Picture Courtesy: http://www.alignthoughts.com
Armed forces are on a losing side because of the recommendations of the 7th Pay commission. The main is the disparity in the hardship allowance in defense forces and their counterparts in civil services. For armed forces, Siachin glacier is considered as the hardship area, where as for the IPS or the IAS ranks, areas like Guwahati, Andaman and Nicobar islands are termed as ‘Hardship Area’.
In terms of monetary benefit an army officer is getting Rs. 31,500 for serving in Siachin and a jawan is getting Rs. 21,000 for the same, whereas an IPS officer is getting additional one-third of his/her basic salary, which amounts to Rs. 55,000 for serving in the areas outside their ‘comfort zone’
If we talk about weather condition in Siachin, it is very adverse climate for the humans to survive. Siachin is the highest battle field in the world. Temperature falls down up to -45 degrees. Soldiers die here not from the bullets of the enemy, but from the adverse weather conditions. As reported in the online article of Indian Express dated 11th Feb 2016, it is mentioned that 879 soldiers had lost their life while serving in Siachin till 11th December 2015. In the same report it is mentioned that India army had spent 7504.99 crore in the last four years for the military operations. In February we lost 10 army soldiers in an avalanche in Siachin.
Chief of three wings of Defense forces met the defense minister Manohar Parrikar during the naval fleet held in Vishakhapatnam earlier in the February this year and raised their concern over the recommendations of the 7th pay commission and the effect on the moral of the defense forces.
Picture Courtesy: http://www.firstpost.com
On discussion with Ex IPS officer, he stated, “that it is true that hardship allowance which defense personnel are getting is low, but in addition to this they are getting other facilities too, like free ration, pension after retirement, and more importantly defense personals can easily get jobs in private and public sector with handsome salary. These facilities are not available to IPS or IAS officers after their retirement.”
Now the question arises that does this argument hold its ground and rationalize the disparity in the hardship allowance which our soldiers are facing?
It is very sad that our soldiers have to fight with the enemy at borders, as well with the own government for their rights. Ex- soldiers are already protesting against the government for getting One Rank One Pension (OROP), and now the issue of disparity in the hardship allowance. If these issues are not solved at the earliest, these will demoralize the soldiers. Before situation goes out of control, government should take necessary measures to uplift the morale of the soldiers of the country.