Shortage of Officers in Indian Army

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Ranks and badges of Indian Army

India has the second largest army in the world with the strength of 11.77 lakh.  Still Indian army is facing shortage of around 11,000 officers. Allotted strength for officer ranks is around 48000. Maximum shortage of officers is in the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain, Major and Lt. Colonel. Indian army has three academies where gentlemen cadets are exposed to the rigorous mental and physical training to get finest officers of the army. There are two Officers Training Academies, one in Gaya and another in Chennai. Besides these two Indian Military Academy is operational since 1933. Above all there is tri-service National Defense Academy (NDA) in Khadakwasla, Pune.

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Gentlemen Cadets graduation from National Defece Academy, Pune

There are various reasons for this shortage.

Firstly, though officers are getting handsome pay, but their fellow friends are earning more in private sectors. Officers joining army through short service commission prefer opting for retirement after completing their mandatory service period, rather than extending their service. These officers are generally of the rank of Major or Lt. Colonel. After leaving the services they get higher salary packages in Multi-national companies.

Secondly, the selection procedure of an officer in defense forces is very tough. After clearing a written exam, every candidate has to undergo SSB interview.  SSB –Services Selection Board interview has the toughest selection procedure. It is the interview extended over the duration of 5 days. More than physical, mental toughness is put under scanner and suitability of the candidate for handling pressure of defense forces is taken into consideration. Yearly more than 4 lakh candidates after completing 12th apply for NDA for 900 vacancies. There is Combined Defense Service entry for graduates to join as an officer in army. Besides these there is technical entry for engineering candidates. But the problem is the number of intakes during SSB. Being on the higher side, only five to seven percent of the candidates clear SSB and medical examination to join training academies.

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This selection procedure is age old procedure. The argument which defense officers involved in the selection process put forward is that, they believe in taking the best and suitable talent in defense forces rather than filling the vacancies.

Lastly, Risk of life is higher in defense forces, so today’s youth prefer risk free life. Materialistic approach wins over the feeling of patriotism and servicing the nation.

There is an option of Territorial Army (TA), which gives opportunity to the civilians to voluntary serve in the army for two months in a year. Again for being an officer in Territorial Army, clearing SSB interview is required and in addition to this NO Objection Certifica6te (NOC)  is required from the company where the person is employed in public or private sector. This is the main deterrent in inviting maximum applications, as various private sector firms do not give NOC to the applicants.

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Now government and defense forces are trying their best to reduce the shortfall of officers. Women officers are allowed to be part of combat regiments, which is a brave move and hence will help in reducing the shortage.

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Women Officers commissioned as Lieutenant in the army 

Government has the aim of reducing the shortage to 12 percent till 2021. Through giving celebrities honorary rank in the Indian Defense forces, government is attracting more youth to join the forces.

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Mahinder Singh Dhoni and Abhinav Bindra were commissioned into territorial Army

Officers of Territorial Army should be utilized more in the role in administration and officer work, hence utilizing the main army for more strategic roles. The procedure for joining Territorial Army should be made simple by directing the MNC’s and private firms to give NOC to the TA applicants.

Indian Army – Live life less ordinary

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