‘Hike in soldiers’ pay welcome but disparity between our officers, civil servants’
Raising fresh objections to the Sixth Pay panel notification after the Cabinet cleared it on August 14, the three chiefs of the Armed Forces, in an unprecedented move, have written to Defence Minister A K Antony that implementation for officer ranks be “held in abeyance” until their objections are addressed.
Earlier, they had raised two broad objections: higher salary for Personnel Below Officer Ranks (PBORs) and parity with civil servants for officer ranks. While thanking the government for hiking salaries of PBORs, they claim the disparity has only increased between service officers and their civil service counterparts.
•Disparity in Pay Bands: The chiefs claim the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) moved the Director rank into Pay Band 4 but retained Lt. Col and its equivalent in other services in Pay Band 3. Earlier, they claim, a Lt. Col got the same pay as an IAS Director and Rs 800 more than a non-IAS Director. Now he gets Rs 14000 less than an IAS director and Rs 11000 less than a non-IAS director.
•Disparity in Grade Pay: The CoS agreed to their demand to an increase in grade pay across middle-rank officers but also increased the grade pay of civil servants, thereby retaining disparity, the chiefs say. For example, he Pay Commission recommended Rs 6600 for a civil servant equivalent to a Major who was to get Rs 6100. After review, a Major will now get Rs 6600 but his equivalent in the civil service will get Rs 7600.
•Restricting elite list: The new category of HAG-plus (Higher Administrative Grade) includes all DGs and DGPs but only Army Commanders and their equivalents in other services, the chiefs complain. Their demand: all Lt. Gen officers be included in this category. The Defence Ministry is said to have conveyed that the objections are being looked into and a response will be given soon.
Unhappy with pay hike, Army wants review
The military is unhappy with the pay hike cleared recently. And the discontent is so high that over the last couple of days, all three service chiefs have met the Defence Minister to ask for a review.
The cause of worry is the morale of about 25 thousand mid-level officers.
Before the Sixth Pay Commission report, IAS officers equivalent to Majors, Lieutenant Colonels all were on same pay-scale of Rs 15,100.
But after the report, IAS officers will earn Rs 11,000 more as basic pay. Due to this, strong resentment is brewing among Majors, Lt Colonels and equivalent ranks.
Over 25,000 Majors, Lt Colonels and equivalent ranks in three services are considered the forces’ cutting edge.
Earlier, at a pay scale of about Rs 15,000 Majors and Lt Colonels were at par with their IAS counterparts.
Another reason for resentment is the fact that Lt Generals, second only to the Army chief and in-charge of key fighting formations, are paid less than Director Generals.
Lt Gens who command more than 40,000 troops are kept lower than director generals of stationery, printing and equivalent who have no operational role.