Saturday, September 6, 2008

Armed forces take pay panel grievances to PMO

Unhappy with the lowering of parity in payscales in comparison with the bureaucracy and paramilitary forces, the armed forces have drawn Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s attention to the issue rising from the Sixth Pay Coommission’s recommendations.

The Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman and Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta met the prime minister on Thursday and discussed the issue with him.

“Admiral Mehta has gone to the prime minister to brief him about his recent visit to Japan and South Korea and seized the opportunity to draw his attention to the erosion of parity between the armed forces officers and their civilian and paramilitary counterparts,” a senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It is understood that the prime minister assured the naval chief that he would consider the issue.

Ahead of meeting the prime minister, Mehta wrote to Defence minister A K Antony on September 1 that these “core issues” would affect the joint operations of the armed forces and paramilitary forces. He also asked the cabinet, rather than the anomalies committee, to consider their demands over the pay panel report.

“The command and control functions will be seriously hampered between the army, BSF (Border Security Force) and CPMF (Central Paramilitary Forces), and infighting will jeopardize the operations,” the letter says.

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 the higher pay band. Due to this, 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.

Following the revised report, even a short service commissioned officer in the paramilitary forces will get a higher pay than most permanent commissioned officers in the armed forces.