A lot has been deliberated on the alleged ‘downgrade’ of the service ranks of the defense officers. This propaganda is nothing short of being incredulous looking at the unambiguous facts.
First of all let’s address the BIG question & get the answer out of our way;
Were the ranks of the armed forces downgraded from their ‘previous’ position? The simple answer is NO!
As pointed out in an earlier write-up; post-independence, technically speaking, there was a need to establish peoples or parliamentary control over the military.Thus establishing the supremacy of the political authority via the civilian bureaucracy. Roles were defined based on the functionality or functional requirements of the job.
The 3 service Chiefshave always worked directly with the Defense Minister (DM) on all strategic and/or tactical matters pertaining to National security. The administrative responsibilities of the Defense Ministry is handled by bureaucrats placed at the same hierarchal positions as any other ministry of GOI hence and there is no scope whatsoever for any hypothetical comparisons with military ranks.
Unfortunately, in the undeniable historical context of deliberate subversion of the armed forces from Nehru-Krishna Menon days and the quick footed anxieties of the armed forces Chiefs have also catalyzed the fanning of this false narrative of a “downgrade”.
Since then, the anxieties of the Chief’s has been directly addressed the DM himself, but the narrative continues to be spun around in the public domain.
This unfortunate & farcical comparison of administrative ranks to combat driven ones in the armed forces are only being made to defame a government which has given the armed forces the most when compared to any government (even non-Congress) governments in the past.
Even for argument if this flawed logic is to be applied everywhere, why not compare the babus in Ministry of Agriculture to the ranks of the army?
Not amply clear yet? Fair enough, lets then try and answer this question – Is a Mango less tastier/better than an Apple?
Thankfully Defense Ministry has come out with much needed clarification (https://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=153023) detailed below and all debates & questions raised by the vested parties should be put to rest with it. Moreover he has also promised to look into any anomalies that may still remain:
“There have been reports in the media that the Govt has issued a new order lowering the status of Military officers with respect to their civilian counterparts in the Armed Forces Headquarters. These reports, quoting a letter dated 18 Oct 2016 issued by the Ministry of Defence, are erroneously stating that the equivalence has been disturbed and status of Service officers has been downgraded.
It is clarified that there has been no down-gradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the Service ranks whatsoever. The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed.
It is further clarified that the present reiteration of rank equivalence, is only for matters of assigning duties and functional responsibilities as is already existing in different offices of the respective Service HQrs of the Army, Navy and Air Force having component of Service personnel as well as Civilian officers. It has no bearing on civilian employees outside these offices of the Service HQrs.
It is reiterated that there is no change in the rank structure or the status of the Armed Forces personnel.
(Release ID :153023)