The Indian Economy Blog

October 15, 2007

An Unappealing Military Career

Filed under: Basic Questions,Human Capital,Miscellaneous — Pragmatic @ 2:20 pm

A report in the Khaleej Times highlights the unattractive nature of a military career in India; not only for the young aspirants, but also for those who have already served for a significant period in uniform.

Officers and men are deserting the Indian armed forces — the second-largest in the world after China — in droves. Experts say the exodus has grave security implications in the long run. Equally worrying is the persistent failure of successive recruitment campaigns launched by the government.

According to Rajat Pandit, defence correspondent of The Times of India newspaper, the shortage persists despite the army diluting its ‘officer like qualities’ (OLQ) criteria to find new recruits.

“The situation will worsen if the armed forces don’t get a better deal from the 6th Central Pay Commission [reviewing salaries salaries and service conditions of federal government employees]”, warned Mr Pandit. [KT]

The four major reasons put forth in the report are – a booming private sector, counter-insurgency operations in J&K and the North East, declining prestige of a military career and increased irrelevance of the military (due to enhanced employment of military as a constabulary and by the state relegating the armed forces to the sidelines). These are all external factors but there are internal contradictions within the organisation that the report has glossed over. A military career is closely linked with the prevailing winds of society. The colonial traditions and the faux royal lifestyle, that was once the most attractive factor, has become the military’s biggest liability. The cultural moorings of the organisation are in a different social era and its disconnect with the modern Indian social, cultural and political ethos is an equal, if not bigger, dissuader than the externalities.

Is soldiering a profession? After centuries of soldiering, it remains an open question even today. A professional institution must address it at all times. Think of the difference between a marine and a mercenary. They have the same technical skills except one person uses skills for advancing ends that are particularly valued by society, and the other uses skills to address narrow personal interests. The inward looking extrapolations are as important as the externalities for today’s military.

The challenge the country faces is that the society has changed very quickly for the military. The imprint that gave rise to the armies of the 20th century, and the imprint around which they have become institutionalized, is no longer as aligned as it is once was to contemporary challenges. There is a need to have a good assessment and understanding of these new challenges and changes, but ultimately align these internal structures with this environment; and at the same time overlay it with the notion that in this country, there is a pressing need for a effective military.

In a recent interview, the just-retired COAS General JJ Singh acknowledged the primacy of a corporate career in an indirect manner.

At that time there wasn’t much in the corporate world in India. I thought the army was the best career for me.

Notwithstanding this tacit admission, Pragmatic has earlier explored the chasm between the aspirations of a soldier and offerings of the corporate world. Many a serving uniformed men and women (and their well-wishers) might be pinning their hopes on the Sixth Pay Commission. If this latest news report is anything to go by, they might be in for a big disappointment.

For over four million government employees, including military personnel, the Sixth Pay Commission may not usher in a dramatic new era where salaries are more in tune with skyrocketing wages in the private sector.

DNA has procured details of the draft salary structure that is now under discussion between the commission and the finance ministry. These indicate that even at the top-most level — the Union cabinet secretary — the fixed salary will be just about Rs80,000 per month, up from Rs30,000 earlier.

Did I hear someone utter something about rats and a sinking ship?[Afterthought - It was meant as a harmless take on the desertion theme articulated by the KT report. My apologies, if I have inadvertently hurt any feelings. Thanks for pointing it out, Girish.]

Update – An op-ed in the Hindu by a military officer’s wife laments

To expect a young man to join this profession and stick to it, you have to make it attractive and worthwhile. We all know there is no dearth of talent and brains in our country. But the top lot never opt for the defence services and even if they do, it turns out to be a very dissatisfying vocation for them. It might seem that I am flogging a dead horse here, but the truth is out there for all to see.

Many army officers I know, some of them close friends, have either put up their papers or are in the process of doing so. And let me tell you, among them are mostly the toppers of their respective courses, highly intelligent, self-motivated, and hardworking individuals. And why not? In spite of putting in their best, working undefined ungodly hours, in the worst of living conditions, separated from their families for half the year if not more, no guarantee of promotions and putting their life at risk, these are still among the low paid class A gazetted officers in this country.

41 Comments »

  1. Khaleej Timess….yeah, right. It is an epitome of fair and true reporting. Keep the shit to yourself and your “brothers”.

    Comment by Hindu Nationalist — October 15, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

  2. IIRC, this is the same guy ‘pragmatic’ who’d bashed the Indian Army earlier (a few months back) by making wonderous comparisons between the IA and the US Army. It greatly enhanced your prestige and credibility in my eyes (/sarc off).

    The IA even today has no problems getting recruits for the ‘other ranks’ category. As for the officer cadre, the problem for the IA today is that the folks they want have ‘better’ options elsewhere. One solution is a simple lowering of the english standard required would bring in a huge inflow of small town and lower-middle class folk who are other wise smart and fit and well-motivated into the recruitment pool.

    Remember also that the army has a very strictly pyramidal structure, so very few make it to the upper echelons. So, as far as command staff is concerned, high caliber intellectual quality will likely not suffer. The lower echelons – at the captain, major level – which is where most of the shortage is today, can be filled up well by lowering the english standard required and by promoting-up distinguished NCOs and JCOs into these ranks.

    JMTs and all that.
    /Have a nice day.

    Comment by sudhir — October 16, 2007 @ 2:43 am

  3. @Sudhir,

    Like any other organisation, the Army has its strengths and weaknesses. To highlight their weaknesses and seek corrective action is not to berate or belittle its achievements in any way. Should we turn a blind eye to the major challenges being faced by Indian armed forces – gloss over them and carry on with our lives, while the troopers continue to suffer? I can’t be a well-wisher who doesn’t find any faults in his loved ones.

    When you speak of lowered English standards and more promotions for distinguished subordinate cadre, you are in effect talking about breaking the crust of the colonial mindset.There are many other such avenues that the Armed forces in 21st century India should explore to meet their professional commitments.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 16, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  4. Dear ‘Mr Pragmatic’or whoever you are.You are confused between SHORTAGE and DESERTION. Do not distort and misinform and the claim that YOU WERE MERELY POINTING OUT SHORTCOMINGS TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION. Sorry, first sort out YOUR OWN SHORTCOMINGS of MAKING A STORY ON LIES–BALATANT LIES.NO ONE IS DESRTING INDIAN ARMY–DID YOU HEAR THIS?
    It is a BIG NONSENSE. There is a paucity of ARMY OFFICERS, say around 13000–but there is NO DESERTION. Your article seem to be a PLANTED ONE by some vested intersts. Haven’t you heard of STAMPEDE at RECRUITMENT RALLIES? Do you think they join to DESERT? You must be DREAMING , my friend.You better brush up your information. yes, young ones prefer CORPORATE world but there is no dearth of youth who want to join armed forces. There is NO DILUTION OF STANDARDS or the CRITERION. Stop this crap. Do not quote Gen JJ Singh out of context. he is right in what he said in comparing 1964 with 2007. Yes, there was NO CORPORATE world then. isn’t he right? GO GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.

    Comment by Col YAVESH KUSHWAHA(Retd) — October 16, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  5. Colonel Kushwaha,

    It might not be desertion in exact military terms, but the increasing number of applications for premature retirement from the three services do point to a disillusionment and disenchantment. The figures for the applicants were given by the Defence Minister in the Parliament himself, no less.

    There are lakhs of aspirants, not only at recruitment rallies but also for the NDA and CDS entrance exams. Then, why aren’t the three services able to get adequate numbers to join their training academies? The right material is unwilling to join, despite lowering of standards at the SSBs.

    General JJ hasn’t been quoted out of context. He implied that corporate world is a better option than the military in 2007. And, may I ask you – How many service officers’ children are there at the NDA or IMA (forget about the general officers’ kiddos)? The statistics was published by a weekly newsmagazine and that is best indicator when people who have served in the organisation don’t want their kids to join it.

    Finally, let us keep the emotions away from facts. The harsh facts may be unpalatable, but let us look at them in the right spirit. If you don’t like the message, don’t try and shoot the messenger.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 16, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  6. why you guys are blaming each other. Money is what matters at the end.
    if someone gets more salary in corporate world why someone want to join militaly. All military people should get equal benefits and salary hikes as workers in corporate world. Otherwise we will see sooner military is joining corporate jobs.

    Comment by Madhavi — October 16, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

  7. 1st lets be pragmatic. Millitary is not irrelevant. it is just not glamourous now. Soldiers: please accept this. civilians: please also accept this that whether u like it or not, every econmic power in history had a strong millitary e.g. British, US etc : U need to throw your weight around to be successful. We cannot be Japan or Korea i.e. our egos are too much to allow US to give us proxy protection. Defence Management requires leaders who can think boldly and speedily. This is what is required in Private Sector. That means that both of them are fighting for the same talent. Its here that Defence Sector looses out. High Physical risk, Moving family life, Highly intense work environment and Pyramidal hierachy – all of which is compensated by a Government Salary. This is illogocal. You have got to compensate for all the above to draw youngsters with Officer Like Qualities to join Defence Services.

    Comment by anupam — October 18, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  8. Dear Pragmatic,

    You make valid points in your post and yes, they might be based on facts. The truth of the matter is simple: the corporate world is booming, alternative opportunities beckon the many talented folks in the armed services and hence the movement. I guess you went overboard when you end your post with “Did I hear someone utter something about rats and a sinking ship?”. Taking it in good spirit, that comment can be viewed as banter and nothing more. However, if you have a loved one that you lost in conflict – an analogy of rats jumping the ship doe snot seem very appropriate.

    Using a word such as desertion in a literal sense might be appropriate provided it does not invoke extreme emotion that is context-specific.

    Comment by Girish Mallapragada — October 19, 2007 @ 8:22 am

  9. @Girish,

    Thanks. The rats analogy was just a take on the desertion theme enunciated in the KT article. No offence meant to anyone!

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 19, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  10. Reply to ; Unappealing mil career ( http://indianeconomy.org/2007/10/15/an-unappealing-military-career/)

    1 Dear sir the response to two main issues of our journalist friend in joining forces and leaving forces are as follows.

    ( a) Joining Forces.

    (i) The reasons of Next Gen high caliber of not joining NDA and IMA is not anything to do with current situ /working environment/ money etc. I was of the batch when i joined NDA after 11th std as that was the entrance scheme that time. I was interested in pursing medicines that time after 12 th and probably had I appeared for 12 th I would have joined a med college. However I was inspired by a school visit to NDA when Queen Elizabeth had come and I saw the POP as a school kid and saw the campus first hand, that was the time I decided that is the place for me and not a med school. I don’t have any regrets till I go in my grave as that was the place I learned first hand many things which many forget or never learn all their life.

    (ii) So the bottom line is MOD apart from sending all ads ‘Do You have it in You’ etc, should lower the entrance class criteria back to 11th from 12 th. It is but natural that a student will try all options of med, eng, abroad etc before seeking to join NDA if he does his 12 th but during 11th every student aspires to be as independent and become a man faster. (I remember how I used to proudly don my NDA blazer on a liberty when I visited KV Kirkee pune my Ex school to meet old friends and teachers, Those sentiments and memories are still fresh. )

    (iii) Also MOD must org visits of students from various school to NDA/IMA during summers holidays or send movies of NDA documentary to various schools. KV and Army public school and Army school are the best options. The students who join NDA and IMA will be the ones only on inspiration and not one who did not get a seat in med college/eng etc and as last option better join NDA than doing a BSC. So make entry back to old 11 th std without allowing any options or choices as a discard one and only this who want to serve as a career will come.

    ( b) Leaving Forces

    (i) I wish to bring out for info of that journalist that armed Forces are the best to offer quality life. The pay and perks are good enough added to the quality of life of sports, club, med facilities, housing travel, welfare of families that the only or to look after our own widows and ex servicemen with so many schemes. There are all kinds of people in every org. In corporate world only somebody who contributes to a org growth is looked after because it is a profit based org, however our armed forces is not a profit based org hence we also carry every kind of material good, bad and ugly in every rank but always as a team, as our functioning is a team work.

    (ii) Now why some of us are leaving…….. well i honestly asked myself this question if I wish to do so down the years……. well my conscience replied money was the last criteria for me and that goes for so many of us (who never bother to scrutinize what is the pay slip coming from CDA or what are the mess bill details), we are happy what we are getting or what we are suppose to pay, that is life for us in credits and debits with no hassles, to sum up…….

    (iii) Well I will certainly leave one day , the reasons are once, I am sure there is no growth for me as per what I can deleiver , for us individuals we joined NDA as a career and not as a job ……… so long I can give to org in rank commiserating to my service and get equal responsibility for my capabilities, I will serve and like a migrating bird once I feel my usefulness to org as per my capabilities is over I will go. It is a harsh truth that death and retirement are inevitable, when it comes nobody knows……….!

    (iv) So the bottom line is it is not money that forces an officer USUALLY to leave, ask any retired officer he is surely missing the quality life of armed forces what he was getting as a serving officer irrespective of he may be getting three times now in corporate world what he was getting as a service officer.

    ( v) If he left it was a prime reason that he could offer to his self esteem more work opportunities. . it is a risk and challenge for somebody leaving and only those leave who aspire to grow more big to improve their self esteem as per own capabilities in one life God has given. There is nothing wrong if a man has given he best part of his youth to defence forces and now wants to look after his family /old parents and also grow in life.

    (vi) If luxury and safe environment was the criteria, then for that Journalist info armed forces offers the best housing, transport, free rations, LTC, free med, club life, schools, professional colleges now in all streams and frankly there is ‘No fear of a corporate Boss daily output’. So lets us be honest that armed forces offers if not hard cash salary at least it ensures we lead a comfortable life and many of us who leave it is certainly not for hard cash but to grow big in own aspirations and family reasons.

    2 Army has already suggested AV Singh committee Phase 2 with 6th payscale now coming.I am sure next gen will benefit and there will be less exodus to corporate world of outstanding officers as a new selection scheme for next rank is also on cards and own armed force future will compete with the best as a professional Army with all modernization also taking place.

    2 My son and 4 nephews ( My both sis sons ) saw the NDA parade this June during my leave at Pune and for that Journalist info are fully motivated to join that place as fourth Gen . That sums up my response to his article

    Comment by brando — October 19, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  11. @Brando:

    Thanks for the comments. I saw your comments on Farzana’s blog also the other day and I admire your proclivity to join a debate on such sensitive topics. I understand that your ire is directed on the author of the KT article and not on me. Thank God for that!

    Actually such a long comment deserves a full post but that might not be relevant to this blog. I understand the emotional underpinning of your comments, but I disagree with many of your contentions.

    Firstly, NDA and the 11th or 12th standard options. It is irrelevant. On two counts – firstly it is unethical and dishonourable to surreptitiously entice a teenager by playing on his insecurities and his parents’ fears. A young chap should choose army over other available options – of his free will and the army should compete on equal footing. Moreover, if people join for glamour of uniform, impressive buildings and gala parades, the infatuation is likely to wear off quick time and they will be soon disenchanted.

    The Army has decided to bring down the strength of regular cadre officers from 35,000 to 21,000. Regular cadre includes not only the NDA, but also the Direct entry, ACC, UES, Technical Graduates, 10+2 entry, Regimental Commission and so on. So targeting the NDA solely shall not make much of a difference. The Short service entry’s purpose is self-defeating after the contract period has been increased to 10+4 years. More about SS entry on this post at my blog -
    http://pragmatic.nationalinterest.in/2007/10/12/indian-military-trims-its-flab/

    There is something broken about the army today. The Army can’t hide behind the excuses of ‘some rotten eggs’, ‘still better than civil organisations’ and ‘sacrifices for the nation’; although partially true, these are irrelevant to the point in question. The Army needs to fins solutions – to its warped organisational value system, cultural disconnect with today’s India, irrelevance to modern Indian society/ state and poor compensation for the vagaries of military life. If it happens, Army will be an attractive career and people shall join without resorting to any roundabout means. Trust me, my aim is to generate awareness towards eventually fixing what is broken – a repair job urgently needed.

    About leaving, you have answered the questions yourself – although they are deeply hidden in your rant. Greater personal challenges, growth, self-esteem (obviously Army is not providing these to a fair share of troopers) are the reasons and I agree. You contradict yourself by ignoring the pay slip and applauding the sixth pay commission. We all know the truth. Money is important. Period.

    AVS-2 only affects a very limited number of people in the higher echelons. The damage done by AVS-1 to the status of an army officer has been immense and you know that very well. There are many other issues where I can punch holes into your opinions, but will leave them for reasons of brevity and pertinence. In any case, most of these issues have been covered at my blog -
    http://pragmatic.nationalinterest.in

    You might like to take a look there. I also wish the very best of luck to your son and nephews, but let me forewarn you that they shouldn’t be surprised to see very few (virtually none) army officers’ kids at the NDA. That is a telling testament to all that we have discussed here – that a majority of officers do not want their kids to join the army. Probably they know the truth as well.

    Finally, and with all respect to your service, we are all entitled to our opinions but unfortunately, not to our facts.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 20, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  12. Well, I think the whole country is getting imbalanced with respect to its priorities. If a call center 12th pass girl can get much more amount of money than a junior NCO, for not even one tenth of the risk to life and limb, without having any kind of skills whatever(other than fluency in language) then we are bound to see many upheavals. If a society values these skills more than defending the country, then the society will ultimately pay for its folly in the long run. This does not apply only to the army. You can compare for example the earnings of a 5 star bartender or a Radio Jockey to the pay of a government doctor or scientist and draw your own conclusions. Sadly, this imbalance is the highest in India. In China, even petty police officers move about in official Honda CRVs. Government officials (their babus) are extremely well paid and most have perks better than corporate MNc bosses. This attracts quality talent to governemnt an dyou can see its effect on the functioning. Ditto, in Europe government scientists are not paid “far below” what an RJ gets. Somethings gotta give! and very soon too, if the imbalances remain so.

    Comment by Dissenter — October 21, 2007 @ 10:58 pm

  13. Whats with this officer’s kids not joining the service? When I was at NDA (3 times), CDS (3 times again) interviews, I could see very clearly these guys were preferred and make a disproportionate portion of the selected candidates.
    The the fellow who wrote about english standards has no freaking clue as to what he/she is writing about. Did this person even attend these interviews?

    I will tell you why things are screwed up with indian armed forces. Note, this is strictly my opinion and will be biased.

    1. English: Actually versatility of english language is not really required for a job as an officer in military since 1991. I have seen north indian fellows get selected who had trouble putting together a coherent sentence in english. Actually Hindi was allowed as a valid language for group discussion and interview….I come from Andhra Pradesh….no room was given for my lack of understanding this hindi/whindi sh*t. When I am not allowed to speak Telugu but another fellow from the same freaking country is allowed to get away with speaking his language, ever guess who ends up getting selected? In engineering professions (for CDS) its even worse. These air force / army fellows complain about lack of quality and they are right. Except that they are looking at the wrong places. How many Biharis are going to school for engineering? When a sample is selected down to Hindi AND Engineering…of course your base of candidates to select from is reduced. I guess these army / air force officers need a lesson in logic and basic math. If standards in english are lowered, it will only get more worse. Actually, this language issue has bred some kind of arrogance within urban hindi population (love rural north india) which will eventually break up this country. Thats besides the point.. anyway. I am no lover of english language myself, but just wanted to point out the facts to some ignorant folk on this board.

    2. Discrimination: If you are a son of an officer, you KNOW it from when you can speak that you HAVE a job lined up for you. Actually, this is very bad…..unless the spawn of an officer murders somebody, ends up in jail or something, he is going to get selected at SSB. I mean, I spoke to guys who made a big deal of doing the math problems for their UPSC exam (for NDA), and had to take these exams twice/thrice just to get to the SSB interview….while I realized my problems began only at these interview places. Once these guys get to the interview stage, unless they get into a fight or something, its a known deal that they will get selected. I can understand more of them getting selected as compared to the general population, but everybody????? That does not make sense. Ofcourse, it is not as bad as in Pakistan….but military wise, we do not want to be in the category of pakiland, do we?
    Where does that leave this poor, dirty, physically strong pig-eating low caste fellow from Andhra Pradesh who made it thanks to Govt help? He cannot relate to these “gora” attitudes displayed by kids of officers, He obviously has issues speaking in either english or in hindi. But he is one hungry summabich willing to work very hard. A regimented life at state expense might be exactly what he is looking for…but will the military even remotely look at this demographic? I never understood why a big deal is made about reservations in the army…If there is one place where Dalits should get a reservation…it should be the army.

    3. Interview : Here is how it worked for me, I write the written exam with math, english, general knowledge, some logic and some physics/science. I usually ace these (remember, I have been to a bunch of these)…but come interview time, I never get selected. Let me see how it works there: there is a psych test, an interview and an group thingie. Now, on all these, scoring is very very subjective. In other words, I pass a very objective test and then get continuously weeded out in the subjective tests…I know I am screwed up in my head…thats the reason why I signed up for those interviews in the first place. I do not need an SSB on govt money to tell me that. But did they ever tell me if I flunked the psych tests, if it was my attitude with the group tests OR if the interview went very badly? NO. But they had no problem with me staying in their barracks on state expense repeatedly. Look at how the selection works in the US Army or the Marines and then compare it with service selection in India……

    4. Race Theory: It is correct that the Indian Armed Forces do not subscribe (officially) to the martial theory of they british masters, but in practice it is something else. I mean, 10 Telugus from Andhra Pradesh go to these interviews….they are very well qualified, but alas, they do not have any immediate relatives serving in the military. They do not make and do not understand why they did not make it. They go back and tell their cousins/relatives that trying to get into the military is a lost cause….it is not fair, so why try anyway. These in turn tell the next generation….and suddenly you have ruled out thousands of potential candidates. All because the good folks at SSB do not tell these wide eyed teenagers why they failed. I mean, the last time a non-muslim indian army that ruled over this country and enriched it was from andhra/karnataka, at the same time when these so-called superior martial races were busy bending over for moslem invaders. We were building temples and winning wars while folks in pubjab/bihar/UP were getting their butts handed out to them. And the present day leadership that comes from these parts is still under the spell of their masters when it come to recruitment. This coupled with hindi is the reason why there is such a low representation of folks from south india in the military. Before anybody squeals about marathas in my example above (I am sure somebody will), please remember that the only time these fellows decided to fight like a real army was the last time they ever did. And thats something.

    5. Love for English and Saheb culture….My first interaction with the Air Force was a very foreign experience for me…which at that time, I wondered what this culture thing was about anyway…and who are these people fighting for?

    6. Reservations in the Army : Why not follow the US example in 50s? ……..

    I have many more reasons I can list…and would love to but my beer mug is empty and I really have to go piss.
    Would like to sign off saying that I am glad for the jawans of the army…for they are the only reason I can spout these complaints about them…have my piss and go to bed without worrying about anybody knocking on my door. Knowing their sense of humor, I am sure they will not mind my rants much.

    Comment by vijay — October 22, 2007 @ 8:01 am

  14. KT’s comments are classic examples of the bullshit that media of it’s kinds and likes create with a topic of the armed forces of the democratic world, with the exception of those in military junta or dictatorial ruled countries, without going to the end of the analysis as a responsible media would be expected to do, BUT THEY LEAVE IT HALF BAKED DUE TO A DROUGHT OF IDEAS,MANPOWER, CIRCULATION,CREATIVITY AND CHEAP MONEY MAKING GIMMICKS.
    In a democratic setting, economic progress is the immediate concern of the present times IN EVERY NATION ACROSS THE WORLD.THAT IS WHY NONE IS WILLING TO EMBARK UPON A FULL SCALE WAR TO ENFORCE ITS WILL ON ANOTHER NATION BUT WOULD NIBBLE AWAY LIKE A “RAT” AT THE CORE OF THE OTHER TO BLEED IT SLOWLY. In such times armed forces are seen as white elephants by forward looking DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS, SINCE ONLY A LIMITED AMOUNT OF RESOURCES ARE REQUIRED TO BE SPENT IF THESE NATIONS DO NOT WANT TO PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF THE ADVERSARIES. BUT in military junta or dictatorial ruled countries THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE.IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THEIR RULE AND HERALD IN ECONOMIC PROGRESS FOR “THEMSELVES?” THEY HAVE TO KEEP THEIR ARMED FORCES PAMPERED DESPITE INFLATION AS A PRIMARY INVESTMENT.
    Depending on the strategic, political,economic, geo-political considerations a DEMOCRATIC OR ANY FORWARD LOOKING country may prioritize defense spending on strategic hardware, deterrents etc, rather than a source that it can muster and train in a given time frame, any time.
    Unfortunately the present lot of personnel in the Indian Armed forces are in that bind at present, in ADDITION to all the other aspects correctly mentioned in the blog.
    However to call this phenomena as a “sinking ship” and “rats” would be incorrect considering the fact that it is the present set of “counter insurgency rats” who sorted out the China backed MIZO Insurgency, the PAK-US backed Punjab Militancy, the PAK-US backed Kashmir Militancy and called the bluff of the silly “Religious Militancies” of ALL SHADES, prominently “Islamic Militancies” very successfully and very quietly, much before the world woke up to it with a shock,bang AND the cacophony called the 9/11!?? THE ONLY ARMY OF THE WORLD OF ITS KIND TO DO SO. THE US FAILED IN VIETNAM,KOREA,IRAQ,etc the list is long. THE BRITISH FAILED IN IRELAND FOR 50 YEARS. PAK FAILED IN BALUCHISTHAN AND CHINA & RUSSIA HAVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS. I wonder what would be the scenario in the US IN CASE OF AN “RED INDIAN OF A BLACK INSURGENCY”?, in the case of PAK’S “MQM/WASIRISTHAN/AZAD KASHMIR/BALTI INSURGENCIES”. THE LISTS ARE LONG. MARK THE FACT THAT IT IS ONLY THE INDIAN COUNTER INSURGENCY “RATS” WHO DID WHAT THE WORLD COULD NOT AND HAVE SHOWN A SECULAR DEMOCRATIC WAY TO THE ENTIRE WORLD THAT EVEN US,ISRAEL,CHINA,RUSSIA AND LO BEHOLD EVEN A DICTATOR IN PAK IS ATTEMPTING TO FOLLOW IF THEY CAN GET OUT OF THEIR PAST DIRTY MOORINGS OF EXPLOITATION OR GET PAST THEIR DEPENDENCE ON THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY IN THE US AND EUROPE!
    However KT mischievously creates an impression that “highly moralistic”,”non demanding in terms of pay or esteem”, personnel should carry on the way the “pampered personal poodles” of the military juntas or dictatorial ruled countries would!WHY SHOULD THE OLDER LOT OF PERSONNEL FROM THESE SERVICES NOT ATTEMPT TO STAKE OUT THEIR CLAIMS IN THE CORPORATE WITH THEIR PENSIONS UNDER THEIR BELT IN AN BOOMING ECONOMY WHICH THEY HELPED CARVE BY PROVIDING THEIR COUNTRY THE ENVIRON FOR THAT ECONOMIC BOOM?
    Who funds the KT? WHO IS IT WORKING FOR? DEFINITELY NOT FOR PURE JOURNALISTIC PLEASURE OR ACHIEVEMENT BECAUSE IT IS JUST TOO MEDIOCRE FOR THAT. THERE ARE HIDDEN AGENDAS BEHIND THAT REPORT,THE EDITOR NEEDS TO LOOK BEYOND OR A NEW JOB IF HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE MEDIOCRE.
    KT is obviously working for a PROFIT, HOWEVER SMALL it can weasel out like a cockroach!!!
    VERY POOR REPORTING AND MONEY MAKING TOO!

    Comment by dk — October 22, 2007 @ 8:10 am

  15. Brando,
    I have seen some weird reasons for wanting to join armed forces, but yours is the weirdest of all. You got inspired because of a queen of some faraway place??????? For real??????

    Comment by vijay — October 22, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  16. Now take the insider view :

    I joined IAF in 1999 .. and first week of stay @ trg made me determined to leave it asap.
    I am a diehard Engineer from a premier REC and found that the work content for engineer SUCKED.

    I quit in 2005 as scheduled and am very happy working for a LISTED bluechip software major. Out of my course of 24, 16 officers quit. The remaining officers belonged to alcoholic
    /lady married to officer/ under confident/ incompetent category.

    The 16 who quit have made it big in corporate world with some taking home 7 figure salaries

    Comment by purose — October 22, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

  17. Dear sir,

    1 I read the follow up comments in the ‘Indian Economy blog’ to my earlier post and other officer/ writers and now I have following to add…..

    (a) Joining forces: Sir I am convinced that a lot of candidates are being lost out due to scope of alternate options. Only those who are coming who have a real calling from childhood, get inspired from various exposer or then second lot who are not able to get any seat /vacancy in a civil college.

    (i) I read a comment by a brother officer scoffing at me that I saw parade at POP attended by Queen and decided to join . For that friend info it was not the parade but an opportunity that I visited a place, liked what I saw the exposer to forces training and ethos and thought about it as I had already seen fauji life as a child hood am a third generation . It was just a matter of time and a moment I had to make a decision after 11 th which was always at back of my mind when I was considering a medicine career after 12 th . For that friend info, economics was never an issues with me that time and even today.

    (ii) Another brother officer says he joined IAF in 1999 .. and first week of stay @ trg made him determined to leave it asap he quit in 2005 as scheduled and was very happy working for a LISTED bluechip software major. Out of his course of 24, 16 officers quit. The remaining officers belonged to alcoholic/lady married to officer/ under confident/ incompetent category.

    (aa) Well my answer to this officer is ‘buddy why don’t you confess that you were never mentally prepared to be in Air Force, you probably came by fluke and knew your heart was somewhere else. Good thing you quit otherwise you would have been a very frustrated man from day one and also you would have been one of the so called wimps’.

    ( ab) For that matter read a book ‘ ‘Distant drums’ a non fiction by a retd Martha officer and one of the esteemed Indian writers Manaohar Malgaonekar which talks of a two kind of leadership one like you who was a misfit from day one and how he grows up in Army to become a CO by loopholes of the selection system and then on taking command sorts out his unit to a lowest ebb and second leadership he talks about a real genuine officer as that wimp successor. That officer is forced to come back to regt after that wimp leaves to uplift the unit.

    ( ac) Also read another non fiction ‘The Cane Mutiny’ by Herman Wouk where again a wimp sorts out his command on a ship in WW2 and how a mutiny is led by a righteous officer who was his subordinate.

    (iii) Also is the cases of our own present day wimps coming in news for all wrong reasons is simply they took a wrong decision of joining forces as cadets . They should have been like you to run away and earn dollars at least by fair means.

    (iv) The case of joining by righteous material is, if it after 11 th / before12 th there is less family pressure/ peers pressure/ attraction of other options. After 12th now ask any KV/ Army school/ APS/ joining forces has become a last option as the environment suddenly changes when a student enters a 12 std to compete with others. Before 11 th the buzz word is only NDA

    (b) Motivated / Self Less conduct during service: So the point is every student who joins forces knows what he is in for. Nobody is naive. It is that extra spirit or that sound of distant drum which makes him takes a decision and which keeps him motivated all his life despite all ad verses .

    ( aa) There are motivated/ sincere officers who ran that unit in Distant drum or ship in Caine Mutiny and all other case studies are in every unit/ every day working earnestly for the system.

    ( ab) Each unit has at least two or three such righteous officers also as force multipliers who are almost everywhere for each task taking the unit to a high performance. If they later become CO the unit prosper which they command having learned all right values from day one being groomed by right kinds.

    (c) Corruption / illogical issues in defence services If wimps like those in both books mentioned or my friend who ran away from Air force academy also becomes CO because system is never foolproof, their units has cases of corruption, fratricide, suicides, sexual harassment etc.

    (i) Then the media curses the forces and over all system not knowing certain wimps are the ones whose inborn character don’t change right from the day they were borne are actually sorting out their command, men, resources etc.

    (ii) These wimps are in every society/system/set up etc right from Roman army to German to modern USA army and own also including every strata and set up of society, be it IAS, Police, Hospitals, Lawyer etc but that does not mean all these set ups are bad . So the problem is from the beginning inherent traits of a youngster which gets nurtured in wrong hands and problem is not our service ethos which also nurtures good and genuine officers.

    (iii) In that aspect SSB selection std should be very stringent. All those money minded / non interested youngsters will do a great service to nation only if they listen to their heart ‘Do they want to Join services or they will have to also run away” or if they don’t run away then in later years they will cause more harm to earn extra dollars which is not possible by fair means as services are not blue chips company but priority for such a man remains same hence he then gets into all sorts of corruption.

    (iv) Services is not hence a Corporate Org but wimps serving there unfortunately could not make up their mind in initial years whether they are joining to make a career or earn dollars from a blue chip company sorts. The root cause is mind of a wimp and not system.

    (d) Corporate vs Defence services I have also read many comments on many lamenting for extra dollars and 6 th pay etc. I would also like to get a raise in 6 th pay scale and increase my carry home pay at par with other org ie IAS etc as it will give me honest means to improve more amenities as per the rise in inflation and also commiserating to my contribution to system and own unit like an org man

    (i) However all my life I have also seen a few dead wood ie not over looked officers but certain officers / men at every rank who shirk from org responsibilities irrespective how they got that rank / civilians in MES/ base wksp/ depots etc who are also lamenting for a raise and all hopes of 6 pay scale etc.

    (ii) I would only ask these gentlemen if they honestly asses their day out put work in depots/ peace stations cushy appointments where org is suffering because of them and compare it with a corporate sector work which is profit based on how much a man should do quality work, will they expect same salary?

    (iii) The bottom line is services are a big org with no profit to look for. Unfortunately that officer who is fighting or working in a field area except for those extra allowance is getting same salary against a wimp who is always in peace/cushy appointments making dirt money/ doing un officer like activities .

    (iv) We have to carry the good, bad and ugly in same stride irrespective of who is doing what sort of work in what appointment/which station / under what kind of boss etc. The salary hence for all of us is not performance based but fixed as per govt whether you work or not, every first of month our bank account gets a salary.

    ( v) So all those who are lamenting or cursing the services and talking good of other side of fence, cursing own system for less salary should also talk in same breath of performance based as in Corporate sector.

    ( vi) If this happens, all our MES / Civil unions in Base wksp/ civilians workers whiling away time in ord depots / well connected officers whiling away time in peace stations / cushy appointments/ lucrative appointments / officers or wimps sorting out own commands etc will also come under scanner how much salary every month the all deserve.

    ( vii) All issues of corruption, Fratricide etc will be resolved as we will have a fair boss in assessing our monthly salary like in Corporate, who is paying us only if we are hard working/ honest/ sincere/ contributing to growth of system. How many are takers are their with this proposal that any month you don’t perform will be asked to pack off without any pension scheme etc?

    ( f) Harsh truth of Corporate world. Hence we cannot compare ourselves with corporate world as my father is having a mfr industry and his company has no place for a non worker/ corrupt man as why should he pay to somebody who is not performing for the company profit or growth. Hence there is no Job security for some body who is not performing as per company expected standards. Anybody who is performing he is certainly looked after with bonus and only genuine persons contributing to over all growth of a company hence also goes up. Please ask those who left and are in corporate world it is a performance based survival and growth with no palace for a non worker or a non org man doing corruption in company economics .

    ( g) Why then services are still the best compared to corporate world: Hence that also answers a hidden truth why many overlooked / reemployed officer come back to services and not want to leave as they know they will not survive a day as compared to what they are doing in routine life and get a free house/ premium electricity/ Water/ Furniture/ med/ golf/ Club life and schooling or future education for children. Even for a worker/ org man he is at least satisfied that apart from deserving facilities he also has his own job security that he can at least survive under an illogical boss without any hindrance in what he is getting paid.

    (h) Why good officer are still leaving : Simple they know they are more hard working and can survive outside by sincere hard work apart form giving best years of their life to services when service required them to do so.

    (i) Now a stage comes in every man’s life especially if rank aspirations in a narrow top are not met, a man thinks of his family, children and future own aspirations. So they leave.

    (ii) The aspirations of a rank is what the issue need to be addressed so that the good and hard working lot exodus can be checked, AV singh committee was a step in right direction at least it prevented 50 percent officers of a course or a working man get written off before 35 years of age .

    (iii) No org can afford to grow if 50 percent gets wiped off before they turn 35 for any amount of reasons. The top decision makers in services hence thought on this aspect and AV singh committee was hence initiated, may be in coming years a follow up scheme will come that will also give more deserving officers their which is being deprived, by some left over loopholes at expense of undeserving ones. Maybe the next generation will benefit with so much more proposal and studies going on, all leading to make the service more professional and prevent wimps joining and genuine chaps leaving.

    2 That about sums up for the moment in this interesting discussion in http://indianeconomy.org/2007/10/15/an-unappealing-military-career/#comments on issue of joining , corruption and advantages of corporate versus services forcing many to remain in services and many to leave

    Comment by brando — October 22, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  18. @Brando:

    With all civility and humility (and for brevity), may I submit these quotes as responses:

    #A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.

    #Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.

    #A yawn may not be polite, but at least it is an honest opinion.

    The final word from Aristotle -
    It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 22, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

  19. I read all this and was amazed to know that there are people talking of NO problem in army and there are people talking of a lot going wrong in army. However i have a completely different view on those who wants to leave army or have put up there papers for premature retirement.
    Well, a number of people are leaving NOT for money but because of lack of ethos, logic, unnecessary culture and the environment presently existing in army units, specially those who are in peace.
    Money is not presently what actually people are lookng for now in corporate world.Its happiness, comfortable atmosphere to live in and satisfaction.
    Presently Directive style of leadership is not practiced in many corporate sectors because it leads to dis-satisfaction among people who are conceptual or analytical and hence need a similar stle to be commanded. Today the younger generation is aware many a things happening in the environment , thanks to media and internet. So they can do things in a better and creative way then those sitting and trying old ways on command.
    Also those at higher, rather very higher places think and want things to improve when it comes to Army, but they actually have kind of forgotten that they actually themselves had to obviate with what they felt right just to climb those stairs. There are very few who rise because of there work calabre. More rise because of there diplomatic, political and licking capabilities. Those who are better but don’t rise high and see those who are pecause of the qualities i just mentioned leads to frustration with and then poeple want to leave. A number of people want to leave because of environment and similar reasons.
    I believe that if we improve our environment within and remove the sadistic people or do something to curb the same, we may improve the situation and people who a good, actually good will stay irrespective of the pay.
    Also we need to introspect many a things within the army like the medical services, deteorating rations and life styles. If we can get the old army back where units used to be families and Army was known to be non-corrupt and honest, we can get back the officers.
    All this is applicabe for officers cadre because it is there where we need best of people joining.
    I may not sound good to many but the bitter truth is this only. Officers don’t want there wards in army because they have seen now the enviromnment deteorating and a few who don’t agree must have been the lucker lot who was probably intelligent and his intelligence was respected.
    Inter-personal communication can achieve all the required things . We need communication link between the junior lot and the top lot so that the messaged reached there unfiltered. Those in between are not able to stop or currupt it because of there self gains.
    Hope i have been able to make my point of view comfortable. Of some one wants to get drink and feels comfortable that there is a helper to take care of him and hence Army is a good career, i think who should stop posting on this or any forum. Leave liquor, sit in frount of mirror and ask himself what is he doing by writting all this?

    Comment by Akumuskan — October 23, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  20. Sir,

    1 Let everybody sweep in front of his door and the whole world will be clean. We must all do within the own area of influence and responsibility.

    2 All those who left are a mixed bag of many reasons. All those who don’t want to join are also having own reasons. The favorite punching bag is falling standards in the system,

    3 Many are making ultimate sacrifices of life for this country. If the righteous ones make sacrifices by careers for getting a change in the system or own area of influence then it is still a less sacrifice than the ultimate one.

    4 So reason of frustration will naturally be there but for a righteous man, but he will not change if he gets overlooked and still would do much for org as per his callings in what ever the capacity.

    5 Money is certainly an issue with comforts of the family. It is a good option as hard working person will survive anywhere. A righteous person also leaves because he wants to also grow big his are of influence and responsibilities.

    6 There is hope, That culture you are talking about ………..will come one day………but for that it will be possible only when we take own stock of responsibilities without looking for career gains/ personal benefits. The problem is we make choices only as per gains in every spheres of life and set up. So what ever you said has to come for the next Gen to run this country.

    For resting my case I will still quote a fav poem I read in my childhood

    Carry On!!
    ________________________________________

    It’s easy to fight when everything’s right,
    And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;
    It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
    And wallow in fields that are gory.
    It’s a different song when everything’s wrong.
    When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
    When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
    Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

    Carry on! Carry on!
    There isn’t much punch in your blow.
    You’re glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
    You’re muddy and bloody, but never mind.
    Carry on! Carry on!
    You haven’t the ghost of a show.
    It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath,
    Carry on, my son! Carry on!

    And so in the strife of the battle of life
    It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
    It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
    When the dawn of success is beginning.
    But the man who can meet despair and defeat
    With a cheer, there’s a man of God’s choosing;
    The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
    Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.

    Carry on! Carry on!
    Things never were looming so black.
    But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak,
    And though you’re unlucky you never are weak.
    Carry on! Carry on!
    Brace up for another attack.
    It’s looking like hell, but – you never can tell;
    Carry on, old man! Carry on!

    There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt,
    And some who in brutishness wallow;
    There are others, I know, who in piety go
    Because of a Heaven to follow.
    But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
    For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
    To help folks along with a hand and a song;
    Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.

    Carry on! Carry on!
    Fight the good fight and true;
    Believe in you mission, greet life with a cheer;
    There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
    Carry on! Carry on!
    Let the world be the better for you;
    And at last when you die, let this be your cry:
    Carry on, my soul! Carry on!

    Regards

    A Dreamer
    Brando

    Comment by BRANDO — October 23, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

  21. @Akumuskan:

    Thanks for pouring your heart out and accepting the need for internal reform. However rather than a throwback to the past, the military has to evolve a new model that is relevant to the current social, economical and political clime in the country.

    @Brando:

    Three humongous comments, so many counter-comments and we are back to square one. You echo what I said in my original post – There are problems with the military, many of its own making. There is an urgent need for reform and restructuring.

    Whereas you put the onus of reform on the individual, in my view the organisation has to take this responsibility. It can\’t runaway from its institutional assignment and shift its responsibility. For individuals to seek and be the harbingers of change in such a huge and legatee organisation is either being hopelessly naive or dispiritedly idealistic.

    The poem that you appended makes for nice reading. Even I would have loved it as a kid. Was it GB Shaw who said – \’If you are not a communist at 20, you don\’t have a heart. And if you are still a communist at 30, you don\’t have brains.\”

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 23, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  22. Dear Mr “journalist” are you out of your mind the IDF is trming its self down and “working out” to Cut excesse “Fat” the military is a organization based on high moral and personal tredition and no moron working here @ KT has the Right to judge the Indian military

    to the onwer of this Blog think befor you talk and remember
    “spent arrows and said words have a thing in common both canot be taken back”

    Comment by F-14 — October 23, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

  23. Dear pragmatic,

    1 My onus of reform is on the individual, and your onus is on the organization to take this responsibility.

    2 Well dear pragmatic what is organization: me, you , him, them etc. Who else is going to be in organization, certainly not from space or Martians

    3 Also it was one individual who was thrown out of train in South Africa ….. who did not liked what he felt……..an injustice to community……. He started a thought process………. Went through ages of Mandela….. and now South Africa is what is today. That same man came to India and started a revolution when all kings that time were passing the balme on SO CALLED ORG of each other to be or not to be with British. That same man was assisted by many men. That man was called Gandhi and those men were NEHRU, Patil, etc.

    3 During the freedm struggle there was also one man who was leading an alternate movement and thee was another man who came on the scene and sacrificed himself to evoke many to join the movement. I am talking about Azad and Bhagat Singh.

    4 I don’t know whether I was part of the movement against British in my previous birth but I am certainly part of a fine system in this birth and a thought process that the whole thing of further improvement will start from own, every respective individual which will lead to org.

    5 Now I will tell how my system is fine; when I was a younster I had 15 to 30 men under me, which lead to 75 to 100 men and now 200 probably will increase to 400 as part of command when i keep growing up till i quit….That goes for every leadership in Army as it grows up . Now when we are leading these fine men with our own individual leadership, the spirit and image and professionalism of the whole group is of one individual ie who is leading. I have been part of this system for last so many years, except for one odd egg who is by default there like I mentioned in my above post when i was talking of book ‘Distant drums’ by Manohar Malgaonekar which talks of a a wimp and good leadership , maximum units I saw or was part of this fine army had the spirit of those good leadeship like the one who led ‘300’

    6 Now who were those ‘300’, if you have not seen that movie, well those 300 in world history Battle of Thermopylae is a battle which took place at Thermopylae, a narrow mountain pass. Xerxes, son of Darius attacked the Greeks. King Leonidas of Sparta and other Greeks were hopelessly out numbered and they decided to confront the Persians at the mountain pass, where their numbers would count for nothing. The Greeks might have won if not for a traitor that showed the Persians a path that led behind the Greek defenses. Persians attacked from all sides, only king Leonidas and 300 Spartans stayed to fend off the Persians. All of them perished

    7 Own military History including Kargil has that valorof 300 in modern times war and daily training/working so the bottom line we have a strong base of officers and men.

    8 Now where improvement starts : More improvement is starting from own sphere of influence as respective individual: by a youngster commanding those 30 boys to middle level leadership commanding 300 to a top man commanding 3000 etc and so on…….. everybody within own area of influence and things , decision making will automatically will fall into place. That way only individuals will bring a harbingers of change in such a huge and legatee organization to which you all are blaming.

    9 I also wish to remind that ‘It takes one tree to make 100,000 matches and one match to burn 10,000 trees’. Lets us be that one tree and not that one match is a message for all.

    10 I have finished my morning tea while penning you, and hence I shall rest my case right now, have to get ready and go to my ‘300’ now, they are waiting for me to start another day of a professional army.

    11 i must add that ‘Any connection between your so called reality but not living out unfortunately as pragmatic and mine as a dreamer for a new world but living out in all circumstances on the contrary over all is purely coincidental’

    12 Till we meet again in evening on web world ; just ponder friend according to you if two wrong don’t make a right then ‘how two negatives can also make a positive’ I think we can hope……dream….and live it out everyday…….. every moment.

    Yours truly

    Dreamer

    Brando

    Comment by BRANDO — October 24, 2007 @ 7:26 am

  24. @Brando:

    I am not one for interminable discussions, that too on prejudiced opinions and POVs. You can hold on to your dreams of individual responsibility but I will go with the time-tested principle of organisation taking the responsibility and initiating the process of change. Fair enough, I presume! And do remember – People argue only to make their own opinions stronger.

    There ain’t anything substantial left to discuss hereafter on the subject, I presume. Thanks a lot for visiting the blog.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 24, 2007 @ 8:23 am

  25. Why I argue

    Dear Pragmatic,

    1 I am very happy you decided to stop discussion on a topic which was misguiding many youngsters.
    2 Any way I have always had grave suspicions that the basis of all literary clique like Frazana etc is a morbid love of egotism against everything that is good for the country. That makes them sadly uncivilized. ‘That also goes for any who is a party to yellow journalism : ‘Use the carp as you may, for he/she e looks like a poor, decayed, ingenious, foolish, rascally knave’

    3 Why I argued with you, at least you were still civilized in your expressions and of course consider this by anon:

    (a) I argue to learn. By arguing with someone who is more knowledgeable about a particular subject, I learn my own misconceptions about that subject. In order to be certain about what I learn, I must challenge truth with my own misconceptions, and I must openly invite truth to disabuse me. In order to teach with certainty, I must let others challenge what I perceive to be the truth.

    ( b) I am always willing to risk losing an argument for the sake of gaining understanding. I also enjoy winning an argument because it allows me to give understanding. In my opinion, the only arguments I really lose are the ones in which the person I am arguing with refuses to advocate their own perspective

    ( c) I seek to make my stance known, and to understand the other person’s stance completely. I want to make sure that neither my stance, nor that of the person that I am arguing with, is based on misconception, preconception, or presumption. I argue to expose meek indecision or unfounded decisiveness.

    ( d) Also, sometimes I argue to fight my own pet peeves and to persuade the preferences of others to be more like mine.

    ( e) I find argument provocative and enlightening. I will argue until I know everything, and I will argue until you know everything! Let’s learn together; let’s argue

    till we meet on any other topic, may be we will agree then
    Best wishes
    bye brando

    Comment by BRANDO — October 24, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

  26. @Brando:
    About ‘misguiding the youngsters’, I wish I could take the credit but I know I don’t have that power to influence the youth. In any case, that was neither my aim nor the intention. In my humble view, your pompous and inane comments may have dissuaded many a promising candidate from joining the military.
    Enough said! I have neither the time nor inclination to argue about argument. Thanks but no thanks.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 24, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  27. Dear pragmatic,

    1 I know the value of a healthy discourse and I have been able to be as much as polite as much.

    2 Your anger I can understand, which has been evoked as I questioned your commitment , same is when you question the whole system for individuals aberrations and I hope next time you pen words on Indian Army or services, it will be with a responsible attitude ADDRESING ISSUES to Govt /country citizen specifically to help the services in modernization and progression in all aspects.

    3 In house introspections of our working environment , trust us we can do it ourselves in our forum/institutes/ academies and HQs, there is enough research/studies going on and we also all know how to walk our talk, by setting an example. you are not aware of how system works and hence not able to comprehend the working issues/environmental conditions and importance of individual own call and accountability etc.

    3 As far as motivating youngsters, it is their inner call to join, but certainly they can go without one sided impressions of an unappealing career as this article advocates.

    4 I am switching off now but that does not mean, ‘when Eagles go silent, parrots again began to jabber’.

    Comment by BRANDO — October 25, 2007 @ 6:36 am

  28. @Brando:
    I am not one for a slanging match and this is a serious and respected economy blog not a chat forum; let us keep the discussion relevant and at an appropriate level. As any serious discourse can’t be devoid of facts, I will stick to my earlier reply.
    Enough said! I have neither the time nor inclination to argue about argument. Thanks but no thanks.
    As per my blog policy, I can remove any comments that I deem offensive or impertinent. I haven’t had a chance to enforce that policy so far and I hope that you would not be the first one to provide me with that opportunity.

    Comment by Pragmatic — October 25, 2007 @ 8:26 am

  29. Pragmatic

    I think you want the last word to end our discourse,so be it.I also respect this forum as i read lot of other intersting articels.bye and best wishes
    brando

    Comment by BRANDO — October 25, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  30. well i am not clear what you all are talking about organisation or individuals. I understand at middle level everything is getting destroyed. We are all talking big big and actually the environment is killling the patriotic soldier in us and we are not the humans with no emotions only ladders on the walls which we ourselves don’t know where they take us. Those who are at influential level are not being checked or the system makes sure they are not checked and then you all talk about organisations and individuals. If this forum has started do something rather than discussions. We all have different views but all understand something is wrong and its killing the ethos for which we were here. So instead of all this lets put our head together and try and save the things rather than leaving to org ot indl.
    If we all understand and have our logics, then we must start. Many may not be in a posn to even have a small area of influence because of these sit only. So what do we do?
    all here are not super intelligent, there are few average people also and they also love our cpountry. How to keep them motivated.
    all seniors there–i request
    lets put our heads together
    work out something
    lets start
    i am not pouring my heart out i am trying to tell the truth. Today a AMC doctor is even not trusted by a jawan. A see a number of cases in which they do’t take there families and children to these docors and all are not refered to RR that they enjoy the best doctors who are in AMC.
    I know cases of misuse of r***** and all men whom we have to take in battle see and understand this.
    Why ? why?
    need to reform
    need all of us together as alone many am week as they are just average soldiers who are fighting there small battels and loosing time and again
    please help the organisation

    Comment by Akumuskan — October 25, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  31. 1 I think he has a point, enough lamenting.

    2 Everybody including ,Akumuskan and pragmatic any specific issues of improvement. I have many issues where I would like to see a fresh insight especially on procedures and its outdated SOPs

    3 However I like to hear from you both, what issues you both have, that three of us at least can combine our heads together to find solutions.

    4 The rules of the discourse will be no talking nonsense for the system but specific issues troubling the system… like first discourse we can do is outdated procedure of spending of funds and inadequacies of CDA /Dealer nexus etc

    5 we can discuss since it is an economic forum and then see the loopholes and inadequacies………and suggest a new way of defence expenditure management, how to cover those inadequacies so that we come down to a new recommended method.

    5 Other readers can also join form their experience…. That way we will do some meaningful task and kind of group discussion instead of blame game …and unnecessary bashing around each other…..

    Brando

    Comment by BRANDO — October 26, 2007 @ 12:30 am

  32. ARMY AN OPTION FOR YOUTH?
    NO…….. NEVER ……………
    WHY?
    To get the answer read the lines below very carefully and seriously.
    In an organisation where 80 percent of officers get superceded at the service of just 16-17 years It means that 80 percect get no promotion after the age of around 38/39 years and start waiting for retirement till their age is 54 years. Not only this, once they get superceded at the Rank of Lt Col (at the age of 38/39 years) they are forced to stay in the pay scale of 15100—18700.Now in this pay scale they reach at the maximum of this pay scale at the service of just 22 years (it means at the age of 43/44 years).
    Now just imagine when this lot of officers interact with young boys in civil do you expect them to give a good image of army? This superceded lot which is increasing every years at the rate of approximately 500/600 will impact much more than any other advertisement campaign by army.
    This country is not giving army officers even equal to what any other class one job officer is getting (just forget IAS /IPS for a moment)the calculations in support of this fact is given at the end of this article.
    In IMA the first thing is taught is that “WHEN RAPE IS ENEVITABLE ENJOY IT” that is what all army men who are forced to stay in army due various reasons are doing it. No amount of disscussion can bring the realities of army life. Mind you it is worse than your imagination.
    If you want to do something for army at least put them equal to other class one job. Do not try to make Brigadier of General just give them the minimum basic pay scale which is being given to any other class one job.
    For example in any other class one job all officers who are directly selected and start with the pay scale of 8000 –13500.
    100 percent of them achieve the pay scale of 16400—22400 at the service of 15/16 years . At least give this much to army also. At present only 20 percent ( colonel rank)go into that pay scale that too upper limit is just 19350 for them
    It is suggested that put all Lt Col in pay scale of 16400—22400 at the service of 15/16 years and forget about there promotions. Also let them serve till the age of 58 years.
    SHORTAGE OF OFFICERS IN ARMY
    ATLEAST PUT THEM EQUAL TO OTHER CLASS ONE JOBS
    THE TABLE GIVEN BELOW SHOWS THE PAY SCALE OF FEW CLASS ONE JOBS IN INDIAN GOVERNMENT
    IAS IPS UNIVERSITY
    LECTURERS ARMY
    THE PAY SCALE INCLUDES THE
    RANK PAY
    8000-13500 0 YEARS 0 YEARS 0 YEARS 0 YEARS (8250-10050)
    1000-15200 4 YEARS (10650-15850) 4 YEARS 4 YEARS 4YEARS (10000—11800)
    12000-16500 9 YEARS(12750-16500 9 YEARS 9 YEARS 9YEARS (13125-16050)
    14300-18300 13 YEARS (15100-18300) 13 YEARS DOES NOT EXIST 13 YEARS (15100-18700)
    16400-20000
    DOES NO EXIST 14-16 YEARS
    RANK–DIG
    (100 PERCENT OF DIRECT IPS OFFICERS REACH UPTO THIS LEVEL) 17 YEARS
    100 PERCENT OF LECTURERS REACH AT THIS LEVEL 17-18 YEARS (17100-19350)
    (ONLY 20 PERCENT OF DIRECT COMMISIONED ARMY OFFICERS REACH AT THIS LEVEL)
    18400-22400 16 YEARS
    (100 PERCENT OF DIRECT IAS OFFICERS REACH UPTO THIS LEVEL) —– —– ——-
    THE CONCLUSION
    1. THE INDIAN ARMY OFFICERS ARE NOT EVEN EQUAL TO ANY OTHER CLASS ONE JOB OF INDIAN GOVERNMENT.
    2. EVERY XYZ WHO JOINS ANY CLASS ONE JOB IN INDIA IS SURE SHOT TO REACH THE PAY SCALE OF
    16400—22400.
    3. ON JOINING INDIAN ARMY A YOUNG BOY CAN NOT EVEN HOPE TO GET THE WHAT OTHER CLASS ONE JOB OFFICERS GET.
    4. ONLY 2O PERCENT CAN HOPE TO GO BEYOND THE RANK OF LT COL IN ARMY . IT MEANS ONLY 20 PERCENT OF YOUNG BOYS WHO JOIN AS AN ARMY OFFICER CAN HOPE TO GET THE PAY SCALE OF 16400—22400 OR MORE ( NOTE THE POINT HERE THAT IN EVERY OTHER CLASS ONE JOB ALL XYZ OFFICERS WHO JOIN INITIALLY GETS THIS PAY SCALE).
    5. THE ABOVE POINT INDICATES THAT 80 PERCENT OF ARMY OFFICERS (WHO HAS MORE THAN 17 /18 YEARS OF SERVICE ARE REJECTED AND DEJECTED
    6. NOW A REQUEST TO PAY COMMISSION
    ARMY OFFICERS NEVER HOPE TO GET WHAT IAS GETS. BUT KINDLY GIVE THEM WHAT OTHER CLASS ONE JOB OFFICERS ARE GETTING. THAT MEANS THE PAY SCALE OF 16400—22400.
    THE SOLUTION
    1. THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR THIS PROBLEM.
    JUST PUT THE LT COL IN THE PAY SCALE OF 15100—22400 INSTEAD OF 15100—18700
    AND THIS WILL ENSURE THAT ARMY OFFICERS GET ATLEAST WHAT OTHER CLASS ONE JOB OFFICERS ARE GETTING

    Comment by kuberkr — November 4, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  33. True like any other huge organization Indian army has its own strengths and weaknesses.
    It’s well documented that the army has not been able to attract talented young men shows by the conduct of some of the officers and men.
    The disregard bordering on contempt shown to people from other professions is not doing any good to the army.
    But the point is how the top army brass is not realizing and doing nothing about it is a serious matter.
    The ancient autocratic top down structure and lack of well oiled grievance redresser system speaks loudly for some real action.
    Number of suicides of young men and women speak a lot about it.

    I read with trepidation the following paragraph from the above post:

    “In IMA the first thing is taught is that “WHEN RAPE IS ENEVITABLE ENJOY IT” that is what all army men who are forced to stay in army due various reasons are doing it. No amount of discussions can bring the realities of army life. Mind you it is worse than your imagination.”

    When ever a delicate situation is discussed the people from army generally blurt out macho strong arm violent solutions.

    Are these sign posts reflecting face of a modern 21st century army?

    Comment by tunnelvision — November 10, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  34. [...] growth prospects, regular relocation and disruption of family life. There are many reasons for an unappealing military career in India today. Focusing exclusively on the salary without tackling the other areas of concern will do no [...]

    Pingback by Pragmatic Euphony » Blog Archive » Indian Army’s cries out for more — February 8, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  35. Dear Vijay,

    I am an officers son, who went for the SSB about last year and got selected; I finally didnt join due to some personal reasons, however, I must point out that what you’ve written is perfectly incorrect.

    Quote:

    “Actually Hindi was allowed as a valid language for group discussion and interview….I come from Andhra Pradesh….no room was given for my lack of understanding this hindi/whindi sh*t. When I am not allowed to speak Telugu but another fellow from the same freaking country is allowed to get away with speaking his language, ever guess who ends up getting selected?”

    According to the Article 343 of the Indian Constitution (Yeah I’m doing Law now!) the State is supossed to work towards encouraging Hindi. Mahatma Gandhi was a Gujrati, but he still supported Hindi as the national language since it was the language that the majority spoke. Moreover,Abdul Zafar Khan, a pathan from NWFP, also addressed people in the rallies in Hindi. He would write in urdu the hindi words and then speak in Hindustani.

    Quote:
    “2. Discrimination: If you are a son of an officer, you KNOW it from when you can speak that you HAVE a job lined up for you. Actually, this is very bad…..unless the spawn of an officer murders somebody, ends up in jail or something, he is going to get selected at SSB.”

    I would like to point out that in my SSB, there were six of us officers kids, out of which two didnt get selected. The reason why offciers kids get selected is because they’ve been living around officers all thier lives and they know what OLQ’s are more than (and I’m getting presumptious here) an average civilian kid.

    Quote:
    “Where does that leave this poor, dirty, physically strong pig-eating low caste fellow from Andhra Pradesh who made it thanks to Govt help? He cannot relate to these “gora” attitudes displayed by kids of officers, He obviously has issues speaking in either english or in hindi.”

    Dude!?!?!?

    This inferiority complex is perhaps what got in your way more than anything else.

    Quote:
    “If there is one place where Dalits should get a reservation…it should be the army.”

    The Sikh LI is composed entirely of SC sikhs jawans and the Mahar regt is also reserved for the Mahars, who I believe are from lower castes.

    Quote:
    “But did they ever tell me if I flunked the psych tests, if it was my attitude with the group tests OR if the interview went very badly? NO.”

    They dont tell you so that you dont come the next time faking what you lacked the previous time. Its simple as that. If they tell you: “Son, you were excellent through out, but four of your qualities as pointed by the Psycology test were not in accordance with our requirements…Do work on them.” Then, the next time you’ll come for the SSB coached to cover up where you lacked.

    I dont even want to get started with the whole question of Coaching Institutes…Even Pakistan is better off than us, in Pakistan these coaching institutes have been banned.(Or so my Paki officer friend told me.)

    Quote:
    “4. Race Theory: It is correct that the Indian Armed Forces do not subscribe (officially) to the martial theory of they british masters, but in practice it is something else.”

    The race theory works, thats why its been followed since like ever. In this regard, do read books written by a Paticular Mr. Stephan Cohen, he’s this expert on the Indian Army and has written many books on it.
    BTW, the regts are soon going pure once again.

    Quote:
    “This coupled with hindi is the reason why there is such a low representation of folks from south india in the military”

    South Indians just dont join the Forces…that why they are under represented. I am a Marathi BTW, and my dad speaks perfect punjabi. This thing about coming under the spell of the masters thing…( “And the present day leadership that comes from these parts is still under the spell of their masters when it come to recruitment.” )is what is perfect BS is made up of.

    Quote:
    “Love for English and Saheb culture”

    All right. Heres one thing which I have to agree with you on. However,
    I love this saheb culture…you must see Armd Regts and you’ll know what Saheb culture is all about. However, the IAF is quite egalitarian compared to the army.

    Comment by Lohitash — March 12, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  36. Koi Kuch bhi kahe ….
    Main to Air Force main hi jaoonga..!!
    Earning money is so easy nowdays yaar…but to
    be in camaraderie with such refined personalities,
    is’nt worth xchanging for money..!!
    N by the way ..” MONEY IS’NT EVERYTHIG”…

    Comment by Stanley George — May 14, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  37. I have glanced through the blog and am now tempted to respond. I am ex-NDA, served Indian Army for 24 years and have now been with private sector for over 24 years. Way back in 50s, when private sector employment was not significant, government employment in civil and allied services and defence were the large options for people from middle class. NDA entry was possible at youger age through UPSC and a collector was equated to a Captain in the Indian Army. Large percentage of elite females wanted to marry armed forces officers for quality of life and glamour of uniform. Armed forces were never a service paid better than civil services. Patriotism or NOT, this was a very respectablwe employment avenue. Large number of entrants came from upper salaried class, judiciary and ICS, besides some from royalty. NDA offered education and character building, as part of leadership, something which even today no other institution offers. This facility cannot be bought at any cost anywhere. This is borne out by a fact that many entreprenures sent their wards to NDA for 3 years, paid for cost of training and withdrew them after 3 years, so that the guy became a better person.The institution of Officers Mess fostered an austere style of life excelling any event in five star environment. This was a career of continuous education and development, through courses designed for perfornmance expectations at various levels. Organization has a razor sharp promotional pyramid hence every entrant does not reach pay bands of generals. Lately, armed forces officers have been denigrated by polticians, bureaucrats and the society. Service conditions are more ardous because armed forces are struggling with anti-terrorism environment, a perineal worse than war like condition, which does not seem to be ending. Frequent postings, separation from families, non-availability of accomodation, burden of maintaing dual establishment in the interest of children education are factors unparalleled in civil services. Commitment for supreme sacrifice in the terms of service, without factoring in value for this risk, has lowered preference for this career. The pay commissions are by bureaucracy, who are very envious of the quality of leadership inculcated in this cadre. Hence they decide on protocols, continuously denigrating this service. Private sector today pays more in terms of CTC (Cost ot the Company)for a peer with about 10 years service.They don’t taste loss of life for the nation in service. Hence they cannot perceive this factor.It is for Defence hierarchy to impress upon the politicians and pay commissions. There is no job security in private sector. The designations on business cards are valid within the organization only. Service conditions are more suffocating because of sycophancy. This sector does not invest in personality development. They employ ex-servicemen for their availability at comparively lower CTC, lower churn and integrity. But they treat employees like a condom i.e. use and throw. There is ongrowing comparison with IAS for pay-scales. Perhaps one solution could have been assured rise in pay scale from Rs 14000/-pm to Rs 60000/- per month by way of annual increments in 30 years, rank pay of Rs 5000/- for every selection grade rank and compensation with one time compensation of 100 times emoluments at the time of death in service, besides pension. This will largely remove the disparity and reduce churn in service. For example,an absurd case could be that a Liutenant does not get promoted to any other rank but reaches a basic of Rs 60000/- in 30 years. This could possibly reduce heart burn. Other facilities like ECHS, Institutional Membership and pension shall continue to be differentiators with private sector. Being a voluntary chosen occupation, term of service should be reduced to about 15 years to earn pension. Short service officers should be given 3 chances to appear before selection board to convert to permanent commision with about 3 years loss of seniority. These are my very personal views. I have no regrets for joining NDA and maintain that I was very fortunate to have been groomed there. I attribute 70% of my employability in private sector to NDA, Staff College and College Of Military Engineering.

    Comment by Vinod Chandra Khare — July 29, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  38. I am a second generation infantry officer commissioned in ‘89. I believe there exits a strong case for deep internal reforms in the IA.
    I recall an old anecdote of a platoon sergeant complaining to the CO about the wimpish second lieutenant who ran back to the rear trenches when the attack was to go in. However, when the CO replaced the officer with a gung-ho fellow – this time it was the rest of the platoon that ran back to the rear trenches. The tricks of leadership lie in between the two extremes.
    The central idea of military leadership is to place the leader at such a pedestal that all his mortal fears are overcome by his fear of loss of respect in the eyes of the led (his men). This is the bottom line – the yardstick that every tradition, idiosyncrasy and procedure should match up. However, a major change in the last 20 years, for regimental officers, is the constant widespread and continuous threat of life and limb to self and command in counter insurgency. When you factor in semi-rural/urban environments, political ambiguity and the straitjacketed terms of engagement under intense media glare, the current challenge beats even the intensely fought Afgan campaigns of yesteryear. Also, the relative quality of adversaries drastically improved, for want of a better word, since the late 80s (LTTE, LeT, HuM, NSCN-IM etc).
    Sadly, this largely rudderless army reacted haphazardly to this tumultuous change by making regimental service far less glamorous (for suckers?) and staff assignments far safer to both limb and prospects (for the worldly wise?). The net result is loss of pride in wearing the uniform (even literally) by officers and men alike. The cribs about pay and status, therefore, are the symptoms not the malaise.
    The second issue seems more insurmountable. It concerns the role of the IA in protecting the interests and runaway aspirations of its teeming billion and their resource hungry poverty alleviation programmes).If an army (armed forces) has to protect 1/6th of the world it must at least match up with the biggest bullies. The army was always the biggest corporate entity (remember the Company’s army) – it must now provide for the country. The ‘finance whiz kid national leadership’ should not only demand the bang for the buck but also decide the most suitable economies of scale at which our armed forces will deliver.

    Comment by Gautam Jha — August 21, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

  39. I am a second generation infantry officer commissioned in ‘89. I believe there exits a strong case for deep internal reforms in the IA.
    I recall an old anecdote of a platoon sergeant complaining to the CO about the wimpish second lieutenant who ran back to the rear trenches when the attack was to go in. However, when the CO replaced the officer with a gung-ho fellow – this time it was the rest of the platoon that ran back to the rear trenches. The tricks of leadership lie in between the two extremes.
    The central idea of military leadership is to place the leader at such a pedestal that all his mortal fears are overcome by his fear of loss of respect in the eyes of the led (his men). This is the bottom line – the yardstick that every tradition, idiosyncrasy and procedure should match up. However, a major change in the last 20 years, for regimental officers, is the constant widespread and continuous threat of life and limb to self and command in counter insurgency. When you factor in semi-rural/urban environments, political ambiguity and the straitjacketed terms of engagement under intense media glare, the current challenge beats even the intensely fought Afgan campaigns of yesteryear. Also, the relative quality of adversaries drastically improved, for want of a better word, since the late 80s (LTTE, LeT, HuM, NSCN-IM etc).
    Sadly, this largely rudderless army reacted haphazardly to this tumultuous change by making regimental service far less glamorous (for suckers?) and staff assignments far safer to both limb and prospects (for the worldly wise?). The net result is loss of pride in wearing the uniform (even literally) by officers and men alike. The cribs about pay and status, therefore, are the symptoms not the malaise.
    The second issue seems more insurmountable. It concerns the role of the IA in protecting the interests and runaway aspirations of its teeming billion and their resource hungry poverty alleviation programmes).If an army (armed forces) has to protect 1/6th of the world it must at least match up with the biggest bullies. The army was always the biggest corporate entity (remember the Company’s army) – it must now provide for the country. The ‘finance whiz kid national leadership’ should not only demand the bang for the buck but also decide the most suitable economies of scale at which our armed forces will deliver.

    Comment by Gautam — August 21, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  40. after reading the last two comment i can say that the NDA chaps who could make it to GENERAL never did any thing to counter the babus and they kept denigrating the services. EVEN now if NDA GEN keep delieving ‘angrezi’ only then god only can help this org

    Comment by kartik — September 9, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  41. Hi, I have applied for the Territorial Army and am due for the tests in nov 08. My friends dissuade me from joining. the news about second hand treatment to the services is also demoralizing. can someone kindly give me a honest opinion regarding joining the TA.

    Comment by Prabhu — September 29, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

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