The army is seriously contemplating about a proposal to shed up to 1.5 lakh jobs.
As per a report by Vishnu Som of NDTV, the army is concerned about antique weapons in its arsenal. If they decide to cut jobs, as per calculations they would save between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 7,000 crore which could be used to bump up its capital expenditure account used to maintain and replenish the stock of weaponry that it currently holds.
In March, the then Vice Chief of the Army, Lt General Sarath Chand told a parliamentary panel,
“The state today is [that] 68 per cent of our equipment is in the vintage category with just about 24 per cent in the current and 8 per cent in the state-of-the-art category.”
In order to enhance the efficiency of the Armed Forces and make them war-ready, the job cuts are likely to be effected over a span of four to five years under an overarching cade review, according to a Hindustan Times report.
The cadre review aims at cutting the personnel strength of the 1.2-million strong force and merge different verticals to optimise its functioning.
Military Secretary Lt. Gen JS Sandhu is heading a 11 member panel that will review the current proposal. An initial report will be presented to the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat by end of September and subsequently a final report will be prepared and submitted in November this year.
“Merging of some verticals and rationalising roles are likely to result in cutting 50,000 troops over the next two years. A reduction of 100,000 more personnel may be possible by 2022-23. But all this is in the study phase right now,” an official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
Sources in the army have clarified that the proposal being looked at to reduce manpower is yet to be accepted. There is no question of laying off serving officers and soldiers. 60,000 personnel retire from the army every year. They have also suggested that if the army were to reduce it manpower, it would do so by cutting down on its annual recruitment spread over a few years.
The cadre review order said that the expansion of different verticals over the years resulted in duplication of charters and associated manning. There is need of restructuring and merging within verticals, it added.
“As far as overlapping duties in logistics departments is concerned, there has to be a structured analysis to see if duplication in functioning can be streamlined into lesser number of modules,” said former Northern Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd).
In August 2017, the government had announced a plan to restructure the Army and redeploy 57,000 soldiers in combat roles to enhance the force’s fighting edge.