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Army plans to raise age of retirement of skilled staff

The Army has conducted a new study on “age enhancement for retirement” of personnel in specialised areas to retain skilled manpower, Army sources said.

“We don’t want to lose skilled manpower. We have identified specialists in various disciplines and looking if we can raise their retirement age to between 55 and 58,” a senior Army source told The Hindu.

These include areas such as medical assistants, radiologists and electronics and mechanical engineers posted at Corps Headquarters and base workshops.

In the armed forces, personnel of Other Ranks (ORs) start retiring in the 35-37 age group and officers at 54 unless they get promoted to higher ranks.

Though these limits have been set due to the rigours of military service, there has been huge technological advancement over the decades and also not all personnel go through the same stress or serve in extreme situations, the source said.

“So why can’t they serve till 55-58,” he asked.

Extension of retirement age would offer a dual benefit of retaining expertise which saves the cost of replacing them and also reduces the mounting pension burden on the Army.

The personnel continue in active service for longer duration and do not have to search for alternative employment.

The “age enhancement for retirement” study has been completed and the draft report has to be approved by the Defence Ministry, sources said.

This study is in addition to the four major thrust areas of force restructuring and transformation ordered by the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and is in various stages of completion and implementation.

Currently, restructuring for Army headquarters, force restructuring, cadre review of officers and review of terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and ORs are taking place.

For lower ranks also ::

As part of reviewing the terms and conditions of the ORs, the Army is considering increasing the pensionable service of jawans and lance naiks by two years from the current 15 years and further up to 20 years in a phased manner.

The officer cadre management study was ordered last year to enhance functional efficiency, correct structural ratio and meet legitimate career expectations of officer cadre, the source said. “The review will be completed by the year-end and then implemented.”

Under this, a proposal is under consideration is to ensure that 50% of all officers become Major Generals. At present, officers are commissioned as Lieutenants and proceed to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in a time-bound manner.

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