Earlier this week, the Indian Army announced it was considering a proposal to allow civilians to join for a three-year period in a variety of roles.
The 'Tour of Duty (ToD)’ or 'Three Years Short Service' scheme would be a voluntary engagement. "If approved, it will be a voluntary engagement and there will be no dilution in selection criteria. Initially, 100 officers and 1,000 men are being considered for recruitment as part of test bedding of the project," Spokesperson of the Army Col Aman Anand said.
Even though the proposal is yet to be implemented by the Indian Army, it has impressed Mahindra group chief Anand Mahindra.
In a letter to the Indian Army on Friday, Mahindra wrote, "I recently learnt that the Indian Army is considering a novel proposal, the ‘Tour of Duty’. The young, fit citizens of India will get an opportunity to gain operational experience in the Army both as soldiers and officers through this voluntary three-year programme.”
“I definitely think military training will be an added advantage for Tour of Duty graduates as they enter the workplace. In fact, considering the rigid standards of selection and training in the Indian Army, the Mahindra Group will be happy to consider their candidature,” Anand Mahindra wrote.
The 'Tour of Duty' proposal has found favour given significant cost savings.
PTI recently reported "The cumulative approximate cost of pre-commission training, salary and other expenses is nearly Rs 5.12 crore and Rs 6.83 crore on an officer if he or she is released after 10 and 14 years, respectively. However, similar cost for those released after three years would be just Rs 80 lakh to Rs 85 lakh each. Since, approximately 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the Short Service Commissioned Officers are granted permanent commission, the cost of their retention till attaining 54 years of age is too high."
The savings for only 1,000 jawans could be Rs 11,000 crore, which could then be utilised for the much needed modernisation of the Indian armed forces. An officer or soldier after completing one year of training and three years of Tour of Duty is likely to display visible improvement in self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility, initiative, stress management, innovation and social skills, according to a military officer.