Army considers ‘tour-of-duty’ model to allow youth to serve for 3 years
The proposal, reviewed by Hindustan Times, stressed that the internship model would result in savings for the organisation. It said it will also brighten the prospects of the ToD optees in the corporate world.Updated: May 13, 2020 20:48 IST
The Indian Army is examining a proposal that seeks to allow the country’s youth to serve the military for three years under a new “tour of duty” (ToD) model similar to the short-service commission that allows officers to serve for 10 to 14 years, two army officers familiar with the move said on Wednesday.
If the proposal is accepted, the army could implement the ToD model - essentially an internship after military training - on trial basis for both officers and other ranks in a limited number of vacancies, said one of the officers cited above.
“The proposal is a shift from the concept of permanent service towards an internship or temporary experience of military life,” said the second officer cited above.
The proposal, reviewed by Hindustan Times, stressed that the internship model would result in savings for the organisation. It said it will also brighten the prospects of the ToD optees in the corporate world.
“The cumulative cost of pre-commission training, pay/allowances, proposed severance packages, leave encashment and other costs is nearly Rs 5.12 crore and Rs 6.83 crore for short-service commissioned (SSC) officers released after 10 and 14 years of service. However, similar costs for those released after three years will be just Rs 80 to Rs 85 lakh,” the proposal stated. It says the ToD model would eventually result in significant reduction in salary and pension budgets, too.
The proposal cites a survey that has indicated that corporate houses would prefer employing individuals who have been trained by the military and join them at the age of 26-27 after a three-year ToD rather than college graduates.
“Many corporates have indicated that ToD officers would also be preferable to the current SSC workforce joining them at the age of 33-34 after 10 years of service. The ToD concept will become attractive if seen by the youth as a vehicle which boosts their subsequent career in the government or the corporate world,” the proposal said.
The ToD model, however, will not be the same as conscription or compulsory military service. Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said, if approved, it will be totally voluntary and there will be no dilution of selection criteria.
“This is an ideal opportunity for those individuals who do not want to make defence services their permanent vocation, but still want to experience the thrill and adventure of the military profession and the glamour of donning the uniform,” the proposal said.
But what about combat skills, experience and preparedness of the ToD cadre to go to war?
“This argument can be negated with the demonstrated performance of our officers and jawans with less than three years service in the Kargil war. If the ToD officers/jawans undergo the same training (for nine months) as the regular officers/other ranks, then their commitment, dedication and performance should not be in any doubt,” the proposal added.
Former army vice chief Lieutenant General AS Lamba (retd) said the ToD model was a laudable idea to fill the critical shortfall of young officers on the assumption that performance of officers with three years of service has been extremely good.
Lamba, however, said, he saw two challenges. “One, the selection of suitable volunteers from the civil environment for this type of limited engagement who would take much longer to motivate than train. And second, training them for critical front-line combat deployments,” he added.