Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Govt and defence forces lock horns on new salaries

The Defence Ministry issues separate notification on September 6 on Pay Commission recommendations, following which the three chiefs write to both the Prime Minister and Parrikar to hold the implementation in view of the “unresolved anomalies”
A confrontation between the government and the defence forces appears building up following Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s refusal to reconsider revision of the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission despite the written protest lodged by the chiefs of the three forces on September 9.

The Defence Ministry had issued a separate notification on September 6 on implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations, following which the three chiefs wrote to both the Prime Minister and Parrikar to better put on hold the implementation in view of the “unresolved anomalies” lowering the status of the armed forces versus their counterparts in police and civil administration.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lamba called on Parrikar on Monday on his return to the capital from Goa to explain that the September 6 notification was ‘inadequate’. The Army chief was out of town and hence could not join them.
They were, however, aghast over Parrikar’s stern response that “what all has been decided has to be implemented and legitimate grievances can be addressed later.” Sources said they are waiting for return of the Army chief to formulate their strategy while sticking to the stand they had taken in the September 9 and communicated by separate letters to the senior commanders and through them to the troops not to accept the revised pay-scales as per the September 6 notification.
They want the anomalies addressed first before implementing the new pay-scales as they asserted that the defence ministry should have dealt with these anomalies before issuing the notification on September 6, taking them by surprise.
Sources said the minister has lobbied the ball back to the forces ignoring the friction between the forces and the government on the issue.
In messages sent to all formations, the chiefs of the three forces had said “we have been constrained to request the government to hold implementation of 7th CPC award in abeyance in view of the anomalies which need to be resolved.”
The ministry sources, however, insisted that the notification was issued on September 6 after taking into account the letter of the three services chiefs on the issue of pay parity, among other things. They said the government has conveyed its view that the demands of all arms of the government cannot be met in totality.
How far the troops resist implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations is to be seen as the civilian central staff has already begun receiving the enhanced salaries from this month.
In a memoranda to the PM and the Defence Ministers, the services have contended that under the pay panel’s recommendations, the officers in each rank were being given lower salaries than comparable civilian employees of the government. They have also demanded implementation of nonfunctional upgrade (NFU), a special allowance for civilian employees above a certain rank, and also an increase in military service pay for junior commissioned officers and jawans to Rs 10,000 instead of Rs 5,200.

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