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Monday, May 12, 2008

Scientists need better pay for better output: Natarajan

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), celebrating 50 years of its establishment this year, Monday put across the message that its scientists were not immune to market forces and needed better remuneration. "The scientific temper, while being lured by technology challenges, is not immune to the world outside. The phenomenal remuneration package of India's private sector is a powerful inducement in drawing away the scientific talent from government establishments," M. Natarajan, scientific advisor to the defence minister, said here on the occasion of World Technology Day.

"The Sixth Pay Commission, which we hoped would address this aspect, has not met the expectations of the scientists and technical staff. In our view, the government must provide special packages to attract, retain and reward scientific and technical skills.

"Putting research labs in the same category as other administrative organisations will not be fair and might damage the scientific fabric of our country," Natarajan added.

According to the ministry, a total of 1,107 scientists, mostly young entrants, have resigned from the DRDO between 2003 and 2007, implying that on an average one person leaves every two days.

Created in 1958 to be India's premier defence research organisation and enhance the country's self-reliance in military requirements, the DRDO is today reeling under a major manpower crunch. It is able to fill up only 60 to 70 percent of the vacancies of scientists arising in the organisation.

"Fortunately, in its 50th year the DRDO has over 50 percent of its technical work force in the age group of 25 to 35 years. These budding technocrats have a great future and enough challenges in the current and foreseeable projects, which they can enjoy. They are gifted with better capability, access to world-wide information and greater networking," Natarajan said.

While affirming the government's commitment towards broad-basing the defence industry in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the DRDO was here to work in that direction.

"The technologies developed by DRDO have stimulated the growth of our public and private sector defence industry. In order to derive maximum benefits from our emerging capabilities, it is essential that all stakeholders - the DRDO, armed forces and the industry - work in close coordination with each other," Manmohan Singh told the gathering of DRDO scientists.

Acknowledging that India is among the few countries in the world which has a broad-based defence industry, the prime minister said: "With India's rapid economic development in the last few years, our economy is able to sustain greater investments in the area of defence research and development."

Manmohan Singh also sought greater international cooperation to achieve self reliance in defence production. Indian industry has been developing defence equipment under the licensed transfer of technology.

"I am happy to know that DRDO, in collaboration with its Russian partner, has successfully developed the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile for land targets for the army as well as sea targets for the navy. This is a shining example of international cooperation in the area of defence technology," he said.

Referring to delays in the delivery of defence equipment, the prime minister said: "All efforts must be made to ensure timely deliveries of technologies and equipment to our defence forces."

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Government to look into batmen’s complaints in army

The government is viewing seriously complaints from soldiers serving as batmen for senior officers as part of a tradition begun during the British Raj. The army accounts for most of the nearly 35,000 soldiers who are attached to officers ostensibly for the upkeep of their service weapons and uniforms. In reality, however, they end up as domestic orderlies. This, the soldiers and their families say, causes all the problems.

Called ’sahayaks’ (assistants) in the Indian Army, they allege that they get poor quality uniform, their promotions are often delayed and that seniors often humiliate them.

The soldiers say that this offends their sense of dignity.

Although the Sixth Pay Commission has recommended the abolition of the sahayak system in the paramilitary forces, the army finds these soldiers indispensable.

A hawaldar told IANS on condition of anonymity: “Our problems are many. We put in long hours but still there is no dignity for us. The officers abuse us at times asking us to do household work. Also, the pay is low.”

“We also end up buying our uniforms from private dealers using our own money,” he said.

Said another soldier: “As long as the officer is a bachelor, the problems are not that serious. But once he marries and has a family, our problems multiply.

“At times, the wife may not be aware of the military traditions. Also, some wives become jealous because we act like virtual shadows of the officers. They think we are interfering in the lives of their husbands.

“We are also asked to polish the shoes of the children and do other household work.”

Defence Minister A.K. Antony appears to be aware of the problem.

On Wednesday, at the Defence Investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, when he was asked about the batmen, he replied that “many things” needed to be sorted out but that changes cannot come overnight. Antony also told the army brass at the just-concluded combined conference of commanders here that officers must respect the ‘jawans’.

But said an army officer: “We don’t ill-treat the sahayaks, who are also combatants. But they are needed to do many official work.”

Although PBORs or Personnel Below Officer Rank in the Indian Air Force are not deployed as sahayaks, they face other problems.

“We cannot wear the poor quality uniform provided to us and are forced to buy them. Why can’t we get a uniform allowance like the officers?” asked a sergeant.

“We are also shortchanged on promotions. While the violation of seniority among the top ranks makes news, the supersession of a PBOR with 20 years of service by a young soldier goes unnoticed,” he added.

It is not that the armed forces are ignorant about the simmering discontent.

Indeed, psychologists have found that abusive language and perceived humiliation by superiors are among the precipitating factors leading to suicides and killings in the army.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

News Pay bands and Relative status

The Sixth Pay Commission's controversial recommendations are creating more heartburn now that the fine print has been analysed.

It will bring about a fundamental change in the way status is defined in the bureaucracy. Currently, basic pay is the parameter to define the status of a position.

A higher basic pay means a higher position. If the Srikrishna Commission report is implemented, the grade pay, instead of basic pay, will define the status of a position.

When the grade pay is equivalent, higher total emoluments including all special pays will define a higher status. Significantly, the commission has converted all the eight pay scales applicable to the IAS with a corresponding grade pay.

So, in PB-3 for example, the grade pays of Rs 6,500, 7,500 and 8,300 have been created which are exclusive to the IAS.

Representative associations of other services perceive a pro-IAS bias to reduce the status position of all other all India services by a staggering 40 per cent with only the IAS not only keeping its statuses intact, but doubling it at junior levels.
Source : India Today

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Call to hike paramilitary pay

Demanding "equal pay for equal work" vis-a-vis defence personnel, a group of ex-paramilitary personnel has - on behalf of over 7.5 lakh jawans and officers in CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles - sent a memorandum to the Union home ministry, asking it to end the "discrimination" which, they say, is quite "demoralising" for the forces fighting terrorism and Naxalism across the country.

The group has also decided to take to the street highlighting the anomalies in the sixth pay commission recommendations which, it thinks, should be addressed immediately.

In the memorandum to Union home minister Shivraj Patil and home secretary Madhukar Gupta, the All India Ex-Paramilitary Personnel Association said that there should not be any disparity between army and CPMF personnel as the latter had an equally hard job in violence-hit and insurgency-prone areas in J&K and the north-eastern states.

Putting the case of paramilitary personnel forward, the association has mentioned how the paramilitary force personnel were deployed without a concept of 'peace posting' and 'hard posting' (that is followed in the army) and moved from one operation area to another without being given any break unlike their counterparts in the army.

Pitching for a 'Paramilitary Service Pay' akin to the 'Military Service Pay' recommended for defence personnel, it said that army personnel were adequately compensated for their services but paramilitary personnel had to contend with inferior pay, perks, pension and insurance cover despite doing the same kind of job.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Prospects of enhanced pay appears to brighten for armed forces

Prospects of an enhanced pay package for the armed forces personnel appeared to brighten on Tuesday after a crucial meeting of the three service chiefs with the empowered group of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar.

Though no official word was available, the three chiefs -Admiral Sureesh Mehta of Navy, Air Chief Marshal F H Major and Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor- are understood to have apprised the members of the empowered committee of widespread dissatisfaction in the armed forces rank and file over the Sixth Pay Commission Report.

The armed forces have pressed for a 100-200 per cent hike in the newly introduced Military Service Pay for personnel below officer rank and its payment with the retrospective effect from January 1, 2006.

The forces are also seeking rectification of what they see as an "undermining" of status and lowering of pay-scales including grade pay of middle ranking officers from Captains to Brigadiers.

The armed forces in their case say that these officers have been equated with scales lower than civil service.

The army is also seeking parity in status of Lt Generals of Corp Commanders rank with Director Generals of the Central Paramilitary Forces, as before.

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Military chiefs meet cabinet secretary over pay panel

The three Services chiefs Tuesday met Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar over their demands for revision of a pay panel’s recommendations relating to the armed forces personnel. “The three Services chiefs discussed the Military Service Pay (MSP) for PBORs (Personnel Below Officer Rank) with the cabinet secretary, among other issues,” an army source said.

Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major and Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and senior officials discussed the “anomalies” in the pay packages of armed forces personnel.

The meeting, earlier scheduled for Monday, was postponed to Tuesday. The cabinet secretary will now forward his views to the cabinet, said an official.

The Sixth Pay Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna, has recommended a 40 percent across-the-board pay hike for armed forces personnel, doubling their allowances and MSP for officers up to the rank of brigadier and equivalent, as also for PBORs.

Apart from pushing the case for PBORs, the Services chiefs have pointed out that after taking into account taxes and other deductions, the wage hike in real terms would amount to only 20 percent.

In the case of PBORs, the commission has recommended that at the entry level, sepoys (privates) and their equivalents receive a minimum of Rs.7,860, rising to a maximum of Rs.40,600 for Subedar Majors and their equivalents.

The commission has also recommended military service pay of Rs.6,000 for officers up to the level of brigadier and equivalent and of Rs.1,000 for PBORs.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Military chiefs to meet cabinet secretary over pay panel

The three Services chiefs are likely to meet Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar Tuesday to decide on their demands for revision of a pay panel’s recommendations. “Among other issues, a decision is in the offing on the Military Service Pay (MSP) for PBORs (Personnel Below Officer Rank),” an army source here said Monday.

Besides Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major and Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, the meeting would be attended by senior officials to go into anomalies in the pay packages of armed forces personnel.

The meeting, earlier scheduled for Monday, was postponed to Tuesday.

The Sixth Pay Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna, has recommended a 40 percent across-the-board pay hike for armed forces personnel, doubling their allowances and military service pay (MSP) for officers up to the rank of brigadier and equivalent, as also for PBORs.

Apart from pushing the case for PBORs, the Services chiefs had pointed out that after taking into account taxes and other deductions, the wage hike in real terms would amount to only 20 percent.

In the case of PBORs, the commission has recommended that at the entry level, sepoys (privates) and their equivalents receive a minimum of Rs.7,860, rising to a maximum of Rs.40,600 for Subedar Majors and their equivalents.

The commission has also recommended military service pay of Rs.6,000 for officers up to the level of brigadier and equivalent and of Rs.1,000 for PBORs.

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Revised pay package for armed forces to be finalised tomorrow

A revised pay package for the armed forces personnel including enhanced Military Service Pay for those below officer rank would be finalised at a crucial meeting to be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar on Tuesday.

Besides the Cabinet Secretary, the Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Air Chief Marshal F H Major and Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor would attend the meeting.

The meeting would also be attended by other secretaries in the empowered group of secretaries set up by the government to go into anomalies in the pay packages of armed forces personnel.

The meeting was scheduled to be held on Monday but was put off till Tuesday, official sources said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday that there was no ''large scale'' departures from the services despite the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations not coming up to their expectations.

''Army personnel are allowed to leave service on account of various reasons like suppression, extreme compassionate grounds, low medical category and failure to acquire minimum educational qualification,'' the minister said in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha.

He put the number of officers who were permitted to leave services due to various reasons during the last five years at 3474.

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Navratna and mini-ratna public sector companies may get freedom to set non-monetary perks

Navratna and mini-ratna public sector companies, which have long suffered attrition, may now have reason to cheer. The government is planning to give these companies complete autonomy in deciding the perks and bonuses of their employees. The second pay revision committee for central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), which is giving final touches to its proposals, is likely to ask the government to make necessary amendments to ensure this. The panel would come out with its recommendations on May 31. The suggestions would affect 4 lakh employees directly and about 17 lakh indirectly.

CPSEs, however, would not get the freedom to decide the pay scales of their employees. “The committee feels profit-making CPSEs should have the freedom to decide incentives for their employees. This would help them retain talent and stave off poaching by the private sector,” said a government official involved with the move. Central PSEs currently have the freedom to decide non-monetary perks such as housing, health and education for children of employees.

They are, however, not free to decide monetary perks such as timely bonuses, equity and cash incentives. CPSEs would now be free to decide the parameters of performance appraisal for employees in the executive cadre. The committee does not give recommendations for workers below the executive rank.

The panel has met 33 times and would meet thrice more before submitting its final report. In its recommendations, the committee would include suggestions of the Sixth Pay Commission to keep parity in the pay scales of central government employees and PSU staff. The recommended pay scale of the chairman & managing director of a CPSE is likely to be equivalent to that of a central government secretary. Directors would be recommended a salary equal to the joint secretary, and so on.

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Give the forces their due

One had occasion to meet the legendary J R D Tata just once, in the late 1970s at a social occasion in Delhi. In his characteristically gracious yet witty manner, he regaled the dinner-table with snippets from his interaction with the capital's babudom, of having to wait all day in a stuffy outer room, in vain, to meet with an exalted joint secretary in the industry ministry. "The powers that be in Delhi have neither the time nor respect for the honest industrialist" he said and wondered when this attitude would ever change.

The attitude of Delhi changed, but only after the jolt of the BOP (balance of payment) crisis of 1991. India was fortunate that it had an astute prime minister in Narasimha Rao, assisted by an able finance minister, Manmohan Singh, and his team of hard-core economic and finance professionals. As always, the Indian elephant revealed its innate resilience and responded when pushed to the wall. The stifling licence-permit raj was dismantled and the business sector was given the support and acknowledgement it deserved. Thus the picture in 2008 is of robust economic growth and a steadily increasing foreign exchange reserve.

However, the moot question that the country is ducking is, have we reached the equivalent of a BOP crisis as far as national security is concerned? And are the drivers the same as identified by the late JRD in his time? The answer, alas, is yes. The apex of the politico-bureaucratic structure in the capital appears to be indifferent to the complexity and the scale of the security challenges that the country has to address. And the frustration of the uniformed community — military, paramilitary and police — that is entrusted with the actual operational responsibility is growing. The forces feel as slighted and ill-treated as the business community of old. There has been much heartburn within the rank and file of the security forces against the iniquitous recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission and the manner in which the ‘fauj' as an institution has been neglected. This is the first time in the history of independent India that the retired ‘fauji' community has reacted in this manner and many of the anomalies that have been highlighted in relation to the IAS and IPS merit serious attention. It is a compounded irony that within the undoubted triumph of Indian democracy, the military as an institution remains the equivalent of the pariah. The latest pay commission only seeks to widen this gap — whether it is by way of pay and allowances or career prospects — and much of this disparity has been detailed in the public domain.

The fauj has many internal imbalances to rectify but what should cause concern at the highest political level, across party lines, is that the entire spectrum of the uniformed constituency in India resents the treatment being meted out to it and the callousness with which its grievances are addressed. The intrinsic discipline and service rules prevent the serving fraternity from venting their frustration in public but the dissatisfaction is empirically irrefutable. At a time when the country faces a host of internal security challenges spanning from religious radicalism to left-wing extremism and large parts of the country are afflicted by violence, the armed capability of the state is becoming hollow from within. Officer shortage within the army alone is in excess of 11,000 and this is about a quarter of its sanctioned strength of 46,615. Many of these gaps are at the rank of captain and major. Can an army that has low-intensity conflict as its primary task maintain the operational profile it is renowned for over the next decade? The police force faces a similar internal crisis and its inter-se status with the IAS while being better than that of the military, leaves room for redress. Serving IPS officers have given vent to their anguish in public and there is reference to "a feeling of sullen resentment among the officers in khaki".

Perspicacity would suggest that calibrated pre-emptive action is imperative to ensure that there is no crisis in the Indian security domain.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Army goes public with pay protest

The army has formally signalled its disappointment with the sixth pay panel’s recommendations, marking a rare occasion in which it has chosen to speak trade union language and go public with its protest.

So far, the armed forces’ dissatisfaction was made known through retired personnel and/or off-the-record briefings, but now the entire top brass of the army meeting in a commanders’ conference chaired by the chief, General Deepak Kapoor, has chosen to voice its opinion.

The observations come even though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister A.K. Antony have said there was a case for better salaries for armed forces personnel.

“Exclusive sessions (in the commanders’ conference) were earmarked for intense deliberations on the aspects of shortfall in the authorised strength of the army’s officer cadre and the recommendations of the sixth central pay commission,” the army said in a statement here today.

“Both these issues have serious impact on morale and motivation of the armed forces’ personnel as well as continued operational effectiveness,” it added.

It has been known that the forces had not found enough incentives in the recommendations of the sixth pay panel. But for the army to say that poor salaries were telling on its “operational effectiveness” is serious trouble for the security apparatus of the state.

It is also rare for an army to admit that the morale of its troops is running low. The army is suggesting that the shortage of officers — currently there are about 11,200 vacancies — is because the force is not attractive enough for the right kind of recruits.

Laws governing the armed forces forbid soldiers from expressing collective dissent except through a proper channel or else it would tantamount to mutiny.

The commanders’ conference began on April 30 and concluded today. But a session is scheduled tomorrow to discuss operational matters.

The army statement says there is a shortage in the officer cadre because enough youth of the right quality are not available. Also, officers are keen to retire before their terms end. This suggests the commanders are worried that young officers are finding greener pastures outside the service.

They have gone on to suggest that the government should permit the recruitment of short service commission officers in larger numbers, give lucrative separation and continuation terms, develop infrastructure and training facilities, and take up a campaign to make army jobs attractive.

Among the suggestions are an increase in military service pay (MSP) for personnel below officer rank, extending MSP to higher ranks and arrears from January 2006.

The commanders felt that army officers are not being given parity with officers in the other central services and wanted a restoration of status.

“The above issues were discussed in detail and views from the senior army leadership were obtained,” the army statement said. “The army chief took note of the concerns of all ranks of the army as highlighted by the senior commanders and expressed satisfaction with the proposals formulated. He apprised all that the government too was aware of key concerns of the army and that he expected early approval of the measures which had emerged in the course of the deliberations,” the statement added.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Jawans set to get a hike beyond Pay panel advice

In the face of mounting pressure from the Armed Forces, the Defence Ministry has asked the Committee of Secretaries looking into the Pay Commission recommendations to double the Military Service Pay (MSP) for soldiers from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000. The MSP will be merged with basic salary and form the basis on which other allowances will be calculated.



With Defence Minister A K Antony putting his weight behind the move, sources said, the suggestion is likely to be accepted as informal consultations have already happened among relevant officials. The issue will be elaborately discussed and firmed up when the three service chiefs meet Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar, who heads the CoS, over lunch on May 5.

While the Armed Forces were keen to treble the amount for certain categories among personnel below officer rank (PBOR), sources said, the hike in MSP along with other allowances will make up for a "healthy" salary. Moreover, the CoS will submit the report to the Cabinet which can consider further review in case finances permit.

The pay panel, it may be recalled, had suggested MSP of Rs 1000 for PBORs — there are 13 lakh PBORs — and Rs 6000 for officers up to the rank of Brigadier. Sources said there will be no revision in the MSP recommendation for officers even though the Armed Forces are keen on extending MSP to officers beyond the rank of Brigadier.

However, some of the other demands related to pay parity among senior officers and their counterparts in the civil is likely to get a favourable view. The pay panel recommendations have caused a strong protest from within and among the Armed Forces. Former Army Chief Gen N C Vij, who now heads the National Disaster Management Authority, even wrote to the Prime Minister expressing anguish and making demands for revising the suggestions.

 
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission - Public View

This is opinion from many sources -
1.There is no performance system adopted.
2.Pay for performance is in vain.
3. secretaries of GOI will decide the fate of Defence Forces and fate of all in general - thats really abusive. Lower cadre employee have no right in this decison making. Abusive to them.
4. Pvt Sector employee says Sixth pay commission is bane for country. Gov people doing nothing.
5. Economist says Gov may suffer inflation, large burden, 5 years slow. Because all state Govs also implement the same pay commission. How this money come.
6. pay commission must have a democratic setup comprising representation of all category of staff
7. its waste of time and resources....till now each n every govt. employee understood the CAKE they got into there mounth after such a hype in media by pay commission..no one is going to believe such cheap tricks by UPA govt. to make there seats strong in parliament....they will also get there part of CAKE in upcoming elections....

8. You want to live happily in India then get into IAS, if not then lick their boots or else leave India
9. it is best to scrap pay commission.But once in three years a wage board should finalise the revision of wage for all govt servants within a time frame of three months. It will boost the sincerity, honesty and productivity and that leads INDIA top of the world.
10. Scientist in DRDO, ISRO , Armed forces may loose good employees fastly.
Pay commission worst for them. Now how a class 1 officer afford accomodation, family expenses etc. in metro. Petrol prices soaring to 50 Rs. and now moving to 65 as fresh news comes crude oil prices are crossing 120$/barrel. How will government stop the inflation.
 
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