Indian Army Considering Proposal To Allow Civilians To Voluntarily Join Force For Three Years: Report

Swarajya Staff

May 14, 2020, 11:43 AM | Updated 10:46 AM IST

Indian Army chief General M M Naravane.
Indian Army chief General M M Naravane.

In a bid to attract younger manpower in the armed forces, the Indian Army is considering a proposal to allow common citizens to voluntarily join the force for three years, reports Economic Times.

According to the report, the initiative will be part of a model called “Tour of Duty” (ToD) and will first be implemented on a trial basis.

The idea came up after the Army officers addressed visited the colleges in country, where they came across the feeling that the youths wanted to experience the army life but not as a career, Army Chief General M M Naravane said on Wednesday (13 May).

“Taking a cue from this, this idea was born of why not give them an opportunity to serve for two to three years,” General Naravane was quoted as saying.

“We will benefit by getting younger manpower and the society will benefit by getting people who are disciplined and have imbibed the ethos of the army,” he added.

The ToD model, according to the officials, has been proposed to be implemented on a trial basis for officers and other ranks in the Army for a limited number of vacancies. If the model is considered a success in the trial, the vacancies could be increased.

The proposal is reportedly a shift from the concept of permanent service in the armed forces towards an “internship” for three years.

The cost incurred on training, pay, and allowances of people joining under the ToD model would be much less compared to those joining under the Short Service Commission (SSC), who serve up to 14 years, the officials said.

While the total cost incurred on a person joining under the new model would be Rs 80-85 lakhs, the cost incurred on each SSC officer is over Rs 6 crore. The Army believes that the savings from this can be used in modernisation of the force.

“With the ToD concept implementation, there is likely to be an exponential reduction in our salary and pension budgets,” an official explained.

Meanwhile, the corporates can also benefit from individuals who would serve in the Army for three years. The officers exiting ToD would have an edge over other candidates due to their training and exposure, an official said.

In a bid to make the ToD more attractive, the Army is also examining giving a “token” lum sum amount to officers and jawans exiting from the scheme. Besides, the force could also give benefits of a battle casualty to a ToD personnel, if they become one.

As per the report, with this scheme, the army is also trying to attract youth from top academic institutes such as IITs.

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