My Appa, pulled something out of his bag, a brown envelope as I could see. He plonked it on the table in a way to draw attention (wish I had know to draw ‘whose’ attention!). Amma came running from the kitchen, took the envelope read the contents on the cover, drew the free edge of her saari, held it to her nose in an attempt to hold her tears back, but I saw a drop of tear trickle down her face. I lost my cool and ran to see what the brown envelope was! It was the form to join the NDA. And that was the last time I saw the form in the house, and in my life.

This scene is something I am sure many of you would relate to. I don’t know whether I should blame the film industry for portraying a defence professional’s life as something that is under constant threat. Or blame the film industry for not portraying the potential hazards in conventional job opportunities?

I asked, ‘why not, Amma?’ Amma replied, ‘you will be away from the house and family for months together!’

At that age, I didn’t know much about professions or the lives involved to retort, but today when I look at professionals coming back from work at around midnight to leave early in the morning, I clearly see what I should have told in response. Recently saw my friend’s wife yell at him “going to be late again? Oh why don’t you stay at work and come once your project is done!” Hmm, this is exactly what the guys in the army do!

I said, ‘Amma, let me go please!’ Amma replied, ‘they will beat you up for no good reason da'(in response I said the worst thing possible after which it was no more a discussion). I said ‘you have prepared me well to tackle that Amma!’

(There was an attempt to bring the same topic once I had finished my graduation just to go through the mobile version of the same discussion as shared above.)

For all these years the Indian army has established the distinction of providing Professional Advancement, Job Satisfaction, Job Security, Economic Stability, Social Status, Quality of Life, Variety and Adventure to everybody who pledges ones service to the institution that is in-charge of the security of the nation.

For all those who feel that defence as a career means a life of austerity, I think there is enough for you to think about. To be honest, I was surprised when I went through the relevant websites to check the pay and the perks an officer is entitled to. If the ‘cost to company’ component of a job in the corporate was to be compared to a post in the defence, they are on par or better to say the least.  Apparently, there are about 61 types of facilities, benefits and allowances that are applicable to Army in general.  Some numbers to help you get a sense:

  •          Starting Pay Rs 15600 To 39100Pm
  •          Grade Pay Rs 5400
  •          Military Service Pay Rs 6000
  •          Kit Maintenance Allowance Rs 400Pm
  •          Transport Allowance Rs 1600 Pm To Rs 3200 Pm
  •          Field Area Allowance Rs 25% Of Basic Pay Rs6780 Pm
  •          Counter Insurgency Rs 6300 Pm
  •          High Altitude/Uncongenial Climate Rs 5600 Pm
  •          Siachen Rs 14000 Pm
  •          Flying Pay Rs 9000 Pm
  •          Parachute Pay Rs 1200 Pm
  •          Special Forces Rs 9000 Pm
  •          Qualification Pay/ Grant For Service Courses Rs 6000 Pm To Rs 20000 Pm
  •          Outfit Allowance Renewed Every Three Years Rs 14000 Initial & Rs 3000

 Some other benefits:

1. Annual Leave Two Months & Casual Leave 20 Days (Unreal in corporates, to say the least)

2. 50% Concession on Air Travel (woohoo!)

3. Free Train Travel Once A Year And Subsidy For Other Journeys, LTC

4. Free Medical- Self And Family In Well Equipped Military Hospitals (my arogya won’t be at somebody’s, or some policy’s mercy)

5. Subsidised Housing in Clean Cantonments (compare them to the holes we live in the city)

6. Canteen Facilities for Subsidised Purchase of Items Including Cars and ACs (we know that!)

7. Insurance Cover For Rs 15 Lakhs At Subsidised Premium

8. Group Housing Schemes In Cities Including Metros

9. Low Interest Loans

10. Separate Family Accommodation In Choice Stations.

11. Encashment Of Leave Upto 300 Days At Last Pay Drawn

12. Study Leave Upto 2 Years with Full Pay and All Benefits (Dream!)

13. Foreign Postings

So for those who haven’t lead the discussion to a dead end (like I did with my amma) already, let me chalk the different entry points into the Indian Army.

If you have finished your graduation the ways to enter the Indian army (for men)

1.  Indian military academy direct entry (non technical men) – Notified by UPSC under the aegis of CDSE in May/Jun and Nov/Dec

2. Officers training academy (non technical men) – Notified by UPSC under the aegis of CDSE in May/Jun and Nov/Dec

Non- UPSC:

3. National Cadet Corps NCC (SPL) entry men – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in Jun & Dec

4. Law Graduate – Judge Advocate General (JAG) – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch

5. Engineer:

a. University Entry Scheme (UES) – Pre Final year – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in May. Applications to be forwarded to respective Command Headquarters as per the areas indicated in the notification.

b. Technical Graduate Course (TGC) – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in May/Jun and Nov/Dec.

c. Short Service Commission (SS – Tech) – Short Service Commission Technical Men

6. Post-Graduate: TGC Education AEC (Army Education Corps) – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in May/Jun and Nov/Dec

 If you have finished your graduation the ways to enter the Indian army (for women):

1. Short Service Commission  Non Technical Women – applications to be forwarded to UPSC as per notification published in Apr/ Sep every year

Non- UPSC:

    2. NCC Special Entry Women: Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in Jun / Dec

3. Short Service Commission for Technical Women: Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch in Dec/Jan and Jun / Jul

4. Law Graduate – Judge Advocate General (JAG) – Notified by Additional Directorate General Recruiting / AG Branch

Having mentioned what the Indian Army provides and how to become a part of it, it is time to ask what it takes for an individual to be a part of it. As any profession would ask for, one has to be committed, law abiding and respectful at all times and not to mention physically fit to discharge duties in the best manner possible.

So if you think, there is a price being paid for the freedom we enjoy and if you want to be the ones who guard and not be among the millions who live guarded – Indian Army has to be it. Because it is the place for the ones –who do not accept being considered second to anyone – anywhere.

For further details: http://www.joinindianarmy.nic.in/

The writer is a Director with Abhyaas Edu Corp. Follow this space for advice and guidance on “Alternate Career Options” through a weekly column. Abhyaas is an organisation working on a  mission to redefine the way teaching and learning happens. 

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