The Indian Economy Blog

November 30, 2007

Crumbs Versus Pittance

Filed under: Basic Questions,Human Capital,Labour market — Pragmatic @ 2:01 pm

…for the CRPF and the Army in Kashmir.

…compared to the army there is a general feeling in the CRPF ranks that its men are not adequately compensated. It is argued that Jawans are frustrated because their counterparts in the Indian Army doing similar jobs in militancy-infested pockets are better looked after. When TIMES NOW compared the two, this feeling was to a great extent found true.

While an army Jawan fighting militants in Kashmir gets a monthly pay packet of Rs 14,000 and host of other benefits including allowances in the form of disturbed area allowance his counterpart in the CRPF draws a meager pay of Rs 7,500 which includes all the allowances. [TimesNow]

Although the veracity of the report (Rs. 14,000 and 7500 for the same trooper in Kashmir) is debatable, it reminds us of that famous Woody Allen bon mot -

…two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” [WikiQuote]

5 Comments »

  1. How is the joke relevant to the point you are making? And so insensitive, too.

    Comment by Anon — November 30, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  2. @Anon:

    Life is generally tough for the ordinary soldier/ policeman and more so in Kashmir or the North-East. In effect there is no quality of life to speak of [terrible food]. On top of that, the government is paying them peanuts [small portions].

    The insensitivity and apathy is on the part of the government – politicians, bureaucrats, generals and senior police officials – by not adequately compensating their soldiers and policemen. My intention was to highlight their ineptitude with a little satire, courtesy Woody Allen.

    The fact of the matter is that both the army and the paramilitary forces are poorly paid. And the establishment has compounded the misery by creating a situation where one set of soldiers is grudging the other. Or is the “Grass always greener on the other side…”

    Comment by Pragmatic — November 30, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  3. Dumb question, but, if the wages are really so low, why does anyone sign up? Why don’t they defect? Are they some sort of conscripts, or is this really just a lament that you wish Indian wages were higher across the board?

    Comment by Daublin — December 1, 2007 @ 12:32 am

  4. Daublin – I didn’t get the term ‘defect’: I don’t think you meant to use it that way spy agencies do. There are a variety of reasons why people do sign up – no other job, free training and education, retirement benefits, and of course family tradition. But then that’s true of most armies, right?

    And no, the soldiers are not conscripts. The Indian Army is a volunteer army, just like the US Army currently is, for example.

    I think the point being made is that everyone who’s hired to do a similar job should be treated fairly, and that’s not happening in the case of the CRPF.

    Not sure if army wages anywhere in the world are that high. So the Indians are no exception. But then it’s a fact that our government is greatly overstaffed, underworked (especially the lower and middle level) and overpaid. So in comparison, the soldiers in general get a raw deal, ‘coz they aren’t as powerful as lobby as the officials are.

    Comment by photonman — December 1, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  5. It is incorrect to compare the Army with the CRPF which is only a police force. The Army’s pay scales are in accordance with what they are really trained to do and that is to fight a war with sophosticated weapons with an equally matched enemy. The CRPF is paid to do the police job and because they are not able to do it properly the Army is called to do it. Therefore, the comparison is absurd.If the CRPF was asked to do what the Army is supposed to do then the comparison and demand for equal pay would have been justified.

    Comment by V K Das — December 1, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  6. @VK Das:

    It isn’t an absurd comparison at all. If two sets of uniformed personnel, in the service of the same government, are serving at a particular location and performing similar (if not same) duties, how can you pay them less? CRPF is “only” a police force — if we have this sort of thinking, then “only” Army will have to be deployed everywhere. If I understand it correctly (and you may correct me if otherwise), army is deployed in J&K and NE in “Aid to civil authority”. And every instrument of the state is doing its job — no one is superior or inferior to anyone. Finally, the chain is as strong as its weakest link.

    Moreover, the larger point is about the poor compensation offered to both the sets of troopers – be it “only” police or the Army. And the dissatisfaction created among the ordinary soldier because of these policies.

    Comment by Pragmatic — December 1, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  7. [...] Cross posted on the Indian Economy Blog [...]

    Pingback by Pragmatic Euphony » Blog Archive » Crumbs versus Pittance — December 1, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  8. Good post. Always nice to see subjects that most indibloggers dont care about.

    Re: photonman’s comment that ‘education’ is an incentive for prospective troops; did you mean a formal education (i.e., college)? I know that officers are offered the opportunity to undertake higher education while on the payroll (eg, MBA), but are there any similar opportunities offered to rank soldiers?

    Comment by Rahul — December 2, 2007 @ 8:30 am

  9. “Pragmatic” has not understood the point. The Army is called out in aid of civil authority because the latter are unable to do their job.Army’s main job is to fight a war for which they are specially trained and equipped.They have to undergo very expensive training and are equipped with expensive equipment to do that job.Naturally they are paid more than a policeman who has a limited role. The Army is trained to do their job but they are not trained to do the army’s job. So what is the comparison. Just because the Army can do their job does not make them equal to the Army. Can they they do the Army’s job? That is the point.If not, equality in pay cannot be justified. A medical specialist and a medically qualified health officer cannot be paid the same salary because the specialist can do do the health officer’s job.

    Comment by V K Das — December 2, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

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