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Indian armed forces face shortage of over 52,000 personnel

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian armed forces are faced with a shortage of over 52,000 personnel, including 11,000 officers, as measures like improved pay structure were being put in place to check attrition, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.

Army is grappling with the maximum shortage of 33,998 personnel, including 9,642 officers.

There are 24,356 vacancies in other ranks (ORs) of the Army, excluding those in the medical and dental research, he told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour last week.

However, he noted that 66,502 people were undergoing training as against shortages in the ORs, as on January 1.

Parrikar said the Navy had a shortage of 1,322 officers and 11,257 sailors as on January 31.

In the case of Air Force, there were 152 vacancies as on February 1 and shortage of 5,540 airmen at the end of March 1.

Currently, 6,159 recruits for airmen posts were being trained, Parrikar said.

The number of officer-level vacancies in the Army rose to 9,642 as 2,000 fresh positions were created. Efforts are being made since 2012 to fill up the shortage in Army, he said.

On the overall shortage in the three services, the Minister exuded confidence that the issue would be completely addressed in 8-10 years.

Parrikar said the government has taken a number of steps to encourage the youth to join the armed forces, including "sustained image projection", participation in career fairs and exhibitions and publicity campaign to create awareness.

The major reasons for armed forces personnel seeking premature retirement from defence services include compassionate and medical grounds, among others, he noted.

To check attrition rate in the defence forces, Parrikar said various steps were being taken, including improved pay structure and additional family accommodation through Married Accommodation Project.

"The government has taken various measures to create appropriate environment for defence personnel, so that they can perform their duty without any mental stress," he noted.

Such measures include liberalised leave policy, conduct of yoga and meditation as part of unit routine, provision for better infrastructure and facilities, he added.

To a query on family members of martyrs and others facing problems in getting compensation, Parrikar said the government was working on establishing an institutional mechanism to address the issues.


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