New Delhi: The government has a Diwali gift for India’s soldiers an interim payment even as the government and defence chiefs try to sort out a dispute over new pay grades for armed forces.
ET has reviewed an October 10 order in which the Manohar Parrikar-led defence ministry says “pending issuance” of the pay commission notification; the President has sanctioned payment of arrears on adhoc basis. Arrears will be 10% of the current drawn pay (including dearness allowance) for all soldiers, calculated from January 2016.
This would mean, roughly, every soldier getting one month’s salary as a sort of a bonus. Efforts are on to ensure that soldiers get this before Diwali, which is on October 30. Unlike the civil service, armed forces have not yet received arrears arising out of the pay commission order, neither have new salary scales been applied.
The delay is due to three service chiefs’ strong intervention seeking correction of what they see as ‘anomalies’ in the commission’s compensation structure for forces.
Services chiefs have said that till ‘anomalies’, including those related to disability pay and pensions, are resolved, pay commission recommendations will not be implemented.
ET had reported on October 8 (‘Soldiers May not Get Festive Cash until Issues are Resolved’) that serving and retired armed forces personnel were disappointed at the prospect of receiving no additional pay before the festive season. ET has also reported that the government was exploring the option of a one-time disbursement of dues.
“The pay being drawn as on January 2016 would be reckoned for calculating of arrears. The amount so paid will be adjusted against the final computation of arrears on the revised pay scales,” the order sent to the three armed forces reads.
An interim pay out for defense service personnel this festive season is welcome. The issue should be resolved quickly and in a manner that is equitable. The service chiefs must work with the defense ministry to arrive at a viable resolution of what they consider as ‘anomalies’ in the pay commission’s classification of new pay grades for the armed forces. The government must ensure the revised salaries are fair to compensate the personnel below the rank of officers who face the brunt of attacks.