‘Tour of Duty’ scheme to recruit soldiers only for 3-5 years being finalized

What is the News?

The Department of Military Affairs is moving towards finalizing the “Tour of Duty(ToD)” scheme.

What is the Tour of Duty(ToD) Scheme?

The tour of Duty(ToD) Scheme involves hiring youth in the armed forces for a short span of 3-5 years.

Suggested by: This scheme was being pushed by the late Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.

Key Features of the Scheme

The scheme will be known as the Agnipath entry scheme.

It will be launched on an experimental basis first. The plan is to eventually recruit all soldiers in the Indian Army under the Tour of Duty model.

As per the proposal, around 25% of them would serve in the Army for three years and 25% of troops would serve for five years. The remaining 50% would continue to serve in the Army for the full term till they reach their retirement age.

What are the benefits to soldiers from this scheme? 

Included in National Pension Scheme: Proposal states that 50% of soldiers released at the end of three and five years will be included in the National Pension Scheme. Such soldiers will be given certain medical benefits, applicable to Armed Forces veterans for a fixed period.

Priority in certain Government Jobs: The soldiers would also be given priority in recruitment to certain government jobs, including the central armed police forces.

An effort is also on to nudge corporate India into hiring such ex-ToD recruits for specific lines of work in the private sector on a priority basis.

What are the benefits to the Government from this scheme?

Reduction in defence pensions: It will reduce the burden of pay rises and pensions. As per estimates, the “prospective life-term saving” in the cost of engagement of a single jawan who leaves after 17 years of service with pension and other benefits, as compared to a ToD jawan will be Rs 11.5 crore.

The cumulative money saved in pay and gratuity payouts can consequently be used for the much-needed military modernization.

Overcoming shortages: The defence establishment is hoping that the ToD scheme will help in resolving the issue of lack of manpower in the Indian Army.

Source: This post is based on the articles:

 “Tour of Duty’ scheme to recruit soldiers only for 3-5 years being finalized” published in TOI on 6th April 2022.

“3-yr ‘Tour of Duty’ for jawans — govt to roll out new recruitment process, not for officers” published in The Print on 6th April 2022.

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