New Delhi: Even as the government plans to expand its Navy over the next ten years to safeguard its interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the naval force faces a severe shortage of sailors or Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR).
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the Navy faces a 20.68% shortage of sailors. The Army is not much better, and faces a 15.38% shortage of officers, she said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman provided details of shortage of officers and PBORs (Jawans, airmen and sailors) in all three armed forces after Lok Sabha MPs Ashwini Kumar and Vinod Chavda asked what steps the government was taking to mitigate the shortage.
According to ministry data, the Army has an authorized strength of 49,932 officers whereas it has only 42,253 officers in its rans. This gap of 7,679 officers is 15.38% of the required number.
The Army needs 12,15,049 (12.15 lakh) jawans, but it has 11,94,864 (11.94 lakh) in total. The gap of 20,185 amounts to 1.66%. The Navy has an authorized strength of 11,827 officers against the actual number of 10,393 – a gap of 1,434 or 12.12%. The Navy needs in its ranks 71,656 sailors but has only 56,835 – a gap of 14,821 sailors or 20.68%.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has a marginal shortage of officers compared to the Army and Navy, but has a significant shortage of airmen. The IAF needs 12,550 officers and has 12,404. This is a gap of just 146 officers or 1.19%. However, it needs 1,42,529 (1.4 lakh) airmen and has just 1,27,172 (1.27 lakh). This gap of 15,5357 airmen amounts to 10.77% of the required number.