In response to media reports claiming that the government had issued an order which lowers the status of military officers in respect of their civilian counterparts in the Armed Forces Headquarters, the Ministry of Defence has clarified their stand with the claim that there had been no down-gradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the service ranks or their civilian counterparts.
“It’s clarified that there has been no down-gradation or change in existing equivalence of Service ranks of Military officers whatsoever. The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed,” Ministry of Defence said to news agencies.
Quoting a letter issued by Ministry of Defence dated October 18, 2016, the ministry has said they “are erroneously stating that the equivalence has been disturbed and status of Service officers has been downgraded”.
According to the circular that had been issued on October 18, an Army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) was to be on par with a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.
A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore (with about 24 years of service) was to be equivalent in rank to a director (with about 14 years of service), and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain to a joint director in the civil service, media reports quoted sources from armed forces as saying.
It is to be noted that so far, a colonel was equated with a director. A Brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy. However, they were treated at par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.
According to media reports, on Tuesday Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asserted that he would look into allegations on bureaucrats attempting to downgrade service ranks of forces.