The Army Commanders conference which concludes today had a number of issues to deliberate, some of which can be discussed in this blog, others, for reasons of secrecy, cannot. There are two of them on which I wish to touch upon. The first which I find interesting is the point relating to officers not reporting for mandatory courses. The Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S) wants some action to be taken against such officers and hence this agenda point was up for discussion in the conference. What came of the discussion will be know in a couple of days time and will be published here for all to see. But it is quite intriguing why officers will not report for courses which they have to do in order to progress in the arm or service they are serving in. These courses, like the YOs, JC, courses run by technical arms like SODE for Signals and the like for officers of Engineers and EME, weapons courses for infantry and armoured corps officers etc. There seems to have been an increase in the number of officers skipping these courses which seems to have prompted the DCOAS to raise the issue at the commanders conference. Often officers do skip these courses due to reasons like illness, injury etc but sooner or later they do have to complete them. There has been at least one instance in my knowledge where a SSC officer did not attend the YOs course and hence was not recommended for permanent commission when the time came.
The second issue which I want to discuss relates to the re-structuring of the Military Farms. There has been rampant corruption in military farms and perhaps more than any other branch/service of the Army. Why the Army continues with this organisation is beyond my understanding. It would be much cheaper and logistically easier to outsource the requirements being fulfilled by military farms. Just a couple of months back, a Lt Col of military farms posted in Dehradun was sentenced to eight years rigorous imprisonment by a general courts martial on charges of corruption. There is also a tussle for power between the civilian officers of this branch who are often at loggerheads with the uniformed ones and vive versa. Though the deliberations on this issue too will be known in the days to come, I seriously doubt whether military farms will be shut down. Perhaps they are too lucrative!