In an ambitious plan to fill the severe shortage of officers and give an opportunity to serving Jawans to become officers, Army chief General Bipin Rawat instituted a Young Leaders Training Wing (YTW) at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai. The new program is aimed at honing the capabilities and skills of serving Army jawans to help them clear the Service Selection Board (SSB) Exam, which is the standard exam to become a Commissioned Officer, in the Indian Army, the Print reported.
General Rawat said, "Many of the jawans joining the force are actually very intelligent. They could not study further because of economic and other reasons. Hence their focus was to get a job and (they) joined the Army. I strongly feel that if these people are encouraged and trained well, they can make it to the officers level."
The new YTW unit will operate in OTA, Chennai. It was inaugurated last week, which will provide special training to junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), which are the non-officer ranks of the Indian Army. The training will help them crack tough promotions race. As per the plan, around 500 Jawans will be shortlisted and undergo five months of training in junior leadership in two batches and will be trained to face SSB interviews. This five months course will focus on personality development, with the key component being English communication skills, soft skills, and decision-making ability, among other things. General Rawat argued that the step will benefit the Army on two fronts. "We will get more officers and there will be a further promotion opportunity for JCOs and NCOs," he said.
Notably, the Army is facing a severe shortage of around 7,000-8,000 officers presently. But General Rawat argues that it actually "helps the rest". "Promotion within the Army is very tough. This shortage is actually helpful because otherwise, the promotion will become even tougher. The Army is managing very well," he said. Presently, JCOs and NCOs have three routes to become commissioned officers which are ACC (Army Cadet College) wing, and the SCO (special commission officers) and PC-SL (permanent commission, special list) route. SSB interviews are considered as one of the toughest things to crack as the success rate is less than 10 percent.