Narendra Modi government clears first stage of Army reforms

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing a press conference at North Block in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist (PTI3_14_2017_000123B)

New Delhi: Its official that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has given a go ahead to the implementation of the first stage of recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee which pertain to the Army.

Talking about these reforms, it will include redeployment and restructuring of around 57,000 posts of officers, soldiers and civilians in the Army. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has already disclosed that 65 of the 99 recommendations have been approved for implementation.

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And not much of a surprise that the Ministry of Defence has already started with the decision to close 39 military farms in a time-bound manner.

There is no denying the fact that these reforms will go a long way in improving operational efficiency of the Army by pushing soldiers from non-operational duties to operational tasks. Another significant factor here is that it will free manpower to raise new combat units and increase the strength of existing units.

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According to the ministry press release, the first stage will be finished in all respects by December 31, 2019. With the main objective of increasing combat capability and improving efficiency, these reforms are internal to the Army.

Jaitley has already told mediapersons that these reforms comes under the category of an ongoing process and not pertaining to the recently-concluded standoff with China at Doklam.

If sources are to be believed, the ministry had constituted an expert committee under the Chairmanship of Lt General (retd) D B Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend steps when it comes to enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces with an aim to increase “teeth-to-tail ratio”.

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The committee submitted its report in December 2016 and was considered by the ministry. Its recommendations included far-reaching ones pertaining to higher defence organisation, restructuring and staffing of the ministry, ordnance factories and Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).

 

Reforms that are given a green signal in this stage consist of restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include base workshops, advance base workshops and static/station workshops in the field army; redeployment of ordnance echelons to include vehicle depots, ordnance depots and central ordnance depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.

 

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