An attempt by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to resolve the armed forces’ grievances over pay commission proposals has failed with the services rejecting its proposal to grant higher pay only to those Lieutenant Colonels who were in “combat” or “ready-tocombat” roles.
In a letter to the Defence Ministry, tri-services’ Principal Personnel Officers Committee chairman Vice Admiral D K Dewan said the armed forces wanted all Lieutenant Colonels to be placed under the Pay Band-4 including those on deputation to paramilitary and other services.
The letter said that the services and the rules governing them did not make any distinction and that all of the officers were performing combat/ready-to-combat jobs.
Dewan’s letter came in reply to a verbal query from the Defence Ministry on a December 31 PMO note that the government proposed to place only those Lt Cols serving in “combat/ready-to-combat” roles in Army, Navy and Air Force the Pay Band-4 benefits.
The PMO letter had said that those Lt Cols, currently on deputation to other services, would not get the Pay Band-4 scales, but the Pay Band-3 scales recommended by the Justice Srikrishna-led pay commission, till the time they return to their parent cadre.
“Even ships, units, establishments located in peace stations are always in operational readiness”, the letter said.
Noting that the Lt Cols and their equivalents (about 12,000) formed largest percentage of cadre strength with 13 to 26 years of service, Admiral Dewan said deputing them was an “inescapable” necessity in order to maintain a youthful profile of the fighting units.
(Published in Hidustan Times, New Delhi 30/01/09)