Government Widens Eligibility Criteria for Chief Of Defence Staff Post
The Government of India has now widened the scope of eligibility for the chief of defence staff post of the Indian Armed Forces, according to gazette notifications issued on Monday. The Notification to amend the Air Force Regulations 1964 is given below:
Similar notifications have been issued with respect to Army and Navy Regulations. In theory now, any serving or retired lieutenant general, air marshal and vice admiral under the age of 62 years can be chosen for the top military post. Earlier, only chiefs of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy were eligible for the role. The tenure of the service chiefs is three years or till they turn 62, whichever is earlier.
However in the three star ranks of the Armed Forces, there are virtually two distinct ranks that is Lt Generals who are Commander In Chiefs / Vice Chiefs / Chief of Integrated Staff and the rest of the 3 star ranks. The C In Cs are in the apex pay of Rs 225000/ and their equivalent in the Civil are the Secretaries to Govt of India. In USA Armed Forces such officers hold 4 Star rank of a General.
Then there are Lt Generals who though cleared for C IN C selection but could not be promoted due to lack of vacancy or age criteria ( minimum 18 months service must be left ). They are also placed in the Apex pay scale of 225000/- or Pay Matrix 17.
Next come the Lt Generals who by virtue of their seniority are placed in the pay matrix 16 which has the pay range 205400 to 224400. Around one third of the Lt Generals ( less Pay Matrix 16 ) are in this pay scale. The rest of the Lt General including the newly promoted are in the Pay Matrix of 15 that ranges from 182200 to 224100.
Thus for the post of CDS only those 3 stars will be considered who have actually held the appointment of a C In C or have been the VCOAS or are currently serving as such. The three Service chiefs will also be in the run.
The chief of defence staff post has been lying vacant since Bipin Rawat died in a plane crash on December 8 in Tamil Nadu. Thirteen others, including his wife Madhulika Rawat, had also died in the crash.
The change in eligibility for the role was brought in by the government through amendments to the Air Force Act, the Army Act and the Navy Act. The notifications also said that the government may extend the tenure of the chief of defence staff if necessary till the maximum age of 65 years.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the creation of the post of a chief of defence staff on December 24, 2019. General Bipin Rawat was appointed as the country’s first chief of defence staff the following week, a day before he retired as the Army chief.
The post of chief of defence staff stands higher than the three service chiefs. The person is the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He functions as a single point of contact for the three branches of the Indian Armed Forces and is the military advisor to the Indian government.
The chief of defence staff also heads the Department of Military Affairs. However, he does not exercise any military command over the three service chiefs or the Services as such.