How many soldiers can serve until retirement age? Tour of Duty Scheme has a sticking point

The defense establishment is considering options to decide the exact percentage of troops that can be permanently retained as part of a plan to recruit soldiers on short-term contracts, after reports of its possible announcement surfaced. sparked an uproar.

Senior government sources told News18 that heated discussions are underway in government and a final decision on the exact outlines of the program is expected at any time.

The sources further said that the sticking point remains the ratio between the number of soldiers who could be released after a short-term fixed term and those who could be held back until they reach retirement age. , as part of the Tour of Duty (ToD) program.

The latest version of the program stipulates that all Indian Army soldiers would eventually be recruited under the Tour of Duty model, of which around 25% would be released after three years and another 25% after five years.

The remaining 50% would continue to serve in the military for the full term until they reach retirement age.

At the same time, two other combinations are also being studied. One of them is to permanently retain 33% of military recruits, while releasing 33% of them after three and five years each.

The second is to retain 40% of the total soldiers recruited while releasing 60% of them in a single council between three and five years. Of those retained, the percentage of technical staff would be higher, the sources said.

“Various options are being considered to decide the best one that will save defense pensions without compromising the operational advantage of the military,” a source said.

The source further said that the army encourages the retention of maximum soldiers, which can be gradually reduced over a period of time instead of an immediate reduction.

The latest draft regime proposes the maximum retention of soldiers at 50%.

The sources quoted above said that it was also under consideration if the trained manpower that would be released from the army at the end of their short-term contracts could be absorbed by the paramilitary forces, which which could reduce the cost of training their staff. A final call on this is expected.

Until last month, the army had a troop shortfall of 1.1 lakh after recruiting rallies halted for the past two years amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This is increasing by about 5,000 soldiers every month.

Recruitment into the armed forces continues to be suspended following an advance ruling on the new regime. At present, few recruits are being trained in regimental centers and some of the instructional staff have been returned to operational units.

Alongside the new program, a proposal to cut the army’s troop strength by around 15% is also being discussed, the sources cited above said. “It can be implemented in conjunction with the ToD, leading to a readjustment of the overall revenue shortfall created over the past two years,” he said.

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