Monday, September 22, 2008

Antony urges PM to address forces’ pay panel demands

As the armed forces have refused to take their salaries recommended by the pay panel unless their “core issues are addressed, Defence Minister A.K. Antony has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take their demands into consideration.

Antony’s letter comes after the three services’ chiefs put their foot down and sought redressal of their demands pertaining to the Sixth Pay Commission.

Antony last week strongly recommended that the prime minister and the finance minister (P. Chidambaram) consider the four issues raised by the forces, a defence source said Monday.

The reviewed report of the Sixth Pay Commission has upgraded the civilian and paramilitary counterparts of officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and equivalent to a higher pay band.

As a result, civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket and were hitherto drawing lesser pay than lieutenant colonels and officers of equivalent rank would now draw a higher basic salary.

The armed forces have been contending that these core issues would affect the joint operations of the armed forces and paramilitary forces.

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