Even as the agitation over One Rank One Pension shows no sign of abating, the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, has written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asking that all military officers be given a Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP)-like scheme.
This would mean assured pay of joint secretary at 20 years of service to all military officers, irrespective of the number of vacancies at that level.
Written on behalf of the three defence chiefs, Raha’s letter of August 25 to Parrikar preempts a coming hearing on the Supreme Court’s order of 2013 to the government to grant the DACP to all armed forces doctors. That order has not been implemented by the Defence Ministry so far.
Recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, the DACP is currently applicable to the technical services — doctors, dentists and scientists — of the government of India. Under the DACP, a doctor is supposed to get functional grade pay of Rs 8,700 (equivalent to a director or colonel) at 13 years, and a non-functional grade pay of Rs 10,000 (joint secretary scale) at 20 years of service. The DACP was promulgated in October 2008 for all the doctors in Central government service, including the Defence Ministry, but the armed forces chose not to implement it.
The defence services have been opposed to grant of the DACP for their doctors unless a similar scheme is implemented for all armed forces officers. In its submission to the Armed Forces Tribunal on December 16, 2014, the Defence Ministry had cited a COSC note which said that granting the DACP only to doctors “would lead to resentment and would not be in the security interests of the nation”.
Despite losing the case in the Armed Forces Tribunal, as well as a special leave petition and an appeal in the Supreme Court, the Defence Ministry has not cleared the DACP for uniformed doctors. The ministry’s current appeal is scheduled for hearing on September 15.
Earlier, the attorney general and solicitor general had also advised the Defence Ministry to implement the Supreme Court’s order, saying any further challenge was likely to be quashed by the apex court.
In his letter, Raha has asked the defence minister to give the DACP to armed forces doctors but also similar pay scales to all other military officers. Else, ACM Raha says, it will cause “stratification of the officer cadre, based on differentials in Grade Pay with consequent Command and Control ramifications.”