Nearly 25 per cent of personnel posted under the Army’s Western Command does not want to forego a day’s salary for the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir. The figure was calculated after a consolidated report on willingness on the part of the personnel to take a salary cut was received from all formations under Western Command.
This is stated in a letter from Major General-in charge-Administration of Western Command Headquarters to the General Officer Commanding of Delhi Area on July 23 this year.
On Army Day this year, January 15, the Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, had presented a cheque of Rs 100 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an “At Home” function. The cheque, he said, was the Army’s contribution towards the rebuilding efforts in J&K following the devastating floods of September 2014.
However, the actual process of collecting the contribution had started only after the Army Chief had presented the cheque.
In the letter, Maj Gen MP Singh of the Western Command Headquarters states: “The figures indicate that approximately 25 per cent of service personnel have either not opted or not given their consent for the contribution.”
He further says “it will be appreciated that as an organisation looked up by the entire nation, it is imperative that all ranks wholeheartedly support the commitment made by the Chief of Army Staff”.
Major General Singh also exhorts the then officiating General Officer Commanding Delhi Area, Maj Gen Abhay Krishna, that “suitable instructions should be passed to commanders at all levels to personally interact with the personnel who have either opted not to contribute or have agreed but not given their consent for the contribution in order to motivate them to be large hearted and be a part of this noble cause”.
The Western Command headquarters did not respond to a query sent regarding this letter despite several reminders.
The Army Chief’s announcement for donation to the relief fund – without taking the consent of serving officers – had faced much criticism on the social media. However, senior officers in the Army headquarters had at the time told The Indian Express that a “signal” was sent to all units across the country on January 8, specifying that the Chief of Army Staff proposed to make donation on the Army Day and that confirmation for same should come by January 12.
The same had the approval of the Army Commanders who had been sounded about this in the annual conference some time back, they said.s