The chaotic Army recruitment rallies, where thousands of youngsters jostle to become soldiers, has for long been an integral part of Indian landscape. If a proposal under discussion in the Army headquarters is to fructify, Indian youth may find a more peaceful way to don the uniform.
In the present system, participants go through physical and medical evaluation followed by a written examination. The Army is trying to reverse the procedure, in which the written examination would be conducted online at various locations nationwide and a smaller number would then be called for the physical and medical evaluation.
“Currently, the civil administration spends ₹10-15 lakh on organising each rally. In addition, there are hidden costs and security and law and order issues. With the new system, disturbance to the local population will be reduced,” a senior officer said.
Roughly 25-30 lakh people take part in the over 100 rallies each year, and only 6% clear the medical evaluation and sit for the examination and eventually 2.5% get recruited. On an average, 60,000 jawans are recruited every year. “This leaves a very large group of people rejected, who poses massive logistics and security challenges. With the new system, the crowds will be much smaller and easily manageable,” the officer said.
The new system will be tested in Ambala, Chennai and Jaipur and then rolled out all over the country.
“Registration will be online and the exam will be computer-based at multiple centres. The online exam, from registration to results, will be outsourced to a private company,” officials said.
Based on the written test, 7-8 times of the vacancies would be called for the physical test and 2.5 times for the medical test. The target date for the first exam is July, officials said. The process of selecting the outsourcing partner has started.
The estimated cost of the roll-out in the three pilot zones is ₹15 crore.
Under the new system Army intends to recover 50% of the cost from the candidate while 50% would be borne by the government. “This works out between ₹400-600 per candidate,” officials stated.