The military leadership appears to have fallen in line with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s directions to implement the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, speaking for the three military chiefs in his capacity as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, said the Defence Minister “is seized of all the issues [about the pay commission] and has assured to resolve them at the earliest. The Services are satisfied with the response.”
The statement followed a meeting at South Block between Parrikar, ACM Raha and Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba earlier on Wednesday. Sources said that Parrikar assured the two that he will convey their grievances to the highest political levels.
With resentment brewing in the defence services over the recommendations, ACM Raha and Admiral Lanba had earlier met Parrikar on Monday, when the minister had urged them to implement the recommendations after assuring them that the government would look into legitimate grievances.
That meeting followed the defence services’ decision last week to not implement the recommendations as four core issues had not been resolved. The four include a common pay matrix for the defence personnel and civilian employees; higher Military Service Pay for JCOs and for Major Generals and Lt Generals; a notional Non-Functional Upgrade, with December 31, 2015, as the base date and transiting to the Seventh Pay Commission; and restoration of disability pension from a fixed rate to percentage basis.
They had been flagged by the three military chiefs, in a letter to the Prime Minister in July, but the defence services have not received a response so far, military officials said.
Top Defence Ministry sources had, however, told The Indian Express that the government was unhappy with the defence services’ decision, as it sets a wrong precedent for civil-military relations in a democracy.
They expect the defence services to approach the anomalies committee formed by the government to resolve their issues.
The defence forces had instead been hoping for the formation of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into their grievances with the seventh pay award.