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Recruitment process in three services severely affected due to Covid: Rajnath Singh

NEW DELHI (PTI):  The three services could recruit a total of 37,301 personnel in the last two years as against an average annual vacancy of 60,000 with the induction process hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to details provided by the government. 

The number of total recruits in 2019 was 95,843 with the Army topping the list with 81,812 personnel followed by the IAF with 7,548 and the Navy accounting for 6,483 personnel.

The details were provided by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha while replying to a question on Monday.

According to the data furnished by him, the Army currently has a shortfall of 1,16,484 personnel while the number in the Navy is 13,597 and the IAF 5,789.

"The recruitment process for the years 2020 and 2021, was severely affected and disrupted because of COVID pandemic, and the recruitment rallies had to be curtailed for the Army," he said.

"Nevertheless, 1280 officers and 12091 soldiers were inducted in the Army for the year 2020, and 1065 officers for the year 2021," he added.

The defence minister said in case of the Navy and the Air Force, which follow an online recruitment process, the impact of the pandemic was lesser.

"In the case of the Navy, 377 officers and 2772 sailors were inducted in the year 2020 and 409 officers and 5547 sailors in the year 2021. Similarly, in the case of the Indian Air Force, 261 officers and 8,423 airmen were inducted during the year 2020 and 467 officers and 4609 airmen in the year 2021," he said.

The three services have already started the recruitment process for the year 2022 under the newly launched 'Agnipath' scheme.

"In case of the Air Force, the online registration process was opened from 24th June to 5th July for 3000 posts. The registration process for the Navy is open from July 15 to 30 for 3,000 posts," Singh said.

The Army has commenced its registration process for 40,000 posts and will start holding rallies from August 10.

Singh said the Army proposes to organise 85 rallies in various parts of the country in the next three months.

"The first batch of candidates will join basic training in the Indian Navy in the month of November and in the Air Force and Army in the month of December this year," he said.

The defence minister said 1,240 officers and 80,572 soldiers were inducted in the Army in 2019 while 415 officers and 6,068 sailors were recruited by the Navy that year. The IAF recruited 326 officers and 7,222 airmen in 2019.

"On an average, 60,000 vacancies arise in the three armed forces every year. Currently, there is a shortfall of 7,799 officers and 1,08,685 soldiers in the Army; 1446 officers and 12,151 sailors in the Navy and 572 officers and 5,217 airmen in the Indian Air Force," Singh said.

"With the improvement in the COVID-19 situation and the start of the process of recruitment, these vacancies are expected to come down in the coming years," he said.

The defence minister informed Lok Sabha that shortage of officers and mitigating measures are reviewed regularly by the armed forces and measures are initiated to fill the vacancies based on detailed analysis.


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