New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the first batch of reforms in the Army including relocation of 206 officers from the Army headquarters, setting up of a separate vigilance cell and forming an umbrella organisation to focus on human rights issues.
Last year, the Army, based on 12 independent studies, finalised a reform roadmap to make the 1.3 million-strong force leaner and meaner as well as to enhance its combat capabilities.
“The defence minister has approved certain decisions regarding re-organisation of Army headquarters,” the defence ministry said.
It said 206 Army officers are being relocated from the Army headquarters and they will be be made available to various field formations and units.
The officers to be relocated include three major generals, eight brigadiers, nine colonel and 186 Lt Colonel/Major.
Another key approval given by Singh is to set up a separate vigilance cell under the Army Chief with tri-services representation.
Presently, the vigilance department operates through multiple agencies and there is no single point interface.
“An independent vigilance cell will be made functional under Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Accordingly, Additional Director General (vigilance) will be placed directly under the COAS for it,” the ministry said.
The vigilance cell will have three Colonel-level officers, one each from Army, Indian Air Force and Navy.
According to officials, the umbrella organisation for human rights issues will operate under the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).
Officials said it is being set up to accord high priority to human rights convention and values.
“It has been decided to set up a special human rights section headed by ADG (Major General rank officer) directly under the VCOAS,” the ministry said.
The organisation will be nodal point to examine any reports of violation of human rights.
“To enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section, a Police officer of SSP/SP rank will be taken on deputation,” said the ministry.
The reform initiatives were finalised by top commanders of the Army in October last year to usher in transformative reforms in the force.
The reforms will also include restructuring the Army’s officer cadre, bringing down age of key commands, arresting rising revenue expenditure and “right-sizing” the force.