7th Central Pay Commission need a rational debate to understand the real implications on serving soldiers & veterans: MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar

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MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar having received several hundred petitions, representations and requests about the anomalies and concerns raised by the Defence services and the veteran community hosted a panel discussion in the National Capital with the aim to bring together veteran analysts from the three Defence services and experts in their fields to discuss and understand the implications of the pay commission on serving soldiers and the veterans.
The three Service Chiefs had claimed almost all proposals submitted to the pay commission through a joint services memorandum have been rejected without providing any justification, or without even mentioning them.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister approved implementation of the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) to come into effect from 01.01.2016. The recommendations will benefit over 1 crore employees which include 14 lakh employees and 18 lakh pensioners are from the Defence forces.

The pay commission cells of the three defence services had listed common grievances after a detailed study of the 7th CPC report and had sought an expert committee, with representatives from the Armed Forces, to redress the grievances identified by them.

More than anything representation of the armed forces in the pay commission is required the most they constitute close to 27 % of those effected by the Pay Commissions.

While the notification for the same is still awaited (as on 19.06.2016), since the announcement of implementation of the 7th CPC, there has also been much debate in the media and social platforms on the concerns raised by several sections of the serving as well as veteran community.

Speaking the Event, MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said “Amidst all the debate, there is a need to understand the different aspects of the 7th CPC – from the overall implication of the 7th CPC on Defence services, Military Service Pay, Non Functional Upgrade to Weightages for retires and Disability benefits. The foremost concern voiced by serving soldiers and veterans of the Armed Force has been that the successive Pay Commissions have disadvantaged the military vis-a vis the Indian Administrative Services and the 7th Pay commission more so.”

Air Marshal S Y Savur (Retd) (Former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command) said “Unless and until we read and understand the whole 7th CPC report we will continue to pass on misinformation that our defence services are being downgraded. We must make it clear we are distinct. Let us not seek parity with the civil services . In fact we must get more because of the nature of our jobs.”

Traditional parity with civilian employees, which had been under attack by successive Pay Commissions against the interest of Armed Forces, has been further accentuated by the 7th CPC, in contravention of its terms of reference. Its recommendations have brought the armed forces even below all other uniformed services of paramilitary forces.

Maj Gen P J S Sandhu (Retd) (Dy Dir USI and former Chief of Staff 1 Corps) said “Military is a rank based organisation. Each rank carries distinct responsibility. Pay structure evolved by the 7th cpc is not based on ranks. But various ranks have been fitted into the pay matrix evolved for civilians.”

“Why did the service chiefs feel the need to go to the Raksha Mantri? There have been counter arguments that the Defence forces should not compare themselves with the Civil services , but has the 7th Pay commission indeed upset the Defence – civil services equilibrium? Will this impact the efficiency of the organisation?” were some serious concern raised by participating veterans during the course of the discussion.

Lt. Gen J P Nehra (Retd) (Former Adjutant General) said “The High powered committee to examine the status and parity issues in all components of the government ordered to be constituted by the PMO in 2008 is yet to be constituted”

Speaking further Mr Chandrasekhar said “It is a fact that the Armed Forces do not find representation in the pay commission. In the Empowered committee of Secretaries, even the IPS has a member as does the Railways. Then is solution a separate pay commission for all separate sectors? And especially for defence?”

Rear Admiral S K Ramsay (Retd) (Former Assistant Controller of Logistics, Indian Navy) said “The issues raised by the three services need addressing. These concerns if left unaddressed will effect the efficiency of our defence services”

Debates, discussions and editorials on the 7th Pay commission have more often than not placed emotionally charged arguments – perhaps because of the strong sentiment and connect we all in the defence and those connected have – but if the anomalies being highlighted are based on definite facts and figures, the discussion and debate on the same must remain rational and focus on those facts and figures too.

Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) (President, Indian Ex Services League) said ”That the IESL will be taking up the concerns of the soldiers vis a vis the 7th CPC.

Concluding the Debate MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said “The main points touched upon in this discussion will be documented. Anomalies and concerns raised will be detailed and the representation will be sent to the PMO and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar”.

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