New Delhi: Partially accepting demands of the armed forces for parity in salaries with their civilian counterparts, Government has issued orders for placing officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalents in the pay band-4 (PB-4).
The Government’s orders in the regard were received by the Services on Monday, defence ministry sources said. But the issues of Lt Cols getting grade pay equal to their IAS counterparts, and command and control are yet to be resolved.
As per the new orders, Lt Cols will now be in upgraded pay bracket of Rs37,400-67,000 (PB-4) with a grade pay of Rs8,000 from the earlier scale of Rs15,600-39,100 (PB-3) with a grade pay of Rs7,600. The Services were demanding a grade pay of Rs8,700 for this pay band created after the 6th Pay Commission recommendations.
With upgraded pay-scales, Lt Cols and their equivalents in the other two services will now be senior to deputy secretaries in central government, directors in state governments and senior superintendents of police, commandants (junior grade) in the Coast Guard and the non-functional selective grade in central engineering services, they said.
As per the letter issued by a senior defence ministry official, PB-4 would now be applicable to tenure postings with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Director General (Quality Assurance) and National Cadet Corps as these organisations fall within the purview of the ministry and the pay allowances are paid from the its budget.
Officers on deputation and training on foreign assignments would also be in PB-4.
Officers posted with organisations such as Assam Rifles, National Security Guards and Border Road Organisation (BRO) will also benefit from the government’s move.
Only a handful of Lt Col level officers would now be left in the PB-3. “Officers on deputation to organisations such as National Highway Authority, Railways, Pawan Hans and state governments, where the nature of duty is not in line with normal combat profile of service personnel, would draw PB-3 scales,” a source said.
It said the number of such officers in the three services would be less than 50.
Officers are expected to get the revised salaries from March, sources said.
In a letter to the defence ministry, tri-services’ Principal Personnel Officers Committee chairman vice-admiral D.K. Dewan had in January said the armed forces wanted all Lt Cols to be placed under the Pay B and 4 including those on deputation to paramilitary and other services.
The armed forces had told defence ministry that it did not favour another PMO proposal to not send Lt Cols on deputation to other services.
It said the services and the rules governing them did not make any distinction and that all of the officers were performing combat/ready-to-combat jobs.
Dewan had written the letter replying to a verbal query from the defence ministry on a 31 December PMO note that the government proposed to place only those Lt Cols serving in “combat/ready-to-combat” roles in Army, Navy and Air Force the Pay Band-4 benefits.