Indian Army is actively working to bridge the shortage both at officer and Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) level and also to decrease the Revenue expenditure from the defence budget.
While a new idea ‘Tour of Duty’ is ready to be implemented as the pilot project, the older Short Service Commission (SSC) scheme will be made more attractive.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said, “We are working on ideas to make Short Service Commission more attractive.”
In the coming time, the SSC might have added financial benefits along with avenues to make the officers leaving the forces professionally armed for civil jobs, added General Rawat.
On the idea of Tour of Duty, the CDS said it is at the nascent stage and is to be tested in future on the factors of cost in training and equipping.
Tour of Duty is at present limited to Army and has been given a go-ahead aiming to attract the fit young boys and girl volunteers of the country with a chance to serve the Indian army, including its prestigious combat arms for three years both as an officer and as jawan.
Under the idea, the selected candidates will be put through one-year training before inducting them into three year Army service.
The army feels that the performance demonstrated by the Officers and Jawans with three years or lesser service in the recent conflicts including that in Kargil leaves no window of doubt on their commitment, dedication, and performance.
New approaches to both SSC and ToD are aimed to serve the twin purposes of increasing savings with a reduction in pay and gratuity payouts where the saved money could be utilized for the much-needed modernization and to fill the shortage of manpower.
Short Service Commission scheme is meant for eligible men and women to serve as officers for a minimum of 10 years with options to either leave or opt for Permanent Commission or to opt for an extension of four more years of service. Currently, the Short Service Commission Tenure is for 10 years, which can be extended by up to four years. At the end of 14 years, there is an option for permanent commission. The SSC officers neither pension nor the medical support under the ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme.
Talking on the number of SSC officers getting Permanent Commission (PC) an officer said, “Most of those who volunteer are granted PC.”
While speaking to a select group of journalists on the SSC scheme CDS said, “The officers might be given medical facility post-retirement along with an attractive severance package and more importantly they may get to do a professional course in Management and Technology from prestigious institutions.”
The shortage is persisting both at the officer level and also at the PBOR level. The authorized strength of officers is 50,312 whereas the current strength is 42913 leaving a shortage of 7399 officers till the beginning of 2019 as per the parliament records.
At the PBOR level, this shortage is of almost 27,000 soldiers. In January 2019, the authorized strength of PBORs was 12,23,381 whereas the actual holding numbers were 11,95,632. It is a shortage of 27,749.
Talking about the necessity of making SSC attractive General Rawat said, “A boy or a girl joins at the average age of 21-22 years and once he or she leaves in the age bracket of around 35-36 year and have the responsibility of family and child.”
“Among those joining through SSC we will allow between 25 to 30 percent getting Permanent Commission and the rest will not lose with severance financial package and the professional degree will make them eligible for a decent job,” told General Bipin Rawat.
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