Shekatkar Committee 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 approves Shekatkar Committee recommendations to reform military

The Union Defence Ministry has approved most of the proposals of a committee of experts, headed by Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar (Retd) to bring host of reforms in the military and improve financial management.

Around 90 recommendations have been of the committee were approved. Most of these recommendations are measures to increase coordination among the three Services and cut down flab in Army to make it lean and agile.

Some recommendations of Committee
  • Capital expenditure: Roll-on defence budget must have enough capital expenditure available for modernisation.
  • It must be against the present practice of surrendering unspent capital budget at the end of each financial year.
  • Performance audit: It must be conducted of non-combat organisations under the Defence Ministry.
  • It must include those dealing with defence estates and accounts, Director- General of Quality Assurance, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and National Cadet Corps (NCC).
  • Downsizing or rationalisation of manpower: It will lead to significant savings.
  • Joint services war college: It must be established for training middle-level officers.
  • Reduce deployment of active-duty soldiers in avoidable postings: They will be replaced by retired officers and jawans in the running of NCC.
  • Comprehensive reforms in the running of NCC: Transfer of NCC out of the Defence Ministry to the HRD Ministry: NCC can be run by re-employed or on-contract ex-service personnel.

Implications

If recommendations of committee are implemented over the next five years, government can save up to Rs. 25,000 crore from the current defence expenditure.

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