In a concerning revelation, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that since 2012, one officer from India’s defence forces has quit each day, and the largest number of officers seeking early retirement from the armed forces belong to the Army, reports Times of India.
In written response to Haridwar BJP MP-Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who sought to know details of vacancies in the armed forces, Parrikar said that in 2012, 564 officers opted to exit before their set date of retirement; in 2013, 448 officers sought early retirement, and in 2014 the number was 319. So far, in 2015, 97 officers have opted for premature retirement.
The highest number of those seeking to quit were from the Army, at 664 between 2012 and 2015. The armed forces faced a shortage of over 11,000 officers.
In his response to the status of vacancies in the armed forces, Parrikar said the Army has 9,642 vacant officer positions and 23,909 vacancies among other ranks. Navy has 1,179 officer vacancies and 11,653 vacant slots for sailors; the Air Force has 6,664 airmen slots vacant.
Citing reasons and concern over the large number of early exits from the armed forces, Retired Lt General KK Khanna, said:
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“Dissatisfaction simmers when officers are overlooked for promotion. There are fewer vacancies in the higher ranks, and only those high in merit have assured career progression. This sometimes nudges officers to quit and pursue something else. Also, there is no dearth of opportunities for officers wishing to pursue a career, for instance, in the aviation industry or merchant navy. “
But given the fact that all three wings of the armed forces are facing a serious situation of shortage of officers, such a trend of premature retirement complicates the problem if not aggravate it.