Parrikar promises to ‘address’ downgrade of military ranks

Posted on Oct 25 2016 - 1:30pm
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New Delhi, Oct. 25: The government on Tuesday promised to address changes in rank parity between civilians and military officers sought to be introduced by a circular that has upset officers of the uniformed forces who have to work with civilian bureaucracy at headquarters.

The October 18 circular, which began doing the rounds on Monday, has downgraded officers in the army, navy and air force who have to work with bureaucrats at headquarters.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said the government is sensitive to the issue and promised to look into it.

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“The government is sensitive to issues concerning serving and retired soldiers,” Parrikar told reporters here on the sidelines of a naval commanders conference.

The October 18 circular had said that the equations are to be followed in service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).

The order equates an army major general (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) to a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.

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A brigadier/ commodore/ air commodore is to be equated with a director, and a colonel/ captain/ group captain is to be at par with a joint director in the civil service.

So far, a colonel was equated with a director. A brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy but by convention was treated on a par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.

Parrikar also said there can be no forcing people to donate to the Army Welfare Fund, which has found itself in the thick of a storm following a political party’s diktat that Bollywood movies featuring Pakistani actors should fork out Rs 5 crore to the fund.

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“No catching of anyone by the neck. Donations are voluntary,” Parrikar said.

Last week, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had forced filmmaker 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.

The MNS had warned theatres not to screen the movie, citing public outrage against the September 18 attack by Pakistani militants on an army camp in which 19 soldiers died.

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Parrikar promises to ‘address’ downgrade of military ranks was last modified: October 25th, 2016 by greendecker

This article was originally published on http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161025/jsp/frontpage/story_115497.jsp