Indian Defence Life-Merits and Demerits

Working for the armed forces offers several financial benefits such as defined pension and health insurance, it being a central government job is the biggest advantage but there are a few challenges as well. We will take a close look at some of these.

Demerits

Accommodation

Many serving personnel find it difficult to get an official family accommodation in metros like Delhi, Mumbai or Hyderabad. Similarly, changing schools mid-term due to transfers is a major challenge that the armed forces personnel face.

Shortage of modern equipment

Retd Army officer Vinay Biala agrees with defence experts when they say that the infantry needs new and more lethal weapons than assault rifles, the carbine, light machine gun (LMG), the sniper rifle and the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). An Infantry officer himself, Biala is one of those who says, “we are happy to work with what we have”. It’s the generosity and commitment of such officers which often go unappreciated by bureaucrats and the government. Unfortunately, many of the weapons currently used by the troops are of 1960s vintage. The frequent Air Force MIG crashes only add credence to the situation the personnel have to deal with on the ground. There is already danger hanging on them by virtue of the nature of the job, and if there mode of defence turns out to be obsolete, how can we expect them to survive attacks, a question several governments have failed to act on.

Frequent Transfers
Owing to the nature of the job, frequently being relocated usually leads to leading an extremely disturbed life, as both family life and children’s education are adversely affected.

Early Retirement Age 
Early retirement age creates a sense of insecurity since it is not feasible to complete all familial responsibilities and commitments before retirement. Unless you are technically qualified, there are no employment avenues outside. For Navy and Air Force personnel, they are still technically qualified and can manage to get jobs, but for the majority including infantry soldiers, it’s a very difficult situation to deal with.

Modest Salary and Career Prospects

Everything has changed. Industry packages now go up to crores and the pay in defence has gone down compared to the civilian counterparts over the years. In 1991, the pay of a defense officer and the ones who joined the industry was almost the same.

Merits

Skills and training

The Army is one of the best places in the world to learn skills that matter in real life and also applies to the workplace. They are known not only to be a highly disciplined organization but they know how to ingrain such attributes into their soldiers. Valuable skills that are applicable to the workplace are taught in the army.

Remuneration

The remuneration, or take home pay, of an army personnel is often misunderstood because people focus on basic pay.

Remuneration in the Army is divided into four different types:

  • Basic pay: For active-duty soldiers.
  • Drill pay: For Army reserve.
  • Allowances: For active-duty soldiers, it covers the cost of living, food, clothing, moving allowance and family separation allowance.
  • Bonuses: The reserve and active duty army personnel earns these bonuses when they train for specific skill sets as determined by the Army. Some skill sets include infantryman, cannon-crew member and fire control specialist.

The total compensation of Army personnel, when compared to that of a civilian worker of the same qualifications, is higher.

Educational benefits

One of the most crucial benefits of joining the Army is the opportunity to go to school without the crushing debt burden of student loans. Joining the Army could be a way to fulfill your need to attend college with no debt burden. The Army has benefits that support any college degree you want.

Retirement benefits

The Army is one of the remaining institutions in the world where retirees still get their pension benefits. After 20 years of active service, you are eligible for pension benefits that is up to 50% of your salary for life. The army adjusts the pension for inflation with time. The federal government sponsors it and offers the same incentives and tax benefits that other corporate employers offer.

Medical coverage

Military families get their care at health care facilities at the military base. The hospitals are well-equipped with Army staff who serve as healthcare professionals. The coverage is extensive enough to cover both health care and dental costs at little or no cost to the families.

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