Brig Khushal Thakur (retd), a Yudh Seva Medal recipient and a Kargil War veteran, in a release issued here on Saturday said that the three chiefs of the army, navy and air force recently met defence minister AK Antony for not addressing the discrimination issue of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU), a legacy of the 6th Pay Commission to Armed Forces, but they did not get any positive assurance.
He said that the armed forces were miffed about the discrimination and unfairness meted out to them by the 6th Pay Commission set up in 2006, in which the armed forces had been excluded on flimsy ground of NFU.
All central services, including allied and paramilitary forces like Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), were entitled to NFU from 2006.
He said that for example meant that once an IAS officer with 17 years of service became a joint secretary to the central government, then all central services officers with 19 years of service automatically get elevated to an equivalent status of joint secretary in terms of pay and other benefits. Thakur said that there were over 50 Class A central services officers who got the same benefits except the armed forces.
He said that firstly, the armed forces personnel reached the equivalent status of a joint secretary only after putting in 31 years of hard work. Secondly, the ministry of defence and bureaucracy did not even consider armed forces as Class A service as they designated it as military service and as such they were not entitled to NFU, which in itself was a bizzare explanation and argument.
He said that thirdly, no Central Pay Commission (CPC) had a member from the armed forces, while theirs was the largest officer cadre and nearly 40% of central employees were from the armed forces.
Thakur said that the armed forces had been fighting since 2006 over various anomalies in pay, perks, pension, privileges and prestige but nothing much has changed on ground.
“It has been more difficult fighting the bureaucracy than fighting the actual battle,” he said
He said that it was a high time that parity be restored at the earliest.
“There is total indifferent, insensitive and apathetic attitude of the government and political leadership towards the genuine demands of serving and retired army soldiers,” Thakur alleged.