PUNJAB PRADESH Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh Thursday joined the veterans’ march to Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and submitted a memorandum supporting the stand taken by the three services chiefs against the bias faced by the defence services in the Seventh Pay Commission.
The march was led by Lt Gen S S Brar (retd), the seniormost officer amongst the veterans participating, and included among others senior retired army personnel including several Lieutenant Generals, Major Generals, Brigadiers, Colonels, JCOs and soldiers.
Senior Congress leaders, including Ambika Soni, Asha Kumari and Harish Chaudhary also joined the veterans in their protest march.
The memorandum addressed to the President of India, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said, “The community of veterans across the country fully endorses the stand taken by the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force with regard to the recommendations of the seventh Central Pay Commission.”
Talking to the media, Capt Amarinder said it was the bias of the bureaucrats against the armed forces and the blind eye turned by the political parties running the government which has led to this situation. “We constitute the largest share of employees and pensioners and we have no say in the decisions made by a handful of bureaucrats which are imposed on the Armed Forces,” he said.
“The brazen and blatant discrimination against the defence forces has been continuing ever since Independence,” the veterans argued, adding, “the lowering of our status in the Warrant of Precedence, lowering our pay scales vis-à-vis other government cadres, bringing it below the police and now the central police organisations is a deliberate attempt to belittle the armed forces.”
Capt Amarinder said such repeated wrong steps on part of the government can only demoralide the defence forces.
He said “India cannot afford a demoralized defence service with a belligerent China and mischievous Pakistan being next door neighbours”.
“Nobody among the bureaucrats knows about the hostile conditions in which our soldiers are made to work and that is the reason there is such a bias against the defence forces”, he said, pointing out, according to the recommendations while a soldier posted at Siachen Glacier will get Rs 38,000 extra salary, while an IAS officer posted in Assam will get Rs 58,000 extra.
“I have been suggesting to the Defence Minister that the bureaucrats who have habitually been creating hurdles and hindrances in providing better pay to the defence personnel should be made to serve in Siachen for at least a day so that they realise what a soldier goes through”, he said, while asking the Defence Minister to get the anomalies removed at the earliest.