There has been shortage of officers in the Armed Forces. The shortage of officers in the Army is around 11,500 and in the Navy, the shortage is 1606. The number of vacancies in Air Force is 1342.
The shortage is partly attributable to accretions in the Armed Forces from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in service career.
A number of steps have been taken to attract the talented youth to join the Defence Forces. All officers including those in Short Service Commission (SSC) are now eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel after two, six and 13 years of reckonable service respectively. The tenure of SSC officers has been increased from 10 to 14 years. A total number of 750 posts of Lt. Col have been upgraded to Colonel towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-I). Further, 1896 additional posts in the ranks of Colonel, Brigadier, Major General and Lieutenant General and their equivalents in the other two Services have been upgraded towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-II). The implementation of the recommendations of the VI Central Pay Commission with substantial improvement in the pay structure of officers of Armed Forces, is expected to make the Services more attractive.
The Armed Forces have also undertaken sustained image projection and publicity campaign to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. Awareness campaigns, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, advertisements in print and electronic media, motivational lectures in schools, colleges are also some of the other measure in this direction.
This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in written reply to Shri Tariq Anwar in Rajya Sabha today.