Armed forces welcome pay commission bonanza

August 14th, 2008 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Military service just got more attractive with the government approving Thursday the revised recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. The armed forces welcomed the cabinet decision, saying their demands seem to have been “suitably addressed”. “Even as more details are awaited, prima-facie, all the concerns of the defence forces appear to have been suitably addressed. The increase in Military Service Pay of PBORs (personnel below officer rank) and compensation for middle-rung officers is particularly heartening,” Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said. Mehta is the current chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The cabinet Thursday cleared the revised recommendations at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, granting substantial hikes to five million government employees, with special attention being paid to military and paramilitary personnel.

The prime minister will announce the details Friday during his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day.

The revision translates into a 20 percent hike over the 40 percent across-the-board increase the pay commission had recommended.

At least three promotions have been assured for defence personnel and civilian employees under modified assured career progression (ACP) scheme. Civilians will be assured of promotions after 10, 20 and 30 years of service while junior and non-commissioned officers and personnel below officer rank (PBOR) would be eligible for this after 8, 16 and 24 years of service.

“At first instance, it seems that all the demands of the defence forces have been addressed but things would be more clear once the finer details are known,” a senior army officer said.

The Military Service Pay recommended by the pay commission has been enhanced from Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 for PBORs and has been retained at Rs.6,000 for officers up to brigadier’s rank.

Middle level officers - colonels, brigadiers and equivalent - are now placed in the highest pay band of PB-4. Lieutenant Generals overlooked for promotion as Army Commanders due to lack of residual service would now get the grade of an Army Commander.

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

It immediately raised a storm of protests from both civilian and defence personnel, following which the government had appointed a committee under cabinet secretary K. Chandrashekhar to study the representations received.

The three service chiefs, on their part had made a joint representation to Defence Minister A.K. Antony saying their expectations had not been met. On Wednesday, the prime minister had chaired a high-level meeting to consider the Chandrashekhar committee’s recommendations with regard to the armed forces.

Thereafter, official sources said, finance ministry bureaucrats had burned the midnight oil to ready the revised package for both civilians and defence personnel and finished the task only by 5 a.m. Thursday.

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