Army lost 106 personnel in battle casualties in 2017: Govt

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New Delhi: The Army lost 106 personnel, including eight officers, in battle casualties in 2017, Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre told the Lok Sabha today.

There were 155 non-fatal battle casualties last year, he said in a written response.

In 2017, 98 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and those of other ranks, and eight officers died in battle casualties which included cease fire violations, enemy fire across the Line of Control, avalanche, militant attacks, landslide and mine blasts, the minister said.

The MoS was asked whether private companies operating in the defence sector were employing retired bureaucrats and service personnel as well as the kith and kin of bureaucrats and armed forces to “manipulate” and ensure that they have an edge over competitors.

“There is no ban on employment of retired bureaucrats, service personnel, kith and kin of bureaucrats and armed forces in private sector companies in defence sector,” he replied.

Bhamre noted that as per the existing rules, if a pensioner, who, immediately before his retirement, was a member of the Central Service group ‘A’ and wishes to accept any commercial employment before the expiry of one year from the date of retirement, shall obtain the prior sanction of government.

While granting permission in such cases, the government takes into regard the factors such as No Objection from cadre controlling authority, whether the officer has been privy to sensitive or strategic information in the last three years of his service, conflict of interest between the policies of the office the officer has held and the organisation he proposes to join, and the relevant facts, the minister stated.

Replying to another question on whether the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) had abruptly cancelled several orders with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Bhamre said this was due to reduction in procurement of supplies by the Army in the light of “budget allocation of revenue expenditure in the current year”.

“Federation of MSME vendors of defence and aerospace have submitted representations which are being considered in the ministry to safeguard their interests,” he said.

Replying to another question on the strength of women officers in the defence services, the MoS said the Army has 1,561 women officers, the Air Force 1,610 and the Navy 489 women officials. PTI