The Defence Ministry on Thursday said there has been no down-gradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the Service ranks vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.
There have been reports in the media claiming that the government has issued a new order lowering the status of military officers with respect to their civilian counterparts in the Armed Forces Headquarters.
These reports, quoting a letter dated 18 October, 2016 issued by the Ministry of Defence, “are erroneously stating that the equivalence has been disturbed and status of Service officers has been downgraded”, a statement by the Defence Ministry said.
It is clarified that there has been no down-gradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the Service ranks whatsoever, it said.
The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed.
It is further clarified that the present reiteration of rank equivalence, is only for matters of assigning duties and functional responsibilities as is already existing in different offices of the respective Service HQrs of the Army, Navy and Air Force having component of Service personnel as well as civilian officers.
“It has no bearing on civilian employees outside these offices of the Service HQrs. It is reiterated that there is no change in the rank structure or the status of the Armed Forces personnel,” the Ministry said.
However, according to documents shared on social media by journalists, the the ministry’s claims did not appear to hold water.
According to the latest circular of the Modi government, a Principal Director in civil services was at par with a Major General and equivalent in the armed forces.
However, a circular by the Congress government in 1992 had placed joint secretaries in the ministry of defence at par with Major General and equivalent in the armed forces.
(With inputs from PTI)