To compensate the hardships faced by soldiers and match trends of modern armies around the world, the Sixth Pay Commission has recommended a military service pay (MSP) of Rs 6,000 per month for officers (up to brigadier) and Rs 1,000 for personnel below officer rank.
In its report submitted to the government on Monday, the Justice BN Srikrishna-headed panel has also enhanced the grade pay (rank pay) for armed forces personnel to lend some respectability to their take-home package.
The rank pay for captains is proposed to be raised to Rs 5,700 from Rs 400 and major generals and lieutenant generals — who till now were not drawing rank pay — will carry home an additional Rs 9,000 and Rs 11,000 per month, respectively.
With a proposed monthly package of Rs 90,000 (fixed), the Commission has equated the salaries of the three service chiefs to that of the cabinet secretary. The chiefs were drawing Rs 30,000 (fixed) till now.
The new pay structure, to be implemented retrospectively from January 1, 2006, has attempted to finish off monetary stagnation at various ranks by introducing a common pay band of Rs 15,600-39,100 for officers of the rank of lieutenant to brigadier.
In the pre-revised scale, the basic salary of a colonel was capped at Rs 17,350 but a uniform pay band will stave off his salary freeze.
Soldiers will not be paid arrears of the MSP, or X-factor pay as it is called in the UK. A lieutenant, sub-lieutenant or flying officer will get a total revised monthly pay of Rs 25,760 to Rs 28,890 (around 20 per cent dearness allowance from January 2006 to be added for all ranks) compared to the existing pay band of Rs 8,250 to Rs 10,050 (DA excluded). Likewise, colonels and equivalent in the existing pay scale of Rs 15,100 to Rs 17,350 will come under a revised scale of Rs 43,360 to Rs 47,270, depending upon seniority.
From a pay band of Rs 18,400-24,500, major generals and equivalent ranks in the other two services have been catapulted to a scale of Rs 39,200 to Rs 67,000. Their monthly salaries will now be in the region of Rs 52,280-Rs 57,990 plus a DA component of roughly Rs 8,000. “In real terms, the take-home package will increase by just about 40 per cent,” a senior officer said.
The Commission has proposed a revised pay of Rs 80,000 (fixed) for vice-chief and army commanders compared to the existing Rs 26,000 (fixed). The sepoy, at the bottom of the army hierarchy, will get a total revised pay of Rs 10,670-12,500, including an MSP of Rs 1,000 and group pay of Rs 1,400.
The panel has recommended the doubling of the Siachen allowance for soldiers. As of now, officers serving there get Rs 7,000 per month. It has also recommended doubling of the counter-insurgency and high altitude allowances. A lieutenant colonel serving in the CI grid will get Rs 7,800, compared to the existing Rs 3,900, if the proposals are accepted.