Armed forces fume despite Ministry's clarification over parity

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New Delhi, Oct 27: The armed forces continue to be upset with the government over a Defence Ministry circular regarding rank parity vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts at the Service headquarters even though the Ministry issued a statement today, saying no downgradation had been done.

Two days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar promised to look into the concerns of the military personnel, the Ministry issued a statement saying there has been no downgradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the Service ranks whatsoever.

Armed forces

"The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed," the statement said.

It, however, failed to placate the armed forces, including some retired officers. "PM exhorts nation to send Diwali 'sandesh' to soldiers. B'crats reduce disability pension n lower status vis-a-vis civilians.

Happy Diwali!," Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd) tweeted, a view echoed by serving officers in the three Services. As per the circular issued on October 18, an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) was to be on par with a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.

A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore (with about 24 years of service) was to be equivalent in rank to a director (with about 14 years of service), and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain to a joint director in the civil service, sources in the armed forces said. So far, a colonel was equated with a director.

A Brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy. However, they were treated at par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.

In the letter of 1992, it was clearly mentioned that a Major General was equivalent to a Joint Secretary and equivalent ranked civil officers in the Service Headquarters. Defence Ministry sources said that a Joint Secretary is equal to a Principal Director in the Services Headquarters in terms of pay band. However, sources in the Services say that the Ministry should put it in writing that a Joint Secretary is equivalent to a Principal Director.


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