The chiefs pointed to the iniquity thereby introduced between Lt Col and Superintendent Engineers and Commandants in the Paramilitary Forces since the latter had a pre-revised scale of Rs 14,300-18,300 as against a Lt Col who had a pre-revised scale of Rs 15,100-18,700. The chiefs made it a point to emphasise that Lt Cols, though superior in scales, are “functionally on par with Supdt Engrs”. Therefore, they said, there was no reason why a Lt Col must not be accomodated in Payband-4, especially when civil counterparts with inferior scales had been moved into that payband.
Army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta then spoke about the “functional problems” in the Army apropos Assam Rifles and Central Paramiliary Forces, and between the Navy and the Coast Guard respectively with regard to command and control issues. They pointed out that as civil officers who were inferior in pay scales to Lt Col, they had been granted higher pay band and grades pay than a Lt Col and, in fact, equal to a Colonel.
Once the presentation was finished, Expenditure Secretary Sushama Nath said that the arugments about Rank Pay discussed earlier “equally apply in this case”. She also said that the services viewpoint on Rank Pay would be conveyed to Pranab Mukherjee.
Next, she mentioned that were standing objections from the Paramilitary Forces against placing Lt Cols in PB-4. According to sources, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor almost lost his cool at this stage. With visible irritation, he is understood to have said that such an attitude was negative and the Paramiltiary forces had no business commenting on the legitimate requirements of the armed forces. Mentioning the “incorrect and misleading” equation of Lt Col with Second-in-Command of the CPMFs, Gen Kapoor further stressed that replacement scales had to be determined on pre-revised scales as had been done by successive pay commissions and not based on appointments/ranks/posts/badges of rank etc. This part of the meeting was rounded off with Admiral Mehta saying that there was no option before the government but to place Lt Cols in PB-4.
Photo by Shiv Aroor / LiveFist / Pranab Mukherjee and then COAS Gen JJ Singh in Pokhran, 2005