The Georgian Parliament approved with its first hearing a proposal on the creation of a system of compulsory army reserve service.
According to the document, service in the reserve troops would be compulsory for every male between the ages of 27 to 40 (the maximum age was 50 in an initial draft), and would involve training once every two years for 18 days.
MP Nika Rurua, the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, who presented the draft law, said the goal is to train 20 000 reservists in 2007.
A person can avoid compulsory service in the reserve troops through spending 180, or 200 hours working in alternative service, according to the proposal.
In case of evasion, a person will be fined GEL 1000. If the evasion is repeated a second time the person will be jailed for one year.
If willing, females can also apply to undergo the training course, although it will not be compulsory for them.
The law will not apply to teachers, doctors, technical staff of the railway, judges, diplomats, clergy and employees of the Defense and Interior Ministries, or those who have already served in the alternative services. MP Rurua said that peasants in rural areas will not be recruited during the harvest period.
The program of training and recruitment schedule will be drafted by the Defense Ministry.
“The proposal will require addition funding [for the Defense Ministry],” MP Nika Rurua said, but he did not specify what amount of funding the initiative will require.
Officials say that the proposal is part of “a doctrine on total and unconditional defense” that has recently been included as a new provision to Georgia’s National Security Concept.