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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

107 defence officers seek premature exit

Already hit by shortage of officers, the armed forces are facing a sudden spurt in exodus of senior ranks, apparently not satisfied with the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

A total of 107 Army, Navy and Air Force officers have put in their papers seeking premature exit in the last fortnight after the Pay Commission submitted its report on March 24.

"There could be more exits in the offing as officers in the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel and even higher are not happy with the mere 15 per cent hike recommended by the Pay Commission", a senior officer said.

In normal circumstances, the Army processes about 2-4 premature retirement papers a week. But in the past two to three weeks, the figure has jumped to almost 10-15 officers, he said.

This exodus is hitting the armed forces with the Army already facing a shortage of more than 11,000 officers, the navy about 3,000 and the air force about 6,000.

This shortage of officers is being sorely felt at the operational level where formations are now operating with just 12-14 officers as against a sanctioned strength of 25 officers.

In a new measure, the Army has enforced a system whereby non-commissioned officers and junior commissioned officers are taking on role of officers, especially in insurgency- affected deployments.

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