Recommendations of the Lt Gen Shekatkar Committee were submitted to defence minister Manohar Parrikar
The report also touches upon the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff
In order to enhance their combat capabilities, a key defence ministry panel has made several recommendations including increasing the retirement age of jawans by two years, doing away with manpower in non-combat arms and shutting down military farms.
The recommendations of the Lt Gen Shekatkar Committee were submitted to defence minister Manohar Parrikar almost three weeks ago.
The report also touches upon the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff – who would be the single point contact for the military with the government.
The main aim of the committee was to suggest means to cut down on useless expenditure and use the savings to acquire and enhance fighting capabilities of the army.
One of the most important recommendations of the committee was to increase the retirement age of jawans by two years, which will help the army save a significant amount on pensions and training of personnel.
Army jawans retire after serving a minimum of 17 years and depending upon their promotion while in service.
‘If the recommendations are accepted, jawans and junior commissioned officers till the rank of subedar major will get two more years of service,’ ministry sources told Mail Today.
‘This will reduce the cost of training new jawans along with the problem of providing them reemployment. Of the one million jawans in the army, almost 60,000 retire every year.
‘For two years, the forces can also save on recruiting new manpower,’ they said.
The Shekatkar committee has also suggested ‘optimising’ non-combat support arms in the army such as supply corps, ordnance and electrical and mechanical engineers who service cars and heavy vehicles.
‘Even in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, one can get private agencies close to the border to service and repair army vehicles,’ the sources said.
Same applies for certain functions of the supply and ordnance corps like supplying rations and clothes to the forces.
Their roles can be limited to during war and other critical assignments.
The committee has also recommended abolishing military and dairy farms, where several thousand army personnel and a considerable number of officers are involved in mundane tasks like cattle rearing and growing vegetables.
The committee has also called for downsizing the remount veterinary corps, which looks after horses and mules for ceremonial as well as operations in the higher Himalayan regions of J&K and Arunachal Pradesh.
‘With helicopters and road networks allowing vehicles to reach the last points of border areas and mountains, there is no need to maintain such a large force of mules,’ the sources said.
The NCC is also on the radar of the Shekatkar committee as a large number of officers from the Army are sent there.
‘The committee feels that retiring personnel can be trained and sent there as re-employment. This will save the army the regular personnel for operational duties,’ the sources said.