Chennai: In a bid to rope in more men from Naxal affected areas into the armed and paramilitary forces, the government has relaxed recruitment norms by lowering the education qualification and physical requirements, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh said Monday.
"Ministry of Home Affairs has also taken very important steps towards Naxal areas, specially by lowering the education qualification. This is something which is very important, because, as you know, there are very few schools," he told reporters here.
Singh, on a two-day visit to the city, said physical requirements had also been lowered to "a certain extent" as part of the special initiatives taken by the government.
He underlined that special recruitment drives were being organised in Naxal affected areas - Chattishgarh, Odisha, parts of Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
Acknowledging that there was a "sizeable number" of vacancies in the armed forces, especially at the officers level, he said the government was taking various steps to fill in those gaps.
"Some of the steps which have been taken are to increase the number of training institutions in the country.. We have taken special recruitment camps in Naxal areas, Jammu and Kashmir and in North-east areas. So, the outreach, I would say has gone up tremendously. This will bridge the gap," he said.
Replying to a query on INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles, presently being used in the armed forces, he said, "I don`t think that INSAS rifles are outdated. But, very soon other new rifles, which have been developed, are coming into service."
"..It is not training on one particular rifle. There are number of weapons... Trainees are being trained in different weapons. And as technology improves, as technology changes, these equipment are brought in," he said.