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Sahayak row: Recruiting civilians will help army economise on manpower, says defence expert

News Agencies | Updated on: 26 June 2017, 16:32 IST

With the Army considering the option of recruiting civilian staff in peace stations as part of its plans to end Sahayak system, a defence expert on Tuesday asserted that it will help the army in terms of economising on manpower.

Defence expert P K Sehgal told ANI, "The army should decide on this and it is a good initiative to be taken up. The option of deploying civilian staff at peace stations instead of Sahayaks will help the army in economising on manpower as well".

Journalist Rahul Jalali told ANI,"This Sahayak system is a long discussed matter which needs to be looked into. The army has been thinking on this since long and will end it soon. Currently, they are examining various aspects of the option."

On Monday, a senior army official, said Sahayaks or buddy system - whereby a solider is attached to officers - will continue be deployed in key bases and field areas as they have defined military duties.

"We are looking at getting civilian staff to replace Sahayaks in peace stations," the official said.

In the recent months, a number of videos had surfaced where some army jawans were seen voicing their anger over the Sahayak system with some even alleging that they are treated as servants by the officers whom they are attached to.

In March, the government had strongly defended the Sahayak system in the army, saying it provides essential support to officers in fully attending to their duties in times of peace and war.

At the same time, the government had said Sahayaks or orderlies are combatants and exhaustive instructions have been issued to not make them perform menial tasks which are not in conformity with the dignity of a soldier.

An annual conference of top army commanders in April had held extensive deliberations on the amy's "internal health" including on Sahayaks, and decided to reorient the human resource policy of the force.

Sahayaks are soldiers and their duties include protecting the officers, maintaining their weapons and equipment and helping them in carrying out their responsibilities.

In March, the body of a jawan, Roy Mathew, was found hanging at the Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra after a sting video, which showed him complaining about being made to do household chores of superior officers, went viral.

Days later, a sepoy also posted a video online criticising the Sahayak system and accused senior officers of treating them as slaves.


First published: 26 June 2017, 13:57 IST