NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday approved the proposal to abolish 9,304 vacant civilian posts in the Military Engineering Service (MES), as part of the ongoing progressive implementation of the Shekatkar Committee recommendations.

These 9,304 posts, out of the total 13,157 vacancies of the “basic and industrial staff”, were lying vacant for the last three years. “The minister cleared the proposal by the engineer-in-chief of MES, in line with the Shekatkar Committee recommendation to restructure the civilian workforce in a manner that the work can be partly done by departmentally employed staff while the rest is outsourced,” said an official.

The move comes in the backdrop of the urgent need to slash the non-operational manpower in the armed forces and the associated defence civilian cadre. The ballooning salary and pension bills as well as the day-to-day running costs leave little for new military modernisation projects in the defence budget after “committed liabilities” are paid for arms deals inked earlier.

Officials said the Shekatkar Committee recommendation for the MES is aimed at making the organisation leaner and well-equipped to handle complex issues in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The ministry has chalked out a roadmap for implementation of some of the measures suggested by the committee.

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