September 30, 2008 2:54:29 am
The armed forces have agreed to implement revised pay scales and arrears from October 1 but in a highly controversial move last Friday, the Army top brass, taking a cue from the Navy, cited “the larger interests of the services” to justify their defiance and “delay” in implementing revised salaries.
The Army signal was sent the day Defence Minister A K Antony talked tough with the three Services chiefs and told them in very clear terms to implement the Cabinet decision on the Sixth Pay Commission report.
Top sources confirmed to The Indian Express that via a signal on September 26 — two days after Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta signalled his men — Lt Gen V K Chaturvedi, Director General, Manpower Planning, under the Adjutant General of Army, informed “all ranks up to unit level” that the revised pay scales were delayed. The signal, being kept under wraps, was sent to Headquarters/Commands and Corps of the 1.1 million-strong Army.
While the armed forces process for issuing the government notification has begun so that all officers and ranks get the new scales together with their civilian counterparts on time, the Army, in its signal, said that four pay-related issues still remain unresolved:
•Uniform grades of pay at par with civilian officers.
•Lt Col should be upgraded to Pay band 4.
•t Generals should be placed in Higher Administrative Grade plus.
•Restoring pensionary benefits of personnel below officer rank.
While the UPA government plans to take up the two signals issued by the Navy chief and Army Headquarters seriously as these have wider ramifications, it is foxed by the first demand which is not even within the purview of the Pranab Mukherjee committee — it also comprises P Chidambaram and Antony — set up by the Prime Minister last Friday to sort out pay-related anomalies with the armed forces.
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