Indian Army to rethink on its Sahayak System
Indian Army is considering doing away with the colonial-era Sahayak System and considers recruiting civilian staff in peace stations. The Indian Army’s move comes in the wake of rising cases of jawans coming out openly against the Sahayak system. Some jawans have accused of being treated as servants by their attached officers. The critics point that Sahayak System is liable to be misused, and is demeaning to the soldier.
However, the army has said that Sahayaks would continue to be deployed in key bases and field areas as these areas will have defined military duties. Instead of Sahayaks, employment of civilian staff at peace stations will help the Indian Army in economising on its manpower as well.
Sahayaks or buddy system is a system in which a soldier is attached to officers to help them carry out their responsibilities. Sahayaks are attached to Officers and Junior Commissioned Officer. The duties of Sahayaks include protecting the officers, maintaining their weapons and equipment among others.
The Sahayak System was evolved during the colonial rule. The practice of Sahayak system is codified in the Indian Army. An estimated 50,000 sahayaks serve in the Indian Army. Indian Air Force and Indian Navy do not have sahayak system.
In March 2017, the government had strongly supported the Sahayak system. However, it had said that it has issued exhaustive instructions not to make sahayaks perform menial tasks which are derogatory to the dignity of a soldier. In the annual conference of top Army commanders, deliberations regarding the sahayak system were held and it was decided to reorient the human resource policy of the Indian Army.