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‘Tour of Duty’ recruitment model:

GS Paper 3:

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



The Department of Military Affairs has finalised a radical proposal for future recruitment to the armed forces. The Army will be the first to try out the concept –the ‘Tour of Duty’ model, which involves recruiting some soldiers for a fixed period of three years.

  • The ‘Tour of Duty’ (ToD) concept, first unveiled in 2020.


What is the ‘Tour of Duty’ model?

This model of recruitment would let young individuals voluntarily serve for a temporary period of three years.

  • It will be a voluntary engagement.
  • 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.
  • While the original proposal in 2020 would have extended the ToD to officers as well, it’s now being restricted to jawans, as officers already have the Short Service Commission (SSC) route.


Benefits for the government:

  1. There are immense financial benefits to the organisation due to reduction in pay and gratuity payouts.
  2. The cost of a three-year service per officer will be a fraction of the cost incurred on Short Service Commission (SSC) officers.
  3. 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.
  4. SSC officers have the option to join the service permanently, which further increases the cost incurred, including pension bills.
  5. 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:

  1. It will help to “channelise the youth energy into positive utilisation of their potential”.
  2. Rigorous military training and habits inculcated will lead to healthy citizenry.
  3. The entire nation will benefit from “trained, disciplined, confident, diligent and committed” young men or women who have done the three-year service.
  4. 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 increasing steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.
  • According to a report of the Standing Committee of Defence, 2019, the deficiency in officer cadre of the Indian Army stood at approximately 14 per cent.
  • Advocates of this scheme also cite “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism”, and the fact that “unemployment in our country is a reality”.



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 Print.