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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unhappy with Pay panel, service chiefs to meet Antony

NEW DELHI: : With the Armed Forces expressing extreme disappointment over recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the three service chiefs are meeting Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday to point out anomalies and raise concerns.

Sources said the Armed Forces are drawing up a joint report on the recommendations, pointing out glaring differences in the pay structure of the services in comparison to the civil set-up. The report also brings out that in real terms, the Armed Forces would be getting a hike of less than 25 per cent across the board.

"There are anomalies that need to be corrected. We will make recommendations to the Pay Commission," Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said. Ministry sources said that while Thursday's meeting between the service chiefs and Antony is "routine", the Pay Commission report will dominate the conference. Earlier, the Defence Minister refused to react on the report. "Let me first discuss the issue with all concerned. Then I will give a reaction," he said.

"It became clear that the recommendations of the Pay Commission will translate to a measly 20-25 per cent hike for most people. This will not address the issue of retention nor the shortage of officers at the entry level," a senior officer said.

Among other things, the three chiefs are expected to raise the issue of the new Military Service Pay which Armed Forces term as grossly unfair. The MSP will not be considered for arrears nor will it be eligible for a yearly increment. While Army Chief Deepak Kapoor said that "we are studying the recommendations" and would give "cogent suggestions", Air Chief FH Major, went a step ahead to say that the recommendations require a "relook".

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