In a first ever exercise after Independence, the Ministry of Defence, in consultation with the Indian Army, has decided to reform the Indian Army to enhance its combat readiness. These decisions were approved by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
The first phase of the reforms involves redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers/JCOs/ORs and civilians. Major reforms concerning the following have been approved:-
• Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
• Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static/Station Workshops in the field Army.
• Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
• Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units.
• Closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.
•Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
•Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
Implementation has begun with the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security to close 39 military farms in a time bound manner.
The Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) (Dr.) DB Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing of Combat Capability and Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase "teeth to tail ratio".
The Committee of experts had submitted its report to the Ministry in December, 2016, which was considered by the Ministry of Defence and 99 recommendations were sent to the Armed Forces for making an implementation plan. The Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has approved 65 of these recommendations pertaining to the Indian Army for implementation.
These reforms will be completed in all respects by 31 December 2019. Restructuring by the Indian Army is aimed at enhancing Combat Capability in a manner that the officers/JCOs/ORs will be used for improving operational preparedness and civilians will be redeployed in different wings of the Armed Forces for improving efficiency.