Defence Current Affairs: Shekatkar Committee Recommendations

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : July 21st, 2021

The military reforms committee led by Lt General (retd.) DB Shekatkar was set up by then Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar in 2015, with a mandate to 'suggest measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces. 

The military reforms committee led by Lt General (retd.) DB Shekatkar was set up by then Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar in 2015, with a mandate to 'suggest measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces. 

The committee had made 188 recommendations, of which few have been implemented, and few more are in the pipeline.


  • Since the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Union Government is trying to follow a policy of `save and raise' in order to improve combat capabilities without manpower increases.
  • The committee was constituted owing to the present revenue component (day-to-day costs/salaries) in the defence budget. The revenue component usually outstrips the capital outlay every year and leaves very little for new modernisation projects for the armed forces.
  • The overall aim of the Shekatkar committee is to ensure combat capabilities of Indian armed forces and enhance their potential with a better teeth-to-tail combat ratio, within budgetary constraints.

Major Recommendations 

  • One of the most important recommendations was to increase the retirement age of troops by two years, which will help the Army to save a significant amount on pensions and training of personnel. Out of one million jawans in the Army, almost 60,000 retire every year. The jawans of Army retire after serving a minimum of 17 years, depending upon their promotion while in service. This step will reduce the cost of training of new jawans and also solve the issue of providing reemployment to thems. 

  • The committee advocated for 'optimisation' of non-combat support arms in the Army such as electrical and mechanical engineers.
  • The same concept applies for certain functions of the supply and ordnance corps like supplying rations and clothes to the forces. Their roles can be limited to during war and other critical assignments. 
  • Recommendations had been made to abolish military and dairy farms, where several thousand army personnel and a considerable number of officers are involved in mundane tasks like cattle rearing and growing vegetables.

  • The committee had made suggestions for downsizing the remount veterinary corps, which looks after horses and mules for ceremonial as well as operations in the higher Himalayan regions of J&K and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The committee had further specifically pointed at re-organising the role of certain organisations like the DRDO, DGQA, Defence Estates, Defence Accounts, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  • Recommendations have been made on the restructuring of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and have suggestions to bringing it under the administrative control of the ministry of human resources than the Ministry of Defence.

  • Optimal use and integration of workforce and resources by re-deploying ex-servicemen, including retired officers and JCOs in various organisations had been proposed by the committee.
  • The Shekatkar Committee had proposed allocations of more funds with the latest technology spend.
  • It has also recommendation on having a Joint Services War College that runs a one year combined course for all the three forces besides having a tri-service Intelligence training establishment has also been made.
  • Abolition of 9,304 posts in MES out of total 13,157 vacancies in Basic and Industrial staff. Work of MES could be partly done by departmentally employed staff, and other work could be outsourced.
  • The Shekatkar committee had also recommended having the position of the four-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

  • Create three integrate commands to replace existing 17 separate commands.
  • Increase the defence budget upto 2.5 to 3 percent of the GDP.

Watch Video on Shekatkar Committee

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Dhruv KumarDhruv KumarMember since Feb 2020
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Namami India

Namami IndiaMay 20, 2020

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Amit Dwivedi

Amit DwivediJul 26, 2021

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