The Army will soon change its promotion policy for senior officers above the Major General rank, discarding a system introduced in January last year at the initiative of then Chief General Deepak Kapoor.
The existing system had led to the Generals being bifurcated into 'command' and 'staff' streams thereby denying a section of the Major Generals opportunity to command a fighting formation and getting to serving only in staff postings.
Present Army Chief Gen V K Singh, who succeeded Kapoor, has mooted the proposal to discard the system due to the "resentment" among the General officer cadre -- Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals, a senior officer in the Army headquarters said here today.
He also made a presentation to the Defence Ministry in this regard after obtaining feedback on the present system, which was based on "quantifying" qualities for promotion on the basis of their Annual Confidential Reports, performance in command courses.
Defence Minister A K Antony has given his "in-principle" approval to the proposed changes, but has asked the Army to ensure that "personal favouritism and prejudices of senior officers did not come in the way of eligible officers missing the bus," the officer said.
The Army has about 90 Lieutenant Generals and 290 Major Generals in its ranks at present.
"The existing system had provided for 95 per cent of the marks to ACRs and courses and only 5 per cent to the promotion board. The human angle had been almost completely eliminated, thereby giving less weightage to assessment by the board members. Hence the shift in policy was necessitated due to resentment among the General officer cadre over lost opportunities," the officer said.
"The idea is to provide opportunity to eligible officers to rise up in the ranks and also to assess them for promotions by giving equal weightage to both their qualities exhibited in the boards and on performance during their long careers," he added.
As per the existing policy, the Generals approved for 'command' stream would head operational formations such as a Division, while the 'staff' stream officers would only get administrative positions in formations such as Chief of Staff and not become General Officer Commanding.
The new system would provide all Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals an opportunity to prove their merit in taking up command of operational formations.
The changes in the promotion policy, the officer said, was to ensure that "upright and competent" officers made the cut to higher ranks.
This shift in the policy comes in the wake of some top Army officers coming under the scanner in cases such as the Sukna land scam in West Bengal and Adarsh Housing Society episode in Mumbai.