Poorer individuals may avoid alternative service
By Joseph Yeh,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Interior (MOI) is considering exempting mid- to low-income household conscripts from serving alternative service in response to an expected surplus of recruits after compulsory military service is abolished, a MOI official said yesterday.
January 3, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said his ministry has drafted several proposals in response to an expected surplus of people eligible for alternative service after the removal of compulsory military service.
“One of the proposals includes that the MOI will amend existing rules to exempt conscripts from mid- to low-income households from serving alternative service,” Lee told local media yesterday in the Legislative Yuan.
The proposals have been referred to the Executive Yuan, and are awaiting approval, he added.
The government announced in December, 2011 that eligible males born after Jan. 1, 1994 will no longer need to serve compulsory military service.
Instead, they will only need to undergo four months of military training, starting from Jan. 2013.
The new policy means there will be a huge surplus of people eligible for alternative service.
The MOI has calculated that around 60,000 men will become draft-eligible between 2013 and 2014. However, the country only needs less than 35,000 conscripts to perform alternative service each year.
Local media reported yesterday that many alternative service conscripts are now running errands and doing chores or other meaningless jobs during duties, leading to a waste of talent.
Commenting on the expected surplus, Lee said yesterday that the MOI has come up with four to five concrete plans to meet the new challenge.
The government is also thinking of allowing more conscripts to serve alternative service in the research and development (R&D) sector so that they can fully showcase their talents during their service.
The service option was originally open only to draftees with master's degrees or above, particularly those in the fields of science and engineering.
In the future, the option will also be open to specialized conscripts with college degrees in fields other than science and engineering, as long as a private company makes a proposal, he added.