‘Game changer’: Assocham on army’s 3-year service proposal for civilians
After industrialist Anand Mahindra backed the army’s proposed “tour of duty” (ToD) model last week, industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) on Thursday supported the proposal that seeks to allow the country’s youth to serve the military for three years, an army officer familiar with the move said.
The scheme has also elicited positive response from some other industrialists.
The industry body, in an email to the army on Thursday, described the ToD initiative of the government as a “game changer”, said the official cited above.
He said that the Assocham has communicated to the army that it will work with the government to promote the ToD scheme not just as an “employment opportunity” but as a “nation building” initiative “where the industry will send existing employees for a three-year tour of duty with job security when they return.”
Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani said his company would even consider hiring candidates first and then let them do the military internship “as it will help us groom our work force in the ethos of the army.”
The ToD model is similar to the short-service commission that allows officers to serve the armed forces for 10 to 14 years.
If the proposal is accepted, the army could implement the ToD model - essentially an voluntary internship after military training - on a trial basis for both officers and other ranks in a limited number of vacancies.
Last week, Mahindra said the ToD exposure would give young people an “added advantage” in their next workplace. In an e-mail to the army, Mahindra said his group would be happy to consider the candidature of ToD optees for corporate jobs.
“I definitely think military training will be an added advantage for Tour of Duty Graduates as they enter the workplace. In fact, considering the rigid standards of selection and training in the Indian Army, the Mahindra Group will be happy to consider their candidature,” Mahindra wrote.
The ToD 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 ₹5.12 crore and ₹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 ₹80 to ₹85 lakh,” the proposal stated. It said 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.