Military circles are struck with disappointment over the 7th Pay Commission recommendations announced by the Cabinet earlier this week, even as many are talking about exiting services in the face of less than adequate financial compensation.
Most military officers said it was the worst deal they had received from pay commissions since they joined service. They argue that the new revision has not rectified the already existing anomaly that the last pay commission caused to military officers.
“In every other service the concept of Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU) exists, whereby even if you don’t get a promotion your salary will keep going up, according to what the senior most among you receive. We alone don’t have it, though it is in the military that the promotional pyramid is the steepest,” one senior military officer said.
Also, the new pay matrix could also result in salaries of officers who do not get timely promotion stagnating after they hit the highest of a given matrix, they argued.
Many senior officers said the meagre hike would force the smartest among them to leave the service. “The sixth pay commission hike had helped us in retaining good officers because it gave substantial hike. However, this has been hugely disappointing. One of the first signs of this will be the increase in the number of people opting to leave the service,” a senior officer said.
An Army officer said a young full Colonel rank officer only got on average an increase of about Rs. 10,000 in hand. “When the Sixth Pay Commission was announced I got between 30 and 40 per cent increase. That was eight years ago,” he said. The Military Service Pay had only increased by just Rs. 2,000, and the total increase in salary other than that is just 14.22 per cent, he said. “Of that 30 per cent will straight go to income tax. So the effective increase is less than 10 per cent,” he said.
Others also point out that many of the lower ranks would be entering the income tax brackets for the first time, and would actually not receive the full benefits of the recommendations. The Hindu