Navy personnel may now miss out on promotions and awards in the event that they fail health exams

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Representative picture. | File photo of a training camp at the Indian Naval Academy. | Photo: Twitter / @ indiannavy

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New Delhi: Warnings, ineligibility for promotions and awards, and “appropriate” administrative measures – the Indian Navy has imposed severe new penalties for its personnel, both men and women, for failing to maintain a high level of fitness, top defense sources told ThePrint.

A 300 meter shuttle that travels in less than 65 seconds and plunges into the swimming pool from a 5 meter high platform. A 1.5 km long shuttle within 13 minutes is part of the PET (Physical Efficiency Test) parameters set by the Navy in its new and strict guidelines.

PETs are routinely performed for naval officers and seafarers. However, under the new guidelines, those who are unable to erase PETs during certain periods of time will face tough measures, the sources said.

The guidelines, issued in February, are expected to take effect this month, according to the sources. The PET parameters are separate for male and female marine personnel.

ThePrint texted the Navy spokesman for comment on the move. This report will be updated as soon as a response is received.

A senior naval officer said the force had always strictly adhered to the fitness standards maintained by its staff and that they were associated with promotions. Guidelines to that end will be released by the service from time to time, the official said.

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What the guidelines say

According to the guidelines, if a naval officer or a seaman fails to qualify the PETs, the commanding officer (CO) or the head of department advise the PETs. After that, they will be subjected to a mandatory retest.

If they do not qualify for the retest after 90 days, they will receive a formal warning from the CO, a copy of which will be attached to their annual confidential report – which is a key part of making decisions about promotions.

If they fail the test even after 180 days, the guidelines cannot recommend them for awards, substitutions, courses or even for renewal of service or re-employment.

They will also ensure a negative weight for the sea time (s) selection and their temporal promotions will be withheld until they complete the test.

The staff is also not entitled to expedited transportation or is recommended for awards. In addition, they are classified as ineligible for voluntary courses and reintegration by units.

If officials fail to qualify PETs even after 270 days, they will receive notification of a reason for issuance three months later. Thereafter, “appropriate administrative measures” are taken against them. Seafarers are punished in a similar way.

Another senior naval officer said an “appropriate administrative measure” in this regard could include decommissioning.

“In the past, the standards for physical fitness were kept more on an individual level, now they have been aligned more uniformly. For example, the warning that COs have to issue after a certain period of time … They have linked fixed downtimes at PET to certain administrative measures, ”said the second official.

While warnings were also issued in the past, there were no specific timeframes with listed sanctions against them.

The officer also said while fitness is largely maintained by most Navy personnel, the move is aimed at a small percentage of personnel who may not take the PETs seriously.

The new guidelines state that PETs for seafarers and officers will be conducted every six months at Command and Fleet Headquarters.

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Revised fitness standards

The existing PET standards have been revised in the new guidelines in order to make them stricter with a reduced range of degrees. The parameters are specific to age groups as well as to naval personnel of men and women.

For example, a 300-meter shuttle run has been reintroduced as a new parameter for the PETs, which male personnel must complete within 65 seconds and female personnel under 30 years of age within 90 seconds.

Similarly, dives in swimming pools – from a height of 5 m versus the previous norm of 3 m – are mandatory for all male employees except those over 50. For female employees, a 5 meter dive is mandatory for anyone under 45 years of age.

For women in the 45-50 age group, a 1 km run must be completed within 10 ½ minutes. For men of the same age group, a 1.5 km run must be completed within 13 minutes.

In addition, the Navy would also keep an eye on obese Navy personnel. The guidelines also require orders to conduct surprise tests on units below them to check the physical fitness of staff.

All three military services have mandatory physical aptitude tests that personnel must qualify once a year.

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