulty in complying with industrial offset provisions, given their lack of penetration in India. The F-16 E/F Block 60+ enjoys some advantages over Pakistan F-16 A/Bs and even its new Block 50/52 aircraft.

    Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet (US)
    : Strengths include its powerful AESA radar that India is interested in as it allows Super Hornets to play versatile “quarterbacks”. It also has carrier capability, a very wide range of integrated weapons and proven in combat. No other nation had been offered this aircraft by the US so far. It is expensive and some analysts say its aerodynamic performance doesn't match the Eurofighter or Rafale.

    Saab Gripen (Sweden):
    The JAS-39 Gripen is a complete fourth-generation lightweight fighter. Gripen NG also offers an Active Electronically Scanned Arrays/AESA among enhancements. Along with the integrated weapons and pods, it can be operated from roadways and not just runways. Saab has a great record in countries like South Africa, Hungary and The Czech Republic. The hindrance however is absence of geopolitical spin offs from Sweden, unlike the strategic strength of America.

    MIG-35 (Russia): The aircraft offers improved radar and avionics that give it multi-role capability. It has better compatibility with India's existing MiG29 fleet. It can also carry advanced Russian missiles already in service. Given Russia's involvement in India's defense sector, compliance with industrial offset requirements is easier. The weaknesses are that it is short range and lacks true multi-role capability. There are also questions about the future viability of the MiG-29 family platform, outshined by the SU-30.

    Eurofighter Typhoon (EADS/BAE, Europe & Britain):This fourth generation aircraft currently has an excellent pilot interface. It has Eurojet EJ200 engines, which are being considered as the base power plant for India's LCA Tejas. Typhoons reportedly have “super cruise” capability beyond Mach 1 without using afterburners. There are yet doubts if this capability can be sustainable once weapons are attached.

    Rafale (Dassault, France): Their demonstrated carrier capability could sway the decision. With superior aerodynamic performance over the F/A-18 family, the aircraft offers exceptional capacity for its size. Its range can be extended. It also offers commonalities with existing Mirage 2000. France also has a reputation as a reliable weapons supplier, good history of product support, and long-standing relations with India. However, it has no compatible surveillance and advanced targeting pod. It lacks the AESA radar.