Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shortchanging the Services

Is a bureaucrat babu’s blood redder or more precious than than of a soldier?
IFS Officer V Venkateshwara Rao and Brigadier Ravi Dutt Mehta were both killed in the suicide bomb attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul earlier this week.
While the Army Officer’s widow will get RS 5 lakh ex-gratia and normal pension benefits as per existing government rules, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced special benefits for the widow of the IFS Officer: Rs. 5 lakhs ex-gratia, plus full salary benefits, including due upward revisions when due, until his date of retirement and pension thereafter, with government accommodation until his date of retirement. But for the PM’s intervention, she would have got only the pension and other benefits.
One has full sympathy for the young widow, ditto for the Brigadier’s and those of the two ITBP officials who were also killed in the bomb attack.
But the question does arise: Why the special package only for the IFS widow?
Is Fauji blood thinner than a Babu’s? Why are the Services being shortchanged all the time by the Republic of India?