A hammer blow for the military: it is the biggest loser in the 7th Pay Commission - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 23 November 2015

A hammer blow for the military: it is the biggest loser in the 7th Pay Commission

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 24th Nov 15

Where you stand on the recently released Seventh Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) report depends upon where you sit. Macro-economists, viewing the report through the lens of fiscal prudence, might conclude the Commission has been overly generous. Surprisingly, many central government employees who are beneficiaries of this largesse would partially agree. Viewing remuneration through the lens of cutthroat inter-service competition, most would complain the Commission has given too much to rival services and too little to their own. Even more than absolute benefits, each service wants to gain relative to rival services, since this determines relative seniority and status. Employees of Service X would applaud a Rs 5,000 raise, in tandem with a Rs 3,000 raise for Services Y and Z, more than they would a Rs 10,000 raise across the board.

In this relative sense the clear gainers from the 7th CPC are the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), assuming the government implements the CPC report in toto (historically, governments have added benefits to what CPCs recommended). The biggest relative loser is, once again, the military. Historically, even while it has demanded parity with the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the army has been equated with the IPS, much to its chagrin. Now, even worse, with the 7th CPC places the IPS (and, almost in passing, the IFoS) on a level with the IAS.

To see how this so, let us start at the beginning. There are two main categories of central government employees: the “All India Services” --- the, IAS, IFS, IPS, IFoS and the military. The second is Organised Group ‘A’ Services --- Customs & Excise, Railways, Border Roads Organisation, Indian Ordnance Factory Service, and a host of others.

The 3rd CPC, which was convened in 1970 (and was the first without a military member), formally granted the IAS and IFS superiority over all other services. In justifying this, the 3rd CPC argued that “an IAS officer gets an unequalled opportunity of living and working among the people, participating in planning and implementation of developmental programmes, working with the Panchayati Raj institutions, coordinating the activities of government departments in the district and dealing directly with problems of law and order.” Given this responsibility, the IAS and IFS were granted an extra increment at three successive seniority grades --- “senior time scale”, “junior administrative grade” and “selection grade”, to which IAS officers are usually promoted at four, nine and 13 years of service respectively. Thus, by the time IAS/IFS officers had served 13 years, they had three increments more than contemporaries in other services. This lead in pay, seniority and status continued for the rest of their service.

The 7th CPC’s bombshell recommendation, tucked away on Page 151, is that this relative advantage enjoyed by the IAS/IFS, should be extended to the IPS and the IFoS, leaving the military out in the cold. After having hotly debated this issue, the 7th CPC report notes: “The Chairman is of the view that the fundamental principle for determining the remuneration for any position is that it should be based on the complexity and difficulty of the duties and responsibility of the job in question. The criticality of functions at the district administration level holds good equally for the IAS, IPS as well as the IFoS. Therefore, some additional remuneration, in the early stages of their career indeed is justified not only for the IAS but also for the IPS and IFoS.”

Furthermore, the advantage over the military will now be doubled. The Chairman has recommended the IAS/IFS edge “may continue in the form of two additional increments @ 3 percent each (sic) in the proposed pay matrix. The same is being recommended for Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service as well. In so far as the Indian Foreign Service is concerned, the existing dispensation shall continue.”

Effectively, this means IAS, IPS and IFoS officers would get six additional increments by the time they complete thirteen years of service; while the IFS would continue to get three increments. The military gets nothing, apparently in the continuing belief that its functions are not as complex, difficult and critical as the other four All India Services.

With the IAS advantage threatened, Vivek Rae --- the former IAS official on the 7th CPC --- has dissented on this proposal. His six-page dissent note justifies a continued financial edge for the IAS, since its officers “occupy the commanding heights of the civil service structure not through patronage, but through a highly competitive and transparent selection process.”

This false notion of a difficult selection process is rejected by the third member of the 7th CPC, Rathin Roy, who correctly points out that IAS/IFS officers are selected in a common selection process with the IPS and IFoS. Roy concludes that no special attributes can be ascribed to the former, and that “no edge should be granted to any service purely by virtue of belonging to such.”

This unprecedented discrimination against the military is being justified in a trickle of newspaper articles that argue untenably that the military benefits from attractive allowances, especially military service pay (MSP). However, the figures tell another story: there are less than 50 military allowances, compared to about 90 for civilian officials. Moreover, a large number of military allowances have been subsumed into a “risk-hardship matrix”, in which every military posting gets a standard allowance based on the “risk” and “hardship” profile. The Siachen Glacier, which has the highest degree of both risk and hardship, brings soldiers posted there an allowance of Rs 31,500 per month. In contrast a civilian bureaucrat from the All India Services draws 30 per cent of his salary as “hardship allowance” when he is posted anywhere outside what officials regard as a comfort zone. For example a senior IAS official posted in Guwahati will draw Rs 70,000 per month as “hardship allowance”, compared to Rs 31,500 per month drawn by military officers in Siachen.

Military personnel draw MSP, like other militaries the world over, to compensate for the “intangible hardships” of military service, including separation and risk. In the UK, where it is called “X-Factor Pay”, it is calculated at 15 per cent of salary. In India, where MSP is only paid to brigadiers and below, it is under 10 per cent for most. There was similar heartburn over “entitled rations” that military personnel drew. But no longer; the 7th CPC withdraws “entitled rations” in peace stations.

IAS bureaucrats like to argue that pay and status are not linked. Yet, in practice, pay determines status. Already, senior police officials in Jammu & Kashmir decline to attend meetings of the United Headquarters (UHQ), a top-level body that meets to synergise army, police and bureaucratic efforts to tackle extremism. The policeman’s logic: they are senior to the UHQ chairman (the army corps commander) because they draw higher salaries. Once the 7th CPC is implemented, and the IPS unprecedentedly elevated above the military, such problems will only be compounded.


  1. What about the disability pension sir. That is absolute degradation of Military officers by putting them in slab system.
    Someone who gets 17000 earlier + DA, will now get Rs 13500 + nil DA. Instead of enhancing it has been degraded.
    Imagine a disabled soldier from Siachen, what will be his feelings for being cheated with these kind of recommendations.

  2. IAS official posted in Guwahati will draw Rs 70,000 per month as “hardship allowance”, compared to Rs 31,500 per month drawn by military officers in Siachen.

    Did those Civilian officials who passed these amounts visit Siachen Glacier and live there for at least 1 day in winter when the temperature is -50 degrees and they have to come out of their tents and walk for miles where every 10 steps they have to wait to catch a breath due to thin air with less oxygen, to collect their food packets dropped by parachutes under pakistani live fire where even bacteria does not survive in nature due to cold and people are burried under avalanches and inside crevices ? Compared to that its heaven living in Guwahati where millions of people also live happily.

  3. Shocking! The military must reject the recommendations of the 7th CPC in toto. It is a matter of shame for these proud defenders that their status and remuneration are both being degraded severely at the cost of other corrupt and comfortable Gp A services

  4. how many ias officers in guwahati earn 2,10,000/- per month, to draw 70000 as allowance ?
    are these figures correct ?

  5. A complex issue but here is my 10 paise - Hardship allowance should be based on the hardship of a location rather than the post of the person. Any posting based in Guwahati for example deserves the same money whether it is IAS, Army, Air force or whatever. And in general miltary posts are by nature "outside", rather than "inside". No IAS officer can survive Kargil in January, but the miltary doesn't have an option there...

    When our committee's are so corrupted, what hope is there for the common man....

  6. The IAS Officers no doubt make contribution but when they declare themselves superior to the others, it reminds me to "Pigs in Animal Farm".

    The pigs shows interest in the strength of Animal Farm itself, only in the strength of their power over it and for their own good. I would like to understand, how are IAS officers different that the pigs from Animal Farm.

  7. I don't think services can do much about it. The dice is loaded too heavily against them. Just be patriotic and tell all youth about the realities of the service. Some of them still get impressed by the 'company car' ads and the clubs, polo event etc. We are clearly seeing the demise of a good institution of India. But it is India's problem, not that of the services. Just laugh it off and look for other pastures.

  8. Fairly accurate assessment. Some inaccuracies , prior to 3rd CPC Defence members were part of Departmental Committees on pay and allowances and not members of first or second pay commission. Secondly, Defence Forces are not AIS ( though they serve all over India and indeed the world), the connotation is services shared commonly by the centre and state ( see Art 309 &Art 312 of constitution. Thirdly IFS has always had parity with IAS in increments , it is the other two (IPS & IFoS) that have been scaled up. Fourthly the reason for discrepancy in Risk and HArdship ALLce is because while Defence Allces have been put in Risk And HArdship matrix the 7th CPC has conveniently not put SDA (30% of Basic Pay for AIS ), Deputation Allce ,SPG Allce -40% of Basic Pay, Special/ Investigation Allce(20% of Basic Pay), RAF (CRPF)-10% of Basic Pay on thr Risk and Hardship matrix. In effect while fauji allowances have been given to everyone, everyone also retains their own allces. Hence not only IPS and IFoS even CAPFS better place


  10. 7 CPC comprised Hon'ble Judge, miserly economist and super babu .. they should have been taken to Siachen and North Sikkim, Barmer n Jaisalmer (put inside a tank when outside temp is 48-50 degrees), taken to A&N on a choppy sea conditions, NE States in July-Aug, patrol/ ambush site along LC/ LOC .. but instead they chose the BEST months
    to visit some scenic places and our Sr Cdrs extended them the courtesies of 7** VIPs and definitely Guwahati is more dangerous than "any of the places described above" !! Till it is understood that political control over Military in a democracy is NOT babu control over military (which is the reality here) things will not improve. And if military is continuing to be treated shabbily in this manner, please don't blame a MAD soldier who runs amuck some day ... sorting out justice as he perceives .. please do not take them for granted .. it will be at your cost n risk ..

  11. Y does it always happen that armed forces are always left wanting for more...why is this injustice done every time..why is that the government wants bold steps from them to make a point. Why ..

  12. The report related to defence persons is prepared in a manner to prove that they are being paid more and has been related to the strain on economy of the country. whereas the same has not been applied to others. The figures , graphs are all ill conceived with no rational. Military service pay has been quoted at several places bu it has not been clarified that it does not count for the yearly increments neither it is raised by 25% when DA reaches 50%.In all analysis the defence persons have been made a separate category wheras when showin the summary of expenditure in pensions the defence civillians have been included in the defece pensioners to inflate the burden on govt. The cpc is like an audit on where to cut the pay and allowacers of defence persons and use the defence pay to give rise to others.

  13. I have been reading the comments that the military leadership must reject the recommendations,... If only there was a military leadership... This would not have been the fate of the defence forces.. Spineless. And it's time that this crap of izzat and not the money stand must go.....no one in this country cares for anybodies izzat for that matter.. We surely are heading down rather than looking up..

  14. If the service chiefs have any concern and responsibility towards their men. They must reject this mockery of a pay commission OUTRIGHT.

    The military must also insist on seniority over other services on national security grounds. A corps commander must be able to arrest and convict any govt employee who fails to obey a direct legal military order concerning military operations and national security. In the day and age of proxy wars. This requirement is absolutely essential. National security comes first.

  15. As I have worked closely with army men, I have indepth knowledge with respect to their honesty, sincerity, integrity, principles, ethics and values.
    Hence, I am in complete agreement with the 7th pay commission recommendations.
    More over as per your article Mr Vivek Rae, former I.A.S officer has rightly pointed out that Indian in Indian Civil Services, officers “occupy the commanding heights of the civil service structure not through patronage, but through a highly competitive and transparent selection process.”

    1. Officers in the armed forces have to go through a examination in the field of science,maths,english and general knowledge not some specialization like Sanskrit etc. Like IAS candidates take. This is not the main selection either, then they go under a thourough 5 day psychological, physical and leadership testing which is scientific in nature. Not some PErsonal interview by senior officers who have never seen you before, which is also done during the services selection board, twice let me add. Next they go through a thourough medical process no IAS babu ever goes through. The wash out rate is 68 in a batch of 70. Next the 2 passed candidates compete with thousands of selected candidates accross the country for 200-300 seats on MERIT. This known as the Merit List. Then they go to the military academies where if they dont follow the rigorous training they get weeded out. We all know the standards of NDA, IMA, NA, OTA, AFA and the curriculum of IAS academy in mussorie, which by the was founded by lt General of the Army again. The fact that no civil servant was chosen speaks volumes itself. The final and true test is when you sucessfully make it is that 21 men, some old enough to be your dad will decide whether to follow you or ensure your time in the service is extremely limited as a they will either give up their lives for you or perhaps even take your life in an 'accident'. The armed forces is replete with history of men who have died following a 19 year olds orders then say no. Competive Selection IAS guys say ?, they dont have a effing clue. They dont have a faintest clue that in the army selection in many cases a matter of life or death. So tell them they can shove that argument back up, where the sun does not shine.

  16. sir, should the title be 'the only loser by a big margin' rather than the biggest looser. do not find anyone else loosing anything.

    orop for defence. large no of intellectuals had their field day agaisnt rs 8300 crore after 40 years before acceptance. finally it is much diluted which may not even cost 8300 crore.

    do not find anyone shouting on the roof top when 7cpc has recommended it for everyone. not even one... this is the state.

    msp not to be counted for hra and transfer grant but nfu is counted. strange but true.
    CAPF get detachment allownace or some name similar to it but defence is denied with reason that defence people moves with headquarters as if capf people move individually or company moves without company headquarter.

    it is cpc but in effect it is committee of secretaries like organisation which gives its own logic (or illogic) for everything. wonder what the discussion with the representatives of defence was all about if basic issues are not comprehended in the manner these should be..

  17. Relevant issues brought out in the article but i think we rather deserve it since probably we dont have it in us to even question it forget about rejection.

  18. Why do they call in the Army and the Air force when natural disasters and internal disorders demand. What is the IAF and IPS officers doing about it..Go on leave..Its time for the military to not demand or expect but to TAKE what is rightfully and legally theirs.

  19. Very informative... Thanks for sharing

  20. All who demand parity with ARMED FORCES people, are they ready to stand on border and take bullet then please yes come and equate.
    THE IAS or the service offered NFU are receiving much higher allowances such as hard living, instructor allowance at least 5 to 8 folds to that of armed forces so where is parity.
    Lets have parity U policy maker sit in peaceful environment than that of Soldier who is on border to give U this peace. U get treatment abroad at Govt expense which Armed forces don't. Then still demand parity with Armed forces. Ur demand of canteen vis a vis to Armed people, a good share of canteen profit goes to school Sanskriti at New Delhi managed by IAS. Where is parity. U Fly by 15 year of service as JS in business class where as Soldier is facing nature brunt at that many years of service. U make policy for who facilitate u to do so, who have no representation. Where is parity. Services have been seeking their Due as OROP and pay anomalies for more than 3 decades but not yet resolved where is PARITY.
    So please Take what ever u want but don't defame by Ration, Canteen and Buddy system like issues. Service people even in peace station struggle to give decent stay to their family in peace station as shortage of accommodation. Where is Parity. So please for GODs shake DO NOT HIGHLIGHT WHAT FORCES GET BUT GIVE THEM THE DUES THAT LEAST THEY ARE ENTITLED FOR. DON'T PLAY WITH WORDS ON FILE BUT BE REALISTIC. TODAY U R CAPABLE to take edge privilege BECAUSE WE ARE AT BORDER.The land and encroachment litigation for service personnel is pending, with civil administration not giving any heed to their plight WE WILL CONTINUE SAFE GUARD WHETHER WE GET OUR Dues OR NOT BUT PLEASE DON'T TALK OF PARITY or Publicize ARMED FORCES HAVE AN EDGE IN PAY AND PERKS, THE STAT REFER TO ONLY 0.1 percent service people who grow due steep pryamid, Where as it is 74% for other who benefit at 15 years of service and same benefit comes to Armed service (0.1% officer) at minimum of 26 years of service to NATION, Where is Parity. A LIFE GIVER AND PROTECTOR IS ALWAYS SUPREME AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE. But don't take this as our weakness but it is our Humility.

  21. I agree IAS officers have a biased attitude towards other services, but I have serious doubts over the figures you have mentioned. 30 per cent of salary of no bureaucrat in India is equal to 70000 in a month. Even the cabinet secretary, the highest civil servant, too by that ratio won't get more than 60k as hardship allowance. So that figure is certainly not correct.
    Further I don't think any bureaucrat gets 90 different allowances. Here is a figure for reference. In Chhattisgarh, there is a counter terrorism jungle warfare college (CTJW) in Kanker district to train police personnel. An army official of rank colonel/DIG is it's commanding officer. Around 5 years back, his salary after adding all his allowances was 1.3 lakh per month. The IPS officer of rank SP(of Kanker) at that time drew around 40k as his salary. The chief secretary of Chhattisgarh drew around 1.1 or 1.2 lakhs per month at that time.

    My point is: Yes, there are problems of inter service rivalries, but it is very difficult to believe any of your figure. Allowances given to armed forces are much more than what bureaucrats get.


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