In a significant move, the Defence Ministry headed by Rajnath Singh has announced that a cell to look into allegations of human rights violations will come up at the Army headquarters.
A vigilance cell will also be constituted at the headquarters and it will report to the Army Chief. The vigilance cell will have representatives from the Navy and Air Force too.
The moves are part of the reorganisation of the Army Headquarters approved by the Defence Ministry on Wednesday.
The vigilance cell will bring in more transparency, sources in the Army said. It will be headed by a senior ranking officer and the two other services — Navy and the Air Force — will have its representatives in the cell. These representatives will have the rank equivalent to that of a colonel in the Army.
Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said the moves are being made on the basis of “one of the four studies initially conducted as part of the major reforms of the Indian Army” and that it would “make for a more efficient set-up and also cut out the overlaps and the flab, and remove duplication”.
The study started in early 2018 and a report was submitted in January this year.
Also, an umbrella organisation under the Vice Chief of the Army will be looking into human rights issues.
“To give high priority to observance of human rights convention and values, it has been decided to set up a special Human Rights Section” which will be headed by an officer of Major General rank, a statement issued by the Defence Ministry said. The unit will be “the nodal point to examine” any reports of human rights violations, the statement said and added that “to enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section”, an SSP or an SP-rank police officer will be on deputation.
To make the Army headquarters leaner and more efficient, it has also been decided to relocate 206 officers from the headquarters to formation and units across the country.
The reform initiatives were finalised by top commanders of the Army in October last year to usher in transformative reforms in the force.
The reforms will also include restructuring the Army’s officer cadre, bringing down age of key commands, arresting rising revenue expenditure and “right-sizing” the force.