NEW DELHI: Dismissing calls for conscription, the Modi Government on Friday told the Lok Sabha that compulsory military training for the youth was ‘highly undesirable’ as it could militarise the nation and those trained may join the ranks of anti-social elements.
In a written reply to questions from members of the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the Central Government was not in favour of making military training compulsory to all the youth in the country.
He also informed that there had been three Private Members’ Bills in Parliament in the last five years for making military training compulsory to the youths, but only one of these were still pending, while the other two lapses were removed from the agenda.
The pending Private Member Bill on the subject was moved by BJP members Avinash Rai Khanna in the Rajya Sabha in December 2012, when the UPA was in power, but it did not find favour from the then government.
However, the President’s observations were obtained on the subject and forwarded to the Rajya Sabha secretariat for consideration of the Bill, which is still pending.
Of the remaining two Private Member Bills on the subject, one moved by Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in August 2011 in the Lok Sabha was removed from the register of the House after he became a minister in the then UPA Government.
The other Bill, moved by BJP MP Bhola Singh in the Lok Sabha in March 2013, but it lapsed as the House was dissolved after its term ended.
Jaitley said the nation’s constitution does not provide for the same and being a democratic republic, people are free to choose their professions.
“Compulsion in respect of military training, it is felt, would go against the democratic ethos,” he said.
“Also, military training to all the youth of the country may also lead to militarisation of an entire nation. With our socio-political and economic conditions, it is highly undesirable, lest some of the unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of the undesirable elements,” he said.
The Defence Minister noted that the Armed Forces in the country have a large number of volunteers to draw upon and there is no problem in getting adequate numbers of volunteer recruits. Moreover, training all the youth in the country would require establishment of a very large number of training centres, with the necessary wherewithal, all over the country and would involve huge expenditure in their maintenance and upkeep.