Indian Army May Soon Offer Civilian Internships. Will the “Soldiers at the Border” Crew Enlist?

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Indian Army May Soon Offer Civilian Internships. Will the “Soldiers at the Border” Crew Enlist?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

That nationalism and patriotism are on the rise should come as no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with the news. Least of all the Indian Army, which has put out a proposal to offer “internships” to civilians — including working professionals — as officers and soldiers for a three-year period.

The report, which was released on Wednesday, says the “game-changing” proposal that will allow civilians to enlist for three years, was being examined by top commanders.

Army Chief General MM Naravane told reporters that the troops had learnt, after several visits to colleges and universities, that the youth of the country were eager to experience army life, but not as a full-time career.

This, along with the “reality of unemployment” in our country were just some of the factors that gave rise to the proposal, reports said.

If the proposal is approved, an army spokesperson told NDTV, “it will be a voluntary engagement and there will be no dilution in selection criteria”. Already 100 officers and 1,000 men are being considered for recruitment.

Among the many benefits the army has pointed out that this “tour of duty” will bring, is that the individual’s earnings for the three-year period could be made tax-free, and that they could be given preference in public sector jobs and post-graduate courses.

It also says that the move will “decrease the frustration” of officers who are released in their mid-30s, after 10-14 years of service. This point caught the eye of an army general on Twitter, who called the proposal a win-win situation.

Congress Member of Parliament Karti Chidambaram, too, tweeted in favour of the proposal.

According to the NDTV report, there is some financial benefit from the scheme as well, since the army stands to save money on gratuity, severance packages, leave encashment and pension. This money can be used for the modernisation of the armed forces, it says.

For now, whether this proposal actually turns out to be the “game-changer” it promises to be, will only be clear once the top commanders have given their assessment.