MPs against orderlies, army refuses to let go
The country’s combat-hardened army officers are busy defending themselves in a new battle at home.delhi Updated: Mar 05, 2010 00:51 IST
The country’s combat-hardened army officers are busy defending themselves in a new battle at home.
MPs are gunning for their old privilege of sahayaks — aides who ostensibly provide support to enable officers to attend to their duties — because the system smacks of a colonial past and of abuse of jawans for domestic chores.
After the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence recommended that the “shameful practice ” be stopped, the defence ministry defended the use of sahayaks, saying instructions had been issued not to employ soldiers for demeaning or humiliating tasks.
In an action taken report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, the defence ministry said, “Sahayak is a comrade-in-arms to officers symbolising trust, respect, warmth, confidence and interdependence, which are the fundamentals of relations between the leaders and the led.”
The ministry’s reply follows a previous recommendation of the parliamentary panel, consisting of 31 MPs.
In an earlier report on stress management, the committee said jawans were recruited for serving the country and not the family members of the officers in demeaning household work.
The ministry, however, believes the institution of sahayak (a personal orderly) provides officers direct contact with men, and helps them gain insights into morale and well being.