Does India need conscription?

In the wake of the recent politicking with respect to celebrating the Surgical Strikes, I was reminded of the study we did in early 2000's - it showed that if conscription was to be implemented, 87% of our citizens would be in favour.

Has anything changed between then and now? Not really a pertinent question. As the question doesnt add up to the fervour generated by political posturing. In 2000's there was no social media as we know it today, not everyone with a smartphone attempted to be a journalist and people were guarded in their thoughts generally, and yet, the study threw up an interesting thought.

Queries valid then, and now?

Why don't the politicians who wish to grand-stand on any issue, consider a 1 year service in the forces before they can stand for LS elections?

Why shouldn't the student who studies with government subsidies only value the impact the degree will have on his chances of immigration? And a cause for brain-drain for India. why shouldnt there be a 1 year service?

Why shouldn't all UPSC aspirants undergo a 1 year service period before taking up their positions?

Being in the thick of things will bring out the best in citizens.

We all lament the breakdown of law, regimen, lack of trust and civility around us. But at a macro level, are we willing to contribute to making a difference? Conscription is not a means to solve the problem of able men opting for the services, rather a voluntary exercise to imbibe the culture, ethos and thought-process that speaks of values, nation before self and respect for fellowmen.

But can it really be of value?

Extract of the study undertaken by DefenceIndia during 2002-2006

Survey unveils 87 % Indians favour Conscription.

New Delhi June 27 2006: In a landmark survey undertaken by DefenceIndia.com, India’s leading portal on defence issues, articles and news, 87 % of surveyed respondents voted over-whelmingly in favour of conscription in the country. The question asked was whether conscription should be made compulsory in India. Conscription is a term used to describe compulsory enrolment in the country’s defence forces.

The survey was conducted in Delhi, J&K, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab, Chennai, Kolkata and parts of Sikkim. The total number of people surveyed offline were in excess of 5 Lakhs, and another six lakh participated in the online survey and the exercise spanned over a period of five months..

6% of the online respondents were NRIs, 93% of whom voted for conscription being made mandatory. Many expressed their readiness to ‘serve their motherland whenever required.’

Respondents included teachers, lawyers, doctors, industrialists, students, government officers, NGO’s, businessmen and shopkeepers.

In an attempt to assess the opinion of the masses, road-shows were held in various parts of the country targeting the youth, especially highlighting the present gender ratio prevalent in the defence forces. Presentations on conscription were given with details on countries currently favouring conscription like Singapore, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Finland, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia and South Korea.

While many noted academicians and politicians have argued for and against introducing conscription in the country during peace-time, still the respondents cited lack of discipline, respect for public services and rampant corruption as their arguments for favouring conscription. It was heartening to see young generation cite patriotism and ‘everyone’s duty to do their bit in serving the nation’ as the main reason for favouring conscription.

This is clearly an eye-opener for Gen-Next who has become increasingly inclined to look out for financially favourable careers, and heralds positive tidings for the Defence Forces. Interestingly, 47% of the female student respondents regarded defence forces as a viable career option.

The survey was conducted on behalf of DefenceIndia.com, by Credence PR, a leading Public Relations and Market Research firm.

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