The three-member ministerial committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee to look into the armed forces demands from the 6th Pay Commission has finally completed its scrutiny — it was tasked with the job by the Prime Minister on September 25. While the Ministry of Defence hasn’t officially confirmed anything just yet — and some have indicated that the Committee might even need to meet one more time — it emerges that the Committee has recommended to the PM that three of the four core demands be met. The restoration of pensionary benefits for PBORs had already been accepted some weeks ago, so it pretty much boiled down to the other three demands. We hear the the armed forces demand for uniform grade pay on par with their civil services counterparts has been summarily rejected. However, insiders say the Committee accepted and recommended the upgradation of Lt Col and equivalents from PB-3 to PB-4, and the transference of some Lt Gens (not all?) to the Higher Administrative Grade Plus (HAG+).
Some believe it ain’t over till it’s over. Fair enough, considering the massive trauma that’s been inflicted on the collective psyche of the forces ever since the 6thPC report was submitted at the beginning of this year. Also, the forces are now deeply suspicious of good news — what’s the catch, they ask. Also fair, considering the perception that serious anomalies were introduced into the Pay Commission report by bureaucrats who were tasked with ironing out certain lumps.
The veteran’s outside demand for One Rank One Pension (OROP) has summarily been rejected by the government, as enunciated by Defence Minister AK Antony in Parliament. It turns out that the political consensus that was being sought on the demand didn’t come through. Actually there was consensus — no party thought it was feasible or necessary. So a thought for them as they languish in protest at Jantar Mantar.