Friday, October 28, 2016
Service HQ at war with bureaucracy over pay parity: #Sandesh2soldiers fight to restore honour
Apart from battling Pakistan shelling and terrorists at the Line of Control (LoC), the Army is also being forced to battle the bureaucracy in South Block in the `war for status.' The service headquarters and the bureaucracy are at logger heads over `pay (dis) parity' issue and there is no closure, despite the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issuing a statement, after the meeting of top bureaucrats and senior officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
"There has been no down-gradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the service ranks, whatsoever. The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed," MoD said in a statement.
The services have accused the bureaucracy of being "economical with the truth." Though not officially authorised to speak to media, a top official in the know of developments told India Today, "Why is the government silent on the orders of the Group of Ministers (GoM), then headed by President Pranab Mukherjee, whose report was accepted by the government in January 2009.
Also read: #Sandesh2Soldiers campaign: Post surgical strikes, will Modi celebrate this Diwali in Uri?
"The GoM examined the pay parity issue between armed forces and their civilian counterparts minutely. The GoM concluded that a lieutenant colonel in the Army (wing commander in IAF and Commander in Navy) was senior to a deputy secretary/joint director to government of India. A director in government of India was then seen as equivalent to a colonel (Army), group captain (IAF) and captain (Navy). This settled the matter in 2009," top sources told India Today.
BUREAUCRACY MISLEADING GOVERNMENT
The service headquarters are not clear whether Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was briefed in detail about all these aspects till 2009 or was he given partial information till 2005 resulting in a "flawed decision." There is rising suspicion of bureaucracy misleading the government on several aspects in the recent past. Though Parrikar promised a probe in all aspects, the services and the veterans community are still waiting for justice.
The Sixth Pay Commission equated a lieutenant colonel with a deputy secretary or joint director and the colonel with a director. The GoM in 2009 clarified that lt. col would be senior to a joint director. "Why is it that in 2016 an order has been issued equating a joint director with a full colonel and a director with a brigadier," asked an official affected by this order.
"From disability pension to One Rank One Pension (OROP), there is a disconnect between what the government decided and the orders that were finally issued. We believe the government was provided incorrect data and statistics by defence accounts on disabled soldiers. Flawed data resulted in flawed decisions. We are hopeful justice will be done," sources added.
The service headquarters remain dis-satisfied with the MoD clarification insisting that orders issued in 2003, 2005 and 2008, as cited by the government spokesperson, cannot override the GoM decision of 2009 accepted by the prime minister in 2009.
The service headquarters have sought time with Parrikar to independently explain the situation to him but sources have also told India Today that some affected officers are planning to approach the court for justice. Clearly, not the best #sandesh2soldiers from the government before Diwali.
(SOURCE ; INDIA TODAY )