On Tuesday, Narendra Modi’s government in the Center announced a so-called ‘Agneepath’ scheme in the Indian Army, under which short-term appointments would be made.
The main objective of this scheme, which has different ranks and symbols, is to reduce unemployment in the country, as well as reduce the burden of salary and pension on the defence budget. However, some people who have held senior positions in the military have raised concerns about the plan.
Birender Dhanoa, who held a key post in the army, tweeted: “Professional armies generally don’t run employment schemes…just saying.”
The newspaper quoted some people with military experience as saying the plan has raised many concerns. First of all, there is the danger of the ‘militarization’ of society.
That is, when a large number of young people who have been trained to use weapons return after completing their term, then there may be a problem related to law and order. Until now, the duty of a fit Jawan is 10 to 15 years.
The second biggest concern is that due to this plan it will increase the number of ‘rookie’ soldiers in the Indian Army, who will not be able to meet the challenges of enemy countries.
So far the duration of the training is one year. Agniveers recruited under the new scheme can also be deployed to the front lines and their role will be no different from any other soldier.
The third biggest concern is that the old regimental structure of the armed forces may be affected by this plan.
On Tuesday, the Defense Minister and the three army chiefs announced the Agneepath plan. Shortly before this, the Cabinet Security Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved this plan.
Objective to reduce burden of salary and pension?
The Telegraph quoted government sources as saying that the aim of this scheme is to reduce the burden of increasing salary and pension.
A Defense Ministry official told the newspaper: “Under this scheme, the government will save on pensions and other allowances. There will be no need for attractive salary packages for firefighters, ex-military status and contribution to the health plan.”.
Retired Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia wrote about this plan: “An alarm signal for the armed forces. His pilot project was implemented without being brought in. Threat of militarization of society. Every year about 40 thousand young people will be unemployed. I will not be fully trained. Not a good idea. It won’t help anyone.”
Lieutenant General PR Shankar described the project as “Kindergarten Army”. He said that bringing this scheme is not a good idea. He advocated caution.
In one article, he wrote: “This scheme is being started without the right staff and capacity. Under this, less-skilled youth will become part of a sub-unit and then, without any emotion, join the race to secure their jobs.” “.
He wrote: “This soldier is expected to wield a weapon system like BrahMos/Pinaka/Vajra which he cannot wield and he is also expected to defend himself against Pakistan-China. We may be doing Abhimanyu but he will not be able to get out of the Chakravyuh”.
A retired lieutenant general told the Telegraph: “It is unfortunate that the people who decided to put forward this plan have no knowledge of the military. Neither they nor their children served in the military. They will be.”
Regarding unemployment in the country, he said that thousands of Agniveers will serve in the armed forces for four years, they will be trained to use weapons and then, when they return from work, there will be another type of problem-related to internal security. will emerge in the country.
Retired Maj. Gen. Sheonan Singh calls this a foolish move, saying, “Saving money is good, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of defense forces.”
It is believed that the purpose of this step by the government is to reduce the burden of salary and pension of the Indian Army. Retired Major General Sheonan Singh says: “BJP wants to show that we have done something, that it is a party that makes decisions. It is like targeting the board. Who do you mean by the results?”
Taking to Twitter Rahul Gandhi tweeted “When India faces threats on two fronts, the uncalled for Agnipath scheme reduces the operational effectiveness of our armed forces,” he tweeted, referring to “threats” at the northern and eastern borders of the country.
“Like eight years ago, youth was promised 2 crore jobs every year, in the same way now, it is the turn of 10 lakh government jobs. This is not a government of ‘jumlas’, but of ‘maha jumlas’,” Rahul had said in a Hindi tweet.
In Bihar, protesters blocked the railway tracks in Buxar, then set things on fire in Madipur in Muzaffarpur and blocked the road. Apart from this, there was also a lot of ruckus in Ara. The police and GRP also tried to convince the protesters, but they remain firm in demanding that the plan be withdrawn.
A large number of youths also opposed the plan in UP’s Ambedkar Nagar district. Also in Jaipur of Rajasthan, youth took to the road and demanded the closure of the scheme.
Army hopefuls disrupted rail and road traffic in various parts of Bihar on Wednesday in protest against the “Agnipath” scheme which proposes the recruitment of Jawans on a contractual basis for a period of four years followed by mandatory retirement for most without tip or pension benefits.
In Buxar district, more than 100 youths stormed the railway station and crouched on the tracks, blocking the Janshatabdi Express journey to Patna for nearly 30 minutes.
They raised slogans against the scheme, revealed the day before by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, until security personnel led by RPF inspector Deepak Kumar and GRP SHO Ramashish Prasad arrived at the scene and warned them against disrupting rail traffic. .
There were reports in a section of the regional media that the protesters had thrown stones at the Pataliputra Express, which passed through the station, although both Kumar and Prasad denied this.
In the city of Muzaffarpur, a large number of army hopefuls have vented their anger by setting burning tires on the roads around the sprawling “Chakkar Maidan”, where they turn up in large numbers for the physical tests that are mandatory for jawan recruitment.
plan good or bad?
Retired Major General Sheonan Singh, joined the Indian Army for four years is a very short time and if it was a good idea it should have been implemented in phases. There is also the concern that in such a short time, how a young man will be able to connect with the military structure, and nature.
He says: “Six months out of four years will be devoted to training. Then that person will go to areas such as infantry, signals, then he will have to take special training, which will take more time. Before using the equipment, he must have a good knowledge of it.
Retired Major General Sheonan Singh is concerned about how much progress a person will be able to make in the service after spending so much time training etc. He says: “That person will not become a pilot in the Air Force. a mechanic. He will go to the workshop. What will he learn in four years? No one will let him take care of the plane. If you don’t take care of the equipment in the infantry. If you had to , you would not be able to work there.”
On the other hand, according to retired Major General SB Asthana, this step by the government will reduce the profile of the Indian Army for six years, which will benefit it. He says, “If you take the ITI people, they will be technically good. It’s hard to technically empower older people. This generation is more technically capable.” According to Retired Major General SB Asthana, this plan will free the army to keep the best 25 per cent of soldiers and let the rest go.
Here are the top points:
- Announcing the move, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a “historic” decision. The heads of the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) were present at the launch.
- Under the plan, some 45,000 people between the ages of 17.5 and 21 will be admitted to services for a four-year term. Recruits will start within the next 90 days and the first batch will be ready by July 2023.
- As for the Armed Forces, it will raise the youth profile of the Armed Forces and provide a new opportunity for ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ while at the same time creating a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy Armed Forces, which is of made the need of the hour. The average age profile of the Indian armed forces is expected to be reduced by about 4-5 years with the implementation of this scheme.
- The nation will benefit immensely from the infusion of highly inspired young people with a deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence, and focus who will be properly trained and able to contribute in other sectors.
- The dividends of short military service to the nation, society, and the nation’s youth are immense. This includes the instilling of patriotism, teamwork, improved physical fitness, ingrained loyalty to country, and the availability of trained personnel to advance national security in times of external threats, internal threats, and natural disasters.
- After four years, only 25 percent of these soldiers will stick around and join the regular cadre and go on to serve a full 15 years in non-commissioned ranks.
- The rest will leave the services with a package between ₹11 lakh – ₹12 lakh, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits. The forces announced that provisions have been made for loss of life or disability due to service injury.
- Moreover, the ‘Seva Nidhi’ of approximately Rs 11.71 lakh would aid the Agniveer to pursue his/her future dreams without the financial pressure, which is normally the case for young people from the financially deprived strata of society.
- The scheme will contemplate the incorporation of 46,000 young people aged 17.5 to 21 in the three branches of the Armed Forces (the Army, the Navy and the Air Force) this year and the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be called ‘Agniveer’.
- They will serve for only four years, including a six-month training period instead of 15-19 years. The qualifying criteria for soldiers is to remain the same as before.
- Soldiers recruited under the scheme will get a monthly salary ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 rupees. They will be given a separate hazard and hardship allowance on par with regular soldiers based on where they are stationed.
|Year||Customised Package (Monthly)||In Hand (70%)||Contribution to Agniveer Corpus Fund (30%)||Contribution to corpus fund by GoI|
|All figures in Rs (Monthly Contribution)|
|Total contribution in Agniveer Corpus Fund after four years||Rs 5.02 Lakh||Rs 5.02 Lakh|
Individuals between the age of 17-1/2 and 21 years will be allowed to apply for this scheme.
Government announces that the individuals will get allowances and ₹30,000-₹40,000 per month during their training period. The individuals will also be rewarded with awards, medals and insurance covers.
It is a pan-India short-term service youth recruitment scheme for the armed forces. The recruits, known as Agniveers, will serve in various terrains: desert, mountain, land, sea or air.
Enrollment of candidates will be done through a centralized online system for all three services with specialized meetings and on-campus interviews at recognized technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and the National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others. According to official information, the first batch of Agniveers will be recruited in the recruitment drive for 2023. (Agnipath scheme eligibility)