IESM Movement Against Injustices to Defence Services: Relay Hunger Strike from 20 Oct 08 at 10 AM onwards
Dear Friends 1. As you are aware that Govt has not yet notified 6th CPC award in respect of Pension benefits of Veteran Defence Personnel. None of our demands has yet been met. As per our earlier decision announced in the Press Conference held at Press Club India New Delhi on 03 Oct 2008, Defence Veterans across country will go on Relay Hunger Strike from 10 AM 20 Oct 08 onwards to protest against the Injustice done to the Defence Forces Personnel.
2. The Relay Hunger Strike will be held at all districts and cities of the country. In NCR, the Relay Hunger Strike will be held at India Gate Lawns (Same location where Hunger Strike on 27 May was held) starting at 10 AM on 20 Oct 08 onwards. All Defence Veterans of NCR are requested to join in the IESM Movement and take part in the Relay Hunger Strike in large numbers.
3. It is the bounded Duty of every veteran to give wide publicity to this information and encourage maximum ex- servicemen to reach India Gate Lawns at 10 AM on 20 Oct 08. Defence Veteran organizations PAN India are requested to organize Relay Hunger Strike in their respective cities and Districts to demand Justice for Defence Personnel. After action reports may please be sent. Maximum media coverage may please be arranged. NDTV, Headlines Today, Ajtak, Times Now have confirmed their coverage of the event. Movement representatives are requested to get in touch with local representatives of the above TV Channels. Other local TV Channels may also be encouraged to cover the event.
DEMANDS OF MILITARY VETERANS
To lead their retired life in peace with Honour, Dignity & Izzat- the hall marks of a Soldier; the MILITARY VETERANS request:
1. "One Rank, One Pension" (OROP) be sanctioned IMMEDIATELY. This is a long pending demand aimed at protecting the interests of older pensioners; and the issue has become very emotive with the Ex- Servicemen. OROP has been the stated policy of all mainstream political parties. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has been asking the Govt. time & again to implement 'One Rank, One Pension'. Para 99 of the Report of Standing Committee on Defence (2003) clearly states: "The Committee has been recommending grant of `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel time and again. The Committee observes that successive Governments and Pay Commissions have made improvements in the pension structure keeping in view the cost of living index. This has accentuated the disparity of pension benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The older pensioners who have become infirm in ability and capability and burdened with a larger social obligation receive pension calculated at the rate of pay at the time of their retirement in 1950s or 1960s or 1970s, which is quite paltry and the Dearness Relief quite inconsequential in today's context of inflation and shrinking purchasing value of money. The nation must repay its debt to those defenders of the motherland with gratitude and humility. We should, instead of, looking for precedents in this regard, create precedents for the others to emulate. Any amount paid in this regard would be small token of our gratitude to them. The Committee, therefore, once again reiterates their earlier recommendation for providing `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel". *[For purposes of 'Pension' the term MILITARY VETERANS includes widows/ parents /next of kin of soldiers who were killed in battle and also those who died in peace time, and in receipt of pension from Defence Dept].
2. Resettlement of Military Veterans by way of: (a) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, for lateral induction of Service Officers, JCOs & Jawans and their equivalents in the Navy & Air Force, into Central & State Services and PSUs, at appropriate levels, so that MILITARY VETERANS too have just, fair & equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years, at higher levels & appointments. (b) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, making it mandatory for all Corporates and Industries related to supply of equipment, materials & stores to the Armed Forces, for employment of MILITARY VETERANS to the extent of 10 % of their work force.
3. Constituting an Ex- Servicemen Commission with necessary statutory powers at the national level to look after all the welfare measures of the Ex- Servicemen community. As is the practice in the case of other similar commissions, the Ex- Servicemen Commission be headed by a retired Chief of the Army/ Navy/ Air Force and should have Military Veterans from the three Defence services, as its members; and also suitable members from Military Veterans fraternity representing War Widows and the War wounded.
4. Representation of the Ex- Servicemen on all committees and other such bodies constituted for the purpose of looking into matters affecting the interests of the Ex-Servicemen.
5. Let us all join hands and take part in the Relay Hunger Strike in large numbers. At NCR MUST Reach India Gate Lawn at 10 AM on 20 Oct 08.
Jai Hind With Kind Regards, Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement (IESM)
MILITARY VETERANS FAST FOR JUSTICE AT MAHATMA GANDHI STATUE ON MG ROAD, BANGALORE FROM 10 AM ON 20 OCTOBER TO 4 PM ON 24 OCTOBER 2008 [Mahatma Gandhi statue is at the tri-junction of MG Road, Queens Road & Kasturba Road, Opposite Jewels D' Paragon, Bangalore]. [*MILITARY VETERANS means Retired Officers, JCOs, NCOs & Jawans of the Army and their equivalents in the Navy & Air Force]
1. Military Veterans at Bangalore are requested to assemble in large numbers to undertake the Relay FAST FOR JUSTICE from 20 Oct to 24 October 2008 at Mahatma Gandhi Statue on MG Road, Bangalore, to express their solidarity with MILITARY VETERANS all over the Country to draw the attention of the Govt. of Union of India for the amelioration of their grievances relating to pension & resettlement. Military Veterans shall undertake a fast, just for a day, on any one day as per their convenience, during the period: 20 Oct-24 Oct 2008. The Relay Fast would commence at 10 AM on Monday, 20 Oct 2008 and end at 4 PM on Friday, 24 Oct 2008. Military Veterans undertaking the Fast would be relieved at 8AM, the next day, by a fresh batch of Military Veterans. All Military Veterans shall be suitably dressed with head gear and miniature medals. Other than holding a few placards, posters & banners, there shall be no speeches, no sloganeering and no demonstration. The entire proceedings shall be conducted as a solemn event with dignity & decorum, befitting Military Veterans. Only the nominated spokesperson shall talk to the Press & Media. Military Veterans are requested to inform all their friends and give wide publicity to the undertaking of Relay Fast, by SMS/ Emails/ telephone; so as to ensure maximum participation by MILITARY VETERANS. Spouses of Military Veterans and War Widows & War wounded are welcome to participate in the Relay Fast.
2. IMPORTANT: Military Veterans are requested to inform the Convener by Email or Post Card, their personal particulars, viz. No, Rank, Name, Tel No. & Cell No, and Confirmation of Date (just one day) when convenient to undertake the Relay Fast during the period: 20-24 Oct 2008.
Veteran IC-15090 Colonel SS Rajan
The Bombay Sappers, PRC: 30 Jun 1963 Convener (Bangalore Chapter) Military Veterans Movement for Justice & All India Military Veterans Association
Press Note IESM Movement Against Injustices to Defence Services: Relay Hunger Strike from 20 Oct 08 at 10 AM onwards
Dear Members of the Press. 1. This has reference to our press Conference held on 03 Oct 08 at Press club of India New Delhi where we had announced that in the event of Govt not accepting our demands till the date, the veteran Defence Personnel through out the country will go on Relay Hunger Strike from 20 Oct 08 onwards.
2. Since, the Govt has not announced pension benefits of 6th CPC in respect of Ex- Servicemen and has not accepted any of our demands so far, the Defence Veterans PAN India will go on Relay Hunger Strike starting at10 AM on 20 Oct 08 onwards. The Relay Hunger Strike will be carried out in all the Districts and cities of the country. The local representative of the IESM Movement will decide the locations and methodology of the conduct of Relay Hunger Strike. In NCR, the Relay Hunger Strike will be carried out at India Gate Lawns (The same location where Hunger Strike was carried out on 27 May 08). Large number of Officers, JCOs and Men will take part in the Relay Hunger Strike throughout the country. This protest is being carried out to make the people of our country aware of the grave injustices being done to the Defence Services.
3. We demand Justice in respect of our Status, respect, self esteem and emoluments. We request the members of the media both electronic and print to carry this news and also cover the event extensively at India Gate Lawns and all other cities of the country. We also appeal to our PM and RM to accept our genuine demands at the earliest to ameliorate our sufferings, anguish and hurt feelings.
DEMANDS OF MILITARY VETERANS
To lead their retired life in peace with Honour, Dignity & Izzat- the hall marks of a Soldier; the MILITARY VETERANS request:
1. "One Rank, One Pension"(OROP) be sanctioned IMMEDIATELY. This is a long pending demand aimed at protecting the interests of older pensioners; and the issue has become very emotive with the Ex- Servicemen. OROP has been the stated policy of all mainstream political parties. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has been asking the Govt. time & again to implement 'One Rank, One Pension'. Para 99 of the Report of Standing Committee on Defence (2003) clearly states: "The Committee have been recommending grant of `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel time and again. The Committee observes that successive Governments and Pay Commissions have made improvements in the pension structure keeping in view the cost of living index. This has accentuated the disparity of pension benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The older pensioners who have become infirm in ability and capability and burdened with a larger social obligation receive pension calculated at the rate of pay at the time of their retirement in 1950s or 1960s or 1970s, which is quite paltry and the Dearness Relief quite inconsequential in today's context of inflation and shrinking purchasing value of money. The nation must repay its debt to those defenders of the motherland with gratitude and humility. We should, instead of, looking for precedents in this regard, create precedents for the others to emulate. Any amount paid in this regard would be small token of our gratitude to them. The Committee, therefore, once again reiterates their earlier recommendation for providing `One Rank One Pension' to the armed forces personnel". *[For purposes of 'Pension' the term MILITARY VETERANS includes widows/ parents /next of kin of soldiers who were killed in battle and also those who died in peace time, and in receipt of pension from Defence Dept]. 2. Resettlement of Military Veterans by way of: (a) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, for lateral induction of Service Officers, JCOs & Jawans and their equivalents in the Navy & Air Force, into Central & State Services and PSUs, at appropriate levels, so that MILITARY VETERANS too have just, fair & equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years, at higher levels & appointments. (b) Legislation of an Act by Parliament, making it mandatory for all Corporates and Industries related to supply of equipment, materials & stores to the Armed Forces, for employment of MILITARY VETERANS to the extent of 10 % of their work force.
3. Constituting an Ex-Servicemen Commission with necessary statutory powers at the national level to look after all the welfare measures of the Ex- Servicemen community. As is the practice in the case of other similar commissions, the Ex-Servicemen Commission be headed by a retired Chief of the Army/ Navy/ Air Force and should have Military Veterans from the three Defence services, as its members; and also suitable members from Military Veterans fraternity representing War Widows and the War wounded.
4. Representation of the Ex-Servicemen on all committees and other such bodies constituted for the purpose of looking into matters affecting the interests of the Ex- Servicemen.
5. We also support all the demands put up by the three Chiefs and stand solidly behind them.
6. We request the members of the media to kindly carry this press note in your News Paper/TV Channel and give wide publicity. You are also requested to cover the event at India Gate Lawns New Delhi and all other cities across country starting at 10 AM on 20 Oct 08 onwards.
Jai Hind With Kind Regards, Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement (IESM)
Let's get our house in order. When you supercede 75% of your officers by the rank of Colonel, you got serious trouble. If every bloke who joins the IAS makes it to Joint Secretary, why are we crying foul. We have brought the present predicament upon ourselves. Till some years back did'nt we hear that we had the best selection system in the country. So what has changed now. The problem dear friends, is not with our stars but with us that we refuse to learn. Learn from politicians, learn from the bureaucracy. When the ruling party wants to appease a coalition partner, it offers it ministerial posts, when it has none it creates new ministries, even odd sounding ones like the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Closets. When the bureaucracy wants to upgrade its cadres it creates new departments under such ministries, such as the Department of Open Defecation under the Ministry of Sanitation and WCs, with one Secretary and maybe two Joint Secretaries each heading important sounding sub-departments such as Sub Department of Open Defecation along Railway Tracks and Sub Department of Open Defecation in Fields. There, you have one additional Secretary and two Joint Secretaries. So let a thousand Major Generals Bloom.
Many would say it is difficult as all appointments have to be okayed by the bureaucracy. Difficult yes, impossible no. As Lord Krishna said to the brave Arjuna, the battle lies not without but within.
The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- (from Through the Looking- Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) By Lewis Carroll
Well the sixth pay commission has certainly sorted out the Kings and the Cabbages!
By adopting a common pay band between civilians and armed forces they have displayed a complete lack of respect (knowledge?) of the armed forces ethos, their working conditions or what motivates them to fight for the nation. Certainly it is more than the pay packet they take home, but they can no longer be expected to be immune to the happenings around them. What they see is an economy with overflowing coffers and the willingness of the powers that be to throw some peanuts their way.
It is difficult for a serviceman to understand or accept that the responsibilities shouldered by a Director (with 11 years of service) in a civilian ministry is to be equated with a Colonel/equivalent in the armed forces who has 26 years of service. In no way can the rigid working structure of the armed forces be equated with the civilian working structure or responsibilities. I wonder what sort of job analysis was carried out by the sixth pay commission to arrive at a common pay band?
One can see the handiwork of the the IAS lobby who peopled the pay commission who seem to have ensured that the armed forces were put in their place. It is a fact that the armed forces wanted representation on the pay commission but this was not agreed to, on the usual cliched reason that it would lead to similar demands from others. This is evident from the very prominent assertion in the report that 'the existing edge enjoyed by the IAS' vis-a-vis other services would be maintained.
The seething resentment against the pittance meted out to the middle rung officers and jawans, who form the backbone of the services is quite evident from all that one reads in the media. To take a couple of examples the outfit allowance for jawans was increased to Rs 20 a month, what a laugh! The pension of a Brigadier in absolute terms will increase by only 17% against what is being touted i.e. an increase of 40%. A senior JCO is reported to have retorted, "Why should I face the bullets for a paltry Rs 2000 increase."
The following extract from the media (Vishal Thapar in CNN/IBN) sums it up:
"However, the Commission fails the military at its middle rung — the level where many are queuing up to quit. Those with 20 years of service and more, get a real increase of less than 15 per cent.
“We were expecting around 200 per cent hike,” Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor says.
Rankers too are disappointed. The hike they get is between Rs 1000 and Rs 2000.
“What sort of education can a colonel provide to his children with the salary that he takes home, which is around Rs 25,000 – 27,000?” says VP Career Launchers Colonel (Retd) Gopal Karaunakaran."
It should be understood that it is not easy to motivate jawans to accept the supreme sacrifice as a way of life. World over the armed forces whether serving or retired are placed on a pedestal and this is what motivates them, but by equating them with a bunch of civilians you do not achieve that.
The facts are that ever since Independence an assiduous campaign was launched to degrade the armed forces and this has affected their morale. It started soon after Independence with officers being asked to accept cuts in their salary to bring them to "Indian rates of pay." This was followed by another campaign to equate the armed forces with other services such as the police and other para military organisations. Similarly acts such as the revision of the Warrant of Precedence, sacking of a CNS etc etc have all contributed to degrading the value of the services and seriously affected their morale. Is it any wonder that the army has a shortage of 12,000 officers at the middle and lower level?
After the second cadre review of the armed forces in 1984, a so called "working relationship" was forced on the armed forces. This spelled out that to enable the smooth handling of files at the MoD/Services HQ, the Chiefs would mark files to the Defence Secretary, Lt Gens to the Addl Secy, Maj Gens to the Joint Secy, Brigs to the Director and so on. This "working relationship" devised to ensure smoothness of functioning at MoD level, has now very cleverly transformed itself into an equivalence in pay scales by the sixth pay commission. How else are we to interpret a common running pay band? By what logic is the pay of a Brigadier to be the same as that of a Director on the civil side? How do you equate a Maj Gen with 33 years of service with a Joint Secretary with only 16 years of service?
Clearly there is a fit case for a separate pay commission for the armed forces which is responsive to their peculiar structure, job content, responsibilities, service conditions and aspirations. Clearly the sixth pay commission has not done justice to the armed forces.
Finally it is time that the nation and its rulers are made fully aware of the fact that the Armed Forces are your last resort. It would indeed be a sad day if they were to let you down due to the indifference of an unappreciating nation. For then even God will not be able to help you! CABBAGES & KINGS- SCPC
The government must understand that the whole nation is watching the developments and it must realise that the people regard the Armed Forces in high esteem, more than that of the other services. The Khabrein Info. writes “The people have already witnessed the Veterans hitting the streets and also the government’s insult heaped on India’s greatest soldier Sam Manekshaw during his funeral and further handling of the issue in a squalid manner would send a wrong signal as though an unholy politician- bureaucrat nexus has been playing dirty games against the Armed Forces. It is high time the Forces are respected and honoured and given their due.
Ever since the Sixth Central Pay Commission submitted its recommendations to the government, the Armed Forces and Military Veterans have been conveying their grievances to the government through all possible ways. As the UPA government has not been listening to their grievances showing scant regard, the Military Veterans took the unprecedented step of hitting the streets, while the Armed forces remained disciplined and focused on their job. The Indian Ex- Servicemen Movement (IESM) conducted nationwide protest demonstrations, sit- in fasts and protest marches, which were widely covered & reported by the media.
The Armed Forces and the Veterans have had some genuine demands like One Rank One Pension, Resettlement of Veterans, Representation of soldiers on Premier Committees, Inequities in the sixth Pay Commission, Formation of separate commission for defence forces, Addressing all anomalies with respect to the sixth pay commission, Compensation for war disabled and compensation for early retirement, etc.
Despite several representations and meetings with the Chiefs of the three services, the Finance Minister has been unrelenting and prevailing upon even the Prime Minister. The Defence Minister, who has been directly dealing with the Forces, understood the seriousness of the situation, sought the intervention of the Prime Minister conveying to him the discontent brewing in the three services, apart from writing letters to the Finance Minister. In his letter to the finance minister, the defence minister has raised the issues of Personnel Below the Officer Rank (PBOR) and the ‘extant pensionary weightage’.
Under the Sixth CPC proposal, the PBORs are to be given an opportunity for lateral entry into the paramilitary and central police forces, but they would forgo 50 per cent of their pension calculated on the basis of their last drawn pay at retirement. As the government has refused to approve the proposal for their lateral entry into the paramilitary forces, the PBORs are in a precarious situation of losing out both on re- employment and pension fronts.
Compared with the civil & paramilitary services, the military services have been blatantly discriminated against with regards to service recognition as well as pay packages. The Military establishment has objected on the grounds of ‘Disparity in Pay Bands’ as the civil officers have been moved to Pay Band 4, while the officers from the services are kept stagnant at Pay Band 3; ‘Disparity in Grade Pay’ as there is a disparity in the grade pay between the middle-rank officers comparatively ‘Restricting the Elite List’ as the DGs and DGPS from the civil & paramilitary services have been included in the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG), their equal ranks of Lt Generals have not been included.
Even while the government announced the acceptance of the recommendations of the Sixth pay commission on the Independence Day saying that the new packages would be issued to 50 lakh government employees on October 1, it failed to realise the resentment flowing through the three services. Though a 13 member committee of secretaries assured the services of taking care of their grievances, the real picture after the announcement has not changed much resulting in the outrage of the Armed Forces.
The Armed Forces in an unprecedented manner refused to accept the revised pay- packages, but the government remained adamant. Again in an unprecedented move, the three Chiefs submitted their salary bills as per the old pay structures, taking the government by shock & surprise. Only then the government realised the gravity of the situation and the Prime minister, who has been concentrating only on the N-Deal for the last three and a half years, ordered for a constitution of a special panel headed by External Affairs Minister and the finance minister and the defence minister would also be included in the panel, to look into the disparities & anomalies with regards to the sixth pay commission. Meanwhile, the Armed Forces, known for their patriotism & discipline, have agreed to accept the ad hoc payment, while resting their hopes on the newly constituted panel. SCPC: Respect & honour the Forces
Comment: It is shameful that the political system has systematically been taken hostage by the IAS bureaucracy with attendant red- tape and manipulation of rules to benefit their own fraternity. Do Politicans have the time to unravel the Game plan of IAS bureaucrats? The PBORs are still being given a raw deal. It is the Jawans like pawns in a chess game prove vital for victory in combat. The PBORs (which includes JCOs and NCOs) MSP should be at least 50% of Rs 6000/ that the officers are entitled. The Defence Forces salaries need to be tailored so that the ratio of lowest to highest paid is not less than 1:5. The ESM have been the hardest hit. With ever increasing pension anomalies created by every Central Pay Commission, one needs to ponder why the Government is averse to sanction "One Rank One Pension"? Why Court rulings are not being implemented by the Bureaucrats!
On September 24, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta sent out an unclassified signal to his men. It spoke of how the navy was delaying the implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations passed by the Union Cabinet.
Two days later, it was followed by a similar signal from the Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor. Shaken by this unprecedented move, which some whispered was nothing short of a revolt, Defence Minister A.K. Antony pulled them up, following which the forces released 40 per cent arrears to their men.
The Government stepped in days later to announce the formation of a three- member committee headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Antony.
The services have also delayed the implementation of another government order to implement the revised pay scales, preferring instead to wait for the recommendations of the committee.
But what compelled the chiefs to cross the line in disobeying a Cabinet decision? "Such a situation has never been seen. It sets a bad precedent. Tomorrow, it could be used for any issue at the local level," says former defence secretary Ajai Vikram Singh.
Army officials insist the chiefs did not send out the service instructions which would implement the new pay commission from October 1 only to quell the possibility of unrest among the ranks. "The chiefs had no other recourse. They could not afford to let their men down," says Lt Gen (Retd) Vinay Shankar.
The service chiefs are standing fast against a Cabinet decision
Protests from the armed forces have left the Sixth CPC hanging fire for over six months. The forces have painted the bureaucrats as villains of the piece for keeping them out of the panel that formulated the pay commission.
This despite an internal report of Ministry of Defence (MoD) that explicitly states that key proposal of the Task Force On the Management of Defence-the appointment of an armed forces' representative on the Sixth CPC-has been implemented.
The armed forces emphasise that their grievances are not about money but about how the existing pecking order has been disrupted. Lt-colonels and their equivalent, wing commanders and commanders, have been put in a pay bracket lower than their counterparts in the police and paramilitary forces.
This grievance ironically surfaced after the recommendations of an anomaly committee set up to review the Sixth CPC. Lt-generals have been kept out of the higher administrative grade where director-generals of police are included. Even pension of soldier has been reduced.
"The issue is not about money but of status equivalence. There are certain functional requirements working at a certain level," says Admiral Mehta, who is also the chairman of Chiefs of Staffs Committee.
Government rules determine an officer's seniority on pay and the date of his entry into the pay band. While raising IPS ranks, what the Sixth CPC did was to raise paramilitary ranks also.
An imbalances which can prove disastrous when the armed forces operate in conjunction with police and paramilitary agencies. "India will be the first country where the paramilitary will be senior to the armed forces," says Vice Admiral (retd) A.K. Singh.
Murmurs of the status quo being upset are already apparent. Last week, the Indian Defence Services Employees' Association, which represents civil engineers, informed employees of 'altered relativities' of the Sixth CPC. The implication was quite clear-the civil engineers have been upgraded to the pay bracket of their erstwhile superiors, the army officers.
The services are upset by the disturbance of the status
The last two commissions were hotly contested by the armed forces with the Fifth CPC triggering off a near-revolt among the technical cadre of the Indian Air Force. "This time around the Government has been more standoffish, leaving the services little room for manoeuvre," says Major General (retd) Surjit Singh , a member of two previous commissions.
The Sixth CPC has led to silent yet widespread discontent among the men in uniform and continuing protests by ex-servicemen's organisations. This peculiar situation has led to the unhappy sight of service chiefs almost reduced to the role of playing union leaders bargaining for higher pay.
Expressing a lack of faith in the committee of secretaries which was to look into their grievances, they have turned to the political leadership. The chiefs have pushed their case with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. How did these imbalances creep in?
The chiefs say they were not consulted by the Government before the gazette notification was issued. The military points to their old bete noire-the civilian bureaucrats at the MoD-and allege the entire episode is the outcome of their 'subverting the democratic functioning of the state'.
When the chiefs met Antony last month to protest over the four anomalies, he assured them that he would take up the issue with the Prime Minister. MOD bureaucrats were instructed to communicate with the Prime Minister. But inexplicably, they sent it to the Finance Ministry without mentioning these anomalies.
"The military is subservient to civil authority which includes the government, Parliament and the Constitution. On day-to-day functioning the bureaucracy may represent the Government but it cannot replace it," says an army official.
Antony, however, chose to play down the rift. "There is no difference between the government and the services, because they are also part of the Government," he says.
The three-member ministerial committee which Antony is part of is set to present its findings well before the unofficial Diwali deadline. MOD officials say the committee is not averse to putting Lt-colonels in the higher pay band and giving them the same grade pay as their civilian counterparts.
But it is unwilling to accede to the other two demands. The only certainty in this sad dispute is that the gap between the bureaucracy and the armed forces is set to widen into a chasm. Sandeep Unnithan October 10, 2008
Lt Cols are in Pay Band 3, lower than their counterparts in police and paramilitary.
Armed forces officers have lower grade pay than civilians.
Lt Gens left out of higher administrative grade while their civilian counterparts have been included.
A ministerial committee, set up to look into the armed forces' grievance about pay "anomalies", is likely to sort out the matter soon.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the three-member committee, today said he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony.
"Shortly, I am going to discuss with the Finance Minister (P Chidambaram)," he told reporters here when asked about the issue.
Without giving details of his discussions with the Prime Minister, Mukherjee merely said "I do hope we will be able to sort out the issue shortly".
The committee, which also includes Antony and Chidambaram, was set up by the Prime Minister on September 25 in the wake of deep resentment in the armed forces, who complained that there were "anomalies" in the 6th Pay Commission recommendations and that it had lowered the status of their officers.
After the government notification was issued on August 29, the issues of "anomalies" in the pay for officers was first raised by Air chief Fali Homi Major in his letter in his capacity as acting Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
Chiefs of Navy and Army too have been voicing their resentment.
Antony has strongly favoured resolution of core issues raised by the three services chiefs in their representation to the government.
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