Army moots more powers for JCOs, to be given authority to write Annual Confidential Reports

Army moots more powers for JCOs, to be given authority to write Annual Confidential Reports

The Army headquarters has proposed a new system of writing the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) wherein they are to be written by Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and not by the officers, as done presently.

A proposal in this regard has been initiated for examination and implementation by the Army headquarters on the directions of Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat.

As per the proposal, at present, the ACRs of the NCOs, comprising the ranks of jawans till Havildars, are written by the Company Commanders who are commissioned officers. It is now proposed that the JCOs (ranks of Naib Subedar to Subedar Major) who serve as Platoon Commanders, Senior JCOs and Subedar Majors in units should instead write the report as they serve directly under them.

Presently, the JCOs have no say in writing of the ACRs. It has also been proposed that the Company Commanders would be the reviewing officers for the ACRs under the new system.

A letter has been issued by the Adjutant Generals Branch of Army headquarters on September 13, in which it has been pointed out that the JCOs are an important part of the command and control structure of the Army. The letter, disseminated throughout the Army, says that it is imperative that the JCOs are empowered so that they exercise more control over the subordinates who come under their direct command.

The Adjutant Generals Branch has also sought comments on the move which seeks to instill judicious assessment of confidential reports of the NCOs till October 31. It has also been told that the Key Result Areas Monitoring Cell of the Chief of Army Staffs Secretariat has also approved the implementation of the move.

The proposal has so far received mixed reactions.

A senior serving officer opined that a large percentage of the JCOs today cannot write well. “It is not understood how they will write the ACRs which require considerable knowledge of the language. The JCOs may also be more susceptible to pressures and pulls being mostly from the same social groups and regions and the troops,” an officer said.  He so expressed apprehension that this may result in a chasm between the officers and the troops.

When contacted, a senior officer at army HQs confirmed that there was a move to empower the JCOs by giving them more authority. “The number of officers in a unit is not going to increase drastically. We have to ensure that the JCOs shoulder more responsibility. The results may not be immediate but in a few years down the line the JCOs would be able to do this task well once it is institutionalised,” he said.