In what should set the alarm bells ringing for the Army, an average of four middle-rung officers are putting in their papers daily for premature release. The scenario has never been so grim over the past four years.
Defence Minister AK Antony told Parliament on Monday that 882 officers had sought discharge from the Army this year so far, compared to 811 last year, 536 in 2005 and 435 in 2004. The trend partly reflects rising job dissatisfaction in the Army, which is already short of 11,238 officers.
An officer says the discontentment arises mainly out of poor compensation. The Army has approved 377 officers for discharge this year. Unlike the Army, fewer air force officers have desired to quit their jobs since 2005 when 308 officers had sought discharge. The figure dropped to 230 in 2006 and stands at 239 this year. The IAF is facing a shortage of 1,565 officers.
The government hopes that fresh recommendations from the Sixth Pay Commission will help check this disturbing trend.