Industry supports Army’s 3-year ‘tour of duty’ proposal

After industrialist Anand Mahindra backed the army’s proposed “tour of duty” (ToD) model last week, industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) on Thursday supported the proposal that seeks to allow the country’s youth to serve the military for three years, an army officer familiar with the move said.

The scheme has also elicited a positive response from some other industrialists.

The industry body, in an e-mail to the army on Thursday, described the ToD initiative of the government as a “game changer”, said the official cited above, requesting anonymity.

He said Assocham has communicated to the army that it will work with the government to promote the ToD scheme not just as an “employment opportunity” but as a “nation building” initiative “where the industry will send existing employees for a three-year tour of duty with job security when they return.”

Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani said his company would even consider hiring candidates first and then let them do the military internship “as it will help us groom our work force in ethos of the army.” The ToD model is similar to the short-service commission that allows officers to serve the armed forces for 10 to 14 years.

If the proposal is accepted, the army could implement the ToD model – essentially a voluntary internship after military training – on a trial basis for both officers and other ranks in a limited number of vacancies,

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