New Delhi, Dec 31 (PTI) The Centre has given ‘in-principle’ approval to the Maharashtra government’s proposal for converting decommissioned warship INS Viraat into a museum or hotel, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday. Also Read - Urmila Matondkar to Join Shiv Sena on Tuesday, Year After Quitting Congress

In a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether the Maharashtra government has put forth the said proposal before the defence ministry, Sitharaman replied in the affirmative. Also Read - Coronavirus: Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Restrictions Till Dec 31, Essential Services Allowed

“Proposal of Government of Maharashtra regarding conversion of INS Viraat, post decommissioning, as a museum/hotel has been approved in-principle,” she said. Also Read - Defying Odds, 34-Year-Old Differently-Abled Woman Becomes Sarpanch of 2 Maharashtra Villages

INS Viraat was decommissioned last year after 30 years with the Indian Navy.

The aircraft carrier, in its earlier avatar, had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy.

It weighs about 27,800 tonnes and served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984. After refurbishment, it was commissioned into the Indian Navy, which purchased it at the cost of USD 65 million. It was recommissioned on May 12, 1987.

Responding to a question on allowances to non-commissioned officers, Sitharaman said the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) had considered all aspects with regard to applicability of military service pay (MSP), including the rates while making its recommendations.

“The 7th CPC has consciously decided not to create additional categories of personnel for the grant of Military Service Pay or to disturb the slab rates for the four categories for which it is being paid up to the level of Brigadiers. The government, after carefully considering the recommendations of the 7th CPC in respect of MSP, has accepted and notified the same,” she said. PR DIV DIV

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.