Government may address armed force’s hardship allowance concerns on 7th pay commission

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday told reporters on the sidelines of the International Fleet review in Vishakapatnam that he had an interaction with the three service chiefs – of Army, Navy and the Air force- over the concerns on recommendations of the seventh pay commission. He said the ministry has sought a fresh analysis of those concerns raised by them.

The prominent issues are of disparity in risk and hardship allowance recommended by the seventh pay commission and also the disability pension. Moreover, the death of 10 soldiers of the Indian Army at Siachen last week after their post was hit by an avalanche has brought the issue of armed force’s entitlement under the allowance to the fore.

Forces that find it discriminating to have lesser entitlements as against their civilian counterparts as recommended by the latest pay commission, have demanded re-evaluation of the prescribed ‘Hardship Matrix’ for deciding allowances.
While Rs31,000 is the prescribed hardship allowance per month for officers and Rs 21,000 per month for jawans posted at Siachen, the pay commission recommended new salary slabs will work out the tough area allowance for IPS and IAS officers to be nearly Rs 55,000. The same for other civilian officer ranks will be Rs 30,000, even if their postings are in a lesser risky areas than Siachen.

In a meeting with Parrikar last week, the service chiefs raised this issue besides the seventh pay commission’s report questioning the increase in the number of disability pension claims. A senior army official at the service’s headquarters here argued that no logic can justify lesser hardship allowances to armed forces posted at a glacier in comparison to a civilian officer posted in a place like Srinagar or Andaman Nicobar islands.