Those retired from the military forces constituted only 1.29 percent of the clerical posts – of which 10 percent are reserved for them – in central government departments. Further, only 0.62 percent of positions reserved for veterans were filled in the paramilitary forces till June 2021, data from the Directorate General Resettlement (DGR) showed.
Amid vehement protests against its new Agnipath scheme, the central government has doled out a number of concessions, including reservation in various government services, in a bid to assuage the dispirited aspirants.
After a number of trains were set ablaze by aggrieved youths as violent demonstrations spread across the nation, the Defence Ministry on Saturday declared 10 percent reservation for ‘Agniveers’ in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), Assam Rifles, Indian Coast Guard, and defence civilian posts, and all 16 defence public sector undertakings.
However, the poor percentage of recruitment of ex-servicemen highlighted in government records casts a shadow on these promises.
A June 2021 report of the Directorate General Resettlement, under the Ministry of Defence, shows enormous gaps in the number of reserved posts for ex-servicemen and their actual recruitment.
The DGR is responsible for rehabilitating retired military personnel in four kinds of government jobs – central government departments, central armed forces, public sector undertakings (PSUs), and banks – data from all of which shows meagre hiring of former personnel.
In Central Govt Depts, Merely 1.29% Ex-Servicemen
As per the Re-employment in Central Civil Services and Posts Rules, 1979, 10 percent of Group C posts (which entail performance of clerical assistance) and 20 percent Group D posts (described by the government as 'routine duties') are reserved for ex-servicemen in central government departments.
Despite the provision, those retired from the military constituted only 1.29 percent of the overall strength in Group C and 2.66 percent in Group D posts in central government departments, as per the latest data from the DGR.
Of the 10,84,705 Group C employees in central government departments, only 13,976 were ex-servicemen. And of the total 3,25,265 Group D employees, only 8,642 were ex-servicemen.
The shortfall remains high across 34 of the 77 central government departments whose data is available with the DGR, some of which are highlighted below:
The Quint reached out to Major General Harsha Kakar to get an insight into the lacking recruitment of ex-servicemen in government posts, who cited multiple factors for the same.
"There is no monitoring body to check whether they are recruiting as per the quotas or not. The Department of Ex-Servicemen can only tell them to monitor but nobody sends feedback, nobody gives a report," Major General Kakar, who has retired from the army, noted.
There is also a perception that if you hire from the common public instead of taking a veteran on a pension, you are increasing jobs, he said.
Central Paramilitary Forces: 0.07% Ex-Servicemen in CRPF Grp C, 0.52% in BSF
The composition of ex-servicemen also remains low in Central Armed Police Forces which include the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF).
As per the half-yearly report of the DGR published in June 2021, of the 10,19,728 employed under the CAPF, only 6,372 are ex-servicemen. There remained a 20 percent shortfall for Group D, 9.53 for Group C, 9.13 in Group B, and 7.80 percent in Group A in the CAPF.
Major General Harsha Kakar indicated that the Central Armed Police Forces are often not keen on hiring former military personnel, as it is felt that they have a tougher manner of handling situations such as protests.
"The CAPF have a feeling – which is a very a funny excuse – that the armed forces teach the men to deal with protests in a hard manner, whereas they teach them in a soft manner. It doesn't actually make sense. But that is a reason for them to avoid taking."Major General Harsha Kakar
There is a 10 percent quota for ex-servicemen in direct recruitment up to the level of assistant commandant in these forces, and 20 percent for Group D.
As of June 2021, only 0.62 percent of positions reserved for veterans were filled in the paramilitary forces.
3% Ex-Servicemen in Defence PSUs, 24.20% Shortfall in Govt PSUs
For central PSUs as well as defence PSUs, the quota for ex-servicemen is fixed at 14.5 percent in Group C posts and 24.5 percent in Group D posts.
However, hiring of former military personnel is meagre across the companies that are wholly or partly owned by the Government of India.
For instance, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a DPSU, had only 7.14 percent ex-servicemen in Group C posts, and none in Group D posts.
There were 3,138 ex-servicemen in the 2,72,848 employees under Group C, and their strength in Group D stood at 404.
Major General Kakar indicated that in some cases, the veterans do not want to join these posts. "Sometimes, they've come home after retiring at the age of 35-40 and they want something closer to home," he said.
"The best help that can come, even better than the central government to some extent, is from the state governments. Because they can give them work in the same or nearby district," he suggested.
Public Banks Perform Best of the 4, Over 9% Shortfall in RBI
Of the four government services under the DGR that provide resettlement for former personnel, public sector banks have the highest percentage in hiring the ex-servicemen.
Reservation for ex-servicemen is fixed at 14.5 percent for direct recruitment in Group C and 24.5 percent in Group D.
Notably, the State Bank of India hired nearly 16 percent ex-servicemen than the required percentage: 40.25 percent of its Group D employees were former military personnel, as per the DGR data.
Ex-servicemen accounted for 9.10 percent (24,733 of the total 2,71,741) in Group C posts and 21.34 percent (22,839 of the total 1,07,009) in Group D posts across 13 banks, as per data from June 2021.
The issue of discrepancy between the reservation provisions and actual hiring was raised at a meeting of the DGR on 2 June. According to the minutes of the meeting, the DGR said that “efforts should be made to increase the representation of ESM (ex-servicemen)” in government departments by filling existing vacancies.
The officials also raised the need for coordinated efforts between training and recruitment agencies in order to assess the need of the current job market requirements, as there are some positions lying vacant due to non-availability of candidates who possess the relevant skill for that particular job.
With the high number of vacancies despite government schemes for re-employment, the Agnipath scheme, which allows for the induction of youths aged 17.5 to 21 years into the military for a four-year period, may leave young soldiers in the lurch after their contractual stint in the armed forces comes to an end.