Govt rejects army's promotion policy proposal

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Old 09-Jun-2011
Post Govt rejects army's promotion policy proposal

New Delhi: The Indian government has rejected an army proposal for changing its promotion policy for senior officers, sources said Wednesday.

The army in 2009 had adopted a policy where officers of the rank of major general and above were segregated into two streams of command-and-staff and staff-only. The officers selected for command-and-staff roles commanded troop formations while staff officers handle administrative roles.

In 2010, the army chief, Gen VK Singh, had recommended a single-stream promotion policy for officers, citing a study carried out by the army within its ranks.

The defence ministry Monday overuled the recommendation.

The twin-stream policy had been introduced in 2009 during then army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor's tenure.

Gen. Singh had, in his recommendation for a change in the policy, had cited resentment among major generals selected in the staff-only stream for being overlooked to becoming division and corps commanders, both operational assignments.

The command-and-staff stream officers go on to become commanders of important battle formations, whereas staff-only stream officers have to contend with just desk jobs in these formations and in administrative formations.

The army, as per the ministry's suggestion, asked the Military Secretary's branch to revise the policy recommendations to make it "acceptable" and to iron out deficiencies.

Meanwhile, 44 brigadiers, who were awaiting a decision on their promotion board held in January, have been elevated to the rank of major general under the existing twin-stream policy, army sources said.

Under the government's decision, 27 brigadiers will be accommodated in the command-and-staff stream, while 17 would be in staff-only stream.

About a fortnight ago, the government had approved promotion of 22 major generals to lieutenant generals under the promotion board held in January.

The boards of these officers had been delayed by over six months and it took another six months for the government to approve the recommendations.

Thus, several brigadiers and major generals who retired in the intervening months had lost out on their possible promotions.

Their boards were supposed to be held in October 2010, but the army was hoping the government would approve the change in the promotion policy to single-stream and hence had postponed the boards. Since the government decision had not come till January, the boards were conducted.

When the twin-stream policy was introduced in 2009, it was done keeping in mind the increase in the number of officers in the ranks of brigadiers and major generals after the implementation of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee report in late 2008 on cadre restructuring for senior officers.

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