Tue, 21 Jun 2022 08:29 AM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will meet the three defence service chiefs in New Delhi, where he will be briefed about the Agnipath scheme and how it will be implemented amid the ongoing nationwide protests against the new model.
However, there is no official word about the meetings between the Prime Minister and the service chiefs.
With protests raging across India, especially in Bihar, against the new scheme, PM Modi on Monday had reached out to the agitators, saying some decisions "may seem bitter at first" but will bear fruits in the coming days.
"Few of our initiatives might seem to be bitter in the present times. But, they will bear fruits in the coming days," the Prime Minister had said while speaking at the inauguration of multiple rail and road infrastructure projects in Kommaghatta in Karnataka.
The agitators are worried about their future following the end of their four-year tenure with the armed forces and thus want the Centre to withdraw the Agnipath scheme. Although the government has refused its roll back, it has promised jobs quotas for 'agniveers' in Defence and Home ministries, CAPFs, and the Assam Rifles.
Several state governments, mostly ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have also made similar announcements for the agniveers.
"Why should it be rolled back? It is the only progressive step to making the armed forces young. It is a question of protecting the country," Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, said on Sunday at a tri-services press conference.
"We had detailed deliberations on making forces young. We studied the recruitment process and tenures of soldiers in several countries. We want young people as they are risk-takers. They have passion, 'josh aur hosh' in equal proportions," Lt Gen Puri said.
Congress delegation meets President Kovind
While protests are raging across the country, Congress-led opposition has attacked government over the scheme, calling for its roll back. On Monday, a seven-member Congress delegation also met President Ramnath Kovind, submitting a memoranda with two demands in connection with army recruitment scheme 'Agnipath' and police action during Congress' protest.
"(We) urge the government to withdraw Agnipath scheme, hold wide consultations and address issues of quality, efficiency and economy, without compromising on welfare of Armed Forces," was the first demand.
"To register strongest possible protest against the vicious and unprovoked attack unleashed on Congress MPs by Delhi Police, which comes under the direct purview of Union Home Ministry, and ensure a time-bound enquiry by the Privileges Committee on the breach of privilege," was the second demand.
The delegation - which included Mallikarjun Kharge, Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, KC Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh and P Chidambaram - marched from Vijay Chowk to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and handed over a two-page memoranda, signed by multiple Congressmen, to the latter.