To make Short Service Commission (SSC) jobs more lucrative for the youth and retain the existing officers in the three armed forces, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved one-time payout and full-paid leave plans for SSC officers. Besides, it is considering two more additional benefits for them.
The move is aimed at reducing the existing ratio of permanent commissioned officers vis-a-vis the SSC. SSC officers retire after 14 years of service and leave the forces when they are about 35-37 years of age. Lieutenant Colonel, Commander and Wing Commander are the highest ranks in the Army, Navy and the IAF, respectively, for SSC officers. The MoD has approved the two plans and sent them to the Ministry of Finance, top sources told the Tribune.
The first is a one-time payout. This will be worked out in two stages, one for those who leave after 10 years of service and second for those who leave after 14 years of service.
The MoD has suggested that 3-4 months of wage be paid for each year of service in the forces. That would mean some 42-56 months of salary being paid as one-time payment at retirement. It could work out be something between Rs 22 lakh and Rs 26 lakh for each officer on existing pay scales.
Those who opt to leave the forces after 10 years of service will get lower scale of payment – two months per year of service will be counted for one-time payment.
The second benefit approved by the MoD is to allow full-paid leave to study further on professional courses and seek jobs as SSC officers retire very early. The leave can be for a year or two and will be counted towards the period of 14 years of service. This study leave will allowed to only those who opt to serve after 10 years.
Besides, the Manohar Parrikar-led MoD is considering two more things. The first is ‘ex-servicemen’ status to SSC officers – meaning access to post-retirement facilities, like health and canteen, run by the forces, including children education and hostels for children appearing in competitive exams and living in metros.
The second is re-employment to SSC officers after they retire. A system for re-employment exists for select ranks among officers if they are permanent commissioned. A Colonel retires at 54 years, Brigadier at 56, Maj Gen at 58, Lieutenant General at 60 and Chief at 62 years.
The Ajai Vikram Singh Committee on Defence in its recommendations had suggested to increase the ratio of the SSC officers and make it 60:40 favouring the SSC. The report was accepted in December 2004 by then Defecne Minister Pranab Mukerjee.
The MoD while replying to question in Parliament, last December, said shortages in the armed forces were in the ranks of Lt-Colonel, Commander in Navy and Wing Commander in IAF. There is a shortage of 7,989 officers in the Army, 1,499 in the Navy, and 357 in the ranks of Wing Commanders and below in the IAF.