“While the military’s case in 1st and 2nd Central Pay Commissions (CPC) was fielded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD); when the 3rd CPC wanted the military to present its case, the MoD ruled against this on the grounds of discipline and this patently absurd stance was accepted by the top military brass. The 3rd CPC slashed the pensions of defence services from 70 percent of last pay drawn (LPD) to 50 percent and elevated pensions of civil servants from 30 percent to 50 percent. But nearly 80 percent of military men did not get even 50 percent and instead got only 37 percent because of their shorter span of service – 50 percent pension being available only after 20 years service. Thereafter, subsequent CPCs persistently disadvantaged the military vis-à-vis civil services. However 3rdCPC dangled One Rank One Pension (OROP) as an alternative to decrease in pensions from 70 percent to 50 percent”, said Lt Gen. Harwant Singh (retd), interacting with this writer. He added that when subsequent pay commissions tried to improve matters, MoD and Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) stepped in to negate them. As a kind of consolation for OROP not sanctioned, when the 4th CPC, gave rank pay up to the rank of brigadiers, CDA very conveniently deducted this amount from the basic pay, which in turn impacted the whole range of allowances as well. Nearly three decades later this case is yet to be fully resolved. Supreme Court’s orders on payment of rank pay are yet to be fully implemented. Those who played this mischief on the defence services were never exposed and never held accountable
Economic Times (ET) reported in early December 2015 that the 7th CPC’s report, which (again) does not do the armed forces any justice, has for a change united the three services, which often earlier used to be divided in their demands. At a meeting held then, a shortlist of key issues agreed upon included pending concerns from the previous pay commission which have again been overlooked. At the Navy Day press meet, Naval Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan mentioned that there could be some thorny issues in the 7th CPC. He refrained from getting into any details, but said “Whatever we feel is a shortcoming for our men and our officers is indeed being taken up with the ministry (of defence).” The ET article stated that while the armed forces have several problems with the pay commission recommendations, including some quite technical, there is a consensus on some issues.
Currently, the armed forces are granted allowances based on risk and hardship with the highest allowance of Rs 31,500/- per month to those posted in Siachen. But their counterparts in civil services and central armed police forces are paid Special Disturbance Allowance (SDA) for being posted in Leh, which is upwards of Rs 54,000/- per month. This is a major and rather ironic anomaly as there is absolutely no comparison to the risk and hardship that soldiers in Siachen face to that anywhere else. And only army serves in Siachen
The armed forces have various slabs for the grant of disability pensionwhile for the paramilitary forces it’s calculated as a percentage of the basic salary. This leads to a discrepancy and the armed forces end up getting far less. The defence forces wanted the same system of calculation, but have not got a favourable recommendation. They now want it revised.
Parity with IPS:
The armed forces feel 7th CPC has lowered their status compared with the Indian Police Service in terms of promotions and increments. “We have always been on a par with IPS. But now, if you look at their timely increments after the completion of four, nine and 13 years of service, we have lost out,” an officer involved in the deliberations was quoted to have said.
While earlier CPCs’ anomalies have been overlooked, despite assurances, new ones have been added. No country can afford to have armed forces with low morale, low self esteem and worst of all, a lower status in the society.