Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Govt promises to look into armed forces' pay panel grievances

NEW DELHI, Sept 3, 2008: Rattled by the stand of the armed forces that implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission for them be “withheld” till their parity with civilian and paramilitary counterparts is restored, the government has promised to look into the issue on “a fast-track basis”.

As reported by TOI earlier, simmering anger in the armed forces against the Centre for notifying the Sixth Pay Commission report has now erupted over the “raw deal” given to Lt-Colonels and their equivalent ranks in IAF (Wing Commander) and Navy (Commander), who form the “bulk” of the officer cadre in Army, Navy and IAF.

After a presentation to Defence Minister A K Antony by the chiefs of staff committee, the armed forces also briefed top ministry officials on Tuesday about the “extant parity”of Lt-Col rank officers being lowered by retaining them in Pay Band-3 (Rs 15,600-39,100), while raising similarly placed civilians and paramilitary officers to PB-4 (Rs 37,400-67,000).

“This is simply not acceptable. If the government wants it can go ahead with implementation of the pay commission for other ranks but it should not happen for officers till the anomalies are sorted out,” said a top officer.

After all, of the 54,770 officers in the 13-lakh strong armed forces, almost 19,000 are Lt-Cols. These include 11,187 in the Army, 4,216 in IAF and 3,528 in Navy.

This “big bulge” has come about due to implementation of Phase-I of the Ajai Vikram Singh (AVS) Committee report in December 2004 -- which was basically aimed at arresting “the greying profile” of operational commanders through faster promotions -- without concomitant increase in ranks in the upper echelons.

As reported earlier, the government is now on the verge of clearing implementation of AVS report Phase-II, which will create 140 new posts of two and three-star generals and another 1,022 posts for Brigadier and Colonel rank officers in the three Services.

The forces are also angry at the pay commission notification which places all director-generals of police and their equivalents over Lt-Generals by the creation of a new “higher administrative grade-plus”. (Courtesy: Times of India)

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