It is time for the unfit and overweight soldiers to pay some attention to their shape, as the Indian Army is no longer promoting soldiers who are obese. Army officials said that unfit military men have to slim down; else, they will lose their eligibility for transfers and promotions.
The Indian Army has adopted a zero tolerance policy to obesity in its rank. This decision was made after a sample survey of 767 soldiers found that a third of them were overweight. The findings of the survey question the combat readiness of the third largest army of the world with about 1.3 million staff.
It is reported that a fight against obesity has started in the Indian Army, as a special order, effective from May 2017, says that all the Army personnel should undergo “obesity evaluation examination” every year. As per the changes, the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of the Indian Army officers will now carry a full size photo, in place of the old norm of a passport size photo. This is to make sure that the person does not have a bulge around the waist.
The promotions will now depend on the waist size of the officer. A certificate from the officer who prepares the ACR of the personnel who is to be promoted will be sent to the concerned departments. Sources said that the promotion would be held back for any person who is ten percent above the ideal body weight, until the person shaped up.
If the promotion order comes before the issue of the certificate, the person will not be allowed to have the next rank until his Commanding Officer certifies that he has the ideal weight for the rank. Those officers who are downgraded for their bulky waistlines will not be permitted to attend the career advancing courses like the one at Defence Services Staff College, even if they have cleared the entrance exams for the courses.
Army spokesperson Col. Aman Anand said that the instructions for “enforcement measures to help check the menace of obesity” were sent to all the Indian military commands for comments in the month of August last year. The idea was conceived by the Army Chief, Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, who is a fitness enthusiast who jogs 10 kms every day. “Soldiers in forward areas tend to put on weight as the fitness regime is not followed. The fresh instructions will make people sharpen their focus to stay in top physical shape,” an officer said.