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Agnipath Scheme launched in 14th June by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of all three chiefs of defense staff. Scheme's main purpose is to recruit the youth in the Indian Army for a personnel below the officer rank, for four year tenure. After that they have to exit the service and only 25% of them will further recruit for 15 year tenure. Youth who join the army through Agnipath Scheme, will be called ‘Agniveer’.
Since the launch of its scheme protest erupted in the Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and UP states. Many military experts also show dissent views against the Agnipath scheme.
Today we will know what is Agnipath Scheme? why people are protesting against it?
What is Agnipath Scheme?
Agnipath Scheme is for youth who wanted to join Indian Army for a post below the officer rank. It is actually a reformation in the defense recruitment by the govt.
- Age Limit- Approximately 40,000 to 50,000 candidates of around 17.5 year to 21 year of age will be recruited annually by this scheme. They will join the army for 4 year period. After that they have to exit the army and only 25%, who are best candidate further will be recruited for 15 year period.
- Currently Government has increased the age limit to 23 years only for one year, to give a chance to candidate, who are unable to give exams due to covid.
- Salary & Insurance- Agniveer will be given monthly salary of Rs. 30,000 to 40,000, with risk and hardship allowances.
- Agniveer will be provided with life cover insurance of Rs.48 lakh.
- Retirement Package & Prefence in Other Job- After 4 year they will leave a job with a ‘Seva Nidhi’ fund of 11.71 lakh, without any pension and gratuity benefit.
- 30% of their monthly salary will be contributed to Seva Nidhi Package where govt. will provide same amount as soldiers.
- Home minister stated that Agniveer after retirement will be given preference over other candidates in different jobs.
- Enrollment and Educational - Enrollment procedure and medical criteria is similar to old recruitment procedure for all respective categories/trades.
Also Read:What is Agneepath Scheme, Know Eligibility and Selection Process
Why People are Protesting Against the Agnipath Scheme?
People are protesting against this scheme for various reasons-:
- Job Security- Most people are concerned about job security. Soldiers have to join Indian Army only for 4 year. But what will they do after 4 year? There is no future for them. Because other jobs require necessary qualification, which they don’t have after retirement.
- No Pension- Pension and other retirement expenses in Indian Army are the main concern for Indian govt. They introduce this scheme to cut the pension bill. Youth are not satisfying that after four year, they’ll not provide any pension.
- Lacking Transperancy – For 25% candidates ,who will be selected for 15 years, there is no transparency in their selection.
- Difference in Agniveer and Regular sainik- People are angry because, they will be not given the same benefit, which was previously given to regular sainik like pension, medical, army canteen benefit, also there job period was 19 years, unlike Agniveer only 4 year.
In the state of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and UP, people are protesting against this scheme. In Bihar's Buxar, Chapra,Muzzafarnagar and other districts, people are burning trains and damaging buses and other properties.
People and Army Veteran Reaction on Agnipath Scheme-
Many candidates in the state of Bihar, UP, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh is protesting against this scheme. Some of the Army veteran also not supporting this scheme.
One of the candidates said a youth who becomes an agniveer at 17.5 years will neither have any professional degree nor any special qualifications, so he will be bound to take up second-class jobs.
Another Candidate said the scheme is an eyewash that offers little to create jobs and opportunities. The youth preparing to join the army are saying they work hard and prepare for many years to join the army. In such a situation, they do not accept a four-year job. The protesting students have appealed to the government to immediately withdraw this scheme.
Retd. Major General G.D.Bakshi,a decorated officer also showed dissent over this scheme and tweeted
Was flabergasted by the Agniveer scheme. I thought initially it was a trial being done on a pilot basis. this is an across the board change to convert Indian armed forces to a short tenure quasi- conscript forceLike the Chinese. ForGods sakePLEASE DONT do it— Maj Gen (Dr)GD Bakshi SM,VSM(retd) (@GeneralBakshi) June 14, 2022
Lets not destroy our institutions in a time of great threatsfrom China&Pak .Armed forces have performed well .Just for Saving money let us not destroy what we have. Armed forces need a mixture of youth & Experience.4 year tenure forces could be risk averse. learnfromRussia— Maj Gen (Dr)GD Bakshi SM,VSM(retd) (@GeneralBakshi) June 14, 2022
Another Senior Major Genral Yash Mor also not supporting the Agnipath Scheme
Stop looking at armed forces from economic point of view. Military life and career can't be evaluated from money saved to the exchequer.— Maj Gen (Dr) YashMor (@YashMor5) June 14, 2022
Looking to be difficult to implement scheme, with negative connotations in all aspects. #tourofduty
Defense Expert Major General P.K.Sehgal also express his view on interview on Aaj Tak.