Explained: Why Agnipath Aspirants Are On The Warpath And How The Govt Is Countering It

Agnipath Protests: Under the Agnipath scheme, nearly 46,000 youths will be inducted into the Indian Armed Forces for four years. The youths would be known as 'agniveers' and only 25 per cent of the recruits would be retained for regular service.

By Aalok Sensharma
Updated: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 10:17 AM IST
Minute Read
Explained: Why Agnipath Aspirants Are On The Warpath And How The Govt Is Countering It
Youths protest against Agnipath scheme in Bihar/ ANI Image

New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The protests against the Agnipath recruitment scheme entered day 2 on Friday with protestors burning trains and vandalising public properties against the new model, demanding its immediate withdrawal by the government.

Under the Agnipath scheme, nearly 46,000 youths - aged between 17 and a half and 21 - will be inducted into the Indian Armed Forces for four years. The youths would be known as 'agniveers' and only 25 per cent of the recruits would be retained for regular service.

However, aspirants are worried about their future and wonder what would happen to them after their compulsory retirement without gratuity and pension benefits. They have called the scheme suicidal for students who are preparing to join the armed services.

"We are practicing for years to get selected into the Army. Now we have come to know that it will be on contractual term only for four years which is not fair for students like us," news agency IANS quoted an Army aspirant from Bihar as saying.

The aspirants are also against the age limit set by the government which would make many of them ineligible. However, it should be noted that the Centre on Thursday night had increased the upper age limit to 23 from 21 for recruitment in 2022.

"We work hard to get inducted into the Armed forces. How will the service be for four years, with months of training and leaves? How will we protect the nation after getting trained for just three years? The Government has to take back this scheme," news agency ANI quoted another agitating student from Bihar as saying.

What did the govt say on the agnipath scheme?

The government has clarified that there will be no change in the Army's regimental system under the Agnipath scheme. It also said that the numbers of personnel to be recruited in the first year of its roll out would only make up three per cent of the armed forces.

Issuing a 'Myth vs Facts' document, the government said agniveers would be provided a financial package of around Rs 11.71 lakh at the end of their four-year tenure. It also said that the Centre would help agniveers to venture into entrepreneurship.

"The scheme will bring in new dynamism to the armed forces. It will help the forces bring in new capabilities and take advantage of the technical skills and fresh thinking of the youths... It will allow the youths to serve the nation," the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said in a Facebook post.

Debunking myth that the agnipath scheme will harm the effectiveness of the Armed Forces, the government this kind of short-term enlistment system exists in most countries and hence is already tested out and has been considered 'best practice' for the youthful and agile army.

"The numbers of Agniveers to be recruited in the first year would only make up 3 per cent of the armed forces. Additionally, the performance of the Agniveers will be tested before re-induction in the army after four years. Hence, Army will get the tested and tried personnel for supervisory ranks," it said.

"At no point of time will there be more youngsters than experienced people. The present scheme will only bring about a right mix of 50-50 per cent, slowly in a very long run, of youngsters and experienced supervisory ranks," it added.

It also criticised social media claims that agniveers will successfully be a danger to society and join terrorist ranks, saying that "this is an insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces".

"Youngsters who have worn the uniform for four years will remain committed to the country for rest of their lives. Even now, thousands retire from armed forces retire with skills etc. but there have not been any instances of them joining anti-national forces," the government said.

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