Soldiers aren’t meant to run canteens: Panel

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Coalmine, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Coalmine

    Coalmine Regular Member

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    Soldiers aren’t meant to run canteens: Panel

    Soldiers aren’t meant to run canteens: Panel - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: Soldiers should train for war, guard borders and respond to emergencies. They are not meant to be deployed as "sahayaks" or orderlies of officers, nor help in running CSD and unit-run canteens (URCs) or other menial tasks.

    With this principle in mind, the parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) has asked the defence ministry (MoD) to"completely withdraw the combatants" engaged in running URCs around the country to"preserve, protect and spur their martial spirit".

    However, MoD as well as the 13 lakh-strong armed forces are unlikely to agree to this, much like they have repeatedly rejected strong recommendations by different parliamentary committees to do away with the "demeaning and humiliating" practice of using soldiers as sahayaks.

    The Army contends that officers get sahayaks basically for upkeep of their uniforms and weapons as well as to act as their radio operators and"buddies" during combat operations.Critics, however, slam the sahayak system as a vestige of the colonial era. They argue many officers blatantly misuse their orderlies, getting them to do household work, walk the dogs and take children to school.

    Similarly, the PAC said as many as 80,000 service personnel are deployed on "a full-time basis" in URCs in clear violation of Army orders which specifically state "no military personnel or free transport is to be used in the running of canteens". The 3,730 URCs, which serve as a network for CSD goods and liquor down to the battalion level, have an over Rs10,000 crore annual turnover but employ just about 5,400 civilian employees.

    The committee said using soldiers to run URCs in disturbed or insurgency-hit areas "may be justified" at one level. But their use in "day-to-day mundane business activities" of URCsin undisturbed areas "defies logic" in view of the "undisputed fact" that the "primary job of combatants is to guard the frontiers" and respond to emergencies.

    "The government spends huge amounts of money on the selection, rigorous training and development of regular combatants to keep them in a state of full-preparedness. Obviously, the deployment of combatants on a regular basis to run URCs leads to colossal waste of publicmoney and defeats the very purposefor which the uniformed cadre is created, besides impinging on the nation's security," it said.

    Criticizing the defence establishment's persistent refusal to allow CAG to audit the URCs on the ground that their profits constituted"non-public funds", the committee also asked the MoD to reconsider the matter for "greater transparency".
     
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  3. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Army is not parliament, People of parliamentary public accounts committee should understand it nor they should try to make army an parliament otherwise no one will be on Borders to save anyone inside..

    All these task fall in General duties, These are part of general duties in which Solider were engage in work in peace time, Why again cannot be answer coz one can never understand this unless he is part of us or lived among us..

    Once a Civilian part of Army is no longer a normal Civilian anymore, And one can never understand us from sitting top at some chair looking down to something alien to him, Military is not same as Civilian..


    @Ray Sir..
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is a misfortune that unlike the Western nation, the Indian PMs have no idea of the military.

    There are many battle casualties, who have downgraded medical categories and cannot do active military duties and work. And yet, they cannot be medically discharged.

    How does the Army units then employ them?

    If they do not participate in the unit military activities and merely hang around as 'baggage', it will be a blow to the morale of those who have to toil and slog doing active military duties.

    Therefore, these low medical category personnel are suitably employed in Unit Run Canteens, Mandir assistants and so on where they are gainfully employed and are not left out of regimental activities because they are not physically capable of hard regimental duties.

    It must be remembered that the Military is not a social service organisation. Every person has to contribute.

    That is why if someone dies in a public service undertaking or the Police, the next of kin is given a job in the organisation as a social obligation.

    No such thing happens in the Military!
     
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  5. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Most Western militaries hire contractors to do such work. Soldiers should not have to deal with such trivial things as washing dishes, peeling potatoes and doing errands. There is definite abuse in India and Russia were soldiers are pimped out to serve non-military functions and officers pocket the profits or personal gain. Shut it down and get into the 21st century.
     
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  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Most western armies are not deployed on the frontiers or in COIN.

    A peacetime army that has no security concerns can outsource such tasks to any Tom, Dick or Harry.

    However, when an army and its units are on the frontier in active combat duties or controlling areas from terrorist attacks, security and security of operation is of paramount.concern.

    One, under such circumstances, would be damned fools if they allowed civilians a free run of their unit area.

    I wonder if you have heard of KP duties KP. It is duties done by soldiers in western armies working under the kitchen staff assigned to junior U.S. enlisted military personnel.

    [​IMG]
    Sailor on KP duty on a U.S. Navy ship

    Could you amplify by what you mean by

    That you know so little of the Indian Army is evidently clear.

    Soldiers are paid and their pay goes to the bank where they maintain their account.

    Pray, how do officers pocket the profit? What profit, may I ask?

    We are well aware of how the western army fights in the 21st Century.

    Spares us the supercilious homilies!
     
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  7. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Sir, you have elicited an unhappy memory for me that I have long repressed.

    However, even in the dim past when I did KP, there were machines to peel the potatoes. :)
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Western countries are ahead of the times! :)

    Each member of my brother's family, being Americans, has a car.

    I have just one car and find it difficult to pay for its upkeep and running!

    :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
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  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    If we are to only have the military for purely military duties i.e. combat oriented, then we should stop the President, Governors and others having Aides de Camp and silly ceremonial guards, stop the military parades like the Republic Day parade, have no military staff cars that are being used by bureaucrats and Ministers and there are enough on that one can say.

    The problem is that these neo Zamindars (MPs and Ministers) are jealous of the efficiency with which the military functions and its pomp and show, which they, with all the power that they have manipulated, demanded and usurped cannot match.

    So, ideal is to bring them down to their state of inefficiency!

    They are hard at it, with the introduction of special privilege to those in the military, who jump to their bidding with post retirement posts and grandeur.

    Have they done anything about the housing scam in Colaba Mumbai?

    They can never do a sausage about it. Ministers are involved!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
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  10. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    What, you are going to compare US Navy to Army? It is not comparable. They have contractors providing food service at installations.

    I have heard plenty of abuse stories from Russia and India. It cannot be denied.
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Give us a break.

    You know nothing!

    WG Ewald is a land lubber and was in the US Army.

    Read his post!
     
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Since you know so much about the Indian Army, could I give an example why we don't outsource?

    Here is why:

    21st Century for you!

    It is one thing to be a bleeding heart Politically Correct snoot and it is another thing to be careful about national security.

    One prefers the latter!

    At least by those whose lives are on the line and standing vigil at the frontier!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
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  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @Armand2REP

    Here is a true story of what we did.

    Therefore, you can quit your rave and rant.

    And I was a Colonel and a Commanding Officer under combat situation and my assistant was a Major!

    *********************************************************



    The GOC was to visit us. To top it all, he was to have lunch. It was not that we were stingy and did not want to host the GOC; it was just that our Regimental Centre, then being commanded by a soldier Brigadier, thought that our unit required to be real battle hardened under strict combat conditions – and so he had posted out our Mess Cook, and to add insult to injury, also the masalchi (the condiment grinder man) to Ferozpur so that they exercised their culinary delights for a Brigade Commander! This left us at the mercy of Joe - who actually was borrowed lunger (troops’ cookhouse) marvel. His name was not Joe. We called him so, to assuage our ego, and what could be better than a cook with an English name?! It also gave him the personality fillip, wherein the food was still of the 'lunger’ class, but the English name ensured that his enthusiasm for dousing his culinary marvels with an overdose of condiments, though less on chilles to appear very officer like meal!

    Under these circumstances, the Pakistanis were easy meat to challenge compared to hosting a lunch for the GOC. And as they say, a way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, we decided this was the best weapon we had and our GOC was reputed to have an ample stomach!

    When a GOC wants to break bread, it becomes more serious an operational problem than the Pakistanis peppering shots at random and into the blue. As is normal in the Army, when people are clueless, they hold a conference, and we were clueless how to organise this lunch! The Second in Command, true as rain, suggested a Conference and herded the officers of the Battalion HQs, namely, the Adjutant and the Quartermaster (QM), for their ‘valuable’ suggestions. I presided, being the Commanding Officer. And yes, forgive my memory relapse, to put the records straight, our post dog, William, also attended. He was an honorary member of our Mess, having the right as he consumed the major portion of Joe’s culinary marvels that were actually unfit for human consumption.....


    The decision taken, the QM and I hotfooted it to the Officers Mess kitchen – an underground bunker, dark, damp, dismal and squalid! The Second in Command, the honorary Officers Mess Librarian since he controlled the finances, helpfully brought the book, ’Maharaja’s Cooking’ written by some minor Raja of Madhya Pradesh. Very apt title, but were we the ‘cooking staff’ up to it?

    It was decided that I was the best cook. My qualifications? I survived on extra messing of the lunger version of scrambled eggs – bujiya. Hence, not having tasted Joe’s own, I was definitely the sole one who understood food as it was eaten in more respectable and congenial environments. The QM, rotund that he was, was selected as the masalchi, since he did not have the rank to outmatch me, and because he was a gourmand, living to eat and not eating to live!

    The decision taken, the QM and I hotfooted it to the Officers Mess kitchen – an underground bunker, dark, damp, dismal and squalid! The Second in Command, the honorary Officers Mess Librarian since he controlled the finances, helpfully brought the book, ’Maharaja’s Cooking’ written by some minor Raja of Madhya Pradesh. Very apt title, but were we the ‘cooking staff’ up to it?.......

    I took a calculated risk. I wanted to surprise ourselves and leave the GOC surprised and guessing as to what Fate deemed his way! And one cannot challenge Fate, can one? So to Fate we let the GOC stomach lie!

    The masquerading mess cook Joe cut the chicken dexterously, he having been cautioned earlier that it had to be cut Officers mess style, where the chicken could be recognised to be so and not mistaken for crow.

    We wanted the GOC to realise it was a chicken and not a crow. This was some feat too, since live chicken was a rarity in these parts where food came in tins, bottles, in dehydrated form and in pills that only the famished of Somalia could relish, notwithstanding the ASC’s claim nothing fresh could be issued as everything shrivelled in the cold, including human beings. As if, someone had asked the ASC to supply human beings as Meat on Hoof, even if most in uniform were but sheep!

    That chicken was cut the officers mess style. I attacked it with a fork stabbing wildly like a cadet attempting the ‘Best Bayonet’ at the National Defence Academy.

    In the meantime, the QM, my honorary masalchi, pulverised the High Altitude rations of raisins, cashew, almonds and the works into a paste and stirred it into a bowl of milk powder turned curds. There being no chillies, he doused the mixture with Hongtu’s Chinese Chilli Paste, a welcomed gift from an officer’s wife on the Delhi – Hong Kong run of Air India! And then... into this goo..... we threw the Officers Mess style cut chickens to marinate for four hours!

    The QM went into an overdrive with the remainder of the menu since the dal and the vegetables were no problem – the Maharaja’s Cookbook proving quite adequate and the ingredients being available. Joe, remember him? - Our lunger turned officers mess cook? - He prepared the dessert, which in the Army, is known as the ‘sweet dish’. It was some exotic stuff from where he hailed and was his Mum’s favourite. We fervently hoped that the GOC and his Mother shared the same tastes!

    The marinating done, the chicken was cooked over a slow fire on a slow burning charcoal fire and once done, it was declared ready to eat.

    http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/...m-mouthorgan-other-indian-army-stories-5.html
     
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  14. Apollyon

    Apollyon Führer Senior Member

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    As Ray pointed out, CSD and URC are a way to appoint those not so physically fit to be employed in frontline. :borat:
    But what about sahayaks ? Our Jawans are trained to fight in frontline not to be a domestic maid to serve their officers, this is shameless to say the least. :tsk::tsk:
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sahayaks are not 'maids'.

    They are friends for life.

    They look after you and are your protection during combat since they watch the enemy while you recce for the operations.

    They ensure you are well turned out and not shabby like some orphan.

    Yes, they do some odd jobs, but so does all Personal Assistants of Ministers and bureaucrats.

    Have you not seen 'peons' working for bureaucrats and Ministers?

    They (our sahayaks) are like the family.

    When you are out on months long exercise, you know your family is safe since they are there. So, you can devote yourself totally to the profession without worrying what will happen to your family you have left behind!

    I had visited my unit last year and I was surprised to see my old sahayak, who was a Havildar now, there to look after me. I told him that he should recuse himself since he was a Havildar.

    He said that his rank was immaterial when it comes to looking after me!

    I spoke to the CO and the SM, but the Havildar who was my sahayak for long, refused to not be there by my side and look after me.

    That is the bond.

    We do not think of them as maids or they of us as zamindars and instead as buddies for life!

    It is difficult to explain the bondage to those who have not experienced the same!

    Take the case of my runner (office assistant who takes the files from one office to another) or my driver from my last posting (one and a half years). They are from a different Regiment and actually should have no bonds by your standards. And yet, they ring us up and ask how the family and I are doing and we ring them up too.

    My sahayak from the unit which I commanded, is now a big time contractor in Kerala. He regularly rings me up that he will send an air ticket so that I visit him in Trivandrum, and slips in that knowing that as a retired officer I don't have the money to buy the ticket, he will foot the bill :)! And he is not doing it to show off, he is doing it because of old bonding!

    My CO (who retired eons ago) is visiting my city enroute to Sikkim on a private holiday. I retired in a higher rank than he did. I am running around to ensure that he is going to get a VIP treatment while he is in the city and when he visits me and wherever he goes since it was on my beat. Why should I do it?

    The answer is simple - BONDING!

    This cannot be understood by civilians since their lives are not in the hand of their superiors or protected by their subordinate.

    For those in Army LIFE is at the hands of good BONDING between the superior and the subordinate!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  16. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    That is absolutely true ..

    I should also say this, we hire / keep maid from civil area for house hold work and pay them on monthly basis and we also provide them quarters so does electricity for their family which are attached outside of our own houses, the maid from civil living inside cantonments are provided with ID, And they live with us only as long as we are posted in the place ..
     
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  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    How did Lal Kurtis in Cantonments come about?

    Think that over!
     
  18. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    I can certainly do without the insults. Attack the message, not the messenger. Not one Army base in the Green Zone had Cook MOS in it = totally outsourced.
     
  19. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Similar to US Army units/garrisons posted abroad. I experienced that in US Army Japan (Camp Zama.)
     
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  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is scurrilous to spread canards without proof like the IA officers make profit skimming off the sahayak's pay and it does display you do not have the requisite knowledge how the Indian Army functions.

    One cannot skim profits from peoples' pay when the pay of all personnel are directly sent to their bank accounts!

    I may refresh your mind as to what you wrote:

    So, you claim that there is a definite abuse in the Indian Army. It means you are totally sure of it. In other words, those who are not conversant, will take it to be the Gospel since you portray yourself to be an expert with knowledge of the workings of the Indian Army. That to me, is unfair and requires to be rebutted strongly.

    And then you indicate that officers pocket the profits or personal gain. . This indicates that t you have no clue as to how the pay of the Indian Army personnel is disbursed! And yet, you want to give an impression that you are well aware as to the inner workings of the Indian Army.

    What pimping are you alluding to?

    Therefore, it is not only the message that required to be addressed, but also the messenger, who posing as an expert, is spreading canards that many, not in the know, would believe as the Gospel since the messenger claims to know all!

    My stating - You know nothing! is hardly an insult. It is merely a statement of fact since you assume to be an expert, while in actuality, as I have proved, you are totally ignorant of the ground realities and hence you actually know nothing! It is merely a realistic statement of fact and nothing more!

    I have no qualms if you criticise the Army for its wrongdoings and errors, but taking on an air of knowing all about the Army and spreading scurrilous canards does gets the goat of those who are actually aware of issues.

    I might add for the general awareness, that where there is no security matters involved, we have civilians working out there.

    The larger Canteens are staffed by civilians. The coaches and caddies at the Golf Course are civilians and so are the ball boys at the Tennis courts. The ground staff, administrative staff, Group D staff, to include sahayaks and kitchen staff, in our training institutions are all civilians.

    Therefore, where there is no security threat to the establishment or operations, there are civilians employed.



    On the Green Zone, this might interest you regarding how safe it is:

    Therefore, it could be surmised that while outsourcing may assist, yet the dangers to the security is not obviated with civilians being alongside.

    Outsourcing helps in keeping the overheads of maintaining an Army low. And the US is otherwise cash strapped.


    Also of interest regrading URCs and its equivalent in the US Army.

    The US Army also uses soldiers.

     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
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  21. Apollyon

    Apollyon Führer Senior Member

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    So i say glorified maids. :pound:

    Hahaha, i am amused.

    Sahayaks are trained soldiers who have joined Indian Army to defend their country from enemy not to polish shoes, wash your clothes, shop for your groceries, clean your house and other jobs done by a typical "maid" while peons are just peons, they are no trained personals.
    This is just ridiculous and shameful. No self-respectful organisation in 21st century would allow it's trained manpower to be wasted like this, to serve it's Senior Officials. But well it's Indian Army.

    Wow wow wow !
    What about the families of those Sahayak's and Indian Army personals deployed ?
    Well i think Officers are just special, no equal-equal in Army. :tsk::tsk:
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
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