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Numerous Defense Personnel Granted Early Retirement Due to Mental Illness

A staggering 40,000 defense personnel were granted early retirement in the past three years, even as another 1,415 were discharged due to mental illnesses,// parliament was informed Thursday.

Of those who retired early, 2,064 were officers of the army, navy and air force and 37,865 were personnel below officer rank (PBOR) for a total of 39,929, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.

Giving the break up, the minister said 1,119 army officers had retired early during 2004-06, against 489 in the air force and 456 in the navy.

In the PBOR category, 35,255 army personnel had been granted premature retirement, against 2,578 in the air force and 31 in the navy, the minister added.

According to Antony, the main reasons identified for personnel seeking premature retirement were supersession in promotion, or being placed in a permanently low medical category.

This apart, early retirement was sought on compassionate grounds such as to look after ailing parents/children/siblings, or to look after ancestral property and attend to litigation, or due to failure to acquire minimum qualifications required for promotion or due to "increase in employment opportunities on the civil side", Antony added.

Antony also detailed the measures being taken to address this issue.

These included allowing time-bound promotions up to the rank of colonel and equivalent, creating or upgrading posts up to the rank of colonel and equivalent to hasten promotions, and the creation of the rank of time-scale colonel and equivalent for superseded officers.

This apart, additional accommodation was being created for married officers and professional courses were being conducted for retiring officers, Antony added.

In reply to a separate question, the minister said 1,263 personnel from the army, 123 from the air force and 29 from the navy had been discharged during 200
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