Tarun Reflex

September 12, 2008

Dangerous split between the armed forces and the paramilitary

A dangerous split between the armed forces and the paramilitary, arising from the revised Sixth Pay Commission report, could have disastrous consequences for joint operations in troubled regions, the military has told the PMO.
Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Navy chief and chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, has cautioned the government that the relationship between the two sits on a tinderbox and infighting would “seriously jeopardise” operations. 
The revised report has altered the existing parity between the armed forces and Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF)/Group A services and IAS by retaining lieutenant colonels in a lower pay band than their paramilitary and civilian counterparts. Pay scales have tradition- ally determined status among government officials.
Mehta told the PMO that ascendancy gained by paramilitary would “seriously hamper command and control functions between the army and the Border Security Force/CPMF”.
Success of military operations hinge on the efficiency of command and control. After briefing the PM on “core issues” last week, Mehta met finance minister P. Chidambaram and MoS in the PMO Prithviraj Chauhan on Tuesday Military sources said Mehta has told the PMO that perks of higher status given to CPMF/civilian officers, and denied to equally placed service officers, would result in despondency among them. “A CPMF officer whose pay parity was below a lieutenant colonel in the 4th and 5th pay panel reports has been elevated to the pay scale of a Colonel. This will not be acceptable to either the lieutenant colonel or the Colonel,” a senior army officer informed.
Another “serious error” pointed out by Mehta includes exclusion of lieutenant generals and equivalent from the Higher Administrative Grade pay band. Only army commanders and DGPs and equivalent figure in this grade.
He has also sought the intervention of the PMO to provide the HAG+ pay band for lieutenant generals and equivalent holding posts of principal staff officers, director general and controllers in the services.
Points of Friction
  • Revised pay panel report has altered existing parity by retaining lieutenant colonels in a lower pay band than their paramilitary counterparts
  • Perks of higher status given to CPMF/civilian officers, not to equally placed service officers

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