Sunday, November 2, 2008

At defence meet, PM skips pay talk

If the armed forces expected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce the resolution of their "core demands" about their new revised pay scales, they were left sorely disappointed on Saturday. 

During his address to the combined commanders' conference, the PM talked about India's quest for better relations with China and Pakistan — despite several problems and concerns — to ensure a peaceful and stable neighbourhood. Assuring the armed forces that funds would not be a constraint for their modernisation, he also said India would still be able to manage a 7-7.5% growth despite the global financial meltdown. 

But Singh, said sources, skipped any mention about the 6th Pay Commission in his address to the top military brass, who feel that the extant parity of the armed forces with their civilian and paramilitary counterparts had been "destroyed" by the new pay scales. 

Moreover, deciding that discretion was better part of valour, the government did not make the PM's speech or even excerpts from it public this time, as has usually been the norm over the years. 

The armed forces, on their part, contend the committee of secretaries has actually introduced "far more serious anomalies" rather than resolving the ones present in the 6th Pay Commission report. 

Moreover, they are now even more upset with the defence ministry for "changing the definition of rank pay" and "diluting the definition of MSP (military service pay)", among other things, in the special army, Navy and IAF instructions issued in mid-October. Incidentally, the three-member ministerial committee is yet to finalise its recommendations about the "core demands" raised by armed forces.
Source : The Times of India

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