All the Chief's Men: Quotas rule promotions in a “Mandalised” army - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 13 January 2012

All the Chief's Men: Quotas rule promotions in a “Mandalised” army

These NDA cadets are all equal when they start. But not so when they become officers in various arms. Skewed promotion policies will give many of them an unfair edge over the others

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 14th Jan 12

A recent letter, boldly written by a serving lieutenant colonel to the army chief, General V K Singh says: “PROFESSIONAL DISCRIMINATION is upgrading (sic) into SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION. The formidable INDIAN ARMY is developing cracks. What the enemy would have loved to foster, is happening on its own.”

Says a senior officer of the mechanised forces who was recently promoted, but sees equally competent compatriots being overtaken by lesser officers: “The Indian army has been effectively Mandalised. The traditional meritocracy of senior rank has given way to a shoddy system of quotas that is placing unconfident and incompetent officers to command troops in battle.”

* * *

People sometimes wonder what drives soldiers in the face of death. The answer, surprisingly, is not patriotism, religion, discipline, bloodlust, or a quest for glory. Instead, most soldiers affirm that a shared brotherhood with their comrades is what drives them through mortal danger. The ones who die do so in the belief that death is better than besmirching the legacy of their unit or sub-unit.

“Soldiers live and die for the name of their unit alone,” says Brigadier Virendar Singh who led the assault on the 21,000-feet-high Bana Post above the Siachen Glacier in 1987, one of India’s most stirring military exploits.

Reflecting this philosophy, combat units are structured around the regimental system. Combat arms, which include the infantry (foot soldiers) and the armoured corps (tank men), are all organised into regiments or groups. These include legends like the Gurkha regiment, the Sikh Light Infantry and the Brigade of Guards. The armoured corps has a plethora of famous regiments like 4 Horse, Skinner’s Horse, and 3rd Cavalry.

Officers and jawans go straight from initial training into their unit, a tightly-bonded fraternity of 550 to 800 men. For the duration of their field service, they serve with that same unit, imbibing its ethos and character. Their uniform bears its distinctive symbols — cap badges, shoulder titles, belts, flashes and lanyards — which reaffirm their identity. They soak in, and revel in, their unit’s history, its battle honours and the personalities that it produced.

But the iron framework of the regimental system has now morphed into a monster that is ripping apart the fabric of the army as a whole. The legitimate aim of the regimental system — galvanising esprit de corps in combat units — has been short-sightedly extended into the competition for promotions and postings. Over the preceding decade, a string of army chiefs from two arms — the infantry and the artillery — have fiddled with promotion policies to boost the career prospects of officers from their arms. But every winner also creates a loser in the zero-sum contest to fill a very limited number of promotion vacancies. The losers in this divisive move are the armoured corps and the mechanised infantry, arms that have traditionally produced a high share of the army’s generals. Also on the losing side are combat support arms like the engineers and signals and the logistical services that sustain the combat soldiers.

The tool that has unfairly boosted the prospects of infantry and artillery officers is referred to within the army as “pro-rata” — a Mandal-Commission-style directive that guarantees each arm a fixed number of promotion vacancies, regardless of merit. Pro-rata began in 2002 under an artillery chief, General S Padmanabhan, and was consolidated by his successors: General N C Vij (infantry), General J J Singh (infantry) and General Deepak Kapoor (artillery). In 2009, when General Kapoor was the army chief, this institutionally-debilitating move was translated into formal policy.

Pro-rata rejects the widely accepted belief that senior rank must be awarded on merit, not on quota. Senior officers hold on to their regimental links, which get translated at senior rank into patrimonial ties.

Consider the appointments made by the current army chief, General Singh, from his Rajput Regiment. While Singh has been a relatively fair chief, he has posted officers from the regiment to practically every crucial appointment: the deputy chief of army staff, the director general of military operations, the adjutant general (responsible for discipline and manpower planning), the military secretary who posts and promotes officers, and the additional director general of administration & coordination. In addition, Rajput officers were placed at the head of key formations around Delhi: the Delhi Area which controls military installations around the capital, and the Meerut-based 22 Infantry Division.

* * *

Institutionalising the pro-rata system is letter number 08176/Est/POLICY/MP-2 issued by the adjutant general’s branch (Business Standard has a copy). It effectively allocates to each arm a fixed number of vacancies at the rank of colonel, which is the first selection-grade rank in the army when officers command their battalions/regiments, the basic combat unit with 550 to 800 soldiers. The colonel’s vacancies for each arm are calculated by simply adding up the number of units in that arm. For example, the army has about 350 infantry battalions and 60 armoured regiments.

That is where the Machiavellian fiddle starts. Added to the infantry kitty are some 110 units of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Assam Rifles (AR) located in counter-insurgency areas and manned by officers from every arm. Though an internal army study has found that non-infantry officers perform as gallantly as infantry officers in RR/AR, exclusionary conditions were fram-ed to make it almost impossible for armoured corps or mechanised infantry officers to command these units. With this one step, the infantry’s colonel vacancies went up from 350 to 460, a jump of almost 30 per cent.

But that was just the start; this advantage was then multiplied by differentiating command tenures for each arm. The shorter the command tenure, the more quickly the vacancies would arise, and the larger the number of colonels that would be needed from that arm. The infantry, unsurprisingly, got the shortest command tenure of just two-and-a-half years. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that with 460 colonels needed every two-and-a-half years, the infantry must promote some 184 colonels every year.

The influence of two artillery chiefs boosted the number of artillery units. Small units called “light batteries” with less than 300 soldiers, that were always commanded by lieutenant colonels, were elevated to “light regiments” commanded by colonels. The artillery’s command tenure was shortened from three-and-a-half to three years, similarly boosting its colonel vacancies. And departing radically from established military tradition, in which there are just two combat arms — the armoured corps and the infantry — the artillery was effectively promoted from a “combat support arm” to a combat arm. “How can the artillery be designated as a combat arm? They lob shells from tens of kilometres away and rarely encounter the enemy. Of the combat support arms, the engineers have a much better case for being called a combat arm,” says a retired infantry general who prefers to remain unnamed.

The engineers and the signals, the other two combat support arms, were sharply pegged back with their command tenures fixed at four years — a 33 per cent disadvantage to the artillery. The logistics services were discriminated against even more radically, with command tenures fixed at five years. “We would not go to war as Arms/Supporting arms… but as Indian army. ‘The command based model’ expect us (sic) to be fragmented in peace and united in war,” says the lieutenant colonel’s letter to General Singh.

The quotas of colonel vacancies are merely the tip of the iceberg. Beyond this first level of “Mandalisation” are quotas for brigadier rank, which are proportional to the benchmark that was created with colonel vacancies. Another set of quotas has been created in key career courses like the higher command course (for colonels) and the year-long National Defence College course (for brigadiers), both of which are almost mandatory for promotion. An armoured corps or mechanised infantry brigadier, for example, would be lucky to become a major general without doing the NDC course. By restricting the armoured corps and mechanised infantry vacancies in each NDC course to just two each, an annual quota of promotion to major general is effectively applied.

An armoured corps major general explains how this works: “I was subjected four times to quotas. One, while being promoted to colonel; two, for nomination to the higher command course; three, when I was promoted to brigadier; and four, when I was nominated to the NDC.” Says a young infantry lieutenant colonel: “Promotion prospects are 50 per cent higher in the infantry; so why should anyone join the mechanised infantry?”

* * *

“It will all work out even in the long run,” says a senior infantry officer. “Less qualified officers from the infantry and artillery are benefiting today, but it could be the armoured corps that benefits tomorrow.” This glosses over the basic truth: quotas benefit only the incompetent, whether from one arm or another.

Pro-rata proponents admit that meritocracy is desirable but is, in fact, impossible. They suggest that armoured corps and mechanised infantry officers serve in their own environment where patronage networks operate and even average officers are graded outstanding, tilting the promotion playing field in their favour. This argument overlooks the fact that infantry officers, operating in their own environment, similarly have fellow infantrymen all the way up the reporting chains.

General Singh denies there’s any problem. “Pro-rata is a myth created by people who don’t understand the system. A bandwidth (of merit) has been laid down, and all those who are meritorious are taken care of (i.e. promoted). Show me a man who was meritorious, but was not promoted.”

But the defence ministry does not share his sanguinity. So concerned is it at the army’s promotion methodology that it has held up for months the promotion of a set of major generals, while the army answers questions about various anomalies. The result: there is currently no lieutenant general to command the frontline 9 Corps on the Pakistan border, and there’s nobody to relieve the commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Ata Hasnain, who has completed his tenure. In contrast to these promotion delays, navy and air force promotion boards, which adhere to fair and well-documented rules, are normally cleared by the ministry within 15 to 20 days.

General Singh blames the current delay on “letters, comments and private confabulations” between lobbyists and the ministry. “Our boards couldn’t have been fairer. There was transparency and absolute fairness.”

Old soldiers are surprised that the infantry and artillery chiefs could implement pro-rata without a consensus within the army. When the matter was discussed in an army commanders’ conference, the army’s highest forum, a respected mechanised infantry officer, Lt Gen H S Panag, thumped the table and asked whether the next step would be to appoint the army chief through quotas!

There is a growing belief across sections of the army, reflected in the lieutenant colonel’s recent letter, that the cohesiveness of the officer corps hangs in the balance. Mid-ranking officers suggest that realistic feedback be sought from the entire spectrum of officers through a direct medium like the army intranet. But the degree of resentment is perhaps not understood in the ivory towers from where the army is run.


  1. I think this is honestly one of your best articles. Excellent journalism.

  2. The division came about due to Generals of you ilk. Thank God some equilibrium is restored and should remain so.

    You say Army is divided but you are attempting at further division. Proportionality of vacancies is natural justice and should remain so.

  3. What do you expect from the fuked up congress...sic.

  4. Hi colonel, what is the probability for a coup in the future?

  5. Are politicians involved in this? Or is it happening because the army chiefs took wrong decisions?

    First Production Model F-35B Delivered to the Marine Corps

  7. As a lay man,I have not been able to find out how a level playing field is created for promotion of senior officers in the Army and how "merit" is judged in individual case.Also how are claims of various streams of services met.
    Unfortunately, I find that I ended up being as much in the dark as I was when I started reading the article.

  8. Dear Col Ajay,
    Your heartburn is understandable, you were in Armoured Corps. All along, AC guys were having a good time due to regimental patronage system. AC (earlier cav), since the days of silladari system was dominated by feudal types, which continued well after independence. Since Arty/engrs officership required studies, which you feudals could not, commoners were grudgingly taken as officer in these corps, but treated step-motherly by your system of patronage. Now that shoe is on other foot, it bites.
    Who created Mandalisation. AC generals started it by creating a sub caste within caste, Combat Sp Arm and Combat Arm. Earlier, Arty was an arm, you guys threw it out.
    Now, is distance from enemy the only criteria for determining whether a corps is an arm or otherwise? With that logic, IAF should be tfr to MHA. Just count number of gallantry awards and you wll know how far Arty is from enemy. Wars are won by killing enemy, not by getting proximate to him.
    If you are a soldier, you will publish this. Otherwise, we are better without you.

  9. You said:

    Hi colonel, what is the probability for a coup in the future?

    The colonel by bringing out the present chief has put Rajput Regiment officers in Delhi and around is suggesting that he is planning a coup!!

    This blog writer is such a looser ! Perhaps when he did not see any promotion prospects for himself, he left the Army. Being outside now, he is instigating a coup. I really have not seen such low standards.

  10. Sir,

    You have pointed out the Elephant in the Room...

    The moot point is - how can people who rise in this system be expected to change it ?

    Singapore has a system wherein after the rank of Colonel, no one wears his Regimental lanyard. Command can be given inter-changeably even to the Air Force or the Navy.

    While our dynamics are too broad based to have such a change, the fact remains that we have taken Regimentation to ludicrous levels.

  11. Who said that IAF and Navy boards are approved in 15-20 days since they are done as per procedures. There is so much skullduggery and quota system that it would put the Indian Army system in shame. You need to talk to a few to understand the pathetic situation.


  13. what u have brought out is simply a tip of the iceberg. AVSC-II vacancies for Brig and above all have been given to infantry and artillery (in single digits to engineers/ armoured). services arms like EME, ASC, Ord have been totally pushed back.

  14. i am surprised at ur viewpoint
    firstly u say that there should be no mandalisation and then u write that arty should be considered as a combat sp arm whereas even the americans have removed the discrimination.
    secondly prorata has to be the basis for promotions or else would u like an armd col to comd an inf bn. that is not correct and at generals rk there is no quota so it appears to be fair

  15. Dear Col Sahib,
    To put some facts straight... you have served in Armour Regt,so the heartburn is but natural,coupled with your feelings on Assam/ Rashtriya Rifles well did you yourself in your career serve in these organisations...well I can presume a big No, even if you have how many troops of your corps serve their, well percentage wise even how many of your troops even cross Guwahati further East, please introspect will you like Infantry officer (professionally excellent) to command Armour Regt/ Brigade. Well you have not spoken of the ASC , Ordanance/ EME officers professionally brilliant to command corps/ commands any comments.....

  16. Quota system only breeds mediocrity. While meritorious individuals will suffer and quit, the bigger problem is it will make even the last bastion of the country collapse for partisan gains.

  17. Sir, very good article, i hope someone sets right the rot within the army. I left it seeing the victim of discrimination at the hands of the Arty guys......Its time we get over the line-yard mentality, do away with it

  18. Dear Colonel Ajai, A thought provoking article; some of your contentions are correct, others need a little soul searching. The quest for a solution would be a far greater contribution from veterans. The problem lies in our system of appraisal, a appraisal system based equal/ proportional weightage from IO, peers and subordinates needs to be considered. Thanks for the article
    Colonel Jayant J Khare (retd)

  19. Yes indeed IAF system is great and I am so happy to see it coming from guys outside the system......and for this guy who says Air Force does not get proximate with enemy, well you know we go deep into him.

  20. I am in total agreement with this article. Yes the army is going to the dogs, how are they going to manage the large number of officers who are good but not been able to make it to a colonels rank due to this quota system ? A large number of able officers who will be digruntled due to lesser able officers of their course who have made it to the next rank.

  21. In AMC LT to Col board fo MOs takes nearly over a month! a shade worse then MD/MS doctors(28 days)

  22. How can the artillery be designated as a combat arm? They lob shells from tens of kilometres away and rarely encounter the enemy.

    Does this retired infantry general know what a forward observer is when he makes this statement? Or is the colonel pulling quotes out of his hat?

  23. I think the same sort of thing is not just limited to the indian army. How does pak army compare?

  24. The biggest injustice to 'bring about equalism amongst Un equals'

  25. Dear Colonel,
    It is true that artillery lobs shells from 10s of km. pl tell us where are the officers at this time? Sitting far away or fighting with the infantry & armourd?
    the concept of combat arm & combat support arm is for officer cadre. so why perpetuatr the myth of ten km away from action. and in the interest of honest journalism please provide a field peace profile of infantry, armoured & artillery officers.

  26. Can you please define merit? What you AC guys define merit suits you and may not at all be any merit for Combat Arms like Infantry and supporting arm. Your experience and vision is tunnelled to sands and plains where nothing happens. Going on the staff of mountain and infantry formations is no big deal. Infantry and artillery officers also go on staff to mechanised formations but how many of them are given command of those formations?

    What reservations are you talking about. You have Artillery and Engineer staff officers at every level of formations including infantry formations. That only artillery officers can be posted there, is nothing but reservation. Mechanised officers have similar reserved spaces. Why that arrangement does not exist for infantry? Because Mechanised officers want to eat on those?

    Coming to selection of generals. Here also, all supporting Arms including Artillery have their Corps specific vacancies as also induction into General Cadre. They are doubly benefited. Why infantry not be provided those opportunities.

    About the concept of merit for selection to Generals, much is required to be determined. Operational experiences, field area weightage, overall experiences are just No factors as that favours infantry / Artillery officers. Selection criteria of ACR are like points of a theoretical sand model which alone is hardly a worth for selection to be a General for an Army which had remained engaged on difficult borders, COIN and CI operations for last 65 years and would continue to remain so.

    The alternative is that the Generalship should reflect all facets and types of experiences including those only limited to sand models. To achieve that proportionality is the only answer.

    The claim that only Mechanised officers are merit holders and level of the playing fields be of their advantage vis a vis others is out rightly illogical and irrational.

    What is so great the Cavalry generals have achieved that the others can not or have not been able to do.

    What is the need of the hour is balance, proportionality and fair play under similarity of competing environment. That to a large extent is being achieved.
    Would one like to attend an NDC course which is filled with AC course officers grossly unrepresentative of Indian Army as a whole. Every officer there is the best who have come up under their similar competing environments and demanding larger share there at the cost of others is unjustified.

    Or let reservations at all level be scrapped but only after officers are given all round exposures. Is there any thing that should stop an Infantry officers to be posted as DDEME, Brig Ordinance or Brig ASC? What should stop and Infantry Brigadier to command an Armour Brigade if an AC officer can be posted as Infantry Commander?

    Actually there should only be one system. Either free for all or proportional. Nothing else. You can not have the cake and eat it too. One should have reserve fancies as supporting Arms and Services or scrap those and then demand EME brigs also to be posted in NCC and Other posts.

    Let us give something to those who have evolved the system rather than out rightly painting it with a Col Shukla (AC) brush. It is not a product of one General but systemically evolved. It might have shortcomings but not the ones pointed out by you.

    You have cast undue aspersions on all of the them and system as a whole at a time of your choosing which I feel was not a correct thing to do. It is actions which decide on intentions.

  27. Sir,
    1. Firstly kudos to u for starting this trend of ex-officers taking up careers as defence correspondents.

    2. Ur views can be disagreed with,but there is enough merit in most of your arguments.

    3. Firstly ,i ll like to take on these ex officers so brandishly flouting their regimental loyalties.There is an officer who comments about officers & men form armd corps not crossing guwahati and % serving in rr.Then their is someone questioning the credentials of arty & their is smeone countering the same.

    3. Now dear sirs,let me mention as a young officer and educated citizen that it is precisely with narrow minded and parochial officers that the whole problem starts.FIGHTING A WAR IS NOT INF PEROGRATIVE ALONE,IT IS NOT ARMYS PEROGRATIVE ALSO.ITS A NATIONAL EFFORT .ITS PRONS AND CONS ARE THERE TO BE FELT BY ALL INCL COMMON MAN.So dear sirs,only the BEST OF BEST SHOULD GET A CHANCE TO SERVE AS TOP NOTCH COMMANDERS.If that implies that at some pt,all cdrs are gunners let it be like tht.or they r sappers,let it happen.Even if a services officer has exemplary carrer on ops matters,let him become a cdr.To sum up THE BEST OFFICERS IRRESPECTIVE OF ARM/SP ARM/LOGISTICS SHULD DON THE MANTLE OF GENERAL CADRE.

    4. Dear Cololen Ajai,it wd be very educating if u can post details of the procedures/system/philosphy ,the progressive armies have in place to select their general staff.It wd be educating for all of us.

    5. Once again kudos to u.Wish your efforts encourage some of us to take up defence journalism and make it a subject wherein the entire country's intellegentia participates on defence matters.

    6. And shame on lot of u oldies ,hitting below the belt.Learn to grow up as citizens.It is not our pop's army.It is this nations army and everything here has to be guided by national interesst.

  28. It is funny how people here are ascribing a multiplicity of reasons behind the write-up.

    The article is an outlet of how the author thinks, and not a research paper. And he has rightly brought out how parochial and feudal thought-processes are affecting a fine institution.


    Sir, AV-II equally and strikingly affects officers of the AC, Mech and Sappers. All three have been shortchanged. I don't think there was any ulterior motive at play in the piece.

  29. "These NDA cadets are all equal when they start."

    Yes they are also equal to qualify to be general. Then how come only AC officers attain right to be generals on merit?

    "But not so when they become officers in various arms."

    Why? the environment, experiences, difficulties faced, combat edge, further education and training makes them unequal within their chosen fields.
    "Skewed promotion policies will give many of them an unfair edge over the others"

    When merit is the criteria, that is bound to happen but what is merit for the an environment may not be the merit for overall organisation. So what is merit? Only ACR and should it be something else too. Any Infantry officer who serves under AC generals would never make to NDC. Pick up figures and analyse for yourself. I request MS Branch also to do that. It could be an eye opener to you !
    How many Infantry officers from Southern Command ever make it to Higher Command and NDC over last five years? and why so???

    Give straight answer if you have. Just do not do a guesswork on hearsay and spoil Army environment!

  30. The recent board for promoting Infantry officers, from Lt Col to Col, had a success rate of 70%..This is totally unprecedented and likely to be the norm..the selection rate for the services is only further rub salt into the wound, infantry officers have been promoted at only 14 years of service...for the services this is at 17 years...If this isn't Mandalisation, what is?

  31. Its a VIRUS which is incurable. So the Army will have to live with it. All means of distorting the system by making rules as per whims and fancies has resulted in this situation. The people who feel wrong about this entire process are large in number, but less in the power centre. hence the writ is known. By cribbing, atleast the issue is alive, till the VIRUS eats that too

  32. rty has gone ahead and left behind AD, Engrs and Sigs? all of them are supporting arms? The policy is totally unfair and also illegal..sooner or later it will be challenged in courts..

  33. Its wrong on a part of a good journalist to publish such kind of a article without knowing the realism in today's warfare and without analyzing the on going promotion policy. Perception and feeling of being Mandalised has been generated by few who call themselves the real spark---Brain---but I think they need to do serious introspection and find where and what kind of spark is required----where the world is moving and where they intend taking this org . Please look in to your heart n soul----and if you respect the uniform which made you worth this today--- you will never write such article to crate rift among the brother hood being enjoyed by the olives. Cribs will always be there but should be healthy and among us not in pubic.We all understand but just want to spoil this wonderful org. Remember NDA and IMA Motto before you pen down against this beautiful organisation.

  34. Excellently written article Mr Shukla. If even half of what you say is true, then the the Indian Army is in the danger of losing its professional edge and that is where the decline of the last bulwark of national security shall begin. The top leadership (& if not them then the defence Ministry) should see the far reaching effects this will have on the overall standard of our senior leadership and stop this pathetic shortsighted practice immediately. Merit, and not ancestry (or for that matter who you know) should form the basis of selecting the leadership.

  35. Col, saw u on NDTV...I guess we need to fight for National Memorial..and perhaps u being in power needs to take charge and not allow this issue far as India is concern we have become too SRK-ish deeply involved in Cricket...too much in love and not able to understand the role of army in our society and may be u shud right something tat might connect ppl to army ..any country tat cannot respects its martyrs certainly can't survive...

  36. Dear Sir,
    Some days I wonder, if I even want to be part of this organisation any more. An organisation where sycophancy is defined as merit and organised methodical hypocrisy as regimentation. Let me not claim to know exactly how the system works or why it is designed that way, but I can always feel the effects of that unfair system and its manifestations on individuals to fester in-cohesiveness and to an extent, extreme heartburn. The extent so widely visible,that it might nay, it will surely affect the professionalism and performance of this army, when the nation needs them the most.
    Specifically, If the logic of "infantry, armoured and arty officers command their own troops" concept is propogated, then do the engineers and signals and EME officers command infantry and arty units? why have this varied schedule for conduct of boards (the infamous 0-1-2) model, which has transcended the heights of banality, wherein today the difference stands at 4 years between a infantry/arty officer and a service officer.
    No one told me this in the IMA. And, choosing an arm/service was given to me as a cadet, a choice which i made based on likes/dislikes/aptitude and not on career prospects. Why do let the other arms and services guys compete (yes compete) for the DSSC seat and select and make him do it? Why have a spattering of them in higher command and HDMC? and having proven within his organisation (in terms of ACRs), proven outside his organisation (in terms of all arms staff appointments), and still with no claim ever to be part of a already skewed decision making process in the country and certainly in the army... why do u expect a services officer ever to be all that the organisation want him to be?
    One small comment on "proximate to enemy" concept, i do think that the arty guys do what they are mandated to do and they do it with panache, but they are of course a good few kms away frm the enemy, except the miniscule number of youngsters who operate as FOOs. I think most supporting arms and two of the three services operate closer to the forward troops than the bulk of the arty. But then , i din't begrudge that fact or even the fact that arty is arm or sp arm, as long as they are commanding their own troops and get fairly treated at all levels of progression. what I begrudge is, why not the same yardstick for everyone else, who are also doing their jobs just as well and needed to be treated in the same fair way?
    I know, no one (from the hallowed infantry/arty generalship) gives a damn if a sp arm/ services guy quits the organisation and goes out into the civvy world. Unfortunately, till the time I do so, most of us in my shoes would carry that feeling while in service, and believe me, would directly and disastrously would affect the performance of the army and hurt it where it hurts the most. Take care of the people, in peace who are supposed to take care of you in the war. Thatz the reality check this organisation needs. As for the infantry & arty generals like JJ Singh and Deepak Kapoor(and not all my infantry brethren), you have not just laid down the army which you were supposed to command, by being parochial and short sighted, but have led down this nation, for which historians, at least military historians would never forgive you. Nevertheless, to hell with promotions, I for one, would do what I have to do, till i wear the uniform, and then with a heavy heart leave this organisation, which treated me unfairly and made me feel unwanted. I squarely blame the infantry and arty generals for this state of affairs. how i wish I could put a name to this...

  37. Unfortunately, this this is just ONE OF THE MANY flaws that hamstrings today's army in India. There are other 'criteria' to do well. Firstly, one must be 'connected' well enough to rise on this so called ladder. Then there is this issue pf so called association, of various arms, which gives them an unfair advantage.Then 'PR' works more than a fair system of merit. The army is in effect no better than the civil services - only that they wear green.

  38. Is not a mandalised Country a better social and welfare setup as compared to 70 percent benefits to five percent only. The very concept of reservations is the idea of lack of similar competitive environment. That also exist in Army.

    What has been the benefits and achievement of those selected on merit before Mandalisation?

    Was the quality of Generalship far better? Has it fallen now?

    Your case seems to be a case of too few against the majority aspirations.

    If aspirations of the majority was being met under meritorious Generals, how come this system came into being?

    Is it reversible now !! Majority officers will still remain Lt Col be that from Arms or Service. Making it an internal feud may serve your interest but not the interests of the organisation called IA. The satisfaction level continue to remain same. Hence your case is parochial.

  39. put a name to it. what r u afraid of? or keep quiet and face what's being served.

  40. A very well written article!!!It is a pity some of the readers have not understood.This is the truth,and it hurts some of the beneficiaries of the pro- rata system.The'MANDALS'will obviously not comprehend the merit of the article and are not expected to either.Mediocrity is here to stay.GOOD SHOW Ajai!!(gags)

  41. What has been put forth is absolutely right. I am glad someone has brought this out in the open. The issue is not about whether one is from a combat arm or a support arm or not. It is about parochialism in its absolute sense and about formulating rules which benefit certain sections. It is surprising that we have rarely had a chief of the army in the recent past. Mostly chief's of the inf and artillery. The fact that this system is breeding mediocrity is well known. Added to this problem is the fact that women officers are not included in the base cadre for calculating vacancies, further reducing vacancies of certain arms. Hope better sense prevails soon. The malaise runs even only needs to dig.

  42. One feels wonderful that we are at least talking about this de generation !

    I shall just indicate how we are no more bothered about 'What we do' and only bother about 'where we will be on D Day'.

    Two course mates get commisioned into Inf and ASC, one does a 3 yr tenure ( without Inf YOs, God only knows its utility when you can serve 3 yrs without undergoing thru the haloed portals of MHOW ). During this, the Inf Guy goes arnd undergoing his courses. In case the Inf Bn goes to a peace stn, this ASC offr is handed over to the relieving unit alongwith Sector Stores. ( so much for Regimentation ).

    In the next tenure, the Inf Offr is in Staff or Instr appt whereas the Services offr is undergoing his mandatory courses and learning the ropes of what he was originally slated to do.

    The next posting, the Services offr is posted to Rashtriya Rifles again commanding a Rifle Company ( without any concern for any Regiment he may have been affiliated earlier, so he may actually end up serving Bihar and Punjab Regts in the initial 2 yrs and may end up with Assam RR now, though officially as MTO but 100 % as Coy Cdr ). God knows why this MTO from ASC is forgotten when the same Inf Bns mov on UN Mission.

    Next tenure, the Inf Offr again moves for Staff or Instr tenure whereas the ASC offr now goes for "AE" ( which his Inf Coursemate earned with him doing the same job ). When with the RR, Inf Offr can undergo JC, but not Services Offr.

    Depending upon his JC grading, Inf Offr goes for a UN Tenure with his Regimental Unit or as UN Observer, whereas the ASC offr is now undergoing his AE and also his Middle level courses.

    Now guys, the fact is, the ASC guy filled up for him as far as 'Foot Soldiering' is concerned and still he gets punished in three ways : One :: His chances of making it to the Full Col rk is 32 % whereas his 64 % Inf Coursemates will make it to it.

    Two :: He will be considered at 17 yrs of service ( 18 yrs presently ) whereas his Inf Coursemate will be considered at 14 Yrs.

    Three :: He will do the same job in Inf Bn and RR but he will not be recognised enough to command anything beyond a company.

    And yes, show me an Inf Offr who was SHAPE - 1 and didnt get a UN chance.

    In fact, the joke going arnd is that an Inf Offr only needs to pay his Mess Bills on time and his CO needs to be assured that he will use his right hand to salute and he will be a Full Colonel soon.

    So, what is the solution, First :: Bring in Non Functional Financial Upgradation, presently promulgated by 6th CPC for all Central Cl A Offrs, whereby every offr is upgraded to next higher pay band 2 yrs after the first Batch mate being promoted, when it is applicable to all Govt servants, let it be for ALL GOVT SERVANTS. This will ensure, our families are not punished for our squabbles and every coursemate can afford the same school and same Saree to his kids and mem saab.

    Second :: 'Pro Rata' is good upto Brigs since a 'Replication of Grnd Nos at higher rks upto Functional level' is achieved. ( Iam pegging functional level at Brigade, at my own peril ).

    Thirdly, at least now realise 'Sub Area' cdrs dont know anything about the units which they comd, leave it to Services offrs, they did your job, you shudnt each into their pie.

    Fact is, we need to restore sanity into this conundrum.

  43. Divisive system is a part of our society since ages and will stay in the forces also be it on regimental, entry, caste, arm or any other basis. The change has to come from within.

    Instead of sorting out the muck within us let us not go out in open and start tarnishing the image of our Beautiful Organisation.

    As for the facts in the article i donot agree to any. Its a fully biased article without any relevant facts and figures. Such articles should not be published at all.

  44. HI
    so cats are fighting among themselves for cream of milk while ordinary soldiers r suffering hardship they are not even getting basic promotions and those who gets are basicly batmen of OUR FEUDAL LORDS nobody is raising voice against BATMANgiri n Jawans are paid equal to chaprasi or unskilled labour

  45. Sir, you are right. Parochialism and sycophancy rule.

  46. There is a nice case here where it has been explained how an ASC officers is made to suffer. The commentator has continently forgotten how for years together an ASC officer would make to Col in 16 -17 years whereas Arms officer would be lucky to get it in 21 - 22 years. He also forgets that an ASC officer four years junior to others attends NDC Course but ASC vacancy is ASC vacancy.

    Can any one tell me why do we need an officer trained for six years in Sainik School, three years in NDA and one year in IMA to amange supplies?

    Can any one tell if our Army and Govt is so rich that it trains a cadet for four years, then three years of Engineering degree, one to two years of other courses, Two years of MTech (or staff course etc) and then suddenly he is a CO in sixteen years of eighteen years of Service. With this kind of training and exposure when did he serve the organisation??

    If criteria of serving for two years in Infantry / RR / Assam Rifles is good for demanding Commanding those battalions then six to eight years service in those battalions is far better qualification. That is what seems to be merit.

    Similarily why give no exposure to Arms officers also to serve for two to three years in Ordnance as Ammunition Officer or in ASC as Supply Officer or Coy Cdrs so that they are qualified to command those units?

    Should officer Cadre be structured to serve the Organisational needs or is the Organisation meant to satisfy only progression needs (though that is essential for good health)

    That Civil type of progression is impossible in Services is well known. So what is the need of the hour is introduction of NFU, so that some needs of the officers in terms of pay and grade pay is satisfied. We would not achieve any thing by this short sighted approach which is very harmful for the organisation.

    Last point. All sub areas must be capable of undertaking force under their command and fulfil a fighting role. Which many are doing. Sub areas and areas are not logistics nodes. Leave all Service vacancies of Brig and above in Corps and above to be filled for General Cadre, though is a rightful demand.

    The less said the better. Officers can not agitate their minds before seeing all facets.

  47. Very well written Mr Shukla. Anonymous @ 16 January 2012 13:45, you have hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what is the present case in the army, and Mr Shukla would agree with me. Truth is bitter folks, but that's what it is, the truth.

  48. Excellent article -- it has clearly touched a nerve among advocates of the quota system. Most of the critical comments are retarded or parochial and in fact convince third party readers like myself that the author is on to something.

  49. Dear Sir

    I am a civilian so I dont understand the fine details

    My point is If 100 more Major General posts are created this
    problem can be solved

  50. @anon 16 Jan 13:45,

    great and well written for the services.

  51. Anonymous is doing a great job. Iam amazed at his facts and figures. If we have more like him in this org it will definitely be a better place. Pl keep up the good work and keep us posted

  52. You haven't told us in this article- when exactly did this policy of quotas for promotion start? Who decided to implement it?Or was it always there and has only now become an issue?

  53. Maj(retd) P.T.Choudary18 January 2012 at 01:41

    Hi! Ajay, the article is nicely written and such of the comments thereon that are not themselves 'Mandalized' are fairly made. Though I do wish comments, especially when they are in disagreeement, are made rationally and not so emotionally as some of them. Discourtesy does not lend any emphasis.
    One referred to the policy of the Singapore Military where he states that there is no discrimination above Colonel rank.This needs some thought for application in our forces.
    Also perhaps we need to take a fresh look at the entire Organization of our Military forces. Please see "Organizing the Military for the 21st. Century at ''.Best Wishes...Maj(retd) P.T.Choudary

  54. Dear 'Anonoymous 17-0955' Sir,

    Firstly, a few things about Col Shukla, he was one of the most vibrant COs that my father happen to witness arnd, and also a wonderful human being. Whether he wud want to serve the IA after commanding his unit or not is a very personal choice, die hard soldiers usually refer to Unit Comd and 'Only Comd'. Anyone suggesting insinuations about his premature move out of service doesnt know his contribution to Media. He has been reporting from Af Pak region since a long time before 'Fly By Night Def Reporters' happended to all of us...

    Kudos Colonel, must move ahead, the opposition wudnt allow your words beyond 'Pro - Rata' basis and wud like to cut you to size . There will always be a few who will not be able to hold their emotions and express their opinion beyong 'pro-rata weightage' of their cogent reasoning.

    Pardon me for being late in ans your observations, but things in this part of valley are real bad and no other deptt except the IA seems to be up and about. The state govt employees are in the 'Rezais' and their boss, Omar Abdullah is on 'Twitter'. As for us in the valley,joints are paining cuz of harsh winters, but tis an honor to serve the motherland, so what as an ASC offr in Infantary Ruled RR. But do listen to me and do not behave like Paid Journalists ranting 'Chief shudnt have gone to court' ( for his legal rights, dignity and honour ). I use the GPRS to access net, some of these errors may be due to this, but I will try to dissuage ( gently ) to from bringing in insanity into your arguments. One by One.

    First :: Your suggestion to say that MS Br was holding Col's board for ASC at 16-17 yrs is true and it was happening arnd 13-14 yrs ago, but are you now planning to hang the son for the fruits enjoyed by his father. and MS Br was always headed by a Gen Offr of __ Regt, and obviously a COAS from __ Regt, but my point will never be 'Me v/s You, I shall talk abt 'systems in place'. Will you now to go UK and seek revenge for 200 yrs of British Rule from their Great Grand sons ? Duh, Sire, we would be better off managing our household better and bring in systems which stand the test of time.

    As for ASC vacancy for ASC in NDC, I am in partial agreement with you, but even vacancies are not actually "Pro-Rata' as per Nos of offrs, if those vacancies are 'Pro-Rata', Inf will have to shed a few more extra kilos.

  55. econd :: Why should Offr trained for six yrs in Sainik Schools, 3 yrs in NDA and 1 yr in IMA need to manage supplies govt having spent on their training ?  

    Flawed Argument of an argumentative Indian, all offrs are not from Sainik School and NDA Route, there are a good 40 % of them from Direct scheme of things. If this argument is to take shape on Ground, you would fire your Unit QuarterMaster the first day and Company Quartermaster Havaldar would be next. ( If Director General Operation Logistics reads this, he wud be baying for your blood by now. The Army marches on it's stomach, and if you plan to bring in Defence Civilians into it, do have a look at MES first. Tomorow, one may be actually be bidding for Signals to be replaces by 'Secured AirTel Mobiles', do go through what happened to British Top Guns whose phones were tapped by Murdoch & Company. There are voices which suggest, bring in 'Reliance' for supplies of fresh, did you go through the Mahindra Jeeps which were supplied to Ind Army and would wobble when they acheived a speed of 50 KMPH, comapanies are here to make profits, and cant be court martialled. Fortunately, these officers can be.

    Govt money and richness, Oh wow, dont worry about it, they bought a bundle of toilet papers for Rs 2000/- during CWG.

    Training and exposure of offrs who undergo degrees, M Tech, DSSC and then 'suddenly' pick up as CO. Oh, dont worry sir, there is a system in place, one cannot attend a long course within a span of 18 months of previous one and cannot attempt DSSC after 18 months a long Course.

    Everyone has to also undergo 'Adeqautely Exercised' period of 24 months ( waiver only upto 4 months but 20 months compulsory ), in fact, in the present batch of Inf, 37 guys have been deffered since they were not meeting this reqmt. Pl add chopper flying to Inf, Arty and Armr chaps if you plan to add degree to Engr and EME ( Inf, Armr and Arty guys are also undergoing Degree ) , only guys who have been left out in the cold of North Kashmir are Services Male officers.

  56. Third :: If criteria for demanding the Comd of RR / AR / Inf is serving two yrs : Sir, the laid down criteria is 'Succesful Comd of a company', so those undergoing it in 'Inf' can be considered for inf ( No Services offr does that, not asking for it) and since AR comd is open to all arms for the same reason ( of all arms contributing to offr cadre in AR ), extend the same logic to RR with a rider or two. If indls opt for it and qualify, policy should not not place embargoes. I hope I have been able to give you the perspective.

    Fourth :: Why no exposure to Arms offr in Services ? Oh, quite a few offrs did 2 yr 'att' with services units, and it was extremely good exchange which must continue. Inf offrs do land up in Services if LMC at whatever service, ( reverse flow allowed till 8 yrs of service ).

    As for Ammunition Offrs in AOC, am told, that they are a different breed within that org, and to be a quality Amn offr some worth, it takes 5-6 yrs of intensive experience. But I am in perfect agreement with you that every offr needs to have a LC tenure and a services tenure.It will definitely produce more balanced Commanders and 'Precis Rattling, Mentally Enslaved to Next Rank' 'Zakir Naiks' will be reduced.

  57. Fifth :: Sub Areas taking a fighting role. Sir, in this creation, everything has a purpose, if you make everything multipurpose and everything single purpose, what you get is 'Khichdi'. If you give the Sub Area Fighting units to fight, then why call it sub area ? it is what it is, a brigade !!

    If you have been patient enough not to crack the screen after going through the above, let me put few other things now.

    Now, the Mech wants to convert to Inf ( obviously cuz of pro rata ) and give up their specialist nature, is it good for org ?

    A sub Area is now commanded by Maj Gen and it's unit by Cols and Lt Cols, do you think it behoves for the men of those units whose CO / OC will get to see cdr for 3 minutes every year ?

    The %age of offrs getting to Full Col must be similar with 2-3 % disparity, after all, we are brothers in arms.

    The lenth of service reqd for first bd must be same, in case it goes +- 10 months for adm resons, it is ok, we are soldiers and life is not obliged to give us everything that we want in the measure that we want. 

    Let's not barr offrs cuz of their Arm / Service for Aviation and other ventures, you will put Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Mulayam to shame. If he meets all other QR, why debar him cuz of 'Kandha Number' ?

  58. I wud like to put reactions to others views also :: I am not for the Sahayak System, there ought to be 'Buddy Systems' in Field and Ops, but we can actually switch over to 'fewer and more 'user friendly' uniforms' than becoming unwieldy christmas trees which definitely need a man to look after.

    In the Ind Army, the soldier is definitely a looked after pedigree with some exceptions here and there. He gets reasonaly good emoluments and there is an 'Assured Career Progression' also in place. If the manadarins of the South Block do not obstruct, we can further modernise the Army and make a soldier's day more meaningful, but pl understand that till the time, grass-cutting equipment is not authorised by the Govt, somebody will have to cut it manually. I am definitely of the opinion that all the offrs messes in an adjoining area of 5 kms can be combined to be more reasonable with basics also in place.

    But as of now, the Queen of the Battle is 'Queen Bee' and services are the 'Worker Bees' with the 'Other Arms' acting as 'menancing staff officers' waiting for a chance for the boss to go on leave for a while. 

  59. @Annon. 18 January 2012 21:33 and others
    Management of Defence of India has to an economic or cost aspect besides others. When the technically qualified people are available in plenty, do we require officers who need to be trained for eleven (1+3+1+4+2) years. This is specially so when Services have started their TES. It takes money, time and effort to do that. We are no longer Colonial backward countries where there are no schools and colleges that the Army is unable to get requisite qualified people.
    Secondly, it would be worth seeing the quality of their training, cost of establishment etc. What is meant is that The Core of Signals have more electronics qualified engineers (or Army entirely for that matter) that the Infosys or Wipro. What is the product or output of these engineers as compared to those so called Civil Companies? Think over it?
    The second largest manpower holder after Infantry happened to be EME. Are we running Army or workshops?? Are we defending borders or mechanically repairing those? Are we so backwardly unique even after 65 years of Independence that we require workshops in Delhi ?
    Ammunition officer of Ordinance does Ammunition Course so does a YO of AC, Mech or Inf officer in their YO which can be suitably modified. Which is the ammunition in held by units but specially held by depots? Very few varieties? So why can they do ammunition officers? Similarly an AC officer is better qualified to be Transport Company Commander. Is not it? No Service officer does Company Commander of Inf. RR or AR.
    India is perhaps the only country where one has dedicated cadre for ASC,AOC and other services. Most of the countries has logistics cadre wherein induction takes place in middle service of officer. Here in India you send four years trained NDA elite to ASC and Ordinance? Is that what he was trained for ??
    Same is the case of Mech Inf. India is the only Country (not even Pakistan) where one has dedicated life long service Mech Inf. Various arguments are given for or against it. The Country’s forces can not remain sector specific due to our typical varied requirements on borders. If one opts for one particular environment he then can not and should not be compared with others of differing environment. Mech Inf needs to fall back to their Regiments and rotate between Inf, Mech and Amphibious roles.

    The need of the hour is efficient Cadre management by Each Cadre Controllers up to Colonels level. There can be rationalization of vacancies which is need based and targeted at organizational efficiency.

    Fifty percent suppression at Lt Col level is mandatory hence all aspirations can not be fulfilled. What can be done at this stage is to progress the case for NFU as applicable to Class A services under which under which an officer of a batch picking up a higher rank will automatically entitle all officers of that batch to upgrade non-functional (without rank) to higher pay scale and grade Pay after two years. Let there be Rank seniority in the Army without taking into account grade pay. That will alleviate lot of heartburns as also meets financial aspirations.
    In essence let there be an army engaged for primary role rather than a big fauz of atta dal managers. USA employs all retired or reservist volunteer officers as civilian to manage their logistics who do not demand command of Inf battalion or AC regiments. It does not happen anywhere in the world then why in India? Because our priorities in profession are being “jakir Naiks” as you rightly said.

    Finally, I know Col Ajay Shukla and have very high regards for his professional acumen as also his unflinching loyalty to AC.

  60. Colonel,

    In this category I had posted comments about Reservation based on age, which the most important issue being debated today. In my view that is biggest mandalisation and more dangerous than what you say.

    Please pick up some courage to publish those since the issue is being debated.

  61. Sire, few agreements first :: Induction into logistics ought to be at middle level, in fact, portion of it has been achieved with everyone from Services undergoing 3 yrs tenure with Inf Bns on LC, Siachen & Counter Insurgency. In fact, the same should be extended to all ranks.

    NFFU as solution is also agreed to.

    You are factually incorrect ( WRONG ), when you suggest that Services Offrs arent commanding companies in RR. A few phone calls here & there to elicit the truth from yourside will serve your knowledge bank better.

    Unfortunately, your utterances giv away your emotive notions ( use of d term Atta Dal Managers ) and your emotional feeling that the world can be shrinked into Mhow & Nagar . I 'R' you giv rebuttles point wise to my queries, but do giv a thought to 'Level Playing Field' for everyone including ASC fraternity who seem to be the 'sole cause of your resentments with life'.

  62. well covered. AVSC II vacancies have been literally speaking "stolen by Inf and Arty". So many highly qualified offrs in tech arm are going home....nobody is bothered about the overall health or merit of the Army. We find some undeserving ones rising up the ladder.........sad very sad

  63. @19 January 2012 12:41

    First of all, I wish to assuage your hurt sentiment as the intention was not that.

    Well Mhow and Nagar will continue to run the show being the Swords of IA and one can not do any thing about it.
    My comments were meant to look at system as whole rather than say that some are superior within the same organisation. After all at entry level we are supposed to be same. My only contention was to suggest that at entry, all should be commissioned into AC, Arty or Inf and then wastage from there or SS officers not awarded PC should form the majority of officers staffing for logistics units, as happens in the case of many other countries. Let that form a separate stream or supporting cadre. They will not dream of being Sub Area Commanders and therefore less dissatisfaction level amongst them. many high and mighty get into Service with the basic premises that retiring as major is better than being a general from Arms. Today's GC is a different cup of tea.
    I say again No service officer does his AE as Company Commander in RR and AR. Other Arms officer also are required to do their AE in their respective Arms. Ae is the foundation to next consideration.

    Sub Areas have very important role to play. Besides static units, they have to look after numerous Stations, MES, Works, Land, assets and civil liaison. So far meeting the unit commander for 3 minutes is concerned, that is going to remain the same even if you have ASC officer there, unless you have something else in view.

    Due to peculiar nature of India's Military requirements, most of the Areas and Sub areas have been given operational roles. I will restrict myself only to this. Only to remind you that historically, Bengal, North Bengal and 101 Areas had carried operations for liberation of Bangladesh.

    The point is that when the Army intends to use SS entry as the supporting cadre, why should well traned NDA cadet be commissioned in Logistics unit?

    To manage the cadres Logistics must be a septate cadre.

    Similarly the technical cadre including for engineers could be septate who can then contribute to BRO and MES.

    The view that Arms officers, specially Infantry is all promotions by treachery is not correct. It is distribution of overall vacancies pro rata wise including taking into consideration anomalies that existed before AVS. For example, for engineers that are plethoras of vacancies which is only for them. Now expecting vacancies of AVS also and retaining their out of portion share of vacancies as earlier would not be correct.

    Presumption of all these points having been well seen, debated and decision taken at higher level accordingly is not out of place.

    Pro rata has only halted the disproportionate run to generalship of only AC and Mech and no one else. Even then the selection to Maj Gen and above is not pro rata. I am afraid with this rate of opposition to it, that may also become logically pro rata soon. Supporting Arms like Arty and Services have ensured that they have their reserved vacancies of Maj Gens and Lt Gens intact (Arty Cadre, Engineer Cadre etc).

    Only the sword Arms of IA, that is Inf and AC suck.

    I hope I have been able to reply to some of your queries.

  64. Excellent article. Vacancies STOLEN by ARTY and INFANTRY. Can you publish / email the Lt Col `s letter to the chief as mentioned in para 1.

  65. Hi Ajai,
    It was high time that some one from the Mech fraternity brought out such thought ptovoking article. The Pro rata buiseness has ruined the future of some of the out standing AC and Mech inf offrs. GC who join Mech inf/AC are very high in the order of merit and do well on all courses including DSSC than their counter parts. The contention of Inf that AC/Mech offrs do not serve in CI grid is abosolutly false. In fact mech offrs are posted to CI grid with in 4 yrs of service and at times have more fd area service than their counter parts in Inf. I have commanded my own mech inf Bn in south Kashmir and we performed better than all inf and RR units under RR sector. We all know what does the inf do in CI grid and across LC , less said the better. This mondalzation must be stopped other wise the we will have very incompetent senior officer and will suffer in futre conflict at the cost of INF and Arty --- Pradeep Dalvi

  66. Dear Col Ajay,
    Congrats to you for bringing an article like this which is really appreciative.Kudos to you for bringing this sbject in the public domain for the people to know quotas rule promotions in the Mandalised Army.Yes it happens and there are officers effected including self. After approval/empanelment to the rank of Brig and waiting for a long time superannuated as six Brigs vacancies from AOC was transferred to other arms by the then Chief in 1996. At the same time an empanelled brig from Arty who was to retire because of his age of 52was promoted on the last date of his retirement on somebody's involvementand he finally retired as a LT GEN.So parochialism andthis sort of things can happen but officers have no voice in such affair. At least the Govt should give the rank to the empanelled officers and should be permitted to retire in theb approved rank.Now the Govt is giving ACP,NFFU to the Civ officers why not at least the empanelled AF officers.Some body should rake up the issue and shuold not suffer because of the loyalty to the systemj.


  67. @Pradeep Dalvi

    The question is not to comment on individuals or units otherwise there are thousands who can comment what your unit did sitting in that apple orchid. Let us refrain from that !!

  68. dear writer,
    perfect case of miss is mile. there has to be a method in madness one of such is being followed. nothing wrong. you did not get what you wanted so the system is wrong!!!!!. By the way man who controls that ARTY of 10 km behind is the first man ahead called OP officer if you do not know things dont write and put it beyong doubt !!!!!

  69. Ajay,

    You are missing the woods for tree. The real reservation in the Army on age. Mandalisation still has merit for this one has no merit.

  70. hi!! enjoyed the article and the wider debate that followed. the one comment i sympathise with is the writer who concludes that the only ones in the valle are "services male officers"! i really think services and others with lady officers have been doubly shortchanged. though i have now started seeing some COs who treat the lady offrs same as men with regard to employment (after ensuring basic necessities for ladies are avlailable).

  71. Dear Ajay Sir,
    Having Known you a bit..
    Expected a More Balanced article from you.....Me thinks you know what the truth is..... have not put it in the article...isnt your article Mandalised...?
    RAjeev Mehta

  72. So, after Lt Navdeep Singh, Ashok Chakra (P), AOC, laid down his life, will the 'Pro-rata' bug incl services ? Now d 'Services Offrs' are fighting & thereafter looking after logistics also... Bhai Logo !! Andha baante revri, mud mud apne ko de... Haha!!

  73. Every RR Bn has ASC officer commanding a company. In fact, one of them got a Sena Medal also ( must hv done three yr att also ). This is hilarious when INF takes all the vacancies in the higher ranks... Even Mandal Commision will be proud of INF.

  74. A well written article about the deep malaise in the system resulting in disgruntlement and despair. A lot of readers have got confused it as an Infantry or Artillery Vs AC or Mech Inf. Consider yourself as somebody who got commissioned in ASC/AOC/EME without your choice and and later are 3 to 4 years late in promotion due to mandalisation. Whose fault is it? It is totally against the principle of natural justice. While no one takes away the fact that certain arms have harder life. Do look after them by asking something more from Govt but certainly not by pushing somebody back. After all we all must understand that if less meritorious officers go up it will harm our organisation in long run.

  75. There is another 'Mandalisation' going on now, 90% of Inf Offrs are going for UN MSNs to make the moolah, ( the joke going on that the selection criteria is that the officer should have NOT SLAPPED HIS CO), whereas this is 25%, 15%, and 8% (Arty,Armd+AAD, and Services) .

    inf Bd %age is 64%, and anyone who pays all his mess bills qualifies.


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