This is the last thing I or any student of Indian military should be writing on the happy occasion of Army Day but wherever I go these days I am picking up signals of disgruntlement among the middle and senior lot for denial of basic courtesy and dues to them.
I am talking about non extension of what is called Non Functional Upgradation granted to Organized Group A Services, IPS and IFS but not to equivalent officers of the three armed forces. It needs a bit of explanation.
What is Non-Functional Upgradation?
The 6th Pay Commission, granted in 2008, decreed that whenever any IAS Officer or an officer of the joint cadre is posted at the Centre to a particular grade carrying a grade pay in Pay Bands 3 or 4, the officers belonging to batches of Organised Group A services, senior by two years or more but have not been promoted so far to that particular grade would be granted the same grade on a ‘non-functional’ basis from the date of posting of the IAS officers in that grade at the Centre.
This has benefited Officers of services, like MES Civil Officers, BRO (Border Roads Organisation) Civil Officers, IPS Officers in BSF, CRPF, ITBP, Defence Accts (IDAS), Test Audit (IA&AS), Ordnance Factory Board. They now get the salary and grade pay of Joint Secretary or a Major General (Grade Pay Rs 10000) in 22 years of service, and will draw the pay of Additional Secretary to Government of India which is equal to a Lieutenant General (Grade Pay Rs 12000/-) after 32 years of service. Curiously, officers from Uniformed Services have been denied this perk.
The non-implementation of NFU for the three services has adversely effected organizational command and control in multi-cadre environment where the civilians and military officers work together. It has also led to lowering of status of military officer vis-à-vis organized Group A officers and IPS Officers.
For example, organised Group A and IPS Officers reach HAG (Higher Administrative Grade) Scale after 32 years while only 0.2 percent of Armed Forces Officers ever reach that stage. Traditionally, since Independence, there has been a broad parity between the IPS Group A officers of Civil Services and the Defence Services Officers which has been acknowledged by different Pay Commissions in their reports. In such a case, the differential behavior not only disturbs the financial parity, it pushes down the Defence services in status as even direct recruit officers of Group B services attain a better pay and promotional avenue and manage to reach the level of Joint Secretary/Major General before retiring.
This has led to huge resentment among the military officers. The three service chiefs pushed for implementing the NFU for the military officers and took the matter to the Prime Minister but as usual, the bureaucracy shot it down. The Ministry of Defence rejected the idea twice with following comments :-
(a) The service conditions of Armed Forces are quite different when compared to civilian employees.
(b) Ample benefits in the form of MSP (Military Service Pay) and various allowances are available to Armed Forces officers.
(c) Govt orders are for Orgnaised Group A Service and Armed Forces do not have such set up.
Service HQs have however pointed out the following in support of extending the NFU for the military.
Terms and Conditions. The terms and conditions of Armed Forces officers are more stringent and harsher than Officers of Organised Group ‘A’ Services. Therefore, there are more reasons to extend non functional upgradation to Armed Forces officers.
Military Service Pay (MSP) The stand of all CPCs from the 3rd CPC onwards on the Armed Forces was to have an edge over Central Govt Employees to compensate them for their peculiar hardships. And this EDGE has been granted by the Govt at the 6th CPC stage in form of the Military Service Pay. This explicitly implies that Armed Forces must have parity first and MSP over and above it.
AND YET, THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO TREAT THE MILITARY WITH CONTEMPT.
THE CONDITION OF THE EX-SERVICEMEN IS WORSE. THE MoD’s DEPARTMENT OF EX-SERVICEMEN WELFARE HAS DEALT A SEVERE BLOW TO THE VETERANS AS DETAILED HERE BY NAVDEEP SINGH (http://www.indianmilitary.info/2014/01/army-day-republic-day-gift-from.html)
As we celebrate the bravery, sacrifice and commitment of the soldier to the nation on the occasion of the 66th Army Day, we are also confronted with the fact that the NATION AND ESPECIALLY THE BUREAUCRACY ONLY CONTINUES TO HOLD THE MILITARY IN CONTEMPT. SAD BUT TRUE.