- The Army plans to reduce its manpower by around 27,000 soldiers in organisations not part of its regular field formations and units
- This will entail a saving of about Rs 1,600 crore
- The proposal aims to withdraw soldiers deployed in ‘non-core activities’
The Army plans to reduce its manpower by around 27,000 soldiers in organisations not part of its regular field formations and units, which will entail a saving of about Rs 1,600 crore, as part of the overall strategy to right-size the 12.5-lakh force grappling with a huge revenue expenditure and salary bill.
There are about 1.75 lakh officers and soldiers currently deployed in organisations ranging from Military Engineer Services, National Cadet Corps, Border Roads Organisation, Territorial Army and Sainik Schools to the operationally-crucial Assam Rifles, Rashtriya Rifles and Strategic Forces Command, all of which do not come under the regular standing Army.
“A new comprehensive study, chaired by the director-general (perspective planning) at the Army headquarters, has recommended the reduction of Army manpower in such organisations by about 27,000 personnel as well as their restructuring for better efficiency and effectiveness,” said a source.
Army sends plan to defence ministry
The proposal, which aims to withdraw soldiers deployed in ‘non-core activities’ in such establishments called ‘composition table-2’ (CT-2) organisations, is now being forwarded to the defence ministry for approval,” he added.
This proposed reduction is part of the larger reforms to transform the Army into a lean, mean, rapidly-deployable and operationally versatile force, which will among other things entail slashing manpower by around 1.5 lakh personnel over the next six-seven years to save around Rs6,000-Rs7,000 crore annually in revenue expenditure.
As was first reported by TOI last year, the Army conducted four studies on force reorganisation and optimisation, flattening headquarters at different levels, cadre review and terms of engagement for officers and jawans, which are to be gradually implemented after requisite approvals from this year onwards.
Sources say the government sanction letter (GSL) to kick off the first batch of reforms to restructure and down-size the Army headquarters in New Delhi “will be issued any day now”. The measures include relocation of 229 officers on staff duties to frontline operational posts and creation of a new post of deputy chief (strategy) for military operations, intelligence, logistics and strategic planning, among others.
The Army is getting to begin raising new integrated battle groups that can mobilise fast and strike hard across the borders with Pakistan and China, as part of its ongoing endeavour to reformat its entire war-fighting machinery.