India to cut ‘flab’ of 1.2 million-strong Army

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by FRYCRY, Mar 6, 2016.


    FRYCRY Regular Member

    Jun 29, 2015
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    India will cut the “flab” in its 1.2-million-strong Army, a decision taken also in view of the sharply rising amount needed for defence pensions. However, the move will not affect the Army’s fighting formations.

    Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said the Army has been asked to “calibrate” the move, which essentially means that the Army will identify the wings in which it has excess unproductive manpower and its extent. As part of fiscal accountability, the government is also utilising money from an account in which, till June last year, about $3 billion (about Rs 20,000 crore) was lying unused though it was supposed to fund acquisitions by India from the US under the Foreign Military Sales Agreement. The government has used money from this account to pay some of its liabilities and the account now contains about $1.7 billion, Mr Parrikar said. Sources said it was because of mismanagement earlier that such a huge amount of Indian money was lying idle and that the government had turned its attention to it after discovering, to its shock, that the account contained so much idle money.

    The Army is expected to assess its manpower situation in all wings and inform the government about it. Elaborating on the move to cut the Army’s flab, Mr Parrikar gave an example of telephone operators, indicating that such jobs had become obsolete in view of current technology.

    Experts say cutting the Army’s flab makes good sense in order to make it a “leaner and meaner” fighting machine provided there is adequate technological upgradation, which has not happened in India. “The Chinese PLA can afford to cut down on its manpower flab because it has engaged in technological upgradation for the past 30 years, but the same cannot be said in equal measure for the situation in India where modern weaponry in several areas has not been acquired for decades,” a source pointed out. The 1.2-million-strong Indian Army has about 36,000 officers. After implementation of the one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme, the defence pension annual bill has shot up by about Rs 22,000 crore and will stand at a total of about Rs 82,000 crore in the coming financial year 2016-17.

    Mr Parrikar said the defence budget — excluding defence pensions — for 2016-17 of about Rs 2.59 lakh crore accounts for about a sixth (17.23 per cent) of the overall defence expenditure.

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