Dear Brig Kamboj and Friends,
Since the issue of orders for the grant of PB-4 to Lt Col and equivalents, I have received a large number of calls and e-mails, seeking my comments on this dispensation. I am impelled to say that this instruction has come more as a relief than joy. It got delayed so inordinately that some of us begun to doubt whether it would be issued at all. Now here are the salient features.
Economics of the award. There is no doubt that the Lt Col have gained more than any other rank in the military. When the Report came last year, the Army Cdrs had benefited the most, by a factor of 3.07. The gain of the Lt Col was the minimum at 2.57. With the issue of this new instruction, their gain has gone up to 3..48. Therefore the arrears and the proportional increase in the salary of the half-colonels is the highest, in relative terms. For those who care for figures, here they are:
Pre-revised Basic Pay of Lt Col 15,100
Amount granted by the Pay Commission 38,880
Pay sanctioned by the Govt through SAI 41,690
Revised pay now granted (at start) 52,530
Relativity with Civilians. In terms of relativity with the civilians, the soldier has been done down on two counts.
The grade pay granted to civilians of S-25 is Rs 8700, while the faujis have been given 8000
The start point for the S-25 scale is 39,690 while that for the Lt Col is 38,550
In terms of the status equation, the soldier has slided down by one rung on the ladder. But this is true of all ranks from Lt Gen to Lt Col.
Effect on the Past Pensioners The past pensioners have no status to worry about. The financial gain is significant. And that should bring cheer amongst the veteran fraternity. Since this benefit is likely to be extended to Lt Col(TS) also, the population affected is fairly large.
The sum and substance is that this measure which was resisted stoutly by the MHA has become a reality, and that is a good augury. Our civilian friends had two reasons to protest. One that the military has been given MSP and two, that the present Lt Col is granted by time scale to all officers after completing only 13 years of service.
Be that as it may, there is reason to believe that if the service chiefs dig in on an issue, they are able to make a difference.
I would like to conclude this mail by suggesting to the veteran fraternity that we must continue to project our issues through the men in the South Block. They are still our best bet.
My greetings to all Lt Cols and equivalents.