Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might have to step in to ensure central government employees get what the Sixth Pay Commission promised them, that's because two key government departments are at loggerheads over the proposed pay hike.Central government employees may have to wait a little longer to get an enhanced pay package. Differences between the finance and defence ministries over giving better salaries to the armed forces has delayed the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission's report.Defence Minister AK Antony is now fighting a battle he perhaps never expected to, his opponents, babus in the finance ministry. Now Antony may be forced to call in the prime minister to get a pay hike for the armed forces.The minister is pushing for a 15 per cent special allowance to all men in uniform plus a four per cent assured annual increment and an additional military service pay of Rs 2,000 for jawans.But NDTV has learnt that the finance ministry is fiercely resisting these proposals, that will cost the government around Rs 4,000 crore annually.The finance ministry argues that paying more to the armed forces will lead to other central employees demanding parity, this is likely to cost the government nearly Rs 12,000 crore extra.But defence analysts argue this figure is nothing compared to the Rs 71,000 crore farm loan waiver announced by the government."There's no reason why the government cannot pay more to the forces since it doesn't cost the exchequer much. Otherwise, the resentment in the armed forces will only grow which is not good for the country," said Brigadier (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal, Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies.The final decision now rests with the prime minister. If Dr Manmohan Singh does not intervene directly, the finance ministry is unlikely to agree to a better pay package proposed by the defence ministry for the three armed forces.

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