MPs panel slams army practice of soldiers as assistants

August 3rd, 2011 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The Indian Army is facing the ire of a parliamentary panel over its continuing practice of employing trained soldiers as sahayaks (personal assistants) of officers.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence strongly condemned the system of employing sahayaks to carry out menial domestic chores of officers in one of its reports about three years ago. It has for the third time now slammed the defence ministry for defending the practice and for not heeding its recommendation of abolishing it.

The report on ’stress management in the armed forces’, 31st by the committee during the 14th Lok Sabha, has said the sahayak system was “inhuman”. It has also stated that the trained soldiers were for fighting wars for the country and they should be used only for such purposes and not stationed at the residences of officers.

But the committee’s current report on the budgetary demands for grants, presented to the Lok Sabha Wednesday, said it “places on record the anguish over the disrespect of one of their important recommendation” to abolish the system.

The committee, headed by Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, has also declared that the defence ministry owed it an explanation for not implementing the recommendation.

Dismissing the repeated justification of the defence ministry that the sahayak system was a necessity, the committee said it was “not convinced” with the reasoning given by the defence ministry that the army personnel functioned in pairs and the soldier was the buddy of the officer.

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