For the first time after independence, the Centre on Wednesday announced a series of far reaching changes in the Indian Army. As many as 57,000 officers and soldiers will be redeployed to have more combat-oriented roles, according to the decision taken by the government after it accepted the first batch of 65 recommendations suggested by a panel.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley announced the “far-reaching changes” on Wednesday after an extensive consultations with all stakeholders. He said a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar had suggested 99 points for structural changes in the Army–cutting down flab and reducing revenue (maintenance) expenditure.
Of these, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Tuesday accepted 65. The restructuring will begin now and will be completed in phases till 2019. The major changes include reorganisation of signals, engineering corps and ordnance. This will include monitoring companies, including merger of engineering units and signals units.
Military farms and Army postal establishments in peace will be shut down. Major reforms concerning the following has been approved :-
(a) Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments , Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
(b) Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshop, Advance Base Workshops and Static/Station Workshops in the field Army.
(c) Redeployment of Ordance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
(d) Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units.
(e) Closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.
(f) Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
(g) Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
Implementation has begun with the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security to close 39 military farms in a time bound manner.
The Ministry of Defence had constitued a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen(Dr.) D.B Shekatkar (Retd)with a madate to recommend measures for enhancing of Combat Capability & Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase ”teeth to tail ratio ”.
The Committee of expert had submitted its report to the Ministry in December , 2016 , which was considered by the Ministry of Defence and 99 recommendations were sent to the Armed Forces for making an implentation were sent to the Armed Forces for making an implementation plan. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Arun Jaitely has approved 65 of these recommendations pertaining to the Indian Army for implenmentation.
These reforms will be completed in all respects by 31 December , 2019 . Restructuring by the Indian Army is aimed at enhancing combat capability in a manner that the officers / JCOs/ORs will be used for improving operational preparedness and the civilians will be reployed in different wings of the Army Forces for improving efficiency.
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