When Captain Jagveer Malik was 52, he applied for the post of lecturer in 2011, just before retiring from the military. First, he waited two years for the Haryana Department of Education to hold an exam for the position. Then he waited another two years for an interview.
Having not received a letter for the position reserved for an ex-serviceman, even six months after the interview, he met the director of the education department and asked him to intervene. When he finally received a letter of appointment, six years after his first application, he had three months left before turning 58, the retirement age for a teacher in Haryana.
“Main tab kya service karta? [What work would I have done in that short a time?]”said the 64-year-old. IndiaSpendingsaying he refused the job.
Malik, who spent 32 years in the army, is one of the few 60,000 army personnel who retire every year. Earliest retirement age is 42 (for Group I semi-skilled sepoys, or 17 years of service, whichever comes first) and the oldest of them retires at age 54 (for junior officers, or 32 years of service ), meaning they have anything between five and 25 years of professional activity ahead of them.
These veterans are vying for the 10% quota in Group C and Group D government jobs, which are office and routine tasks. They receive a pension after retiring from the armed forces, but it is not enough to support themselves and their families, they said. IndiaSpending.
Under the new Armed Forces Recruitment Program, Agnipath, which was announced on June 14, the new recruits will be hired for a four-year term. Of these, 25% will be considered for a permanent position as junior officers for 15 years, while the rest will return to civilian life, with savings of Rs 11.7 lakh but without pension or gratuity. Some posts in the Central Armed Police Force and Rifles of Assam will also be open to Agniveers, the name of soldiers recruited through Agnipath.
But veterans say the skills soldiers learn while serving aren’t enough to get them jobs after retirement, and data shows that despite bookings for them at public sector central banks and sector companies public, veterans cannot find employment after retirement. At the same time, the savings they retire with can give them a chance to get a graduate degree or retrain for particular jobs and give them an edge over other job seekers who don’t. have no army experience, experts say.
The case of Captain Malik is not the only case of delay in appointments in the public sector.
After retiring from the army as a Subedar Major, Chandra Bhan, 57, applied for the position of Clerk in the Government of Haryana in 2014. He completed all rounds of the recruitment process, but the appointment was rescinded after the Bhupender Singh. The Hooda-led Congress government was replaced by the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Manohar Lal Khattar. By the time the vacancy was advertised a second time, he was 50 and over the age of eligibility for the position.
Similarly, 40-year-old Raj Kumar is still awaiting the recruitment process for a constable position in the Haryana Police which he applied for in 2020. Sometimes the exam papers are leaked and these recruitments are not taking place. At other times, when the exam copy is too difficult, this recruitment may be canceled, he said.
With only five years until he becomes ineligible for these jobs, Kumar is impatient.
The minimum educational level required for a junior officer passes class 10, similar to that required for a Agnitate.
Raj Kumar is certain to be more disciplined and punctual than a civilian candidate after spending 17 years in the military. However, he needed help with the entrance exam “model” and syllabus for the jobs he was applying for.
“If a person gets a job, he will do it responsibly and do it well,” he said. IndiaSpending. “But the problem is that [in the army] we stay away from society, and when we come back, we find it difficult to manage a lot of things [related to civilian life].”
“There’s a skills mismatch, and that will create a pool of people with very specific skills and it’s not clear if there’s a demand for those skills,” said Rosa Abraham, an economist at the Center for Economics. sustainable employment from Azim Premji University. . “This intervention will give soldiers some advantage over their peers, but there are other ways to achieve the same advantage.”
On the job, they may learn how to repair a radio, vehicle or tank or maintain weapons, said Sushant Singh, senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research. IndiaSpending. “But these skills are hardly transferable to civilian life.”
“Men learn soft skills, like discipline, which the government is trying to sell,” added Singh of the Center for Policy Research. “However, this could be offset by the time spent away from education, so they find it difficult to find civilian employment. That said, most people who join the ranks of soldiers have low skills, so they would have had limited prospects anyway.
With slow recruitment in the public sector, many ex-servicemen are opting for jobs as security guards in the private sector. With no other option in sight, Bhan, who was a subedar major in the army, said he too had applied for a job as a security guard. But, he said, the salary of Rs 8,000 per month was too little and did not include compensation for working beyond the hours.
“Shoshan ho raha hai saitiko ka, aur sarkar ko pata hai [The soldiers are being exploited, and the government knows that],” he said.
Benefits for Mohawks
The youth unemployment rate in the country (for 15-29 year olds) was 12.9% in 2020-’21, according to the Periodic Labor Force Survey.
The savings of Rs 11.7 lakh could give retired Agniveers an edge. “These men will have a certain advantage over those without military experience,” said Mahesh Vyas, managing director and CEO of the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy. “When they retire and join job markets outside the armed forces, they will be competing against candidates who have passed their 10th or 12th grade at most, not graduates.”
“Their benefit will be better physical fitness and an ability to do physical work,” he added. “There are plenty of jobs that would give a premium to such fitness.”
Vyas also said that 22 or 23 is not too late to go back to college, so they can use the money to get a degree. “Again, when they enter the workforce, they will have some advantage over their counterparts who don’t have military experience,” Vyas said.
But it will still require the government to take action to create more jobs in the economy. “Money is welcome,” Abraham said. “But rather than creating temporary jobs in the public sector, the focus should be on filling existing vacancies in the public sector, reviving a faltering post-pandemic informal sector and promoting employment. in the private sector. Money is only a temporary balm for a deeper fracture.
Following protests against Agnipath by aspiring soldiers, industrialists took to Twitter to announce that they were ready to hire ex-military personnel into their organizations. IndiaSpending written to RPG Group, Biocon and Mahindra and Mahindra, whose CEOs tweeted to announce their willingness to hire retired Agniveers, to ask about the number of ex-military personnel they’ve hired so far. This story will be updated once they respond.
Too many ex-military
Veterans complain that the number of jobs reserved for them is too few.
But despite the scarcity, most of the jobs reserved for former military personnel are not awarded to them, according to the data. According to the booking rules, there should be 4,13,688 positions available for ex-servicemen in job groups A, B, C and D.
However, less than a quarter (80,135 out of 4,13,688) of those jobs in banks, central UAPs and central armed police forces are held by former military personnel, according to Data of the Resettlement Department.
The Central Armed Police Force, which announced a 10% reserve for retired Agniveers, gave only 0.47% of 10% in Group C to ex-military starting June 2021. Central PSUs filled 1.15% of vacancies in Group C and 0.3% of vacancies in Group D with ex-military, based on Data of 98 of the 170 PSUs.
This data shows that absorbing the first batch of 34,500 retired Agniveers in 2026 will require additional vacancies. While Home Minister Amit Shah has announced that they will be given preference in recruitment for the Assam Riflemen and Central Armed Police Force, it is unclear whether they will be eligible for the same quota as former soldiers.
IndiaSpending has contacted the Home Office for clarification on Agniveers’ eligibility to apply for these jobs, the savings they will realize at the end of their service, the reasons for ex-military positions currently vacant and whether the Agniveers will more likely find jobs compared to the current scenario for retired military personnel. This story will be updated when they respond.
Bhan, who tried to work as a security guard for Rs 8,000, said little would change in government jobs. Bhan said, “They didn’t give any jobs to those who retired early, so how are they going to give jobs to those new ones?”
This article first appeared on IndiaSpend, a data-driven, public interest journalism nonprofit.