Service chiefs finalise Pay Commission proposals

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New Delhi,Jun 26(UNI) The chiefs of the three armed forces today met Defence Minister A K Antony to finalise the proposals to be forwarded to the empowered committee set up to look into the anomalies in the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

Once the proposals are forwarded to the empowered committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, the committee will explain to the three service chiefs the draft report prepared by it after going through the representations made by the Armed Forces.

Defence Ministry sources refused to divulge the details of the ''closed door'' meeting and said any speculations on the issue could have a negative effect on the morale of the forces.

There had been reports that the empowered committee has recommended a 10 to 17 per cent hike in salary and allowances of the Defence personnel. ''It is too early to suggest anything on these lines,'' said a Defence Ministry official.

''Once the draft report is either cleared or amended by the Service Chiefs, a final report will be prepared and submitted to the Cabinet for approval shortly.

Faced with disquiet among the middle rung officers as well as jawans over the asymmetrical pay scales recommended by the Commission, the government had set up the empowered committee to suggest improvements.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta -- Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee -- will make a presentation to the committee on behalf of the three service chiefs. Since Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor is in Moscow, he will be represented by the Vice-Chief of Army Staff.

Among the major demands are restoration of the pecking order of armed forces officers with respect to the Indian Administrative Service counterparts, higher special military pay for soldiers and better pay scales for the middle rung officers.

Recently, the Defence Minister had sought a report from the Indian Army about the simmering discontent within its rank, as in an unprecedented move around 15 senior officials refused to go for an elite training programme.

Not satisfied with the recent recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the 15 Colonels had refused to take up the Higher Command Course (HCC) and Higher Defence Management Course (HDMC).

The course is offered to outstanding commanding officers and is a mandatory requirement for promotion to Generals-rank.

This has come as a rude shock for the Army already grappling with acute shortage of officers. Annually, the Defence forces need 2,100 officers. It is currently facing a shortage of 11,238 officers. A total of 46,615 officers is the sanctioned strength.

UNI NAB SW RK1915

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