Military Service Pay (MSP)
7th CPC Proposals with Regard to Military Service Pay
Proposals with Regard to Military Service Pay : Military Service Pay (MSP) paid to defence forces personnel is based on the recommendations made by the VI CPC and constitutes a distinct aspect of the emolument structure of the defence forces personnel. Prior to the III CPC defence service officers were paid a ‘Special Disturbance Allowance’, which in the III CPC was merged into the pay scale thereby providing an ‘edge’ vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts. The recommendations of the IV and V CPCs brought in the Rank Pay for officers in the ranks from Captain to Brigadiers. The VI CPC recommended the MSP and it was granted, in addition to select rank of officers, to all Lieutenants, JCOs/ORs and Military Nursing Service Officers (except Major Generals).
The Services, while presenting their case for Military Service Pay, have drawn attention to its historical basis viz., the special conditions of military life (as compared to normal civilian employment) which include disadvantages such as the liability to danger, being subject to higher levels of discipline, separation from home and family, turbulence and the shorter span of employment. In justifying their demands for MSP the Services have pointed to the intensity of commitments of the Defence Services in combating proxy war, operations along the Line of Control, disaster relief, aid to civil authorities, protection of our assets in the high seas, security of our air space, United Nations (UN) obligations and out of area contingencies.
To make their case for Military Service Pay the Services have also referred to (a) nature of the job- job security; career prospects; degree of autonomy; restriction of fundamental justifys; training; adventure and travel (b) after effects of the job- threat to life; hours of work; leave; separation from home and family; turbulence; effect of continuous exposure to Report of the Seventh CPC 129 Index hazardous situations; isolation and deprivation and (c) social aspects of the job- individual justifys; stress at work; support to personnel and families.
The Defence Services have made the following demands:
i. MSP be granted to all officers and all JCOs/OR of the Defence Services at graded rates.
ii. MSP granted must be distinguished from the ‘edge in starting pay’.
iii. MSP be considered for annual increments and
iv. MSP for MNS officers be granted at 70 percent of the rate proposed for equivalent rank of Defence Service Officers.
Analysis and Recommendations
As regards some of the circumstances listed by the Services to advance their case such as restriction of fundamental justifys, separation from home and family; turbulence; effect of continuous exposure to hazardous situations; isolation and deprivation, threat to life; hours of work; leave, individual justifys; stress at work; support to personnel and families, career prospects; degree of autonomy do affect defence service personnel in varying degrees but are by no means unique only to them. Many of the circumstances listed could, in varying degrees, be applicable to personnel in Central Armed Police Forces as also in certain circumstances to civil posts. Further risk and hardship, as brought out by the Services, are being compensated by way of specific Risk and Hardship Allowances.
The Commission has however, taking note of the unique aspects of their role, taken a conscious decision that that Military Service Pay will be admissible to the Defence forces personnel only. In Chapter 6.1 the rationale for payment of MSP to the defence forces personnel has been enunciated.
The recommendations of the Commission regarding the rate of MSP as applicable to the Service officers, MNS officers and JCOs/ORs has been detailed in Chapter 5.2. The revised rates per month being recommended by the Commission are Rs.15,500 for officers, Rs.10,800 for Military Nursing Service Officers, Rs.5,200 for JCOs/ORs and Rs.3,600 for Non Combatant (Enrolled) in the Air Force. The recommendations of the Commission with reference to other demands relating to MSP are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.
This Commission has received several requests from various entities, notably the CAPFs, for grant of a pay akin to the MSP. The Commission has taken note of these demands as also the contention of the Services. The very fact that various segments of government employees continue to raise this demand suggests that there is need to examine, re-assess and spell out conclusively what exactly the Military Service Pay seeks to compensate.
The Commission, after careful consideration of the matter, notes that there are exclusive elements that distinguish the Defence forces personnel from all other government employees. The intangible aspects linked to the special conditions of service experienced by them set them apart from civilian employees. Defence forces personnel are expected to conduct full spectrum operations in operational environments which are characterised by extreme complexity and may include force projection outside India’s Report of the Seventh CPC 130 Index territorial boundaries. Defence forces personnel are trained for war like situations with highly sophisticated war machinery. They have to keep themselves posted in modern warfare. The military institutions are a key symbol of national pride. Further, the superannuation of defence personnel, particularly Other Ranks (ORs) at a younger age, is also a factor that has been considered. The Commission has therefore taken a conscious decision that the Military Service Pay, which is a compensation for the various aspects described above and for the edge historically enjoyed by the Defence Forces over the civilian scales, will be admissible to the Defence Forces personnel only.
Rate and Application of MSP : The Commission has taken note of the demand for graded rates of MSP, as a percentage of pay in the pay band and grade pay, sought by the Services. These have been sought for five distinct categories viz., Non Combatant (Enrolled), NCOs, JCOs, Lieutenant to Colonels and for Brigadiers and above. Additionally for the Nursing Officers a separate rate of MSP has been sought. In effect the Services are seeking six rates of Military Service Pay for distinct categories as against the existing four.
The Commission has noted that the existing rates of MSP applicable to the defence personnel is Rs.1,000 per month for Non Combatant (Enrolled), Rs.2,000 per month for JCOs/ORs, Rs.4,200 per month for Nursing Officers and Rs.6,000 per month for the Service Officers. MSP is reckoned as Basic Pay for purposes of Dearness Allowance, House Rent Allowance as also in the computation of pension.
The Commission, having taken a clear view on the intended purpose that the MSP should compensate, does not find merit in creating additional categories of personnel for the grant of MSP. If anything the superannuation of personnel at a relatively younger age is a fact that affects the NCOs the most and therefore a stratification between them and JCOs will be to the relative disadvantage of NCOs. In respect to Officers also stratification into two groups viz., Lieutenant to Colonels and Brigadiers and above is not recommended by the Commission. Such a stratification would be particularly disadvantageous to Short Service Commissioned Officers who serve the Defence Forces for a limited period. It is also notable that in another context the Services have emphasised in their Memorandum that the conditions of service for Short Service Commissioned Officers needs to be improved. A differentiation in as suggested within the officers, for the purposes of MSP, would in the case of Short Service Commissioned Officers, serve to have the opposite effect. The Commission therefore does not see any merit in disturbing the existing structure of grant of MSP at slab rates for four categories.
Applicability of MSP : A demand has also been made that MSP be granted to all officers. Currently MSP is paid up to the level of Brigadiers. The IV, V and VI CPCs, on examination of the issue, granted Rank Pay/Military Service Pay up to the level of Brigadier. Superannuation of personnel at a relatively younger age is one of the important considerations being laid down by this Commission for the grant of MSP. Major General and equivalent
officers and those above them retire at 58 or beyond, thus serve for periods comparable, with their civilian counterparts. Having regard to all these factors the Commission is of the view that the existing application of MSP up to the level of Brigadier is appropriate and does not call for a review.
Report of the Seventh CPC 131 Index MSP to be distinguished from ‘Edge’: The V CPC, after deliberating on the issue of Military Service Pay, did not recommend granting it. It recommended continuance of all existing concessions and also recommended an edge in the starting pay scale. The VI CPC introduced the Military Service Pay for all Officers up to the level of Brigadiers, without reducing the existing concessions. The VI CPC went on to state upfront that MSP constitutes the ‘edge’ being provided to the defence forces personnel over civilian pay scales. This Commission taking note of the evolving pay structure of the defence forces personnel and what has been averred by the VI CPC is in agreement with it and is of the view that MSP is the ‘edge’ being provided to the defence forces personnel.
MSP to MNS Officers : The Commission has taken note of the proposals of the Defence Services and has recommended a separate rate of MSP for Military Nursing Service Officers. The rates of MSP for Military Nursing Service Officers have been revised by a factor of 2.57 from the existing ?4,200 per month to ?10,800 per month. The revision factor is identical to what is being recommended in the case of Service officers.
Reckoning MSP : The Commission has received a demand from the services for considering MSP for purposes of annual increments. The Commission recommends that MSP shall not be reckoned for regulating (a) House Rent Allowance (b) Annual Increment and (c) Composite Transfer Grant.