New Delhi:In what could change the 200-year-old British-established military rank structure, an Indian Army internal note says the minimum rank for officers at the time of retirement should be Major General. It suggests the number of regular commissioned officers be reduced, the rank of Brigadier be done away with while quicker promotions be given to all officers.
A nine-page note has been submitted to the cadre review committee headed by the Military Secretary, a Lt General-rank officer. Sources said these were only proposals and suggestions, and that the committee would take a call after due deliberations.
It’s the first review of the 39,000-strong Army’s officer cadre since 1984. On June 18, the Army ordered a study to restructure the force and a report has to be submitted by November-end. The Tribune was the first to publish this in its edition dated June 23.
At present, the minimum retirement rank is Colonel, which is a selection post. Those who fail to make it during the first selection done after 15-17 years of service are promoted after 26 years. There are about 4,100 Colonel-rank and 280 Major General-rank posts in the Army.
“It is essential that every regular Army officer is able to reach SAG (senior administrative grade) posts,” says the note. “At present, the IPS has over 26 per cent officers in SAG and above (that is higher administrative grade) while the Army has only about 1 per cent.”
While Major General is a SAG-level post, those of Brigadier and Colonel aren’t. There about 1,050 Brigadier-level posts, a step between Colonel and Major General. “It is advisable the rank of Brigadier be dropped. The command of a brigade (some 4,500 strong) and division (some 14,000-15,000 strong) both be assigned to a Major General,” the note says.
Align the Army with the ideal cadre structure for group-A central services adopted by the Department of Personnel and Training in 2010, says the note.
The first Rank of Lieutenant be given during last year of training. The rank of Captain should become the first rank at Commissioning.
An officer be made a Major after five years in service instead of 6-8 years. Similarly, an officer be promoted as Lt Col, Colonel, Maj Gen and Lt General after 10 years, 14-15 years, 20-21 years and 28-29 years, respectively.
At present promotions are done after 13 years, 15-17 years, 32-33 years and 35-37 years, respectively. An officer gets promoted as Brigadier after 22-26 years of service.
The note says, “There is a need to consider reducing strength of officer cadre.”
Some 25-30 per cent vacancies be given to direct entry Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO).
At present, the JCO rises from the non-officer ranks after serving for 20-22 years, a direct entry system is already under discussion.
“Having a large officer cadre has been the biggest hurdle in fulfilling the aspirations,” it says.