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A Tribune Special
Officers suffer in Army-MoD promotion tussle
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 25
As the Army and the Ministry of Defence continue to nitpick over the proposed changes in the promotion policy for Army officers of the Brigadier rank and above, five senior Major-Generals have retired in the past few months and many are on their way out of the force after a frustrating wait to be considered for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant-General.

That’s not all. Two Major-Generals are set to relinquish office at the end of this month. By May-end, another four Major-Generals are slated to retire while three more will follow suit by July end. All this because the Army did not hold promotion boards on time.

As per rules, these retired officers were to be considered for promotion in July 2010. The selection board was delayed till January 2011 and the results of the same are still not out. All thanks to the confusion created by a new policy proposed for promotion, which aims to amend the one introduced just two years ago, in 2009. The MoD is not agreeing to it and has referred the matter to the Law Ministry for opinion, as it is not convinced about such rapid changes.

Once promoted as a Lieutenant-General, an officer goes on to head a corps or one of the seven Army commands, besides getting additional two years of service, till the age of 60.

According to the Army’s promotion policy, a meeting of the promotion board needs to be held at least six months prior to the date of creation of the first vacancy in the next rank. There were 3-4 vacancies of Lieutenant-Generals as on January 1 this year and, logically, the promotion board of Major-Generals should have been held in July 2010. However, the board was held only on January 7, 2011 and the minutes were sent for the MoD’s approval in February. The MoD said the promotion board was conducted as per the promotion policy that was still not approved.

Decision on Army Chief’s age soon: Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday said the government would soon take a decision on the issue of the age of present Army Chief Gen VK Singh but refused to set a deadline. “We have to examine the whole thing and ultimately take a decision,” he said.





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