Now, Its Armed Forces Versus Civil Bureaucrats – ‘Remove Anomalies’ is the Demand

Now, Its Armed Forces Versus Civil Bureaucrats – The armed forces want at least five “core anomalies” in their salary structures to be resolved to establish the “correct baseline” for recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

The still unresolved, one rank one pension (OROP) agitation has exacerbated the lack of trust between the military, on the one hand, and politicians and bureaucrats, on the other. In a double defeat for the government on the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, the Government will shell out at least Rs 18,000-22,000 crore for a settlement, but still leave most ex-servicemen grumbling.

Not to be left out, now the serving armed forces officers have approached the 7th Pay Commission again, to consider their demands. The armed forces want at least five “core anomalies” in their salary structures to be resolved to establish the “correct baseline” for recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

One of their main demand and grievance is the ‘Non-functional upgradation’ (NFU). The IFS and IPS officers, as also those from organized Group A civil services, now get NFU after the 6th Pay Commission like IAS officers. But the armed forces have been kept out of it, and they demand, ‘Give us NFU or remove the anomaly’.

A senior officer of the armed forces had this to say “This adversely impacts the morale of serving military officers. It also creates command, control and functional problems because even organizations that work closely with the military like DRDO, Border Roads Organisation, Military Engineer Service and the like get NFU, then why we are denied?”

Another officer on condition of anonymity had this to say, ” Every IAS or IFS officer reaches apex scale because of NFU, the rules are different in armed forces, only a minuscule percentage of officers do reach the apex scale, say one or two per cent, is it justified?”  IAS and IFS keep getting promoted, regardless of merit and performance, he added.

Another demand is the placement of all Lt-Generals in the HAG+ (higher administrative grade) pay-scale like directors-general of police. As of now, only 33% of Lt-Gens are in the HAG+ scale. The status of all Lt-Gens with that of DGPs must be restored.

The other anomalies deal with the grant of “uniform grade pay” and proper “initial pay fixation” of Lt-Colonels, Colonels and Brigadiers. There is also the need for all JCOs (junior commissioned officers) and soldiers to get “common pay scales”, in the backdrop of the ones recruited before January 2006 not getting them.

Another senior officer said, “The civilian Bureaucrats have the advantage of NFU and they automatically get OROP. It’s high time the historical and traditional parity was restored”.

Will the 7th Pay Commission heed to their demand? Given the circumstances, it is a very big question!  The civil Bureaucrats by virtue of having by far the highest percentage of superseded personnel, say that it makes poor economic sense. They feel that the armed forces keep on making more and more demands when they already get a lot of privileges from free rations to hugely-subsidized canteens. “Military officers and jawans already get ‘military service pay’ for their tougher working conditions. The demand for NFU is unrealistic,” said a senior bureaucrat.

However, the armed forces are undeterred. They are now making a last-ditch attempt to get the anomalies rectified by the 7th Pay Commission.

Source: The Times of India