New Delhi: There is 17 per cent shortage of officers in armed forces and government has set a target of 10 years to fill all the vacancies, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
Parrikar said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour that at present government is hiring additional one per cent officers every year and in next ten years the problem of shortage of officers will be resolved.
The Defence Minister said the policy of recruiting officers through Short Service Commission into armed forces was being reviewed and indicated that the present rules of retaining them for 14 years may be reduced as the "original idea was different".
Parrikar said recruitment in the armed forces, including technical/non-technical and medical officers is based on merit and is equally open to every citizen of the country without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, tribe or religion provided the candidate meets the laid down age, physical, medical and educational criteria.
The Minister said in case of Army and Navy, recruitment of defence personnel below officers rank from different states is being done in proportion to the Recruitment Male Population (RMP) of those states.
"RMP factor for each state is computed in the case of Army and a Naval Recruitment Index is computed for each state in the case of Navy. In case of Air Force and Armed Forces Medical Services, recruitment is not based on RMP," he said.
Parrikar said since the criteria for recruitment is merit and candidates have to meet laid down age, physical, medical and educational criteria, the policy has no adverse impact on the availability of competent personnel in defence forces.
"As RMP policy gives fair and equitable representation to all states, there is no discrimination among states," he said.