September 21, 2008 1:19:50 am
Responding to complaints by the three service chiefs, Defence Minister A K Antony has agreed to recommend raising the pay band for officers of Lieutenant Colonel rank and their equivalents.
At the same time, the UPA has sent a polite memo to all three services to issue the “government draft notification letter” without any further delay as new salaries and arrears have to be paid to the armed forces on October 1, 2008.
Although the Defence Ministry issued the “draft notification letter” for civilians, the armed forces tactically delayed issuing the letter as part of pressure on the government to address their complaints.
The three chiefs have knocked on the doors of the Defence Ministry, Finance Ministry and even the Prime Minister’s Office seeking what they call “parity with honour” with civilian and paramilitary counterparts.
Finance Ministry sources said the Defence Ministry, in a letter dated September 16, recommended that Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalents be placed in Pay Band 4 (Rs 37,400-67,000) instead of the present Pay Band 3 (Rs 15,600-39,100). This means the Government will shell out an extra Rs 109 crore annually.
This was one of the demands of the services who claimed that even the Lt Colonel equivalent in the Coast Guard would draw a higher salary if the ones in the military were kept in Pay Band 3.
Sources said the Defence Ministry has also recommended status quo ante in the case of pension for PBORs (personnel below officer rank).
The Sixth Pay Commission report said that PBORs should get an opportunity for lateral entry into paramilitary forces and Central Police Organisations but they would forego 50 per cent of the pension calculated on the basis of the last pay drawn on retirement.
Until lateral entry for retired PBORs is approved and implemented, the MoD wants to go back to the Fifth Pay Commission report that allowed personnel to get full pension without serving the requisite number of years for entitlement.
The MoD has also informed the Finance Ministry that it is deferring any decision on the armed forces’ demand that Lt Generals, who are heads of organisations — like the Director General Infantry — be included in the new category of HAG-plus (Higher Administrative Grade).
As of now, Army Commanders draw pay equivalent to the Secretary to Government of India with other Lt Generals equivalent to the rank and pay of Additional Secretaries. The armed forces now want a separate bracket between Additional Secretaries and Secretaries to adjust Lt Generals who are heading organisations like mechanized forces or artillery etc.
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