HomeSeventh Pay CommissionEX-SERVICEMAN

7th Pay commission leaves Army out in the cold

Pay panel leaves Army out in the cold

Scrimping on the allowances of Defence forces amounts to being penny-wise-pound-foolish, if not worse
The Seventh Central Pay Commission (SPC) has submitted its report to the government recently. The repercussions of the report are now being felt on government finances. The Railways have, as per reports, requested the finance ministry to bear the additional cost arising out of recommendations of SPC. Similarly, there are reports that the Budget will need adjustments to accommodate recommendations of the SPC.
The elite Indian defence forces (EIDF), consisting of the Army, Air Force and Navy, explicitly continues to be unsatisfied with the SPC recommendations. The Army has some genuine grievances which can be fixed without substantial fiscal implications. The disciplined soldiers of Indian defence forces have exhibited exemplary courage in defending our borders.

In addition, in times of every national calamity, they have also excelled in civilian duties. The defence forces in India, are also an example of national integration, to be emulated by others.
Status issues
It is important that soldiers and officers of EIDF enjoy a special status among defence forces, the way the Indian Administrative Service continues to enjoy supreme status, in comparison to other civil services. If India has to emerge as a global super power, it will need fighting-fit EIDF.
Interestingly, some of the grouses of EIDF are easily addressable and seem minor in terms of costs to the government. The US defence budget is more than 4 per cent of their GDP while that of India is less than 2 per cent of the GDP. It is acknowledged by SPC that the army is short by nearly 22 per cent of officers, which amounts to substantial savings in the Budget.
Similarly, the Air Force and Navy are also short of officers. Officers account for less than 5 per cent of defence personnel, and curtailing their food allowance in those times when they are not in hardship postings would not lead to any significant savings in the fiscal deficit. Rather it would only create hardship for officers when they are undertaking war training for months together, away from family.
In such war-like locations, ensuring private food supply to such officers would probably imply higher costs than savings in curtailing food allowance.
Giving the due
Similarly, it needs to be recognised that promotion avenues at senior level are very few in EIDF. A large number of officers stagnate at different levels in the Army and many of them get superseded, not because of incompetence but medical reasons arising from harsh border conditions.
Therefore, compensation and allowances for stagnating solders should factor such extreme conditions to ensure that they stay motivated. Also disability pension of the solders needs to be related to the nature of the disability rather than be a fixed amount.
The reward system of the British Army needs to be closely examined. Indian soldiers were happily fighting for the British in alien lands. The award of land and handsome pension attracted many a youth to a career in defence services. This is in sharp contrast to the present situation where EIDF, despite so-called lucrative compensation, are short of officers.
Hence, curtailment of salaries, pension, and allowances for EIDF may not be a correct strategy to correct the fiscal deficit. The need is to ensure that soldiers are secure, so that they can focus on safeguarding our borders.
The writer is RBI Chair professor, IIM-B. The views are personal.
Read at: The Hindu
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  • The MSP, HIGH ALTITUDE PAY etc must be same for all ranks with no comparison with the civilian beaurocrats. In civil the gradation in allowances may be realistic, but in security forces the pay may vary but the risks are same for all ranks. Let us be realistic in following our motto "IJJAT" is same for all the soldiers.

  • Anonymous 8 years ago

    it is nice to read that 7 CPC has recommended removal of ration allowance to those officers who are posted in peaceful areas. It is irony that an Officer / Jawan get the same pay and allowances which an Officer/Jawan posted in field areas are getting. It is politics by armed forces Officers who are saying that these Officers when posted at Peace go for military training leaving their families alone to face hardship. Isnt it fact that today evey Officer attain the rank of Lt Col in less than 13 years of service and most of them when not selected for Col rank does not do any taining/ course. the Comments of gentlemen is misleading in nature. Further in Navy i have seen officers posted for years at their home town such as Delhi and Hyderabad. It would have been better had CPC recommended doubling of recommended MSP to all ranks who are actually posted in field/ ships and stopping MSP of those who have not seen field / ships for years. Commendable decision by CPC.

  • Anonymous 8 years ago

    i am happy to read write up written by a noble citizen of india who really care for country.if defence forces, who can not go on strike like other civil department as per army rule imposed on them, not treated well, country can not be safe from enemy. IAS lobby just to show their superiority they are lowering status of army airforce and navy officers and other ranks. since 3rd pay commission defence officers are loosing status vis a vis their civilian counterparts.for instance, in 6th pay commission right from lt, capt, lt col colonel, brig and general rank were lowered in status, let alone other pay commission. Indian defence service is fighting battle with enemy but who will fight battle for them against our own bureaucrats.
    in 7th pay commission, commion scraped many allowances of army and irony is that an army officer is fighting for life in world highest battle field is getting much less allowance than a civilian counterpart in getting in guwahaty in AC officer.Ration earned by defence by doing day and night duty were also not spared. the reason seems that civilian countpart is not getting it for just 8 hours duty .
    almighty please save this country

  • There is a interesting point need to be consider for Subedar Majors in Indian Army. Irrespective of the length of service on promotion from subedar to subedar Major the time limit was 5years or age limit to 52years and subsequently reduced to 4years and 50 years (presently the conditions may vary with respect their age but term is not changed from 4years. Now it is not understood why their is a calculation from 1year to 24years for this category. Why can't be a fixed salary for subedar Majors ,first considering the pension and doubling it as monthly payment? The JCOs are Junior Commissioned Officers and commissioned by the president of India and given certain responsibilities. But it is seen that every where they are treated like ORs. During British rule the Royal commissioned officers were the commanding officers and the Junior Commissioned Officers are middle officers to execute the orders of Royal Commissioned Officers. After Independence everything is changed and most of the powers given to the JCOs are diluted and reduced to the level of ORs. I witnessed One Nb/Sub detailed to perform the duty of a second driver of a truck in one Artillery Unit. I felt sorry for that JCO and I can well imagine the attitude of the officer who dare to detailed him for a duty like this. It is a shame to the nation. Either the JCO rank should be abolished if it is not possible treat them like a middle commanding officers.

    • Anonymous 8 years ago

      It is mistake if JCO is commissioned by the president. In the Defense service every rank a soldier and as necessary every job a driver or cleaner or cook etc even the highest general too to do. JCO rank was originated from the smart Indian soldiers ORSs as intermediary between the British Officers and Indian soldiers, but that no longer needed. Subedar Major rank may be restructured to Presidential Commission on at least Brigadier level recommendation from smart ORs who completed at least 20 year service in exemplary standing. JCOs are appointed on promotion on seniority with certain technical education, not selected on intellectual.

  • I am pleased to read for the first time, wise man writing reality behind FREEDOM. It is the Basic requirement for the maintenance of National Integrity and Sound Foundation for Matured Strong Democracy. I wish , it must be published by All Media inviting such real Written Thoughts in National Interest.