Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saperate Pay Scales for Armed forces

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.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Committee of Secretaries to study CPC recommendations.

The government on Friday announced the constitution of a high-level official committee of secretaries to study and review the report of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The committee will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and has been directed to submit its report to the Cabinet at the earliest possible.

The 12 member committe will comprise secretaries of ministries of home, defence, revenu and expenditure, department of post, security, deputy CAG and financial commissioner and member secretary of the Railway Board.

The committee will mainly function as a screening committee for the pay panel's report and submit its final recommendations to the Cabinet for approval.

The Government has already constituted a committee headed by Finance Secretary D Subbarao to look into the grievances of armed forces and IPS officers.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Government Assures Service Chiefs

Yielding to sustained pressure from the Armed Forces, the government on Friday assured the service chiefs that it was ready to look into their genuine grievances on pay scales recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission.

Following a meeting of the three service chiefs with the members of the Sixth Pay Commission on Friday, Defence Minister AK Antony asked the Army, Navy, and the Air Force to submit a list of their anomalies which can then be discussed with the Finance Ministry.

Antony was also present at the hour-long meeting, which was attended by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and Vice Chiefs of Army and Navy, besides Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.

The meeting, held at Antony's insistence, was the result of two rounds of presentations made by the armed forces before the Defence Minister pointing out anomalies in the pay commission report and demanding more salaries for soldiers and increase in allowances.

At the meeting, Air Chief Marshal Major, speaking on behalf of all three wings of armed forces, made a strong plea for increasing the special pay for soldiers below officer ranks to Rs 3,000 from Rs 1,000 as recommended by the pay commission.

Pay commission officials said the ‘‘existing edge’’ of armed forces personnel over their civilian counterparts had ‘‘not only been maintained, but also suitably enhanced’’. The concept of ‘‘military service pay’’ (MSP), under which Rs 6,000 per month will be given to officers up to Brigadiers and Rs 1,000 to jawans, NCOs and JCOs, for instance, will help in enhancing the edge. In fact, said the commission officials, 61% of the expenditure of the new recommendations will accrue to armed forces, which constitute 40% of the total number of central government employees, apart from the Railways.

Nonsense, say the armed forces. ‘‘We are not looking for an ‘edge’ over our civilian counterparts. We want compensation for the hardships of our service lives. Moreover, there should be parity of pay for the length of service between IAS and armed forces officers,’’ said an officer.

Added another, ‘‘We owe it to the soldiers we command that they be given at least Rs 3,000 as MSP. It’s actually unfair that officers will get Rs 6,000, while all the other ranks will get only Rs 1,000. The MSP should be graded.’’

Overall, the armed forces want at least a 40% hike over what has been proposed by the pay commission to ‘‘attract and retain talent’’ in their fold.

(Based on reports published in Times of India and Indian Express on 05/04/08)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Scientists want equal treatment

Now Scientists have come out in the open against the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. A delegation of scientists, led by M K Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, on Wednesday met Cabinet Secretary to point out the anomalies in the pay panel recommendations.

Sources said the main concern of the scientists was that the commission had sought to perpetuate a disparity between the scientists working for DRDO, ISRO or Department of Atomic Energy and those with the Department of Science and Technology or Department of Biotechnology. "It is like saying that a physicist or a nuclear scientist is above those working in the area of vaccines," said a senior scientist, not wishing to be named.

The scientists said a favourable promotion policy in organisations like Indian Space Research Organisation has ensured that there are plenty of scientists in higher grades like G and H in these places. On the other hand, DST or DBT has very few scientists in grade H, which is equivalent to the rank of an additional secretary.

"ISRO has additional scales at the senior level with designations like distinguished scientist and outstanding scientist which are not available in DST or DBT," said another scientist.

"We had been asking for an equal treatment irrespective of institutions. But the Commission has not addressed these issues," he said, pointing out that scientists in Department of Atomic Energy were also entitled to additional perks.

(Indian Express 04/04/08)

CPC members to meet Service Chiefs

After making two rounds of presentations to Defence Minister A K Antony pointing out anomalies in the Pay Commission report, the service chiefs will now get a lowdown by the commission itself to "remove misgivings and doubts" about pay hike recommendations.

The service chiefs - who have drawn up a joint proposal demanding more salaries for soldiers, an increase in allowances and a better deal for middlerung officers - will meet key Commission officials on Friday for a detailed briefing. Besides the top Armed Forces brass, senior ministry officials are also ex pected to take part in the meeting.

Sources say the meeting has been called on Antony's insistence as he wants a clear view on the issue before taking up the Armed Forces' case for a "better deal".

"The meeting is being held to remove some misgivings about the Pay Commission to the service chiefs. Defence Ministry officials will also take part in the meeting," a senior official said.
On Tuesday, Antony was presented a joint memorandum, drawn up by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, pointing out "major anomalies" in the salary structure and seeking better salaries for soldiers and middle-rung officers and a rational hike in allowances.

The memorandum proposed major changes in the special Military Service Pay (MSP) introduced in the Sixth Pay Commission. The services have demanded that the special pay should be equated to the basic salary and be decreased progressively with seniority. The panel has fixed Rs 1,000 as MSP for all soldiers and Rs 6,000 for officers.

The other major issue was increases in special allowances for soldiers posted in harsh terrain, active field areas and on counter-insurgency duties. While the panel had recommended doubling of existing allowances for counter-insurgency areas, Siachen postings and high altitude duty, the services have asked for a rational view on the hikes in view of tough service conditions.

(Indian Express 04/04/08)

IPS Officers also unhappy

The perceived disparity between the Indian Police Service and other All India services, particularly the Indian Administrative Service, in the Pay Commission recommendations has found an echo at the highest levels of the Government.

A detailed presentation made by top IPS officers has pointed out that the IPS is no longer a Group A service by the looks of it. And the Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations will create further stagnation at the middle level of the service that is at the forefront of the battle to tackle threats to internal security, they have claimed.

The message has been conveyed to the highest levels, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Union Home Ministry and the Department of Personnel and Training.

As per the proposed pay scales, an IPS officer will earn nearly Rs 65 lakh lesser than an IAS counterpart after 30 years of service, the presentation has argued.

The presentation has made the following points as well: An IAS officer will reach Joint Secretary scale at the Centre in 14 years; his IPS counterpart will reach the corresponding Inspector General level almost six years later; a Director General of Police in a state will need at least five to six years of residual service to reach the maximum scale of Rs 71,270. Moreover, not only has the "anomalous" post of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) not been abolished, officers at this level will actually earn less than earlier - they have been put in the Rs 15,600 scale from the existing Rs 16,400.

Grade Pay is another anomaly that has been brought to the notice of the Government. In a district, the Superintendent of Police (SP) will be at a disadvantage not just in comparison to the District Magistrate but even the Additional District Magistrate in many cases, IPS officers point out.

The IPS group's disenchantment with the Pay Commission report does not end here. "Internal security is such a grave matter but it finds mention only three or four times in the report," a senior officer pointed out.

(Indian Express 04/04/08)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Services to make new Proposal

With resentment in the ranks over the pay panel recommendations, the armed forces have drawn up a joint proposal demanding more salaries for soldiers, an increase in allowances and pointing out "major anomalies" in the salary structure.

The joint memorandum, which will shortly be presented to Defence Minister A K Antony, has been drawn up by the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and emphasises the need for better salaries for soldiers and middle-rung officers.

One of the key contentions is that in the new recommendations, almost all armed forces personnel have been shifted to a lower salary grade compared to civilian officers of comparable service and experience.

To address this, the forces have proposed major changes in the Military Service Pay (MSP) - a new concept introduced in the Sixth Pay Commission to give armed forces an edge over others.

While the panel has fixed Rs 1,000 as MSP for all soldiers and Rs 6,000 for officers, the services have demanded that the special pay should be equated to the basic salary and be decreased progressively with seniority.

For entry-level soldiers, the armed forces have asked an MSP of 60 per cent of the basic pay which would progressively decrease to 40 per cent of basic till the seniormost level. This, officials say, will give entry level personnel incentives as well as cater to the aspirations of mid-level officers.

Another major issue brought out in the proposal is increase in special allowances for soldiers posted in harsh terrain and operationally active areas. In all cases, including allowances for counter-insurgency areas, Siachen postings and high altitude duty, the pay panel has recommended doubling of existing scales.

This has been deemed unfair by the services and they have asked for a rational rather than ‘arithmetic' view on hikes considering tough service conditions.

The services have also demanded that their pay bands should be delinked from the civil services due to different promotion structures and shorter service period. Contending that majority of the personnel never reach the higher pay band in their career, the forces have asked for new pay bands.

The forces want to do away with the concept of a single pay band for personnel below officer's rank and two pay bands for officers and have demanded three pay bands each for officers and soldiers.

The joint proposal also flatly rejects a recommendation by the pay panel for the lateral movement of short service commission officers and Per sonnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) to paramilitary organisations like CRPF and BSF.

Considering that the recommendations have not solved the officer retention problem of the forces - as many as 14 Colonel-level officers handed in premature retirement applications to Defence Hqs within five days of the report - the services have expressed their keenness on speedy amendments to arrest "demoralisation down the ranks".

(Published in Indian Express on 01/04/2008)