M A I N   N E W S

Army weighs options to check officer shortage, stagnation
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, April 21
In an effort to make the career of an Army officer even more attractive and promising, the Ministry of Defence is looking at three additional options aimed at tackling officer-shortage at junior level, opening up new opportunities for jawans to graduate as officers and remove stagnation at the middle level.

The Army faces a shortage of 10,100 officers, as per the Ministry of Defence reply to a question in Parliament on March 4 this year.

Sources confirm the three options are at various stages of administrative processing.

In making the Army attractive for short-service commissioned (SSC) officers, the Army had proposed that they should be given additional financial benefits in terms of a lump sum of Rs 10 lakh on the completion of 10-year service and further Rs 2 lakh per year up to 14 years of service. This will mean a payout of Rs 18 lakh over and above the payments under the existing 6th Pay Commission recommendations.

The Army has also proposed grant of ex-servicemen status on the completion of short service. SSC officers join around 21-23 years of age and leave after 14 years. Defence Minister AK Antony has agreed to it “in principle”.

The Ajai Vikram Singh Committee set up by the MoD had recommended in 2004 that SSCs should from 60 per cent of the officer cadre.

The second proposal is to allow jawans to take examination and attempt to graduate as commissioned officers. As of now, the age bracket for a jawan to take this exam is 28 to 35 years. The lower limit will be brought down to 24 years.

A jawan joins the force at 17-18 years of age. Some of them possess good academic record, but fail to study further due to economic hardship or family circumstances. By reducing the age limit to 24 years, the Army aims to motivate newly recruited jawans to study further.

This will not only address the problem of officer shortage, but also socially uplift jawans, who once promoted at young age can go on to become Lieut-Colonel after 13 years of service. A draft Cabinet note based on the Army proposal is under examination by the MoD.

The third option is to allow short-term deputation to other forces. As of now, only the National Security Guards and the Assam Rifles are open for the purpose. The Ajai Vikram Singh Committee had suggested this method of lateral entry and termed it as the “peel off” factor to mitigate stagnation at middle level. As of today, officers selected as Brigadier and Major Generals have to wait for months to “pick up” their rank as the Army has no system of promoting anyone till a vacancy arises. Again, this has the “in principle” approval of the Defence Minister and is being examined.


  • To grant Rs 10 lakh to short-service commissioned officers on the completion of 10-year service and further Rs 2 lakh per year up to 14 years of service
  • To allow jawans to take graduate examination so that they can make an attempt to become commissioned officers
  • To allow short-term deputation to other forces





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |