The seventh pay commission whose provisions are going to be implemented from October 1 after a long wait has not satisfied Army personnel especially veterans who feel that the status of the defence forces “has taken a big dip” especially in comparison to paramilitary forces and bureaucrats. The commission’s recommendations which were initially rejected by all three chiefs of the tri-services have only been accepted after the ministry of defence (MoD) gave its assurance of sorting out the various anomalies.
Sources said that defence minister Manohar Parrikar spoke to the service chiefs following which they decided to heed his advice on implementation of the pay commission. The commission’s implementation had been halted on September 9 when the three chiefs had written to the MoD about the apparent anomalies.
Among the major anomalies pointed out by the services are non functional upgrade (NFU), NFU pay fixation, military service pay (MSP), and common pay matrix for civilian and military services and allowances. Grant of NFU, a long standing demand of the forces, is for officers who are denied promotions due to the lack of vacancies in the steeply-pyramidal structure of the armed forces so that they do not lose out on pay grades, as their batch mates are promoted. “IFS and IPS officers, as also those from organized Group A civil services, now get NFU after the 6th pay commission like IAS officers. But the armed forces have been kept out of it,” said a senior serving officer. “This adversely impacts the morale of serving military officers. It also creates command, control and functional problems because even organizations that work closely with the military like DRDO, Border Roads Organisation, Military Engineer Services and the like get NFU,” he added.
Another demand is the placement of all Lt-Generals in the HAG+ (higher administrative grade) pay-scale like directors-general of police. “As of now, only 33% of Lt-Gens are in the HAG+ scale. The status of all Lt-Gens with that of DGPs must be restored,” the officer added.