Army short of Major and Captain level officers

Indian Army personnel | Representational image | ANI

There is a shortage of officers at the Major and Captain levels in the Army with over 6,800 vacancies, but the available strength is “sufficient” to meet the current operational requirements, Parliament was informed on Friday.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said this in a written response to a query in Lok Sabha.

He was asked whether there exists a shortage of Major- and Captain-level officers in the Army, to which he replied, “Yes, Sir”.

Bhatt shared the details on the number of vacancies in all three branches of the armed forces at present, rank-wise.

In the Army, the vacancies are — 2,094 (for Major rank) and 4,734 (for Captain rank), according to the data shared in his response. In the Navy, the figures are – 2,617 (for Lt Commander and below ranks), while in the Air Force, the figures are — 881 (for Squadron Leader rank) and 940 for (Flight Lieutenant rank).

Asked whether the government proposes to reduce officers in the Headquarters (HQs) to supplement the aforesaid shortage, Bhatt said, “No, Sir”.

On the specific reasons for the acute shortage of officers at the mid-level ranks in the Army along with the measures undertaken to address the issue, the minister said the shortage can be attributed to “low intake during COVID-19 pandemic; low intake in all support cadre entries mainly consisting of Short Service Commission and other service entries”.

“In order to mitigate the shortage, proposal to make ‘Short Service Entry More Attractive’ is under consideration,” he added.

Asked whether the shortage of officers impacts the operational readiness and effectiveness of Army units, Bhatt said, “The available strength is sufficient to meet current operational requirements. The operational readiness and effectiveness of Army units is being maintained with organisational resources”.

To another query on whether any alternative strategies like employment of officers to such posts are being considered to address the shortage apart from reducing HQ postings, he said, “No proposal has been received in this Ministry”.

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