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Defence services want their representatives in govt panel

August 01, 2012 16:31 IST

In a joint stand, the three defence services have demanded the inclusion of a representative of the armed forces in the committee formed by the government to address issues related to their pay and pension.

The committee is headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and all its members are from the Indian Administrative Service. It is looking into the main demands of the services such as elevation of all lieutenant general rank officers to a higher pay grade.

The three service chiefs, including Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Indian Air Force chief N A K Browne and Army chief General Bikram Singh, have written separate letters to Defence Minister A K Antony pressing for the inclusion of a services' representative in the committee, officials said.

They have also raised the issue of absence of a services representative in the high-level committee, the officials said.

The committee was formed by the prime minister on July 13 after Antony wrote a letter to him on June 25 stating there was discontentment among serving and retired soldiers over anomalies in pay and pension issues.

He also expressed his apprehension to the prime minister that if "corrective action" was not taken, the issue might take a "bad turn".

The six-member committee is expected to finalise its recommendations and submit its report to the prime minister by August 8.

For serving defence personnel, the committee is looking into the issues of placing all lieutenant general rank officers in the higher pay scale grade of Higher Administrative Group Plus and a common pay scale for serving Junior Commissioned Officers.

For the large community of ex-servicemen, the government has tasked the Committee to consider the issue of One-Rank-One-Pension, which has been the main demand of the services personnel.

A lot of them have returned their service and gallantry medals to the President in the last few years as a mark of protest.

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