Army examining induction of youngsters as officers & jawans for 3 years for ‘Tour of Duty’ | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The over 12-lakh strong Army is finalizing a radical proposal for inducting youngsters for a three-year “Tour of Duty (ToD)” tenure as both officers and jawans in the backdrop of the urgent need for cadre restructuring amidst the ballooning salary and pension bills adversely impacting military modernization.
The ToD scheme, if and when approved, will initially be launched with around 100 vacancies for officers and 1,000 for jawans. “The feedback has been taken from the different Army commands. There is general acceptance the ToD scheme can be launched as an experiment with a limited number of vacancies. If successful, the vacancies can be increased later,” said Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand.
A senior officer, in turn, said the ToD scheme would entail “voluntary military service” to mark a far-reaching shift away from the existing “permanent service” in the armed forces. “It will not be military conscription like in some countries like Israel. With huge unemployment, India has no dearth of people wanting to join the armed forces,” he said.
The Army believes the well-trained, disciplined youngsters “exiting” the force after one-year of training and three years of ToD at an age of 26/27, with a good amount of money in their pockets but no pension and other benefits, will be lapped up the private and public sectors for a fruitful second career.
“There are youngsters who do not want a permanent career in the armed forces but want to experience the thrill, adventure and glamour that the military can provide for some time. Moreover, a ToD officer will earn Rs 80,000-90,000 per month, while a simple graduate in the civilian sector probably earns just about Rs 30,000-50,000 in the beginning,” he said.
The Army currently has around 43,000 officers, with almost 80% of them in the permanent commission (PC) cadre, and 11.8 lakh other ranks. The minimum service tenure for a short-service commission (SSC) officer is 10 years but 50-60% of them are also granted PC to serve till at least 54 years of age and thereafter get pension.
As per the Army study, the “cumulative cost” of the pre-commission training of an SSC officer, pay and allowances, gratuity and a proposed severance package amounts to Rs 5.12 crore if the officer leaves the force after 10 years. “The cost for a ToD officer released after three years will be Rs 80-85 lakh,” it says.
Similarly, the “prospective life-term saving” in the cost of engagement of a single jawan who leaves after 17 years of service with pension and other benefits, as compared to a ToD jawan will be Rs 11.5 crore. “The huge amounts of money saved in pay and gratuity payouts can be used for the much-needed military modernization,” said an officer.
The Army study says there has been a “staggering 146% increase” in defence pensions during the last five years, which is increasingly proving unsustainable. The salary and pension bill of the 14-lakh armed forces and 4-lakh defence civilians, along with the 31-lakh pensioners, amounts to 56% of the overall annual defence budget, leaving very little for military modernization after day-to-day operating costs.
In Video:Army proposes 3-year ‘Tour of Duty’ for civilians

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