Friday, January 30, 2009

Armed Forces reject Pay proposal for Lt. Cols.

An attempt by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to resolve the armed forces’ grievances over pay commission proposals has failed with the services rejecting its proposal to grant higher pay only to those Lieutenant Colonels who were in “combat” or “ready-tocombat” roles.

In a letter to the Defence Ministry, tri-services’ Principal Personnel Officers Committee chairman Vice Admiral D K Dewan said the armed forces wanted all Lieutenant Colonels to be placed under the Pay Band-4 including those on deputation to paramilitary and other services.
The letter said that the services and the rules governing them did not make any distinction and that all of the officers were performing combat/ready-to-combat jobs.

Dewan’s letter came in reply to a verbal query from the Defence Ministry on a December 31 PMO note that the government proposed to place only those Lt Cols serving in “combat/ready-to-combat” roles in Army, Navy and Air Force the Pay Band-4 benefits.

The PMO letter had said that those Lt Cols, currently on deputation to other services, would not get the Pay Band-4 scales, but the Pay Band-3 scales recommended by the Justice Srikrishna-led pay commission, till the time they return to their parent cadre.

“Even ships, units, establishments located in peace stations are always in operational readiness”, the letter said.

Noting that the Lt Cols and their equivalents (about 12,000) formed largest percentage of cadre strength with 13 to 26 years of service, Admiral Dewan said deputing them was an “inescapable” necessity in order to maintain a youthful profile of the fighting units.

(Published in Hidustan Times, New Delhi 30/01/09)

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year Bonanza for Armed Forces

The Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday approved a separate pay commission for the armed forces. The Seventh Pay Commission for soldiers would be delinked from the civilian pay panel.

The decision comes after a committee, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, submitted its report to review the concerns in the armed forces. The concerns were raised after the Sixth Pay Commission recommended placing lieutenant colonels and equivalent ranks in the Air Force and Navy at a lower pay band than their counterparts in the paramilitary/Group A services and IAS.

The government has also agreed to accommodate lieutenant colonels in a higher pay band (Pay Band 4) and increase their monthly salary by Rs 8000.

The PMO has has approved placing some 12000 lieutenant colonels in pay band 4. However, only lieutenant colonels performing a combat role would receive higher salaries. Another demand accepted by the PMO concerned personnel below officer rank, for whom the government would restore the 70 per cent pensionary weightage.

However, the government has not yet addressed the sweeping discontent in the military’s higher echelons over lieutenant generals and their equivalent being excluded from the higher pay band