Army plans to reduce force strength

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Army plans to reduce force strength

The 1.3-million strong Army is facing an increasing burden of revenue expenditure and pensions, leaving very little funds for modernisation.

The force restructuring that the Army is aiming to undertake, thereby reducing its strength by 1.5 lakh men, is expected to save ₹5,000 crore to ₹7,000 crore a year in revenue expenditure, defence sources say.

The progress of four independent studies under way will be reviewed by the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, at a conference with the seven Army commanders on Tuesday.

“The idea is to place the studies for a threadbare discussion at the Army Commanders’ Conference next month and finalise the modalities and roll out the plan by November-December,” a defence source said.

The studies being carried out by separate groups with seven or eight officers each are tasked with looking into restructuring of the Army headquarters. The restructuring includes cutting down the strength, cadre review of officers and review of terms and conditions of junior commissioned officers and other ranks.

The reduction in strength, which will be carried out in a phased manner, is expected to save at least ₹5000-7000 crore annually and will add at least 20% to the existing capital expenditure of the budget, the source added.

The 1.3-million strong Army is facing an increasing burden of revenue expenditure and pensions, leaving very little funds for modernisation.

Apart from reducing the strength to make the force leaner and better equipped, the Army is also mulling doing away with the rank of Brigadier and brigade headquarters as part of the officer cadre review. This is expected to free up significant number of officers who will be available for field duties. Army headquarters too is likely to see a major churn with several departments doing overlapping functions merged or off-loaded away from the headquarters.

Several attempts have been made in the past to restructure the force, but this time it is at a much broader level to undertake a radical reform, one official observed.

 (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a The Hindu.)

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