Changes in Army promotion policy for top officers

The Army will soon change its promotion policy for senior officers above the Major General rank, discarding a system introduced in January last year at the initiative of then Chief General Deepak Kapoor.

Updated: Nov 03, 2010, 21:37 PM IST

New Delhi: The Army will soon change its
promotion policy for senior officers above the Major General
rank, discarding a system introduced in January last year at
the initiative of then Chief General Deepak Kapoor.

The existing system had led to the Generals being
bifurcated into `command` and `staff` streams thereby denying
a section of the Major Generals opportunity to command a
fighting formation and getting to serving only in staff
postings.

Present Army Chief Gen V K Singh, who succeeded Kapoor,
has mooted the proposal to discard the system due to the
"resentment" among the General officer cadre -- Major Generals
and Lieutenant Generals, a senior officer in the Army
headquarters said here today.

He also made a presentation to the Defence Ministry in
this regard after obtaining feedback on the present system,
which was based on "quantifying" qualities for promotion on
the basis of their Annual Confidential Reports, performance in
command courses.

Defence Minister A K Antony has given his "in-principle"
approval to the proposed changes, but has asked the Army to
ensure that "personal favouritism and prejudices of senior
officers did not come in the way of eligible officers missing
the bus," the officer said.

The Army has about 90 Lieutenant Generals and 290 Major
Generals in its ranks at present.

"The existing system had provided for 95 per cent of the
marks to ACRs and courses and only 5 per cent to the promotion
board. The human angle had been almost completely eliminated,
thereby giving less weightage to assessment by the board
members. Hence the shift in policy was necessitated due to
resentment among the General officer cadre over lost
opportunities," the officer said.

"The idea is to provide opportunity to eligible officers
to rise up in the ranks and also to assess them for promotions
by giving equal weightage to both their qualities exhibited in
the boards and on performance during their long careers," he
added.

As per the existing policy, the Generals approved for
`command` stream would head operational formations such as a
Division, while the `staff` stream officers would only get
administrative positions in formations such as Chief of Staff
and not become General Officer Commanding.

The new system would provide all Major Generals and
Lieutenant Generals an opportunity to prove their merit in
taking up command of operational formations.

The changes in the promotion policy, the officer said,
was to ensure that "upright and competent" officers made the
cut to higher ranks.

This shift in the policy comes in the wake of some top
Army officers coming under the scanner in cases such as the
Sukna land scam in West Bengal and Adarsh Housing Society
episode in Mumbai.

-PTI