Unreasonable demands

Unreasonable demands
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First Published: Sun, Sep 28 2008. 10 47 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Oct 03 2008. 04 01 PM IST
Some of the demands put forward by Armed Forces’ chiefs are unreasonable to say the least. The manner in which they chose to highlight this bordered on defiance of civilian authority.
Higher salaries are a constant demand of government employees. For the Armed Forces, these are justified given the harsh and dangerous nature of their job.
What is unreasonable is the demand for parity in status with their civil service “counterparts”. Poor salaries is one issue, but demand for “status” is totally unrelated to that. In any democracy, armed forces officers have no business demanding parity with civil servants. Doing away with such distinctions would also mean doing away with civilian control of these Forces. That is unconscionable in any democracy.
Furthermore, salaries were revised by a cabinet decision based on the Sixth Pay Commission award. By not forwarding salary bills for all ranks, Armed Forces’ chiefs tried to unilaterally alter a cabinet decision. That’s defiance of civilian authority.
The setting up of a ministerial panel to look at their demands is a right step. But in no case should the government countenance any notion of parity in status.
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First Published: Sun, Sep 28 2008. 10 47 PM IST