I will be writing to you every week on issues that I think are important and need your attention. I believe that someday you will get to read them, until then, I hope they serve the readers of my blog as a platform to have a sane discussion. Unfortunately, the “paid” media is just sponsoring a shouting match and its a money game and not everyone has a non-partisan forum to share thoughts.
This week I would like to bring your attention to the armed forces – and by armed forces I mean not just the Army, Navy and Airforce, but also the Police, BSF, CRPF, Coast guard, ITBP, .. And one unarmed, unloved, force – the Traffic Police. The reason I bring all of these together is, they all defend the average citizen from either an aggressive neighbouring country or a fellow citizen out to harm another. They all need reforms, attention and some love.
Here are some of my suggestions and hopefully readers of my blog will add several more before I send this to you –
1. As far as the defence forces are concerned, the Army, Navy and the Airforce, the biggest thing that you could do is to get the One Rank One Pension implemented and out of the way. That will ensure many of the retired armed forces personnel feel rewarded and it will be an overall acknowledgement of the armed forces’ service to the nation.
2. The police force is demoralised and while you urged the film fraternity to paint them in the right light, letting go of Salman and the way his late bodyguard who was made an ex-policeman and treated so badly doesn’t help boost the morale of the police force. What about the police reforms ? I guess they gathered dust under the UPA regime, but please pick those up …. The police force is under equal or more pressure as the defence forces. Why not pay them well ? Why not modernise the police force ?
3. This maybe the most debated suggestion – every child between the ages of 16 to 22 must serve one year in the armed forces – depending on which force requires more people, the youth can get allocated. A certain number on random basis must be drafted into the traffic police force every year – if they are made responsible to ensure others follow traffic rules, they will automatically follow the rules !!. Some may choose to continue being in the armed forces and they can just continue. The armed forces teach discipline, tolerance, service and putting others before oneself … Most of all, dignity of labor. These are essential lessons for the youth of our country and giving one year of their life doesn’t affect their ability to earn well later. Imagine if Salman had served as a traffic cop for a year — he would have got his license the right way and would have known better than to drive under the influence of alcohol.
Please make no exception – everyone’s child must work in the defense forces and the Defense forces includes the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, BSF, CRPF, Coast guard, ITBP and most importantly the Traffic Police. Young men and women, the differently abled, the transgender, the homosexual, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Parsi, why even a foreigner’s child if he/she is born in India. Start from the next academic year so parents have a year to mentally get ready, but please do consider this idea. These interns get some stipend and will start getting all the benefits once they continue in the service they get to serve in. Maybe make this like the MNREGA scheme – one year of your life for the country.
4. Offer opportunities for people like me to have a second career in the forces. I would have joined the Army or Air Force right after the 12th if only I could have been part of the combat forces…. I am ready to serve even now and Krishnan would love to serve in the Traffic police department. Like us there will be several people who have had great careers and would like a chance to do maybe 5 years of short service. Why have SSC only for young folks ? Also the Police and Traffic Police will benefit tremendously with late entrants like us.
5. Our Defence Minister is already working on procurement of equipment and hopefully in the process will clean up the arms procurement process. Why not move the police force under the Defence Ministry ? They are internal defence and need the same attention as the forces that defend our borders.
6. Why is the President the chief of the armed forces ? Why can’t it be the Defence Minister ? Btw I read somewhere that the Defense Secretary is the mover and shaker … Why not have one of the ex-Chiefs of the Army, Navy, Airforce or Police be the Defense Secretary on rotation ? What will a civilian know about what’s needed to defend our country ?
7. This suggestion may put you into trouble ModiJi, but it’s needed – please have every one of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha member to spend three days in Kargil, live amidst our brothers who serve there. Yeah some of the members will need medical aid or God may choose to issue their return ticket in one of those days, but well, all of us have a return ticket with a definite date. Not just Kargil, because it will be a mad rush there, include the Nathula Pass, and the Arunachal Border with China. Send the lesser known members to stay in the Manipur jungles where the Armed forces are fighting insurgency. Am suggesting this because till an MP loses a toe to frostbite, he wouldn’t care about the soldier losing his life …
That’s all that I had as suggestions. I hope many readers will add to these and I will send them your way on Friday.
May God bless you with good health and a long life, so you may continue to serve the India that you and we love dearly. Jai Hind.
June 1, 2015
Here are the suggestions from some of my friends and colleagues which were posted on other forums.