The Indian Armed Forces or the Indian Army has long been guarding us from all types of threats. A proud organization, the Indian Army has a highly impressive history. It has approximately 1,252,090 active personnel as on date. However, it still faces a shortage of about 8,600 officers. The Indian Army is in need of young, determined citizens to join them and live a life of valour.
According to the UNFPA State of the World’s Population report of 2014, India has the largest youth population in the world. It is surprising therefore, that the requirement of the Army is still not being met. There is an apparent decline in the volunteers who are willing to take up the challenge of service to the Indian Armed Forces. What is the reason for this discrepancy? Why is it that young Indians are shying away from joining the Indian Army?
Joining the Indian Army means putting your life at stake for the nation, anytime and anywhere you are commanded to do so. The compensation or incentives provided to the personnel are not at par in comparison to the commitment that is being asked of them. The pay scale is also quite low. The service conditions, job satisfaction and post-retirement provisions for Indian military officers are also not being improved in quality, in relation to other comparable forms of employment.
THE CORPORATE BUG
Today’s youth is well aware of various industries and organisations. They know about the inner workings of the Indian Army in detail and are intelligent enough to judge for themselves. They see meatier prospects in the corporate world, a trendier lifestyle and good money. The students who have spent a lot on their education, wish to redeem the amount by earning more, earning easily, and earning quickly. The Indian Army in this case, doesn’t seem to meet their requirements.
THE PEER INFLUENCE
Parental pressure and peer pressure are critical aspects on the basis of which the young citizens hesitate to join the Forces. Parents worry about their child’s future and safety when thinking of the Indian Army as a career option. Hence, they are not too keen on pushing their children towards a harsher life. Peer pressure, similarly, pushes today’s youth towards the trendy choices. They end up choosing options which are more risk free, and in vogue.
IT’S A TOUGH LIFE
Selection in the Indian Army is itself a long drawn out and challenging process. The candidates are judged on the basis of their intelligence, psyche, physical fitness, and personality. Even when selected, the future for these young guns seems unsteady. Life in the Army is not easy. This is true not just for officers, but also their families. Many officers in the Indian Army face an unsettled family life, staying away from their wives and children for months or years at a stretch. Postings lead them to staying put in remote areas and harsh climates for two years at time, with hardly any civilization nearby. What follows, is a perceived lack of will, and at times, even low self confidence that makes the Indian youth hesitate in joining the Forces.
LESSER SCOPE FOR GROWTH
Promotion after a certain point of time in the Forces is a privilege which very few get. This stagnancy of rank and stature puts off today’s youth. The work content is constantly under scrutiny, as it is believed (incorrectly) that the Army has work only during wars. The youths are thus sceptical of the scope for their intellectual growth and formation of their skills set. This further makes them question their status in the professional world, post retirement.
So What Should We Do Now?
What we now need, are efforts from both the youth of the nation as well as the Indian Government. The government should work towards vigorous advertising, richer incentives, and better prospects for a steady future of the army officers. The Indian youth will then be encouraged to take the plunge. On the other hand, the youth need to focus on the quality of work, resilience, and strength of character that the Indian Army leads them to. The pride and respect that comes with being a part of the Armed Forces fraternity is beyond comparison.