What are the Shekatkar Committee recommendations?
The Government decided to carry out a series of reform initiatives in the Indian Army. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that 65 out of 99 recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee pertaining to army have been accepted. The panel was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability of the armed forces.
What are the Lt General Shekatkar Committee recommendations:
Defence panel raises retirement age of soldiers by two years to 'cut new recruitment cost'
In order to enhance their combat capabilities, a key defence ministry panel has made several recommendations including increasing the retirement age of jawans by two years, doing away with manpower in non-combat arms and shutting down military farms.
One of the most important recommendations of the committee was to increase the retirement age of jawans by two years, which will help the army save a significant amount on pensions and training of personnel.
Army jawans retire after serving a minimum of 17 years and depending upon their promotion while in service. 'This will reduce the cost of training new jawans along with the problem of providing them reemployment. Of the one million jawans in the army, almost 60,000 retire every year.
The Shekatkar committee has also suggested 'optimising' non-combat support arms in the army such as supply corps, ordnance and electrical and mechanical engineers who service cars and heavy vehicles.
'Even in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, one can get private agencies close to the border to service and repair army vehicles.'
Same applies for certain functions of the supply and ordnance corps like supplying rations and clothes to the forces.
Their roles can be limited to during war and other critical assignments.
The committee had also recommended abolishing military and dairy farms, where several thousand army personnel and a considerable number of officers are involved in mundane tasks like cattle rearing and growing vegetables.
The committee had also called for downsizing the remount veterinary corps, which looks after horses and mules for ceremonial as well as operations in the higher Himalayan regions of J&K and Arunachal Pradesh.
The committee had further specifically pointed at re-organising the role of certain organisations like the DRDO, DGQA, Defence Estates, Defence Accounts, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
It had also made recommendations on restructuring of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and has suggested bringing it under the administrative control of the ministry of human resources than MoD.
Optimal use and integration of manpower and resources by re-deploying ex-servicemen including retired officers and JCOs in various organisations had also been proposed.
The committee had proposed allocations of more funds with latest technology spend.
Recommendation on having a Joint Services War College that runs a one year combined course for all the three forces besides having a tri-service Intelligence training establishment have also been made.
The committee had also recommended having the position of the four-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who it said be made the chief single-point adviser to the defence minister on military matters.
The committee while recommending higher budget allocations for India's defence sector had also advocated for increased financial powers of all the three service chiefs.