Tuesday, February 11, 2014

OUTSOURCING EX-SERVICEMEN WELFARE

OUTSOURCING EX-SERVICEMEN WELFARE
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

RETIRED VETERAN “FAUJIS” – ARE THEY WELL LOOKED AFTER?

Values change with time.

I earlier days, children considered it their bounden duty to look after their parents.

Now, it is not so.

That is why an increasing number of children want to migrate and settle down abroad, in America, Europe, Australia and other developed countries, for a better life, leaving their parents to fend for themselves back home.

As they imbibe modern western values, they will feel no pangs of conscience to put their parents in old age homes – in fact, it will seem a practicable thing to “outsource” parent-care to old age homes.

A similar value change is seen in the armed forces, the army, the navy, and the air force.

Earlier, just like children considered parent-care as their personal duty, serving officers considered it as their bounden duty to look after the welfare of veteran ex-servicemen.

Now, in a similar way as values have changed in the modern world, values have changed in the services too.

The Army Chief, Navy Chief and Air Force Chief consider it as their bounden duty to look after serving personnel under their command only.

The Service Chiefs seem to have no obligation, moral or formal, towards veteran retired ex-servicemen.

Maybe that is why the Service Chiefs have “outsourced” the welfare of ex-servicemen to the civilians of the Ministry of Defence (in the same manner as modern children outsource parent-care to old age homes).

In September 2004, the army, navy and air force “outsourced” the responsibility of looking after ex-servicemen and their widows to a newly created Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare (DESW) which is manned by civilians.

So, the uniformed services have abdicated the “duty” of looking after their “elders” (ex-servicemen), in the same manner as modern children wriggle out of their parent-care duties.

Values have changed.

If children can wash their hands of parent-care, what is wrong if the defence services wash their hands of ex-servicemen care?

Was it a good decision by the Armed Forces Chiefs to “outsource” ex-servicemen’s welfare to civilians?

Is the DESW proving to be more effective in ex-servicemen’s welfare than the Service Headquarters were in the past?

Well, only a veteran ex-serviceman who retired before 2004 and has experienced “both sides of the coin” (pre-2004 and post-2004) can probably answer these questions.

What do you feel – do you think retired veteran “faujis” are well looked after in India?


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