In light of the MoD ordering the services to implement the 7th Pay Commission award for the Armed Forces with anomalies unresolved, what are the options before the Chiefs now?
Option 1 – Capitulation – Accept the RM’s assurance.Likelihood – most obvious and most likely.Outcome – Battle of Anomalies continue – those from 4th Pay Commission are still plaguing us. The Chiefs careers will be unharmed. However, they may not be able to face their commands with a clear conscience. Long term damage to the morale of the armed forces is a given.
Option 2 – Defiance – The Chiefs can request for a meeting with the PM or the Supreme Commander to present their case. Likelihood – unlikely. Outcome – May or may not be favourable. However, the respect for them in the eyes of their commands will rise tremendously. Even if the outcome is not positive, impact on morale would not be as severe, since the faith in own seniors will rise. Career prospects of chiefs may or may not be in jeopardy. It’s notable that Admiral Mehta who took a stand over 6th Pay Commission went as ambassador while Gen Deepak Kapoor, his contemporary who meekly accepted Lt Cols in PB 3, is still unemployed.
Option 3 – Resignation – The three Chiefs can tender their resignation to the RM in protest. This can be either as an immediate step, or in case option 2 doesn’t have a positive outcome. Likelihood – Highly unlikely. Outcome – The Chiefs would demonstrate the seriousness of the grievances. May force the government to take them seriously too. A game of brinkmanship that may be taken further by others refusing promotion to replace them. The Chiefs themselves may or may not get any post retirement sops, but would rise to legend status in forces for perpetuity.