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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another salvo from the MEA, another hit for military status. Sad, very sad.

“Don’t make me chase you, even doves have pride” : Prince (When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, 1984)

Regular readers would remember this post of December 2009 where it was discussed as to how the MEA was imposing a self-calculated status equivalence on commissioned officers and also on those of Group A services other than the IFS.

Well, even at the time when the above post was published, the anomaly had already been corrected to a degree vide an MEA letter dated 18-02-2009 wherein equation of non-IFS officers, including military officers and those from the State Govts and Universities, was fixed vis-à-vis IFS officers based on Grade Pay. This was the status equivalence promulgated vide the ibid letter :-

Officers with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 5400 and above but less than Rs 6600 were to be equated with Third Secretaries.

Officers with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 6600 and above but less than Rs 7600 were to be equated with Second Secretaries.

Officers with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 7600 and above but less than Rs 8700 were to be equated with First Secretaries.

Officers with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 8700 and above but less than Rs 10000 were to be equated with Counsellors.

Officers with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs 10000 and above were to be equated with Ministers

This in a way checked the anomaly of equivalence as well as allowances since military officers were earlier being granted status and allowances much below their actual standing and service.

But now, on 10-12-2010, the MEA has issued another order in supersession of the above one, reiterating the rank equivalence mentioned above, but with the following rider in Paragraph 4 :-

“The rank equivalence of military officers on assignment or deputation under any programme of the govt of India will be determined on the basis of their military rank as per the existing system”.

So there you have it, while the anomaly stands corrected for all other services, the incorrect status equation remains for the men and women in uniform. In fact, the status in a way has further been downgraded. To take an example, an officer of the rank of Colonel who enjoys a Grade Pay of Rs 8700, and who is actually equivalent to a Counsellor in foreign missions, would remain clubbed with officers with Grade Pay of Rs 7600 (First Secretaries) who are junior even to a Lt Col. There are organisations within the Govt of India where civil officers with the GP of Rs 8700 are reporting to Colonels who are also writing their ACRs, and if hypothetically both such officers were to be deputed to a mission abroad, then the junior civil officer would be equated with a Counsellor while his actual senior in India, the Colonel, would be outranked and equated with a First Secretary while on foreign shores. There are also examples wherein for certain purposes, senior serving Lt Cols and equivalent are being forced with an equation to Second Secretaries who at time comprise of officers with only 4 years of Group A service in case of direct appointees, and even worse, Group B officers (formerly Class II, equal to JCOs) just promoted to Group A with less than even a single year of Group A service.

Why the entire exercise seems more absurd is that even officers of the State Govt have been granted the correct status in accordance with their Grade Pays while the military has been left out.

The services must take this up strongly with the MEA otherwise this would have far reaching ramifications on the already depressed military status. Such undemocratic one-way letters are uncalled for. All such letters must be issued after taking every stake-holder, in this case the military establishment, on board.

Meanwhile, the doves cry.


Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
As u have so lucidly brought out in the above write up and several times before, the Military establishment and its personnel have been at the receiving end of every monkey with a 'danda' in its hand. And why does this happen only with the Faujis and not with other Central Govt Depts?? It clearly emerges that no one in the Defence Ministry is taking up the cause of the Uniformed man be it an issue of status, pay,perks, privileges or pension. And why does that happen?? Because the Defence Ministry is staffed with civilians who dont give a damn to the problems of the Military man. They only want their CSD, CH/MH/Hospital facilities to continue. And we cant blame them when, as u brought out in an earlier post, we are the ones giving privileged treatment to the non-uniformed people under the defence ministry. We all know how the Fauji brass gives exaggerated respect to civilian GEs, to AOs/SAOs/LAOs/ACDAs/DCDAs/JCDAs in the CDA, to clerks in the Personnel branch and hundreds of such civilian posts. I have come across many cases where a civilian GE has been accorded VIP treatment by HsOE, where a DCDA has been given treatment on par with COs etc etc. We call all these lower ranked people 'Saab' hoping for some preferential treatment from them; we rise from our chairs to receive them while we keep Lt Cols standing in front of us, we send cars to bring and drop Audit staff of the AOs office but deny a Major/eqvt the use of the office car etc. It is then only natural that they assume a status far higher than they actually hold.
And slowly we will sink into the quagmire that we have so nicely prepared for us. Only people of ur ilk can provide some succour to us by at least highlighting these issues.
Another issue...are u aware that the Navy does not promote Cdr(TS) to Capt (TS) even after completion of 26 years or even till retirement ?

Harry said...


Simple solution. Services HQ should just refuse to send offrs on Deputation till anomaly is corrected. Let the msg go to everyone loud and clear.


For such anomilies the blame lies with the Senior Cadre of officers. They have never shown guts to take a firm stand. The Bug Bear of Secret Act is becoming a joke. In fact they are more worried about their rehabilitations during service and thereafter retirement. God bless their soul. But it is well said when the going gets tough the tough should should get going. Jai Hind

Synapse said...

Military ranks are being downgraded very gradually, regularly in a carefully calibrated way. What had started post independence with an aim to ensure civil supremacy without antagonizing the military has continued. Thanks to our leadership, the civil babus find it so much easier.

dattatreyahg said...

I am reminded of the days( around 1980) when senior officers were making sincere extra efforts to console those good officers(who had put in their share of contribution in the 1965 & 1971 wars) who were left out of promotion in the national interest of removing the bulge to bring the pyramidal structure back into defence services. Maximum of one in four was promoted those days in the name of deep selection and the other three were mercifully givn the option of applying for premature retirement. A glorious end to a military career after two wars with stunning success,which was gracefully accepted by many to avoid "RANK EXPLOSION". But the same thing did not happen with bureaucrats as I am told. In spite of all these bold correct
ive measures,if the progressive downgradation has continued even to-day,there is definitely something wrong somewhere. Will some wise man in Services think about the reasons for it at least now so that the sacrifices of the veterans do not go in vain.

Anonymous said...

Blogs about status used to draw maximum response from the officer fraternity and now no one is even bothering to respond to this! Unfortunately, they teach us fighting only enemy during trainings unlike the elite services

Anonymous said...

Should the Honourable Raksha Mantri not be informed of this comedy, and asked to question his respected party colleague, as to why his ministry is making such bizarre equivalence letters?


The issue of relativity is a pinprick and needs to be addressed at the highest levels.Firstly there is no comparison between the armed forces and the other central civil services.Both have different domains of functioning.How can you comapare a Jt Secy with 20 yrs service to that with a Maj Gen with30 yrs service.Either our thinking is cock eyed or there is a permanent mental block to see things in the correct perspective.Most of the posts doned by babus till the Director level are from the ranks or state cadre. The first level is at the Director level with 13 yrs service vis a vis Lt Col (13 yrs). Ideally a Col should be equated with Jt Secy as both have almost the same service.Maj Gen should go in HAG and Lt Gen in HAG +. Samaj ne wale samaj gaye hai jo na samje woh anadi hai.

Anonymous said...

@Maj Navdeep,

Why are you doing this? What is your interest in raising the issues of military benefits? you are a TA major. They will ignore you at first opportune moment.

Anonymous said...

The status equivalance issue need to sorted out by taking up matter very strongly by all service chiefs.The inhouse balance( BRO/MES offrs) also to be looked into as MS Branch equate Maj/Lt col to Director in MES but army officers serving in MES formation have to literally fight their battle everyday as MES Directors conciders themself superior to full colonels.Though fact is army officers undertake one year precommission training,earn every promotion right from Capt onward after making lot of effort/ study/cources / passing promotion exams B/D/ selection Bds etc where as in other services officer just join and get many promotion just because he is present and vacancy is available( No exam).Many civ offrs just can not speak one sentence correctly but feel great when equated with Army officers and start dreaming as if they are Col/Brig etc.

Anonymous said...

What Armed Forces is doing to the AMC (in terms of Grade Pay 10,000 equivalent to their civilian counterparts)is exactly what the Babus are doing to the armed Forces.

So what is the big deal ???

Moral of the story : Have the moral courage to support your own brethren and the system will be fair to all and sundry !!

ninihala said...

There is a simple solution. Chief's of Staff Committee should bring out there own equivalence table and stick to it whenever services are the initiators. I recall V CPC report was got amended by such strong arm tactics of then Adjt Gen. It will work now too. But then, dowe have it in us?

Harry said...


Pls read the MEA diktat carefully. It says, “The rank equivalence of military officers on assignment or deputation under any programme of the govt of India will be determined on the basis of their military rank as per the existing system”.

So this proves that Defence Officers are indeed DIFFERENT!! SO no NFFU, no DACP and no de facto STANDING/SAY in Govt functioning. But for the purpose of granting OROP we can't be given special dispensation because other Govt services will demand the same. How sweet!

Never knew the so-called President's Commission would be such an albatross around our necks :(

So dear Chief, where do we go from here?

sl said...

@Harry:"...Simple solution..."; Not so simple when one considers how promotions have to be effected and managed against the deputation vacancies. And why don't the deputed Officers refuse to move till the matter of their equivalence is resolved? Is it just possible the affected officers would rather accept a lowere inter-se seniority rather than pass up a plum deputation?

Harry said...

@ Sunlit.

It's NOT what a so-called hi flier roots for (embassy posting, that is important. What is MOST IMPORTANT is how org is getting adversely affected and degarded by such 'tuglaki farmaans' of other Govt depts/agencies.

After all how many deputation vacancies will we lose out on? May be 6-7 brigs and 25-30 cols? Are you suggesting that for such crumbs we keep accepting non sense?
There figures by themselves are too insignificant to let the entire org down.

In any case, such a drastic step would only seek to highlight arrogant and discriminatory attitude of other services and and serve as a warnning to political leaders to set things right. Pls recall actions (refusing to issue Draft Gazette Notification after 6th CPC) of ex-Naval Chief, Admiral Sureeh Mehta which finally made Govt sit up and take some note of the horrendous dispensation of 6th CPC for Armed Forces!

Sorry, I disagree with your point here!

Anonymous said...

daer all,there is always a discrimnatory attitude towards giving anything to defence services as we dont have any unions unlike other groups.a simple example to this is grant of allce for telephone and mobile+internet.civilian offrs are allowed to claim for money even if they have residential telephone.however army officers are denied this facility even though the army phone is just an EPABX without std/internet.

sl said...

@Harry:"...Sorry, I disagree with your point here!"; :-)But There was no point only a description of the reality that has existed for decades. About 14 years back the joint chiefs of staff set up issued, as a GOI letter, an equivalence table in respect of scientist grades in DRDO and Officer ranks. The DRDO simply shot down that letter pegging armed forces officers one step lower and refused to consider rank pay as part of pay for the armed forces officers for establishing equivalence.
All the officers in uniform posted to DRDO heaved a sigh of relief as they appreciated the quality of life on the DRDO campuses rather than equivalence.
That is the way it was.
That is the way it is.

gjd said...

The issue of rk equivalence is very much there in DRDO. And Defence Offrs are being equated with DRDO scientists who rightly should have been one step lower down the rung. This issue has been alive since the fourth pay commission in DRDO, and our Offrs are forced to lump it. Hopefully the rk pay case at SC comes in our favor, and that should put to rest the equivalence debate. However it is sad that the Defence Forces are being treated so shabbily, for a mistake done by the Fourth Pay commission. I too feel that we should stop posting Offrs to other establishments till this issue of equivalence is resolved.

Anonymous said...

Why blame any one else when our own people have a culture of degrading their juniors.As a Major one has travelled in a shaktiman from Faridkot to Bathinda for official duty.Simutaneously jeep meant for that major was given to LAO who came for audit for travelling back to Bathinda after audit.While Major on the way had a veh break down LAO offered him a lift(Mind you it was Maj's official Veh).It was very humilating and Maj refused the offer.Mind you it was my own experience as I was that Major.

Col P B Singh(Retd)

Harry said...

@ Sunlit,


Pls first decide what is more imp for you and then go about getting it.

Sad to say, your resposnse is purely defeatist and escapist, at the same time!!!

Anonymous said...

Every one blogs enough. Anyone out there to 'Bell the Cat'? Is there any plan/method existing in principle so as to curb these kind of menace or is it that when no one knows what's to be done, every one says something needs to be done.

sl said...

@Harry:"...defeatist..."; It is simply not a matter of importance or what anyone wants. Its a question of ground level realities.
Are you aware of any change brought about in the inter-se seniority at DRDO in the context of the incident I had highlighted?
If you are do enlighten us.
What's defeatist about saying the Sun rises in the East or there are seven days in a week? :-)

Harry said...

@ Sunlit


I have nothing more to add and my last point stays and sums up the unpalatable truth! I'm sure that not many fellow bloggers would agree with such an attitude which would never get us anywhere.

Sorry, nothing personal though.

samaresh ghosh said...

Ex-Major SC Ghosh said
Dear Navdeep.
My son Ex-NDA Bhaskar Ghosh.NRI 100% disability since 26/5/1987attributable to military training having completed a RSMB letter issued memo no.2(166)/87/d(pen-C) dt.11/7/94 and executed power of attorney on 3/1/2007 With PCDA(P) Pension on change of Nationality by NRI Pensioner as per office memo no.PC5169/AT/P/PC/909/A/04/D(PEN0/SERS GOI,MIN OF DEFENCE NEW DELHI-6-10.2004 herping for another RSMB and refused to pay the disability pension.
23rd June 2011

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Any further development on your blog subject "Another salvo from the MEA, another hit for military status. Sad, very sad."

Dhillon said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

May I request your comments on follwing:

TA No.199/2010
(WP No.23196 of 2007 – of
High Court of Andhra Pradesh)
Friday, the Twenty Fifth day of March, 2011

ankush said...

sir your opinion and legal standing on issue of purchase of car from CSD .this facility has been taken away from the men in uniform.

Anonymous said...