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  India   All India  31 Aug 2017  Major reforms in Army planned

Major reforms in Army planned

Published : Aug 31, 2017, 2:30 am IST
Updated : Aug 31, 2017, 4:35 am IST

Bid to enhance combat capability; ‘non-core’ functions to be hived off.

57,000 posts to be restructured; including 31,000 civilians and about 26,000 soldiers —officers and men. (Photo: PTI)
 57,000 posts to be restructured; including 31,000 civilians and about 26,000 soldiers —officers and men. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: For the first time since Independence, the Indian Army has embarked on a process of far-reaching reforms aimed at enhancing the Army’s combat capability and to cut down on unessential expenses without losing military teeth. The thrust will be to hive off non-core functions of the Army, including the closure of military farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.

“In a first-ever exercise after Independence, the defence ministry, in consultation with the Indian Army, has decided to reform the Army in a planned manner. These decisions were approved by the defence minister,” the MoD said in a statement.

At the Union Cabinet briefing on Wednesday, defence minister Arun Jaitley announced the time-bound reforms which in the first phase will include a redeployment and restructuring of about 57,000 posts, comprising 31,000 civilians and 26,000 soldiers, including officers and men.

Sources told this newspaper that the 31,000-odd civilian staff will be redeployed in different wings of the armed forces to improve efficiency. Other reforms include the merger of separate signals units into a single entity, the restructuring of repair echelons and the redeployment of ordnance echelons.

Replying to a question on whether the exercise was in view of the Doklam standoff incident, Mr Jaitley said: “This is not specific to any incident. It had been going on much prior to Doklam.”

The reform measures are based on 99 recommendations by the committee headed by Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar (Retd), of which the government accepted 65 after consultations with all the stakeholders. The MoD said the reforms will be carried out by December 31, 2019.

The Shekatkar committee was appointed in May last year and it had submitted its report in December. The ministry said there will be redeployment of ordnance echelons to include vehicle depots, ordnance depots and central ordnance depots, besides streamlining inventory control mechanisms. The reform will also be carried out to ensure better utilisation of supply and transport facilities and animal transport units.

There will be enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army, and steps will be taken to improve the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps. The Army commanders had in April deliberated extensively on enhancing the its overall strike capability.

Tags: indian army, defence ministry, doklam standoff
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi