Recruitment rallies down due to Covid, Indian Army hit by shortage of soldiers 

While the Ministry of Defence on Monday said there has been no fresh induction, the number of soldiers leaving the Army has not come down.

Published: 22nd March 2022 04:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2022 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Indian army commandos practise march during the rehearsals for the upcoming Republic Day parade at the Raisina hills, the government seat of power, in New Delhi. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: At a time when video footage of a youth, Pradeep Mehra, is getting viral for his determination to join Indian Army, there has been no recruitment at the soldier level in the force for two years. The Army has started to bear the operational cost of it.

While the Ministry of Defence on Monday said there has been no fresh induction, the number of soldiers leaving the Army has not come down.

A senior Army officer said operational contingencies have intensified in recent years.

“At least 50,000 servicemen retire every year, therefore, the stoppage of new recruitment has started pinching us,” he said.

This is despite tension persisting along the Line of Actual Control with heightened deployment in eastern Ladakh. After 2019, no new recruitment has been made, said the MoD. This has led to a rise in soldiers’ workload, affecting the men deployed at high altitude areas or operational areas.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt cited Covid-19 as the reason for cancelling recruitment rallies nationwide.

“All recruitment rallies planned by the Army recruiting offices/zonal recruiting offices have been suspended till further orders due to the Covid-19 situation in the country,” he said.

He also shared details of recruitment rallies that the Army was supposed to carry out in 2020 and 2021. Bhatt said 97 rallies were planned in 2020-21, out of which only 47 could be conducted.

Out of the 47, Common Entrance Exam (CEE) for only four rallies could be conducted before suspension of recruiting activities.

For 2021-22, as many as 87 recruitment rallies were scheduled, out of which only four rallies have been conducted so far and no CEE could be conducted that year.

“Even if we start the recruitment process today, it will take around 1.5 years to select and train them,” said an officer.

Huge shortage disclosed last year

The government had on December 10 last year, informed Parliament that the shortage in the Army stood at 1,04,053 personnel, 12,431 in the Navy and 5,471 in the Air Force.

The shortage has struck the much publicised recruitment of women as well.


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