Sunday, August 24, 2008

Admiral Arun Prakash's letter to the PM on the 6th Pay Commission

I'm sure a lot of you have already read this. If you haven't (like me), here's former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash's letter to PM Manmohan Singh over the Sixth Pay Commission, a letter he wrote in May this year:

Honourable Prime Minister,

Even in the relative isolation of Dehra Dun, I have come to know from heavy traffic on the Internet about the extreme discontent amongst our ex-Servicemen (ESM) vis-a-vis the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission.

I am also aware that one or two former Service Chiefs have written to you on this subject, reiterating the complete disregard shown by the Commission for the special conditions of service of Armed Forces personnel, which has manifested itself in the form of glaring anomalies and aberrations. This was inevitable, given the fact that the Commission did not have an Armed Forces member who could render specialist advice and guidance so essential for fair and balanced decision-making. The ESM are also greatly agitated that many of their long-standing demands have been ignored by this Pay Commission too. Not according representation to the Services, even in the recently convened Review Committee has only aggravated the prevailing sense of grievance.

As Chairman COSC, I had taken up the issue of the nomination of a Service representative on the 6th Pay Commission with Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Raksha Mantri, on a number of occasions. Since he expressed his agreement in principle, I had followed with a proposal in writing on 12th April 2006 (copy of the letter enclosed). After some further discussion whether the Services should have a full-time or co-opted member, I had written again to the RM on 16th June 2006, forwarding names of suitable nominees. A copy of this letter is also enclosed.

During subsequent discussions, the RM gave me to understand that he was facing opposition from his cabinet colleagues regarding the nomination of a full-time Service member on the Commission. Nevertheless he expressed optimism about finding an equitable solution to the problem. Regrettably he was given a change of portfolio in September 2006, and no response had been received from the MoD till my own retirement a few weeks later, regarding the requests of the Chairman COSC.

Without labouring the minutiae of issues involved, I just wish to bring to the notice of the Hon'ble Prime Minister that:

• Holding of public demonstrations, dharnas and hunger strikes by ESM goes against the ethos of the Armed Forces. Any such displays will not only erode their own self-respect, but what is infinitely more damaging, have a deleterious impact on the discipline of our serving personnel.

• The Armed Forces have consistently upheld the nation's secular democratic traditions and have remained the stoutest pillar of security and stability of the Indian State. Under no circumstances must the GoI allow this invaluable national institution to be devalued or demoralized .

• That the disciplined ESM have been driven to such steps in extremis is a most disturbing development, which should be recognized by the GoI as such.

I would strongly urge the Hon'ble Prime Minister that even at this late stage, a clear signal of reassurance be sent out to the ESM that their grievances will receive the urgent attention of the GoI, and that inputs from the Service HQ will be taken fully into account before a final decision is taken on the 6th CPC.

In conclusion, may I convey to the PM, the prevailing sentiment amongst the ESM (especially PBOR) that in the matter of the 6th Pay Commission, they have been let down by their own Senior Officers. This evokes a very real danger that the tradition of faith, trust and mutual respect between the Officer and Jawan of the Indian Armed Forces, going back 250 years, may suffer a break down.

This is a tradition which will be very, very difficult to re-build.

With the highest regards,
Yours sincerely,

Admiral Arun Prakash


Anonymous said...

Pre-election period is probably the most promising time get problems and proposals granted by the government. But the government seems to be juggling the NSG approval, bribery allegations,serial blasts by SIMI, clashes in Kashmir, and ceasefire violation by Pakistan - most eventful 3 months in last 5 years

These folks who dont ask a question, never disobey an order, ready to sacrifice their lives for our safety..... morally we are obliged to fulfill their demands. Thanks to the media, the whole world knows how f*cked up our political system is.

Anonymous said...

There is a major problem in the Pay Commission Implementation. Director Level of the IAS on completion of the 12th year (100% make the grade), and other civilian officers in the 13th year have been elevated to the highest Pay Band 4. However, Defence Officers have been denied the same after 13 years of service unless they are promoted to Colonel rank (Only 30% are selected after many more years). Thus, Service beyond this point is unattractive for Lt Cols as they do not reach Pay Band 4 despite putting in more than 13 years of service. Even, if Military service pay is given the defence officers draw about Rs 7500 to Rs 8000 less than his civilian counterparts including the paramilitary forces. Hence, para military forces are more attractive than defence forces post Independence Day.

Incidentally, after the 15th year Pay Band 4 is available to Para Military Forces, namely Commandants of ITBP, CRPF, Coast Guard etc. Currently Commandant’s rank is equated with Lt Cols, but Commandants draw lesser pay than Lt Cols.

As on 15 Aug 2008, IAS directors were drawing Rs 15100 on Promotion. Non IAS Directors, Addl Commissioners, including Commandants etc draw Rs 14300 at the bottom of the scale. The starting salary for Lt Cols is Rs 15100 (which includes rank pay, but remember rank pay was carved out of basic pay and it is basic pay for all purposes) as on 15 Aug 2008. Sadly, Independence Day was chosen by the Committee of Secretaries to erode the defence forces, the very persons who stand for the nation’s independence.

Strangely, Sri Krishna Commission had recommended Rs 26280 for the IAS directors drawing Rs 15100. The same amount viz Rs 26280 was recommended for Lt Cols drawing Rs 15100. What has changed now? Post independence day, the Lt Cols are in Pay Band 3 and draw Rs 14000 less than the civilians in Pay band 4. Even if Rs 6000 Military Service Pay is given the services are no longer attractive. Rs 26280 recommended by Sri Krishna Commission, if so differently calculated and applied for the two types of officers, means that the sixth pay commission report itself is flawed and has to be junked. Else these figures should be the same. No wonder the defence forces who have made every sacrifice are cut up.

Another component is the grade pay. While logic says both should get the same grade pay it is not so. The civilians draw a higher grade pay!!!!

Hence two officers drawing the same basic pay viz Rs 15100 on 15 Aug 08 would draw grossly different salaries. This is a sad day for the nation.

Ideally, the ‘Pay in pay band plus grade pay’ for IAS directors and Lt Cols should be exactly the same. Will the government rise above petty interests of a certain section!!!! This is a great problem area for the nation.

test said...

The letter just proves that the chicanery of the services brass knows no bounds! As if the good Admiral doesn't know that service conditions of persons even within the armed forces are as different as they are on the civilian side and that to concede the demand would imply having not one Pay Commission but perhaps thousands as the doctors in MCD Hospitals would say that their conditions are different than those working in AIIMS.

Time somebody told them!!

Anonymous said...

If one has to catch a thief who is escaping after a burglery in the colony, Ask MOTHERS, how many of them would allow their SONS to go and nab him.
I as a soldier GIVE MY LIFE on ONE ORDER from a SENIOR who is no way related to me, who does not even speak my language, who doesnot like the food I eat, who does not share a single thing.

Karuna said...

Dear All, 18 December 2008
On behalf of ex-Servicemen (ESM) the one letter written by shri.Arun Prakash, Ex-chief of naval staff to PM is more than sufficient to press the needs of ESM.
A.karunakaran, Ex.Indian Navy
Author and Founder,
Childcare Consortium,
Plot no 79, 6 th street, Ramapuram, Chennai 600 089, India,
Tel: 91 44 22493365

“This NGO is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations”