Colonel Nikhil Diwanji
Colonel Nikhil Diwanji
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The Indian Army is considering a proposal to attract young working professionals to join the force for a three-year tenure as officers and in other ranks for a variety of roles. The 'Tour of Duty (ToD) for three years is being mulled in the wake of "resurgence of nationalism and patriotism" in the country.

The social media is abuzz with the proposal though it's still in its nascent stage without any concrete guidelines in place. The proposal is impressive, but an overall consideration by aspirants is must since the term is only for three years.

Colonel Nikhil Diwanji, who coaches students to enter the Indian Army in Indore, decodes the entire proposal of the Indian Army for our readers:

What is the aim and benefit of ToD?

The proposal by the Army of ToD may certainly help in tiding over lack of officers, give an opportunity to many to don the uniform and get the rank of an Army officer for limited time and training under outstanding officers and trainers may be in Officers Training Academy (OTA), Gaya, as the academy has been shut down due to very low selections.

How can youngsters and Indian Army benefit from ToD?

The youngsters would learn the ethos of Army and traditions of the Regiments they join. This will imbibe a lot of values and morality in them. The plus side for Army is that it will overcome the shortage of officers at the junior leadership level. There will also be cost-cutting. According to an Army study, the cumulative cost of training, pay, severance package of Short Service Commission (SSC) officer is Rs 5.1 Cr while for ToD officer released after 3 years would be Rs 80 to 85 lakhs. A Lieutenant in Army gets Rs 80,000 per month including all perks and allowances as applicable.

What is the con side of ToD?

In the initial stage the ToD scheme, if launched, will be for 100 officers and 1000 jawans which is almost a drop in ocean. Defence services in the past few years have increased the vacancies of SSC officers while considerably reducing permanent commission. The Forces especially Army which boasts of brotherhood, camaraderie, lifelong association leaves all these in treatment of SSC officers who are left to fend for themselves after their tenure of ten or fourteen years of service to the Nation.

What is the challenge that aspirants should be aware while joining on ToD?

They will be discharged at a very young age, say 26, and it will be tough for them to hunt a job of equal pay and status in civilian life. One must consider the fact that the defence services have not yet been able to rehabilitate SSC officers many of whom are disgruntled running pillar to post.

How would ToD affect recruitments?

The Army also needs to evaluate will a person with high IQ join ToD? Will parents permit wards the tour only for three years in the prime of youth then searching for jobs of equivalent status, standing and salary? Will the President of India award them commission with such low shelf life? Will ToD officers permitted to adorn their names with ranks forever? Will the ToD officer serve with the same dedication or utilise those three years to earn more degrees or skills or will invest time in building next career? Will the commanding officer bestow him with operational secrets or just make him presiding officer for numerous boards?

Ques: How can Indian Army make ToD a workable plan?

To make ToD attractive the Army, though it has failed for SSC officers, must have rehabilitation and not severance policy of lateral absorption in PSU, CAPF, Banks, Govt departments.

Give them ESM status only for applying for jobs though I would recommend CSD facilities to be extended so that URCs earn. Tenure to be increased to SSC based on performance and for very few outstanding to PC.

The age criteria for ToD officers to apply for jobs to be relaxed by five years. ToD should have more vacancies for girls so that after three years if they desire then settle down in married life.

Conscription is a better system and to implement it in India the proposed method is to give jobs of equivalent status who served in ToD for three years. This will assure pay parity, assured the second career, no fiscal loss because golden handshake need not be given.

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