The step of taking back sahayaks from retired officers was initiated after veterans living in the vicinity of the national capital complained to the Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat about the misuse of manpower and how they were being employed in an unauthorised manner.

“After the issue was brought to the notice of the chief, it was found that close to 1,000 personnel (size of an infantry battalion) have been provided as sahayaks to retired officers in and around the national capital in Noida, Gurgaon and Greater Noida while an equal number were employed with veterans in other parts of the country,” senior Army sources told MyNation.

Now, the sahayaks are being withdrawn from the houses of retired officers and it is being ensured that no one is allowed to misuse them, they said.
The system of providing sahayaks (assistants) who were earlier known as Batmans has been there since the colonial times where combat soldiers are used as orderlies or sahayaks to maintain the uniform of the officers and junior commissioned officers. However, there have been several complaints of misuse.

A number of senior retired officers, who superannuate as Colonel of the Regiment or from other senior positions generally take a number of sahayaks, who are actually combatting soldiers or active personnel, from their units or regiments and use them for doing their personal chores.

It has been learnt that the commanding officers of the troops employed as sahayaks would be taken to task if they are found to be used at unauthorized places. Performing the duties of sahayaks at houses of serving and retired officers also help soldiers to stay in peace stations and avoid the rigours of doing daily physical training and other tough drills their counterparts have to do while being deployed with the unit in both peace and field locations.

Against the backdrop of several complaints made by serving soldiers against being employed as sahayaks, the Defence Ministry has been considering a proposal to provide 10,000 civilians as orderlies to officers in peace stations while the soldiers can continue as buddies in field locations to help the officers and Junior Commissioned Officers in carrying out their daily official tasks.