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Colonels take corporate call

Over the past five years, 461 colonels and 942 lieutenant-colonels have left the Army, reports Neelesh Misra.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 02:36 IST

Colonels and lieutenant-colonels make up the majority of officers quitting the Indian Army, worsening an already severe mid-level leadership shortage, according to previously undisclosed Army figures.

Over the past five years, 461 colonels and 942 lieutenant-colonels have sought a discharge from the Army, reveal Army figures made available to HT. Of them, 357 colonels and 740 lieutenant-colonels were allowed to leave.

The estimates go against the conventional belief that officers at relatively junior ranks, like majors, are largely the ones leaving the Army. The exodus, it is felt, is mainly due to two factors: poor promotion prospects in the Army and better perks in the private companies.

In all, 2,009 officers applied to leave the Army between 2001 and 2005. Apart from the colonels and lieutenant-colonels, these included two lieutenant-generals, 10 major-generals, 84 brigadiers, 394 majors, and 116 captains or lower ranking officers. Of them, 1,472 officers were allowed to quit.

They included one lieutenant-general, nine major-generals, 84 brigadiers, 222 majors and 59 captains or lower ranking officers.

Army officials could not be reached on Saturday to comment on the new figures.
The figures follow an exclusive report by HT last month on large-scale applications from officers who want to leave the Army. The officers cited "personal and compassionate reasons" among other reasons, according to Army documents.

The HT report drew numerous letters from readers, including serving Army officers, many of whom said they were forced to consider leaving the force with professional prospects in mind.

Email Neelesh Misra: neelesh .misra@hindustantimes.com