Thanks to a Course Mate, Air Chief Marshal NC Suri (Retd), a meeting was arranged for me with Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC (Chairman COSC & CAS) on 27 Aug 2014 at Air HQ. The objective was to convey the anxiety and concern with which the ESM are awaiting the executive actions of the Govt despite Supreme Court orders on a number of issues concerning them and the lack of any evident activity on the issue of OROP, despite commitments by the PM. I also conveyed that ESM are deprived of information and the Service HQ must devise a method of disseminating information concerning them, especially through their websites. I also conveyed the feeling amongst the ESM that senior officers do not appear to pay much attention to the negative attitude of certain elements of the bureaucracy which result in the serving personnel being deprived their dues. In the 30 minute meeting the following points were made:-
(a) The three Chiefs are working together to see that the defence services get their due, and consequently the ESM.
(b) The PM and RM are very receptive and the Chiefs have the opportunity to meet them regularly every month/week. During these meetings, personnel and equipment issues are brought up. The infirmities in the interpretation of Supreme Court orders has been brought to their notice and action is being taken to ensure that all the four issues concerning the SC orders are resolved soonest. Two of them have already been resolved; the other two will also be resolved soon.
(c) All three Service HQ will be advised to devise means to update their websites and provide relevant information.
(d) OROP is still under consideration and the Services are insisting on the Koshiyari Committee definition being adhered to. On a suggestion being made by me that the Govt pays pensions as per the definition, for the first quarter and work out the total amount required for the year. He said that the RM is pursuing the matter vigorously and expects it to be resolved soon. It was conveyed to the Chairman COSC that we had expressed our lack of confidence in the civil servants being objective in resolving OROP to the RM in our meeting with him. The findings of Air Mshl S Savur through RTIs of duplicitous action of the bureaucracy were conveyed to him. He said that the Chiefs have approached the 7th CPC to resolve the anomalies of the 4th to 6th CPC and then only decide on the pay structure of defence forces. The Commission has also been suggested that orders issued to implement the CPC award must be vetted by it and only then should it consider its work being complete.
(e) The Chairman COSC also gave the welcome news, when I apprised him about the persistent degradation of our status, that there is a term of reference in the 7th CPC orders that historical parities be taken into consideration for determining the pay structure.
(f) The Chiefs have taken up that DPSUs, R&D and technical Govt Depts which are manned by generalists must be manned by professionally competent personnel of the defence services to ensure optimum performance.
I came away with a sense that this team of Chiefs is working with the same objective and will not let ESM down. I am grateful that the Chairman COSC could spare so much time and took our concerns on board.
Lt Gen SK Bahri, PVSM (Retd)