The Indian Army has a posts vacant for of 2,094 officers of the major rank and 4,734 of the captain rank, the government told the Parliament on Monday. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt gave the information in response to questions by Rajya Sabha MPs Kumar Ketkar and Jebi Mather Hisham.

In his reply, Bhatt attributed the failure to fill the posts to the low recruitment during the Covid-19 pandemic and low intake in all support cadre entries, particularly the Short Service Commission. Under the Short Service Commission, a person can serve in the Army for a maximum of 14 years.

“In order to mitigate the shortage, a proposal to make short service entry more attractive is under consideration,” the minister said.

In his reply, Bhatt also informed that the Army, Navy and the Air Force were collectively short of 630 doctors, 73 dentists and 701 nurses. Of these, the Army had the most vacancies – 598 doctors, 56 dentists and 528 nurses.

The minister also said that the Army was short of 1,495 paramedical staff, the Navy of 392 and the Air Force of 73.

In another reply to the Lok Sabha on July 21, Bhatt had informed Parliament that in the Air Force, there was a shortage of 2,617 personnel of ranks up to lieutenant commander, 881 squadron leaders and 940 flight lieutenants.

The minister had added that the available strength was sufficient to meet current operational requirements. “The operational readiness and effectiveness of Army units is being maintained with organizational resources,” he had said.