Article Author : Lieutenant General K. Balaram, PVSM (Retd)
This article is based on a paper presented by the author to the Ministry of Defence in September 1985, prior to his retirement as Vice Chief of Army Staff and Adjutant General, Indian Army.
The trade or employment structure of the Army, broadly, has three groups namely, the General Duties, Skilled and Highly Skilled or Technician groups. The General Duties group comprises the combat categories of armoured corps, mechanised infantry, artillery, corps of engineers, infantry and some categories of the corps of signals. The Skilled group generally comprises operator categories of various types of equipment mostly in the combat support and logistic units. The Highly Skilled group or Technical group includes mechanic and technical categories. The educational standard at recruitment, training period and the period of engagement is graduated upwards from the General Duties group to the Highly Skilled group. The training period varies from about a year or so at the lowest level to about two and a half to three years at the highest level of knowledge and skill. The aim of this article is to examine whether optimum use is made of this manpower and, if not, suggest an alternative method by which improved optimization and cost-effectiveness can be achieved.
The jargon prevalent in the Adjutant General's Branch, the Personnel Management Organization of the Army, is used in this article since it is expressive and brief. The meaning of the jargon is explained for ease of understanding of the uninitiated and lay readers. Quantitative analysis is essential to present the magnitude of the problem. Complicated calculations are given in the tables but derivations thereof are given in the text.
Prior to 1965, sepoys in the General Duties categories were engaged for seven years of 'colour service' with eight years of 'reserve' liability, Skilled categories for 10 and 10 years and Highly Skilled categories for 12 and 8 years, respectively. Except for Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), the age profile of combat units was between 18 and 25 years and those of Combat Support and Technical Services and Logistic Services units wore comparatively more, but not unduly so. Therefore, the high spirits, generally associated with youth, pervaded the entire Army. Re-employment after release from the Army was comparatively less difficult since trained manpower between the ages of 25 and 30 was more acceptable in the employment market. About 65 per cent wore released without the Army incurring any expenditure on pensions on their account since the minimum service for a pension was 15 years. Only JCOs and senior NCOs retired with pensions.
The colour service of the three groups, as defined, was changed to 10, 12, and 18 years, respectively with effect from 25 January 1965 to 15, 15 and 18, respectively with effect from 1 February 1976 and to 17, 17 and 20 years, respectively with effect from 30 June 1979. These increased colour service periods are operative till date. The effects of this upward revision of colour service will next be discussed in detail.
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