New Delhi: Around 57,000 Army jawans who’re engaged in non-core functions will be redeployed, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley announced today.
For this, some archaic functions and units like Military Farms will be closed. On the other hand, corps such as Ordinance, Signals, and Engineering will be re-organised. They’ll no longer work in silos, but will be tasked in a multi-disciplinary manner.
The Ministry of Defence said the Signals establishment would be tasked with handling technical intelligence and performing duties which – until now – were reserved for engineering regiments.
Similarly, the Ordinance units will perform the duties of the Vehicle Repair units as well. Jaitley said these were “far reaching changes”.
The government appointed a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar, (retd), which had suggested the “structural changes” to reduce flab and revenue expenditure, he explained. The committee had been set up in May 2016 by the then-Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The restructuring of the Indian Army has long been a subject of debate. Of late, the rising revenue cost of maintaining the Army has been a cause for concern.
According to estimates, less than 20 per cent of the defence budget is available for acquiring new weapons and equipment platforms. So funds released by reorganisation can be used for arms acquisition and training.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had expressed concerns about a large, lumbering military, while addressing the Combined Commanders’ Conference in 2015.
“At a time when major powers are reducing their forces and rely more on technology, we are still constantly seeking to expand the size of our forces. Modernisation and expansion of forces at the same time is a difficult and unnecessary goal,” Modi had had said.
With over 38,000 officers 11.38 lakh soldiers, the Indian Army is the third largest in the world. The implementation of the Ajai Vikram Singh – which reviewed the cadre – had added several post and increased the ranks.