Manohar Parrikar to look into status downgrade vis-a-vis civilian counterparts

New Delhi: After crying foul over OROP and disability pension, officers in the armed forces are upset over a defence ministry circular which purportedly downgrades their status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to say he would personnaly look into it and resolve the issue.

 Manohar Parrikar to look into status downgrade vis-a-vis civilian counterparts

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The order has brought an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) on par with a principal director at the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service. A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore would be equal in status to a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain equivalent to a joint director in the civil service.

The circular issued by the defence ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and
armed forces headquarters (AFHQ) civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.

As per the new circular, a civilian principal director, who was earlier equivalent to a Brigadier, would now have the status of a two star general, a director rank officer to a Brigadier and a joint director to a Colonel, a development which has not gone down well with the armed forces. A Major General earlier had the rank of a joint secretary.

The circular says that the equations are to be followed at service HQs, and "has the approval of the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri" (defence minister).

Parrikar, when asked to comment on the development, said some people were trying to "misguide" as the issue related to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.

"These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself," Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference in New Delhi.

"First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities...this is not status....there are some people
who are trying to misguide," he said.

The minister said he will take a look at all previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.

Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the issues related to the armed forces.

"I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. The moment they are brought out, I act on them. The
only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue," he said.

Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 22:06:17 IST