DMPQ- . Government has started defence reforms based on Shekatkar Committee recommendations to enhance combat capability of the armed forces. Discuss.

The defence ministry is in the process of implementing a slew of reforms suggested by the committee, headed by Lt Gen. D.B. Shekatkar (retd), which studied how to make the armed forces much leaner, cohesive and modern. Initially, the ministry had considered the report and sent 99 recommendations to the armed forces for making an implementation plan.

In August 2017, then-defence minister Arun Jaitley had approved 65 recommendations pertaining to the Indian Army for implementation.  According to a 2017 report, the Shekatkar Committee had recommended that India’s defence budget should be in the range of 2.5 to 3 per cent of the GDP, keeping in mind possible future threats.

It had also suggested the establishment of a Joint Services War College for training for middle-level officers, even through the three separate war colleges — Mhow, Secunderabad and Goa — could continue to train younger officers for their respective services.  It had also recommended that the Military Intelligence School at Pune be converted to a tri-service intelligence training establishment.

The first phase of the reforms approved by Jaitley involves redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers/JCOs/ORs and civilians.  The report also focuses on optimisation of Signals establishments to include radio monitoring companies, corps air support signal regiments, air formation signal regiments, composite signal regiments, and merger of corps operating and engineering signal regiments.

It included restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include base workshops, advance base workshops and static/station workshops in the field Army.  It also called for the closure of military farms and army postal establishments in peace locations, which is among the recommendations already implemented.

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