There might be a silver lining to the global economic meltdown. The Indian Army hopes the the job crunch due to the financial crisis would help in restoring the draw of a stable career in the armed forces that are facing a shortage of middle-rung officers.
Speaking to the media ahead of the 61st Army Day, Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor on Wednesday said the recession may result in more youngsters opting for armed forces as career.
"With the recession in the civil side, the demand to have career in the army in the service of the nation may go up. Besides we are taking a series of step so that people do not leave army and more numbers join it," said Kapoor.
The army's sanctioned strength is 46,615 officers but it faces a shortage of 11,238 officers.
The problem has further aggravated as about 3,000 army officers sought premature retirement in the last three years, with most of them moving to the lucrative corporate sector.
The army chief said the Sixth Pay Commission, which raised salaries for all government employees including those in the armed forces, has also helped in bringing down the number of people seeking premature retirement.
"Little bit of hope. Post Sixth Pay Commission announcement, there is somewhat of a declining trend in the number of people leaving the army. I see it as happy augury," Kapoor said.
In a bid to bring down the number further and to attract an adequate number of people to the forces, the army plans to "liberalise the study leave rule" which will enable an officer to educate himself and improve his career chances after the army job.
The army will also open a second Officer Training Academy to increase the intake.
The army chief, however, clarified the deficiency will not affect the army's contributions to the National Security Guards (NSG) and Assam Rifles.
The army will need to provide 3,000 more men, including 300-odd officers, to the NSG that will be establishing more hubs shortly in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.