Tough selection process, high degree of risk makes recruitment difficult

New Delhi : The Army is facing a shortfall of nearly 10,000 officers while the Navy is facing a shortage of about 1,800. Also, 644 officers have taken premature retirement from the Army since 2012. In the Navy, the figure stood at 343 while in the Air Force, it was 441.

Giving the details, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that some of the major reasons for shortage in armed forces include increase in authorised strength due to new accretions in force level from time to time and availability of attractive alternate career avenues.

He also cited stringent selection criteria and difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk. Excluding the medical and dental branch, there are 9,642 vacant posts of officers in the Army, while the figure for the Navy is 1,779. In another reply, Parrikar said there are 45,000 personnel under training for the Army, 10,523 for Navy and 11,979 for the Air Force.

The government has spent a total of Rs 2,409.3 crore on training since 2012. He also said that the available strength of pilots in IAF is sufficient to meet operational requirements.

Meanwhile, as many as 54 missing defence personnel of 1965 and 1971 wars are believed to be in custody in Pakistan, government said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply in Lok Sabha, said the government has repeatedly been taking up the matter with Pakistan for the release of the missing defence personnel believed to be in Pakistan’s custody.

“However, Pakistan does not acknowledge the presence of any such personnel in its custody,” he said.

A delegation of 14 relatives of missing personnel defence personnel also visited 10 jails in Pakistan during June 1-14, 2007.

“The delegations, however, could not conclusively confirm the physical presence of any missing defence personnel,” he said. The Minister said families of these missing defence personnel were given liberalised pensionary and rehabilitation benefits as per extant rules.

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