The central government has come up with the ‘Agneepath‘ scheme by revamping the decades-old defense recruitment process, under which youth will be hired in the army on a four-year contract. In protest against this, youths preparing for army recruitment have organized protests in Bihar, UP and Rajasthan. Former military officials and the opposition have also questioned the plan.
In a radical change in the decades-old defense recruitment process, the Central Government on Tuesday announced a scheme called ‘Agneepath’ for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and Air Force, under which soldiers are recruited on contract basis for a short period of four years. However, with the announcement of the scheme, opposition has also started from the army candidates in various states and many former army officers have also raised questions on the plan.
With regard to major changes in the decades-old selection process to recruit more qualified and young soldiers, the Defense Ministry said that under the scheme, 46,000 soldiers will be recruited in the three services this year and the eligibility age for selection will be from 17.5 years to 21 years. and they will be named ‘Agniveer’. The monthly salary of an ‘Agniveer’ in the first year of employment will be Rs 30,000, but will get only Rs 21,000 in hand.
Every month 9,000 rupees will go to a fund of the government, in which the government will also put the same amount on its behalf. After this, the monthly salary in the second, third and fourth year will be Rs 33,000, Rs 36,500 and Rs 40,000. Each ‘Agniveer’ will get an amount of Rs 11.71 lakh as ‘Service Fund Package’ and will be exempted from Income Tax. This recruitment will be done on ‘All India, All Category’ basis. This will change the composition of many regiments that recruit youth from communities such as Rajput’s, Jats and Sikhs, apart from recruiting from specific areas.
The ‘Agniveer’ will be provided as an opportunity to apply for permanent enrollment in the Armed Forces on completion of four years of service based on the organizational requirement and policies of the Army as declared by the Armed Forces from time to time. For this, a provision has been made to retain 25 percent soldiers from every batch.
It is being told that the purpose of this scheme is to reduce the increasing salary and pension expenses of the Defense Department. Shortly after the plan was approved at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh provided the media the full details of the new initiative.
According to the government, the new scheme will give an opportunity to patriotic and enthusiastic youth to work in the armed forces for four years. In the presence of the chiefs of the three services, Rajnath Singh said, “Indian youth will get an opportunity to serve in the armed forces as ‘Agniveers’ under the ‘Agneepath’ scheme.” This is a transformational plan to strengthen the security of the country.
He said that this would result in recruitment of relatively younger and technology-adaptive soldiers in the army and would enhance the combat capability of the armed forces. The Defense Minister called it a major ushering in a ‘new era’ in the human resource policy of the three services. Defense policy reform. He said that this scheme will be implemented with immediate effect and during the recruitment process of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) registration in all the three services will be done on this basis.
The loopholes in the scheme
Gratuity and pension benefits will not be provided under the scheme and the new recruits will be provided with a non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh for the continued service period in the Armed Forces. This will help in reducing the rising salary and pension bills of the armed forces.
Asked whether the scheme aims to cut the pension bill of the armed forces, Singh said the government will always provide adequate resources for the three services and there is no question of paucity of funds for them. Under this, a four-year tenure will include a training period of about two and a half to six months. According to the Defense Ministry, ‘Agniveer’ will be a rank different from any existing rank in the armed forces.
Lt Gen (Retd) Vinod Bhatia said, ‘Agneepath scheme or ‘Tour of Duty’ is not tested, not tried in pilot project, it is being implemented directly. This will lead to the militarization of the society, year after year around 40,000 (75 per cent) youth will be dismissed without jobs and despondent, semi-trained former Agniveers in handling weapons. This is not a good idea. No one will get benefit from this.
Bhatia said that this scheme, brought to save pension expenses, will weaken the strength of the defense. How will these soldiers, who are posted for 4 years, work in the jungles, mountains and high altitudes in which our jawans now beat the enemies? It is being said that the new boys are technically proficient, but in these places, it is not the technology, but the passion and expertise that comes with full dedication and proper training.
Similarly, Major General Criticizing the Agneepath scheme, Yash Mor said that he feels most (disappointed) about the lakhs of youth who have lost all hope of recruitment in the last two years. Peacock tweeted, ‘Service Headquarters also appears reluctant to implement it. “It will adversely affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the army,” he said.
Lt Gen (Retd) PR Shankar said in his blog, ‘Tour of duty doesn’t seem like a good idea. Proceed with caution.
The protesting youth
Protests have erupted in several cities across India after the government announced the Agneepath scheme, a radical short-term recruitment plan for the armed forces, earlier this week.Protests turned violent in parts of Bihar where army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic.
Reports said protestors vandalised a train and set a train coach on fire at Bhabhua Road railway station. In Chhapra, the youth set tires on fire and vandalised a bus.The protesters are agitating against the scheme’s proposal to recruit youth on a contractual basis for a four-year period, following which only 25% will be retained. The rest will be forced to retire without gratuity and pension benefits.
“We work hard to get inducted into the Armed forces. How will the service be for 4 years, with months of training and leaves? How will we protect the nation after getting trained for just 3 years? Govt has to take back this scheme,” one protester told ANI.
From this morning on Agneepath, the struggle is going on in Bihar. Angry students have set fire to the Intercity Express parked at Bhabua station, the same students have vandalized fiercely at Ara station. The same Jehanabad, Buxar, Ara, Nawada, Siwan, Chhapra Including news is coming from many parts of Bihar that angry students have blocked NH and railway track, during which there is also news of clashes between students and police.
Road in most areas of central Bihar due to students’ furious protest are jammed. Meanwhile, the Patna administration has declared an alert in the entire city after the news of sabotage came from different parts of Bihar, additional police force is being sent to the coaching and university area.
- Siwan- Students who came on the road against the Agneepath scheme also affected the rail service. Students have blocked the railway track near JP Chowk, Station More and Siwan station. In view of the anger of the students who are protesting with bamboo bats in their hands and arson from place to place, additional police force is being called for.
- Buxar – Students furious over the change of army reinstatement rules, the agitation continues for the second day in Buxar, youth are shouting slogans by jamming the railway track at Buxar station, students are protesting by making the train route a movement site, a large number Police team of local police station including RPF and GRP personnel reached in front of angry students, railway service was affected on Patna Mughalsarai railway section.
- Chhapra-Students have taken the law into their own hands and due to arson, chaos in the whole city is running after closing the shop, the shopkeepers are seen only students on the road.
- Kaimur – Angry students jammed the railway track at Bhabua Road station the railway administration came out of the railway premises seeing the anger of the students.
Protests have also started in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. A large number of youths protested against the scheme in Ambedkar Nagar district of UP. In Jaipur, Rajasthan, youth also took to the road and demanded the closure of the scheme. According to NDTV, the youths protesting in Bihar said that they have been waiting for two years for the regular recruitment rallies that were stopped due to the corona epidemic. were, but they were given this plan.
A protester took a jibe at the government and said that till the MPs and MLAs get a term of five years, what will we do in just four years? A letter has been written to, seeking permission for a one-day protest against the scheme on June 26. He says that there was already dissatisfaction among the youth due to the halt of recruitment in the army for the last two-three years, now the changed rules have added to the frustration. Neither pension nor health facilities including canteen will be available to the youth serving in the Indian Army.
Protests have started across the country against shoddy jokes like Agneepath and Agniveer. There have been reports of violent protests, arson and stone pelting in Bihar and many other parts. The announcement of this scheme has been brought with the wrong intention.
It has been written in the newspapers that the government is doing this to reduce the pension burden. What a lousy mentality that you treat a soldier’s life as less than a few lakh paise they spent his youth in the security of the country and when they comes back, then you leave him destitute.
Retired army officers have raised very serious questions on this plan saying that the ideology of the Sangh and the BJP is a very bad and lousy plan, it should be withdrawn immediately.