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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Rank Pay: The engulfing evil

Much has been written about the constant downfall of military ranks vis-a-vis civilian counterparts over the years. Of course, the anomalies of the 7th Central Pay Commission are topical and central to every discussion.

Many of us however do not realize that the root cause of the lost of sheen in this regard has been a concept that was sold as a victory for the forces after the 4th CPC- the Rank Pay. The hit has been so bad that multiple litigation and tumult later, the position has not been redeemed.

The genesis of the problem also lies in the clamour of the defence services to show that they are different or superior than others, and then trying to look for the applicability of amusing concepts which ultimately ship them afar from reality. Rank Pay was one such concept.

Prior to the 4th CPC, the pay scales of the defence and civil services followed a similar pattern. This changed with the 4th CPC when an integrated running pay scale was introduced for all ranks from Second Lieutenant till Brigadier with an additional element of Rank Pay. The civil services of course remained in fixed scales as earlier.

The concept of Rank Pay blurred the comparison between the defence and civil officers and also created a problem in fixation of pay and pension that continues till day even three decades later, notwithstanding a Supreme Court verdict.

So much so, that the 6th CPC, on Pages 73 and 74 of its Report, presented a twisted comparison of civil and military scales wherein the Senior Time Scale (STS/Under Secretary to Govt of India) which was reflected with a Captain till the 3th CPC was suddenly shown at par with a Major after the introduction of the Rank Pay. It is yet another story that the 6th CPC created this imaginary comparison without the support or reference to any executive order which lowered the status of a Captain from the STS to below the STS, but with time this incorrect comparison was solidified. The after effect of the Rank Pay was also that while the 3rd CPC Civil Selection Grade Scale of 1650-1800 got placed in Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay 8700 by the 6th CPC, our Lt Col with the 3rd CPC Scale of 1750-1950 got placed in Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay 7600 (Later upgraded to Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay 8000). The same incorrect comparison has continued with the 7th CPC without removal of the earlier anomalies. More on this can be discerned from my following blogposts in the aftermath of the 6th CPC:

And it is not always the civil establishment that is to blame for the mess. Even we have continued to send mixed signals to the environment at large without sitting back and taking corrective measures. While we claim that Lt Cols are equivalent to Superintending Engineers, we at times post even Time Scale Full Colonels as Garrison Engineers which is a post tenable by Major-equivalent Executive Engineers from the civil side. While the appointment of Assistant Garrison Engineer is tenable by civil officers with Grade Pay of 4600 and 5400 (which is a Grade Pay enjoyed by a Subedar and Lieutenant respectively), we continue posting senior offices of the rank of Major to the same appointments. We have allowed officers of the Armed Forces HQ Civil Service of Joint Director rank (Grade Pay 7600) to be granted the “local” designation of Director while posted in the Services HQ while we post our own senior Lt Cols with Grade Pay 8000 as Joint Directors within the same Services HQ. This despite the fact that a Group of Ministers headed by the then Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee had recorded that a Lt Col outranked a Deputy Secretary to Govt of India/Joint Director and therefore was to be paid more than the said grades after which the Pay Band for Lt Col was upgraded to Pay Band-4. Hence, over the years, we have ourselves solidified or accepted wrong equivalence and even an incorrect pay parity which continues to haunt us.

But while there is a requirement to strongly stand up for our rights without being servile and subservient, at another level, there is also a requirement to remain humble and not project ourselves as some holy superior beings who need to be treated differently by the society as if the world at large owes us something. Had the defence services continued with the normal scales as applicable to other civil services officers, things would not have come to such a pass. It is always better to remain considerably close to the system of pay and allowances of other Government services rather than clamour for special dispensation. I also feel that at times there is any element of disrespect shown towards other professions by the serving and retired community which is counter-productive and which must be curtailed. Chain mails regarding the pay and allowances of the men and women in khaki is just one example of it. There has to be mutual trust, respect and understanding between various services and the military staff must also carry the civilian staff with them and treat them with due regard and attempt to resolve their genuine grievances wherever they are serving under defence officers. After all, everybody is serving the same flag and the same country!


A K Jain said...

Your views are very correct.
The fate of agitation for OROP is latest example.
Had we raised voice for NFU for defence personnel;
it would have been accepted far more easily.
We need to NOT express that we are somewhat superiors
or better. We are the "one among many of us" attitude ;
will be just ,fair and satisfying creating happiness.

Unknown said...

Similarly there is rank called chief artificer not chief petty officer in navy who draw more than a foreman of navy shipyard and aifcraftyard since 3cpc was allowed to less than foreman from 4cpc onwards even now continues, navy officer not bothered about this anomaly even now,since there is no collective bargaining system for sailors.worst is now they are paid non artificer seaman pay now.

Elixer said...

A very rightly written post.This pseudo superiority with which we move in our relationship with civilians is the main reason for many of our failure in getting welfare measures at par with civilian counterparts

Lt Col George Mathew said...

Very well written and explained Sir. Your blog gives a very neutral and practical perspective to the ongoing civil-vs-military debate. I think it is time we introspect our own thoughts, practices and policies within our own organisations before finding fault with the outside world. For this we need to be honest to ourselves and be ready to accept the criticism with an aim to improve and better the system and not treat critics as anti-establishment.

B R Sharma said...

It is clear from your article that you are putting ball in services court despite the fact of landmark judgement of Major Dhanpalan case, as to how service officer was robbed.Till last moment GOI was not willing to correct the state by paying the dues. Only SC forced it.
Yes, one can argue poor leadership of services has not asserted how these silly things are happening. If Railways can have a rep in pay commission why not services with same size and higher sacrifices and difficult working environment,even if work effort is comparable.

The fact is every pay commission status officers is being downgraded and not a whisper. Shame!
Lt Cdr BR Sharma

SK Nair said...

What about Rounding off/Broad Banding of Disability Pensions to Superannuated/Release on expiry of present engagement cases

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

Dear Balwant Sharma above.

Please read the blogpost again. Then re-read it. Then go through the two links.

Then we shall discuss again.


Veterans said...

True. But, what is the solution to this? I understand that latest SC judgment on Rank Pay case has made it clear that Rank has been illegally carved out of the basic pay and needs to be corrected and Rank Pay to be paid in addition to the basic pay. Is this not enough to restore the lost status?

Even this SC judgment is not implemented completely. I got commissioned in Aug 1987 with 4th pay commission scales. I didn't get any arrears after this judgment. As per Navpay, I am not eligible! I understand that my batch mates in Navy also didn't get any arrears!

We have to look at the university teachers. During 4th pay commission, salary of a Reader/Associate Professor was that of a Major. Now an Associate professor is in PB4 with a GP of 9000,it is called as AGP, above Col. Professor's salary was that of a Col and with 6th pay commission, Professor is having a GP of 10,000/- at par with Maj.General. We can look at how they were able to convince government to get this and try to emulate in the similar way.

Sahana R said...

This article is little skewed and more on self-fault finding then discovering the root cause.
Some reasons given are just incidental and any dissection at later stage can always fill the gaps with theories self-construed.
We are missing the bus if followings are not highlighted:-
a) Pre independence to immediate independence period the salaries of the defence persons were comparatively higher.
b) They were conned / foxed / forced to take cut in salary and this trick was engineered none other than Mr Nehru whose loath / disdain for armed forces that time require no further proof.
c) That the bogey of coup and specially examples like Pak,Burma in existence were further fuelled by the babus. What an injustice was done to INA.
d) Forces have been marshalled / doctrined so much so that we never cared / became monitory wise and had full faith in our system and superiors to do justice.
e) Because we had no role in aiding the corrupt political system and as said earlier the Nehru cum congress schizophrenia well fomented by babus further alienated/ degraded us.
f) Babus were well networked, informed, empowered and thus went methodically/ clinically in decapitating the military in all respects from i) Creating para-military forces ii) Ensuring from pliable COAS & Equv to now Birg & Equv levels iii) Ensuring civilian entry along with financial controls iv) Blocking every avenue of entering into the select club specially the emergency commission.
g) All this time we kept singing / thrusting the Chetwode theory downstream and on personal account became selfish and petty on all issues. It was a typical roman empire crumbling inside.
h) If today any service has guts to say were are no less than IAS and if anyone can take up this cause, it’s the fauj while rest of the India have accepted them as remnants “Mai-Bap” of British Raj collectors.
i) Surely in this modern world we lack the wisdom and ability to turn the tide in our favour because we have been psychological selected from the SSB days to be a “Horse-with-a Blind” or an elephant following the matriarch.
j) To win this war we need to sin as much as the present day politicians and the babus do, in cohort whether our country loses or not … who cares ?
k) What reason do you have for Babudom going down to their abysmal depth of morality denying few hundred rupees to the disabled and maimed. Not getting a well intentioned & defined OROP by Supreme Court and Parliament and not to say of many cheat perpetuated likes of “Rank-Pay”.
l) Definitely we too are to be blamed for lowering our standard and to our greed for promotions and monitory gains and rode on the sacrifices and miseries of jawans who went home at mere 36 yrs of age having given their youth and condemned to penury and insult while full fauj kept giving lip service.

This service has still some value system though not perfect and nothing still is better than the present one where when all system fails, the fauj only deliver.
It high time we change our strategy and tactics we though we are the owners.

Anonymous said...

Ramapati Sahana has just reinforced what is mentioned in the article. Unless there is a mirror show about where the faults lie, where would there be correction for the future. The article also says the same thing that the pay and allowances have gone down and we have been conned. The article also says that we should change our strategy and Sahana is also saying the same thing but differing just to differ with the author of the article. Balwant Sharma ji, before commenting please see all the articles on rank pay on this blog, I think the author knows very well what the rank pay case was about, maybe much more than you and if my memory serves me right even our affidavits in the Hon SC were drafted by the author.

RSS said...

One of my colleagues' Engineering Diploma Holder dad retired from the post of Superintending Engineer (Equivalent to Lt. Col. as you write here) but the Indian military LIMITS the Pay and Grade Pay of the Diploma Engineer Jawans to Rs. 4800. How long will this injustice continue in the Armed Forces? How can the military not allow the MEN to avail the monetary gains similar to civilians without giving them a PIOUS commissioned rank? Are our policy makers waiting for the day when the serving Jawans get united to protest on the streets? Will the policy makers be able to control the fire if that day really comes?
After raising the x Group Pay to 6200 rupees, there still remains a difference of Rs 7500[35400 - (21700+6200)] without including MSP which is paid for other reason. The career prospects, status and pensionary benefits are the other issues which will hit the Jawans in their whole life. In addition the the fun is that the X group pay is not considered a part of pay for annual increments.
Sir, please also note that the 7CPC report is a bundle of shameless lies which states that the x group training in IAF is for 88 weeks . I was recruited in Feb 1978 and was trained for 16 months up to July 1979 including 28 days mid term leave after 6 months training. I was sent for 13 months' training for conversion to Group I in December 1981. Immediately after this, I was sent for 'Guided weapons Specialist' training to GWTI which started in January and ended in July 1983. This Specialization had 6 months' post training OJT attached to it which I completed in January 1984. The total training for me was 42 months (16 + 13 + 13 months) WHICH MAKES A TOTAL OF 182 WEEKS.
Sir, It is very difficult to find the source that supplied the wrong data on training of X Group airmen to the Honorable CPC. Who will pay me for the for those additional 20 months' rigorous training which I was compelled to face one I am not paid even equal to my civilian counterparts? Is this that the AHQs tell lies which are reflected in every CPC report? If one studies the Three Years Diploma training at a Govt. or Private institute, he will find on comparison with Indian Air Force that there the students are practically trained only for 24 months in the span of three years. The Central Government employs those Diploma Engineers at Basic pay of 9300 with Grade Pay of 4200. In Military we had classes in the afternoons and frequently on Sundays to compensate the hours lost in physical training. But it is a shame that not only the training period at the Air Force institutes but also every 1 to 3 months' courses are not given any importance for correct fixation of pay.
Sir, what will be the state of our aircraft and war machinery when the airmen/Jawans start giving same degree of seriousness and importance to their responsibility? Who will suffer? Perhaps the whole nation no matter what one is and where one stands in our socio-economic strata.
JWO Ram Singh Sahni (Retd.)

Anonymous said...

There is certainly no point reiterating the same fact...that the fauji is responsible for his plight and not the civilian. Self flagellation serves no tangible purpose and is best alone.
What does the author propose we do ? How can the loss of status, pay and parity be restored.
Someone who can suggest a well thought out and workable plan would be Sikander.

Unknown said...

To be fair, we must have the comments of Maj gen Surjit Singh, who was quite vocal till a few years ago, on his participation as Army Pay Commission Cell Chairman.

B R Sharma said...

I had written yesterday in support of Maj Navdeep as to how services themselves downgraded privileges of their own officers by giving example of 1993 INCIDENT in which a Cdr with 27 years service and more than 4200/- basic pay had to travel to Cochin 2 days in advance, whereas a DRDO scientist with 13 years service went by air 2 days later. It was because in services only Colonel and above could fly. In civil services basic paY WAS ONLY criteria. Similarly telephone entitlement was based on rank. There are many such incidences where services did not give their personnel same facilities as were available TO CIVILIAN STAFF.

I may agree to the extent that civilian staff (Non officer cadre) in Service establishment may feel out of place, not others. The fact is many military attaches have been treated badly by Diplomatic staff not to talk of IAS babus in India. IF there was any superiority complex was there, it must 50 years ago. Today BaBUS SAY that Commissioned officer are not Class A service officers, then where is equivalence ? Is it just forced and negotiated or straight equivalence? As far Group A services and IAS are concerned relationship is well defined. Young Indians must think twice before getting into this muddy, hidden and ever changing relationship with continuous degradation. Balwant Sharma M 9716013100

Mrb said...

Mr.Navdeep,officers community is suppose to be the spokes person for the men. However even the chiefs, so far have shown attitude of comparing, complaining on status and financial issue with ICS, This has weaken their postion too. You have never addressed any of the men issues seriously in this blog.
First you take care the welfare of the men you lead. Rest you attract automatically.

Have you ever gave any important to men issue to discuss, forward, NO

What you sow, you shall reap. you get back. Men would never have any respect and sympathy on you. Not even .1%

That shows the quality of leadership. First listen men!!

Anonymous said...

mod comments on pay commission

Bharat Chevur said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

As always, you have brought out the facts clearly and analysed the causes.
But, what is the solution ?
Rank Pay is part of the Basic, and, that has been accepted by the Supreme Court.
How then, do we get the Govt to acknowledge this and ensure that the wrongs are righted ?
Jai Hind !

Lt Col Bharat Chevur (Retd)

good samaritan said...

Dear sirs

the Major and equivalents who retired before 2004 with 20 years of commissioned service have been forgotten by every author and authority. We get pension as given to majors who got majors rank with 6 years of service.

What is our fate and where is the JUSTICE? for us.

sqn ldr Francis(veteran0

RSS said...

Thanks for publishing my comments which I wished to bring to your attention, though my issue was not at all pertinent to the subject in your post on Rank Pay of officers. But, a loss is loss.
Best regards.

Manohar said...

Now a days the rank of substantive Lt Col is time scale and is given at 13 years service, but what about the pension for those pre 1996 substantive Major's who attained their rank at 13 year service and retired in that rank.

Mohan said...

At the end of all these IMs what are we getting and where do we stand?

Unknown said...

The mistake we when we accepted lower pay scales immediately after independence. Thereafter we failed to raise hue and cry after downgration in 1973. Thirdly we accepted pay bands rather than scales for each rank. In case of rejection for higher continous stagnation pay increased after every two years as in case of defence civilians. Pensions need to be fixed at the the pay as would have been drawn at the age of58 or 60 years what ever applicable to civilians.

Mrb said...

What Jwo Ram brings only the tip of the ice. You may please refer US Airforce pay scale of men and officers, Technical Sgt pay is equal to an entry level officer, and MwO pay is above Lt Col. No need of giving commissioned rank but respect servicee and skills.
Where as here in India where MWO Salary starts, and much beloe of an entry level officer.Therefore these officers never respect JCOs . Major Navdeep,please confirm this serious injustice if you are fighting for justice.

Mrb said...

scale of men and officers, Technical Sgt pay is equal to an entry level officer, and MwO pay is above Lt Col. No need of giving commissioned rank but respect servicee and skills.
Where as here in India where MWO Salary starts, and much beloe of an entry level officer.Therefore these officers never respect JCOs . Major Navdeep,please confirm this serious injustice if you are fighting for justice.

Who am I? said...

Diploma Holders issue continued... (to be read with my earlier comment. The comment is split into two parts due to character limit)

To make the things clear, let's take an example. Let a person in civil earns 34400 in pay level 6, equivalent to present Grade Pay of 4200. His counterparts in defense who are placed at lower grade pay but compensated by X Pay (that is the sole purpose of X Pay as per Pay Commission’s report) will be placed at lower pay level 5 is given total pay of 34400 (29200 as Basic Pay +6200 as X Pay). Though, the starting total pay of both of them will same, the defense personnel will start loosing by 200 each yearly increments. The civilians will get 35500, 36600 & 37700 after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd increments whereas the defense personnel will get 35300 (30100+6200), 36200 (31000+6200) & 37100 (31900+6200). Therby a looser of Rs. 600 after 3 increments. It will also affect his DA, HRA while in service & retirement benefits after retirement.

Anonymous said...

The biggest point to ponder is that while almost every army officer refers to pay commissions just after independence, none of the present lot has fought in as difficult conditions and as little equipment comparable to officers of those times. Infact there are hardly any officers now who have fought a full fledged war. Government has been spending a lot on armed force upkeep and that expenditure on shiny black cars , coffee and cashew in rations , excellent officer's mess where a butler opens door of your cars ... all this is included in pay package. Over and above the well established fact that promotions have been made time scale to the rank of Lt Col.. why dont u compare that earlier even after 20 yrs of service many retired as major saab. Now there are more than 50 Lt Gen and hundreds of brigadiers and major generals, was it so in 3rd cpc. The military community has been digging a trench against civillians and lost respect and continues to do so. Why blame an IAS for every thing, if every army officer was a blue eyed boy he should have cleared civils after burning mid night lamp. But sadly blaming Civil officers has become a sort of trend, and covering own inefficiencies.

B R Sharma said...

No officer who joins service ever appears for Civil service and almost 80% join after school

Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep
As per a corrigendum issued by GOI in 2015 the rank pay anomaly of 1986 is extended to those promoted to the rank of Capt even after Jan 1986. The arrears have NOT been paid to all. May I request your clarification and advice on the issu.
Col Pramod