Personnel below officer rank can choose Compensation in lieu of Quarters or House Rent Allowance, whichever they find more beneficial. PBROs of uniformed forces have viciously disagreed with the Authorised Married Establishment concept along with the requirement to be at least 25 years of age if they are wish to avail Compensation in Lieu of Quarters.
A particular number of personnel below officer rank have the option to select between Compensation in Lieu of Quarters and House Rent Allowance. The others will be compensated for housing via FAA (Family Accommodation Allowance), while some other ranks receive the compensation for housing via Single in Lieu of Quarters.
Compensation in Lieu of Quarters
Personnel who serve the Defence Forces have a condition under which they are allowed to reside in cantonments near their units. These service conditions, therefore, cover the entitlement of accommodation. With functional requirements in mind, the government has decided the authorisation of married establishment through a determined percentage of the overall establishment. Personnel below officers’ rank, who fall under the purview of the aforementioned authorisation percentage and are not eligible for married accommodation, will be entitled to Compensation in Lieu of Quarters.
Compensation in Lieu of Quarters is a composite allowance which is supposed to compensate defence personnel for the renting of a house, water, electricity and furniture. The allowance is payable to personnel below officers rank provided they are married and are 25 years of age or above. Personnel below officers’ rank can choose Compensation in Lieu of Quarters or House Rent Allowance, whichever they find more beneficial.
The applicability of Compensation in Lieu of Quarters extends to personnel of the Indian Coast Guard or Central Armed Police Forces. Here are the rates at which Compensation in Lieu of Quarters is payable to personnel below officers’ rank:
The Family Accommodation Allowance introduced by the 6th Central Pay Commission provides the compensation for the balance. All personnel below officers’ rank of Central Armed Police Forces, Defence services and Indian Coast Guard will be payable at the lowest rate of House Rent Allowance, provided these personnel are not eligible for the benefit of Compensation in Lieu of Quarters or House Rent Allowance. So far as the Ministry of Defence is concerned, the allowance is payable at 10% of Basic Pay. With regard to the Ministry of Home, the allowance is payable at Rs.1,050 per month.
Single in Lieu of Quarters
The applicability of Single in Lieu of Quarters extends to Junior Commissioned Officers and defence personnel of equivalent ranks. In case these personnel do not get any kind of accommodation at the Duty Station, they will be eligible for Single in Lieu of Quarters equal to two-thirds of the rate of Compensation in Lieu of Quarters at that particular station. The allowance is provided only for the personal requirement of the personnel, along with Compensation in Lieu of Quarters for the families of these personnel at the rate of a Class Z city.
For instance, Authorised Married Establishment for a certain rank is 50%, and if there are around 100 such individuals in the same rank at that particular place, then the first 50 individuals will be allowed to choose between Compensation in Lieu of Quarters and House Rent Allowance, whichever is more beneficial to them. The other 50 individuals will only be eligible for Family Accommodation Allowance. Personnel below officers’ rank, when posted in field areas, are eligible for House Rent Allowance for their families at SPR (Selected Place of Residence). Personnel of the Indian Coast Guard and Central Armed Police Forces have no such provision, though, and personnel below officers’ rank of both – the Indian Coast Guard as well as Central Armed Police Forces have demanded for a similar benefit.
Review and Suggestions
Individuals who work for the defence forces have to be on the field for relatively long periods of time. Whether these personnel work at field stations or peace stations, they spend several months in a year away from home as the defence has a requirement to maintain a minimum strength in the barracks in case quick deployment is needed at short notice.
The Central Pay Commission has noted that in the past, the personnel had the option of leaving their families at home in their villages and going for field posting. With changing times, though, a good number of these personnel below officers’ rank have spouses who work and have realistic expectations of raising their kids in urban regions.
Due to limitations with the AME (Authorised Married Establishment) percentage, personnel are required to take turns if they are to fit into it. Personnel who are married but are under 25 years of age will not be eligible for AME. Therefore, these personnel cannot avail Compensation in Lieu of Quarters. The AME provisions at the moment in addition to the stipulated age of at least 25 years to avail these establishments are too old and have to be revised.
The services offered by personnel below officers’ rank who render uniformed services must be recognised and simplification is needed to their housing provisions. Here is the structure recommended by the Central Pay Commission:
|Whether the PBOR has any dependents||Field Posting||Non-Field Posting|
|Staying in Barracks||Not Staying in Barracks|
|Yes||Full HRA applicable at the dependents’ Selected Place of Residence||Lowered HRA applicable at the dependents’ Selected Place of Residence||Full HRA applicable at that place in case government accommodation is not available|
|No||Full HRA applicable at Class Z city, that is, 10% of Basic Pay||Lowered HRA applicable at the place of posting||Full HRA applicable at that place in case government accommodation is not available|
Personnel who have dependents, when they are residing in barracks or during field posting as functional requirement of the defence forces, shall be entitled for accommodation for their dependents anywhere in India. In case government accommodation is provided to the personnel, they will not be eligible for HRA.
Staying in barracks does not equate to the provision of adequate housing, due to which these personnel, who stay in barracks due to functional requirements, are offered some compensation in the form of lowered HRA. The AME restrictions, the concept of SFA (Separated Family Accommodation) and the requirement to be at least 25 years of age have been recommended to be abolished. It is recommended that even Compensation in Lieu of Quarters, Family Accommodation Allowance and Single in Lieu of Quarters must also be abolished.
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