Leaked Navy note says ‘spike’ in number of officers quitting

In the first and admittedly direct fallout of the seventh pay commission among other issues, the Indian Navy (IN) has admitted to a ‘spike’ witnessed this year in the number of its officers wanting to resign or seek Premature Retirement (PR). Data shows it is the highest in the last seven years.

In a leaked note accessed by correspondent, Commodore Rajesh Dhankar, Principal Director of Personnel, Indian Navy, predicted a continuation in the present trend of ‘increase in the number of PR requests’.

To ‘manage the change’, the Navy is considering a slew of steps. A dialogue has been initiated between the naval headquarters and the three commands in Mumbai, Vizag and Kochi. Those within the force are seeing this move as a tightening of stance, aimed at stemming the flow and making it more difficult for officers to exit.

The cause, according to sources, is the seventh pay commission, the implementation of which was notified in July this year.

There has been widespread criticism of the provisions by the Defence veterans. The three service chiefs too have represented against many of its clauses before the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. Insiders believe the provisions to be ‘hurtful’ and say ‘they do not help the cause of attracting the best talent’. As a measure of the resistance to the pay commission, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had claimed he would ensure the deletion of its recommendations, a move which has not yielded till now.

Navy’s data shows till date, in the current year, 135 cases of PR have been received. Compare this to 69 cases in 2015, 91 in 2014, 96 in 2013, 132 in 2012, 122 in 2011, 114 in 2010 and 125 in 2009 and the situation speaks for itself.

WHAT THE NOTE SAYS

According to the two-page note, another factor which is contributing to the exodus is the aspect of officers being ‘u-graded in the 20th year of service’, a reference to those who’ve missed their promotions (ranks in the armed forces) after going through three boards for promotions. It also states, “The present system of granting PR to officers has been working well since the number of officers opting out of service has been equal to or marginally more than the calculated PR exits”.

Navy is now looking to set up an ‘Annual PR Board’ to balance the exits with requirements on the field. Under the new system, if finalised, outgoing officers will have to apply by March 31 for resigning in the subsequent year i.e if they wish to exit anytime in 2018, they’d have to apply by March 31, 2017. In the month of May, the Annual PR Board would consider these requests and come out with a list of approved resignations by July.

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