Hyderabad/New Delhi, July 23 (Hydnow): Congress MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has slammed the BJP Government at the Centre of jeopardising national security by not filling up the vacancies in the armed forces and also by reducing the annual intake.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that there was a huge shortage of manpower in all three forces – the Indian Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force. Instead of filling up all vacancies, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has reduced the annual intake by almost 25%.
Referring to written replies given by the Ministry of Defence on his question in Lok Sabha on Saturday and another question raised by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on 18th July, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Central Government has admitted to the huge shortage of personnel in all the three armed forces.
In his reply, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt informed that as of January 1, 2022, the total sanctioned strength of commissioned officers and other ranks of the Indian Army are: Officers – 56,972; Nursing Officers – 4,396 and JCOs/ OR – 12,41,768. Similarly, the total strength of officers (excluding medical and dental) and sailors in the Indian Navy as on 31st May 2022 are Officers (excluding medical and dental) – 11821 and Sailors – 75,866. Likewise, the sanctioned strength of the Indian Air Force are: Officers (excluding medical and dental) – 12745 and Airmen/Non Combatants (E) 1,56,362.
Replying to Uttam Kumar Reddy’s question on whether there was an exercise underway in the Ministry to reduce the sanctioned strength of commissioned officers and other ranks in the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy, the Union Minister replied that the review of manpower by the three Defence Services was an ongoing process, based on changing organisational requirements, as also technological advancements with an aim to enhance ‘Teeth-to-Tail’ ratio.
The Minister of State for Defence was also non-committal on the time by which the Ministry plans to fill the total sanctioned strength of commissioned officers and other ranks in the armed forces. He gave a generic reply by saying, “Recruitment in the armed forces are undertaken as per the organisational requirement considering the facts like annual retirement, exits and Premature Retirement etc., It is the endeavor of the Government to fill up all vacancies in the armed forces in a time bound manner.”
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Defence Ministry, in its reply to the question raised by Mallikarjun Kharge, has informed that the three armed forces have a shortage of 1,35,784 personnel. It informed that there are 1,16,464 vacancies in the Indian Army, followed by 13,597 in the Indian Navy and 5,723 in the Indian Air Force.
“As a former Air Force fighter pilot who has served on the country’s borders, I am deeply concerned that the present serious manpower shortages and lower quality and quantity of intake through the ill-conceived Agnipath scheme will seriously jeopardise national security,” Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
The average annual recruitment, as per the information given by the Defence Ministry, is 60,000 in the Indian Army, 5,332 in the Navy and 5,723 in the Indian Air Force. However, he said that the Centre has now reduced the intake by almost 25%. Through the Agnipath scheme, the Centre proposed to recruit only 45,000 personnel in the Indian Army and 3,000 each in the Navy and Air Force.
“For the first time in history, India is facing a war-like situation on two fronts on the Pakistan and China borders. Therefore, by not filling up the vacancies and reducing the intake, the Modi Govt is jeopardising national security. This will harm the operational preparedness of our armed forces,” he said. (Hydnow)
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