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Scarcity of officers becomes new headache for armed forces

NEW DELHI: At the time when foot on the ground in Eastern Ladakh has swelled in recent years the scarcity of personnel stands at more than a lakh.

Also, the combined scarcity of the personnel of the Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and Other Ranks (ORS) in the Army, Navy and Air Force stands at more than a lakh and that of the officers is above 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts.

The scarcity in the Indian Army at JCOs and ORs is 1,08685 whereas in the Indian Air Force it is 5217 and 12,151 in the Indian Navy. The sanctioned strength for the services stands at 12,41,768 JCOs and ORs in the Indian Army, 1, 56,362 in Air Force and 75,866 in the Navy.

The data pertaining to the scarcity of personnel in the Armed Forces was shared by Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State (Defence) in the Lok Sabha.

Coming to the officers, the Indian Army has 7308 vacancies and 1446 and 572 are vacancies of the Indian Navy and Air Force respectively.

The sanctioned strength of officers is 56, 972 for the Indian Army, 11,821 for Navy and 12,745 for the Indian Air Force.

A senior officer said that the scarcity leads to the distribution of the work which otherwise would have been done by the people posted as officers, JCOs and Other Ranks in the positions which are lying vacant and this also leads to stress.

The Vacancies, as the officers told persist at the level of the lower ranks at Lieutenant, Captain and Major and the equivalents in the other two services. And, these are the positions which are operationally most committed.

Ajay Bhatt in his reply added that steps are being taken to fill the vacancies.

“The Government has taken a number of measures to reduce the shortages. These, interalia, include sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions and publicity campaigns to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career.”