Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

Armed forces seek pay parity with civil servants

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Posted: August 23, 2014 3:29 am

Parity with civil servants, tax-free risk allowance and attractive entry-level pay, are some of the demands jointly sought by the armed forces from the seventh central pay commission (CPC). The demands form a part of a 4,000-page Joint Service Memorandum (JSM) submitted by the three service chiefs to the CPC this week. Interestingly, One Rank One Pension (OROP) — a demand since 1982 — has been dropped as the forces “consider it approved” as announced by the government on the floor of Parliament.

Considering “application of civilian pay structure to services despite differential cadre structure, rank structure and promotional prospects,” as the prime fault line, the JSM seeks extension of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) to armed forces personnel. The NFU, which has so far been applicable only to IAS officers and other class A services, entitles them to the pay scale of the highest promoted officer of their respective courses. “Thus, even if an officer is not promoted, he gets the pay of a higher grade by virtue of another officer of his batch reaching higher rank. The same is applicable to IPS, IFS and other such services. We have asked for extension of NFU to the armed forces,” an Army official said.

While civil servants retire at 60, the retirement age of officers of the armed forces can vary with their rank. “Also, a major general equivalent picks up the rank after 32 years of service whereas a joint secretary reaches the pay scale in 18 years of service. We have sought “concordance of status” based on length of service and not rank,” the official said.

Besides tax exemption from risk pay the recommendations also include an “edge in entry level pay to improve attractiveness of defence services” and “incentives for selection grade ranks.

Headed by justice A K Mathur CPC will be submitting its recommendations to the government by January 2016.

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