Indian Army short of 7,399 officers and 38,235 soldiers: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

The vacant posts in Army is a situation of concern as India shares boundaries with hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China.

Indian Army short of 7,399 officers and 38,235 soldiers: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
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Indian Army is facing a shortfall of 7,399 officers and 38,235 other ranks against its sanctioned strength. According to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Indian Army as on 01.01.2019 has a vacancy of 45,634, out of which 7,399 posts are above the rank of Second Lieutenant.

In August 2018, the then Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said that as on January 1, 2018, the authorised strength of officers in Army was 49,933, but the number of officers is 42,635, which is 7,298 short of the sanctioned strength. 

The vacant posts in Army is a situation of concern as India shares boundaries with hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China. Besides the hostile neighbours, India is also facing internal security challenges in Jammu and Kashmir and some northeastern states with the Army responsible for maintaining law and order in these states. 

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In a written reply to Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha, the Defence Minister tried to allay concerns overs the vacancies in Army saying that recruitment in the armed force is a continuous process and vacancies occur due to various reasons like accretions of posts from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in the service career. He added that the inherent limitation of number that could be trained without compromising the quality of training is also a factor behind the vacancies in Army. Singh added that vacancies in Army are filled progressively through recruits who complete training. 

It is to be noted that the shortage of officers in Army has been a longstanding problem and the government has been trying to tackle this problem by commissioning advertising campaigns in order to attract youth to join the Army. The table below shows that the amount spent by the government for publicity expenditure for recruitment was more in 2018-19 than 2017-18 and the decrease in number of vacant posts for officers sends a message that the government's drive is yielding results.  

S. No. Financial Year Amount (in Rs. lakhs)
1. 2016-17 378.87
2. 2017-18 199.47
3. 2018-19 216.19

Meanwhile, Indian Army got 466 officers following the Passing Out Parade at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Officers Training Academy, Gaya on June 8, 2019. At IMA, Dehradun, 382 officers were commissioned in the Indian Army while 84 belonged to Gaya's OTA, which witnessed its 15th Passing Out Parade. With this year's Passing Out Parade, the IMA now holds the record for giving 61,536 officers to Indian Army.