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Saturday, 26 April 2008

No Pay Panel for Force : PC

From the Asian Age Today

Union finance minister P. Chidambaram has said that there is no practice of appointing a separate Pay Commission for the armed forces. Thus, any hopes that the armed forces personnel may have had about the govern- ment setting up a separate Pay Commission for them have been dashed. There have been demands for a separate pay panel in the wake of widespread unhap- piness among armed forces personnel with the recom- mendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. However, as the finance minister told the Lok Sabha on Friday, the grievances of various sections of govern- ment employees are being examined by a committee of secretaries headed by the Cabinet secretary. And the grievances of the armed forces, if any, would be examined by this commit- tee. Mr Chidambaram said, "The committee will study the recommendations and give its report to the gov- ernment and the govern- ment can then draw a con- clusion," he stated. Asked by when the CoS will be giving its report, the finance minister said, "It is difficult to give a time frame." The committee, he said, had held its first meeting on April 15 and has been asked to "meet as frequently as possible and give its report." To another question on the date from which the pay panel's recommendations will be implemented, he said that it will be in force from January 1, 2006 as recommended by the pay panel. Later, during the Zero Hour, deputy Leader of the Opposition, V.K. Malhotra raised the issue saying there was "unrest" within the Army and police forces as they find that only IAS cadres benefit from the recommendations of the pay commission. He suggested that a sepa- rate Pay Commission be set up for the Armed forces.

While there may be no practice a separate pay comission for the Armed Forces, this is no reason for not setting up one. This is a typically bureaucratic argument, a La Humphrey of Yes Minister fame - we're doing it because its always been done, or we can't do it because its never been done! Isn't there a first time?
It is quite obvious that the ultimate outcome of all these moves would be cosmetic changes. I can only say that the nation is going to get the kind of Army it pays for, and dare I say, deserves.

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