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Forces facing officers' crunch: house committee
February 25, 2009 14:38 IST
A "perturbed" parliamentary committee has asked the defence ministry to immediately work out a plan to correct the "unprecedented" shortage of officers in the armed forces which has reached 23.8, 16.7 and 12.1 per cent in the army, the navy and the air force respectively.
The Standing Committee on Defence said "The defence ministry should go into the entire gamut of the issue of shortage of officers in all the three services and urgently formulate a plan of action for implementation in a time bound manner."
The report highlights the deficiencies and shortcomings in manpower planning and human resource management in the defence forces.
After the authorised strength of officers in the three forces was increased by 26 per cent, the present level of unfilled vacancies had reached an "unprecedented" level, the report, which was tabled on Tuesday, said.
While making several recommendations, the committee said it was perturbed to know that all the efforts of the defence ministry to resolve the issue, especially those in the last two decades, have failed.
The committee also rejected the defence ministry's plea that youth accorded low priority to a military career and said, "The issue of shortage of officers continues to be viewed in isolation without properly appreciating the complexities of the various aspects of manpower planning and human resource management."
The committee said that with the growing security challenges, every ministry should contribute its share in supporting the defence services.
Saying that some of the recruitment procedures for officers in the armed forces were based on antiquated practices, the committee said, "The format of the Service Selection Board tests has not undergone any major change in the last three decades."
The committee found out that the present selection system was examined by a Chiefs of Staff appointed committee which found the procedures for selection extremely rigorous.
It recommended that an exhaustive review of the selection procedures through SSBs be undertaken and the latest selection techniques be put in place.
It also asked the defence ministry to ensure that candidates with rural backgrounds are not be subjected to language barriers while assessing them during selections. The committee asked the ministry to ensure that fair and transparent systems are put in place for promotion of officers in the forces.