“I am stressed too. Stress is not a bad thing,” Army chief Gen MM Naravane said in a lighter vein on Tuesday, dismissing a recently reported survey that claimed that more than half of Indian Army personnel seem to be under severe stress. The Chief of Army Staff said that the report was based on an inadequate sample size of 400.
He said that several steps were being taken to reduce stress among the personnel, and noted that the number of suicides in the force has been coming down. “Based on a sample of 400, we can not say there is stress or no stress. There could be stress. I am stressed too. Stress is not a bad thing. It can result in good work,” Gen Naravane said while replying to a query at a press conference. The report published by leading military think-tank United Service Institution of India (USI) said that more than half of Indian Army personnel seemed to be under severe stress and the force has been losing more personnel every year in suicides, fratricides and untoward incidents than in any enemy action.
The report was removed from the website of the USI last week. “I too read the report. I would like to say that the sample size for the report was only 400. I think it was not an adequate sample size. If you want a 99 percent accuracy with 1 percent margin of error, then the size of the samples should have been 19,000 for such a study,” Gen Naravane said.
“And if you were looking for 95 percent accuracy, it will come down to 7,000-8,000 sample sizes,” he said. To deal with the problem of stress, the Chief of Army Staff said several initiatives were being taken, including sending advisories.
“We have taken note of the factors that can lead to stress. For example, somebody might not be having children, someone might not be getting married, someone’s child is in class 12th and it also results in stress; whether the child’s result will come or not, where the child will get admission,” Gen Naravane listed as possible reasons for stress. “We have analysed all these factors. Keeping this in mind, we have been in constant touch with officers in the level of company commanders and the commanding officers” to help those requiring assistance, he said.
Gen Naravane said the figure of suicides has come down year-on-year.