From: Stanley OLeary <email@example.com>
Date: 13 February 2014 22:49
Date: 13 February 2014 22:49
Subject: Disparity created by the Sixth CPC, between Armed Forces Officers and the AIS/Group A organised Services.
Veteran Rear Admiral Alan O’Leary
NON-FUNCTIONAL UPGRADATION (NFU)
1. Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) is another term for assured career progression (ACP) granted for the first time to the AIS and Organised Group'A' services, although the ACP scheme has been in existence for over two decades, for civilian Staff and 'other ranks' of the Armed Forces, where there was a complete lack of promotional opportunities, sometimes not even one, in certain cadres.
2. NFU, on the other hand, is a bonanza contrived to be given to those, who have already been privileged to move up the ladder of promotion and consequently pay at a much faster rate than the Armed Forces Officer. Thus these 'privileged Officers’, despite having a far better promotional potential than the Armed Forces Officers, been given a double whammy, of non-functional upgradation to the Additional Secretary level (equivalent to Lt Gen), without assuming higher responsibilities and independent of vacancies in their cadre. The Supreme Court directive of equal pay for equal work has thus been thrown to the winds.
3. I have mentioned, that the Group A civil services have a better promotional potential, as they have availed of a number of Cadre reviews, through the DoP&T; whereas, the Armed Forces get one in three decades, with vacancies being filled over another decade, or so. Notwithstanding the AVS Committee report at the turn of the century, even today, less than 1% of the Officer Corps, can hope to achieve Flag rank and a mere .018 % can climb to the Lt Gen level. Let us for a moment reflect on the pay prospects of Service Officers from the Third Pay Commission (1973-76) onwards. The Third CPC, was incidentally the first combined CPC, where Armed Forces Officers were considered alongwith their counter-parts in the civil service.
4. The Third Pay Commission report adopted a basic approach of equating the Armed Forces Officer, with the IPS and Class 1 Central Services (which is the new Group 'A' Organised Services). The Third CPC also accepted a slight edge in pensions for Armed Forces Officers, as one of the compensations for a highly truncated military career. However, these recommendations remained on paper and unfavourable relativities and short scales resulted in the Armed Forces Officers having the poorest comparative prospects vis-à-vis the AIS and Group 'A' services.
5. The Fourth CPC, sought to give better pay prospects, by evolving a vertical (Running) Pay Band from Capt (Army) to Brigadier, with Rank Pay being given for each rank from Rs 200 at the lowest level to Rs 1600 at the highest. However, consequent to the submission of the report to the Govt, the proposal was watered down, by subsuming Rank pay from the replacement scales, evolved for a change from the Third to the fourth CPC. After over two decades, the Supreme Court agreed that the Rank pay should have been over and above the replacement scale and the Armed Forces Officer has obtained some benefit, but not to its full extent, a matter that is still being decided.
6. The Fifth CPC noted that the Armed Forces Officers pay should in no way be inferior to what the Central Govt offers to its top most Civil Services. It also stipulated that the physical structuring of pay scales must recognise the differences in the conditions of service between the Armed Forces and the civil services. It should also take note of the organisational and the cadre structure, career progression and retirement ages on both sides. It would only be then that a fair comparison be made.
7. The Sixth CPC introduced the element of Military Service Pay for the Armed Forces. However, they introduced a new concept that departed from the other Pay Commissions in drawing parity between the Armed Forces and the CPMF, Central Police organisations, including the Defence civilian organisations, on the specious argument that this would aid lateral movement between these organisations. In effect, the Armed Forces were lowered in parity without any gains of lateral movement that has remained a utopian concept.
8. This was probably the reason why, the Armed Forces were not extended the bonanza of NFU, thereby creating a ‘Gulf’ between the Armed Forces Officer Corps and the AIS/Group 'A' organised Services. A ‘Gulf’ that has to be bridged, if the Armed Forces Officer has to retain his 'izzat' and at least achieve parity in pay and consequently pensions with the higher civil services. Instead, the Govt sought to narrow the gap between the Armed Forces Officer Corps and the Group 'B' services, such as the Armed Forces Headquarters cadre and the Military Nursing Services. The question is whether this corner stone laid, is the beginning of a scheme to lower the standing of an Armed Forces Officer in the Seventh CPC.
9. An interesting article appeared in the Times of India on 27 Jan 2014. It stated that tough work conditions, stagnation see paramilitary officers quitting in droves. The statistics quoted were, in my opinion, not earth shattering, as these Officers keep trying to side step into other cadres in the Govt, which has happened all along. The interesting piece was that the paramilitary Officers have claimed NFU, which has been refused by the Home Ministry on the grounds that this would disturb the command structure, an argument refuted by the paramilitary Officers, as the command structure is based on rank and not salary. No doubt, grounds have been laid for them to get NFU, which has so far been denied even to the Armed Forces.
10. In this context, I would also like to add that the Finance Ministry, while examining the anomalies raised by the Armed Forces Pay and Remuneration Committee (PARC), found themselves in an embarrassing situation, when it was pointed out that they had raised a civilian Pay scale below Lt Col to Pay Band 4, while not agreeing to bring Lt Cols to PB -4. As a result of a continued struggle, Lt Cols too, were brought into PB -4, but for some inexplicable reason were given a Grade Pay of Rs 8000, instead of Rs 8700, which was given to Commandants of the para-military forces, a post, traditionally below that of a Lt Col. This anomaly still persists and needs to be corrected before the Seventh CPC.
11. In the next Article, I will draw an analogy between a celebrated judgment of the SC, and establishing a basis for our bid to be treated at par with the AIS/Group 'A' organised services.
[Published with standing permission of R/Adm O'Leary]