Gen Rawat China on the border and corruption in the military:
Gen Rawat never claimed disability pension, despite having a steel rod inserted into his ankle following the serious injury he sustained following an operation at the LoC in Kashmir.
As General Bipin Rawat was able to stand up to the hostile Chinese on the Doklam plateau as well as Ladakh, He will not forget his role in launching the fight against corruption within the military establishment, as he often said that Indian military forces were focused on respect and not about money.
As the country’s initial chief of Defence Staff, he pushed the Indian Army to ask the CBI to investigate alleged corruption in the construction of the married housing projects (MAP) situated in Meerut and The Salaria Officers’ Enclave in Delhi by Military Engineering Services (MES).
The total sanctioned price of MAP’s phases I and II of the project was between Rs6,033 crore and Rs13,682 crore.
He criticized the MES high officials over the poor construction. He informed them that the Salaria Enclave resembled bombed-out Syria, not New Delhi, with sub-standard material used as officers’ and jawans’ accommodations.
As the Army chief was the chief, he introduced significant changes regarding the purchase of food items in military canteens to the dismay of retired generals by imposing a ceiling of Rs12 lakh for the purchase of vehicles.
After he discovered that the top military officers were saving excise by buying expensive cars such as Mercedes and SUVs as well as top brand single malt whiskies via in the process of canteens, he decided to remove such items from his list of canteens because a typical jawan or officer could not afford them with the current salary.
Veterans resented him for having a cap and allowing only Indian-produced foreign liquor to be sold in canteens; however, General Rawat said that if they’ve got enough money, they should purchase the Mercedes or Blue Label whiskey from the market and not eat into the Indian exchequer.
To protect the Jawans, General Rawat made sure that only the best quality products didn’t get into the canteens of the military via using the route of grease.
Another area he battled against his peers was the abuse of disability pensions, especially by senior officers of the three services.
In keeping his former defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, aware, General Rawat observed that senior officers had been deliberately decreasing their medical categories before retirement to get the disability benefit for them or their children and tax-free pension.
In many cases, a general, an air marshal, or an admiral received more than their salary through the disability pension method. However, he favored assisting the truly disabled who lost limbs during the conflict or insurgency.
He was against the abuse of the disability pension. This is possibly the particular reason that Gen Rawat never claimed disability pension, despite having a rod inserted into his ankle following the severe injury sustained in operation on the LoC at Kashmir.
Today General Rawat is gone into his past, but the changes he instituted in the Army to ensure that they are more accountable will not be stopped since they are the requirement urgently needed.