Government nod for upgrading 1,896 military officers’ posts (Lead)

October 3rd, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) In a major step aimed at improving career mobility and to improve combat effectiveness by lowering the age profile of commanding officers, the government Friday approved the Defence ministry’s proposal for upgrading 1,896 posts in the armed forces. The upgrades will involve 1,051 posts in the Indian Army, 342 in the Indian Navy and 503 in the Indian Air Force, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The decision is likely to reduce the simmering discontent in the armed forces over a pay panel report that the military says discriminates between them and equivalent civilian government employees.

The upgrades relate to the ranks of colonel to lieutenant general and their equivalents in the other two services.

The decision “will also lead to progressive promotion of junior batches without adversely affecting the promotional aspects of senior batches, thereby reducing the age profile of officers in select ranks”, a defence ministry statement said.

It would also result in a “reduction in stagnation”, the statement added.

The upgrades will be effected in the army and air force over a five year period and in the navy over the next 10 years.

Of the 1,051 posts in the Army, 20 are at the level of lieutenant general, 75 at the major general level, 222 at the brigadier level and 734 at the colonel level.

The corresponding figures in the navy will be four at the vice admiral level, 14 at the rear admiral level and 324 at the commodore/captain level.

In the air force, upgrades will be effected for six posts at the air marshal level, 21 at the air vice marshal level, 61 at the air commodore level and 415 at the group captain level.

The proposals were contained in part two of the report of the Ajay Vikram Singh Committee that was tasked in 2001 with studying the promotional pattern in the armed forces and recommend corrective measures.

The aim of the exercise was to achieve “combat effectiveness” by bringing down the age profile of battalion and brigade level commanders and their equivalents in the other two services.

The committee submitted its report in February 2003 and the defence ministry accorded its in-principle approval to the proposals in September 2003.

The first part of the report relating to ranks from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel was implemented in 2004.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony “had taken a personal interest in implementing the upgrades’ proposal and played a crucial role in evolving consensus (on this) among the services”, the defence ministry statement said.

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