There is no denying the fact that our soldiers are the country’s lifeline. Citizens get to enjoy life because there are always jawans protecting us and our lives around the clock. Yet, it seems that some benefits of the country’s system have been continuously denied to them. Now the defense forces have begun to raise their voices against this mistreatment.
NFU for Armed Forces – What does it mean?
In the public sector, there is a set protocol for promoting workers. One such basic requirement is that there needs to be a vacancy for the person of a lower rank to be promoted. However, it often happens that there are no vacancies. To ensure that the workers get their due even when their rank isn’t raised, the government follows the NFU . NFU stands for Non-Functional Financial Upgrade. Thus, if a person is due for promotion and is not able to get so due to lack of vacancy, they are given the salary and perks of the rank they would have been promoted to.
NFU is available for all Group-A Government officials of the country. However, NFU for the armed forces is yet to materialize.
The main reason the NFU exists is to ensure that government officials can withdraw a healthy pension, enough for their upkeep post their retirement. It has thus been rationally argued that this benefit should be extended beyond the bureaucratic sphere and given to the armed forces as well. Both sides of the arguments have hotly contested the NFU for armed forces.
Those who do not support NFU for armed forces argue that it will lead to incompetence, complacency . Lack of respect for the hierarchy of the army, all of which could perhaps compromise the security of our country. Others have stated that the army is eligible for several other perks and benefits that are not extended to civil officers.
Some have gone even as far as to argue that instead of given NFU for armed forces, the practice should be scrapped for all officials altogether.
On the other side, those who support the armed personnel’s requests for NFU state that it is an organized blockade by Group A civil servant to prevent the scales from tipping against them. They also point out in the 7th Pay Commission, NFU was granted to the Central Police Forces, leaving only the defense services high and dry. In response to the benefits that the defense forces receive, several soldiers and their families have highlighted the poor conditions. They often have to put up within their postings, as the postings are based on need and not comfort. Some even uploaded photos of bunkers and huts through which they served the country.
No Rights and No Representation
One of the biggest blows to the demand of NFU for armed forces came when the committee was designed. To look into the matter in 2019 ended up having no representation from the defense forces. Even the Central Armed Police Forces, given the right to NFU by the Supreme Court, were excluded. Many within and outside the forces suggested that these were political and bureaucratic delays and destabilizing tactics.
It is shameful that our defense forces have to fight not just external threats. But also internal politics that makes life for them and their loved ones difficult. Arguments against NFU for armed forces are flimsy at best. If they are that detrimental to the stability of critical national infrastructure, then perhaps it is time to remove them from the civil services too.