The Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh has given his approval to abolish 9,304 posts in the Military Engineering Services (MES) on 7 May, 2020. The abolished posts are out of the total 13,157 vacancies of the basic and industrial staff of the MES
According to a statement released by the Defence Ministry, this decision has been taken to enhance the combat capability and rebalance the defence expenditure of the armed forces. The statement further states that the decision is in line with the direct outcomes of the recommendations of the Committee of Experts set up in 2016 by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar. The committee was headed by former Lieutenant General D B Shekatkar.
The Shekatkar committee had made a number of suggestions on how to make the Indian armed forces much leaner, cohesive and modern.
“One of the recommendations made by the Committee was to restructure the civilian workforce in a manner that the work of MES could be partly done by departmentally employed staff and other works could be outsourced,” the defence ministry statement says.
The responsibility of MES is to design, construct and maintain the infrastructure of all the three defence forces i.e. army, navy and air force. In the opinion of experts this responsibility can be outsourced as it would be a better and cheap option.
In total, 188 suggestions were made by the committee. The defence ministry has accepted 99, and others are under consideration.
The recommendations relate to several organisations including the MES, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Directorate General of Quality Assurance, Directorate General of Defence Estates, the Ordnance Factory Board and defence accounts.