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7th Pay Commission – Defence Minister Overrules Chiefs – Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked them to implement the 7th Pay Commission without any delay.
Overruling service chiefs, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked them to implement the 7th Pay Commission without any delay.
Last week, the three services – Army, Navy and the Air Force – had issued an open signal to servicemen informing them the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission is being kept in abeyance till anomalies are addressed.
On Monday, the three services, led by the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Chief Arup Raha met the Defence Minister to reiterate the need to address the anomalies before the 7th Pay Commission could be rolled out for forces.
The major grievances of the forces include not being allowed non-functional upgrade (NFU) available to bureaucracy. NFU allows bureaucrats who have been passed over to get a higher pay as soon as their batch mates make it to the next rank, and a pay matrix that is separate from the civilian bureaucracy. The government has formed an anomalies commission to look to into these issues.
Resentment has been brewing in the defence services for quite sometime over the 7th pay commission recommendations. The government notification for the defence services, issued last week, removed a sentence about their parity with Central Armed Police Forces but made no other change. Following the notification, the military chiefs were given a detailed briefing last Wednesday by the pay commission cells of the three defence services. After the briefing, the defence services decided “to request the government to hold the implementation of 7th pay commission award in abeyance in view of some serious disparities which need to be resolved ab initio”.
On Friday, the three military chiefs issued a message to all ranks stating the same. “We are in the process of resolving all pending issues and this may take a little longer than we had earlier expected. This is to assure each one of you that no efforts are being spared to bring our genuine concerns to the notice of our country’s leadership,” they added.
The three chiefs had flagged four core issues in a letter to the PM in the third week of July. No response to that letter has been received by the defence services so far, military officials said.
However, taking a strong exception to Parrikar asking the service chiefs to implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations despite their genuine objections, Captain Amarinder Singh, a former army officer, asked him to stand by the Defence services and not the babus in the government, who not only know nothing about the Defence services, but also seem to be congenitally hostile towards the services.
Captain Amarinder said, Parrikar had no right or authority to order the service chiefs to accept what is not acceptable to them. He said, he had once again shown his inability to understand the services. “You can order them in operational matters and they will do as ordered, but on what grounds can you order them to accept the 7th Pay Commission recommendations when these are prejudicially biased against them?” he asked, while adding, “is this Nazi Germany and are you Hitler to issue such a dictatorial order?”
Captain Amarinder Singh said, the three chiefs are reflecting the views of each and every soldier in uniform or out of it. “Instead of you standing by your Defence services, you are toeing the line set by your babus”, he told the minister while asking, “do you realise the implications of your attitude?”
“You have a highly disciplined force, perhaps the only pillar in our democracy that works without ever commenting or objecting”, he observed, while adding, “do you want a disgruntled service?” He said, “if the services are to lose their standing by placing them below the babus and the police, that is exactly what you will have, and then God help our country with a belligerent China and Pakistan around. Will you then lead your babus into the battle?”
He asked Parrikar to look beyond the babus and stand by the forces. “Demoralising them will affect the security of our nation”, he warned, while asking him to either stand by the services or quit, as the PM can perhaps find another Defence Minister and a better one.
Captain Amarinder also sought Prime Minister’s personal intervention and asked him to look beyond those who lack foresight. “This is a matter of national security. The three chiefs are absolutely correct in their stand. Their officers and men expect nothing less from them. They have complete admiration and total support of the nation”, he asserted.