Indian Army's 'Tour of Duty' proposal to let young and fit serve for three years

While this proposal keeps the engagement as voluntary unlike Israel’s practice of necessary three years military service for every able-bodied person.
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Soon the fit young volunteers of the country might get a chance to serve the Indian army, including its prestigious combat arms for three years.

A proposal with the title 'Tour of Duty' is at the advanced stages for approval. It is for both boys and girls and is expected to attract the best talent.

Colonel Aman Anand, PRO Army said, "The proposal Tour of Duty (ToD) is under discussion at the highest level and positive feedback has been received to start it as the pilot project."

But, there will be no relaxation in the selection and training standards, said Col Anand.

The proposed model is seen as a shift from the concept of permanent service/job in the Armed Forces towards internship/temporary experience for three years. The proposal is seen as a solution to unemployment and tapping into the resurgence of 'nationalism and patriotism'.

The shift is also in the held view that Short Service Commission be of 14 years instead of a 10-year duration.

The introduction of the proposal reads, "The model is a solution proposed to be implemented on a trial basis for both officers and other ranks in the Indian armed forces, initially for limited number of vacancies and then expanded later, if found successful."

This engagement based on the pattern adopted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), excluding the conscription clause, is considered to accrue benefits to Army as well as the individual.

While this proposal keeps the engagement as voluntary unlike Israel’s practice of necessary three years of military service for every able-bodied person.

A youth once selected will be imparted one-year training and three-year service.

Mulling over the cost of training, the proposal mentions it at 5.12 crore for an officer serving 10-year term but under ToD it will be 80-85 lakhs.

In case of Jawan, the saving is mentioned to be 11.5 crores if he serves for 3 years instead of 17 years of minimum.

The report propounds, "At the rate 11.5 crore saving on one soldier it will be Rs 11,000 cr for 1000 soldiers. There will be immense savings due to a reduction in Pay and Gratuity payouts." The saved money could be utilized for the much needed modernization.

The proposal is deemed to be equally beneficial for the youth, nation and corporates as they will get trained, disciplined, confident, diligent and committed young men and women after their ToD.

In case of any unfortunate eventuality, all the benefits will get extended to the person or the next of kin as is due to a regular officer or jawan.

The report mentions, "As a matter of interest, the performance of the officers and jawans under three years of service during all operations including Op VIJAY was found to be exceptional in gallantry". 

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The New Indian Express