The Agnipath recruitment scheme has triggered massive protests across the country with incidents of violence being reported in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana. Over 1,000 people have been arrested so far.
The process of recruiting 46,000 soldiers will begin on an “all-India, all-class” basis under the Agnipath scheme, which was authorized by the PM Modi-led cabinet committee on security. This scheme entails a recruitment process for individuals below the rank of officer, intending to deploy fitter, younger troops on the front lines, many of whom will be on four-year contracts. It’s a game-changing project that will give the Army, Navy, and Air Force a younger image.
The military profession is considered one of the most attractive in India and the armed forces draw tremendous affection, adulation, and adoration from the public. For the hardy, young rural stock and those from the smaller urban centers all over the country, a career in the armed forces is a dream. Much time, energy, and even money are invested in attempting to secure an entry through a rigorous recruitment system.
Thus, on June 14, 2022, when the Agnipath scheme was announced, and it’s not a bad scheme as such, the prevailing perception was that it promises to destroy much of the carefully developed unique military ethos and respect that the armed forces have developed over decades. Five issues stand out and need to be stated. First, this will have an initial Tour of Duty of only four years for new entrants. Second, only 25% of these will be absorbed into the regular cadre at the end of four years by re-enrolment thus losing seniority for all purposes and being qualified for a lesser pension. Third, an exit package of Rs 11.75 lakh would be given to those not selected, to compensate for the lack of pension and to start a second career; no medical facilities and no ex-serviceman (ESM) status would be accorded to them. Fourth, there would be alternative jobs for the exiting personnel with some reservations.
The 1st year salary package of Rs 4.76 lakh with up-gradation of up to Rs 6.92 lakh in the 4th year While post-release, Seva Nidhi package is of approx. Rs 11.71 lakh, including interest (tax-free) There’s also a non-contributory insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh. Provided the individuals receive an Agniveer skill certificate which will assist in post-release job opportunities.
Meanwhile, some BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Karnataka have promised jobs to Agniveers in the state departments. On the other hand, Congress claims the Agnipath scheme is anti-youth and will destroy the Army.