Cabinet Committee on Security Current Affairs

CCS approves first phase of Army reforms

The Union Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved implementation of first phase of reforms pertaining to the Indian Army based on recommendations of Lt Gen Shekatkar Committee.

The purpose of reforms is to enhance combat capability and also optimize and rebalance defence expenditure of Indian Army in phased manner by December 2019. It is first ever reform exercise to be undertaken in Indian Army since independence.

The first phase of reforms involves

  • Redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers/Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs)/ Other Ranks (ORs) and civilians.
  • Optimisation of signals establishments: Its purpose is to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
  • Restructuring of repair echelons in Army: Its purpose is to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Station Workshops in the field Army.
  • Redeployment of Ordnance echelons: Its purpose is to include Vehicle Depots, Central Ordnance Depots and Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  • Other Reforms: Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units. Closure of army postal establishments and military farms in peace locations. Enhancement of standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in Army. Improving efficiency of National Cadet Corps (NCC).

Background

The Union Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar for recommending measures to enhance combat capability & rebalancing defence expenditure of Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”.

The committee had submitted around 99 recommendations. So far, Defence Ministry has approved 65 of these recommendations pertaining to Indian Army for implementation. Remaining 34 recommendations pertaining to Indian Navy, Air Force and Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) are likely to be taken up soon.

These reforms will be completed in all respects by December 2019. The committee had suggested that, if these recommendations are implemented over the next five years, it can result in savings of up to Rs. 25,000 crore in defence expenditure.

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Government to set up Defence Procurement Organisation

The Union Government is planning to set up a Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO), new procurement body to integrate and streamline the long and arduous process of defence acquisitions.

The DPO will be a vertical under the Union Defence Ministry. It will simplify the defence purchase procedure by integrating procurement processes.

Need for DPO

Government has modified several times the Defence Procurement Process, which applies to all defence capital procurements to bring in transparency and speed up acquisitions. But even after multiple modification, the process continues to be lengthy and complicated.

Background

The new agency will be established based on the recommendation of government appointed committee on the modalities of setting up the DPO. The committee was headed by Dr. Pritam Singh, former Director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow and has submitted a report to UnionDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Increase in financial powers for Procurement

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by the Prime Minister has increased the financial powers of the Defence Minister to clear defence deals upto Rs.2,000 crore from earlier Rs.500 crore limit to shorten the procurement cycle. Now only deals of Rs.3,000 crore and above would go to the CCS for approval. CCS also increased joint financial powers of Finance Minister and Defence Minister to approve projects up to Rs.3,000 crore, up from the earlier Rs.1,000 crore.  The Defence Secretary also has been given financial powers upto Rs.500 crore to clear deals.

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