Indian Army studying ways to improve selection of officers

The study was launched around two years back and it is a work in progress.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is working on a study aimed at improving the selection process of its senior officers of the ranks of colonels, brigadiers, majors general and lieutenants general.

Sources said the focus is on analysing the overall policy of selection of officers for such ranks and see what changes can be made to improve the process. “The changes are being contemplated while keeping the overall military roles of officers in mind. These have to match with the rising requirement of technological skills and associated expertise,” he said.

The study was launched around two years back and it is a work in progress. The Indian Army is the largest and most manpower-intensive service with a strength of 1.2 million. The selection of officers starts at the colonel level and thereon selection boards are held for subsequent higher ranks of major general and lieutenant general.

By keeping a fixed number of vacancies at each rank, the competition gets too intense. There are around 7,200 vacancies for these ranks, including around 90 vacancies of lieutenant generals, 300 major generals, 1,200 brigadiers and 5,600 colonels. Whereas the overall strength from the entry level of lieutenant to general is around 43,000.

The quantified system was introduced in December 2008 with a revised policy getting implemented in 2011. It was decided to review it after a gap of five years. Broadly for quantification, the overall marks are set at 100 marks; the allocation of marks includes 95 marks for confidential reports, courses and gallantry awards. For the remaining five marks, the assessment is done by board members who keep the overall profile of the officers in consideration, including the additional ones not quantified.

Overall, the confidential reports are given primacy but their salience increases from the lower selection board (lieutenant colonel to colonel) getting evaluated for 89 marks, to the SB2 (colonel to brigadier), SB1 (brigadier to major general) and special SB (major general to lieutenant general). For SB1 and SSB, the allocation is 93.5 marks.

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