The evolution and management of the Navy's personnel policies have been turbulent since 1939. During the Second World War, the Royal Indian Navy had expanded from 114 officers and 1732 ratings in 1939 to 3014 officers and 27,433 ratings in 1945. After the demobilisation of 1945 and 1946 and the partition of the Navy in 1947, the Navy had shrunk to 672 officers and 5508 ratings.

After 1947, the demands for manpower steadily increased. Ever since then, personnel policies have been driven by several considerations, of which the more basic ones have been:

The reconciliation of these conflicting considerations was not easy. During the decade 1965 to 1975, unrest and dissatisfaction manifested in diverse forms. The Navy pulled through. Shortages reduced gradually. Reforms were attempted in the procedures for recruitment, training and manning. Some reforms succeeded. Some reforms like fixed commissions and pre commissioning training (PCT) took time to take root. Some reforms like user-maintainer failed to gain acceptance.

As regards training, except for the advanced "dagger" specialisation courses and other highly specialised courses, the entire training of officers and sailors was being undertaken in India by 1965.

The parent schools, by and large, had the equipment they needed to impart training for the older ships. For every new acquisition, however, a balance had to be struck between the cost of setting up new training facilities ashore or making the maximum use of equipment aboard the new ships. The main constraint was that the wear and tear caused by "learning on the job at sea" degraded the life of equipment on board operational ships.

This chapter discusses the "Personnel" developments between 1965 and 1975 under the following headings:

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In September 1939, when the Second World War started, the Royal Indian Navy had 114 officers. By the time, the war ended in 1945, the number of officers had risen to 3014. After the demobilisation of 1945 and 1946 and the partition of the Navy in 1947, the Navy had 672 officers.

The anticipated expansion of the Navy necessitated recourse to increased recruitment of direct entry officers, as also increasing the intake of regular entry officers. By 1964, the strength had risen to 1870 officers.

The position, in end 1965, was that the Navy was still 26% short and for the next five years a large number would be required to man the Russian acquisitions. A series of steps were taken to meet this looming shortage of officers:

By 1975, though the overall shortage persisted, intake had improved. GSES for Executive Branch candidates and the Direct Entry Scheme of offering permanent commissions to Engineering and Electrical candidates had received good response. Both schemes were continued.

The residual shortages were made up through the Union Public Service Commission's Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination, which had been introduced in 1974 to replace the separate examinations which used to be held for cadets to join the Indian Military Academy, the Naval Academy's GSES entry and the Air Force Academy.

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In end 1975, shortages persisted in the technical branches, albeit at a reduced level. The shortage was particularly acute in the rank of Lt Cdr because of the new acquisitions, Long courses, Staff courses and appointment in the new units like Acceptance Trial Teams, Testing and Tuning Teams, Work Up Teams, Weapon Analysis Teams etc. The shortage of seaman weapon specialist officers had become so acute that these important teams, the sanctions for which had taken years of effort to obtain, were left unfilled. An Officers Manning Plan became inescapable:

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Until 1965, the NDA's three year syllabus had a common content for the first two years and an Army/Navy/Air Force syllabus for the third year. The drawback of this syllabus was that cadets who did not have knowledge of science and mathematics retarded the progress of the others, for whom the syllabus remained elementary.

In 1965, the Chiefs of Staff Committee directed the NDA to introduce a diversified syllabus - one for the Humanities - Social Science stream and one for the Science stream. The Chiefs of Staff also recommended that cadets be awarded a degree on passing out of the NDA.

A Syllabus Revision Comittee was appointed in 1968 whose terms of reference were to:

The Committee comprised eminent educationists and service representatives. The Committee also sought suggestions from a wide spectrum of experts. All agreed that better educated officer material was highly necessary and that the award of a degree would also help in the post-service rehabilitation of officers. The Chairman of the University Grants Commission felt, however, that cadets who were good in service subjects and marginal in academics should have the option to pass out without a degree, because the overall development of a cadet's personality as a potential officer would suffer if acquisition of a degree became the primary aim.

The Committee's major recommendations were:

The Committee's Report was approved and the three year Degree Course was started in July 1971. The NDA was affiliated to the JNU on 31 August 1973. The 46th NDA course was the first batch of cadets to pass out of NDA as graduates in June 1974.


By 1968, the shortage of General List officers had started to become a constraint on the Navy's expansion. The anticipated strength of 3500 officers by 1975 required an annual intake of at least 150 cadets. Since the NDA could not take more than 65 naval cadets every year, it became necessary to start a "Revised Special Entry Scheme" and set up a separate Naval Academy. It was decided that the sailor's Basic & Divisional (B&D) Training School would have to move from Cochin to Goa and a Naval Academy set up temporarily at Cochin to meet immediate needs until the Academy's permanent location was chosen.

In 1969, approval was accorded for the institution of the Revised Special Entry Scheme (RSES). Under this scheme, naval cadets in the age group 17 to 20 years who had passed the Intermediate examination could be recruited in the Executive Branch. This scheme was identical to the NDA's "Special Entry Scheme" except that the initial training of one year would have to be conducted at Cochin in the Naval Academy.

RSES training commenced in January 1970 and the first batch of 36 executive cadets passed out of the Naval Academy on 14 December 1970. They joined the NDA's 39th batch of regular cadets for sea training on board the training ships TIR and CAUVERY.

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In 1973, when the NDA got affiliated to the JNU in Delhi, all NDA cadets, on successfully passing their final examinations, received a bachelors degree of the JNU. As a result, the RSES candidate of the Naval Academy was out of phase with his NDA counterpart. It was decided that instead of taking in pre-graduate candidates, it would be more cost effective to recruit Science graduates only and thereby reduce the duration of their training at the Naval Academy.

In July 1974, the first batch of GSES cadets entered the Naval Academy for an initial training period of only 6 months. Whereas the original sanction was for a total of 80 cadets to be trained every year, the Naval Academy now trained 80 cadets every 6 months.Go on top




Afloat training is structured to train each subordinate officer in seamanship, navigation and man management, so that he will be able to:

The training programme for achieving these objectives is time intensive and imparted largely `on the job' and by performing `live' tasks.

The curriculum broadly consists of :-

This training curriculum requires individual attention to be given to each trainee for him to be assessed at short intervals throughout the training period. Ships have therefore to be exclusively earmarked and suitably staffed, solely for training purposes.

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Since the 1950's, the sea training of officer cadets had been undertaken in the Second World War frigates KISTNA, CAUVERY and TIR. The primary requirement was the endurance to undertake long cruises at sea.

By the end 1960's, these three ships had begun to age. The Navy examined whether the three old Second World War destroyers RAJPUT, RANA and RANJIT could be converted to the training role. It was found that their remaining life did not justify the cost of conversion.

It was therefore decided to convert the ageing cruiser DELHI to the training role. DELHI underwent a major refit from May 1971 to August 1972. DELHI, KISTNA, CAUVERY and TIR comprised the Training Squadron till the end 1970s.

In the mid 1970's, it was decided to convert the three diesel engined frigates BRAHMAPUTRA, BEAS and BETWA to the training role to take over from the older training ships.

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Cadet Entry Officers

The duration of initial training of Cadet Entry Officers was reduced in 1975:

  Until 1975 After 1975
Cadets Training Ship 6 months 6 months
Midshipmen Training 12 months 6 months
Sub Lts Courses  12 months 40 weeks
Sea attachment for watch keeping certificate 3 to 6 months 6 months

Direct Entry Officers

The duration of training for Direct Entry Executive Officers was different from that of Cadet Entry Executive officers. It was reviewed constantly, depending on the feedback received from ships of the Fleet. The training duration was increased in 1968:

Until 1968   After 1968  
Naval Orientation 9 weeks Naval Orientation 5  weeks
Sea Training 8 weeks Sea Training (INS Delhi) 15 weeks
Sub Lt's Courses 34 weeks Sub Lt's Courses 30 weeks
    Leave 4  weeks
    Sea Training (INS Cauvery) 15 weeks
Total  51 weeks Total 69 weeks

On completion, DE officers were attached to Fleet ships for obtaining their watch keeping certificate.

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The Naval Academy continued with the training of Revised Special Entry Scheme Cadets until January 1974.

In the beginning of 1974, it was decided to close down the B & D School in Cochin. All the officer courses conducted by this School were taken over by the Naval Academy. As a result, the Naval Academy, apart from running the basic courses for cadets, commenced conducting the following courses:-

By 1976, it was found that it was not practical to carry out the initial training of cadets and of Ag Sub Lts of various branches separately. It was therefore decided that all initial training for cadets of the Executive Branch and Ag Sub Lts of all technical branches should be of the same duration, should have a common syllabus and should run concurrently. This was implemented from January 1976 onwards.

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Commencing 1974, the Command Examination was introduced for Executive officers. All officers who aspired to command ships had to qualify in this examination. Its aim was to promote self study and to acquire professional competence to fill Command appointments at sea. Officers who failed in this examination would not be appointed in command.

Officers of the Submarine Arm who had qualified in the Submarine Commanding Officers Course were exempted from appearing in that part of the Command Examination which had questions on submarines.

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Commencing 1975, this examination was instituted for Supply Branch Officers. It was analogous to the Command Examination for Executive officers. Its aim was to promote self study of professional subjects and ensure professional competence to fill higher appointments.


Commencing 1975, this examination was instituted for officers of the Engineering and Electrical branches to promote self study of professional and technical management practices and ensure professional competence to fill important assignments both afloat and ashore.

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In 1969, NHQ promulgated the working principles on the selection of officers for promotion to the ranks of Commander, Captain and Rear Admiral.

Selection Procedure

The Promotion Committee would consider the officers branchwise, batch by batch, for promotion to higher rank, once a year, depending on the likelihood of fresh vacancies during the ensuing year.

The Select List comprised officers who were considered fit for acting/substantive promotion to the next higher rank.


The Selection Committee would grade each officer as follows:-

An officer graded A would move to the top of his batch in the Select List. In exceptional cases, an officer graded A could be considered for promotion with the batch immediately above his batch.

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The Navy's procedure for the intake and initial training of ratings had been adopted from the British Navy. Its basic premise was that ratings should be inducted when young and given long periods of initial training to indoctrinate naval discipline and to familiarise them with life at sea. Accordingly, ratings were inducted as `boys' and trained in the Boys Training Establishment for two years before going to sea. Artificers were inducted as artificer apprentices and trained for four years before going to sea. The only way of meeting surges in demand was to resort to direct entry intake, curtail the long duration of initial training and accept the attendant consequence of lesser discipline.

In September 1939, when the Second World War started, the Royal Indian Navy had 1732 ratings. When the war ended in 1945, the number of ratings had risen to 27,433. After the demobilisation of 1945 and 1946, and partition of the Navy in 1947, the Navy had 5508 ratings.

The division of personnel between the two Navies necessitated a heavy recruitment drive in 1948, both of direct entry artificers and direct entry ratings as well as regular entry artificer apprentices and boys. This helped to ease the shortage. A decade later in 1958, contrary to expectations, 70% of the 1948 sailor entrants declined to sign on for further service after their initial contract. This shortage was aggravated by the need to find additional personnel for the new frigates and VIKRANT being acquired from Britain.

By 1962, another recruitment drive reduced the shortages. However, the anticipated advantage was offset by new commitments ashore and in the inter services organisations like NCC together with the demands for the Naval Garrison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In 1965, the shortage in the sailor cadre stood at 17% and a large requirement was looming to man the Russian acquisitions. It was anticipated that the same situation, as in 1948 and 1958, might arise in 1968 also.

The solutions clearly lay in increasing the Navy's capacity to train new entrants, increase the period of initial engagement and offer greater incentives to induce sailors to stay on in service.

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Increasing the Period of Engagement

In 1965, a sailor's initial period of engagement was ten years. On completion, he could re-engage for five years and for two year thereafter i.e. up to a total of seventeen years. The authority for re-engagement beyond seventeen years vested in NHQ.

Normally all sailors were re-engaged upto twenty years of service if recommended by their Commanding Officer. Reengagement beyond twenty years was on a selective basis.

In 1966, to cope with the increased need for sailors, subject to the Commanding Officer's recommendation, all sailors could be re-engaged up to a total period of twenty five years or age of superannuation, whichever was earlier. The aim was to promote a greater sense of security of employment amongst sailors and ensure a longer career for those who volunteered for further service.

In 1973, re-engagement was permitted for five years at a time up to the compulsory age of retirement of fifty five years for all.

In 1976, the initial engagement was increased from ten to fifteen years. And, instead of promotion awaiting vacancies, time scale advancement to Leading rate was approved for sailors otherwise qualified.

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Before the partition of the Navy in 1947, the only BTE of the Royal Indian Navy was located in Karachi. After partition, a temporary BTE was set up in Visakhapatnam. Training was carried out in a New Entry Camp and a Main Camp, both of which were located in temporary barracks in INS CIRCARS.

In 1954, the sanction for the BTE envisaged the training in seamanship of 1645 boy sailors for the seaman, stoker and electrical trades.

In 1962, the BTE started getting congested. Sanction was obtained to expand the BTE and acquire land from the Visakhapatnam Port Trust and from private owners.

In 1965, when the decision was taken to base the Russian acquisitions in Visakhapatnam and build a major naval base with a new Dockyard, it was decided to shift the BTE to Paradeep port in Orissa. This could not be pursued because the vacant multi-storey buildings which were to house the BTE, got occupied by the personnel of Paradeep port. The Navy then started investigating alternative sites, the primary requirement being proximity to the sea so that boy sailors could be taught boatwork, sailing and basic seamanship.

In 1969, after visiting Chandbali port and Ganjam port, the Navy chose a 1600 acre site on the bank of the Chilka Lake in Orissa, where 1200 boys could be trained at a time.

Chilka Lake was a sanctuary for migratory birds. The environmentslists sought, and the Navy willingly gave and has meticulously observed, the commitment to safeguard the environment of this bird sanctuary. The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the BTE. Construction commenced in 1973 and it was commissioned as INS CHILKA in 1980.

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In the 1950's, direct entry sailors started being trained at the Basic and Divisional School at Cochin. As the Navy expanded, the numbers increased and the search started for alternative locations. Here too, the primary requirement was proximity to the sea where young sailors could be taught boat-work, sailing and basic seamanship.

In 1968, the Navy's proposal was accepted to site the new STE at Goa. In 1969, approval was accorded for the construction of the STE on a 230 acre site on a hill at Reis Magos, five miles north of Panaji, close to the northern bank of the River Mandovi. The STE was envisaged to train 500 direct entry sailors at a time.

On 9 Oct 69, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the STE. The STE was formally commissioned as INS MANDOVI in 1976.

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By 1965, branch/specialist schools had been established for imparting professional training in their respective specialisations. These schools conducted the courses in which sailors had to qualify before they could be promoted to higher rank:

Branch Specialisation Parent School Location
Seaman Gunnery Gunnery School Cochin
  Torpedo & Anti Submarine TAS School Cochin
  Communications & Electronic Warfare Signal School Cochin
  Navigation & Direction ND School Cochin
Engineering Artificers & Engineering Mechanics INS SHIVAJI Lonavla
Electrical Artificers INS SHIVAJI (Initial training) Lonavla
    INS VALSURA (Electrical training) Jamnagar
  Electrical Mechanics INS VALSURA Jamnagar
Supply & Secretariat Writers, Stores Assistants, Cooks & Stewards INS HAMLA Marve(Bombay)
Shipwright Artificers INS SHIVAJI (Initial training) Lonavla
    Shipwright School INS ANGRE, Bombay
  Provost Regulating School INS KUNJALI, Bombay
  Musicians School of Music INS KUNJALI, Bombay
Air Arm Observers Observer School Cochin
  Artificers INS SHIVAJI (Initial training) Naval Air Technical School Cochin Lonavla
  Airmen Technical Naval Air Technical School Cochin
  Airmen Non Technical School for Naval Airmen Cochin

Whenever new acquisitions were inducted, every effort was made to install the analogous training equipment in the respective schools, subject to cost considerations.


In 1959, to ease the congestion in Cochin, the PO Leadership School was shifted to Calicut. In 1965, when HANSA relocated from Coimbatore to Dabolim in Goa, the Leadership School shifted from Calicut to Coimbatore, into the premises vacated by HANSA. The School was named INS AGRANI.

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The driving wheel of the Navy's management of its sailor cadres was its "drafting" policy. The Annual Training Programme for higher rank courses and the annual programme of Fleet Exercises during which sailors got "sea time" were offshoots of this policy.

On the one hand, the promotion regulations required sailors to qualify in higher rate professional courses and to be given adequate sea time. On the other hand, this policy of continuously transferring sailors into and out of ships prevented the consolidation of expertise. The difficult task of providing equal opportunity and of balancing these conflicting requirements was delegated to the Drafting Office.

The Drafting Office took the following factors into consideration when effecting drafts:-

For optimal deployment of available manpower, the Drafting Office promulgated a "Manning Plan" every year, indicating the allocation of sailors to each ship and establishment. It took into account the shortage in each category of sailors and judiciously distributed whatever was available.

Drafting was divided into two main categories:-

In all cases of planned drafting, the Drafting Office gave approximately three months notice to enable the affected sailors to attend to their domestic affairs. Pleas for deferment or cancellation of drafts on account of sickness, financial hardship or domestic reasons were usually not considered. Where, however, the Commanding Officer was personally of the opinion that the circumstances warranted a deferment or cancellation of a draft, the Drafting Office examined the case on merits. To avoid a chain reaction, the Drafting office rarely acceded to last minute requests for deferment or cancellation of drafts:

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The shortages were most worrisome in the case of artificers. Since much better emoluments and perquisites were offered by private industry and the Merchant Navy, most senior technical artificers left the Navy after having served the minimum time. With the new technology entering service with the Russian acquisitions, the shortage of artificers became a cause of serious concern.

Several proposals were considered to overcome the shortage. One was to recruit holders of diplomas from polytechnics as direct entry artificers. Whilst this would help to meet the immediate need by avoiding the long four year initial period of training that artificer apprentices normally underwent, it had the disadvantage of insufficient naval indoctrination. Another proposal was to create a new rate of Master Chief Petty Officer as an incentive to sign on for longer periods after their initial engagement as also to improve the career prospects of highly trained senior sailors.

In 1966, recruitment commenced of diploma holders as artificers to be trained for 1 1/2 years instead of the 4 years training given to regular entry artificer apprentices.

In 1967, Direct Entry Artificer intake was increased to 120. By 1971, the deficiency in the artificer cadre had reduced from 30% to 10%. From 1972 onwards, the artificer shortage persisted at 10%.

In 1970, the shortage of artificers in the submarine cadre led to the induction of Direct Entry Artificers Acting IVth class of three or four year diplomas in mechanical, electrical and aeronautical engineering. Simultaneously, this entry was permitted for engineering and electrical artificers.

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In 1968, as an incentive to re-engagement for longer service, the MCPO cadre was created as the equivalent to JCO's of the Army and Warrant/Master Warrant officers of the Air Force.

The MCPO Cadre was sanctioned as a percentage of the sanctioned cadre of CPO's. These percentages were:

  Technical  Non Technical
MCPO Class I 15% 12 1/2 %
MCPO Class II  25%  25%

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Within a few years of the arrival from Britain of the MYSORE in 1957, the eight new frigates between 1958 and 1961 and the VIKRANT in 1961, it became clear that the increase in sophistication of ships and equipment called for a comprehensive relook at the existing ranks, rates and trades of the Navy's sailors. A high-powered committee was appointed to review the sailors structure.

By the time this committee convened in 1966, the first of the Russian acquisitions, the Landing Ships, had arrived. It was abundantly clear that there was going to be a severe shortage of bunks. At this very same time, sailors were being selected to undergo training in Russia to man the submarines, the Petyas and the Submarine Depot Ship and problems had arisen on how to accomodate the Navy's numerous trades in the fewer bunks.

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The Committee for the Reorganisation of the Sailors Structure (called the CROSS Committee) started its deliberations in 1966. It was headed by Commodore SS Sodhi. He recalls:

Commander VF Rebello was the Deputy Director of Personnel (Manpower Planning) in Naval Headquarters from 1967 to 1969 when the recommendations of the CROSS Committee were examined. He recalls:

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With effect from December 1967, the terminology in use to signify junior rates of sailors of the various branches were standardised in "second class" and "first class". For example:

Earlier Nomenclature  Standardised Nomenclature
Ordinary Seaman (OD) Seaman Second Class (Sea II)
Able Seaman (AB) Stoker

 Seaman First Class (Sea I)
Engineering Mechanic Second/First Class ME II/ ME I

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When the first three Petyas arrived in India, the Navy was able to see, at first hand, the seriousness of the problem which the CROSS Committee had tried to solve:

Various options were considered like reduce the number of cooks and stewards, abolish topasses, adopt two watch steaming at sea instead of the usual three watches, convert all maintainers into users, teach users the basic maintenance so as to reduce the number of maintainers on board, transfer the less complicated power electric duties of the junior electrical sailors to the Engineering Department and so on. After detailed consideration, the following directives were issued in 1969:

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Re-Allocation of Branch Responsibilities and Duties.

Branch Responsibilites - Transfer of Power Electrical Duties From
Electrical to Engine Room Branch Sailors in "PETYA" Class of Ships

Electrical Equipment to be Maintained by the Engineering Branch in the Petya Class of Ships.

Pre Commissioning Training (PCT) (Engineering) - Eight Weeks

The Electrical Branch did not take kindly to these directives. Views still differ on whether all the junior Engine Room sailors who underwent training in compliance with the above directives were deliberately failed in the examination conducted after twenty weeks familiarisation training or whether the non matriculate Engine Room sailors lacked the ability to comprehend electrics. To avoid disrupting the acquisition programme, it was decided to maintain status quo.

The apprehensions about the User-Maintainer Concept centred on three issues:

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In the British Navy, a ship commissioned for two years and could be deployed to one of Britain's Fleets anywhere in the world. On completion of two years, the ship returned to her home port in Britain, decommissioned, underwent a thorough refit and the recommissioned for another fixed commission. The two greatest advantages of the fixed commission were that officers and men remained together for the full commission, got to know each others strengths and weaknesses and got to know the capabilities and limitations of their ship's equipment.

The Indian Navy neither had worldwide commitments, nor the number of ships, nor sufficient manpower to adopt Fixed Commissions. Ship remained permanently "in commission" until they were "decommissioned" and for the reasons already discussed, officers and men changed round every twelve to eighteen months.

Successive Fleet Commanders repeatedly recommended the adoption of a Fixed Commission, at least for operational ships. As the following excerpt shows, there were difficulties:

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In 1972, the officers in service on 31 December 1971 and those joining thereafter were allotted five digit personal numbers, suffixed by a computer letter.

Blocks of numbers were allotted to each branch in such a manner that the left hand digit would denote the officer's Branch.

General List Branch Blocks Allotted
  Executive 00001 to  39,999
  Engineering 40,000 to 49,999
  Electrical 50,000 to 59,999
  Supply & Secretariat  60,000 to 69,999
  Education 70,000 to 74,999
  Medical 75,000 to 78,999
  Dental officers 79,000 to 79,999
SD List Specialists  
  Seaman 80,000 to 84,999
  Engineering 85,000 to86,299
  Shipwright 86,300 to 86,799
  Electrical 86,800 to 88,499
  Supply & Secretariat 88,500 to 89,699
  Medical 89,700 to 89,999

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In 1969, NSEC was set up in the Ministry of Defence, on the same lines as the Army's ASEC and the Air Force's AFSEC.

The three member Committee was chaired by a Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Defence. The members were a naval Captain and an Assistant Financial Adviser from the Ministry of Finance (Defence).

The Committee's Terms of Reference were to :

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The Navy's Regulations on the subject of moustaches and beards had adopted, verbatim, the regulations of the British Navy. These required that a naval officer or sailor :-

As in the case of smartness of uniform, the spirit of these regulations was to ensure that control could be exercised on the tidiness of facial appearance so that personnel did not bring discredit to the Navy by looking untidy.

In 1970 and 1971, the Navy began to be exposed to several influences:

Admiral Nanda was the CNS from 1970 to 1973. He recalls:

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The same pressures for relaxation which led to changes in the regulations for moustaches and beards also led to changes in uniforms, "to bring outdated traditional British uniforms in line with modern trends".

Admiral Nanda recalls:

The changes in uniform between 1965 and 1975 are summarised below:

Year Officers  Sailors

-Action rig for officers to be light blue shirt and dark blue trousers, as for sailors Dress No 10


-Dress No 8A, white shirt, white trousers, white belt and medal ribbons introduced

-Miniature ribbons authorised to be worn with evening Dress 6B (Red Sea Rig) (white shirt, black trousers and cummerbund)

1969 -Terycot permitted for white uniforms-Name tallies introduced

 (Since sailors were issued  uniforms at Government expense, terycot was too expensive to replace cotton uniforms)

 -Name tallies introduced


-Black trousers, black jersey, white shirt
and black tie introduced as winter working

-Berets permitted with action working rig
and overalls

-Square rig (Jumper, square collar, duck cap) abolished.

-Junior sailors permitted to wear jackets/tunics/shirts/trousers/peak caps etc analogous to petty officers uniforms, with appropriate insignia of rank and trade

- Black trousers, black jersey, white shirt, black tie introduced as winter working rig

-Berets permitted with action working rig and overalls

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To man the new acquisitions, the Navy had to resort to several unavoidable and undesirable measures like perpetual increases in the number of trainees, curtailment in the durations of courses and denying schools of high quality instructors because the best men were needed to man the newest ships. Over the years, this had demotivated the schools; the methods of teaching and training had settled into a rut.

As a result of the lessons learnt in the 1971 war and to cope with the new Russian acquisitions likely to enter service from 1977 onwards, a major reformation of training was undertaken to remedy the ennui that had enveloped naval training. Between 1973 and 1975, the Director of Naval Training and the Director of Combat Policy and Tactics, under the direct guidance of the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff and four flag officers effected what, by 1975, became a revolution in the Navy's training practices. Expectedly, there was resistance to change, mainly by the mediocre, because they would have to work too hard. Some reforms had to be abandoned and restarted in the mid 1980's, when the responsibility for training the entire Navy was entrusted to FOC-IN-C SOUTH.

Training Ashore

The first step was a Training Technology Seminar at Cochin. Many lessons were learnt and promulgated. Schools were directed to select those lessons that pertained to them and show results. In parallel with this, a Status Report on Training was prepared by the Directorate of Naval Training and processed by the Committee of Flag Officers. Three long-ranging schemes approved: Organisational, Training Schemes and Training Aids.

Organisational - Stream Training

With the induction of the Russian ships, the variety of equipment became so wide that it became necessary to have separate streams for training. The three basic streams were:

Officers and sailors would be assigned to one of the streams and be trained for selected equipment in that stream. Cross training was allowed at certain senior levels to safeguard career prospects.

There were variations in streams and sub-streams as applicable to branches. For example:-

The aim was to gradually usher in an era of vertical specialisation and consolidate expertise, ensuring that career prospects were not adversely affected.

Sub-streamed syllabi for the seamen and communication branches led in most cases to changes in duration of courses leading to a general economy in effort. Streamed syllabi in the Engineering and Electrical Branches started being implemented during 1975.

At Cochin,

To keep abreast with the latest developments in technology and exercise quality control, intensive short courses, at about five years interval, were introduced for officers and sailors. These were the Lieutenants War Course, the Junior Commanders Course for officers and revised leadership courses for CPO's and POs and MCPO (Q).

The career and training pattern of Executive officers from midshipman to the rank of Captain was recast with a twelve week post-Long Course training period and a five week Junior Commanders course as well as a five week Commanding Officers Course.

The gain and loss of seniority rules for all branches were standardized. In the case of cadets and midshipmen, the training period afloat was reduced from 18 months to 12 months. Midshipman's time was reduced to 6 months.

Training Schemes

Equipment, Training Aids and Methods

The equipment in most training schools was of 1950 vintage and required replacement. In view of the difficult financial situation, it was decided to replace only essential items and improvise the remaining with indigenous models.

To overcome the language problem and disparity in educational levels, training programmes were revised. Overhead projectors were sanctioned and issued to the schools.

The Annual Training Grant was enhanced to enable schools to procure more training aids. In 1975, a new Technical Training Grant was instituted and the Artificer Apprentice and Mechanicians Training Grant increased.

A start for the G,C, TAS, ND Schools was made by forming a Training Aid Team which, under direction from NHQ, visited BEL and ships, and made a plan to deliver Leander training aids.

Cameras, films and projectors already available at most schools, were to be used to make our own films.

Training management and methods were revitalised by organising courses, seminars and instructional technique programmes.

Review of Educational Policy

The Navy's educational policy was reviewed. It was decided to:

Assessment of Training Load: To systematise the requirements of officer and sailor instructors, a detailed assessment of Training Loads was commenced. By 1975:

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By 1974, manpower costs began to cause serious concern. Earlier, the emphasis had been on recruiting manpower as swiftly as possible to meet the new commitments. The Dearness Allowance instalments resulting from the galloping inflation after the 1973 oil crisis, combined with the implementation of the Third Pay Commission's recommendations, necessitated drastic measures. To keep manpower growth under control and ensure the strictest utilisation of available manpower, every single proposal for increase or decrease of service or civilian manpower had to be approved by the concerned Principal Staff Officer in Naval Headquarters before it went to the Ministry.

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The rapid expansion of personnel depleted the Navy's officer leadership and particularly that of the CPO and PO cadres. Curtailed training programmes to fill technical officer and artificer shortages eroded basic leadership techniques. Training and discipline suffered.

Between 1965 and 1975, the Navy's personnel were also affected by the turbulence which was affecting the country as a whole. There were several reasons:-

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During this period, officers were not immune to this general turbulence. Their misdemeanour manifested in incidents of smuggling and misusing canteen facilities by selling items ashore. A wholely unfortunate and undesirable result was the enfeebling of the officer-man relationship on which discipline and morale depended.

The changing socio-economic climate in the country had a particularly adverse effect on young naval officers. Some junior officers were taking to hallucinatory drugs like charas, bhang, ganja, LSD etc.

The possible reasons for this malaise were attributed to lack of proper guidance, unwillingness on the part of seniors to delegate responsibility which generated lack of job satisfaction, over-complementing of junior officers on board ships, thereby rendering most of them non-effective, communication gap between more senior and junior officers, etc. The non-availability of adequate and proper accommodation and escalating costs of living were also considered to be causes aggravating the situation.

The result was a fall in the professional standards of young naval officers. It was felt that they were not being kept fully occupied, both mentally and physically. Young officers were not participating in games and other activities.

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There were several and diverse incidents in ships and establishment during this period. The Topass Incident is significant enough to merit mention, since it was a result of a change in personnel policy.

For socio-cultural reasons, Indian merchant ships and naval ships always had topasses to clean the bathrooms and toilets. Topasses used to be sanctioned as part of ships complement. When ships commissioned in Britain, topasses used to go as part of the commissioning crew.

For similar socio-cultural reasons, there had always been resentment amongst some sailors at having to carry out "cleanship duties". The Inquiry into the Causes of the Naval Mutiny in 1946 had listed this as one of the sailor's grievances.

The Navy used to periodically promulgate its policy on Cleanship Duties. The position in 1965 can be seen from the following directive:

"It is to be brought home to all concerned that ships' companies are required to perform cleanship duties as part of their normal routine. In the interests of health and hygiene, it is incumbent on all sailors to assist cleaning any part of the ship as may be required. The erroneous impression that such duties are in any way derogatory is to be dispelled and it is to be pointed out that these duties are performed by all navies throughout the world, and further that the cleanliness of their ship is a matter of pride to all, in which each man plays his part.

"The various pleas and objections generally put forward from time to time by certain sailors for their reluctance to carry out "cleanship" duties are neither tenable nor justified on either strictly religious or any other grounds.

"Failure to comply with the instructions on "cleanship" duties will result in disciplinary action being taken against the offenders".

1966/1967 was going to be celebrated as Mahatma Gandhi's Centenary Year. There was a view that the Navy should cease having topasses on board ships. Not only would it be a fitting tribute to the Father of the Nation, it would also mitigate to some extent the shortage of bunks in Russian vessels. It was decided to start by not having topasses in the Russian ships and submarines. In due course, to avoid disparity between Russian and Western origin ships, it was intended to withdraw topasses from British built ships also.

This decision to withdraw topasses from ships was by no means unanimous. Rear Admiral KR Nair was the Chief of Personnel. He recalls:

In 1968, the directive on Cleanship Duties was modified to omit any reference to the Topass Branch. It read:

Whilst in Russia, there were incidents of resentment at having to clean toilets and bathrooms. Commodore, (then Cdr) KS Subra Manian, the Commanding Officer of the first submarine to commission in Russia, recalls:

By and large, these resentments were contained by Commanding Officers and officers setting a public example of cleaning their own toilets and bathrooms. However, on arrival in India from 1969 onwards, the resentment on board became more vigorous. To cool the issue, the authorities in Visakhapatnam discreetly sent topasses from the shore establishments to ships whenever they were in harbour.

The resentment soon spread to the other shore establishments in the Navy. Vice Admiral (then Lt Cdr) KASZ Raju, who was serving in the Naval Air Station GARUDA in 1969, recalls:

In Bombay, things took a more serious turn when word spread that in early 1970, topasses were to be withdrawn from ships. Sailors in some ships started desisting from taking meals. This form of protest spread to other ships. There were a few ugly incidents. Firm action was taken and normalcy was restored, when it was made known that the decision to remove/abolish topasses

would be reconsidered. Since then, status quo has been maintained.

Admiral Nanda took over from Admiral Chatterji as CNS in 1970. He recalls:

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The fundamental difference between the Navy and the sister services has always been that the majority of the Navy's personnel perforce have to be stationed in major ports where the cost of living is high and civil accomodation is not available within their means.

After China's attack in 1962, a concerted effort was made to better the situation. The capital expenditure for 1964-65 on building accomodation went up to Rs 450 lakhs as compared to about Rs 128 lakhs in 1961-62. Even then, a lot of leeway had to be made up. In 1964, an officer or sailor in Bombay or Cochin had to wait six months to a year before he got some sort of accomodation. By the time he got accomodation, it was time for him to be transferred.

In 1965, the overall shortage in married and single permanent accomodation at major naval ports was:

% Shortages in Accommodation

Location Married  Officers Single Officers Married  Sailors Single Sailors
Bombay 28% 47% 10% 72%
Goa 99% 100%  76% 100%
Cochin 30% 18% 95% 12%
Visakhapatnam 75% 100% 80% 100%

Some headway had been made at Bombay and Cochin. Shortages at other ports had to be made up by hiring houses and using old, temporary, wartime buildings and sheds for houses. Unfortunately, the Navy's proposals for building accommodation usually got bogged down over where and how much was to be built.

After the 1965 War, a comprehensive review had been carried out of the shortages of family accomodation in the Army, Navy and Air Force. The deficiencies were found to be so large that it was decided that the aim should be to remove them over a period of 20 to 25 years.

The problem of providing accomodation to married personnel was more vexed for the Navy, than for the Army and the Air Force:

As a result of all the above factors, the shortage of married accomodation, particularly for sailors, understandably affected their morale. As the following excerpts show, the administration was seized of this pressing need. It was not until 1975 that the shortfall in married accomodation was on its way to being resolved.

Situation in Mid 1968

Situation in Mid 1969

Situation in Mid 1970

Situation in Mid 1971

Situation in Mid 1972

"The existing deficiencies are:

Rank Entitlement Permament Accomodation Available Accomodation Under Construction



Officers 1791 632 308


Sailors 4713 2508 892


There is a distinct improvement in the provision of married accomodation at Goa, VALSURA and Visakhapatnam. The construction of 246 married quarters for sailors at Bombay, 64 at VALSURA and 140 at Cochin will provide considerable relief."

Situation in 1973

Due to financial stringency, Government banned all sanctions of new married and single accomodation.

Situation in Mid 1975

"Our efforts to improve the domestic accommodation situation in the Navy have met with considerable success. The following projects have been sanctioned recently:

By 1975, it had been possible to make good some of the shortages in Bombay, Goa, Cochin, Visakhapatnam, SHIVAJI and VALSURA.

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The basic advantage of civilian personnel has always been their continuity in shore based assignments, as opposed to uniformed personnel whose assignments afloat and ashore change ever so often.

By and large, the Navy's civilian personnel were governed by the same structure as that prevalent in the Army and the Air Force. The administration of civilian cadres was that:

The recruitment of civilian officers was done initially by direct entry and subsequently through the UPSC.

From the functional point of view, the Navy's dependence on civilian manpower lay principally in the following fields:

In the case of the civilian personnel performing store keeping duties, not enough systematic career progression training had been organised to better their productivity. The results of this neglect began to show from the 1960's onwards. The induction of new technologies in the Russian acquisitions and the Leander class frigates greatly enhanced the importance of the duties entrusted to civilian personnel. It did not take long for the infirmities in the civilian cadres to affect the operational availability of ships, particularly in the field of spare parts. This helped to identify the measures which, in subsequent years, helped to increase productivity in the depots.

As can be seen from the table below, the increase in the numbers of civilian personnel kept pace with the increase in the number of naval personnel.

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In round figures, the increase in the Navy's borne strength between 1965 and 1975 was as follow:





Sailors Total in Uniform Gazetted Non‑Gazetted Industrial Non‑ Industrial Total Civilians
  General List SD List            
1965 1520 410 16,900 18,830 300  12,390 10,550 23,240
1966 1600 430 18,400 20,430 320 13,340 10,900 24,560
1967 1660 460 20,500 22,620 320 13,820 11,300 25,440
1968 1740 490 22,800 25,030 310 13,990 11,730 25,730
1969 1850 530 25,100 27,480 330 14,000 11,890 26,220
1970 1970 540 26,200 28,710 410 14,040 12,250 26,700
1971 2250 580 26,900 29,730  ‑  ‑  ‑ 28,450
1972 2470 600 26,400 29,470  ‑  ‑  ‑  ‑
1973 2550 600 26,300 29,450 510 16,430 13,130 30,070
1974 2700 600 26,900 30,200 510 29,860  ‑ 30,370
1975 2880 600 27,300 30,780 510  29,860 30,370

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In July 1976, in consonance with the recommendations of the Third Pay Commission, the following changes were implemented in sailors' conditions of service:

In 1976, the Boy Entry was proposed for abolition. In due course only Direct Entry matriculate sailors were recruited and trained at INS CHILKA.

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    Given the limits within which Personnel policy must operate, the achievements in the field of personnel management were impressive. Despite the constraints listed in the Preamble to this chapter, the Navy was able to man the Russian acquisitions and the Leander's, man the Submarine and Air Arms and take on new responsibilities ashore like those of coastal defence, garrisons for the A&N islands, expanding the training schools and the NCC.

There is a view that the dilution of expertise could have been avoided. As has been discussed, the endeavor to make the Navy accept concepts like vertical specialisation, fixed commissions and pre-commission training took time. Many believed that with the Navy already fully stretched in inducting and coping with new acquisitions, personnel policies should not be tinkered with. Many believed that the reforms required manpower in such numbers that the shortages would only be aggravated. Many believed that the reforms were filibustered by inter-branch tussles.

There was some truth in each of these points of view. No satisfactory solution could be found. The very same issues raised their ugly heads in the mid 1970's, when the complements of the guided missile frigates, ocean going rocket boats and minesweepers had to be decided. As in the earlier cases, the same unsatisfactory compromises had to be resorted to. The basic issues still remain unresolved.Go on top