2 Sep :The Armed Forces have communicated to Defence Minister A K Antony that they were "unwilling to implement" the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) report without "anomalies" being removed to restore their status and parity of pay scales.
"A high level delegation from the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) made a presentation to Defence Minister A K Antony and top officials on anomalies, as introduced in the notified CPC report for officers, though it expressed satisfaction over the pay hikes for personnel below officer rank," Defence Ministry’s top sources said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
After witnessing the presentation, Antony was quoted as assuring the Armed Forces that he would take up "the anomalies" with the government and get them addressed, sources said.
The presentation comes in the wake of Chairman of COSC and Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta meeting Antony on Friday evening just hours before the CPC report was notified seeking to stop the government order as "the anomalies" were not removed.
When Mehta was on a visit to Japan and South Korea early last week, then acting Chairman of COSC and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had written to Antony pointing out that the extant parities of Lieutenant Colonels and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force were lowered by retaining them in Pay Band-3, while raising similarly placed civilian and paramilitary officers to Pay Band-4.
In their presentation to Antony, the COSC representatives pointed out that the Grade Pay of middle-rung officers from Captain to Colonels was fixed at a lesser amount than that of similarly placed officers from all other services.
Another anomaly presented before the Defence Minister was the new category of ‘Higher Administrative Grade Plus’ created in all services, except the armed forces, under which the Director General level officers have been placed.
"These HAG Plus officers have been placed in a Pay Band higher than that of even Lieutenant Generals in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Forces," sources said.
Regarding Colonels, the CPC recommendations of 24th March this year had suggested that the lowest slab in pay scale S-24 at Rs 14,300 (for group ‘A’ services) be fixed at Rs 24,890, by using a multiplication factor of 1.74.
Similarly, for pay scale S-25 (IAS), the lowest slab of Rs 15,100 was reviewed to be fixed at Rs 26,280.For service officers in the rank of Lt Col (and equivalent) hitherto in S-25 pay scale, the CPC had recommended their pay being fixed at Rs 24,280.
The civilian and paramilitary officers in the extant pay scale S-24 (Rs 14,300-400-18,300) and S-25 (Rs 15,100-400-18,300) were be placed in Pay Band-4, whereas the same was not given to the Armed Forces officers (Lt Cols and equivalents), who are already in S-25.
"The civilian officers who were in a lower pay scale (S-24) and drawing lower pay as compared to Lt Cols and equivalent in the Armed Forces would now draw a higher basic salary in the same pay band," Defence Ministry sources said.
This would imply that the extant parity between the Armed Forces and Civilian/Paramilitary forces have been altered to the detriment of the services, sources added.In the second "anomaly, the CPC had recommended a lower Grade Pay for lower and middle-rung officers of the Armed Forces from Captain to Colonels in the Army and their equivalents in
Navy and Air Force.
While the Armed Forces pointed out the anomaly, the government agreed to the demand that the officers’ Grade Pay should be increased.
The Armed Forces demand was to equate their Grade Pay with that of similarly placed officers in the civilian and paramilitary services, as recommended by the Sixth CPC.
Instead of equating, the government granted the Armed Forces demand to increase Grade Pay and simultaneously hiked the Grade Pay of officers in other services too, there by introducing another anomaly in the final CPC report.
"For example, a Captain in the Army and their equivalents in Navy and Air Force were recommended a Grade Pay of Rs 5,700 by the CPC. The Armed Forces demanded that their Grade Pay be increased to Rs 6,100, which was recommended for other services officers by the CPC.
"Though the government agreed to increase the Captain’s Grade Pay to Rs 6,100, it simultaneously increased the Grade Pay of similar officers in other services to Rs 6,800. This has caused a difference of Rs 700 to the detriment of Captains and their equivalents," sources said.
The disparity in the Grade Pay in the notified CPC report cut across all lower and middle ranks of the Armed Forces up to the Colonels, Defence Ministry sources said.With regard to the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus category of pay scales, the government made it applicable to all services, civilian and paramilitary, except the Armed Forces and placed the category above that of the Pay Band of Lieutenant Generals and their equivalents.
As a result, the status of Lt Generals was lowered compared to the Director General level officers in the paramilitary forces and Additional Secretaries in the civilian services.
"In fact, a DG Prisons or DG Rules of a State is placed above in status than that of Lt Generals and Armed Forces Commanders, be it the Strategic Forces Command or the Andaman and Nicobar Command, with the creation of the HAG Plus category," sources said.
Under the lowering of extant parities of Lt Colonels "anomaly", about 45 percent of Army, 38 percent of Navy and 40 percent of IAF officers have been affected and they were "the backbone of the officer-cadre" in these services.
In the Grade Pay, about 80 percent of all officers in the tri-services would be directly affected due to "the anomaly."And due to the HAG Plus Category, about 10 percent of the entire officer cadre of the Army, Navy and Air Force, would be affected.
"By one stroke of bureaucratic power, the entire officer cadre of the tri-services have been made to suffer by lowering of their pay and status. This will have an adverse effect on the morale of the officers," sources added. DDINEWS