Now no girl wants to marry a fighter pilot thanks to low pay, laments Marshal Arjan Singh

September 15th, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Earlier every girl wanted to marry a fighter pilot but now nobody wants to, thanks to the pathetic pay package and lack of respect for the armed forces and their service conditions, laments Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh.Talking about the defence forces being shortchanged in the Sixth Pay Commission, Singh said that the morale of the force has to be maintained.

“Bureaucrats work close to ministers and hence are able to influence them. The people in the armed forces are suffering vis-à-vis the bureaucrats. Lowering their pay and rank will affect their morale,” Singh told IANS here.

Singh, one of the first air force pilots of independent India, is the only IAF chief to be given the rank of Marshal of the Air Force.

He termed the government apathy towards the armed forces as the reason behind the shortage of officers.

“The attraction towards the armed forces went down and the government did not do anything to change it. Ours is a voluntary service; so improvement of conditions for the armed forces without lowering of (recruitment) standards is a must,” Singh added.

Singh was commenting on the resentment among the armed forces personnel who felt shortchanged by the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations.

Singh, the only IAF chief to have led the air force successfully to war, also felt that dilution of parity of the armed forces officers with respect to their civil and paramilitary counterparts does not augur well.

“The standard of armed forces should not come down. The IAF is still better off but army has to work close with civil administration and it is going to be different now,” Singh added.

The reviewed report of the Sixth Pay Commission has upgraded the civilian and paramilitary counterparts of officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and equivalent to the higher pay band.

Due to this, civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket and were hitherto drawing less pay than lieutenant colonels and officers of equivalent rank would now draw a higher basic salary.

Following the revised report, even a short service commissioned officer in the paramilitary forces will get a higher pay than most permanent commissioned officers in the armed forces.

This has received sharp reactions from within the rank and file of the armed forces.

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