Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Military pay scales may be delinked

Concerned over officers leaving armed forces for lucrative employment in private sector, the government is looking at delinking pay scales of defence forces with those of central government employees.

The demand for delinking payscales, raised by armed forces and lawmakers, ''will be looked into,'' Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

Officers, particularly in the non-select rank who lead soldiers on the ground, leaving armed forces for lucrative employment in private sector was a matter of concern but not alarm, he said.

After the submission of Sixth Pay Commission report, Defence Minister A K Antony has pressed for re-examining the scales particularly for non-select rank officers (captain, major and lieutenant generals) and soldiers, the minister said.

The defence forces are unhappy at the hike recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission.

Raju said the issue of giving women Short Service Commissioned Officers (SSC) a permanent employment was also under consideration.

''As of now, rules permit only men (SSC) to be given Permanent Commission,'' he said. ''We are looking into the matter of inducting women (SSC) into the Permanent Commission.''

The total number of SSC officers at present in army is 3312, those in Navy is 1257 and in Air Force 1771.

Asked about the shortfall in recruitment of officers in the Army, the minister said the shortfall was due to change in the socio-economic environment and resultant changes in career preferences, better employment opportunities in other sectors, tough selection procedures and service conditions of the defence forces.

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