Sunday, 10 November 2013

More from Bee Cee for Advisers to the Next Pay Commission

More from Bee Cee for Advisers to the Next Pay Commission

Aerial View putting this in the public domain is good but as said in a mail earlier, there is a need to put some of the 'past precedents' in the right perspective lest they be treated as gospel by the next lot of advisers. It could also show where the CPCs were biased against the AF and where they seemed helpless in the face of persistent demands from the AFs.

These are also some views, not gospel and open to question.

4th and 5th CPCs

I don't have much to say here about the 4th and 5th and the text quoted below is from their reports. Haven't seen our proposal to the 4th CPC, but the celebratory air after its award, indicates that 'we got what we asked for'. The report also makes it clear that their recommendation was based on the Services' proposals. 

It took us some years and intervention by 'non-experts' to realize that we had got badly let down by way of pay and status. We still haven't recovered from it, despite a judicial intervention at the highest level to correct the damage. 

The 5th CPC was fairly logical in their general approach and reverted to the horizontal pay scales, but unfortunately for us, the benchmark was the pay range already reduced at the 4th CPC(by our proposals). If it was the pre-4th CPC relativity, there would have been little to complain.

Interestingly, the Service Hqs had of course continued on the same logic of our 4th CPC proposal and had asked for a further reduction in pay and status. May have been an error on someone's part, but inexcusable all the same. Fortunately for us, the 5th CPC went by their own logic and ignored our proposals.

There was much hue and cry after the 5th CPC and calls for rectification of anomalies. The discerning observer would also see that our calls for rectification of anomalies scrupulously avoided any mention of our proposals to the 5th CPC.
But what we generally sought at the time was to restore the pre-4th CPC equations in pay.

Equations/ Relativity as suggested/ understood by the 6th CPC

The real mischief here is in the way the 6th CPC has quoted past CPCs/ precedents and tabulated them using some kind of pre-determined equation, and used them as the basis for their recommendations. I had written about it elsewhere soon after the report came out. Let me enumerate some issues. There may be more.

1. Comparison with IPS and IAS in 3rd CPC - The lines quoted are only partial and does not convey the spirit of what was said. What the 3rd CPC had actually said was that comparing the diversity of functions and total strength, Service officers must be compared with the entire lot of Class I services including engineering and medical, not just the IPS. For pay scales, they had also said that longer scales of IAS were not suitable(because promotions were faster in the Services?). More importantly, we need to remember that each Service had its own pay scales before the 4th CPC, which were made uniform at the 4th CPC. These comparisons of pay scales became superfluous after that.

2. 4th and 5th - They have more or less correctly quoted and confirmed that the 4th CPC went by Services' proposals while the 5th did not. In other words, where they listened to us, we lost out, otherwise status quo ante was maintained. This status quo ante was again disturbed by Bagga/ AVS which paved the way for further dilution at the 6th CPC.

3. I do not really know what was sought at the 6th CPC, or whether their recommendations and notions of existing equations in the report were a consequence of our proposals. Someone can enlighten us.

Relative pay scales/ tabulation - This is where the most mischief has been played as can be seen from the following:

a. In the 3rd CPC, the Capt is correctly in the STS, but also the Major. How the  Maj with a higher starting pay/ service than JAG also landed in STS is a puzzle and the mismatch would have been obvious to anyone even in the 6th CPC.(My own suspicion is that since the Maj had become STS(by service) after Bagga/AVS, they used service as the yardstick, and not pay. Our constant shouting from the rooftops that 'we had an edge' would also have contributed to endorse the argument).

b. The pay scale of Major(SG) has not been shown. On the civil side SAG II is not shown. The actual equations before IV CPC were:

2Lt/Lt - JTS
Capt - STS
Maj  - JAG (Maj(11 years service) started higher than JAG(9 years). There was no edge, just the 2 year increments.
Lt Col, Col – DIG (DIG ranked between Lt Col and Col. The pay shown for DIG is wrong.

It is not the 3rd CPC pay but a scale given by Home Ministry to them just before 4th CPC. This manipulation was pointed out by the 4th CPC in its report and the pay restored between Lt Col and Col again after 4th CPC).

Brig- SAG II (This scale has also not been shown. At 4th CPC, SAG II was upgraded and merged with SAG I to form present SAG. It is reasonable to expect that the Brig also would have been upgraded along with others in his bracket but for Service Hqs wanting to bracket him with the Maj.) 

c. In fact there were many more scales than what have been shown. Each service had its own scale. For eg, the NFSG scale of IAS was different from the IPS or other services. After the  4th CPC made it uniform across the board, comparisons of pay scales between armed forces officers and IPS or anyone else for that matter should have become irrelevant.

d. At the 5th CPC, the Capt has been shown in JTS, down from STS earlier. 2 possible reasons - Even earlier the first 2 ranks(2nd Lt, Lt) were in JTS. 2Lt rank was removed at our request and Lt was given 2nd Lt's pay(inevitable actually, being the starting rank). So the first two ranks became Lt and Capt. Capt's pay was also reduced by RP since 4th CPC. So his start was less than the standard STS. ( after 5th CPC, Bagga/AVS further diluted the rank by bringing the Maj. to STS level).

e. If you restore the deduction due to RP in the 5th CPC table and look at the figures alone, you'll find that the equation gets somewhat restored to the pre-4th CPC level, barring that of the Maj(SG). Col and Brig would be seen to be well above the DIG.

f. The pay scales proposed by RDOA(post RP case) also generally reflect this pre- 4th CPC equation. It does not give anything more than what is due, and was denied all these years, as seems to be the perception in some quarters. 

Differing Perceptions

I have also just read Gen. Harwant Singh's article posted on this blog which gives an almost diametrically opposite view in that the 5th CPC undid the achievements at the 4th CPC and that AVS damage was done by the bureaucracy. I am willing to be corrected but I suspect, both assertions are wrong.

First, AVS report was merely the Bagga report of Army HQ by another name. I do not think the MOD made any substantive changes to the Army HQ report/recommendation despite reservations from the Navy and AF.

Regarding the 4th CPC, I thought the matter was settled after the RP case but we still seem to be under the delusion of 'achievements at the 4th CPC'. The 4th CPC indeed gave a running pay band for officers up to the rank of Brig. But please look at the figures to see how this was done. It was done, but not by giving the pay of the Brig(less RP) to those below. It was done by the  pay of the Maj to Lt Col, Col an Brig(plus RP of course but in the Maj's scale). Most of our problems of officers pay scales have originated here. And the differing perceptions because of inability to discern the difference between the two. For those still not convinced, just add the difference in RP, to the pay of NFSG/ Maj(which was a given) and you'll get the pay of Lt Col, Col and Brig.

Then there is the issue of pensions. By definition, pension is deferred pay which means that your pension should be based on last pay drawn. In other words, the Maj. who retired with NFSG level pay must get the NFSG level pension. But courtesy Bagga/ AVS/ 6th CPC, the Maj. is now at STS level. So what should the old Maj. get thru OROP, NFSG or STS level pension?

My view is that much of this (incl the perennial discussions) happened because of Service Hqs proposing a different logic (or lack of it) for Service officers' pay scales. If we had gone along with what was proposed for everyone else (Gp A Organized Services), the scales now proposed by RDOA would have been available as a matter of routine. Conditions of service could have been looked at separately and much of the pain from 4th CPC onwards avoided. 

Maybe those who feel that the CPCs/ bureaucracy would have gone out of their way to downgrade the Services anyway may have a point, but there is no denying that the instrument for that was handed over to them by us.

I also see a view that 'blaming those who were handling these issues in the past will not get us anywhere', and I partially agree. But I also suggest that we should not stop introspecting as to what went wrong just because of the chance that blame may fall on someone. Unless we know where exactly we went wrong, we may end up repeating the same errors.

Just some points to ponder

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