Modi government has rejected a long-standing demand of the armed forces for higher Military Service Pay (MSP) from Rs 5,500 to Rs 10,000 for over 1.12 lakh military personnel including Junior Commissioned Officers of the Army.
According to the sources, the Army headquarters is “very anguished” over the decision by the Finance Ministry, and will seek its immediate review.
The decision is likely to affect around 1.12 lakh military personnel including 87,646 JCOs and 25,434 personnel of equivalent rank from the Navy and the Indian Air Force.
Had the government accepted the demand, the total annual financial outgo would have been Rs 610 crore.
The MSP for the military personnel was introduced recognizing their unique service conditions and hardships.
Currently, the MSP has two categories — one for officers and another for JCOs and jawans.
It is Rs 5,200 per month for JCOs and jawans and Rs 15,500 for officers between Lieutenant-rank and Brigadier-rank.
The Army has been pressing for granting a higher MSP to the JCOs, arguing that they are gazetted officers (Group B) and play a very vital role in command and control structure of the force.
The MSP was first introduced by the 6th Pay Commission, accounting for compensation for intangible aspects of military service like “hardships and disadvantages”
The concept of MSP for armed forces personnel is widely prevalent in European countries.
In November 2017, the Army clarified JCOs are “gazetted officers” and canceled seven-year-old note describing them as “non-gazetted” officers.
The decision came in the wake of the growing resentment among a large section of its officers over “rank-parity” between them and their civilian counterparts.