The Indian Army is discussing a proposal to directly enrol Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) in all arms of the service to address the shortage of nearly 14,000 officers.
JCOs — a link between the officers and other ranks in the Indian Army — are currently enrolled as jawans and few of them get promoted to officers over a period of time based on their performance and on their ability to clear promotion examinations.
Currently, a few JCOs are directly enrolled as religious teachers and in certain technical arms such as the Corps of Engineers. However, fighting arms of the Indian Army do not have any provision for direct enrollment of JCOs. The Army has been promoting JCOs to officers from among their own ranks.
What the proposal states
According to the proposal, the Indian Army will directly induct JCOs who have cleared the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview. The UPSC will conduct an entrance examination, which would be followed by an SSB interview and a medical examination.
Selected candidates would then be trained for one and a half year before joining the units as JCOs. Subsequently, they would be promoted to officers up to the rank of Colonels based on their length of service and qualifications.
The proposal states that four direct entry JCOs will be authorised to a unit having 14 officers, five to those with upto 19, and six to units with 20 or more officers.
The proposal is likely to be presented during the Army Commanders Conference which is likely to be held later this month.