Indian Army is likely to cut over 1,50,000 jobs over the next four to five years.

Indian Army is likely to cut over 1,50,000 jobs over the next four to five years.

Courtesy : Agencies12/09/2018 18:48

New Delhi: With an aim to sharpen the effectiveness of forces and prepare them for future wars, the Indian Army is likely to cut over 1,50,000 troops over the next four to five years.

The move will follow an overarching cadre review, ordered on June 21, which covers wide-ranging issues, including cutting the personnel strength of the 1.2-million strong force and merger of different verticals to optimise it’s functioning, said  a couple of officers familiar with the move.

“Merging of some verticals and rationalising roles are likely to result in cutting 50,000 troops over the next two years. A reduction of 1,00,000 more personnel may be possible by 2022-23. But all this is in the study phase right now,” said one of the officers.

The review is being carried out by an 11-member panel, headed by the military secretary Lt Gen JS Sandhu.  The group is expected to make its preliminary presentation to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat by the month-end before submitting its final report in November.

The troop reduction is likely to be achieved through revamping different verticals, including directorates at the Army HQs, logistics units, communications establishments, repair facilities and other administrative and support areas, said another officer.

The cadre review order flagged concerns about how multiple verticals of the army had expanded over the years, despite technology infusion into the system. “The line between verticals has got blurred, resulting in duplication of charters and associated manning.”

“There is a definite case for reviewing the number of verticals with the aim of restructuring within the vertical as also merging where necessary/possible so as to arrive at economies of scale,” said the officer.

Drawing attention to the army’s archaic equipment and critical gaps in capabilities, former chief of the Northern Command Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) said downsizing of combat forces had to be offset against induction of highly sophisticated technical equipment.

“As far as overlapping duties in logistics departments is concerned, there has to be a structured analysis to see if duplication in functioning can be streamlined into lesser number of modules,” said Jaswal.

“Theoretically, a lot of things may seem possible, but you have to get into the realm of practical applications,” he added.

Apart from downsizing, the review covers an assessment of the army’s future needs, career progression of officers, deficiency of officers in units, career management of non-empanelled officers, provisions related to leaving service, and improving the efficiency and morale of officers.

The ongoing review is also examining the possibility of abolishing the rank of brigadier to ensure smoother career progression and also contemplating replacing division headquarters with integrated brigades.

Revamping force levels to improve the Army’s tooth-to-tail ratio -- the number of personnel (tail) required to support a combat soldier (tooth) -- has been a work in progress.

In August 2017, the government had announced an extensive restructuring of the Army to redeploy 57,000 soldiers in combat roles to sharpen the force’s fighting edge.

This was done following the recommendations made by the Shekatkar committee on enhancing the Army’s combat potential and trimming its revenue expenditure.

The committee had listed out measures to bring down the budget for meeting day-to-day expenses and making more money available for weapons and equipment.

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