Monday, February 4, 2008

GoM to take up paramilitary pay

The demand to separate hardship and counter-insurgency allowances to para-military forces would be discussed at a meeting of the Group of Ministers headed by Union minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee.
The meeting would consider the demand of the Central para-military forces to treat them at par with the Army, whose personnel were treated differently in matters pertaining to their post-retirement benefits. The demand was that their pension scheme be commensurate with the difficult service conditions.
It may be recalled that the last meeting of the GoM was held in August last year but no decision was taken.
The para-military forces, both the BSF and the CRPF, which was posted in several states to fight terrorism and insurgency in several states, have sought grant of special allowances for their personnel to cover the risk factor.
The demands are among a host of proposals submitted by the forces, engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir and also fighting extreme left groups was before the Sixth Pay Commission. The suggestions, aimed at attaining parity with defence personnel included increase in disability pension for those injured, hike in percentage of family pension paid to widows and also to change the pension rules. The BSF, it was understood to have sought hardship allowance amounting to 40 per cent of the basic pay to those posted in "extreme hard areas" like Jammu and Kashmir and 35 and 30 per cent respectively for those deployed in hard and very hard areas. It has said the force posted in border areas face all sorts of hardships like "isolation, natural hazards, limited facilities and adverse climatic conditions." It has categorised North-East as a "very hard area" and the western frontier as "hard".
An internal survey conducted by the force has found that the satisfaction among its personnel posted in border areas with regard to accommodation and working hours was as low as 12.5 per cent.
The CRPF also wants 10 per cent of the basic pay as hardship allowance to those personnel deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the Naxal-infested Chhattisgarh. This itself covers nearly 86 per cent of the Force.
A hike in compensation package has been sought for those dying in action to Rs 30 lakh from the present Rs 7.5 lakh. Increase has also been sought in pay-scale and provision of a pension scheme.
Both the forces are of the view that inclusion of its personnel who have joined the service on or after 1 January 2004, in the new contributory pension scheme launched by the government was unfair.