Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tour of Duty” (ToD) scheme

Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Tour of Duty” (ToD) scheme

What to study?

For Prelims: Features of the scheme, eligibility and benefits.

For Mains: Why such measures are proposed? How it helps save money?

Context: Indian Army is considering to allow common citizens to join the 1.3- million-strong force for a three-year tenure to serve the nation under the ‘Tour of Duty (ToD) or ‘Three Years Short Service’ scheme.

Initially, 100 officers and 1,000 men are being considered for recruitment as part of test bedding of the project.

What is it?

It will be a voluntary engagement.

The Army’s plan is to attract the best talent into the force and bring the civil society closer to the force by giving them an opportunity to experience military life.

It is for youths who “do not want to make defence services their permanent vocation, but still want to experience the thrill and adventure of military professionalism”.

  • The proposal is a shift from the concept of permanent service/job in the Armed Forces, towards ‘internship’/temporary experience for three years.
  • For this, it proposes that the individual’s earnings for the three-year period could be made tax-free, and he/she could be given preference in public sector jobs as well as post-graduate courses.
  • “Tour of Duty (ToD)” tenure is for both officers and jawans.
  • It will bring in savings from salaries and pensions, and “decrease the frustration” of officers who are released after 10-14 years of short service, when they are in their mid-30s.

Benefits for the government:

There are immense financial benefits to the organisation due to reduction in pay and gratuity payouts.

  • The cost of a three-year service per officer will be a fraction of the cost incurred on Short Service Commission (SSC) officers.
  • The cost incurred on an officer, who leaves after 10 or 14 years, is Rs 5 crore-Rs 6.8 crore, which includes the cost of pre-commission training, pay, allowances, gratuity, leave encashment among others.
  • The corresponding cost for a three-year service will be Rs 80 lakh-85 lakh.
  • SSC officers have the option to join the service permanently, which further increases the cost incurred, including pension bills.
  • For soldiers, who usually serve for 17 years, the Army has calculated a lifetime savings of Rs 11.5 crore per person, as compared to a three-year service.

Benefits for citizens and the country:

  • It will help to “channelise the youth energy into positive utilisation of their potential”.
  • Rigorous military training and habits inculcated will lead to healthy citizenry.
  • The entire nation will benefit from “trained, disciplined, confident, diligent and committed” young men or women who have done the three-year service.
  • An “initial survey” has indicated that the corporate sector will prefer to hire such youths rather than fresh graduates.

Need for:

The Army’s pay and pension bill has been increasingly steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.

  • In the last five years, though the growth in the defence budget has been 68%, and for defence salaries 75%, defence pensions have increased by a staggering 146%.

According to a report of Standing Committee of Defence, 2019, the deficiency in officer cadre of Indian Army stood at approximate 14 per cent.

  • The Army had 42,253 officers and 11.94 lakh jawans according to the report.
  • The Indian Navy had 10,000 officers 57,310 and personnel.

Advocates of this scheme also cite “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism”, and the fact that “unemployment in our country is a reality”.

Other reforms necessary:

Short Service Commission should be made more attractive for the youth.

Retirement age of Army jawans and Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy personnel should be increased. A trained Army jawan retires after 15 years of service in the force, which results in a massive loss of trained manpower.


Prelims Link:

  1. SSC vs Permanent Commission in armed forces.
  2. How can civilians be recruited into armed forces?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Tour of Duty” (ToD) scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.