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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anomaly in reviewed pay : IAF chief; Immediate action sought

The government must take immediate steps to restore the parity in the pay scales of officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonels and equivalent with their civilian and Coast Guard counterparts who have been awarded more emoluments by the Sixth Pay Commission, says Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major. Major has made the plea in a letter to Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Indian Navy chief, urging him to intervene before the government implements the recommendations made by the pay commission.

"The finance ministry is introducing yet another anomaly by lowering the extant of parities of officers of the armed forces, of the Lt. Col. (and equivalent), by retaining them in pay band-3, while raising similarly placed civilian and paramilitary officers to pay band-4," Major wrote in the letter sent Monday. A copy of the letter was made available to IANS.

"It is reliably learnt that civilian and paramilitary officers in the extant pay scales S-24 (Rs.14,300-400-18,300) and S-25 (Rs.15,100-400-18,300) will be placed in pay band-4, whereas the same is being denied to the armed forces officers (Lt. Col. and equivalent) who were already in S-25," Major said.

The IAF chief has pointed that because of this the civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket (S-24) and were hitherto drawing lesser pay than Lieutenant Colonels and officers of equivalent ranks would now draw a higher basic salary.

At present, the India Army, the Indian Navy and IAF have 11,187, 3,528 and 4,216 officers, respectively, of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent.

"This is not just affecting a Lt. Col. Because of this the pay of Coast Guard's commandant with 23 years of experience will be equivalent to a Rear Admiral with 30 years of experience," a senior army official said.

The cabinet Aug 14 cleared the revised recommendations of the pay commission, granting huge hikes to five million government employees, with special attention paid to military and paramilitary personnel.

According to the government, the revision translates into a 20 percent hike over the 40 percent across-the-board increase the pay commission had recommended.

The government promised at least three promotions for defence personnel and civilian employees under the modified assured career progression (ACP) scheme.

Civilians will be assured of promotions after 10, 20 and 30 years of service. Junior and non-commissioned officers and personnel below officer rank (PBOR) will be eligible for this after 8, 16 and 24 years of work.

The Military Service Pay recommended by the pay commission has been doubled to Rs.2,000 for PBORs and retained at Rs.6,000 for officers up to the rank of brigadiers.

Middle level officers - colonels, brigadiers and equivalent - are now placed in the highest pay band of PB-4. Lieutenant generals overlooked for promotion as army commanders due to lack of residual service will get the grade of an army commander.

The report of the Sixth Pay Commission, headed by Justice (retd) B.N. Srikrishna, was submitted to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram March 24.

It led to protests from both civilian and defence personnel, following which the government appointed a committee under Cabinet Secretary K. Chandrashekhar to study the various demands for financial corrections.

The three service chiefs also made a joint representation to Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
Source IANS