The anomaly committee on allowances constituted for the 7th Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) has provided a direct hearing to the defence services for their grievances related to allowances recommended by the Pay Commission. This is probably the first time when an opportunity of hearing has been provided to the defence establishment by an anomaly committee. Sources say the hearing was provided recently by the Committee in a positive backdrop and the views of the defence services were fully supported by the Ministry of Defence.
The views of the three services have been entertained by the committee in compliance with the interim directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a writ petition filed by a serving officer, Col Preet Pal Singh Grewal.
MoD sources also point out that many issues affecting allowances of defence services were placed before the committee including the discriminatory hardship allowances wherein an IPS officer was eligible for approximately Rs 55,000 as hardship allowance in Leh, his military counterpart was entitled only for about Rs 10,000.
Similarly while the civil servants were entitled to the same amount of 55,000 in Shillong, the defence officers were denied any allowance in that area. It was also pointed out to the committee that while many beneficial military allowances were extended to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) over the years, the same reciprocity was not shown to the defence services when allowances admissible to CAPFs were found more beneficial.
It was stated that while many organisations such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) were paid allowances calculated on percentage of pay, the defence services were paid at fixed slabs.
The committee was also informed that while the 7th CPC had favoured providing House Rent Allowance to personnel other than commissioned officers staying at barracks due to functional/administrative requirements, the same was not extended to commissioned officers forced to stay in Officers’ Mess premises due to similar reasons.
The high court had directed the consideration of grievances of the defence services by the anomaly committee on the prayer of the officer who had said in his petition that the views of all stakeholders must be heard before submission of the report. He had pointed out that while civilian establishments were being provided the opportunity to present their cases before the anomaly committee, the said process was not being followed for the defence services.
The Colonel had petitioned that since the armed forces were prohibited from forming associations, it was important to provide an alternative institutional mechanism where the defence establishment could put across their views for resolution of such anomalies.
Sources say that while the Anomaly Committee had more or less finished its job, the report would probably be submitted after elections to the five states have been completed.