Antony assures forces of modification in pay commission

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today assured the armed forces that their concerns over the ''paltry'' pay hike in the sixth pay commission report would be addressed, hinting at ''some modification'' in the recommendations.

Mr Antony gave this assurance to Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta who as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) had also represnted the armed forces in the pay commission.

At the meeting, sources said Admiral Mehta sought modifications in the Pay Commission proposals, including military service pay (MSP) be fixed at 25 per cent of the basic pay for soldiers, personnel below officer rank and middle rung officers.

Creation of more running pay bands, weightage for length of service and no erosion of service when compared to central services, including the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), were the other demands that came up for discussion.

The COSC also presented a ''joint memorandum'' to Mr Antony in this regard, the sources said.

The three services chiefs -- Admiral Mehta, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major -- held last week held a meeting with the Defence Minister during which they took up the cause of 1.2 million soldiers and sought 40-60 per cent hike over and above the pay commission recommendations.

Mr Antony had then asked the three chiefs to come up with a ''joint memorandum'' on their demands.

The pay commission recommendations vis-a-vis the personnel of the three defence services has caused a widespread resentment among the armed forces, many of whom claimed that they were being offered ''just peanuts'' while some even went to the extent of saying the report ''need to be thrown in the dustbin''.

On his part, Mr Antony assured the COSC that the ''anomalies'' in the pay commission report in respect of the armed forces would be removed and their ''genuine grievances'' addressed.

The sources said the Defence Minister's assurance was a clear hint that there would be some modification in the report vis-a-vis the pay hike for the armed forces.

The Navy chief had earlier told UNI that the pay commission clearly mentioned in the report that anomalies, if any, should be brought to its notice. ''Therefore, links are open for us to discuss the matter,'' he had said.

The Army Chief had also mentioned of giving some ''cogent'' suggestions to the pay commission after studying the report.

UNI AG AE HT1910

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