There are indications that the process for constitution of the 7th Central Pay Commission may be initiated soon with the background idea that the recommendations are accepted well before 01-01-2016 so as to give effect to the same on the said date.
The PMO, after the 6th CPC fiasco vis-à-vis the defence services, had opined that there would now be separate pay commission for the defence services. Many of us have already started professing for a separate pay commission and the voice is getting stronger by the day.
But in the ultimate analysis, we should first ponder over this concept threadbare and reach a considered conclusion whether a separate pay commission would be beneficial or not, and in what form.
The greatest fear with a separate panel is that it may result in detached recommendations wherein pay-scales and pension formulae totally different than other central govt employees may be recommended which may ultimately hamper our cause. Also, as pay commissions are only recommendatory in nature, any proactive or progressive recommendations may not ultimately be accepted by the govt. There could be an element of delay as well.
So what is the solution.
The first and the best solution would be that rather than having a separate pay commission, we insist on proper military representation on the regular pay commission with formal members representing the defence services and veterans. This way, while not being totally disconnected from the civil services, the defence services would be able to have a say as far as uniqueness of military service is concerned.
The second solution would be to have a separate pay commission for the defence services which may be constituted only after the main pay commission has submitted its recommendations but with a time bound mandate to offset any kind of delay of release of benefits to defence personnel. It, for example, could be notified that the separate pay commission would submit recommendations within 3 months of the central pay commission and acceptance could be mandated within total of 6 months from the recommendations of the central pay commission, loosely on the lines of pay panels constituted for academicians with support of the UGC. Of course this would not be possible without proper appreciation and notification by the govt.
I’m not presenting any solutions but in my humble opinion, veteran organisations should hence hold their horses till the time a considered call is taken on the issue by all stake-holders, which must include veteran bodies, the Services HQ through the COSC and the Govt, by properly weighing the pros and cons. It would also be much appreciated if adequately sensitised (and sensitive) officers having expertise in the area are posted on key appointments dealing with the subject rather than based on service profile, ACRs, courses attended or posting profile.
I’m sure the current apex establishment understands the importance of expertise and internals rather than ceremonials or externals as far as posting of officers is concerned, and since the hopes this time are very high, attempts must be made to deliver in a deliberated and considered manner.