Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 26
Recruitment of airmen in the Air Force from Punjab and Haryana has witnessed an increase over the past three years while intake into the Army from these states has dipped.
The number of airmen recruited from Haryana in 2018, 2019 and 2020 was 859, 1501 and 1719, respectively. Even the intake of sailors into the Navy from Haryana has seen a noticeable increase, with 637, 659 and 404 persons opting to join the maritime force over the aforementioned years.
On the other hand, recruitment of personnel below officer rank from Haryana dipped from 4, 994 in 2018 to 3,859 in 2019 and 3,825 in 2020, according to figures placed by the Ministry of Defence in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Haryana is among the top states in the country to contribute manpower for the defence services, both in the officer cadre as well as the ranks. The Infantry’s Jat Regiment predominately draws troops from this state.
While recruitment of airmen from Punjab has also seen a consistent increase from 69 in 2018 to 78 in 2019 and 100 in 2020, intake into the other two services have declined.
In 2018, the number of soldiers recruited from Punjab was 7.079. This fell to 5,117 in 2019 and then rose to 5,821 in 2020. The number of sailors joining the Navy from Punjab and Chandigarh was 115 in 2018, 133 in 2019 and 66 in 2020.
Punjab, like neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, has a deep-rooted martial legacy and family tradition to join the defence forces. Besides forming a significant part of various arms and services, most troops in the Infantry’s Punjab Regiment, Sikh Regiment and Sikh Light Infantry hail from Punjab. The Dogra Regiment and a part of the Punjab Regiment draw troops from Himachal Pradesh.
While the intake of soldiers in the Army from Himachal Pradesh rose from 3,266 in 2018 to 3,309 in 2019 and 3,571 in 2020, the numbers for the other two services have fallen. In 2018, 38 persons from the hill state joined the Air Force, which fell to 19 each in the succeeding two years. In the Navy, recruitment of sailors fell from 57 in 2018 to 50 in 2019 and 20 in 2020.
Intake into the armed forces varies each year and depends upon retirements, premature release and attrition due to casualties and injuries. At present, as many 1,10,877 posts in the rank and file of the three services are lying vacant. According to MoD’s data, this includes 90,640 in the Army, 7,104 in the Air Force and 11,927 in the Navy besides another 1,206 in the medical stream.
As far as the officer cadre is concerned, the total shortage is 10,849, which includes 7,912 in the Army, 610 in the Air Force and 1,190 in the Navy. In addition, the services are short of 444 medical and 693 military nursing officers.
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