Saturday, December 27, 2008

PM takes stock of security, Govt decision may be soon on Army Pay hike issue.

The three Armed Forces’ chiefs met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday afternoon to update him on the security situation and defence preparedness of the country. The meeting, which was scheduled earlier, comes after media reports from Pakistan that its troops have been alerted and some formations have been moved along the Indian border.

The hour-long meeting, attended by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, is the latest in a series of conferences after the 26/11 attack to brief the political leadership on the prevailing security situation.

Sources said other than an update on the defence preparedness, the service chiefs also discussed critical pending defence procurements with the Prime Minister. This, sources said, was a follow-up of the meeting on December 20 when the service chiefs brought up the matter of equipment shortages with the PM.

The service chiefs also discussed the pay hike issue with the Prime Minister, days after the group of ministers instituted into the matter submitted its report to Singh. The PM is now set to take a decision on the matter on the basis of the GoM’s recommendations. At the meeting, PMO sources said, the three services chiefs also discussed the ``anomalies’’ in the Sixth Pay Commission report implemented by the government since September 1 this year and the recommendations of the ministerial committee headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to address the four issues raised by them. 

Though the Mukherjee committee had given its report to the prime minister on the defence forces’ pay demands, the government is yet to announce its decision. 

Among the four issues raised by the armed forces were placing Lieutenant Colonels in Pay Band-4, parity in grade pay of officers from Captains to Brigadiers with their civilian counterparts, placing Lieutenant Generals in the Higher Administrative Grade Plus pay scales and restoring 70% pensionary weightage to the jawans.

Source : Indian Express and The Economic Times

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