Thursday, March 20, 2008

Military Service Pay

The much-awaited sixth Pay Commission for central government employees is expected to submit its report to the government today, with a breakthrough recommendation for across-the-board special allowance for military personnel.

The new salary structures from the pay commission are not expected to be staggering, with the total increase in the range of around 40%. But what would make the sixth pay commission unprecedented is its move to make military service more attractive in the face of a historic officer shortage. The commission is recommending ‘Military Service Pay’ (MSP) across the board to all service personnel. The MSP, also called the X-factor pay, is expected to be 17% of the new basic pay.

Sources said the pay commission, headed by justice BN Srikrishna, is hoping to submit its recommendations today to the finance minister. There would be some weeks of reviews, tweaking, and a possible review by a group of ministers.
The recommendation is expected to carry around 40% increase in the salary of central government employees, with the cabinet secretary getting a fixed Rs80,000 per month. The starting basic for the central government is fixed at Rs6,500.

What is most significant in a holistic sense is the introduction of the MSP, a blanket allowance for members of the country’s 1.4 million military. According to dependable sources, the commission is expected to recommend 17% of the basic pay as MSP. The MSP exists in many countries, to compensate the hardships of military life.

Another significant change is the de-linking of pay scales from posts, and assuring regular salary increase at regular intervals. The Commission would also bring down the number of salary structures from the existing 35 to around 16. HRA for those living in metros would be 30%, and it could go down to 15% in other areas. Another significant change would be for scientists, with the commission recommending introduction of performance linked pay. Some sources say that scientists may also be allowed a percent of the profits if their inventions are commercialised. The bottom of the rung, the class IV employees, would see their starting basic salaries rising from current Rs2,550 to Rs6,500.