The Ministry of Defence has reportedly set up a committee to ensure that the policy for promotion and litigation is made "more objective, transparent and fair." The committee will submit its report to the ministry soon. The move comes following complaints by several senior army officers against promotions within the army.
The Central government has sought to promote options like the Short Service Commission (SSC) to reduce the burden of pensions, while keeping the Indian Army leaner and manned by competent officers, after limited opportunities at the senior level resulted in a sense of stagnation, the Times of India reported.
Several senior army officers have complained against the Indian Army's promotion policy, especially the 'quantification-based'' selection system and the current practice of dividing into two the promotion of Brigadiers and higher ranks into 'command' and 'staff' streams. The Centre had appointed the committee in mid-January to review the entire promotion policy of the army.
The committee, which comprises of two retired Lieutenant Generals, GS Katoch and AK Ahuja, have been asked to recommend amendments to the quantification-based' selection system as well as changes in the method of calculating vacancies. The committee has also been asked to provide cut-off confidential reports, special promotion reviews, suggest zone of consideration and notional empanelment among other things.
Promotions up to the Lieutenant Colonel rank in the Indian Army, which consists of around 41,000 officers and 11.32 lakh soldiers, are time-bound if the requisite exams are cleared. Promotions to the rank of Colonels and above are done on the basis of the results of the selection boards.
"Only three to four from 100 officers make it to the Major General rank. So, there is obviously a lot of heartburn, with many good officers being passed over. Therefore, the promotion system needs to be revamped to ensure only merit, not any other consideration, is taken into account," a senior officer told TOI.
The secretary branch of the armed forces, which is responsible for promotions and postings of army officers, has also been accused of favouritism and corruption. There was a big controversy over the 'Command Exit Model,' the 2009 promotion policy for Colonels, with officers from the armoured corps and other arms and services alleging that the policy was in favour of infantry and artillery officers.