A parliamentary panel has recommended that the Indian Army immediately introduce yoga for its soldiers in field areas to de-stress them.
"There is also imperative need for regular lectures and exercises on yoga techniques to de-stress our jawans in field units. Immediate steps may be initiated in this direction," the standing committee on defence said in its "Review of medical services and education in the defence sector" tabled in both houses of parliament Wednesday.
It recommended that the strength of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) be raised "in proportion to its increased workload and responsibility" and that the Pune-based AFMC Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) be converted into a deemed university.
Looking at the "size, responsibility and nature" of AFMS, its director general should be upgraded to the level of secretary to the government as is the case with the Director General Health Services (Civil), said the committee headed by Lok Sabha MP Balasaheb Vikhe Patil (Congress).
"The government should increase the strength of AFMS in proportion to its increased workload and responsibility for smooth and effective functioning. For this purpose, the government should set up a high-level committee to review the authorised strength of each cadre of AFMS," it said.
The AFMS is currently short of a staggering 3,522 personnel, the bulk of them at the paramedics level. The AFMS comprises the Army Medical Corps (AMC) sanctioned - 5,432/ held - 5,143, AMC (non-technical) 360/259, Army Dental Corps (ADC) 418/418, Military Nursing Service (MNS) 3,152/3,026 and paramedics 55,500/52,494.
"Vacancies of doctors and paramedical staff in hospitals and field units of AFMS should be filled up urgently," the committee noted, adding that staffing norms at AFMS hospitals should be improved to one medical officer per 21 beds.
Further, the 10 percent cut in recruitment in the armed forces should not be made applicable to the civilian manpower of AFMS, particularly in essential categories and trades like dieticians and physiotherapists, the report said.
AFMS should also extend super-speciality facilities like cardiology and neurology in all zonal hospitals and more specialist facilities in peripheral hospitals "so that soldiers and officers may be provided with proper medical care in their vicinity", the committee noted.
The committee said all the training courses should be brought under the umbrella of AFMC.
"Besides helping in having uniform standards for various training courses, this will facilitate in getting necessary recognition for various courses," the report said.