The Indian Army has proposed a three-year “Tour of Duty” programme that allows youths to serve in the force as officers and in other ranks, PTI reported on Thursday. This “game changing” proposal is being examined by the top commanders of the force.

Unidentified officials told the agency that there is a “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism” in the country. The proposal is for youth who do not want to join the force permanently but want to experience military life for a limited period. The Army aims to bring people closer to the 1.3-million-strong force.

The selection process will remain the same that is followed for regular recruitment with age and fitness level being the key criteria. Currently, the Army recruits youth under the short service commission. This is for a tenure of 10 years and can be extended to 14 years.

Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said that if the proposal is approved, it will be a voluntary engagement. “There will be no dilution in selection criteria,” he added. “Initially, 100 officers and 1,000 men are being considered for recruitment as part of test bedding of the project.”

According to the proposal, there will be no restrictions on the roles of those selected under the programme.

Unidentified officials said that this will also benefit the Army financially, as it will save a huge amount on gratuity, severance packages, leave encashment and pension. The cost incurred on an officer who is released after 10 to 14 years is between Rs 5.12 crore and Rs 6.83 crore. However, the cost for an officer who will be released after three years will be between Rs 80 lakh and Rs 85 lakh.

They said that the savings for 1,000 jawans could be Rs 11,000 crore which they can utilise to modernise the force.

The Army has proposed that a temporary recruitment with the force will also help the youth get jobs in corporate and governments sectors. An unidentified military officer said that a soldier or an officer who completes the programme is likely to display visible improvement in self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility, initiative, stress management, innovation and social skills.

He said that an initial survey showed that corporates prefer a person who has been trained in the Army and comes for a job at the age of 26 or 27, as compared to a college graduate who comes to them for employment at 22 or 23 years.

Meanwhile, the Army is also mulling to induct personnel from paramilitary forces and central armed police forces under the ‘Inverse Induction Model’. This will be for a duration of seven years after which the personnel can return to their parent organisations.