MoD restores rank parity of military officers, withdraws contentious letter

MoD restores rank parity of military officers, withdraws contentious letter

MoD restores rank parity of military officers, withdraws contentious letter

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday ordered withdrawal of a controversial order that lowered the rank of military officers in comparison to their civilian counterparts.

"The defence ministry letter dated October 18, 2016 on the issue of equivalence between Armed Forces Officers and Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service Officers is withdrawn," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the controversial letter issued in October 2016, a Major General in the Army (Rear Admiral in Navy and Air Vice-Marshal in IAF) was equated with a principal director in Armed Forces Headquarters civil service.

Prior to that order, a principal director was equated with a Brigadier in the Army (and its equivalence in the Navy and IAF), which is a lower rank as against a Maj Gen.  

Following the same downgrading principle, a Brigadier (Commodore/Air Commodore in the Navy and IAF) with 25-26 years of service was made equivalent to a director (with about 14 years of service), and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain to a joint director in the civil service.

Restoration hailed

The 2016 order “ issued by Nirmala's predecessor Manohar Parrikar – led to a huge uproar in the military, forcing the ministry to form a three-member expert panel to review it.

"So far as the channel of reporting or rendition of Annual Performance Appraisal Report is concerned, status quo ante is hereby restored, i.e., the position which existed prior to the issue of MoD letter dated October 18, 2016 shall prevail," read the statement.

Restoration of the rank parity, retired officers felt, would go a long way in restoring the military's faith in the existing leadership in the South Block.

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