In its bid to ensure that security personnel stay fit and do not become overweight, the Indian Army has announced that if ‘officers become overweight, they will not be eligible for promotions’.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, unfit military men will also not be allowed to attend ceremonial functions and that they may face the risk of transfers. Also, no overweight personnel will be allowed to go abroad on assignments.
The decision was taken after a survey of 767 soldiers last year found a third of them overweight.
The new orders, effective May this year, said that all personnel must undergo an annual ‘obesity evaluation examination’.
The report mentioned that the Army has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards obesity in its rank and hence the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of officers will carry a full-size picture instead of passport-size photo.
If the ACR of a jawan fails to get satisfactory marks from the concerned department, his promotion will be held back.
Besides, promotion will be put on hold for anybody 10 per cent above the prescribed weight, until he shaped up.
In case the promotion comes before the report card is issued, the officer will not be allowed to wear the next rank. The officer will have to wait for clearance certificate from the commanding officer.
Also, officers downgraded for their waistlines will not be allowed to attend career advancing courses, even if they clear the exams.
Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said that instructions regarding the same were issued last August when General Dalbir Singh Suhag was the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army.
Anand said that Suhag, a fitness enthusiast, ran 10 km each 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.
“These things were ignored if an officer was performing well and didn’t look fat. The army has decided to take the problem head-on as it reflects on the image of the force,” said a senior officer in the military headquarters.
With strength of over 1.4 million (14 lakh) active personnel, Indian Army is the world's 3rd largest military force.