Thursday, September 4, 2008

Anomalies in the 6th CPC recommendations: discrimination in same rank within the armed forces

By Mayukh Biswas

An Artificer-III with a pay scale of 5120-100-7120 in the Vth CPC is placed in the Pay Band-2(8700-34800) of the VIth CPC with a Grade Pay of Rs. 3400/-.

i) Going by para 2.2.23(vi) of the VIth CPC recommendations the Grade Pay will be the criteria for the seniority of a post in an organization. Therefore an Artificer III with a Grade Pay of Rs. 3400/- is lower in seniority as compared to personnel with a Grade Pay above Rs. 3400/-.

ii) Strangely enough, this contradicts the services laid down orders and instructions. As per ‘Regulation 247 of REGS NAVY Part III amendment No. 28 amplified vide NHQ letter AD 15542/76/76 Dated 15 Sep 1977’ and ‘NI 2/96’ Artificer III, II, I and Chief Artificer of Group X are equated in seniority to Chief Petty Officers of the Group Y and Z. in accordance with their seniority as reckoned from the dates they were promoted to Artificer III Class.

iii) This equivalence in seniority was also clearly mentioned in Para 146.44(Page No.-1897) of the Vth CPC recommendations under the heading Naval Artificers- Restructuring And Pay Scale, sub-heading Equation With Naval Ranks. Further Para 2.3.28(ii) of the VI CPC recommendations states “The pay bands and grade pay for same ranks in both the trade groups will be same. The personnel in trade group X will have a separate X group pay.”

iv) But going by the recommendations of the VIth CPC the Chief Petty Officers of Group Y and Z, who have been combined to form a single trade group Y have been placed under the Pay Band-2 with a Grade Pay of Rs. 4200/-. But in the case of Artificer III the Grade Pay has been recommended at Rs. 3400/- with the justification that no equivalent/intermediate scale available in the civilian side. I believe while working on the recommendations the commission was unaware of the above mentioned facts.

v) Further, Para 2.3.27 of the VIth CPC recommendations say that in case of civilians, posts requiring minimum qualification of diploma in engineering are placed in the grade pay of Rs.4200 that corresponds to the pre-revised scale of Rs.5000-8000 and is being merged with the scales of Rs.5500-9000 and Rs.6500-10500. The grade immediately lower (Rs.4500-7000) carries the grade pay of Rs.2800. Further Para 2.3.12 of the report says that the payment of the defense personnel will be brought at par with their civilian counterparts. But in case of Artificer III who has an educational qualification of Diploma in engineering, and are falling in the pre-revised scale of Rs.5120-7120 the Grade Pay has been recommended at Rs. 3400/-.

vi) The most sarcastic thing in the whole recommendation of the VIth CPC is that it has forgotten to include this Grade Pay of Rs. 3400/- while recommending the Travelling Allowances on Transfer(Para 4.2.37) for the different Grades. I believe that is because of the fact that this Grade Pay of Rs. 3400/- has been specially inducted for the Artificer III, II and I of the Indian Navy as there is no other rank either in the armed forces or in civil government organizations that has been recommended with a Grade Pay of Rs. 3400/-.

vii) Going by the above mentioned facts the status/seniority of the Artificer III / II / I has become complicated as they have been neither equated to Chief Petty Officers nor to the Petty Officers of the Indian Navy. By virtue of the Rank Structure of the Indian Navy there in no rank provision between the Chief Petty Officer and the Petty Officer ranks. So, the commission should have been serious enough while dealing with the Grade Pay which is supposed to be the criteria for the seniority of a post.

viii) Finally, a Pay Commission is expected to bring about a up gradation in pay and perks, allowances and in turn status. But going by the recommendations of the last few Pay Commissions it has been a degrading factor for the Artificer III / II / I Class. This can be seen from the Tables mentioned below:

Table I ( Change in Basic Pay of Artificer III and Chief Artificer as compared to their counterparts, i.e. CPO(Group Y) in each pay commission.

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