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Posted at: Feb 6, 2016, 2:58 PM; last updated: Feb 6, 2016, 2:58 PM (IST)

Guwahati stint ‘harder’ than Siachen

Rs 31,000 vs Rs 50,000: Pay panel’s strange logic

  • The 7th Central Pay Commission has suggested Rs 31,000 per month in hardship allowance for officers posted at Siachen
  • However, IPS and IAS officers posted in areas like Guwahati are set to get Rs 55,000 as tough area allowance
  • The armed forces have approached the Ministry of Defence seeking a new ‘hardship matrix’ to decide allowances
Guwahati stint ‘harder’ than Siachen
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5

Posting in Guwahati is “tougher” than serving on the forbidding Siachen Glacier, if one goes by the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations to the government. 

The CPC has suggested Rs 31,000 per month for officers and Rs 21,000 per month for jawans as allowance to compensate them for the “hardship” faced at Siachen. However, once the pay commission’s new salary slabs come into place, the tough area allowance (TRA), which is about 33% of the basic salary, in civilian services works out to be in excess of Rs 55,000 for IPS and IAS officers and Rs 30,000 for others posted in areas like Guwahati.

Demanding “fair play”, the armed forces in a representation to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar have suggested a new “hardship matrix” to decide allowances. The representation contends that the facts presented before the CPC are erroneous and its 899-page report submitted in November 2015 has inaccuracies while dealing with military salaries, say sources.

The armed forces feel Siachen cannot be equal or lower to Guwahati when deciding on the “hardship” factor. On Wednesday, 10 soldiers died after an avalanche struck “Sonam post” at 19,600 feet on Siachen Glacier, burying them alive and wiping out a helipad.

A soldier is posted for six months on the glacier with the mission to protect it from the Pakistan army. The induction process involves three months of acclimatisation and a three-week trek to the post with a full load of weapons. Besides the Army, IAF’s 114 Helicopter Unit and Army Aviation are tasked with providing supplies, besides carrying out rescue missions.

The armed forces have suggested a “hardship matrix” that grades the hardship on two fronts — nature of job and geographical location.

They have suggested that Siachen be placed on the top of the list and those posted should get 65 per cent of their basic pay as “hardship allowance”. This, as per the new salary slabs of the CPC, will be a fair allowance.

Antarctica comes second on their list of suggestions, followed by counter-terrorism duties. Fourth on the list are special operations forces in counter-terrorism roles.

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