Monday, September 3, 2012

Swift action needed on armed forces pay parity

Scuffle between Officers and Jawans: click here for details
Swift action needed on armed forces pay parity
By The New Indian Express 01st August 2012 11:59 PM
Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma has raised a valid objection by pointing out to defence minister A K Antony that there is no representation of military in the four-member committee set up by prime minister to take a final view on the demands of the armed forces for pay parity and other benefits. The committee was set up following a grim reminder to the prime minister from Antony that the service personnel, ex-servicemen and family pensioners were agitated over anomalies in salaries and if immediate corrective action was not taken things may take a bad turn. Ironically the panel is headed by the cabinet secretary and comprises only senior bureaucrats — a group which the armed forces suspect are responsible for the government dragging its feet on the issue for the last many years.
The military has valid reasons to suspect that the civilian bureaucracy cannot be trusted to resolve the issue equitably and expeditiously. Records dating back to almost four years show that Manmohan Singh had approved the proposal for setting up a high powered committee to redress their grievances long back but the babus in the central secretariat managed to stall it till Antony virtually warned him of the consequences of further delay.
The manner in which the officers serving the armed forces have been downgraded has already led to a yawning chasm between them and the civilian bureaucracy. Recent controversies during the last year of former Army Chief, V K Singh, have demonstrated how demoralising these could be for the men in arms who have valiantly defended India against foreign aggressions and internal insurgency at great cost of men and material. Yet the government has failed to address the issues of pay anomalies raised by the armed forces since the report of the sixth pay commission of 2008 till date. This is an unacceptable situation. The technocrat prime minister should rise above his usual bureaucratic approach to resolve the crisis. Representatives of the armed forces must be given due weightage in the process of this resolution.
Swift action needed on armed forces pay parity

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