The Indian military is facing a shortage of around 13,000 officers and 53,700 personnel below officer rank with the army accounting for bulk of vacancies, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Antony said some of the major reasons for vacancies in the armed forces include lucrative alternative career avenues and difficult service conditions.
"Some of the major reasons for vacancies in armed forces include accretion in force level from time to time, availability of multiple and lucrative alternative career avenues with growth of nation's economy, stringent selection and difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk," he said.
The defence minister also gave details of vacancies in each of the three services.
Army was short of 10,100 officers till July this year while the shortage of Personnel Below Officers Rank stood at 32,431 till the month of September.
Till September, Navy had 1,996 less officers against its required strength. It was also short of 14,310 sailors.
In the Indian Air Force, the officer shortage was recorded at 962, while it was short of around 7,000 airmen till December.
On steps taken by government to encourage youths to join the armed forces, Antony said various measures such as recruitment rallies and media campaigns have been conducted.
On the number of cadets passing out of various academies, he said, "A total of 9,001 cadets passed out from various academies since the year 2010."
Around 10,800 service personnel have taken premature retirement from the services this year alone, he said.
In the army, 10,081 personnel opted for early retirement, while the number for the Navy and the Air Force was 170 and571, respectively.
Last year, 10,603 army personnel left the force. The same stood at 157 and 1,000 for the Navy and the IAF, respectively.