Aarti Dhar

Chiefs of services will be among the highest paid in the country

NEW DELHI: Introducing a military service pay of up to Rs. 6,000 a month and a grade pay, the Sixth Pay Commission has recommended a 40 per cent increase in the salaries of defence personnel.

The Justice Srikrishna Commission, which submitted its report to the government on Monday, also advocated their direct entry into Central paramilitary forces.

The chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force will be among the highest paid in the country, drawing a fixed salary of Rs. 90,000 a month, equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary under the new pay structure.

However, for military service pay (MSP), the government will not have to pay arrears and the incentive will be available only up to the rank of brigadier, though it will be considered while fixing pension.

With allowances and a special MSP, the salary entry package for services officers will be around Rs. 33,000. For officers in the rank of substantive colonels and brigadiers, the jump in the basic salary ranges from Rs. 20,000 to 35,000.

No more stagnation

For the first time, the commission has introduced four running bands in the pay scales that could eliminate stagnation in the ranks of major and colonel.

The officers will get automatic annual increments even after hitting the ceiling in the pay scales.

In the officers’ category, the commission has recommended a scale of Rs. 15,600-39,100 for Lieutenants, along with a grade pay of Rs. 5,400 and an MSP of Rs. 6,000 a month.

Accordingly, the total revised monthly pay of the Lieutenant, the Sub-Lieutenant or the Flying Officer will be Rs. 25,760 to Rs. 28,890.

The Major-General, Rear Admiral and Air Vice-Marshal have been put in the scale of Rs. 39,200-Rs. 67,000, besides a grade pay of Rs. 9,000, but without any MSP. They will get a monthly salary of Rs. 52,280-Rs. 54,480.

The commission has doubled the special Siachen and high altitude allowance payable to soldiers serving at freezing heights on the world’s highest battlefield, Kargil, and in the northeast. It has recommended doubling of the flying allowance for fighter and transport pilots and submarine allowance for naval personnel serving in deep seas.

It has, however, retained the special allowances payable to the special forces, ranging from Rs. 1,000 to sepoys to Rs. 2,600 for Lt. Col. and above. Recognising the services being rendered by the armed forces in combating militancy, the commission has retained the special allowances announced by the government last year.

The panel has retained the three categories under the counter-insurgency operations: intense, moderate and relatively peaceful areas.

Officers of the rank of Lt. Col. and above will continue to get Rs. 3,900 for intense counter-insurgency operations, Rs. 2,770 in moderate areas and Rs. 2,600 in relatively peaceful areas.

Enhanced ex gratia

The commission has recommended an enhanced ex gratia for the families of defence personnel who die in harness.

In case of death in accidents in the course of duty, including combating terrorist violence, the compensation will be Rs. 10 lakh; death during enemy action in a war or border skirmish or in action against militants and terrorists will entitle the family to an ex gratia of Rs. 15 lakh; and Rs. 20 lakh in case a soldier dies during enemy action in an international war or war-like engagements specifically notified.

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