When Force HQ or the Services HQ

When we were in school two and half plus decades
back, we were told then that a Second Lieutenant (2Lt) in the Army was equal to
an IAS officer. In the Army, discussing of Pay (Money), Women and Politics are
forbidden. It had good reasons too. These were the three things that could
easily create a divide within the forces. Men in uniform had to be strong and
united so that nothing distracts us from our aim when we fight the enemy, and
we shall fight till we die – The Last Man – Last Bullet.


Most of us therefore grew up ignorant and isolated to
the happenings in the corridors of power. We trusted our seniors at the Army/
Navy/Air Force HQ or the Services HQ and believed the Govt would look after the
Armed Forces.Having been brought up in an environment where there was paucity
of equipment, vehicles, ammunition, and austerity measures etc., a life filled
with shortages was taken as normal. We were happy with food on the table, kids
in school and a roof over our heads.


A point to point equation of military ranks and civil
grades has always been a subject of controversy. But then things have taken an
unpleasant turn in the recent past. While it is true that a sense of
entitlement of both military and civil staff must not be allowed to prevail, it
is equally valid that undue advantage of proximity to the decision making
process must not become the order of the day.


The Historical Perspective


Traditionally there always was a broad parity of pay
progression between Class-I Civil Services (Now known as Group A) and the
Commissioned Cadre of the Defence Services. 
There was also a broad parity between the career progression of the Indian
Police Service and the Defence Services, except at higher ranks. Moreover,
there was established relativity between Lieutenant Colonels, Conservators of
Forests and Superintending Engineers. Till the 3rd Central Pay Commission
(CPC), there was not much of a problem in equivalence and it was broadly
accepted that the Junior Time Scale (the starting grade of directly appointed
Class I Officers) was equal to a Lieutenant, the Senior Time Scale (Under
Secretary to Govt  of India) was equal to
a Captain, the Junior Administrative Grade (Deputy Secretary to Govt of
India/Joint Director) was at par with a Major, the Selection Grade (now
Director to Govt of India) was equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel.



4th & 5th CPC. India’s liberalisation, economic
growth and progress in communications gave us the much needed information that
showed us that Armed Forces have been short changed right from 1973. It is only
many years later when Maj Dhanapalan took the Govt to court over the “Rank Pay”
case we realised that introduction of Rank Pay in 4th CPC, was cunningly done
which reduced the rank pay from the Basic pay, and it reduced the status of the
Armed Force Officers with respect to the Police and other civilian officers of
the same grade. The 4th CPC introduced a separate form of pay system for the
Defence Services than the Civil Services with a running pay scale with separate
component of ‘rank pay’ being introduced for defence officers but civil
officers maintaining distinct pay scales for each rank as per the earlier
system. This was the start point of the controversy with no “scale to scale”
rough comparison now available for each analogous rank. The 5th CPC did not
bring in any major changes.


Skewed equation by 6th CPC


The 6th CPC, for the first time, brought the problem
sharply out in the open. On Page 73 of the 6th CPC Report, the commission
reproduced a chart of analogous military and civil grades wherein it pegged the
Group A Junior Time Scale with a Lieutenant as well as a Capt, the Senior Time
Scale with a Major, the Junior Administrative Grade with a Lt Col, the
Selection Grade with a Colonel and a DIG with a Brig. There were however many
infirmities in the chart. For example, while only one of the Civil Selection
Grade scales (Director) was reproduced and shown against a Colonel, the other
civil Selection Grade scales (For example the IPS Selection Grade of Rs
1650-1800) were not reproduced at all and also not reflected with the closest
military counterpart of Lt Col (Rs 1750-1950). The rank of Capt was shown
equivalent to Senior Time Scale (Under Secretary to Govt of India) in the 3rd
CPC table but suddenly shown reduced below STS in the 4th CPC table and clubbed
with a Lieutenant and Junior Time Scale. Needless to say, there was no
government order downgrading a Captain from the earlier level. There were other
infirmities too, for example, the scale of a DIG wrongly shown analogous to a
Brigadier in the 3rd CPC chart was actually that of the then existing grade of
Additional IG which was later merged with IG, and so on. The data, hence, was
cherry picked and projected as such to throw the entire equation into disarray.


6th CPC. The 6th CPC increased everyone’s salary, but
quietly degraded the Armed Forces by fixing comparatively lower Grade Pays as
compared to the rest. The Grade Pay became symbol of status equivalence amongst
Central Govt employees. A civilian Director who was earlier in lower pay scales
than a Lt Colonel, was given the higher Grade Pay equivalent to a Colonel. In
fact Armed Forces officers who worked alongside civilians in organisations like
DRDO, Service HQ, MES, DGQA etc., suddenly found themselves demoted. In
addition, the complete bureaucracy, despite having much faster promotions,
awarded themselves the benefit of still higher pay by means of Non Functional
Upgradation (NFU), yet kept the military out of it partly due to poorly
informed senior lot in the Armed Forces itself.


7th CPC. The 7th CPC further deteriorated
things as bureaucrats transited to comparative higher Pay Levels by including
NFU to their pay scales, besides 


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