October 26th, 2016
After a defence ministry letter on downgrading the status of military surfaced on media, the government on Tuesday came up with the assurance that any disparity in rank structure of military with those in civil administration will be removed.
After Hindustan Times published the report about the October 18 letter, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that any discrepancy in the ranks would be corrected in a week.
Mr Parrikar told reporters, “Military officers will be on same platform as their civilian counterparts.” He would scrutinise the orders to detect anomalies that threaten to widen the civil military divide against the backdrop of armed forces interest over seventh pay commission report and the one rank-one pension (OROP) scheme.
What the letter said?
The letter, signed by a joint secretary, said the government had decided on the rank equation after looking at orders issued by the forces during 2003-08. The letter on rank-equivalence norms had Parrikar’s approval.
In the letter, a civilian principal director, who was equivalent to a brigadier, has been equated to a two-star general. A director-ranked officer equated to a brigadier and a joint director to a colonel.
Till now, a major general was on par with a joint secretary and a colonel’s civil administration counterpart was a director. A lieutenant colonel, earlier equivalent to a joint director, has been scaled down to a deputy director.
The letter states the rank equation laid down in it is to be followed in assigning duties/functional responsibilities and for all purposes such as channel of reporting, detailing of officers for training courses, providing stenographic assistance etc.
The minister on Tuesday in the same press conference addressed his concern over Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) forcing of Director Karan Johar to apologise for having a Pakistani actor in his Diwali release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and made him promise to shell out Rs 5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund. He said that there can be no forcing people to donate to the Army Welfare Fund. The issue has resulted to a big controversy after MNS’s diktat.