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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The only practical way-out for parity in pay and career progression :

There is lack of a meeting point between the civil and the defence services as far as pay (and career) progression is concerned. A practical aspect of the problem also emanates from the steep pyramid-like structure of the forces which cannot be exactly configured with the civil set-up or so they think. Another feature of the problem is the now (though wrongly) ensconced Joint Secretary to Govt of India = Major General equivalence at the executive level in the Ministry of Defence. Also with AV committee report implementation, the time frame required for promotions in the defence services have undergone a humongous change in the backdrop of civil promotions. For example, the Senior Time Scale (STS, PB-3 / GP 6600) equivalence with a Captain is no longer acceptable to the civilian set up because while a Capt is promoted to the rank in 2 years of service, an STS officer reaches that grade in four years.

So what is the way out ? The way out is that pay and career progression should be de-linked from military rank progression as far as comparison with the civil services is concerned. Military rank may continue to act as an internal functional / command and control mechanism but without any relevance to comparison with the civil services. For example, Capt with two years of service as Capt (total 4 years commissioned service) can be elevated to STS (GP 6600) just as in the civil services. A Major with three years of service as Major (total 9 years commissioned service) can be elevated to JAG (GP 7600) as is the case with civilian counterparts, Lt Col with one year of service as Lt Col (total 14 years of commissioned service) is upgraded to GP 8900 and Lt Col / Col with total 18 years of service is promoted to SAG (GP 10000). Colonels, Brigs and Maj Gens can stay in GP 10000 while for executive purposes, only a Maj Gen can be granted the functional signatory powers of a Joint Secretary to Govt of India to maintain status quo that is the root cause of the lack of a meeting point.

Promotions to higher levels, i.e, HAG+ (Lt Gen) and Apex Grade (Lt Gen – Army Commanders' / VCOAS grade) can continue as hitherto before. This would be in line with the time based promotions in the civil services and also as implemented for all Govt Doctors under the Central Govt under the Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme (DACP).

Please also peruse this tabular representation of the above proposal for a better picture.

Side by side, we also need to highlight the fact again that the time being spent in training in military establishments is not counted towards service as in the case of others. We need to again impress on the establishment to count our training period (after award of a degree of graduation) as service for all intents and purposes.

Before naysayers reduce the above to dust, I would like to point out that such time based progression is not new to the forces. In the Navy, Captains with 3 years of service are upgraded to a higher Grade Pay. If it has worked for the Navy since times immemorial, it can damn well work for the sister services. The military ranks have always acted as an internal functional requirement and shall remain so. The above proposal would also eliminate voices seeking ‘removal’ of one rank from the military hierarchy since this would result in progression almost at par with the civil services without tinkering our time tested rank structure.

More than anything else, we need to change our mind-set and find ways to reach a mutually acceptable consensus on this very important issue.


Anonymous said...

Yes !Reforms are needed.
The fundamental issue is annual increments and career progression to officer entry,at par with other Central services;besides mil ser pay for the x factor;
-as long as military service is thurst (SQUEEZED)upon . If the services of officers are to be dispensed for the the benefit of rk str ,those officers denied promotion due to pyramid like str have to be compensated with a package or golden handshake.
There is no precedence in any other human resources of employment that a fit for mil leadership officer is debared from further promotion at age 37 yrs or with ser of about 16 yrs ; AND THEIR SERVICES ARE USED /ABUSED BY SUBJECTIVE APPLICATION OF ARMY ACT.

The mil brass are rigidly holding on to certain views,gen incosistent and controdictory ;
and do not allow any thinking or reforms.

Anonymous said...


Moderator of Indian Military Policies said...

Hi Navdeep,
A nice article giving food for thought. Why not suggest that as per length of service...promote officers to the higher ranks just like the civil services? and have the same yardstick of 4yrs-9yrs-14 yrs-19yrs. leave out the Adl secy/ secy level cause even in civil services these are not time based. make the service more attractive to the youngster joining. Yes if the civil services can count the service from the date of joining why shouldn't the same be given to the AF? and yes have a running pay band for those who get out of the race with stagnation pay...and EB- other benefits to compensate for early denial of advancement in career. Also follow the AVSE for the golden handshake too.

Anonymous said...

Navdeep...excellent analysis and practical tips to balance Pay and Status Parity. I have only one point...
The Military Forces are superior elements in the hands of the Nation. There is really no equation between civil and the military. The Military needs to be superior for all times to come otherwise it will be a second rate force reduced to face defeat forever!

Ramani said...

At this point of time it will be apt to compare similar situations in the US army and the UK one.
what about the Russian and Chinese.
if possible do it.At least it will make us put our thinking cap on.
In the USA the Resrvist Officer is given as much importance as a Regular.Is it the case in Bharat.
Navdeep is the right person to comment.

menon said...

With the present lot of pensioners, after 33 years of service 95% of Army Officers will retire with a pension less than that of an IAS officer with 14 years of service. What have we achieved? The demand for such a revision will only be gladly met by the bureaucracy who will shift Lt Cols to PB 4 i.e. 37400 -67000 and blow up the issue of having reinstated Army status. But the truth will be that only a fraction will benefit and OROP will be accepted with a lot of fanfare as having acceded to the demands of the Armed Forces. 95% of Service officers would have been disarticulated.
The better option is to forget being rank conscious in matters regarding the Pay Commission. Like the civil services have only Four grades (abolish the Lt rank). Grade 1 – Capt – Maj, Grade 2 – Lt Col - Col, Grade 3 Brig– Maj Gen . HAG plus Grade 4 - Lt Gens. The Entire bracket of PB3 and PB4 should be clubbed as one Pay Band for the Armed forces i.e. 15700 – 67000 with the band split into 32 increments (one for each year of service). Grade pay will be on the four grades and pension will be on the length of service rendered. Ranks are for command and control within the organisation and should not be linked to inter departmental hierarchy.
I feel we should be more specific in demands rather than set piece demands like OROP, better facilities etc. This makes it seem like a run of the mill cribbing session with resentment against everything in general but nothing in particular.
We should also tell the govt. how we can earn revenues for them. Like soft funding from the Army budget to set up factories to manufacture ordnance items like soaps, hosieries, tentage, vehicles etc for sale to the Armed Forces and the civilian market as profit centers. The Govt. must ensure that such PSUs are only set up by Veterans. If a Govt. venture like Maruti can set up a successful car factory as a PSU why can't the Three Service HQs partner with an All Armed Forces Veterans PSU to manufacture cars & vehicles for military use and civilian use. An All Armed Forces Veterans PSU can manufacture components for aircrafts, ships etc. After Partition when Military assets and funds were divided between Pakistan and India, Pakistan wisely invested the funds into such ventures. This would also ensure post retirement employment.
Similarly for PBOR the Pay Band should be one band viz. PB2 i.e. 8700 – 34800. Minimum retirement benefit should be on the increment for colour service rendered.
To cater for the deprivation of societal life MSP must be additionally given.

When the Army is called out in aid to civil administration it is necessary that the Army officer must also train and be conversant with civil governance. Therefore it is imperative that Army officers are also given a lateral stint as Collectors and such appointments.
Why should the Police be clubbed with the Military under the garb of uniformed services? The Police are a law enforcement agency. It is unfortunate that in free democratic India even after 60 years of Independence, the Law enforcement agency apes the Armed Forces. It's okay playing cop & robbers by kids but grown ups of a responsible force trying to play GI Joe is a bit too much. The RAF doesn't need disruptive combat gear. They are not supposed to get into a mortal combat with the citizens of India. Why should the Police wear universally accepted military badges of rank? Are we in a state of militarily Police occupation? It was okay during the British Raj when a Suptd of Police was called a Police Kaptaan since he was a Captain from the British Army. During Jalianwala Bagh a Major was the IG Police, Amritsar. The Police need uniforms only up to the field level which as per the 6 th PC is a DIG appointment. These can be simple with maybe one Bar for an SP and two for a DIG.An IG upwards never moves into the field so he doesn't require to have a uniform for identification in a crowd. This matter should also be taken up with the MoD. It will repress the shoulder rank based equation once and for all ranks.
We should also not harp too much on the honour, selfless service etc of soldiers. WE are of the same breed as all Indians. If the average Indian does not want to join because honour, code of conduct etc be damned, why harp on these word for self pity. It is not a crime to want better pay & allowances for the kind of work done by the Armed forces. It is also not a crime to rebel against suppression. It is logical & justified.

a) The indexation of pay scale for the length of service should be such that the difference between the average levels achieved and the maximum level to be minimised. I.e. If 90% of officers retire at the scale of a Lt Col then the pay gap between the Lt Col and the Lt Gen is reduced. A parallel paradigm is that all IAS officers reach at least a Jt Secy level.
b) There is no irreversible supersession. If an officer doesn’t make it in three promotion boards he is not sentenced to the dungeons but is considered till retirement on the basis of his previous 5 CRs. This will ensure he doesn’t sit back and relax since he still has the chance of making it if he puts in the effort. The problem with this suggestion will be that vacancies may not exist. For that I suggest that post these officers on staff. Why have a young chap on staff when you are wasting the hands on experience of such officers. It is a pity watching 33 year old Cols in Station HQ whiling away time whereas the army could have utilised their experience to plan and formulate procedures on staff. Their experience will be more practical than those of youngsters.
c) Command of fighting units should be before the age of 38 years (35 preferable but ACC and SS officers may not make it at 35). Lt Cols should command Bns/Regts/Fighter Sqns.
d) A two year sabbatical after 20 years to be given to all officers. These two years can be utilised by the officers to undergo a full time MBA/Tech degree at any Army Institute of Education or through one of the recogonised Universities. On completion of two years the officer can opt for resuming military duties or be released from active service. Pension now given to him will not be 50% of basic as given to officers who opt to continue but 40% of basic. Lateral induction is not the brightest of ideas because there will always be hiccups and glitches between the receiving and donor cadres. Provide sops for exits like start up grants/loans at reduced rates/ land allocation, company incorporation procedures which can be routed through military channels etc.
e) Have a policy where all Civil service officers should have served in the military for at least 5 years in any rank. Thereafter let them opt for Civil Services; write the UPSC exam with adequate weightage for their career profile in the military.
f) On deputation the criteria should be the years of service since the SCPC has clearly stated that Grade pay is only for fixation of seniority within the Dept.

Anonymous said...

Reforms are needed at a massive scale considering that we haven't changed much for decades- Koop mandook, living in fool's paradise etc etc. Now that we have finally woken up from the slumber, it's time to do some introspection too.

Parity is fine. But what about the elements who have been superseded due to steep pyramid, medical fitness or adm reasons? It's time we started believing in "Golden Handshake" for all who can't make it to next selection rank by 20-25 years of service. The shortage of officers is at younger levels and not at 20 years plus service levels. In fact, due to rank structure, it becomes difficult to employ such senior officers at appointments commensurate with their experience and seniority. This leads to a lot of disgruntlement at all levels.
A "Golden Handshake" with assured pensionary benefits may be the way forward. An assured post-retirement career in a civil organization supporting the Defence Forces/para military force/welfare organization like AGIF, CSD, MES, GREF, CDA, AWWA etc etc may also be an alternative.
I am sure there may be better solutions, but haven't heard of any. Keeping all superseded officers in service till 60 years of age is not good for the organization!

Yogander Singh said...

I agree. WHile the proposal can be further fien tuned, but the fundamental principle of equal pay for equal service is valid.

Anonymous said...

I welcome the thoughts put forward by Maj Navdeep
and also blogger Menon
I generally agree with above two well written thoughts
We must have two targets
PB4 for LT COL and HAG +
For this Discussion papers should be put up suggestions invited within next two months
By three months Joint Proposal should bre put up to GOVT and decisions to be taken in next six months

jpadmanabh said...

ur g on tgt but the proposal may not be acceptable to the service headquarters let alone the min of def

Anonymous said...

Annonymous 01 Apr 09 0821 am

I disagree with you on retirement age. There should be uniform retiirement age of 60 years with an option to leave with three months notice after intial emgagement of a few years based on arm/branch.

We need to delink rank based retirement age as a first step towards reform.

Also we need to remove parmanently passed over system with certain percentage to the seniority and last few ACRs. This will keep superseded officers to also work and align with organisatonal requirement. They will not be then treated as un wanted baggage.In any case most of them have not missed their ranks due to incompetence but due to steep pyramid.

U must have heard that officers going out on an early age are looking for re-employment. In most cases the reason is non - fullfillment of their family commitments due to early retirement. We hear that they are doing excellent outside but I have seen some of them picking up jobs which are not to the standards most of us would like to be in. Is it not disgrace to the officers cadre. Lets stop all deliberations on rank based retirement age and retirement age be made uniform as exist in civil.

Ramani said...

We should delink all army activites from that of "civilian".
Even the Equivalencies should be done away with.Hybrid depts should be suitably Reorganized.Midway and lateral entries should be discouraged.
As a first step,remove the ADC's .
Let the Governors have a young IAS / IPS officer as the ADC.
The President being the Supreme Commander should continue having Military ADCs.
The WOP should be changed Suitably,

sirsian said...

to add on,why don't abolish the rank of Col.Or a col should only be in selected staff appts.A CO be brought back to Lt Col.The full Col is a very limited rank and people go up directly to Brig. It can be further worked upon.

Mangusta said...

Well done, Navdeep.

Obviously a well thought out and an eminently workable solution to a simmering problem.
The HPC should seriously consider it.
Any objections that the Services may have(to this proposal) should be adjusted 'around' what Navdeep has suggested. (We must adjust to a flexible rather than a rigid association of Military Rank and Grade Pay in order to achieve parity with civil service. THERE IS, BY DEFINITION, NO OTHER WAY!)
The present discontent in the officer corps and distrust in the civil-military relations is so utterly, and alarmingly, damaging to the nation's polity that the powers that be should not dither longer than absolutely neccesary.

just said...

a correct thing to do, till the anamoly of Maj Gen equivalent to Jt Secy is sorted out. It is sad that there is no way out for the Armed Forces. I hope, sense prevails and the top brass also endorses the same.

Bit this makes me think, the civilian set up is not ready to accord STS status to Capt as he is having 2 yrs commisioned service. But nothing is wrong when at higher ranks the Armed Force personal lag behind by a large margin.

This is real sad. But it is time we call a spade a spade and accept what Maj Navneet has suggested

Anonymous said...

VOW!! What a gr8 spectrum of Opinions here!! Some one saying it wud be acceptable/some negating etc etc etc.
At the end of it all What I see is "EDUCATION" of the Services, especially Officers. If this these type of discussions continue I AM SURE IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS OR SO WE "MAY" SEE SOME CHANGES...AMEN

Anonymous said...

Dear readers
Why should we compare AF with civil services only in a piecemeal only suiting to our requirements? if the sevice conditions are different they are different. any equation seeking only in scales ignoring all the hidden aspects will lead the discussion noway. Afterall the parity is for total emoluments and number of years is one of the factors. Maj Navdeep u have forgotten all the other benefits and trying to mislead by concentrating only on scales of civil services.
In case the pairity is to be seen the equal pay for equal work principle should not be violeted.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Menon's suggestions.He has hit the bull's eye.
His views if implemented would certainly redress the grievances of the services.But who will remove the insulation created between the services and the politicians by our worthy bureaucrats.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anony at 4-30 pm on 01 April 2009 on uniform retirement age.

Our own bureaucracy will not allow it to happen with clash of interest at higher ranks in the intial years.

The officers who would have been otherwise retired, might come in competition.

To get miniumum opposition to uniform retirement age. We may have to remove deep selection criteria at higher ranks. Promotion to the higher ranks will have to be based on minimum qualifying attributes.

Bring uniform retirement age and liberal exit policy, everything will fall in place.


Anonymous said...

the proposals are good but seem to be only dreams rather day dreams in the present context. wish there was no comparison with other services IAS/IPS or any other service and the mil brass at the top taken pains to sustain status of offrs upto Col. it is internal forces who are primarily responsible to degrade army ranks. it is open secret that most sr offrs ,BRIG +, play into hands of politicias and babus to reach higher ranks so how can they stand to them ? we are in fact looking for scapegoat for our present sit and blaming govt/babus.
as per our own bosses , we are dispensible, are paid more than what one deserves because ONE is SUPERCEDED . how can any org grow which supercedes its 75% str at a very young age ? earlier also the sit was same but atleast we had a sense of status particularly in public domain but 6CPC and media have destroyed it. the agony is that internet has made it public,and there is no effort by anybody incl mil leadership to keep the offrs informed ,as it does not pinch them .our bosses need to go back to basics of man mgt and leadership to address the simmering discontent, at the moment we should try to atleast maint status co pre 6CPC any thing addl could only be bonus.

K M Poduri said...

Dear Maj Navdeep
Once again an excellent proposal. I am impressed with the depth of thought and observations by all including you. Of particular mention are the thoughts expressed by Anon & Menon.
I have an observation. A capt gets into service after successful completion of training. And then his service period is counted. While in the case of all central services service period counts from the date of appointment. Training is during service and not before. Thus the problem for granting STS to a capt with two years service is negated if you start counting training period also. Since in the pay commission report an explanation was given by the govt that successful completion of training is a precondition for grant of commission. Agreed . But why not count period spent in training also for purposes of calculating length of service. In case the PMF and IPS want equating with Army then this condition may either be imposed on them or alternatively the training period be considered for the Army also. Incidentally it is only the officers whose training period is not counted.
The proposal for soft loan funding from Army Budget, I feel, is not a viable proposition.
Same with the 40 % pension proposed.(Menon)
May I compliment Menon for an excellently written piece.

Young Officer said...

Dear Navdeep Sir,
Great thinking... I think it is just common sense...Alas! it is not so common among faujis...Great idea sirjee.
Young Officer

Anonymous said...

if we do critical analysis of the ills and problems following will emerge:-
1.Like Hero crazy in India ,Rank crazy in military.Sickness.
2.The higher rank thinks that he is better than every one of lower rank .Treats lower ranks in sub-human ways
3.The higher rank wants to grab at the cost of lower rank in every thing including basic pay.
4.Lack of work culture and dignity of labour/work.
5.controdictions and incosistencies .violation of basic principles of employment


Anonymous said...

So, What are we waiting for ???

Anonymous said...

welcome to this blog.i guess u r the same one who has been blogging on prags blog..

ur views and suggestions r worth considering. but the whole issue is THOSE WHO R REQD TO ACT R NOT/UNABLE TO ACT AND U AND ME R NOT IN A POSITION TO ACT..



digvijay said...

What is this food for thought everyone is talking about ,if there is anyone who has done anything it is the Naval Chief & that is why the agreement for Pb4 & PBORs retirement benefit has been agreed to .Some one has to bell the cat ,now there is delay from the ministry for issue of the order then something to be done about .Lets think of present problems & salutions rather then wasting our time on silly paper work .The ex servicemen are doing great job & are doing for the ones in service too .Lets see what the outcome is like .

girish said...

Maj Navdeep, in DRDO scientists go from Scientist 'B' to '' in 2 years and still get Gpay of 6,6000.why the discrimination for services?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,

I agree with your suggestions. Good work.


kailash said...

nicely said and rightly put.... but just as an after thought let me give what civil services demand and let them have a upper hand. but i have a rider to that... lets start recruiting officers on the criteria of the civil services exam. rather lets do away with the UPSC NDA/ CDS exam and have what we have like CAT scores. Best have all vacancies amalgated into civil service after all the defence of the country is in hands of civilian control and lets us forego our selection procedure and make ourselves equal not equivalent to them. wouldn't it then be nice then wherein all young boys getting through to the civil services based on the merit will then be allioted their due of forces, administrative, ips ifs etc etc....
think it over folks...

Raghubir said...

Comparisons are valid provided denominator is common. With every other service granting itself super-fast promotions & the armed forces not able to come out of the steep pyramid in which it has mummified itself for the last many decades-suggestion of Maj Navdeep is quite impressive. The equivalence matrix must have length of service minus loss of seniority if any -as important parameter till the rank of Cols.

MAJ UMESH said...

Well,excellent thought by Maj Navdeep.This will solve a lingering problem.Firstly,It will keep superseeded offrs motivated and secondly,the way all group A services have designed their career progression strategy (all offrs reaching to the rk equiv to a Lt Gen) , we will be able to do somewhat similar atleast on pay front. If all the gp A services are following this strategy,why shd Def offrs be deprived,we are also doing a fairly important task