Friday, June 24, 2016
For retiring soldiers, it’s darkness at noon : A govt. decision to cancel all resettlement courses has disrupted the retirement plans of thousands of jawans.
New Delhi, June 23, 2016
PIC: The now-withdrawn resettlement courses used to equip jawans for a civilian job. File Photo: Nissar Ahmad
Retirement plans of thousands of jawans have been disrupted by a government decision to cancel all resettlement courses that prepare them for a second career after leaving military service.
There is widespread resentment in the ranks over the sweeping decision taken in the recent weeks. Many soldiers feel the decision was taken without considering the difficulties they will go through on leaving the military, most of them in their youth, after completing just 20 years of working life.“Resettlement courses will be restarted after making sure there are no irregularities. The Defence Ministry has asked to ascertain whether these courses fit into the criteria of the Ministry of Skill Development,” a senior Defence Ministry official told The Hindu.
After April 2016, all such courses should be compliant with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) of the Ministry, he said. “It was also found that many of these courses and institutes are fraud or do not exist. This will not benefit the jawans. So they will be restarted as soon as they are checked,” the official said. The last six months to a year of his active military life can be used by a soldier to attend a resettlement course that will give him a qualification to pick up a civilian job. During this period, he is paid his salary and provided the course free of cost.
The Ministry explanation for the postponement of the course has not impressed the other ranks of the military. “Why have they postponed all courses? There are courses that are already compliant with the Skill Development Ministry guidelines, many of the institutes are approved by the NSDC [National Skill Development Corporation],” one of the affected soldiers said.
According to those in the know, the DGR (The Directorate-General Resettlement) in the MoD that assists retiring service personnel with courses for starting a second career, approves resettlement course programme once every two years. Currently, such approved resettlement course programme 2015-17 is under progress.
Meanwhile, the Central government has asked the DGR to redesign courses as per the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Sources claim that the Ministry of Defence had agreed to conduct the courses in NSDC-approved institutes, even as they prepare all courses under NSQF.
The sudden move to postpone all courses indefinitely meant for jawans came after reports emerged in media last month about CBI investigation into alleged irregularities in DGR. “We are not saying that all courses were clean. Of course, there was corruption and misuse. However, there are several institutes that are reputed, inspected and verified by the DGR and others. Why has the government taken the easiest route, of just cancelling all the courses?” one retiring soldier said.
The question is whether the government realises the inconvenience caused to thousands of retiring soldiers, they say. Thousands of them have moved families back home, and were to start the courses. In the way of the government decisions, they will all now go back to their units.
(SOURCE- THE HINDU)