Army career is for a non-materialistic person, who is willing to die for the love of his country – says Karamveer Singh Bhati

Karamveer Singh Bhati (Retired JCO (Junior Commission Officer) at Indian Army Corps of EME)

Insights

  1. The respect you get from the society by working for the army is unmatchable.
  2. You have to work in life-endangering locations.
  3. You enjoy a good salary and numerous perks from the government such as subsidized grocery, tax-free house-hold items, free accommodation, free children’s education and free medical care.
  4. Your education and training for the profession are completely financed by the government such as I got free engineering/diploma.
  5. It’s not a career for materialistic people and requires one to have real altruism and love for the nation.
  6. You don’t get leaves easily. You would have to struggle to get a holiday at your own wedding, forget about other celebrations.
  7. One needs to be completely obedient to your seniors. You can’t ever deny an order.
  8. EME is the branch for those who want to be involved in technical work of the army.

Profile Details

Name – Karamveer Singh Bhati

Age – 56 years

Gender – Male

Profession – Retired JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) at Indian Army Corps of EME

Industry – Indian Army

City – Dadri

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Dadri, Haryana. My father is a retired army officer and mother a homemaker. I’ve 2 sisters and 3 brothers.

Who had the most influence on you and how?

My father, as an army officer, had the most influence on me. He was the one who encouraged me to join the service and be like him.

I entered the profession in the 1980s when the craze of the army was at its peak as it had only been 30 years since independence.

Please give a summary of your career.

After joining service in the 1980s, I remained at the post of Sepoy for 10 years. I was then promoted as Naik and remained one for 3 years.

Later, I was Havildar for 7 years. I was then promoted to Naik Subedar and remained so for 4 years. Finally, I became Subedar and got retired 4 years later i.e. at the age of 48 years.

Accordingly, my 1st posting was in Moga district of Punjab where I remained for 3 years. The 2nd posting was in Leh, Ladakh. After 2 years there, I was posted in Delhi. My 4th posting was 3 years later in Suratgarh. After Suratgarh, I remained in Guwahati for 3 years. Then I was posted in Chandigarh and stayed there for 2 years until the Kargil war started.

After Kargil, I was shifted to Jammu and remained there for 4 years until I was transferred back to Delhi and finally got retired.

Which institutes are best for the training/education to join Indian Army?

I was a part of Electrical Mechanical Engineers (EME) division of the army. It has its training institutes in Bhopal and Secunderabad. I would recommend 3 EME center of Bhopal for the best training in this profession.

If one wishes to get a degree in the field, Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) is the Institute for them.

One can get a diploma in EME School, Baroda. This is with regard to how it worked in my time and may have changed now.

What are the costs associated with the training/education of this profession?

The training cost is completely free. I didn’t have to invest a single penny in my training as an army man. All the expenses of my training and education for Indian army were borne by the Government of India.

All I’d to pay was for grocery items that too at the subsidized tax-free rates government provides to the Indian army.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in Indian Army?

At my time, the selection was through the Recruitment office in Meerut.

There were two options: MER (for 12th pass students), NER (non-metric students). There was a test conducted for the 12th pass but there was no test for those who hadn’t passed 12th.

Then a physical test was conducted. Qualifying both will get you admission to the 3 EME Centre where 6 months of basic training was conducted. It was followed by 2 years of technical training. Finally, after that, we became eligible for service.

These days, the Corps has become more prestigious and the entry as an engineer a bit more complicated. One has to opt for PCM in 12th as EME is a scientific field. EME is thus best for engineers as it includes the study of B.Tech at one of the most prestigious institutions of India and all expenses shall be borne by the Govt. of India.

The candidate must be between the age of 16 and 19 Years. Now only 12th pass aspirants can apply for this field, unlike NDA which still allows entry to less qualified individuals.

Only unmarried men can apply for the training and education. Training includes 4 Yrs. B.Tech at MCEME/ MCE/ MCTE and a 1 Year pre-commission training at OTA Gaya.

The cadets who finish their training successfully are absorbed into the EME Corps, Corps of Engineers or the Corps of Signals.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect in your line of career & industry?

The salary depends more on the promotion than on years of experience. Several perks offered are such as free residence, free medical care, admission of your children in India’s best KV schools at subsidized cost. You get a good pension package as soon as you retire regardless of the age of your retirement.

Even after retirement, you are given ex-serviceman health scheme (ECHS), which provides you and your family with subsidized treatment for various health issues.

An army man retires as soon as he starts getting old. You won’t find a man of 60 in the forces.

Starting out – 3 lakhs INR per annum

5 years of experience – 3.6 lakhs INR per annum

10 years of experience – 4.2 lakhs INR per annum

15 years of experience – 5 lakhs INR per annum

20+ years of experience – 7 lakhs INR per annum

Please describe your work.

All army men have a fixed timetable. We have to wake up and do PT (exercise) in the morning. Followed by breakfast and then work till lunch break, which is from 1–3 PM.

If there is no work left then we can go for the game parade which is the best part of the day. We get quality leisure time to do fun activities and feel off-duty.

Then the compulsory attendance occurs where the schedule of the next day is discussed. We then have dinner and prepare for watch duty or go to sleep. The Corps is responsible for providing engineering support to the army equipment ranging from light vehicles to tanks, guns, missiles, radars, computers, helicopters, communication equipment, night vision devices, simulators and so on during war and peace.

So, my work included repairing and maintaining these gadgets for the Indian army. With the promotion, the manual work reduces and supervision work increases.

What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

  1. The job security is one of the best. With all the perks and a very sufficient salary, you won’t ever die hungry. You’ve got a permanent, reliable, and respectable job for life. Even as you retire, the perks don’t get any less along with the respect you’ve earned by entering such a noble profession.
  2. This is the most disciplined career. The values and manners you learn here get integrated into your personality.
  3. The respect you earn as an army man is incomparable. Even if you were at the post of a cook in the army, the veneration you’ll get in society will be equivalent to the respect a high post officer enjoys. The salutes you’ll earn will be invaluable.
  4. The army hospitals are the number one hospitals in the country which provide first class treatment free of cost. For retired army men, ECHS empanelled hospitals in various cities provide subsidized treatment. It also applies to the family members of the army man.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

  1. One complaint I’d from my career was the shortage of leaves. The dearth was so much that a person can only dream of attending his family functions. You’d hardly get a holiday for your own wedding, forget about other celebrations.
  2. Another challenge came in the form of really difficult locations where we’d had to reside. In areas like Leh Ladakh, the snow cover on the road used to block all entries and exits.
  3. The risk associated with the job is known to all. By entering the army, you’ve lost all rights over your life. You’ve sacrificed it to the motherland. Now it’s up to her when she can take it away from you. We sleep in the risks of not being able to wake up the next day and wake up in the morning with no hope to be able to live a long life. We always had to take special care of the security of our residence. If there used to be some really dangerous location, most of us had to stay awake all night.
  4. Living away from your family due to your profession is a pain. You won’t get enough time to talk on calls either as you would have to adjust in locations with no network.
  5. One needs to be completely obedient to your seniors. One can’t ever deny an order. The commanding officer has all the rights over his battalion. Once commanding officer ordered us to do all the day-work at night and night-work at daytime. The timetable continued for one month and we all got used to it. After that, it changed again. Such experiments are common among the arms. You need to carry out what the officer feels right without queries and oppositions.

What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding a premium in your job profile?

A person must have special skills in science and deal with the technical gadgets involved in the army. Also, he must have Sportsmanship. Only an active person with the technical mind is welcome in the field.

The Corps has effectively met the challenges arising from the proliferation of multi-disciplinary high technology military hardware through continuous evolution of its engineering support system.

What kind of a person would be happy in your career?

A non-materialistic person who is willing to serve the nation with supreme altruism. One who is willing to deal with deadly situations for the love of his country. One who is disciplined and respectful to seniors is the one who won’t need to turn back from this career. For EME, it also includes the one having technical skills and a scientific set of mind.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I am completely satisfied with my choice. This is the best arena and I recommend every youngster, even a bit willing, to join the service.

If I wouldn’t have become a military man, I’d have become a policeman. These were my only preferences.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Don’t be doubtful. It’s the best career and will give you a fulfilling and respectful life. Unfortunately, we neglect armed force as a suitable career opportunity. The Indian armed forces offer a bright career for deserving youths in its officer cadre and also offer you a respectable position in the society.
Go on and be the savior of your country.

Contributing Writer – Yashika Bhati