What are Equivalent Ranks of Civil Services, IPS and Defence Officers?

There has been a lot of resistance from the defence forces officers after the October 2016 MoD letter which downgraded the rank status of defence officers as compared to their civilian and IPS counterparts.
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There can be many criteria for obtaining equivalence between the services of India such as pay scale, functioning, status, etc. If going with pay scale, military officers have an upper hand due to the extra allowance to them as Military Service Pay (MSP) when compared to IPS and Civil Service officers.

Equivalence according to 7th CPC:

The equivalent ranks between Tri-Services, Civil Services and IPS according to their pay scale are as follows:

Level 10 Lieutenant Assistant SP assistant collector
Level 10A Captain Addl.SP sub Collector
Level 11 Major  SP Collector

Collector

Level 12/12A Lt. Colonel SP
Level 13 Colonel SP Collector(selection grade)
Level 13A Brigadier DIG
Level 14 Major General IG Secy(state govt.)
Level 15 Lt. Gen(HAG) ADGP Principal Secy(state govt.)
Level 16 Lt Gen(Corps Commander)  DG (HAG+) Addl. Chief Secretary/Spl. Chief Secretary
Level 17 Lt Gen(Army Commander) DGP (HoPF)  Chief Secretary
Level 18 General Cabinet Secretary

Far from Reality:

These equivalence are far from reality. Because if the pay scale were to be considered, defence officers get extra Military Service Pay that makes them superior to their IPS and Civil counterparts, which is clearly not the case.

Also, the time frame for promotion of IAS officers were not reduced. This basically means that an IAS officer, after 14 years of service, would be granted the pay-scale of a Maj Gen, having 33 years of service. While this does not mean that an IAS officer with 14 years of service becomes equivalent in status to a Maj Gen, since only those IAS officers in the super time scale who are empanelled and holding posts of Joint Secy to Govt of India can be equated with a Maj Gen, still the monetary package granted to IAS officers with 14 years of service would be the same as Major Generals.

Also, since the Cabinet Secretary is the highest civil servant of India, his status is higher than the General of Indian Army.

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The Correct Equivalence – The Order of Precedence:

The correct equivalence however, only virtually exists. The status of various officer holders are given below in the decreasing order of precedence. And this defines their status equivalence in All India Services. This means that person below the status of preceding person must salute/greet the person with higher status:

Rank

Officer

1

President

2

Vice-President

3

Prime Minister

4

Governors of States

5

Former Presidents

5A

Deputy Prime Minister

6
  • Chief Justice
  • Speaker of the Lok Sabha
7
  • Cabinet Ministers of the Union
  • Chief Ministers of States
  • Deputy Chairman of the NITI Aayog
  • Former Prime Ministers
  • Leaders of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha
7A
  • Holders of the Bharat Ratna
8
  • Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and the High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries accredited to India
  • Chief Ministers of States (when outside their respective States)
  • Governors of States (when outside their respective States)
9
  • Judges of the Supreme Court of India
9A
  • Chairman, Union Public Service Commission
  • Chief Election Commissioner
  • Comptroller and Auditor General
10
  • Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • Deputy Chief Ministers of States
  • Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • Members of the NITI Aayog
  • Ministers of States of the Union
11
  • Lieutenants Governor of Union Territories (within their respective Union Territories)
  • Attorney General
  • Cabinet Secretary
12
  • Chiefs of Staff holding the rank of full General or equivalent rank

13
  • Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary accredited to India
14
  • Chief Justices of States
  • Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures (within their respective States)
15
  • Chief Ministers of Union Territories (within their respective Union Territories)
  • Cabinet Ministers in States (within their respective States)
  • Chief Executive Councillor of Delhi (within their respective Union Territories)
  • Deputy Ministers of the Union
16
  • Officiating Chiefs of Staff holding the rank of Lieutenant-General or equivalent rank

17
  • Judges of High Courts,
  • Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal
  • Chairman, Minorities Commission
  • Chairman, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission
18
  • Cabinet Ministers in States (outside their respective States)
  • Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures (outside their respective States)
  • Chairman, Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission
  • Deputy Chairmen and Deputy Speakers of State Legislatures (within their respective States)
  • Ministers of State in States (within their respective States)
  • Ministers of Union Territories and Executive Councillors of Delhi (within their respective Union Territories)
  • Speakers of Legislative Assemblies in Union Territories
  • Chairman of Delhi Metropolitan Council (within their respective Union Territories)
19
  • Chief Commissioners of Union Territories not having Councils of Ministers (within their respective Union Territories)
  • Deputy Ministers in States (within their respective States)
  • Deputy Speakers of Legislative Assemblies in Union Territories
  • Deputy Chairman of Delhi Metropolitan Council (with in their respective Union Territories)
20
  • Deputy Chairmen and Deputy Speakers of State Legislatures (outside their respective States)
  • Ministers of State in States (outside their respective State)
21
  • Members of Parliament
22
  • Deputy Ministers in States (outside their respective States)
23
  • Secretaries to Government of India
  • Army Commanders/Vice Chief of the Army Staff or equivalent in other Services

  • Chief Secretaries to State Governments (within their respective States)
  • Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities
  • Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
  • Members, Minorities Commission
  • Members, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission
  • Officers of the rank of full General or equivalent rank

  • Secretary, Minorities Commission
  • Secretary, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission
  • Secretary to the President
  • Secretary to the Prime Minister
  • Secretary, Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha
  • Solicitor General
  • Vice-Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal
24
  • Lieutenant Generals

  • Air Marshals

  • Vice Admirals

25
  • Additional Secretaries to Government of India
  • Advocate Generals of States
  • Additional Solicitor Generals
  • Chairman, Tariff Commission
  • Charge Affairs and Acting High Commissioners a pied and ad. interim.
  • Chief Ministers of Union Territories (outside their respective Union Territories)
  • Chief Executive Councillor of Delhi (outside their respective Union Territories)
  • Chief Secretaries of State Governments (outside their respective States)
  • Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General
  • Deputy Speakers of Legislative Assemblies in Union Territories
  • Chairman of Delhi Metropolitan Council (outside their respective Union Territories)
  • Deputy Chairman of Delhi Metropolitan Council (outside their respective Union Territories)
  • Director of the Intelligence Bureau
  • Director, Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Director-General, Border Security Force
  • Director-General, Central Reserve Police Force
  • Lieutenants Governor of Union Territories (outside their respective Union Territories)
  • Members, Central Administrative Tribunal
  • Members, Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission
  • Members, Union Public Service Commission
  • Ministers of Union Territories and Executives Councillors of Delhi
  • Principal Staff Officers of the Armed Forces of the rank of Major General or equivalent rank
  • Speakers of Legislative Assemblies in Union Territories
26
  • Joint Secretaries to Government of India
  • Major Generals

  • Rear Admirals

  • Air Vice Marshals

Conclusion:

It is very hard to define exact rank equivalence of defence officers with their other counterparts as there are many criterion to be considered. However, the one that should be followed is the order of precedence that defines the status of the personnel in the order.

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