Urging soldiers not to raise their grievances directly via social media, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said they can instead use a new grievance redressal system that will keep their identity secret. Rawat announced the setting up of the ‘Chief of Army Staff Redressal and Grievance Boxes’ at the Army headquarter, at command headquarters and subsequently at lower levels.
The soldiers’ grievances through these boxes would reach the Chief of Army Staff directly. Rawat’s comment came a day after Lance Naik Yagya Pratap, in a video alleged that “jawans are being exploited in the Army by officers”.
“Anyone, irrespective of ranks, can leave his/her grievance letter in the box. I will personally look at the problems raised via these boxes,” Rawat said at a press conference.
The Army Chief said the letters would be handled by his close staff and names of the complainants would be deleted before forwarding them for required actions. He urged soldiers to have confidence in the senior leadership of the Army, and promised both anonymity of the complainant as well as “best efforts to address the problem properly”.
However, he added: “If the complainant is unsatisfied with the action taken, he can choose other medium (to voice his grievance).” Rawat termed the social media a “two sided weapon”.
Talking about the Sahayak system, against which Pratap had aired his grievances, the Army Chief said it was more of a “buddy system”. He also said that Lance Naik Pratap was a driver and had never worked as a Sahayak.
This move came after a jawaan had posted a video complaining about the quality of food, which went viral. He posted videos showing a poorly baked ‘chapati’ and dal which he said had “nothing except salt and turmeric”.