serious issue

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Mar 2018 11:03:13


Nakshatra Rohini 16H 54M
Moon Vrishabh upto 28H.17M (Rajandekar Panchang)
Paksha Chaitra Shukla Tithi Shashthi 12H 00M
Muslim Rajab 5th Hijree 1439

THAT the Indian Armed Forces are facing a shortage of 52,000 soldiers, is a serious issue that needs an immediate attention not just at the Government’s level but also at the level of the larger Indian society. If at the Government level the shortage suggests immediacy of certain measures including financial allocation, at the societal level it may call for a serious attempt to encourage our youngsters to take to careers in Defence. Thus, this is one national issue that needs to be tackled urgently and comprehensively.

The shortage of manpower is widespread in all Armed Forces. In the Army, there are 7,600 posts of officers crying to be filled, in the overall shortage of 21,383 persons. The Air Force reels under the shortage of 15,010 persons and the Navy is strained by the shortage of 16,348 persons. This clearly means that there are no aspirants good enough to fill the vacant positions. Thus, this is an issue of national significance which must be tackled by the Government as well as the larger society.
It is obvious from the statistics that the number of young people -- men and women -- applying for jobs in various careers in Defence has been reducing over time. It is, of course, common knowledge that the larger Indian society does not motivate its youngsters to join Defence careers in good enough numbers. Most youngsters opt for careers in cosy conditions of air-conditioned offices and civilians situations where there are almost no possibilities of any physically strenuous tasks to be complied with during the course of work.

It is also common knowledge that ever-increasing numbers of Indian families are more interested in keeping their youngsters in civilian comforts where risks to life are minimal. This is because there is a widespread misinformation that the job in Armed Forces means certain death. The Government has not done anything substantial to combat this misinformation. It has never told the nation that even as there were nearly half a million of rounds fired during the Kargil war from both sides, the number of soldiers and officers martyred on both sides -- India and Pakistan -- did not cross a cumulative 2,000. This example proves statistically and otherwise that the chances of death even during a full-fledged war are so minimal.

Unfortunately, this detail has been missed by the Indian society, as a result of which the average family does not motivate its youngsters to take careers in Defence. The Indian people have also failed to notice that over the past some years, the wages and spoils in the jobs in the Armed Forces have almost equalled those in corporate sector. The Government also has done precious little to launch an all-out campaign to motivate youngsters to take up careers in defence services in various segments that also include non-combat positions.

Statistically, the shortage of just 52,000 soldiers in the standing force of nearly 1.75 million people may not sound a big deal. Yet, given the criticality of the Defence Sector in national narrative, even that shortage must not be entertained. It is, therefore, incumbent upon each Indian to ensure that youngsters are appropriately motivated to think of careers in Defence as the first option and not as a last resort. Indian Armed Forces have had a glorious tradition not just of valour and death in national service but also in creative application of learned skills. Every nation has often prided in those achievements. India also takes a legitimate pride in all those expressions of excellence under trying conditions. If more and more youngsters take to careers in Defence services, the nation will be benefitted in the long run. It is this aspect that needs to be propagated in our society without sparing any effort by the Government and the society.