Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top retired army man suggests pay hike

With the Sixth Pay Commission working on its recommendations, a top former army officer has made a strong case for a 'generous' pay hike to defence personnel saying their turbulent lifestyle, limited career prospects and possibility of loss of life or limb should be taken into account for the purpose.

Maintaining that the average number of army men killed annually in active operations was 415 'when no war is being waged', former Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi said almost 5,000 personnel were invalidated on medical grounds every year due to stringent physical standards.

Observing that Indian Army had heavy counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism commitments, he said the average length of service of soldiers in such operations amounted to 10.87 years, compared with those in Western nations where it is not more than one year.

"Even those who volunteer for additional duties in some western countries do so for a maximum of two to three years throughout their carrier," Oberoi said in an article in the forthcoming issue of premier journal 'Indian Defence Review'.

Opposing any comparison of army personnel with those from the police or administrative services as their service conditions were 'unique', he said this "resulted in equating a colonel having 18-20 years service with a Superintendent of Police or a Deputy Commissioner of a district".