This is because promotions are based on a merit ranking system that takes into account an armyman's annual confidential report (ACR), which also covers parameters such as courses attended, commands held, and awards received. In fact, 95% of the marks are allotted on these considerations. The remaining 5% was awarded by senior generals on the basis of the reputation of an officer ("spoken reputation").
General Kapoor initiated his second controversial change to change this. He made the assessments automatic with 5% marks being proportional to marks in the ACR. This took away all the discretion left with senior officers to identify promising officers who may otherwise have scored a bit less in their ACRs. (this infact is even better , more scientific and rules out nepotism and jack system)
A senior army officer in the headquarters, however, defended General Kapoor's moves, saying the decisions have "actually made the system much more scientific, and it is not left to the discretion of seven or eight army commanders now.
Spoken reputation cuts both ways.
It can help those who are being victimised for personal grudges of the senior assessors as also it can ruin those who are independent minded and with less tact!
Capt Amrinder Singh writes in his book 'Lest We Forget' that there was an Army Commander who ran away from battle. If spoken reputation worked, would he have made it to such a rank where he decided operational matter and put people in, what Bush says, in harm's way? What moral rights does he have to do so?
There was this recent case of the golf carts being bought as some recce vehicles!! If spoken reputation of the person who had Okayed this had been known earlier, he would have not made it to such high rank!!
Of course, everything should be scientific, but then the human race is not a cloned robot to respond in a scientific way!
The senior officer who defended the COAS' decision will surely be rewarded with higher ranks. To be an Army Cdr is not easy. It requires luck as also some professional acumen, even if theoretical and not practical! And to believe that they are total idiots and have no idea of assessment, indicates that either the system of promotion is totally flawed or that too much of subjectivity is inherent!! Now, it is for the so called 'senior officer' who backed the COAS to answer. I am sure he will get his promotion and prove that the system is rotten!! I wish I knew who he was and would have taken him on in the media!
Many army commanders have objected to this saying that giving undue weightage to what is on the ACRs "will breed sycophancy." (How ...if ACR accumulated during service years is a mark of sycophancy then how does one explain the Zaradarisque 5% based on reputation which is arrived at based on personal bias/opinion or even hear say or oopari orders) A senior army officer whom DNA spoke to said that the contributions of army officers who dared to speak up, while remaining within discipline, must be recognised. "And it cannot be left to the ACRs and awards alone. Leadership is more than that, depending much on spoken reputation." (how does one quantify leadership if ACR and awards/accolades don't mean nothing, infact even for awards one needs to be recommended which again is dependent on superior's personal opinion no ?
Of course, the ACR is subjective. Just too bad. There are many who have risen to higher ranks without even commanding companies or battalions (no names) and they have directed wars, given Doctrines and conducted COIN and have only got the AVSMs and PVSMs which are like reciprocal gifts given to children at birthday parties!
I think the idea of this Chief is flawed!
He too has risen because of the system!!