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Saturday, July 2, 2016
The 7th Central Pay Commission: only cool heads shall prevail
What good is the mind of a man if it’s run by another ~ Prince
There are some individuals who remarked that I did not stoutly condemn the regressive ‘recommendations’ of the 7th Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) insofar they pertain to the Armed Forces. Some even floated some kind of a conspiracy theory stating that I was ‘supporting’ the ‘recommendations’ since I was a Member of a Committee constituted by the Defence Minister to look into the resolution of service and pensionary issues, forgetting in the bargain that I and other Members were a part of the same in an Honorary apolitical capacity and the said Committee is no longer in existence since we submitted our recommendations way back in November 2015, and those recommendations, currently under active examination, were highly objective, and could not, by any stretch of imagination, be termed pro-government (or anti-government for that matter). We were given a task which was undertaken honestly, objectively, without fear or favour and without any interference from any quarter.
Having said that, though I do not wish to think much about theories of fertile minds who wish to politicize such important issues, let us get some things clear here.
Firstly, it is a fact that there were some totally absurd recommendations rendered by the 7th CPC. And it is also a fact that I had fully brought them out on my blog and those posts can be perused to get an idea about some of the faulty parts of the 7th CPC. In fact, some observations of the 7th CPC were not just illogical, but also factually incorrect and against law laid down by Constitutional Courts. Some of these issues were discussed on this bloghere, and also here. If that was not enough, the total benefit recommended by the 7th CPC, to both civil and military employees, was meagre, to say the least.
Secondly, on 29th June 2016, the cabinet approved some of the recommendations of the 7th CPC, and contrary to rumours being spread, many regressive recommendations have NOT been approved by the Government. To take a few examples, the anomalous allowances recommended for the military vis-a-vis other services have NOT been accepted and it has rather been directed that existing dispensation shall continue till the anomalies are removed and allowances rationalized by a Committee constituted for the said purpose. The recommendation for discontinuance of rations has also NOT been accepted by the Government. The recommendation of reduction of disability benefits has also NOT been accepted by the Government, and as I understand, shall be analysed by one of the constituted Committees. In case there still remains any anomaly pertaining to our disabled soldiers, rest assured it shall be legally contested with full force. The divided recommendation on Non-Functional Upgradation has also NOT been accepted by the Government and shall now again be examined administratively, which is not a good step in my opinion, but better than being rejected by the Cabinet- the window for resolution is still open.
Thirdly, in my humble opinion, the focus since yesterday has been on the faulty recommendations of the 7th CPC, which is old news, rather than what has been finally accepted. Messages and mails have been generated based on the recommendations and not the final acceptance. The issuance of implementation instructions could not have been kept in abeyance till the resolution or consideration of all anomalies of multiple services and hence execution of the entire Report was not even being expected at this stage. Also rather than focussing on only the financial aspects, I feel that the spotlight should be more on the insidious aspects such as the degradation of status which interestingly is a legacy of the 6th CPC and also the services’ own doing in many instances. Moreover, our attempts should be on due representation of the defence services on the anomaly committees set up by the Government or representation of experts in the field rather than only officers who are guided by noting sheets prepared by the lower echelons of the bureaucracy. Long existing anomalies have not yet been resolved, and day by day, the list is getting longer.
Fourthly, blind forwarding and acceptance of the content of group messages and disinformation campaigns can result in unnecessary frustration and disaffection which must be avoided at all costs. In my perception, rather than shooting from the hip in the dark, issues need to be identified and a step by step course for resolution be charted for their redressal. In a democracy, we have the right to express ourselves against what we perceive to be unjust, but then my only request is that the projection should be based on the right data and facts. I do not feel it’s an unreasonable request that hot-headed comments may be controlled since the modalities are not even out yet in black and white and specific problem areas have not even been duly identified.
Coming back to the start point of this post, I would wish to remind readers that my approach has been consistent in this regard (See the disclaimer on this blog above) and similar myth-busters were posted by me at the time of the 6th CPC also. For one such example, you may have a look at this post of May 2008.