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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Army, Navy chiefs meet Antony over 'paltry' hike

With anger mounting in the ranks over the "paltry" hikes recommended by the Sixth Central Pay Commission, the armed forces on Tuesday presented a "joint memorandum" to defence minister A K Antony on their demands for a better deal.

Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Army chief General Deepak Kapoor met Antony to present the case for a substantial increase in salaries of soldiers, better grade pay for officers and extension of the "military service pay" (MSP) beyond the rank of Brigadiers, among other things.

Antony, in turn, directed ministry officials to take up the case of the armed forces, along with the "various anomalies" in the pay commission recommendations, with the anomalies committee of finance ministry, said sources.

The armed forces want major changes in the MSP, which allocates Rs 6,000 per month to officers up to Brigadiers and only Rs 1,000 to jawans, NCOs and JCOs, proposed by the pay commission. The armed forces want a graded MSP, with the difference between officers and other ranks being progressively narrowed down.

They also want the MSP to be given to ranks higher than a Brigadier, that is Major-General, Lt-Gen and General, and their IAF and Navy equivalents. As reported earlier by TOI, Antony has asked the three chiefs to convey to the rank and file of their forces that the defence ministry would "take care of their interests".

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