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Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Tour Of Duty Scheme For Military Recruitment”

Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Tour Of Duty Scheme For Military Recruitment”

Relevance

”GS 3: Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate”

Context

  • Tour Of Duty(ToD) scheme is under active government consideration; to recruit soldiers for short periods of three and five years for half the Army (possibly 25 percent serving for three years and another 25 percent for five years) with the balance Army personnel continuing to serve their full term as earlier till they reach their retirement age.
  • The Department of Military Affairs has finalised the radical proposal for future recruitment to the armed forces.

Why ToD Concept?

  • This concept was first proposed by the first Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
  • The need for short term service in the army is being felt because at present 1,25,364 posts are lying vacant in the three services.
  • The main reason behind the ToD concept is the continuously growing pension bill of the Armed Forces.
  • Greater emphasis on ”Military Modernization” is another major factor behind bringing this concept.

Key Concerns

  • The most damaging impact of the ToD system will be the drastic reduction in the operational capability of the Army.
  • For what period will these “passengers” be available to the unit with annual leaves, casual leaves, courses, temporary duties etc whether employed for three or five years?
  • What about the cohesion of a fighting unit – or are these ‘passengers’ to be treated like ‘house guests’?
  • Why would the youth join the Army for three or five years when there is no certainty about employment after they retire or any pension?

Possible Financial Benefits

  • It is felt that both soldiers and officers entering service through this route, by serving for a period of three years will reduce the pensionary outflow.
  • This would in turn lead to a reduction in recruitment under the existing intake pattern, thereby saving on long term financial support measures of not only pension but also medical facilities.
  • It has been indicated that depending on the numbers, the proposal could lead to a saving of Rs 8,000-9000 crore, which is a substantial cut on revenue expenditure.

What should be done?

  • Over time, TOD  has to be converted into an opportunity through three essentials.
  • First, it must ensure that the liabilities associated with soldiering are covered in terms of injuries and even death while undertaking operational duties.
  • Second, an officer or a soldier must at the end of three-year service, receive the support of the government and society to resettle into an economically viable job opportunity.
  • Three, the opportunities should be such that it motivates the very best to join through this entry, rather than those who could not get in elsewhere. This can have a serious impact on the functional efficiency of the army. Each of these factors deserves greater emphasis.

Conclusion

For a country to prosper, a stable and peaceful environment is a must. That will happen only if you have strong Armed Forces that will secure your borders. Therefore, whenever we talk of our Armed Forces and the expenditure made on our Armed Forces, we should not see it as an investment. It is an investment from which you can get good returns and it should not be seen as a burden on the economy.

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