New Delhi : Posts of the brigadier and lieutenant colonel in the Indian Army are likely to be abolished to increase the promotional chances of the officers under the revamp of the Army being worked out.
There will be then seven ranks. The change is expected by this year end or early next year after the government receives the report of four specialist panels constituted under four retired lieutenant generals on various aspects of revamping the Army, the Army sources said.
The proposals so far given the final shape envisage that an officer in the rank of the major will be directly promoted as the colonel, a selection grade post, while the colonel will be directly promoted as the major general. So far the posts up to the Lt. Colonel were the time-scale posts.
One of the panels working on the revamp agreed that most of the officers get a brake on their career at the stage of the colonel. It means most of the officers retired at the rank of the colonel which is equivalent to the post of a director in the civil services where as those joining the central services mostly reach the rank of joint secretary and above. A solution to the problem was felt in reducing the total number of ranks.
Another issue that attracted the attention is the different retirement ages in the Army as against one joining the civilian cadre like IAS or IPS superannuates only at 60. If a Lt Colonel is not promoted, he retires at 52 while the colonel retires at 54 unless promoted to the next rank of brigadier. The retirement age of brigadier is 56, Major General 58 and Lt General 60. The General or Chief of Army Staff has tenure up to 62 years.
The Army sources said there is not much stagnation in the Navy and the Air Force because of lesser ranks. The rank equivalent to that of colonel in the Navy is Captain and in the Air Force who become Commodore and Air Commodore within a few years. Since only three colonels are promoted as brigadiers out of 10, most of them are retired at 54.
Earlier there used to be 10 ranks in the Army and one used to join as a second lieutenant after completing the course in the defence academy. The post of the second lieutenant is, however, abolished and so all join straight in the rank of the lieutenants.