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Rajnath Singh clears proposals to reorganise Army headquarters

The defence minister’s approval was given based on an internal study carried out by the Army headquarters in Delhi.

Updated: Aug 22, 2019, 09.37 AM IST
Rajnath Singh
The defence minister’s approval was given based on an internal study carried out by the Army headquarters in Delhi.
NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh has approved certain proposals on the reorganisation of the Army headquarters, including the setting up a first of its kind human rights cell, manned by a police officer. This will be the first time that a police officer will be posted to the Army headquarters.

The proposals also include the setting up of a vigilance cell for probing corruption allegations. This will be under Army chief General Bipin Rawat and comprise officers from Army, Air Force and Navy, with the tri-service representation ensuring a comprehensive view of each case.

Over 200 officers will be relocated from the Army headquarters to field formations to make up for the officer shortage in the ground units and strengthen the leadership for commanding troops.

The defence minister’s approval was given based on an internal study carried out by the Army headquarters in Delhi. This study, along with three others, were aimed at restructuring the Army towards handling future challenges.

The human rights section will be headed by an additional director general, a major general rank officer, under the army’s vice chief. A police officer of SSP or SP rank will be taken on deputation here, “to enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section”. The move is believed to lead to better cooperation with other organisations, including paramilitary forces.

“To give priority to observance of human rights convention and values, it has been decided to set up a special human rights section,” the ministry said. The Army often faces allegations of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.

A separate body called the Vigilance Cell will be set up under the Army chief. Presently, the vigilance function is conducted through multiple agencies and there is no single-point interface. “Accordingly, ADG (vigilance) will be placed directly under the COAS for this purpose. It will have three colonel-level officers (one each from the Army, Air Force and Navy). This will be done within the existing posts at the Army headquarters,” the ministry said.

The move was necessitated by the government directing all organisations to have their vigilance units directly under its head which, in this case, is the Army chief. The Army’s field formations already have vigilance setups to investigate corruption allegations. Personnel from the army’s Corps of Military Police (CMP) will be part of this unit and carry out inquiries.

Meanwhile, 206 officers will be transferred from the headquarters to formations and units. They include three major generals, eight brigadiers, nine colonels and 186 lieutenant colonels and majors. It comes amid units operating at half their authorised officer strength –– with just 10-12 officers against the authorised strength of 20-25 –– which is adding to the strain on them.

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