New Delhi, Nov 25 The Defence Ministry on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that steps are being taken to encourage the youths to join the armed forces, including through sustained image projection and publicity campaign.
"The government has taken a number of measures to encourage the youths to join the defence forces... to create awareness among them on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career through participation in career fairs and exhibitions as well as motivational lectures in schools and colleges etc.," Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply.
"The support of state government authorities is also solicited in disseminating the requisite information to the target population," the minister said.
Bhamre said recruitment rallies are conducted in different parts of the country to provide opportunities to the youths to join the armed forces.
"Efforts are made to cover the entire country, including its remote, border, tribal and hilly areas," he said.
The minister said there were certain relaxations in physical and educational criteria for candidates from tribal, hilly and other backward areas, but there is no proposal to offer further relaxations.
"For recruitment in the army, certain relaxations in physical and educational standards are available for candidates of tribal/hilly and other backward areas. In the case of navy and air force, there is no provision for relaxation in educational standards. However, relaxation in height is given to candidates from certain areas," Bhamre said.
"At present, there is no proposal under government consideration to further relax the criteria for recruitment in the defence forces," he said.
He told the Lok Sabha that 25 Sainik schools are functioning in the country, five of them in difficult and border areas.
The schools prepare boys of certain age group academically, physically and mentally for gaining entry into the National Defence Academy.
"In addition, students of border and difficult areas are encouraged to join the National Cadet Corps, which strives to provide the youths opportunities for all-round development with a sense of commitment, dedication, self-discipline and moral values, so that they become responsible citizens," he added.