Friday, June 4, 2010

Indian Army: Inflated Annual Confidential Reports creates sycophancy

Curbing Inflated ACRs
The curse of inflated ACRs is the bane of the Army. This need to be checked by simply following the laws of averages where in any organisation there are very few outstanding persons and equally few below average persons. The bulk is in the average category. The Air Force and the Navy follow a very sound ACR system in which the inflation of the ACRs is negligible as compared to the army. In these services due weightage is given to the technical acumen of an individual unlike in the army, where organisation of a non professional event, like a sports event or a dinner party, has an over riding bearing on one’s career prospects. If a person is a good flyer in Air Force or a good technician in the Navy he gets his due. On the other hand in the army a prestigious DSSC Wellington graduate (psc), is also judged for his event management skills which are of no professional consequence. A 9 pointer ACR should be as rare as a PVC or a PVSM. The bulk of the Indian army officers should find satisfaction in 5 or 6 pointer ACRs with bright ones getting an odd ‘7 pointer’. An ‘8 pointer’ should be personally judged by two levels up and if deemed otherwise by the RO or the SRO, it should negatively reflect on the poor judgment of the IO. This will not only reduce the rat race but will also show some logic in the reporting system. Further more for those persons who are actually outstanding, there will be lesser competitions from other officers who are actually average but graded higher than what they deserve. The ACR form should also have a column to indicate whether the Reporting Officer is a good judge of his command or not. Our ACR system is the root cause of all the ills in the army. Earlier it is corrected the better.
Brig Harwant Singh(Retd)
Read the full article
ACRs in the Army: click here

ACR- Stab in the Back?
1. He has done his job well and has produced results. Has done various courses including the prestigious ones on competitive basis. Has held various important appointments. Has, may be, an award or a decoration.
2. His superiors find nothing wrong with him, indeed, find him good and recommend him for his next promotion.
3. One day he is told that he is not suitable for promotion. And this has been decided by a bunch that doesn’t know him, has never seen him, find nothing wrong with him and yet he bites the dust. Hasn’t he been stabbed in the back? (He is, of course, an officer of the Indian Army!)
To Be Objective or Not To Be
1. What you write in an ACR must be objective and never subjective. Very sound advice! All those who write ACRs know this. They also know that if one is to get his promotion (that is the “objective” in other words), he must be given a 8 point if not a 9 point report. Only then he has a fair chance. Anything less, he is doomed.
2. If you want to punish one, give him 7 points. He has to be recommended for promotion, as that is the rule. But he will never make it, and knows it. He can’t complain as he is above average and can’t support a claim for a better grading. He can neither smile nor weep.
3. Isn’t the IO being really ‘objective’ when he gives 8 or 9 points? Well, mustn’t he ensure that he attains his objective? So, why all this fuss about a large number of officers getting 8 and 9 points? Hasn’t the situation been made to order?
Col BN Ratha(Retd)
04 Jun 10

Moderator Comment
Armies in which promotions depend on personal prejudices, rather than dispassionate assessments of professional capability, will see poor quality leadership rise to the top. "There are many senior military officers who surround themselves with career opportunists. This is in part because they invariably begin to believe the sycophants who gather around him." How can such senior officers as IO, RO and SRO write a fair objective ACR of their juniors?

The ACRs and Medical Reports do not generally represent the true picture of the Officer especially from rank of Brigs to Lt Gens as all are branded "High Profile" (9 pointer). The Medical Standards need to be made more stringent to knock out the flab. Very few Generals can pass the mandatory physical standards as no tests are conducted for their physical fitness assessment. Fifty percent or so of the Generals are medically unfit but due to their superior rank and sphere of influence they retain SHAPE One category till retirement and most of them aspire to serve and retire in and around Delhi having developed local interests, as per statistics.

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