Unhappy with the Pay commission recommendations for the Armed Forces, the three Service Chiefs met Defence Minister AK Antony on Thursday and proposed a 40 to 60 per cent increase over and above the hike suggested by the panel saying they deserved a better deal.
The Chiefs also strongly put forth the point that Defence personnel needed to be given higher salaries to make a career in the forces attractive in the backdrop of shortage of officers. Also, this was imperative to retain officers and men.There are about 1.2 million personnel in the Armed Forces.
Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sureesh Mehta sought modifications in the Pay Commission proposals including military service pay (MSP) be fixed at 25 per cent of the basic pay for soldiers, personnel below officer rank(PBOR) and middle rung officers.
Making a presentation to Antony and top brass of the Defence Ministry, the Admiral felt the pay panel had not done justice to soldiers and middle rung officers.
The meeting which lasted more than 90 minutes was attended by Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Air Chief Fali Homi Major and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.
The Services, according to sources, were also up in arms against the Panel's recommendation of single pay band for soldiers, PBOR and for officers up to the rank of Brigadiers.
In written submissions made to the Minister, the Services have asked the government to consider "three pay bands" each for soldiers and PBOR and for officers from rank of Lieutenant to Brigadiers.
Though there was no official comment on the submissions made, it is understood that the Service Chiefs suggested that the report be supplemented by a separate pay commission for the Armed Forces.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of reports of forces being dismayed over the recommendations of Justice Srikrishna. The report has came at a time when all the three services are facing shortage of key middle rung officers.
The shortage has been compounded by armed forces training insitutions reporting shortfalls for the first time in getting recruits and this was the high point of arguments put forth by the three service chiefs.
Expectations of salaries in the Armed forces becoming higher than proposed by the Pay panel rose since the Defence Ministry in its joint submission to the Commission had proposed a four-fold rise in the salaries arguing that they were not attracting the qualified manpower as the forces induct hi-tech weapons systems.
According to indications, the main grouse of the soldiers and personnel below officer rank seems to be the meagre amount of Rs 1,000 recommended for the them as part of New Military Service pay as compared to it being six times higher for officers upto the rank of Brigadiers. A jump in this special pay is expected after today's deliberations.
Sources said that submission made by the three services would be taken up with the Finance Ministry officials by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.