New pay scales for armed forces as early Diwali gift (Lead, Changing Dateline)

September 27th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 27 (IANS) The government Saturday set up a three-member ministerial panel, including Defence Minister A.K. Antony, to look into the grievances of defence personnel with regard to the Sixth Pay Panel recommendations and has directed that the raised pay and arrears of the armed forces personnel be given by the first week of October.In Thiruvananthapuram, where he was Saturday, Antony promised that that anomalies in pay scales would be sorted out soon, and the armed forces “will celebrate Diwali” by collecting their new salaries.

Speaking to reporters, Antony rubbished news reports that the Indian armed forces personnel would observe the forthcoming festival of lights on Oct 28 as ‘Black Diwali’ over the newly announced pay scales.

“Who told you such things? Such a thing is not going to happen. When the Pay Commission came out with new pay scales, I agree there were some anomalies for the armed forces personnel. But don’t worry. We will sort out all such issues and they will celebrate Diwali by collecting their new pay scales,” Antony said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed the three-member panel to look into the issues raised by the defence forces.

“The three-member ministerial panel will be headed by Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee. Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will be part of the panel,” a defence official said.

The government has directed that all personnel of the armed forces get the new raised pay scale and remunerations as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in the beginning of October.

“All personnel of the armed forces will receive the new pay and arrears by the first week of October. The three forces have been directed to submit the draft notification regarding the implementation of the pay panel’s report by Monday morning following which the government will disburse the pay and arrears,” the official added.

The reviewed report of the Sixth Pay Commission had upgraded the civilian and paramilitary counterparts of officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and equivalent to a higher pay band. As a result, civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket and were drawing less pay than lieutenant colonels and officers of equivalent rank would now draw a higher basic salary.

The armed forces are upset at this. They contend that such “core issues” would affect the joint operations of the armed forces and paramilitary forces.

“The government is alive to the concerns of the armed forces and will take the adequate action required,” defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

The report of the Sixth Pay Commission, headed by Justice (retd) B.N. Srikrishna, was submitted to Chidambaram March 24.

It led to protests from both civilian and defence personnel, following which the government appointed a committee under Cabinet Secretary K. Chandrashekhar to study the various demands and make corrections.

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