New Delhi, Feb 7 (ANI): The armed forces are unhappy over the dilly dallying tactics of the government with regard to their demands on the Sixth Pay Commission.
The demands of men in uniform, which have been met partially after a long delay, suggest that the quest for equal status with the civilian arm has been brushed aside with disdain.
In wake of the Mumbai terror strikes and rising tension with our neighbours, the government needs to be firm in decision-making, and ensure the strength and morale of its armed forces remains intact.
"The self-pride of the armed forces is being subverted by narrow minded interests," said a senior army officer.
The three major demands of the armed forces are -- a hike in pension (70 percent of the last pay drawn) in respect of personnel other than officers; restoration of the status of Lt Colonels in the higher pay band (Pay Band-IV); and restoration in the status of Lt Generals vis-à-vis Director Generals of Police (DGPs).
The first demand has been met, but the other two demands, for restoration in status of Lt Colonels and Lt Generals have either been rejected or have come with certain restrictions, making it ineffective.
A new category of "Higher Administrative Grade Plus" has been created in all services, except the armed forces, under which the Director General level officers have been placed.
These HAG Plus officers have been placed in a Pay Band higher than that of even Lt. Generals in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Forces.
"Sixth Pay Commission did not create the demands, but the bureaucracy has created these anomalies to undermine the status of officers of the armed forces," the senior officer said.
"The bureaucrats and the police hierarchy are trying to denigrate the armed forces out of sheer complex and to promote their own vested interests."
The officer further said that delaying tactics is going on by the bureaucracy and the government is just setting up one committee after another to buy time and to ward off genuine demands.
If the PMO and the ministerial committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee, and the Group of Ministers that have all powers, can't resolve the pay commission grievances, then no one is going to look after the demands, he added.
The official said that it is sheer unwillingness on the part of the government to meet the grievances of the armed forces.
The status of DGPs vis-à-vis Lt. Generals till Fourth Pay Commission was of a junior officer and the Fifth Pay Commission granted them parity.
The Sixth Pay Commission rejected the demand of giving DGPs seniority in status in comparison to Lt. Generals, but the IPS lobby in collusion with committee of secretaries gained seniority.
During the Fifth Pay Commission, 41 out of 48 demands of the armed forces were not met. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)