New Delhi, Jan 19: Defence Minister A K Antony has said that there is no need for compulsory military service for youths in the country in order to meet the shortage of officers in the armed forces.
"There is a need to make jobs in the armed forces more attractive. Conscription is not a solution," he told reporters after visiting the NCC Republic Day camp in New Delhi. Terming the suggestion of Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor to this effect as a "passing remark", Antony said: "We have considered this (conscription) but Indian conditions are not suitable and there is no proposal from the government."
Instead, Antony said the important thing was to give the armed forces more facilities.
"Most of the soldiers stay away from their families. They have a whole lot of problems. Better pay packets and other facilities will make an armed forces career more attractive," he said.
Asked why younger generation was not opting for a career in the armed forces nowadays, Antony said, "Youngsters nowadays have a lot of opportunities you have to make armed forces more attractive for them."
The Army has a shortage of 11,238 officers in an authorised strength of 46,615.
Earlier, addressing the NCC cadets, Antony said the government favoured absorption of more and more cadets into the defence forces.
"After NCC the cadets should have a place to go. We are trying to strengthen the NCC," he added.
Antony said NCC cadets are making contributions not only to the Armed Forces, but also to the civil society, in general.
The relief work done by NCC in the wake of disasters has helped in spreading awareness among all sections of the society, he said.
"I am confident that the MoU signed between NCC and UNICEF to spread literacy among the youth, especially the girl child in rural and backward areas, will go a long way in using the international experiences in educating and spreading awareness to the remotest corners of our country," Antony said.