Saturday, November 8, 2008

Army's anger - why ? Read it out.

As many as 584 officers from the Army have sought pre-mature retirement from services since March this year but the Government said it was not due to resentment over the sixth pay commission recommendations.

No officer of navy, air force has sought pre-mature retirement on the ground of dissatisfaction with the Six Central Pay Commission report. However, in the Army, since March 2008, a total number of 584 officers have applied for premature retirement/resignation,” Defence Minister A K Antony said replying to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Antony said the officials seek retirement on the “ground of non-empanelment, compassionate ground, low medical category, failure to acquire minimum technical qualification and better employment in civil life”.

“From this, it cannot be ascertained that they have sought an exit due to resentment against the Sixth Pay Commission Report,” he said.

The Defence Services, led by their Chiefs, have refused to implement the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, alleging that their status and honour were compromised.

Antony, while replying to a question by BJP’s V K Malhotra and Santosh Gangwar, said the Services had submitted a detailed representation to the Government brining out certain issues arising out of the Sixth Pay Commission report.

“The Government has reached a decision on most of the issues,” he said adding that a few more subsequent issues have been raised by the Services namely grant of higher grade pay to Service officers, placement of Lt-Col and equivalents in Pay Band 4 and reinstatement of pensionary weightages for Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR).

The Centre on September 25 set up a committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee with Antony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as members to look into the grievances of the armed forces.

The Government has decided that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will look into the issues raised by the Services and give recommendations in consultation with the Defence Minister and Finance Minister,Antony said.

After the government notification was issued on August 29, issues of “anomalies” in the pay for officers were first raised by Air chief Fali Homi Major in his letter in his capacity as acting Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Chiefs of Navy and Army too have voiced their resentment in letters to the government.

The armed forces are demanding that the government place Lieutenant-Colonels and their equivalents in Pay Band-4, ensure parity in Grade Pay of officers from Captains to Brigadiers with their civilian counterparts, accord the Higher Administrative Grade Plus status in pay scales to Lieutenant Generals and restore 70 per cent pensionary benefits to jawans.

Mukherjee held discussions with Chidambaram last month on the issue after consultations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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