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Saturday, April 12, 2008

6th Pay Commission further cements the legacy of degradation of Military Ranks

The following appeared as a newspaper editorial :
6th Pay Commission further cements the legacy of degradation of Military Ranks

Major Navdeep Singh

In the 1950s, the Police Services went in for a massive upgradation of their rank badges on the lines of the Army wherein they allowed junior police ranks to copy and wear senior rank badges of the Army resulting in police officers equivalent in rank to Lt Col (DIG) being permitted to wear the ranks of a Brigadier. Though the Army protested then, five decades later, the aftershocks have hit the Army in the form of the 6th Central Pay Commission.

While many have focused on poor emoluments, most have missed on the disguised further degradation of military ranks vis-à-vis the civil services by this Pay Commission. In an unusual step, the Sixth Pay Commission has based the pay-scales of the Army on lines of the Police. The Commission has formulated the pay-scales on the incorrect assumption that there is an ‘established relativity’ between the ranks of a DIG of Police and Brigadier of the Army and the upper and lower scales are based on this foundation. How wrong the commission is !. There is nothing common between a DIG and a Brig other than the rank badges – The State Emblem with three stars. The Ministry of Home Affairs has clearly confirmed that there is no equivalence between IPS and Military ranks. The MHA has also confirmed that in precedence, a DIG falls between a Lt Col and a Colonel. There also can be no comparison since 100% of directly recruited IPS officers reach the rank of a DIG whereas less than 10% of Army officers are able to make it to Brigadier. An IPS officer is promoted as DIG after 14 years of service while an Army officer, if promoted that far, is empanelled as a Brigadier in 28 years. So what went wrong ? Perhaps the Army made a mistake by deputing and designating Brigadiers as DIsG in Assam Rifles and NSG, perhaps the commission was not provided the right inputs, probably the foundation was based on hearsay or an imaginary contribution from the police services, who knows !. The statement of ‘established relativity’ by the Commission is anyway quite ambiguous since there is not a single document in officialdom which prescribes any such relativity.

The problem does not end here. The 6th CPC has further downgraded the ranks of the Army and equated a Civil Services officer with 4 years of Service (Senor Time Scale) with a Major with 6 years of service. An officer with 9 years of service (Junior Administrative Grade) has been equated with a Lt Col with 13 years behind him. A Non-Functional Selection Grade Officer with 13 years of service is now equivalent to a Colonel with 20 years while a DIG with 14 years is now at par with a Brigadier with 28 years. A Senior Administrative Grade Civil Officer with 17 years of service is now equivalent in pay to a Maj Gen with 33 years behind him. A Director General of the Para-Military who is on Article 25 of the Warrant of Precedence would now take home more pay than a Lt Gen who is on Article 24.

In 1992, General SF Rodrigues, the then Chairman, Chief of Staffs Committee had, in a strongly worded letter, written to the Defence Minister expressing concern over the tendency of civil officers in the Defence Ministry to adopt unauthorized and exaggerated designations based on non-existent conventions, but as expected no action was taken. The same remains true till date and the Pay Commission has merely carried on with a legacy based on incorrect equations articulated by babus to fuel their false perceptions of greatness and grandeur.

Not many would know that till the 6th CPC, the Army had an edge over the IAS in terms of pay scales and for the first time this pay commission has granted higher scales in equivalent grades to the IAS while the Army has been relegated and placed alongwith other Central Group A Services. The reason provided by the Commission for a higher pay package to the IAS, well it is ‘frequent transfers and postings to small places’. Over to the anomalies committee of the Finance Ministry now.
The author is an Advocate in the Punjab & Haryana High Court and has an expertise in matters related to Military Benefits


Kots said...

Nice start keep it up.

I am told at the time of Independance then Army Chief had volantarily scaled down the salaries of Army pers to 1/4th keeping in mind the financial status of country.

Eversince then none has even thought of doubling it?

Anonymous said...

Civilian officers tend to establish equivalence based on their basic pay.

The table of precedence/protocol laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs is not known to them.

The Armed forces should be given a status/precedence based on the number of years of service they have put in, rather than on rank structure, the anomalies arising otherwise have already been brought out very well in the original post.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the answer would be to base equivalence on the number of years put in. This should continue till the rank of Maj Gen over and above which the current Warrant of Precedence is quite lucid

Rohit Agarwal said...

Insightful, but I have a slight variation to the idea.
- at the junior (below Maj Gen) level, the warrant of precedence has no real meaning, hence should not be harped on. Equations at higher levels are clearly defined, and should be insisted, followed.
- Rks should be de-linked from pay, which should be comensurate to length of service.

Detailed article on the issue can be found at

Anonymous said...

If u think the Indian Army can win any war or bring laurels to the country under the leadership of senior officers of present day calibre, I think one is sadly mistaken . These days the senior officers are only bothered about their own welfare and their resettlement after retirement as governers of some state or as Chairman/Member of any board like Disaster Management etc. They are not much worried about the welfare of PBOR or OBCs (Offrs below Col rank) of the indian army.

Anonymous said...

It is a naked truth that Armed Forces are considered as expendadable materials. When we accept insulting order from our friends in civil services imposed through our worthy politicians without any representation from top brass, Armed Forces would continued to be treated as such. It is high time our top brass does some introspection and take up stand for mantaining diginity of services.

Anonymous said...

Had it been the older formula for calculation of pension of PBOR, it would have been a tribute to them for the service they had rendered in harsh conditions in all types of terrains, but bureaucracy has snatched the benefit for a military cadre which has truncated service of 45 to 52 years of age. Since there is no lateral shifting to para military, the bureaucrats did not even think for those PBOR who want to serve longer but not allowed to do so. For themselves, the bureaucrats have increased their basic pension of Rs 13,000 to Rs 40,000 (threefold) whereas it is only fifty percent increase for PBOR. Will someone look into the matter at the earliest.

Sunil said...

When are we getting our balance 60% of the arears? Is the servicerequirement for the time scale Col being reduced?

Anonymous said...

We are greedy and demand more and more. No increase in pay or pension can meet our basic needs till price rise is controlled. Let authorities and man in power put in efforts to stop price rise.

Anonymous said...

There is some talk about promotion to Colonel at service of 16 Yrs and the first Board to be held for the Rank of Brig.......... Brig (TS) at 23 Yrs of service?????

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

For degradation of military ranks, they themselves are to blame. For all we know, how during 5th pay commission few vested interest people form Air Force opposed marginal incremental in salary for tech fraternity only to please higher ups.
Civilian officers know this and their IQ is better hence they can manipulate us easily. Our up bringing in Fauj and depth of managerial skills needs to be upgraded for better delivery of services to the nation.

Anonymous said...

What is the latest on the reduction of service limit for Time Scale Full Colonel.

An honest assesmnet said...

dont take it the wrong way but civil services and defence cant be compared....
civil services are a bit superior and therefore the different parameters of salary and service conditions...
Military is important but it is foolish on their part to think themselves at par with IAS.
Military people are getting sufficient compensation, respect and pride and still baulking at the salaries of civil servants(which are maybe marginally higher)..
corruption is rampant in army too i guess ...if your chief is to be believed...

Anonymous said...

The Indian Army, Navy & Air Force cannot be equated to any other Indian Service like IAS, IPS, BSF, etc. Few reasons ar explained.
A. The selection is based on unique requirements to fight the enemy in battle. Not everyone can. Other Services serve in the comfort of peacetime even during war.
B. Officers need to take written examinations, SSb and medical. Merit lists entrance is the rule. IAS & other services write juet one entrance test. No IQ or Appitude or Potential leadership test.
C. The training and grooming of Adefence personnel is unique. It is structured and sustained. The other services except for the ab initio training there is no note worthy in-house training.
D. The nember of defence personnell lost during war bears tesitmony to the very high risk factor that goes with defence forces. But for natural causes almost 100% AIS etc officers retire.

All nations respect their Armed Forces as an elite group and do not equate them with Civil services. Ancient India respected and honoured their soldiers. Sadly mordern India neglects their soldiers.

Perhaps somday the equations wil change. Till then we must live, speak and act with dignity of a soldier.

Cdr. M.A. Raihan. SC. IN Retd.