The Poverty Of Glory

  • Col S.K. Rawla was forced to go in for voluntary retirement. His army pay packet was not enough to sustain a minimum living standard for his four-member family.
  • Major Ashish Sonal, Vir Chakra awardee, found career prospects in the army limited. Lack of a family life was the other major factor that made him leave after just 13 years.
  • Col D.K. Chakrabarty, brilliant artillery officer, didn’t want to languish till the age of 54 and then look for a job. Despite chances of becoming a brigadier, he quit in ‘98.
  • Lt Col K.S. Gopinath, who commanded the 832 Light Regiment, thought he’d reached a plateau after 25 years of service. Better prospects in the private sector made him leave the army prematurely.

Rawla, Sonal, Chakrabarty and Gopinath aren’t isolated examples. The number of officers quitting the army prematurely has been rising every year for the last five years. The intake has however not kept pace with the vacancies. The result: the Indian army, according to Maj Gen Ravi Chaddha, additional director general (manpower), is facing an overall shortage of 30 per cent in its officer cadre. “In the junior ranks of captains and lieutenants, the deficiency is as high as 40 per cent of the sanctioned posts,” Chaddha adds.