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From Colonel to Major General

The Indian Army is in the process of restructuring its officer cadre by doing away with the rank of Brigadier to ensure better career prospects and parity with the civil services. Sources disclosed that the force would like to cut down the number of its ranks from nine to six or seven. The civil services have just six designations or ranks. While armed forces stuck to their colonial rank structures, the civil services and the IPS have proliferated their higher ranks to meet aspirations of their cadres. According to senior officers, “the multiplier impact of this has led to systematic degradation of the ranks in the armed forces as well as lower pay scales.” The over 12-lakh strong Indian Army has about 42,000 officers at present. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has ordered a high-level committee headed by the Military Secretary, a Lt-General rank officer, to study all aspects of the officer cadre restructuring and submit a report by November-end. “The proposal to abolish the Brigadier rank is just a proposal as of now. It requires comprehensive analysis before a final decision is taken. All modern armies routinely undertake such studies to remain dynamic and effective. An internal paper on cadre review also says that the rank of Lieutenant should be assigned to its “gentlemen cadets” in their last year of training at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. Consequently, officers on being commissioned into the Army should directly get the rank of Captain instead of first becoming Lieutenants. With the rank of Brigadier being abolished, the paper says, Colonels who are approved for the next rank should become Major-Generals and command brigades (which have three battalions of 800-1,000 soldiers each). Senior Major-Generals, in turn, will command divisions (each has three brigades). In bureaucratic parallel, Colonels and Brigadiers who enjoy the rank of Director will be upgraded to Joint Secretary level once they are promoted as Major Generals.

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