7th Pay Commission allowance: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government has cleared the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. The government hiked allowances meant for the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) personnel toiling in the dangerous Naxal-hit areas of India. The allowance of the jungle warfare unit, the COBRA forces will now be administered under a new category called the Risk and Hardship Matrix (R&H Matrix). Under this Matrix, allowances have been made for the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and defence personnel. The Batallion’s allowances have been increased by the Narendra Modi government from Rs 8400-Rs 16800 per month to Rs 17300-Rs 25000 per month. In May this year, the CRPF had announced that it will deploy about 2000 COBRA men in the Maoist-surrounded Sukma district in Chhattisgarh. About 37 CRPF men were killed in the district in April and March alone.
Similarly, the Counter Insurgency Ops (CI Ops) will be governed by this matrix and its allowance rates have been increased from Rs 3000-Rs 11700 per month to Rs 6000-Rs 16900 per month. The R&H matrix has nine degrees of risk factors and one extra cell at the top known as RH-Max for soldiers at the Siachen Glacier region. This will be called the Siachen Allowance. Two slab rates will replace the existing multiple rates for every cell of the R&H Matrix. Finance Minister and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told PTI, “The Committee on Allowances (CoA) had undertaken extensive stakeholder consultations before finalising its recommendations. It had interacted with Joint Consultative Machinery (staff side) and representatives from various staff associations.”
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“Most of the modifications are on account of continuing requirement of some of the existing arrangements, administrative exigencies and to further the rationalisation of the allowances structure,” he said. While the rate of allowances has seen an increase for the Defence, CAPF, Coast Guard personnel, Railways staff, Postal department and the nursing staff, the total number of allowances have come down from 197 to 128.