Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pay parity row : Ex-servicemen stage hunger strike

Haemorrhaging under the onslaught of an ever-mounting number of  officers seeking premature retirement, coupled with the sheer inability to attract bright youngsters to their fold, the armed forces continue to simmer with anger over their new revised pay scales. 

While serving armed forces personnel certainly cannot take to the streets in protest, veterans are not bound by any such restriction. Even as defence minister A K Antony told Parliament that there was a shortage of 13,830 officers in Forces, scores of ex-servicemen and their wives were detained by the police on Monday for trying to stage a hunger strike at India Gate against the 6th Pay Commission just a kilometre away. 

"The pay commission has done grave injustice to the Forces. It is not the question of money but that of our status, izzat and self-esteem,’’ said Lt-Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan and Maj-Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who were among the scores detained by the police. The veterans, incidentally, are also demanding the implementation of the 'one-rank, one-pension' principle. 

All this comes even as the three-member ministerial committee, headed by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, is yet to finalize its recommendations about the "core concerns" raised by the armed forces about their revised pay scales. 

The forces hold their extant parity with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts had been "destroyed" by the new pay scales, with the committee of secretaries actually introducing ‘‘far more serious anomalies’’ rather than resolving the ones present in the 6th Pay Commission report.

Source : The Times of India.

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