New Delhi, Oct. 25: Army commanders’ meeting here this week have revived a proposal to create a new rank among its Generals and a formula for a voluntary retirement scheme for officers from Colonel upwards.
Last year, too, the army had sounded out the government on an internal committee (known as the Bagga Commission) recommendation to create the rank of Colonel-General, but the ministry of defence had practically shelved the idea.
A discussion on “greening” the army, which is listed in the agenda for the bi-annual commanders’ conference, which concludes tomorrow.
The suggestion for a voluntary retirement scheme flows from a perceived need to allow superceded officers to opt out of service with a financial cushion.
Supercession usually begins from the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel upwards. The army has been pointing out that promotions are tardier in comparison with the civil and the police services.
If the proposal for a voluntary retirement scheme is accepted, an estimated 2,000 senior officers would have the option of leaving the service with “golden handshakes” of Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakh.
The retirement scheme will also pave the way for younger officers to pick up senior ranks.
The army top brass has also noted that though several of the officers are used for United Nations peacekeeping duties, they often do not enjoy the seniority their years of service merit, because many other armies have ranks — such as Colonel-General — that are deemed to be higher than Lieutenant-General.
The proposal to create the rank of “Colonel-General” — between the ranks of Lieutenant -General and General — is being reconsidered after it was first made by the Bagga Committee.
Lieutenant General H.S. Bagga retired as Director-General (manpower planning and organisation) in the army headquarters.
During the commanders’ conference, as usual, the top brass has formed promotion boards for ranks from Brigadier upwards. There are more than 11,000 officer vacancies in the army.
Among the officer cadre of the army, there are presently an estimated 200 Major Generals and 60 Lt. Generals.
The Bagga Committee has proposed that the rank of Colonel-General be conferred on army commanders — general officers commanding the six army commands — and principal staff officers in the army headquarters — a total of about 24 posts.