Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to size

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Will Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar be able to break the bureaucratic stranglehold over the defence services and restore to them their due dignity? This would be one of his major challenges in his new job. The suffocating control of the babus with no expertise in military matters in all major decisions pertaining to the forces - from purchases to administrative issues - has had a demoralisng effect on the latter. With a government overtly sympathetic to them, the expectations are high.

    According to a cross section of former senior personnel from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, the South Block at Raisina Hill — the seat of the MoD — is in total control of bureaucrats, with the defence secretary at the top, who is an Indian Administrative Service officer. The biggest task for the technocrat-politician, they believe, would be to bring the chiefs of defence services at par with his ministry’s secretary and joint secretaries, when it comes to taking major decisions.

    “The post of a defence secretary, who’s an IAS officer, is now redundant. It should be replaced by any top personnel from the services, because defence sector needs a specialist and not a generalist. The present NDA government and the new defence minister need to take up this issue of reforming the existing system on top priority. The national defence can’t be compromised at the hands of babudom,” former director, Centre for Land Warfare & Securities, Maj Gen (retd) Dhruv Katoch said.
    Manohar Parrikar. AFP.

    Manohar Parrikar. AFP.

    The dominance of the bureaucracy with babus doggedly guarding their turf vis-à-vis the personnel has resulted in no integration of servicemen in the defence ministry, no coordination in developing a mechanism or framework for formulating strategic policies and no unified commands. In promotion matters too the defence personnel have been getting a short-shrift.

    He added, “A bureaucrat may be good at work but due to lack of requisite expertise and practical understanding of defence issues, whether it’s related to procurement, appointments, strategic issues, etc., a lot of time gets wasted in the rotation of files and prevents prompt action. And, this demoralizes the defence personnel.”

    Many of those who spoke to Firstpost felt the inclusion of defence personnel in the topmost decision-making body would help in putting the real issues and problems before the minister, which otherwise get lost in the bureaucratic maze. “Unlike a bureaucrat, an Army officer has practical knowledge due to field experience. Moreover, border issues are becoming increasingly sensitive and those need specialists from defence to address them on priority basis,” a former Military Intelligence official remarked.

    Another important area that ex-defence personnel feel needs immediate attention of Parikkar is eliminating the deficiency of arms, ammunition and equipment like radar, telecommunication gadgets, etc, in the forces. This decision regarding procuring such crucial operational equipment again is often caught in bureaucratic dilly-dallying.

    “There is an immediate need to make up the ‘operational void’ – the critical hollowness or deficiency of arms, ammunition, equipment etc, or else this causes severe impediment for a regiment,” said defence analyst Brig (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal.

    Reminiscing the previous NDA era, Kanwal said former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee during his tenure used to meet all the three chiefs of defence staff once a month. Whereas, the then defence minister George Fernandez used to have a weekly meeting over morning tea known as Raksha Mantri Weekly Meeting with all the three chiefs and the defence secretary.

    “The new minister should follow something similar, to sort out issues and undertake a review to formulate a comprehensive national security strategy,” added Kanwal.

    Given Parikkar’s IIT background, it’s expected that he would go for modernization across all the services, which has reached stagnation. “Since he understands technology, he should focus on underperforming defence PSUs and Ordnance factories, which operate in captive market. Modernization is must and these units should be allowed to operate in open market, with greater accountability,” a defence source said. Next, on his priority list should be immediate appointment of the chief of defence staff, which the services officials, think would expedite major decisions, which lie pending in the files tucked away in the ministry.

    Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to size?
     
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  3. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    Actually in every department, not only for Defence only, IAS is redundant. There some sharp ones, but how better they could be than the career-man from the same department? A career-man would have the know-how of the department on intuitive level more than a guy who comes there only for a while.

    Also, I believe that there should more easier upward movement from the low to mid-level executive post to highest post in Govt. side which would encourage more talent to come and join Govt. service, as frankly in my experience the Govt. needs smarter people in the ground more than in the AC chambers. Also, there may be a question how smart those Civil Service fellows actually are when they pass by regurgitating what they have sponged off from coaching classes. Although, admittedly UPSC in recent days have been trying to modify the recruitment systems.
     
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  4. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    Its high time the GOI does something to provide department oriented training and seminars to individuals of the dept adopt more professional standards to audit efficiency. When the foundation for conduct and operations is stable the rest will catch on
     
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  5. Eesh

    Eesh Regular Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    How do you bring Chiefs of Staff at par with defence Seccy? Two ways. Reduce their salary to that of a Seccy or increase the salary of Seccys.

    Are civilians totally redundant in Defence Min? Look at USA, UK etc. There the same thing prevails.

    A defence Min has to balance many things and co-ordinate with ministries like Home, Finance, Foreign etc. He has to think wide, compared to a service officer who thinks rarely beyond his OG and medals.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  6. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    No need to "cut babus to size", as far as they make sure that the job get done. IMO.
     
  7. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    The new Defence Minister's work is cut out; It is not only the Babus but Indian Economy Overall


    How does any Defence Minister modernize with empty pockets. Where 60% of the budget goes into salaries and pension. Another 20% goes into stores, ammunition, gasoline and various training exercises. After spending another 10% on feeding the army, there is hardly anything left for capital goods and modernization. That takes into account the $39 billion defence budget. Unless additional $10 billion is added for capital budget, all that talk of modernization would come to nothing. The forgoing was A.K. Anthony's problem. The economy had taken turn for the worst for the last four years, there was not much he or the new defence minister do.

    Anthony had one major fault, he had allowed the bureaucracy run rampart. With money in short supply, he allowed bureaucrats to go slow. That became the major bottleneck.

    With every unit of the army looking to replace every piece of hardware they had, they were jockeying between themselves to get their pet project approved.

    All this can be ended by PM Modi. He stimulates the economy so that additional $8 billion a year be added to the capital budget on top of the everyday requirements of the armed forces. The Defence Minister can reduce and cut the power of the bureaucracy. That will reduce procurement time. He can discipline the armed forces to set their sight not on pie in the sky items but on more realistic items. Place to begin would be preparation of the GQSRs. The latter heavily slants the selection in favor of imports. First item to go would be Rafale deal. Second to go would be the T90 tank deal with Russia. Like this other deals need to be looked and alternatives found. The principle should that if it cannot be made in India, it is not bought. Etc. etc.
     
  8. pkroyal

    pkroyal Regular Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    Given that the Defence Minister , Manohar Parrikar(MP) is qualified, IIT etc & a man on the go !!

    what is required in positions of transformational leadership is :-

    Imagination( vision)
    Character
    Soft spoken communication skills
    Focus on outcomes,
    Period

    Babus are relatively savvy, they read the winds

    Many lack character ( financial integrity is a part )

    They admire & follow some one who has all of the above,

    Parrikar has the stuff !!
     
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  9. cobra commando

    cobra commando Tharki regiment Veteran Member Senior Member

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  10. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    I think in selecting Manohar Parrikar our PM had in mind his engineering background plus his reputation as tough administrator and spotless reputation in mind ! If anyone can handle Defence Ministry, it is this guy.
     
  11. Eesh

    Eesh Regular Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    Corruption in defence is not surprising. If generals are tamed, that will go far in removal of corruption.

    Forces too are riddled with corruption as many scandals have shown. After all a retired Lt Gen did offer bribe to COAS. A retired AF chief is involved in gratification.Agents of arms dealers are mostly retired military officers.
     
  12. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    The immediate task is streamlining procurements. Civilian bureaucracy is needed for this task.
    IAS has pros and cons but the system has largely worked in India. It is not a priority to change this system.
     
  13. The Fox

    The Fox Regular Member

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    Re: Defence forces vs bureaucracy: Will Manohar Parrikar cut babus to

    If The Defense Minister is going to revamp the MOD then there should be 25%+25%+25%=75% from three service and the next 25% from IAS or civilians this should be the right combination According to Me.
     

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