Army proposes 3-year stint for civilians 

#GS2 #Defence #Army 

Proposal aims to reduce financial burden on the force and free funds for its modernisation 

  • The Army plans to take civilians on a three-year “Tour of Duty” (ToD) or short service on a trial basis to serve as officers and in other ranks initially for a limited number of vacancies which will be expanded later. 
  • This is expected to result in significant reduction in the expenditure on pay and pensions and free up funds for the Army’s modernisation. 

Cost factor 

  • The overall purpose of the ToD concept is ‘internship/temporary experience’ and so there will be no requirement of attractive severance packages, resettlement courses, professional encashment training leave, ex-servicemen status, ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme for ToD officers and other ranks. 
  • Analysing the cost of training incurred on each personnel compared with the limited employment of the manpower for three years, the proposal calculates that it will indeed have a positive benefit.  
  • It states that the cumulative approximate cost of pre-commission training, pay, allowances, gratuity, proposed severance packages, leave encasement and other costs is nearly ₹5.12 crore and ₹6.83 crore on a Short Service Commission (SSC) officer if he or she is released from service after 10 and 14 years, respectively.  
  • The overall cost goes up even further as 50-60% of the SSC officers opt for permanent commission and continue in service till the age of 54 and thereafter get pension benefits.  
  • Similarly, estimates for a jawan with 17 years of service as compared to a ToD recruit with three years’ service shows that the prospective lifetime savings of just one jawan is ₹11.5 crore.  
  • Thus, savings for only 1,000 jawans could be ₹11,000 crore, which could be used for the much-needed modernisation of the Army. 

Many advantages 

  • Highlighting the advantages of this scheme, the sources said this scheme is for those who did not want a full career in the Army but still wanted to put on the uniform. 
  • Individuals who opted for ToD would get a much higher salary than their peers in the corporate sector.  
  • They would also have an edge after leaving the service and going to the corporate sector. 
  •  The Army hoped that this would attract individuals from the best colleges, including the Indian Institutes of Technology. 
  • The proposal states that as per an initial survey, corporates favour individuals aged 26 or 27 who have been trained by the military. 
  • The proposal suggests several incentives such as tax-free income for three years and a lumpsum at the end of three years of about ₹5-6 lakh for officers and ₹2-3 lakh for others. 
  • The Army’s pay and pension bill has been increasingly steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.  
  • In the last five years, though the growth in the defence budget has been 68%, and for defence salaries 75%, defence pensions have increased by a staggering 146%. 
  • The nation and the corporates are likely to benefit from trained, disciplined confident, diligent and committed men and women who have completed the ToD. 
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