Major restructuring at headquarters awaits approval of Appointments Committee

Krishn Kaushik
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The HQ restructure was one of the four studies commissioned by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in June 2018. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

The Army's plan to restructure staff and operations at its Headquarters (HQ) is awaiting approval from the government's Appointments Committee while the Ministry of Defence has given its go-ahead, sources told The Indian Express.

According to the restructure plan, the HQ will have a senior officer for human rights who will directly report to the Vice Chief of the Army.

Another senior vigilance officer reporting to the Army Chief and approximately 100 officers will be moved out to the field in a bid to "prune the headquarters and send officers to the field," senior Army sources said.

The changes will remove duplications at the HQ as several officers are performing similar duties currently, they said.

However, they added that the revamp will not have any effect on the number of Lieutenant Generals at the HQ and will also be "revenue neutral".

The HQ restructure was one of the four studies commissioned by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in June 2018.

According to sources, though the Defence Ministry is on board with the proposed changes, "they said they will have to go to the Appointments Committee" of the government, as new senior posts are being created and others are being merged.

They added that the force had made "quite a lot of headway" with regard to the revamp and had also made a presentation to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

According to them, there has not been rejig in the HQ since Independence and "add-ons" were made according to requirements over the years, which led to "duplication".

They mentioned that during the Doklam stand off between India and China in 2017, it was felt that "everything was under different verticals", which meant that there were several officers providing similar inputs to the Army leadership.

Sources said that during crisis situations an operations and planning steering committee is created to advise the Vice Chief. During the Doklam standoff, "everybody was coming and pitching in," they said, adding that it was felt that the group should be permanent.

After the restructure, there will be "single point advice" for the Vice Chief. A Deputy Chief will look after military operations, intelligence, perspective and information warfare. It will be a newly-created post.

Another Deputy Chief for capability development and sustenance will look after capital and revenue procurements.

Currently, an Additional Director General, a Major General-rank officer, heads discipline and vigilance and reports to the Adjutant General. After the rejig, the officer will only handle discipline and an ADG for vigilance will report directly to the Army Chief. The office will also have officers from the Navy and the Air Force.

Similarly, an ADG for human rights will report to the Vice Chief and will have an SP rank IPS officer.

There will also be an ADG for foreign cooperation reporting to the Vice Chief.

In another significant change, the Director General for the Rashtriya Rifles and all its staff will be moved to the Northern Command.