Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 20
Raising the retirement age of Army officers would also mean a similar move for the other two services. This is the second time within a decade that the retirement age in the armed forces would go up. The retirement age for all officers in the three services was raised by two years in 1998.
“The proposal to raise the retirement age has been agreed to in principle by the Central Government and a policy announcement in this regard is expected to be issued in the near future,” a senior officer revealed. “This is linked with the government’s move to increase the retirement age of all Central Government employees by two years,” he added.
It is learnt that a meeting was held between senior Defence Ministry bureaucrats and the Vice-Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen S. Pattabhiraman, on December 8, where some aspects of this policy were discussed and finalised. When asked for comments on the issue by the ministry in earlier communiqués, Army Headquarters maintained that it had no objection to increase in the retirement age.
The increase in the retirement age, sources said, would not be applicable at the level of Chief of the Army Staff, whose age of superannuation would remain 62 years. The service span of other officers down the line would go up. There are different retirement ages for different ranks in the service, the lowest of which at present is 54 years at the level of lieutenantcolonel/colonel in the Arms. On implementation of the new policy it would become 56 years.
Sources said that the Military Secretary’s (MS) Branch in Army Headquarters, responsible for the officer cadre management, and the Adjutant General’s Branch are in the process of finalising a draft for gazette notification. The policy would be effective from the date it is announced and officers who retire in the meantime would lose out.
While the increase in service would be a welcome development for officers, it would also lead to stagnation for some time. Officers approved for the next rank would have to wait for some time till a vacancy arises as officers senior to them would also be serving longer.
With increase in the retirement age on the cards, the Army is also considering doing away with the practice of reemploying retired officers. Reemployment is at the rank of lieutenant colonel and colonel for a period of two to three years. Increase in service would no longer warrant reemployment.