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Friday, September 26, 2008

Guest Post : 6th CPC : less than honest brokers


The following is a guest post by BeeCee, a retired senior flag rank officer of the Indian Navy who has in the past been associated with cadre management and pay issues in the services. This post is in response to the ‘self created’ comparison tables by the 6th CPC on Pages 73 & 74 of the report.

I must say that they (SCPC) have been 'less than honest' brokers, to say the least.This can be seen in the way they have been selective in stating previous CPC positions and moving away from the established Service Officers- Organised Gp A Services/ IPS equation to a new standard of comparison with CPMFs. The parity with civil services, though stated as given, has been given a complete miss.

1. In the chapter on Armed forces they have shown both Capt and Major as STS (III CPC) merely to manipulate and suit their view and take the logic forward. The Major's starting pay was higher than JAG even if you add the starting edge of Rs 50. The higher pay was also not because of any special dispensation, but because time for promotion to Major was 11 years as against 9 years (including training) for JAG. The distinction between pre and post AVS Major has been obfuscated. If this is placed correctly, present Lt Col (replacement of pre-IV CPC Maj(SG)) as NFSG in armed forces would be clear.

2. Only one pre-IV CPC civil NFSG scale has been shown for comparison with the armed forces. This was the highest NFSG among the many available then. If they had also shown the other civil NFSGs of the time (some shown in the chapters on Gp A/AIS civil services) the logic would not have held.

3. The pre-IV CPC scale of Major(SG) crucial for equation upto NFSG level has not been shown.

4. The III CPC scale of DIG which is shown appears to be wrong. What is shown is the Pre-IV CPC scale to mislead. The DIG's scales were revised by the Home Ministry just prior to the IV CPC placing him above Cols. This was explained and corrected by the IV CPC in its report and who again placed them between Lt Col and Col. Actually with Lt Col and then upgraded. In fact there were 2 DIG scales linked to the year of promotion.

5. The civil scale of SAG II (Brig's nearest eqvt), that was merged with SAG I at IV CPC has not been shown. By the same logic the Brig should also have been on the SAG scale from IV CPC.

In effect, what has been attempted now is to use the III CPC disparity that existed between 'the most advantaged in the civil services' vis-a-vis the armed forces to push down the Services, while narrowing the gap between the various civil services. This is the reason why Services are now left to compare with CPOs, MES etc instead of the Organised Services (This is absolutely not to denigrate the CPOs or MES, but only to draw attention to the hierarchy that existed earlier, from which the Services alone have been displaced). No mention has been made of the uniform progression upto 14 years available across the board so far and was to be maintained. If parity with civil pay structure has been accepted, why is it that only military officers don't get paid during training. Unless the Services confused the issue by clubbing NDA and IMA trg.

In places where the same logic has been applied for both, like inter-se equation of JCOs with civilians, disability pension etc, the civil logic has been beneficial to the Services. In fact I do not know of any situation where Services have been at a disadvantage if the same logic is applied across the board.I think Services walked into a trap with the 'we are different' argument.

Regarding the Special Disturbance Allowance (SDA), the IV CPC did away with the concept. They standardised progression upto NFSG in the 14th year for Organised Gp A services and Armed forces. For the Services this included Rank pay of Major. Since Maj(SG) was done away with, the pay of JAG and NFSG were combined to give a longer run for the Major terminating at the same level as NFSG. Only the starting edge and late commencement of pay was maintained. As to why this was done, maybe the report clarifies it. I don't know. After the V CPC also the Major moved to 14300/- (start of NFSG) in the 14th year (plus 1). This again included Rank pay. They also don't seem to talk of any edge in the scale as such.Things may be clearer if the full reports are read, I am not sure if the extracts quoted by the VI CPC would give the complete picture or can be trusted. What appears to have happened is that VI CPC wrote the analysis/ findings first, and then extrapolated the figures to suit/ justify the analysis. Otherwise there is no way that they could have got to equate a Brig with a DIG or a Lt Col with JAG. There is no end to the debate on 'my job is more important than yours'. It can get quiet silly as seen on the blogs. It is to avoid such meaningless debates that the IV CPC brought in 'uniform career progression upto a point' and the V CPC suggested a 'model cadre structure', i.e, a percentage of the cadre strength in each pay-grade. Implementing these would have been of tremendous benefit to the armed forces and given a sense of fairness across the board. The problem at the last CPC was that they accepted the model cadre structure for all except the armed forces. This is the single major anomaly that has remained post V CPC. The issue of SDA was a forgotten chapter and irrelevant to be revived now by either the CPC or the Services.A comparison with what the VI CPC says and what the Services asked for, or responses to each other could be enlightening.



bill said...

It is a clear case of manipulation to degrade the Armed Forces personals,both officers & PBORs.It is now appearing that all such actions(incl reduction in PBOR pension to 50%) were done by Babu secretary of 6CPC on instructions of IAS Cartel as part of thier overall strategy against the Armed Forces.Seceretary,s role as also that of the Babu who manipulated CPC AFTER its approval by the Cabinate to bring down Lt Col rank vis a vis civilian appts must be investigated by a Govt appointed Non IAS staffed Commission.Since so much of manipulations against Armed Forces have been done in the 6CPC,resulting in mass disgruntlement & demoralisation,there is an inescapable need to carry out a fast track FULL (& transparent)REVIEW of 6CPC of all aspects relevent to Armed Forces ,by a non IAS Review Committee, with members from concerned services. Implementation to be withheld till then.We should be prepared to suffer till we get full justice.

Gp Capt BV Rao(Retd) said...

I read the 5th as wel as 6th CPC reports while the discrepancies started getting reported in the media.Shocked to realize that I was wrong to assume that justice is being done by those who are entrusted with the job of looking after the welfare of ex-servicemen. I agree with the openion of the Retired Flag Officer. Deeper study of the report indicates how truth has been twisted to present a rosier picture while , in fact, Services has been downgraded gradually over the period. It is likely that the personnel who are adversely affected are not represented by their well-wishers in the commissions. COSC would do better job by involving the "Guest" of the article to expose the cunn ingness behind the report as well as the implementation; One has to read in between the lines too.

Pramod said...

I agree with the above comments of Gp Capt Rao and others. I suggest that the reveiw must be done by a commeittee comprising of Retired Sevice Cheifs and Supreme court Judges. Inclusion of legal luminaries like Soli Sorabji, Fali Nariman (names used as an example only)will help decypher a lot of arguments that are thrown at Armed Forces by the interested parties in teh pay commission. It is important that the degradation of services over the period is undone, and now.

Anonymous said...

Best is to reintroduce the running pay band concept of the third pay commission.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your guest post. Confirm my worst fears. Was working on it last night (till 3 AM). Corrected it and sent it to Navdeep's e-mail ID. Navdeep, could you pls post it. Is taking up a wee bit too much of space. Could you pls check up your gmail ID.

BTW. I cannot post comments on your website using Internet Explorer.Word verification doesnt show up. Works in Firefox though. I am getting paranoid but maybe your blog is being subjected to some good old info warfare.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see the deabte 6CPC has generated both in terms of quality & volume, thanks to technology and younger members of the fraternity. Hopefully, the Govt will listen! A similar kind of debate was generated during the finalization of 5CPC, but it was not fruitful. I recall an article in The Economic Times by Sh K Subramanyam the doyen in the field strategic thinking & security analysis. He suggested that the Defense Forces should have a separate Pay Board to look into their requirements which are special & different from the rest of the civil services. I endorse this view.
The services also do not have the advantage of forming associtions/ unions who provide adequate and informed inputs to the Govt during such deliberations; this can be off set by hiring the best brains(legal, military or others)for research & putting across their case.
In hind sight if this "blogg" came up an year earlier, may be larger benefits could have accrued in the 6CPC?
Happy Blogging

Anonymous said...

As an aside, I wish to ask, in case the GOI does not accept the recommendations - Would the services HQs allow the Lt Cols and their equivalents an option to QUIT?
Md Asif

Penmil said...

Apropos the guest article by the admiral
From the analysis posted by the admiral and a reading of the notification on 6CPC implementation for the defence services, it is clear that the government does not consider service in the military any different from the civil service, save for the 'X' factor. An example is available in the award of a single scale of pay for Artificers (PBORs in the Navy) of three classes in one go, for the simple reason that an equivalent scale for each class of the Artificers is not available on the civilian side!

After a herculean effort to straight jacket the pay bands/grade pays of military personnel into civilian scales of presumed equivalents, still, while there are only three grades in the higher pay band of JCOs (and equivalents in the Air Force), the government had to fit in (perhaps reluctantly), four grades (for the PBORs) in the Navy in that pay band.

This is certainly not to argue that the government should rock the boat by disturbing the existing rank structure, but is to illustrate that it should be possible for the government to notionally create an additional civilian scale, to accommodate an existing and time tested military scale of pay, if the need is to make one size fit all.

Further, as there are only two pay bands each, it is clear that there is only one promotion(in the real sense), in the career of, either a PBOR or a commissioned officer; that is when one gets elevated from the lower pay band to the higher one.

The grade pays progress at a much slower pace than this jump in the pay band and that increment in grade pay, and the annual increment of three percent of pay both, will in any case, be lost in the ever spiraling inflation during the course of next eight years. Then what motivation or incentive will be left to perform to the best of one's ability?

Surely, the MSP(X factor pay) could also be made to increase along with the grade pay, to retain the charm/motivation/incentive to achieve the next higher rank. If MSP is a 'pay' then how is it not a factor/percentage of the pay of the rank (or grade, as the government now prefers to uniformly designate)?

It is surprising to understand that while all allowances or designed to increase along with the increase in DA, the MSP is neither an allowance that can be raised nor a pay that can be incremented. If an award is made recognizing the 'X' factor of military service, why not award it more rationally and magnanimously?

Another paradox is in the interpretation that a' new element' of pay such as the MSP, is not eligible to be reckoned for payment from the date of commencement of the new pay scales. If that be the reason, how is the 'grade pay’, in the case of the civilians, which is also a new element for them, being paid in arrears?

There is certainly a case for the services to shun the belief that 'we are different, so we need separate pay scales'. There is also a case for the suggestion that the services should ask to be fitted into/accept the full range of the civil scales along with the time periods set for the civilians(retaining , of course, some advantageous one from the erstwhile pay scales of the services, specially awarded in recognition of the truncated careers of PBORs).The question of cadre strengths to match this time bound progression(in real terms of pay band-cum-grade pays and not in ranks) can be tackled in the same way that the civil Group A services/AIS have adopted for their time bound progression up to the 14th year of service.
This requires a radical change in the approach of the services to the concept of rank vis-a vis pay band-cum-grade pay.
An out of the box thinking may have to be adopted. De link the concept of pay scale from rank.
The civilians do not have ranks. They have only pay bands and grade pays to define the flow of authority/seniority.
But the military has to have internationally recognized rank structure with parity maintained with other nations in the world. Military ranks thus, are a global concept. Rank structure is also needed for internal command and control in the military. Therefore have ranks in a manner that is internationally recognized and also suitable for internal command and control. Do not link those ranks with any pay band-cum-grade pay. This would be like the old system of awarding unpaid ranks to enable a command structure.
Authority within and among the military environment will then flow strictly as per the ranks; parity with the civil services/AIS, will be governed by the pay band-cum-grade pay. Much as the pay commission awarded now in the SPC and much more as the government now understands.
To the general public, it will however be the same old military officer.
My two cents.

mondy said...

Any updates on the issue of Pb4 for Lt Cols.