As part of the ongoing exercise to ensure optimization of manpower in the Army, it is proposed to cut deputation in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) by 75 per cent and fill the shortfall by hiring ex-servicemen on contract.
In a letter sent to all NCC directorates on May 27 this year, the Directorate General of NCC in New Delhi has sought comments on the move. With the Army’s manpower reduction expected to be regularized by about two lakhs, similar manpower reduction proposals are being examined in several other establishments.
As far as NCC is concerned, the below mentioned Directorates have been asked to give their feedback on the proposed shortfall of instructional staff from the Army so as to discuss and understand the challenges and problems that may arise. The directorates have also been asked to recommend what percentage deduction may be allowed without compromising on the functional efficiency of the NCC unit or sub-unit.
Commenting on the move, a senior officer serving in the NCC said on condition of anonymity that no NCC unit employs a large number of personnel and, as such, it is hardly sufficient to meet the requirements. . Huh. “An NCC unit is not like a normal army battalion with hundreds of soldiers. There are hardly 16-17 serving military personnel in the unit and these are sufficient to meet the requirements.
The official said that if such a cut of 75 per cent is made, effectively only three or four personnel will be left in a unit. “The numbers will drop even further with leave, courses or attachments due to various reasons. The NCC is one of the few peacetime establishments where officers, JCOs or jawans are usually deployed on compassionate grounds as these units are often very close to their hometowns and help mitigate their adversity. It would be very unfair to snatch this path from them,” the official said.
Another senior NCC official said a large number of ex-servicemen may be available to fill the vacancies, but their level of accountability will still not be the same as that of the service. “We are talking about handling children including girls in NCC, young adults in schools and then children in college. If there is any malpractice, how will the accountability of the retired person be fixed? Presently, defense personnel serving in NCC are covered under the Army, Navy and Air Force Act and do not apply to retired personnel.
There has been a concerted effort at the top level of the government to reduce the military in order to control the rising pension budget and to have more cash to spend on capital budgets and technology acquisitions. The proposed Tour of Duty scheme of recruitment, which envisages hiring soldiers on contract for four years and retaining only a fraction of them for pensionable service, is also a step in that direction. However, senior retired military officers have expressed their objection to the new method of recruitment and recommended that it be a test-bed before lock, stock and barrel is implemented.
Consequent upon vacancies to be filled by hiring ex-servicemen as per proposal