In a first, the army is setting up a dedicated facility in south India where jawans will be given training to a clear two-tier selection process to become officers in the force, two officials familiar with the development said on Friday.
To be called the Young Leaders’ Training Wing, it will be co-located at the Chennai-based Officers Training Academy.
Beginning September, around 200 soldiers are expected to be trained at the facility for five months, said one of the officials cited above. Jawans have to clear a written exam and a Services Selection Board interview before they can enter the Dehradun-based Army Cadet College (ACC). Soldiers are groomed to become officers at the ACC for three years before they are packed off for a one-year course at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, which churns out freshly-minted lieutenants.
While cracking the written exam is not much of problem, cracking the SSB interview has emerged as a bit of challenge for jawans chasing dreams of becoming officers, said the official. The SSB interview is a personality and aptitude test spread over a period of five days.
Jawans appearing for SSB interviews have a success rate of just about 8% and that’s what the new training wing seeks to change, said the second official. “Helping them clear the SSB interview will be the main focus. It will also help address officer shortage in the army,” he said. The training wing, brainchild of army chief General Bipin Rawat, will conduct two courses annually. The army believes it is a genuine welfare measure for jawans.
Army sources said candidates will be shortlisted for admission to the training wing on the basis of their performance in the written exam followed by another round on screening to select 100 men for each course.