New Delhi: Defence forces, which are facing a shortage of over 13,000 officers and 53,700 men, have taken various initiatives to encourage youths to join the Services, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Monday. In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Antony said some of the major reasons for vacancies in the armed forces include lucrative alternative career avenues and difficult service conditions.
"Some of the major reasons for vacancies in armed forces include accretion in force level from time to time, availability of multiple and lucrative alternative career avenues with growth of nation's economy, stringent selection and difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk," he said.
The Defence Minister also provided the number of vacancies in each of the three Services. The Army was short of 10,100 officers till July this year while the shortage of Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) stood at 32,431 till the month of September. Till September, Navy had 1,996 less officers against its required strength. It was also short of 14,310 sailors. In the Indian Air Force, the officer shortage was recorded at 962, while it was working with less than 7,000 less airmen till December.
On the number of cadets passing out of various academies, Antony said, "A total of 9,001 cadets passed out from various academies since the year 2010."
Over 10,800 service personnel have taken premature retirement from the services this year alone, he said.
In the Army, 10,081 personnel opted for early retirement, while the number for the Navy and the Air Force was 170 and 571, respectively. In 2011, 10,603 Army personnel left the force. The same stood at 157 and 1,000 for the Navy and the IAF, respectively.
On steps taken by government to encourage youths to join the armed forces, Antony said various measures such as recruitment rallies and media campaigns have been conducted.
"Government has taken various steps to make armed forces jobs attractive for youngsters. These include implementation of the recommendations of sixth Central Pay Commission with improved pay structure, additional family accommodation through Married Accommodation Project and improvement in promotion prospects in the armed forces," he said.
In reply to a separate question on profit of defence canteens, Antony said the total turnover of the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) for 2010-11 was Rs 9,752.33 crore. The unaudited turnover for 2011-12 was 9,756.19 crore and the profits for the same period is yet to be finalised.
In 2010-11, the CSD generated a profit of Rs 267.84 crore. On whether the profit of the canteen is being deposited in the government treasury in Controller General of Defence Account (CGDA), the Defence Minister said, "No. 50 per cent of the profit is deposited into the CFI as per the government policy."
On civilians employed in canteens, he said approximately 5,400 people are working in various Unit Run Canteens (URCs) and their pay and benefits are governed as per rules regulating the terms and conditions of their services.