Wednesday, October 1, 2008

'Don't read too much, no differences with Army' - A.K. Antony

Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said there were no differences between the Government and the armed forces over the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) report.
His statement comes in the wake of the defence forces' signal to its 1.5 million personnel on the ‘anomalies’ in the CPC, asking them to ‘be patient in the larger interest of the Services,’ which was seen as an act of defiance of the Cabinet decision to implement revised pay scales from September 1.

"There is no difference between the government and the Services, because they are also part of the government. Don't read too much (into the forces' signal)," Antony said after the Defence Accounts Day function.

Pointing out that the government had taken a decision in the Cabinet to implement the pay commission report after amendments, Antony said the additional burden on the exchequer due to the changes in the approved CPC is Rs 6,000 crore.
"After the decision of the Cabinet, Services' chiefs noted some of the problems and anomalies, specifically regarding the defence forces, which is but natural. The government is examining it at the appropriate level. Meanwhile, you are reading too much. It is not correct," he said.
Stating that the armed forces had already submitted the details for revised pay scales, the Defence Minister said the government had issued a notification for paying ad hoc arrears to the personnel, due to the delay in calculating their revised pay for October.

"Also, the Prime Minister has appointed a committee headed by my senior colleague Pranab Mukherjee. So there is no problem. As far as we are concerned, there is no difference," he added.

After the defence forces' decision not to accept the ‘discriminatory’ CPC, the government had acted swiftly with Antony doing some tough talking to the Services' chiefs, asking them to accept the revised pay scales temporarily.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also set up a high-level ministerial committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee last Friday to look into the defence personnel grievances over the CPC.

Antony and Finance Minister P Chidrambaram were named as the other two members of the three-member committee.

Moreover, the government ordered release of an interim amount as part payment of the 40 per cent arrears under the CPC to be given to the defence personnel this week to enable them to celebrate Diwali.

The rest of the 40 per cent arrears would be paid to the services in November.

Source : Indian Express

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