Govt clears first phase of Army reforms

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)approved implementation of the first phase of recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee which pertain to the Army. These reforms involve redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers, soldiers and civilians in the Army.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley announced that 65 of the 99 recommendations have been approved for implementation. The Ministry of Defence has already begun with the decision to close 39 military farms in a time-bound manner.

These reforms will improve the operational efficiency of the Army by pushing soldiers from non-operational duties to operational tasks. It will free manpower to raise new combat units and increase the strength of existing units.

According to a release by the ministry, the first phase will be completed in all respects by December 31, 2019. Aimed at enhancing combat capability and improving efficiency, these reforms are internal to the Army. Jaitley clarified that these reforms are part of an ongoing process and not related to the recently-concluded standoff with China at Doklam.

The ministry had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Lt General (retd) D B Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces with an aim to increase “teeth-to-tail ratio”.

The committee submitted its report in December 2016 and was considered by the ministry. Its recommendations included far-reaching ones pertaining to higher defence organisation, restructuring and staffing of the ministry, ordnance factories and Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).
While deferring the recommendations involving itself, the ministry chose 99 recommendations which were directly concerned with the three defence services. The minister approved 65 of these recommendations, pertaining to the Army, for implementation.

Sources in the ministry said that recommendations pertaining to the Air Force and Navy are still under discussion with the services and will be announced in due course. The recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee pertaining to higher defence reforms are being studied at the highest levels.

The restructuring announced Wednesday takes forward plans announced by the Army in 2015 after its internal studies whereby the teeth-to-tail ratio was to be improved. The restructuring was to be led by Army Staffing and Establishment Committee (ASEC) at Army headquarters, but those recommendations were largely incorporated in the Shekatkar Committee report.

Reforms approved in this phase include restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include base workshops, advance base workshops and static/station workshops in the field army; redeployment of ordnance echelons to include vehicle depots, ordnance depots and central ordnance depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms; better utilisation of supply and transport echelons and animal transport units; closure of military farms and army postal establishments in peace locations; enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army; and improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.

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India’s first private missile production facility

India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad.

To begin with, the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike and the production is expected to begin in a few weeks. Formed in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre and the policy to encourage private sector participation in defence production, the 51:49 joint venture will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities.

Make in India:

Make in India campaign aims to draw in organizations from around the globe to manufacture and invest in India. The campaign concentrates on facilitating job creation, enforcement to the tertiary and secondary sector, boosting the national economy, making India a self-reliant nation and ensuring that the Indian economy gets international acknowledgement.

The essential target of the campaign is to draw in ventures from over the globe and reinforce India’s assembling segment. It is being driven by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government has, in the last one year, announced several steps to improve the business environment by easing processes to do business in the country and attract foreign investments.

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India’s first private missile production facility

India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad

To begin with, the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike and the production is expected to begin in a few weeks

Formed in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre and the policy to encourage private sector participation in defence production, the 51:49 joint venture will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities.

These include command control and guidance, electro-optics, remote weapon systems, precision-guided munitions and system engineering for system integration. The plant would employ more than 300 engineers and provide indirect employment to 1,000 people.

KRAS, which aims to be a one-stop solution provider to locally re-design, develop, re-engineer and manufacture various land and airborne products and systems in India, has plans for expansion

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India’s first unmanned tank Muntra

India’s first unmanned tank developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been rolled out of the Chennai lab.
Muntra, the unmanned tank, has three variants – surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats. It is likely to be used in Naxal-hit areas.

Muntra-S has been developed for unmanned surveillance missions, whereas Muntra-M is built for detecting mines. Muntra-N, on the other hand, will be deployed in areas where nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk is high.
The vehicle has been tested. It’s surveillance radar, which has an integrated camera can be used to spy on ground target 15km away.

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