In a major New year bonanza for the armed forces, the Prime Minister’s Office has informed the Defence Ministry that the armed forces personnel would henceforth have a separate pay commission, which is delinked from the civilian pay panel.
In a communication to the Defence Ministry the PMO also granted the demand for placing 12,000 odd Lieutenant Colonels and equivalents in Navy and Air Force in the pay band four of the sixth central pay commission.
However, the PMO, which considered the recommendations of the ministerial committee headed by External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, said that the pay band four status with a grade pay of Rs 8000 would be accorded to Lieutenant Colonels who were performing a combat role or were ready for combat.
Those Lieutenant Colonels on deputation to other services would receive the pay band four status only when they return to their parent service.
Another demand accepted by the PMO concerned the jawans, for whom the government would restore the 70 per cent pensionary weightage.
Till the government implements the sixth pay commission’s recommendations for allowing retired armed forces personnel’s lateral entry into paramilitary and central police forces, the 70 per cent weightage would continue.
The present PMO communication, sent to the Defence Ministry in the last week of December, however, is silent on the two other core demands of the armed forces: placing the Lieutenant Generals in the higher administrative grade plus pay scales and bringing grade pay of officers from Captains to Brigadiers on par with their civilian counterparts.
But, conceding to the Defence personnel’s demand the PMO said it would set up a high powered committee to review the command and control functions, and the status of the armed forces vis-a-vis that of their civilian and paramilitary counterparts.
Though Defence Ministry assumed that the PMO’s communication is a fiat to the armed forces, the nitty gritty of implementing them would have to be worked out in concent with the services headquarters, officials said.
News Source : The Economic Times (01-01-09)