NEW DELHI: Aiming to enhance ‘combat potential’ of the army, the government has decided to redeploy nearly 57,000 army officers and jawans from non-core areas for operational duties. A majority of the recommendations of a committee led by Lt General D B Sheketkar (retd), set up by the Ministry of Defence to recommend measures for moving ahead with the proposal to cut flab in the defence establishment, have been accepted. The measures included enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces to increase the ‘toooth-to-tail ratio’.
Announcing the government’s decision Wednesday, defence minister Arun Jaitley said, “This (Sheketkar) committee had given about 99 recommendations. The government in consultation with the army has been going through them and the first batch of 65 recommendations has been accepted Tuesday. All of these have to be implemented by the end of 2019.”
According to Defence Ministry sources, all the 65 recommendations were related to army and the government has given its go-ahead to its first batch. In the next batch, the remaining 34 recommendations, which pertain to the Indian Air Force, Navy and Integrated Defence Staff, are expected to be approved.
“Restructuring by the Army is aimed at enhancing combat capability in a manner that officers/Junior Commissioned Officers/ Other Ranks will be used for improving operational preparedness and civilians will be redeployed for improving efficiency,” a statement said.
Boosting tooth-to-tail ratio
The Lt Gen Sheketkar (retd) committee has suggested certain key reforms in the defence establishment. Here are a few Military farms to be closed and Army postal establishments to be shut in peace locations
Repair echelons in the army, including base workshops, to be restructured
Redeployment of ordnance echelons to include vehicle depots, ordnance depots and central ordnance depots
Better utilisation of supply and transport facilities and animal transport units
Enhancement of combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces to increase the ‘tooth-to-tail ratio’
Optimisation of signals establishments to include radio monitoring companies, corps air support signal regiments, air formation signal regiments, among others