Antony supports granting representation to armed forces in pay panel
Endorsing the demand of three Services Chiefs, Defence Minister A K Antony has written another letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give representation to the armed forces in the panel looking into their pay and pension issues, MoD sources confirmed.
Earlier, three Services Chiefs had written to Mr Antony registering a dissent over the absence of a military representative in the panel, set up by the Prime Minister to look into the anomalies arising out of the implementation of recommendations of the sixth pay commission.
The six-member committee of secretaries was set up by the Prime Minister on July 13 and is headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, and it has been asked to submit its report by August 8.
However, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma in his letter to the Defence Minister said that their demands cannot be satisfactorily addressed till the panel has members of Armed Forces. The Armed Forces have been demanding fixing of six core anomalies in the sixth Pay Commission. The main demand is granting of Non-functional upgrade in the pay to the armed forces on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
Supporting his demand, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal NAK Browne and the Army Chief General Bikram Singh also wrote letters to the Defence Minister on July 26 and July 30 respectively for the inclusion of armed force's representative in the panel.
Armed forces people lamented that the issue of parity of armed forces vis-à-vis IAS will be represented and decided by the IAS officers themselves.
Earlier on June 25, the Defence Minister had written to the Prime Minister saying there was 'growing discontentment among the services personnel due to the anomalies in fixation of payment and salaries'. Making a case for accepting the demands of serving and retired soldiers, Mr Antony pointed out that the service personnel, ex-servicemen and family pensioners were 'equally agitated' over anomalies in salaries and suggested that 'corrective action' be taken or 'things may take a bad turn.' The committee of secretaries is looking into the various pay and pension related demands of the armed forces including the common pay scale for JCOs and Ors, initial fixation of pay of lieutenant colonels and colonels, granting non functional upgrade to armed forces and HAG plus grade for the lieutenant generals and one rank one pension for ex service men.