Independent India's first major Army overhaul: Why Shekatkar recommendations are significant
The decision by the Union Government to announce a massive restructuring of the Indian Army will provide a boost the Army's combat potential. This exercise would see 57,000 soldiers being re-deployed in combat roles. This is a move being hailed as the first such exercise in Independent India's military history.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government's decision was aimed at improving the tail to toe ratio- the number of personnel (tail) required to support a combat soldier (tooth).
"Implementation has begun with the decision of the cabinet committee on security to close 39 military farms in a time bound manner," a defence ministry spokesperson said.
The entire process of restructuring would be completed by December 2019. The army has around 40,525 officers and 1.15 million other ranks.
As a result of this restructuring military farms and army postal units in peace stations would be shut down. A revamp of different wings which would include logistics, communications establishments, repair facilities, ordnance depots and other administrative and support areas will also be undertaken.
A 11 member committee headed by lieutenant general DB Shekatkar (retd) had been set up. The panel recommended various ways 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.
Following Wednesday's Cabinet decision, the Defence Ministry would implement the first batch of 65 out of 99 recommendations made by the panel. The remaining suggestions are relating to the Indian Air Force, Navy and tri-service issues.
In all the panel had made 188 suggestions. 99 were accepted by the government in March.