<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a goof-up in 2011 when the Army referred to Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) as non-gazetted officers in a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it has corrected the mistake and clarified its earlier stand that downgraded them. Six years later, it took another RTI application for the Army to clear the air and state that JCOs are gazette officers putting an end to the confusion over their status which impacted the morale of the ranks.JCOs play a pivotal role as a bridge between the officers and the ranks, especially in field operations.A gazetted officer has the authority to certify documents and can be given financial powers if required.Since the RTI reply in 2011, JCOs were being equated with assistant section officers of the Armed Forces Headquarters Service, a cadre that comprises civilians for administrative duties in the forces.In an order passed on October 30, 2017, the Adjutant General’s Branch set the record straight stating that two RTI replies regarding status of JCO’s are ‘contradictory’. It cancelled the July 2011 RTI reply that had called JCOs non-gazetted.JCOs comprise personnel with ranks of Subedar Major, Subedar and Naib Subedar.The February 2017 RTI says that JCOs of Armed Forces are gazetted officers and are commissioned by President of India in accordance with the Army Act, 1950.According to the Army Act, Junior Commissioned Officer means a person commissioned, gazette or getting the same pay in the Indian Army.Sources said the anomaly was affecting the morale of the JCOs and other ranks. “It was necessary to rectify the mistake and give them the status of gazetted officers that they are entitled to,” said an army source.The RTI reply dated February 27, 2017 also clarifies that there is no provision to establish one to one equivalence with civil posts. “The JCO being a gazetted officer will always remain senior to Assistant Section Officer.”The forces have been taking measures to boost the morale of the forces.As part of enhancing the status of junior ranks of the Indian Army nearly 1.45 lakh personnel will finally get promotions after a long wait of 33 years.A cadre review of the ranks, the first since 1984 was approved recently after Ministry of finance that had earlier rejected proposals of the Ministry of Defence gave the nod.With the upgrade in lower ranks 64,930 Naiks, 58,493 Havaldars, 13,466 Naik Subedar, 7769 Subedar and 479 Subedar Majors will benefit.Increasing need for counter terror operations was among the reasons cited as the need to boost morale of the force by upgrading ranks.The approval came soon after Nirmala Sitharaman took charge as the Defence Minster.
Originally posted here –