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Agnipath scheme explained point-by-point by Defence Ministry amid countrywide protests

The announcements regarding the reservations for 'Agniveers' announced by the different ministries and departments was pre-planned and not in reaction to the recent protests.

Shashwat Bhandari Written by: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: June 19, 2022 22:00 IST
Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt.
Image Source : PTI

Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt. General Anil Puri addresses a press conference regarding the Central governments Agnipath scheme, at South Block, Ministry of Defence, in New Delhi.

Highlights

  • Army, Navy & Air Force came out with broad schedule for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme
  • One reason for this scheme is that it's being implemented to bring down age profile of armed forces
  • Union Minister Rajnath Singh met three service chiefs amid escalating protests against 'Agnipath'

Agnipath Scheme: There will be no rollback of the Agnipath scheme and the intake of 'Agniveers' will go up to 1.25 lakhs in the near future, said Lt. General Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs in a presser on Sunday. The reform was long pending in the defence recruitment process but vandalism and protesters have no place in the Army, Lt. General Puri said. He along with Indian Army’s Adjutant General Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa, Indian Navy’s Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi and Indian Air Force’s Personnel in-charge Air Marshal Suraj Jha addressed the concerns of the youth, who are preparing to serve in the Indian armed forces, and explained point-by-point the new recruitment scheme, amid violent protests in the country.

  • Before launching the new recruitment scheme, two years of study was undertaken to decide on the lowering of age, he said. "We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawans are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past," said Additional Secretary Puri while addressing concerns on the Agnipath scheme.
  • We have been planning this since 1984 and now have come up with this idea. Intake of 'Agniveers' to go up to 1.25 lakhs in future, the Department of Military Affairs said.
  • Our intake of 'Agniveers' will go up to 1.25 lakhs in near future and will not remain at 46,000 which is the present figure. In next 4-5 years, our intake (of soldiers) will be 50,000-60,000 & will increase to 90,000 - 1 lakh subsequently. We've started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme... and to build up infrastructure capacity, Lt General Anil Puri said.
  • The announcements regarding the reservations for 'Agniveers' announced by the different ministries and departments was pre-planned and not in reaction to the arson that happened after Agnipath scheme announcement, Lt General Puri said.
  • Lt. Gen. Anil Puri said that the 'Agniveers' would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other places which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. There will be no discrimination against them in the service conditions, he added.
  • "Agniveers' will get a compensation for Rs 1 crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation," he added further.
  • Talking about the apprehension about the training for Agniveers, he said that all cadets trained in one year only. Youth will be skilled for multiple avenues after their exit, he added.
  • Lt. General Puri also clarified that all recruitments will be through Agnipath scheme only.
  • On the ongoing agitation, he said that vandalism has no space in the Army. "All individuals, who want to join as Agniveers, will have to pledge that they had no involvement in the agitation and protests. They will have to write a pledge for not being involved in the protests which will be verified by the police," he said.
  • Indian Army's foundation is in the discipline. No space for arson, vandalism. Every individual will give a certificate that they were not part of protest or vandalism. Police verification is 100%, no one can join without that. And if any FIR lodged against them, they can't join...They (aspirants) will be asked to write as part of the enrollment form that they were not part of the arson, their police verification will be done, Lt General Anil Puri said.
  • We had not anticipated the recent violence over this scheme. There is no place for indiscipline in the Armed Forces. All candidates will have to give a written pledge that they did not indulge in any arson/violence.
  • From November 21 this year, the first naval 'Agniveers' will start reaching the training establishment INS Chilka, Odisha. Both female and male Agniveers are allowed for this, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said.
  • Indian Navy has 30 women officers at present sailing on different Indian Navy ships. We have decided that under Agnipath scheme, we will recruit women also. They will be deployed on warships also, Vice Admiral Tripathi added.
  • By December first week, we will get the first batch of 25,000 'Agniveers' and the second batch would be inducted around February 2023 making it 40,000, said Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa.
  • Agniveer batch number 1 registration process to start from June 24 and from July 24, phase 1 online examination process would start. The first batch would be enrolled by December and training would commence by December 30, Air Marshal SK Jha said.
  • Around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three Services every year. No one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement, said Lt General Anil Puri.

(With inputs from IANS)

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