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Exclusive: Leaked Navy note says “spike” in number of officers quitting
In the first and admittedly direct fallout of the seventh pay commission among other issues, the Indian Navy (IN) has admitted to a ‘spike’ witnessed this year in the number of its officers wanting to resign or seek Premature Retirement (PR). Data shows it is the highest in the last seven years.
In the leaked note, Commodore Rajesh Dhankar, Principal Director of Personnel, Indian Navy, predicted a continuation in the present trend of “increase in the number of PR requests”.
To “manage the change”, the Navy is considering a slew of steps. A dialogue has been initiated between the naval headquarters and the three commands in Mumbai, Vizag and Kochi. Those within the force are seeing this move as a tightening of stance, aimed at stemming the flow and making it more difficult for officers to exit.
The cause, according to sources, is the seventh pay commission, the implementation of which was notified in July this year.
There has been widespread criticism of the provisions by the Defence veterans. The three service chiefs too have represented against many of its clauses before the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. Insiders believe the provisions to be ‘hurtful’ and say ‘they do not help the cause of attracting the best talent’. As a measure of the resistance to the pay commission, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had claimed he would ensure the deletion of its recommendations, a move which has not yielded till now.
Navy’s data shows till date, in the current year, 135 cases of PR have been received. Compare this to 69 cases in 2015, 91 in 2014, 96 in 2013, 132 in 2012, 122 in 2011, 114 in 2010 and 125 in 2009 and the situation speaks for itself.
BIGGER WORRY ::
According to an assessment shared by a senior officer, “We are getting the numbers. But when we look at the quality, it leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously, we won’t be lowering the bar to accommodate subpar candidates which leaves us with deficiencies”.
Many pointed to the consistent woes of armed forces, which have precipitated ugly, public spats, impact impressionable minds as factors keeping youngsters away from choosing the armed forces for a career.
SHORTAGE OF OFFICERS ::
This comes at a time when the Navy has been grappling with a 17 per cent shortfall in the number of sanctioned officers. The Indian Army has an even bigger shortfall at 23 per cent while the Indian Air Force (IAF) is better placed with barely 4 per cent shortfall. This data was submitted by the three services to the seventh pay commission.
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