Context: Recently, the Defence Minister has approved the abolition of 9,304 posts in the Military Engineering Service.

More on news:

  • There was a proposal of Engineer-in-Chief of Military Engineering Services (MES) for optimisation of more than 9,300 posts in the basic and industrial workforce. 
  • The proposal of abolition of 9,304 posts in MES out of the total 13,157 vacancies of the Basic and Industrial staff has been approved by the Defence Minister.
  • It is in line with the recommendations of the Committee of Experts, headed by Lieutenant General Shekatkar, which had recommended measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the Armed Forces.
  • It has also recommended 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.

Objective of optimisation: 

  • It was aimed at making the MES an effective organisation with a leaner workforce, well equipped to handle complex issues in the emerging scenario in an efficient and cost- effective manner.

Shekatkar Committee

  • The 11-member committee, appointed by the late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2016 with a broad mandate, had made about 99 recommendations from optimising defence budget to the need for a Chief of the Defence Staff.
  • The recommendations, if implemented over the next five years, can result in savings of up to ₹25,000 crore in defence expenditure. Of these, the first batch of 65 recommendations pertaining to the Army were approved in August 2017.


  • Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
  • Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
  • Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  • Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
  • Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
  • Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
  • Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.

Military Engineering services

  • Military Engineer Services is one of the oldest and largest government defense infrastructure development agencies in India. 
  • It is mainly employed in the engineering and construction for the Indian Armed Forces including the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Ordnance Factories, DRDO and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • Besides conventional building construction for the Armed Forces, Military Engineer Services is also involved in the execution of sophisticated and complex projects like airfields, buildings, workshops, roads, sports complexes, runways, hangars, dockyards, wharves and other marine structures.
  • Military Engineer Services has also been entrusted with the construction of the National War Memorial (India) and National War Museum.
  • MES is an Inter Service Organisation but has both Army and Civilian components of officers and other subordinate staff.


Source: Indian Express