The Ministry of Defence has accepted a long-pending demand of ex-servicemen to drop the use of the term ‘Personnel Below Officers Rank’ (PBOR) in official communication.
A letter to this effect has been issued to all command headquarters of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Henceforth, in official communication, soldiers will be referred as Other Ranks (Sepoy, Naik and Havildar), Junior Commissioned Officers (Hony Naib Subedar, Naib Subedar, Subedar, Subedar Major) and Officers (Lieutenants and above).
Officers are commissioned in forces, so are Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). The JCOs also put on stars on shoulders like officers.
The JCOs are Class II gazetted officers and their gazette notification is also signed by the President of India. Some JCOs do take on officer’s duties, responsibilities and also draw officiating allowances for that.
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd), former Vice-Chief of the Army and chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, said: “I am happy the system has recognised it. It was unfair to call Junior Commissioned Officers as PBORs.”
The term PBORs is considered derogatory because it draws a line between officers and the other ranks. “It creates a deep sense of difference in the hearts and mind of ex-servicemen and also in forces,” said Lt Col SS Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-servicemen Grievance Cell. He had also petitioned the MoD to drop the term.
Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the All-India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, however, said everybody should be called ex-servicemen after retirement. "After retirement, all are equal and categorising soldiers who have served at the lowest ranks as Other Ranks should also be avoided," he said.
MoD drops use of term PBOR in Armed Forces
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