The Armed Forces have taken the unusual step of asking the Centre to keep in abeyance the implementation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) for them. Simultaneously, the Services have been quick to ask itheir approximately 1.4 million serving personnel to hold their peace, display maturity, not be swayed by hearsay or speculative reports and to patiently wait till the Centre resolves the persisting anomalies against which the Armed Forces have been protesting. This advisory comes in the wake of the expression of dissatisfaction among Armed Forces personnel who have taken to the social media to propagate their disapproval of the CPC.
Following their unhappiness with the recommendations of the CPC submitted last November, the Armed Forces in March represented before a 13-member Empowered Committee of Secretaries at which the three Service Chiefs were present. But this seems to have been an exercise in vain as has been the three Service Chiefs' joint representation to the Prime Minister. The Armed Forces are demanding a common pay matrix for the military and civilian employees, reciprocity of allowances, restoration of weightage of pensions and a resolution of anomalies in allowances such as the technical allowance. In addition, the government is yet to resolve six pending core anomalies relating to the Sixth CPC. The Armed Forces have a grievance that no Service officer was appointed a member of this committee even though the Armed Forces comprise almost 30 per cent of the Central employees. On the other hand, the Railways with an equivalent number of employees was represented in the committee and so was the Indian Police Service with a strength of less than 4,700.
It is rather strange that the government has not satisfactorily addressed the grievances of the Armed Forces. Military personnel face the highest risk to their lives. Besides, the highest levels of proficiency, commitment and sense of sacrifice are demanded of them. The development does not auger well for the country. The government, which is already on the back foot over not fully implementing One Rank, One Pension, must accord top priority to satisfactorily resolve the issue.
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