Rs.2,300-crore pay, pension package for defence personnel

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Meeting a long-pending demand of 1.3-million strong defence personnel, the government Monday cleared a Rs.2,300-crore (about $430 million) proposal to fix their pay and pension anomalies, based on the recommendations of a panel set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The cabinet today (Monday) approved Rs.2,300 crore total package for defence personnel based on a report of the committee headed by the cabinet secretary on defence pay and pensions," said a senior government official.

The committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, submitted its report on Aug 8 this year.

Set up on July 13 this year on the orders of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the committee had Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterjee and Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma as members, apart from secretaries of departments of expenditure, ex-servicemen's welfare, and personnel and training.

The government had tasked the committee to look into issues of defence personnel such as common pay-scale for in-service junior commissioned officers and other ranks; initial pay-fixation of lieutenant colonels, colonels, and brigadiers of the army and their equivalents in the other two armed forces; review and enhancement of grade pay; placing all lieutenant generals in the higher administrative grade plus pay scale; and grant of non-functional upgradation (NFU) to armed forces personnel.

The panel also looked into the ex-servicemen's issues such as 'one rank - one pension' (that all retired officers of the same rank and service tenure should get the same pension), enhancement of family pension, dual family pension, and family pension for mentally and physically challenged children of armed forces personnel on marriage.