Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alarmed govt sets up panel on forces' pay

Faced with virtual defiance from the three service chiefs on the issue of the “discriminatory” pay scales recommended by the 6th Pay Commission, the government today set up a high-level ministerial committee to address the grievances of the armed forces.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will head the three-member committee, which includes Defence Minister AK Antony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, that will go into the concerns of the armed forces that the pay commission has put them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis civilian bureaucracy.

Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major — who together command 1.5 million defence personnel — had come together on the issue and decided not to implement the revised pay scales from October 1 as was being done in the case of other 3.5 million central government employees.

However, the services have decided to accept the revised pay scales for the moment and submit their salary bills to the defence ministry on Monday.

The three-member committee was set up following a direction from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is currently abroad.
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