Service Chiefs Oppose Formation of Panel on Pay Issues

New Delhi
Service Chiefs Oppose Formation of Panel on Pay Issues
Taking a joint stand, the three Services Chiefs have raised the banner of opposition against the composition of a committee set up to address pay-related issues and demanded the inclusion of their representative in it, saying it only comprises IAS officers.

They have written letters to Defence Minister A K Antony in this regard and Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma also met him personally today to stress on the need for having a Services' representative in the panel, Navy officials said here.

The high-level committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth is looking into the main demands of the Services such as elevation of all Lt Gen-rank officers to a higher pay grade.

The Navy Chief, who is the senior most of the three Service Chiefs, has been at the forefront of raising the demands of the Services and has made several representations to the government in this regard.

Along with Verma, IAF Chief N A K Browne and Army Chief Bikram Singh, have also written letters to the Defence Minister pressing for inclusion of a Services' representative in the committee, they said, adding that there was no Services' representation in it.

The committee was formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 13 after Antony wrote a letter to him on June 25 stating that there was discontent among serving and retired soldiers over anomalies in pay and pension issues.

The Defence Minister had also expressed the apprehension to the Prime Minister that if "corrective action" was not taken, the issue might take a "bad" turn.

The six-member committee is expected to finalise its recommendations and submit its report to the Prime Minister by August 8.

For serving defence personnel, the committee is looking into the issues of placing all Lt General rank officers in the higher pay grade of Higher Administrative Group Plus (HAG+) and a common pay scale for serving Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs).

For the large community of ex-servicemen, the government has tasked the committee to consider the issue of 'one-rank- one-pension' which has been the main demand of the personnel, and has seen a lot of them returning their service and gallantry medals to the President in the last few years as a mark of protest.
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