The Sahayak system limits the combat capabilities of forces."" Discuss while analyzing why despite various recommendations against this system, it still continued in India.| "

Sahayaks/orderlies is a buddy system in which a soldier is attached to officers to assist and help them in carrying out their responsibilities. The System evolved during the colonial rule and the practice of Sahayak system is still codified in the Indian Army, however, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy do not have sahayak System. The system limits the combat capabilities as this sahayak service is not a listed trade in the services. New & young combatants are assigned this task for some years. This not only affects their morale but also reduce the manpower as combatants are assigned menial jobs.
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in 2010 had asked the army to abolish the “demeaning and humiliating” practice, as done by Indian air force and Indian navy. There are suggestions to replace the sahayaks in peacetime locations with civilians freeing up the soldiers for combat roles.
However as per official stand system helps in building rapport between officers and their buddies which are vital during the war and peace & there are exhaustive instructions to ensure that under no circumstances sahayaks, being combatant soldiers, are employed on menial tasks, which are not in conformity with the dignity and self-respect of a soldier.
There is no consensus on replacing the sahayak system within the Army. Also, the example of Navy and Air Force is not feasible as the system in the army is linked to combat situations. However, employment of civilian staff instead of Sahayaks at peace stations will free soldiers up for combat roles. This will help Indian army in better human resource management.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"The Sahayak system limits the combat capabilities of forces." Discuss while analyzing why despite various recommendations against this system, it still continued in India. GKToday | The Hindu | HP

Published: September 1, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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